YAWEWE MAGAZINE CREW Editor in Chief Victor Osazuwa Assistant Editor in Chief Charles Osa Okungbowa Editor Theodore Anani Chief Correspondence Uwagboe Ogieva Marketing Edo Union Commercials Fred Ehiosu Advert Executive Mariam Ersierso Nnagboa Joshua Ovbokhan Sunny Iyamu Photo Journalist Efe Fortune Osariemen Office. Avenida Verge de Montserrat 39, 1º1ª Barbera de Valles, 08201 Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34- 696 328 038
The prayer of every successful man in Diaspora is to return home for nation building. The spirit of true patriotism can be achieved when those living abroad fulfilled the promise of returning home to contribute their quota for the sate development. Many notable Edo indigenes have shown practical example by returning home after a long sojourn abroad. The foundation of Bendel state development, which is mainly accredited to Dr. . Samuel Ogbemudia, was an active soldier who fought endlessly to bring development to the state. The memory of Prof. Ambrose Ali will always remain in the mind of every Edo state indigene and posterity, for his active participation to nation’s building. In one of the popular album by Sir Victor Uwaifo during his stay in Lagos, enlighten people about the need for home coming. He practiced what he preached when he turned to Benin City after his long stayed in Lagos. He made tremendous success thereafter. Oshiomhole has taken the mantle of the past successes as a true son of Edo state, having been a premier unionist alongside with Pa. Micheal Imhoudu of the 1947 railway saga saw the future of the present Governor coming home to fight a course for a true patriotic survival today. Sons and daughters in diaspora are advice to come home to follow suit in nostalgia of the past, reality of the present and anticipation of the future. Charles Osa Okungbowa
EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE, BARCELONA SPAIN 18-20 JUNE 2010 Edo Global Organization conference is an annual soul searching and celebration of Edo people of Nigeria worldwide. The conference usually involves paper presentations on the best way forward for Edo State and Nigeria. We identify problems and proffer solutions. The activities this year will include workshop on thorny issues in the State, cultural displays, group discussions, live musical entertainments, and a refreshing dinner get-together. This year’s theme is: Mobilising Edo People for Participative Governance & Self Help Development. Papers will be delivered by Edo sons and daughters and other Nigerians who are experts in the topics under review and who are aware of the present situation of Edo State. Edo Global Organization is a non governmental, non political organization of Edo people in the Diaspora. Come lets join hands together in making a difference, building the right and solid foundations for a better standard of living now and for future generations of Edo people. Remember “Odaro agbonrie”, let us build for the future because we can never bring back the past because it is gone. Edo Nation! Great People! Great Nation!
LINE OF SPEAKERS & ELDERS
Barrister Efosa Ogieriakhi: Security & Rule of Law in an Emerging Democracy like Nigeria. Dr Usman Abdullahi : Preserving Unity & Sustaining Democracy in a multi Ethnic Nigeria. Mr. Innocent Ogedembge:The role of Agriculture in the Development of Edo State Mr Festus Omorogbe: Mobilising Edo in the Diaspora for Sustainable Economic Development of Edo State Dr John Ebohon: Creating the missing Link between Edo in the Diaspora and the Homeland. Mr. Roland Otaru SAN: How can we improve on the security situation in Edo State? Prof Irene Salami Agunloye : Can we sustain Edo Culture and Tradition in the 21st Century? Dr SEO Ogbonmwan : A Revolution for Attitudinal Change in Edo State & Nigeria. Mr Charles Omorodion: Creating Wealth & Eradicating Poverty Barrister(Mrs) E. Uwaifo: Overview of Self Help Development in Edo State including socio mobilisation, security & financing of such projects. Enogie Felix Omorodion (Enogie of Evhohuan) : Sustaining Edo Cultural Heritage in the Diaspora. Prof Iro Eweka: The role of Local Government in the Socio-economic Development of any Nation A speech by Hon Justice C.O. Idahosa Chief Judge of Edo State. Dr S.O Ogbemudia (Two times Governor of Edo State): How I did it. 1
THE GREAT BENIN EMPIRE A LEGACY OF AFRICAN CIVILIZATION The history of the great Benin Empire as a nation is the record of a state that was established 2300yrs before any contact was made with European inferior nation. The great Benin Empire made remarkable achievements in those pre-European years, in art, science, administration, technology, political organization, architectures, astronomy, townplanning e.t.c. When the great Benin empire reached the zeniths of its power, it extended its boundaries and exercised power over all the west African lands bordering the entire stretch of the Bight of Benin, from the mouth of the river Volta in the west and eastward to the present day Congo and to the delta of river Niger in the east e.g. Ghana, Republic of Benin, both across the borders of modern Nigeria. Onitsha on the Niger and many other cities such as Asaba, Agbor, IseleUku, Warri, Idah e.t.c. Many of these states and other cities owe their corporate existence to the ancient Benin Empire. The influence of the great Benin Empire was said to have even extended to the present day Sierra Leone in the west. The legendary fame of the Great Benin empire was such that the name Benin had many meanings, e.g. there was Benin-city and Benin empire, Benin river close to the new Benin (Warri) and there is the Bight of Benin and the Benin district comprising of Sapele and Warri. Beyond the Gulf of Benin, the great Benin Empire’s legendary fame was indeed wide spread. Several European states heard about the empires might and civilized attitudes, many sought for it. That a vast stretch of the West African coastline bears the name “ BIGHT OF BENIN” is no accident of history. Even until these day, it quite evident and amazing how the cultural influence of the ancient Benin empire remains strong till today. An independent republic of former Dahomey in 1975 decided to change its name to the Republic of Benin as a way of reconnecting its roots to Africa’s once glorious kingdom. The Republic of Togo on the other hand named some of her prestigious institutions after the great Benin empire e.g. Universite du Benin, Togo hotel du Benin e.t.c. President Gnassingbe Eyadema during his 1974 visit to Benin City openly stated that the Togolese people originated from the ancient Benin Empire. His open declaration was cardinal in the sense that it ended the historical dilemma that clouded the ancient Benin and present day Benin speakingYoruba influence on many West African nations. Today, the people of Onitsha across the Niger, the Isekiris, Urobos, Isian and Ijaws just to mention but a few all proudly trace their venerated royal lineages to the ancient Benin empire. Lourenco Pinto, who captained a Portuguese ship that brought the so-called missionaries to Warri the ancient port of Benin in 1619, sent the below deposition to the Sacra Congregazione the instance of father Montelcone. “ All the city of this African Empire are organized, large and harmonious. The
