The Ancient Benins In Diaspora
(Etsako People)
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Last Update (June 27, 2021)

The Etsako people belong to one of the three areas which formerly formed the District known as Ivbiesakon. The other two areas which were grouped as lvbiesakon are Akoko-Edo and Owan. Which were formerly called Kukuruku but later changed to Afemai. The word Kukuruku is said to have been derived from the warning cries of the inhabitants of the ‘villages when they were raided by Nupe invaders. This name is now regarded as having a derogatory connotation hence the new adoption of Afemai which means “we are coming together” or “we are united”. However, the actual meaning of Afemai is “our or “we are united” as stated above.

On the other hand, the word Etsako means ‘those who file their teeth” which was an old custom amongst the northern Edo-speaking people who filed their incisor teeth to a point. Osako (or Otsako) properly translated into Benin dialect means O Sa akon (meaning “He who filed his teeth or those who filed their teeth”). Hence Ivbiesakon “children of these who file their teeth”.

The area is made up as follows:

(a) Anwain      (h) South Ibie

(b) Auchi         (i) South ¡neme

(c) Avianwu     (j) Three Ibie (North ibie)

(d) Aviele        (k) Ukpella

(e) Ekperi        (l) Uzairue

(f) Jagbe         (m) Weppa-Wanno

((g) Okpekpe

Each of these clans consists of village settlements some of which are compact while others are far apart. In Auchi area, the four villages are so close that they now form a single community. All the clans migrated from Benin. It is said that most of the migration took place during the reign of Oba Ozolua who fought many battles to consolidate his hold on the Empire. The ancestors of the people who now form Auchi clan came from Udo (in Ovia Local Government Area), the Jattu people migrated from lkpe (at the outskirts of Oredo Local Government); Uwarake from Ezide (or Izide) (in Ovia Local Government). Warrake people are said to have left Benin because they failed to submit to the Oba (according to custom) the leopard they killed. It is said that the inhabitants of Ibie otherwise known as Ivie) migrated from Ogboka in Benin City. The lkpesi migrated from Isi in Orhionmwon Local Government Area. The early Ukpella people migrated from Okha along Sapele Road, in Oredo Local Government Area. The Agbede, Alegbete and Uneme people migrated from ldurimwigun-Ugboha in Benin City. The Ekperi migrated from Obadan in Ovia Local Government Area. Agenebode which forms the nucleus of Weppa-Wanno, were the descendants of the guards of the Benin royal troop during the Idah war fought in 1515-1516 during the reign of Oba Esigie (1504-1550). Agenebode is a contraction of the word Ago-ni-ba-ode - “Camp of the guard” - Ago camp; ni - those; ha - watch; Ode - road or way:  for those watching the Road”.

According to historical accounts, some elements of the aboriginal inhabitants of Ukpella, Ibie, and Weppa-Wanno have been absorbed by migrants from Benin. In the case of Uzaírue, Ibie, Avianwu, Ekperi and Weppa-Wanno, the migration appears to be one single movement probably the general war movement during the Idah war of Aviele, it is said that its founder came from Benin during Oba Ozolua’s reign.

The invasion by Nupe Muslims has considerably altered the traditional chieftaincy system of the area. What is left cannot be said to represent what was the original pattern of titles even though the rulership of the communities still bears the semblance of the monarchical set-up of the old Benin District Administrative Authority. The nomenclature has been badly altered by the Muslim influence even though the structure of rulership remains in much the same form. The whole of the chieftaincy titles are now replaced with Nupe names like Daudu and such clumsy names that bear ‘no relevance to the people’s original cultural heritage. So one can say that changes so alien will one day be cast aside as they have no scion that can be grafted onto the main tree. A rediscovery of the “Etsako self” will inevitably bring about a re-assertion of the heritage almost lost to the merciless Nupe invaders or foreign religious conquerors. Religion we are told is a way of worship of the Supreme God, the maker of Heaven and Earth but those who, worship Him are human-beings who have evolved in their natural cultural heritage which when destroyed leaves the people hopelessly in a vacuum; nay, a quagmire of empty historical backgrounds Only God knows who serves him best!

Etsako Clans Heads

1. The Otaru of Auchi

2. The Senior Ukpi Drummer of Avianwu (Ogievianwu)

3. Oba of Agbede

4. The Clan Head of Awani

5. The Clan Head of Ekperi

6. The Clan Head of Jagbe

7. The Clan Head of Okpekpe

8. The Ogiaga Senior Village Head of Three Ibies

9. The (Aidonogie) the Clan Head of South Ibie

10. The Clan Head of Okpella

11 The Ogieneni of Uzairue

12. The Clan Head (Okumagbe) of Weppa-Wanno

13. The Clan Head (Oliola) of South Uneme

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