His Royal Majesty Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Apkolokpolo Erediauwa, The Oba Of Benin. streets run straight and as far as the eyes can see. The houses are large; especially those of the king, which is richly decorated and has, fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious.” Before that period, the great Benin Empire had built a unique defensive wall around its principal cities. The magnitude and complexity of this great wall has qualified it to be entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the greatest earth moving work ever constructed by man. With an estimated total length in excess of 20.000km, the great Benin wall is the longest running military defensive network ever built by man. Isn’t it ironic that the people that once made up this ancient prestigious kingdom are now grouped along minority lines in the modern day Nigeria. No thanks to the British dubious invasion and subsequent amalgamation of over 200 ethnic nationalities that now make up one Nigeria. Isn’ t it sad that the name of this over 3000yrs old empire does not even appear on Nigeria map these days, instead towns like Ogbomosho and Lagos originally named Eko which was founded by Benin military leaders now represent the glory of Nigeria’s ancient cities. The marginalization and the dubious missinterpretation of the great Benin Empire’s history have to end. It is time for African scholars and historians to engage in the challenging and vital task of re-constructing Africa’s unifying history. During this process, every element of all ancient African empires should be given due respect and honor, without exhibiting the contemporary tribalist and colonial mentality/education that is tearing African apart. Fellow Africans, let us not forget that Africa is the past, the present and certainly the future. By: Nosakhare & Aghaze. .
EDO UNION CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA NITE PHOTO GALLARY
Edo Union Cultural Display
Unity and Cultural Heritage of Edo People.
When we loose our history, we loose our In the time past, our elders worked in unity. They identity, and when we loose our identity we loose supported each other during the bush clearing, the claim of being truly human. It is in holding on the bush gathering, the burning, the subsequent to our identity to keep us being humans that we are land clearing, the planting, the staking and finally here more than 6000 miles from Edo Kingdom and harvesting and putting the yams in the barn. They keeping our humanity alive. The foremost cultural helped each other. Why can we not do the same? identity is language; where there is no longer a They supported each other in building their own unique means of communication of a people; the homes, in marriage, in burial ceremonies, child community can correctly be described as extinct. naming and other community celebrations. They all In view of sustainability of worked together because our unique way of life as Edo that is the traditional way of people, we have a great task life. Every child belonged to in our hand as Pidgin English every member of the village has permeated the language of and clan and thus protected the youths in our homestead. from all harm. When there We have to fight back and we were wars they fought are fighting back to regain our together with no one shying cultural heritage. away from the heat of battle. Wa gia gha z’ Edo. Ama ze Can we ever go back to our evbuomwan awiri. roots and develop the way An army general cannot wage of our fore fathers that kept a war with ‘cripples’ How much us together? can we achieve when the There were age groupings, brainiest, the brightest and the the juniors respected the best have left Edo shores for elders of the clan, and the greener pastures in Europe younger age group obeyed and America. We are here to their elders and carried introduce or strengthen our out their duties according link with our home state of Edo to their age group. The and through that umbilical link, elders also respected the we can render services that juniors without allowing will improve our state socio- Dr. SEO Ogbonmwan, President Edo Global insubordination. The clan economically, infrastructural and empowerment of followed the leadership of the Odionwere who in our youths and reduction of crimes. turn followed the leadership of the chiefs or Enogie Wa gia ya dolor Edo yi; Oya, aghaya simwin who in turn followed the leadership of the Oba. The system was foolproof. What is happening today is evbuomwan. Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those a far cry from what is our culture. The juniors want who could have acted, the indifference of those who to eliminate the elders by all means possible so should have known better, the silence of the voice that they can take their place. The patience of our of justice when it mattered most that has made fathers is lost on the youth. The youth wishes to it possible for evil to triumph. Edo People need to drive a Bentley without working for it. According to speak out always when they observe something Osayomore the musician, ‘You should also,try and going wrong. Edo Global is doing that presently, go through the path of the car owner and decide for but we need more hands and voices to drown the yourself; if it is sweet or bitter.’ You all know the path proponents of the status quo and introduce a new you followed to get here. No two individuals here order that will facilitate the progress of our people. have the same story. Our stories are varied as the Many hands they say make a light work. We have number of our people here. to support the present Edo State government as it Meetings were held in the village square with the is striving to remove the decay in the system in Edo Odionwere presiding; all that may have changed as well. To keep our culture alive, we must keep all the State. As Edo in the Diaspora, we have seen, we have aspects of our culture that enhances socio-economic experienced, we have felt the depth and the height growth, peace, helping each other, supporting one of human ingenuity we can now say collectively ‘this another and being each other’s keeper either at is the way Edo People and Edo State should go’ That home or in the Diaspora. is; the way of justice, the way of transparency, the We must maintain the family unit of father, mother, way of collective responsibility, the way of fairness, and children, single mother or single father is unthe way of honour and dignity in labour, the way of African. Those who are not married, they should be good leadership and accountability and the way that encouraged to marry and settle down as that is our will reduce youth crimes and stop human trafficking culture. We should enhance the extended family and prostitution by our female youths. system and continue our morning salutations. On my mother’s side, we greet La’tose and on my fathers
side we greet L’ Emore, with this, my family is identified anywhere I greet anyone traditionally. This is an important aspect of our culture which we should ensure we keep. Good morning and La ‘Jesu is not our culture. Our culture does not prevent you from being a Christian or Moslem. The bible says give that which is Caesar to Caesar and that which is God to God. You are an Edo first before being a Christian or Moslem. For our unity to thrive in the Diaspora we should work together, progress together, interact with one another more closely, encourage marriage within our ranks so as to sustain our tradition and culture so that our offspring’s are not lost to the world. A tree without root will wither in no time. We should work hard to earn a decent living in the most respectable manner as our name is being smeared by prostitution and human trafficking. To reduce economical cost of rearing too many children, our families must be planned and spaced as there are effective methods of contraception. The use of barrier methods of contraception is also encouraged to reduce the likelihood of infection especially HIV and AIDS. The purpose of an organization like Edo Global Organization is to sustain our culture, tradition and socio-economic progress of our people. It is to create an avenue for us to determine the course of events in our home land. To act as a pressure group and ensure that governmental activities is for the benefit of the greatest majority of Edo People. By Edo people I mean Edo citizens from the Atlantic Ocean in the south to Agenebode in the North, from Evbonogbon in the west to Ubiaja in the east as Edo people are from a single source which is Benin City. An organization is like a seedling which should be watered and pruned to enable it thrives so that it can grow into a tree and flower and bear fruits. You cannot reap from a seedlingss, you have to wait patiently for it to grow and develop deep tap root and then you can cut branches for propagation. Those who are in a hurry have selected out themselves from our organization which they will regret doing in the future because as our people say ai zeto khe enorowa.’ You cannot barb or style the hair of the one not available. When we also plant too many seeds too close together, it results to too much competition and over grazing and none of the seedlings will thrive. That is why all organizations should support and feed into Edo Global so that it can continue to blossom to achieve the original aims and objectives of its Founder. Smaller organizations today want to use our resources to grow and stunt us in the process, but no sensible person will allow that. Secondly, some organizations that came in seven to eight years after us want us to join them rather than they joining us. That is also not possible because the tail does not wag the dog. It is the dog that wags the tail. All these unhealthy competitions come because of lack of good follower ship and good leadership. A leader is as good as the aggregate of its followers. There are always too many critics in the house. Leaders want suggestions on how to move from point A to point B.
in the direction of progress. Today one can say we have been encouraged by several and sickened by some, sincerely, we can only make impact when we get involved. The scripture says the Righteous are the salt of the earth, how can the salt sweeten the soup without being involved through the fire of cooking and preparation? if indeed we qualify as righteous within the Edo or Nigerian context, since we profess to know what is wrong by our commentaries and criticisms, we should also know what to do, but we are not sufficiently empowered in that we don’t have the executive power to right the wrongs hence we need a viable organization to act as a spear point for Edo in the Diaspora. WHAT IS EDO UNITY? Edo are now a minority in Nigeria and if well thought out, this status can be used to the best advantage of our people if we present a unified front. The Edo are a monolithic unit in linguistic terms, in terms of worship of traditional gods, physique, ancestral origin, customs, and traditions and in being in a defined area of the Nigerian Nation. The Edo like the Nupes, Tiv and Kanuris in the north and the Usobo/Isoko, Ijaw and Ibibios in the south were distinct as at the 1953 national census in Nigeria. The concept of Benin-Edo, Esan-Edo, AfemaiEdo as espoused by Prof. Omo Omoruyi should not really exist because there are only one indivisible Edo people with different Edo dialects as in Central and North senatorial districts of Edo State. The phonetics, proverbs nuances, and phraseology are the same. The names, their meanings and attitudes are the same. Why is this disunity then? We all can recall that all the Enogies in Edo Central and Edo North senatorial districts are princes of the Benin Kingdom with the Okaigiesan as their leader They were required at sometime point in our history to administer these lands on behalf of the Oba who is our spiritual leader and custodian of our customs and traditions. The desire of one section of Edo State to seek another traditional council stimulates disunity, the desire to create another kingdom within Edo kingdom is seeking disunity. The creation of a political Iyase of Esan to subjugate all the Enogies of Edo Central senatorial district; a title unheard of in our many centuries of history is courting disunity. As an individual, I do not see disunity in the desire of the people in the north and central Edo senatorial districts to seek a separate state as working for disunity so long it is done without friction and in good faith. The creation of Afesan State as proposed would bring development nearer the people. The input from the Federal government would increase into Edo kingdom. In Western Nigeria, there are several Yoruba speaking states. Like the Egba Yoruba, Ekiti Yoruba, Ondo Yoruba but they all pay allegiance to their ancestral home at Ile Ife and the Oni who is the spiritual head of the Yoruba people. The Edo spiritual head and the custodian of our culture and tradition is the Oba of Benin no amount of politics or wealth can rewrite or change our history.
• Edo unity is speaking with one voice in dealings within the State and more importantly the Federal government. •
Edo unity is aligning and re-aligning with the government at the centre for the benefit of our people.
Edo unity is pursuing a common goal for the benefit of Edo people.
Edo unity is realising that although we are many and varied but we constitute a part of a single whole which is Edo Kingdom.
Edo unity is those at the helm of affairs using the available resources for Edo people without damaging Edo economy by taking the people’s wealth abroad.
Edo unity is Edo in Diaspora taking active part in the issues that concern Edo State and contributing their widow’s mite to the self-help development of Edo State.
Edo unity is constructive criticism and the avoidance of smear campaigns.
Edo unity is disagreeing in harmony without drawing each other’s blood.
Edo unity is all things good for Edo people wherever they may be.
Edo unity is facing our worst fears and turning our failures into success.
Edo unity is re-orientating ourselves, our thought processes towards honour for achievements rather than praise and respect for ill-gotten wealth.
Edo unity is celebrating our achievements and cultural heritage.
economy, education, youth emancipation as well as development of health services in Edo State. As the name implies, it is a global organization. It is acting and will continue to act as an umbrella organization for Edo Associations in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, USA, South Africa and the Netherlands etc.The President or Chairman of these Edo Associations will be in the Board of Trustees of EGO which will liaise directly with the Edo State governor politically and the Oba of Benin as our spiritual leader. In addition, EGO has set up a list of all Edo professionals in Diaspora which we call the FOCUS GROUP in accordance with their specialities to act as a pool from which volunteers in teaching, provision of healthcare, carrying out feasibility studies, engineering, site inspection, planning and execution of architectural and engineering projects, forest management, people mobilization, actuarial projections, accountancy and audit will be sent to carry out work for nominal fees for Edo people in the state. In this way Edo state resources will be spent more judiciously and wisely for the benefit of the people instead of paying exorbitant consultancy fees to political surrogates and their companies. Various standing committees have been committed into specialist areas like, housing, transportation, education, health, social welfare, security, and publicity committees etc. These committees and governing board will co-operate with the state government and the traditional council for the good of our people. The people of any great nations in the world made sacrifices to achieve the status they have today. We must make similar sacrifice to progress and be a source of inspiration to our competitors in the other Nigerian Nation. If the Oheneze in the east, Arewa in the north and Aferenifere in the west can be united and present a common front then Edo people must be united to counter these extreme forces. Our forefathers succeeded in their various endeavours, we should and must succeed. Failure is out of the question. Finally the take home messages are that: the way of our fathers should be emulated Ikpian bor okpa e mu iru vbeto Akugbe oretin Iwane egbe ore udemwen Uma gha gba ni ma, uma gha gba ne Edo Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these very pertinent issues with you. I wish you all travelling blessings home, a merry Xmas and a very prosperous new year. Remember we shall all meet here in Barcelona from the 18-20th of June 2010 during our annual Edo Global Organization Conference. Iselogbe Ogbe ma vbe diaru. Oba ghato Okpere Ise
A united Edo State is a bastion and building block for a strong and united Nigerian Nation. Edo carvings today rules the world as Edo created the most popular piece of art work the Queen Idia Mask which is popularly known as the Festac Mask. This is the symbol of Black unity, Black struggle and emancipation in the world. It is the emblem of numerous Black organizations all over the world. We should not disappoint seekers of their origin from many parts of the world by presenting a disunited front. HOW CAN EDO UNITY BE ACHIEVED? Edo sons and daughters are adventurous and can be found in all corners of mother earth so they need to be brought together under a single umbrella. Edo Global Organization (EGO) was therefore established to bring all Edo indigenes wherever they may be together so that they can function as a unit in addressing issues in Edo land, and in seeking to prioritise the development of the infrastructure,
By Dr. SEO OGBONMWAN. 19th December 2009. Edo Union Barcelona
The History Of Esan People
The word “Esan” is a Bini word meaning “they Cultural Extravangaza jumped away, or they have fled”. The name became the accepted name of the group of people who escaped from the reign of Oba Ewuare of Benin in the middle of 15th century. During the 15th century, the Oba Ewuare of Benin had two sons that both tragically died on the same day. Mourning the death of his sons, Oba Ewuare declared to the whole kingdom that there shall be no sexual intercourse in the kingdom; no washing, sweeping of the houses or compound, drumming or dancing; and making of fire in the land. Oba Ewuare insisted that these laws be strictly adhered to for a period of three years as a mark of respect for his dead sons. Unable to abide by these rules, many natives fled the Bini Kingdom to join previous groups that had already migrated out of the kingdom years before (notably, the groups that had earlier formed Irrua, Uromi, and Ekpoma). Soon after, the Oba summoned a meeting of his subjects from various quarters and, to his amazement, noticed that they had greatly diminished in numbers. When the Oba asked where his subjects had went to, he was told, “Ele san-fia” (“They have fled”). This later turned into E-san-fia and then Esan. When Oba Ewuare saw that his kingdom was quickly becoming depopulated, he revoked his laws but the migrations continued. Oba Ewuare tried to wage war against the migrants but this failed. According to Jacob Egharevba, author of A Short History of Benin, the Oba conquered 201 towns and villages but he had to use diplomacy for many of the other scattered towns and villages in the forest in order to bring them under Benin rule. Thus, Oba Ewuare invited Esan leaders or their representatives to Benin for a truce. He enticed them with the idea of having an attachment to Benin City and of their having the honor of being called “Onojie”, which means king. The future of Esan rested on the Esan who went to Benin and took the title of Onojie. It was not an easy decision for the Esan leaders to decide whether or not to go. Many feared Oba Ewuare but also did not want more military attacks against them. To reduce their fears, Benin promised military support for the Onojie to enforce authority over insubordinate subjects (Eweka, 1992: pp. 83-84). Only three leaders actually went to Benin in person. All three were apparently men who had nothing to fear from the Oba due to various reasons. The first was Ekpereijie, the son of Oba Ohen’s daughter and a sister to Oba Ewuare. The sister had been given to the leader of Irrua. Ekperejie came without fear because relations must have been cordial between Irrua and Benin. The second was Alan of Ewohimi, the son of Ikimi who had left Benin prior to the reign of Oba Ewuare and as such was not considered as one of those who fled the city by the Oba. The third was Ijiebomen who left Benin for Ekpoma after the Oba had granted him leave (Eweka, 1992: p.169, 174). In contrast to those mentioned above, chief Okhirare of Ohordua, , had especially offended the Oba and would not risk his
neck, so he sent his heir Odua to Benin (Eweka, 1992: p. 272). His brother and leader of Emu also sent his son rather than risk his life. Three other Esan leaders dispatched brothers as their representatives to the meeting in Benin. Ede felt he was only less than the Oba by degrees and as such refused to honor the call. He then sent his junior brother to listen to what the Oba had to say. The leader of Ubgoha also asked his junior brother to go on his behalf. The leader of Uromi sent his junior brother to find out what the Oba had to say. Ewuare concealed his anger at the impertinent leaders in Esan since he was a skilled diplomat. During the meeting, he told the visitors how they had migrated from Benin. He enthroned the Benin court traditions in Esan. The Oba bestowed the title of Onojie on those that were present at the meeting. This historic moment happened in 1463. Instantly, the Oba made them rulers of their communities and subservient only to the Oba. Above all, this noble title was not transferable to father, brother, or master, and once an Onojie, always an Onojie until death (Okojie, 1960: p.37). Where Oba Ewuare had enthroned a proxy as Onojie except in Ewohimi, Irrua and Ekpoma, strife and hatred followed as the new leaders began to assert authority and control over the elders. Thus, the Oba wielded the numerous villages into large political entities that hitherto became known as chiefdoms, loosely knitted villages, ruled by the Enijie. There are now 35 clans in Esanland, each of which is headed by a king called an Onojie. The clans include: Ekpoma, Uromi, Ekpon, Emu, Ewollimi, Ewatto, Irrua, Ubiaja, Egoro, Wossa, Ukhun, Ugbegun, Igueben, Idoa, Ohordua, Okhuesan, Oria, Ogwa, Okalo, Ebelle, Uzea, Onogholo, Orowa, Urohi, Ugun, Udo, Ujiogba, Iyenlen, Ifeku, Iliushi, Amahor, Opoji, Ogboha, Uroh, and Ewu. Today Esanland is divided into five Local Government Areas namely: 1.Esan West L.G.A., composed of Ekpoma 2.Esan Central L.G.A., composed of Irrua 3.Esan North East L.G.A., composed of Uromi 4.Esan South East L.G.A., composed of Ubiaja and 5.Igueben L.G.A. composed of Igueben. Sources: Egharevba, J.U. 1968. A Short History of Benin. Ibadan: I.U.P. Eweka, E.B. 1992. Evolution of Benin Chieftaincy Title. Benin City: Uniben. Press. Okoduwa, Anthony. 2006. Tenacity of Gerontocracy in Nigeria: An Example of the Esan People in Edo State. Okojie, C.G. 1960. Ishan Native Laws and Customs. Lagos-Nigeria: John Okwessa Publishers. Omokhodian, J.O. 1998, The Sociology of the Esans. Tropical Publication Ltd. Ojeremen, Stephen. 2007. Esan Youth
The Real Story of Auchi Town
wing to the argument about the origin and colonial officers. In the case of Auchi, the of the people of Auchi, this article gives oldest record available is the mention of Auchi and a clear explanation about the origin a few other Etsako towns and villages by Kweller, a and subsequent islamization of the town. Auchi European writer in a work he published in 1850. exist long before the arrival of the Nupes. The In the work, the author interviewed freed slaves inordinate ambition of many people to become in Freetown and asked them to mention their rich by trafficking human beings had inspired places of origin. That was in the 1820s. A the Nupes and the Hausas to go abroad for particular ex-slave named Agbodo or George new advantages. However is noted till date that Cole of Campbell town claimed that he was they (the Nupes) played a major role in the of lslam origin from Iwieta (Ewatto) whence islamization of Auchi town which still he was sold into slavery at the age of 18 exist till date. and taken to Sierra Kaeone in 1827Auchi is a town located exclusively He was asked to mention the towns on latitude 70N and longitude 6.250 E and villages in his area of origin and of the globe. It was founded by a man that was how he mention AWITSI called Uchi who migrated from Udo (Auchi) among a few others. The near Benin. City about 14th century conclusion however is that, at C.E. definitely before the reign of Oba least by 1820, i.e. before the Ewuare of Benin. The coming of Uchi, coming of the Nupe, Auchi his family and followers to this Guinea was firmly in existence. This is Theodore Anani Savannah belt know today as Etsakoland contrally to the believed that Auchi people was as a result of internecine wars, acts of brutality, migrated from Housa Land. intimidation and dehumanization which the proud Auchi town is made up of five grand quarters people of Auchi and their likes could not perpetually which were initially inter-dependent villages with stomach. The town is bounded on the east by South common ancestry. Patches of bushes separated Ibie;. on the north-east by Jattu; on the north by Ayua, the villages and intermixed with the houses even iyuku and Imeke; on the north-west by Ikpeshi and within the same Quarters. The grandâ€™ Quarters Ihievbe Ogben; on the soutfyby Ivbiaro and Warrake are Utsogu, Akpekpe, Aibotse. Igbhei. and lyekhei. and on the south by Era and Ayuele-Ugioli. Utsogu is the royal Quarter from which the Otaru The location of Auchi is hilly with pockets of valleys (king) of Auchi is customarily chosen and enthroned and flat plains. It is at a meeting-point between the right from the era of Ikelebe I in the middle of the rain forest and guinea savannah. The settlement was nineteenth century. Utsogu has the responsibility of a splendid choice. The town is close to about twenty welding Auchi together and galvanizing the town in rivers, rivulets and springs such as Orle, Omemhe, its valorous forward march for the attainment of lofty Ofhotsele, Eda Ibariki, Ukpheleghi, Eda Nokhua goals. Within each of the grand Quarters, there are (Utsogu), Eda Nokhua (Aibotse), Amasomhe, small Quarters and kindreds with clearly demarcated Umhouku, Ayeda, Ayeda-Aminu, Eda Udo, Eda lineages both from within matrilineal Amohoya and Oke, Eda Ayomhe, Oki, Arhebekpeghie, Edo Ofoli, the matrilineal Otseâ€? types of wedlock of the preIkpaigba. and Eda-Egini Momoh era of Auchi. Right from ancient times, migrants have always Even when the Nupe over-ran the area along preferred to settle where they are sure of abundant with Kabba, Ebira and other Afenmai territories, water, flora and fauna. The case of Auchi could not the worship of idols was not discarded. The Nupe have been an exception. It is due primarily to the warriors were primarily interested in collecting tributes indispensability of water to life that many groups from their subjects. Such tributes included slaves in Africa and elsewhere took to a deification of the and foodstuff. They were not interested in Islamic prominent rive in their localities .That Auchi people of propagation in the area as that would have defeated old used to worship Orle is, therefore, not a surprise, their goal of economic exploitation. Nonetheless, though it was wrong. It is the Creator of Orle, the their presence in large numbers in Auchi, Ayuele and Creator of other rivers and the universe at large who other towns sparked off an Islamic revolution with the should be worshipped with undivided attention and passage of time. It is interesting to note that towards utmost zeal, that is Almighty God. the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the In the accounts of migration from Benin and its 20th century, when the British dislodged the Nupe environs to Etsakoland. many historians explained from Afenmai, that was the time interest in Islam on how people settled in Auchi while many others moved the part of the benevolent despots in the area took northwards and eastwards. The lush and verdant roots. This was the case at Agbede, Auchi, Okpella, vegetation of Auchi, its forest and Savannah belts, South Ibie and Uzairue for instance. and very fertile, land had contributed immensely to this reality. ISLAM IN AUCHI BEFORE THE ERA OF MOMOH The written history of Etsako people is not very This sub-heading may surprise some people in old. Most of the sources of Etsako history were first Auchi as the name of Momoh is almost synonymous documented by European explorers, missionaries with the advent of Islam in Auchi. The fact is that
Islam was practised in Auchi before the birth of Momoh, though it was practised then by strangers who were mainly of Nupe, Hausa, fulani, and Yoruba origins. A few indigenes of Auchi particularly at Aibotse and Igbnei also embraced Islam. It should be noted that The Nupe and Hausa settlers lived mainly at Aibotse. This perhaps is the reason why the praying ground lies in Aibotse till this day. It has never been shifted from that area since the inception of Islam in Auchi. In spite of the fact that the Nupe did not directly Islamize Auchi, the fact remains that interest in Islam and the islamic revolution which took place in the area subsequently were the result of their Conquest and sociopolitical interaction with the people of Etsako. Nupe mallams also contributed greatly to the islamization process when the people of Ayuele, Auchi, Uzairue, South Ibie and others decided to adopt Islam as a state religion. In view of the above mentioned reality, the role of the Nupe in the islamization of Auchi cannot be brushed aside. THE ROLE OF MOMOH OSIOGBHELE IDAEO IN ISLAMIZING AUCHI AND ITS ENVIRONS
The phenomenon called Momoh has been a subject of great interest among islamologists and historians in Nigeria. The young Prince Osiogbhele Idaeowas born in the second half of the 19th century to Otaru ;ldaeo, son of Ikelebe I. As a child, Osiogbele exhibited extraordinary inteligence, sound moral and magnetic friendliness. He was often found in the company of Nupe and Hausa mallams whose islamic practices he cherished. He embraced Islam at a time when very few Auchi indigenes were Muslim. He adopted the Islamic name Muhammad, which is locally pronounced as Momoh, Momodu, or Modu. It happened to be the name of his Hausa Mallam who taught him how to read the Qur’an in Arabic. Momoh, as he came to be known, also employed the services of a private teacher to teach him English. The intelligence report of the colonialists confirmed the fact that he could communicate in English. According to Chief Abudah Idaeo, the younger brother of Momoh and chief chronicler of the ikelebe Ruling Family, Momoh had his first child by I903. This suggests that by 1900 he was already in his early twenties at least. By 1914 when Momoh declared an Islamic revolution as the unchallenged heir-apparent of Auchi, he was already about thirty-five years old, and a visionary mallam who had great plans for Auchi. It is true that Momoh ascended the throne as the Otaru of Auchi in 1919, but the fact remains that he sought permission from the then Otaru of Auchi, H.R.H. Ikharo, son of Ikelebe I, and declared Islam the state religion of Auchi, an act which was to have tremendous consequences for Auchi as a town and an institution. It signified a resolve to part ways with the many unpleasant aspects of Edo culture and a resolution to turn towards the north and merge with the Nupe and Hausa in faith as well as aspects of culture and politics . Because of the islamization process carried out
from 1914 to 1944 by Momoh in Auchi, some Nigerians have been misled to think that Auchi people are of Hausa origin. This is not true. Auchi and many other Etsako communities adopted the Islamic faith and Hausa culture to a large extent as a matter pf choice. Their Edoid roots are obvious in language, ancestry and behaviour. Momoh did not only declare that Islam should be the official religion of Auchi, he also championed the destruction of material representations of polytheistic worships at Auchi. Thus he destroyed the idols which represented Uchi, Orle, Ogholodio, Amanue, Igbenede etc. In doing so, he employed the services pf fearless Islamic scholars of Nupe. Hausa, Yoruba and Auchi origins who recited certain Qur’anic verses. Prominent among the Auchi iconoclasts were Mallam Aliu Idaeo and Chief Kadiri Idaeo (Momoh’s younger brothers), Chief Abu Maikaikarfi Ogboilitsa” of Afachilekpe, Chief Abutudu Ainakhu of lyogaga, and Chief Musa :ltsene of Akpekpe”. Momoh welcomed mallams from far and near, honoured them profoundly and sought that they pray for his family and for Auchi. During his reign, mallams who visited Auchi were so , honoured that some of them did not want to go back to their home towns. He attracted some of the mallams who were moving from one Etsako town to another to stay permanently at Auchi to teach people the tenets of Islam. One of such mallams was Shaykh Bawa Muhammad who later became the chief imam of Auchi (died-1973). He gave the Shaykh his sister Madam Asimau Igienekphe and asked the Shaykh to stay permanently in Auchi as an indigene. Most of first generation mallams in the town and its environs were direct students of Mallam Bawa. As a visionary who knew the value of spiritual education, Momoh gave many of his daughters to a number of mallams in marriage. That act further consolidated the relationship between him and the first and second generations of mallams in Auchi. To him the spiritual position with which Allah endowed these pious mallams was loftier than that of royal birth. Consequently, he had more princes of other towns. As a serious Islamic propagator Momoh sent a number of mallams to neighboring communities to preach Islam and teach them how to read the Qur’an. Notable -among such communities are Uzairue, South Ibie, Avianwu, Ikpeshi, Agbede, Avhiele and Egbigele. The mallams sent were of Auchi, Hausa, Nupe and Yoruba origins. Conclusively, i will like to state here that by 1820, i.e before the coming of the Nupes, Auchi was firmly in existence. The people of Auchi only support and practice the Islamic religion, but not as mostly speculatd that Auchi migrated from Bauchi or any of the northern state. Note/Reference: Pa. P.O Anani Dr. Zakariyav Idrees-Oboh Aha Idokpesi Okhaishe n’ Avhianwu
By Theodore Anani. 11
Economic Utility of Igue: An African Festival in Benin
mongst festivals celebrated over the globe today, Igue festival is up-to- date with significant monument of the past historical facts of the Benin Empire before the coming of the Europeans (missionaries) into Benin. It is coined in the memory of what led to the 1897 war of the Benin massacre that cannot be forgotten or left to be buried in order to knowing it’s importance among other activities, as a reference point to tracing and in remembrance of how the artifacts looted by the colonialist are kept in their museum. I am aware that igue festival is approximately a two weeks celebration, so the need to project activities for a two weeks extravaganza in Benin City, then capital of Midwest, Bendel and present Edo state (the heart beat) of Nigeria. For the sake of brevity will recommend “Igue Festival” by Prof. Ademola Iyi-Eweka, PhD for those who have limited knowledge about this great African festival. The Benin monarch cultural influence holds a fatherly position to many other ethnic groups in southern Nigeria. Any group or ethnic group that shares the same historical antecedence has every right to participate in elevating and celebrating the Benin/Edo cultural heritage anywhere in the world. Every ethnics group within the Benin monarch linage of Edo state and beyond, Esan, Afemai/Etsako, Ora, Owan, Akoko Edo, Ijaw, Urhobo etc, need be aware that igue festival is their cultural heritage to celebrate. For instance, the art of the “Igbabo ne ehinmwin” of the Ishan, traditional dance and display of the Afemai, Ora, Owan, Urhobo, etc should show case their various cultural heritage, side attractions, sails of cultural artifacts to both tourist and indigenes, presentations of creative arts and symbols during the festival. In other words, to embrace their memorable art, every other Edoid culture should set up a modality on how their festival will also be connected and fused with Igue festivals for a multicultural activity to fight a course towards one unity. On the foregoing, villages and towns, companies, banks, market women unions, cooperative societies, public and private enterprises including federal and state government should be encouraged to participate by getting involved through sponsorship of any kind. If need be, there should be a public holiday. For assumption of the area of celebration (the palace), the National Museum could be open and equip with great Benin bronze and other historical artworks to tourists and visitors all over the world Monuments, statures and architectural constructions should be open for sponsorship by both
government and private investors. I will personally demand that that of great Oba Ovoramwen and Queen Iden, who was a source of unity to all Edos through Ikoka saga be gigantic cenotaph.
Community leaders, village heads (Odionwere) and technical service men to coordinate and lead their village elders, men and women including village masquerades to same events. Hotels and Hostels in Benin and beyond should be getting involve and preparing to receive visitors from all over the world attending the festival at the heart of Benin City. Edo state, Nigeria, West Africa. Edo citizens at home and abroad (in Diaspora) most take chance of this great opportunity to participate, promote and protect from abuse by any means necessary. They must find a way to unite, focus more on the beauty of each other rather than seeing witch and demons. Love self, community and nation before any things else. View positive, speak positive and act positive. The greatness or failure of Igue:Uwabgoe Ogiebva African Festival in Nigeria lies more on the celebrant (Edo people and the Benin Monarch). “Vbe nu tu rre ih tu lelué” meaning it is the way you sing your song others will respond accordingly. Every machinery must be jarred towards a re-education, re-orientation, and remobilization of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, communities and nations on importance and benefits of Igue: Africa Festival. Edo Christians should be actively involved too in coordinating their congregations for massive participation. Edos must all join hands together to give the great Benin/African festival a befitting and colorable presentation. African Americans, African British (Black British), African Germans, and all other African descendants living in Diaspora willing to reconnect with their ancestral link should be reawoken by the spite of this festival. Now, with global recession, economic crisis, unemployment, high bankruptcy and low standard of living, igue: African festival will create more happiness and livelihood for many if embraced overwhelmingly. If Spain, England, America can invent worldwide celebrated festivals like Christmas, Santa clux, Brazilian festival, etc, then Africa being the mother of all civilizations, artworks, spirituality and traditions can do better if cultured with all sincerity. Igue is Edo/ Nigeria and African festival and should be embraced and enjoyed by all. By Uwagboe Ogieva ©
Destiny That Proved Itself From Nothing to Something The Story of Joseph Eguavoen CEO ISNO HOTELS LTD ISNO HOTEL G.R.A BENIN CITY
ISNO HOTEL IKEJA, LAGOS
On 30th of May 2010, Mr. Joseph Osayemwenre Eguavoen, the CEO of Joseph Stores in Spain and ISNO Hotels Nigeria LTD. was interviewed by YAWEWE’s (An Edo African Magazine) Senior Correspondent Mr. Charles Osas Okungbowa at his Barcelona residence Like food for thought, His narrative about life struggles is reminiscent of the literary master piece “Treasure Island” a story of fortune and destiny. Mr. Joseph Eguavoen a man of incommensurate caliber has internationally diversified his business home and abroad to enhance a global reach. As an employer and economy booster he has more than two hundred employees benefiting from his business endeavors . His philanthropic gestures in The Diaspora is second to none, and he wishes others to follow suit. Mr. Joseph Eguavoen a Business mogul, born in the 70s into the family of 17, is the 6th child of his mother who had 9 children. His life experience is that of hard work , determination and success. He hails from Ugboko in Orhionmwon LGA of Edo State, Nigeria. A detailed Life Story of this munificent Business mogul will be publish in the next edition of YAWEWE Magazine. Watch out!
( ISNO is an acronym for International Standard Number One)
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Mr Joseph Eguavoen & His Wife
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Mr. Joseph Eguavoen CEO ISNO HOTEL
Unity and future of Edo Nation in Spain
The Historical Myths and Tide of Edo Nation.
do nation (like the muster seed) was conceived in the east and hashed in the west to the origin of Ogiso dynasty into a land named Igodomigodo in the AD’s. Until her spread through territorial wars upon wars towards the West end from Agbemikaka, Sobe, Eko, Badagry down to Benin Republic. Then in the east was through Agbor, Isele Uku (which the symbol on our Festac depict today). To Asaba, Onitsha Etc. Then in the North was through Ehor, Auchi, Kukuruku hill in Akoko Edo to Idah at Kogi State. Finally, through Ologbo, Iben, Abraka, Isoko etc. However, her power was reduced because of selfish factor which was concede to be language that was hidden from her cancerous. Therefore, an empire was created to the extend ‘too late’ was the remains which a severing nation Nigeria managed to carved out as a portion to be called Midwest and then Bendel State that today revised to her origin as Edo state. Then it became so obscure and to know the secret of a lost empire which the splendor existed as a people blessed with culture, tradition, and ambition but lost highly a large extend of territories to which trace of culture and tradition relates, if properly checked. Edo early visitors (missionaries like Portuguese and Britons), saw the picture and the administrative structure convenient as well as the organized society and they were so awed by the city that the road they know nothing weather we were in heaven or on earth and sort to imagine the hydraulic throne that letter the rulers (king) 40feets above their subjects. On the foregoing none of the ornate machinery described by the early home and foreign ancient writers historian and politicians of the westwho were scholars of doom to bring down our already condor and pride of the Edo people. If the details of Edo people as a nation was sometimes seem rudimentary is not primitive, as many considered by western intellectuals, to be pompous and that which is requires effort to appreciate the significant of such items like artifacts, antiquities stolen by British invaders (which the crown today was saved by Sir Plymouth). We can use term like this to help understand the life’s of our enigmatic predecessors today. Edo nation (like a palm tree envied by its mates, because of its major uses) with tomorrow by Historians be a reference point and as a crucial bridge connecting the birth of renaissance, which the keeper of the sacred flame of classical learning through the so-called dark-ages turned a ‘twilight’. Therefore, the OmniEdo nation is a Joseph sold by his brothers that came back to save his brothers, tribe, people and today nation called Israel.A Bird in Hand. From sunrise to sunset, from Charles Osas Okungbowa spring to summer, from birth to life, and from day to day, the struggle of man to survive is invariably dominant among all creatures on earth. (such is life for you) because the desire of man to make it, achieve it, get it, and at last feed it, is apparent to an insatiable need to make the best better in fact, history has this to tell, if early ages through evolution which date from Genesis to revelation and nation are mentioned Edo nation is one. It will be worst than slavery my brothers and sister in Diaspora, if denying yourself by selling your birth right and aging to building other nations, while your nation is lying fallow of virgin natural resources. A nation endowed with oil, bitumen, gold, rubber, limestone, and even a seaport, which is craving for exploration need your attention. If we continue to point accusing fingers at our ancestor’s mistakes, I think is time for us to find correction to our problems now or else our yet unborn are also coming in wait to rule us with scorpion for our mistakes- now that the work of our heroes past is seen as been in vain. Edo nation among other empires is changing by crying for help with the rulers been the custodian of culture, tradition, what is left, not to be known to render the little you can to save your home? Remember a stranger always say goodbye when there is fire on the mountain. There are much also about the signals of global economic crisis for us to learn a lesson, because the bulk of work lies on the hands on the Edo sons and daughters in Diaspora and at home. With all the feasibilities studies of campaigns around the word, solidarity fell in Spain. Brothers and sister abroad, man is humane in his action and in the real life of his existence, and not when he is dead. The testament of a man is after his death to his children while wisdom is bound to be a collective experience along with life journey rather than be told of the man existence. It is at the angle of man in search for more want that he goes beyond his home and start wandering anywhere. Whereas the result of all we are doing now has a plain sheet to be recorded at home and nowhere else. Prediction :- If Edo future as said by the Spanish, ‘‘Destinación, Proxima arada’’ in Spain as we traverse all over the world now, this is the right peg in the right hole choosing Spain as a campaign ground to take up the challenges of building the myth of Edo nation. Although, am neither a poet nor a soothsayer of note, but I believe things will change towards the attitude of Edo unity in Spain at the year 2009 envelope opens. In
addition, if untold story is said, and history did not remember the builders of our nation, prosperity will always justify their means, no matter how in life, hope appears to come. Then I quote from the book of Exodus 20:5, saying that thou shall not bow down thyself to them who are enemy of progress for I the Lord thy God will be visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation that hate progress. In conclusion, with tears on my pillows, I thank you all and wish you a blissful new year 2009, I pledge my loyalty and declared with the help of God Almighty this time around, to multiply our effort in restoring excellence in the affairs of Edo Nation at home and to let our waiting people bring the hope of a new dawn, although we are merely at the end of the beginning, so help us God. Thank you. By Charles Osas Okungbowa (Edo Union End of Year Party/Award Night 27th Dec. 2008, Barcelona, Spain)
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Success By Hard Word
The Story of an ambitious man armed with determination travelled all the way from Africa to Europe in search of the golden fleece. He achieved success by diligence and dedication and good works. That man is Mr. Efe Obarisiagbon Obasuyi aka. Eferica. Back home he fought through thick and thin to survive life’s battering times. Now his travails in the past have proved usefully advantageous in tackling the unpredictable winds of Europe. Mr. Efe Obasuyi, the second child of a family of six hails from Aihuobabeku in Ovia L.G.A. of Edo State. He attended Olua Primary School and Edokpolor Grammar School both in Benin City. He is happily married to Mrs. Erica Efe Obarisigbon and they are blessed with four kids. The name “Eferica” is a combination of Efe and Erica. Their loving unity have been a source hope and inspiration to many in Barcelona as they have extended their hands of help to the needy 15
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An Amazon With a Revolutionary View For The Edos. Mrs. Iyogie Favour Izevbigie, the Managing Director of Melody Evios (A Money Transfer Agency) is an epitome of dignity and hard work. Her virtue and determination for the progressive transformation of her indigenous roots (Edo State) is likened to the valour of “Idia ni y’ Esigie” (The Warrior Queen Mother in Ancient Benin Empire) Born into the reputable family of Izevbigie in Oredo LGA of Edo State . She attended Convent Primary School and Ologboshere Grammar School. At the College of Education Agbor, she demonstrated her educational prowess by bagging several educational accolades. After her NYSC she taught at Umagbae Secondary School from where proceeded to Europe for further studies in the mid 80s. She bags a degree in Tourism and Management from the University of Barcelona. As a mother to all, she accommodates the homeless and provides for the poor both home and abroad. she believes in educational development, political probity and democratic advancement. 17
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