The Ancient Benins In Diaspora
(The Urhobo People)
Bookmark and Share
Last Update (June 29, 2021)

The historical origin of the Urhobo (or Uhobo) people is derived from various sources. It is said that the bulk of the various units forming the Urhobo people have their origin in Benin. Reverend J. W. Hubbard in his book The Sobo of Niger Delta, published by Gaskiya Corporation, Zaria, 1 948, propounded a theory “that the distinctive characteristics of the various Urhobo and Isoko clans are the result of the superimposition of Ijaw, Ibo and later Edo immigrants upon aboriginal strata already speaking Edo type dialects”. Under this theory it is said that the original inhabitants of the area “are today represented by the Erohwa whose claim is difficult to accept”. As observed by Ikime, the very name bears  “a close resemblance to the Benin expression, Ei ro wa, meaning ‘he is not at home’ and one is tempted to hazard the guess that in fact Erohwa were folks who ceased to be at home in Benin, that is, fugitives from Benin. But one must not reach conclusions based on such obviously insufficient data. It would no doubt be interesting to engage in a comparative study of the Erohwa language and the language spoken in Benin. If however, the Erohwa are of Benin origin, is there any reason why they should refuse to accept the fact, seeing that most of the other Isoko are extremely proud of their Benin origins “One can venture an explanation. The first enquiries about the origins were conducted in the early 1930’s. By that time, the Erohwa were already, in terms of population, the smallest of the Isoko clans. Yet, they were regarded by the majority of Isoko clans as the elders. It is possible, therefore, that the Erohwa sought to inflate their own importance by creating some mystery about the origin.” This suggestion by Ikime is buttressed by Hubbard’s theory that “Isoko clans are the result of the super-imposition of Ijaw, Ibo and later Edo immigrants upon aboriginal strata already speaking Edo type dialects.” After all, the Erohwa may well be the “aboriginal strata already speaking Edo dialects”. We can correlate these observations with what Chief (Dr.) Egharevba account of “Urhobo having migrated from Benin during the Ogiso which migration he termed as being in successive waves “which would have culminated in the further migration to founding of Urhobo Abraka during the reign of Oba Egbeka (circa 1370 A.D)”. The foundations of the different clans as recorded in various documents are:

Urhobo People
(a) Abraka
Reference has been made to what Chief Egharevba said about this clan. Other accounts of this place are contained in Government Intelligence Reports dating to the 1920’s and 1930’s. One of such reports is the Millinson’s 1932 Report on the Kwale-Ibo Clans: paragraph 7A in which Abraka is reported to be one of the villages in Umukasiada clan the others being Eziokpor, Ezionum, Umuebu, and Obiaruku (now all separate clans of Ukuonani District in Aboh Division). According to Millinson, “although there was no legend as to where the founder Akasiada came from, he was almost certainly one of the early migrants across the Ethiope (from Benin)”. Continuing the story, Abraka is said to have broken away from the main clan and had adopted Urhobo language and customs and as the Abraka people themselves told Millinson, “Ewake, a son of an Oba, was prevented from succeeding to the Obaship by a half brother called Azonowe and was then driven from Benin and after setting at OROGHO on the Benin side of the Ethiope, subsequently crossed the river and founded the present Abraka.” There is however another version of the story of the origin of Abraka. It is said that a senior Benin Prince named Avwaike (probably the same as the person called Ewake in the earlier story), and son of Oba Oguola (circa 1280) founded Abraka. According to the story, it is said that Oba Oguola in fear that one of his male children would overthrow him, decreed that all his children should be killed in the face of this decree; all the Oba’s wives were always reporting the birth of female children. When the decree was eventually revoked, a son who eventually became Oba Egbeka was reported to have been born whereupon the traditional royal ritual associated with the eldest son of the king was administered on the new-born child. In the case of Avwaike who was senior to Egbeka, whose birth was not reported, it became impossible to recognise him as the eldest son of the Oba. At the demise of Oba Oguola, Egbeka was crowned and his senior brother Avwiake had to leave Benin because he could not humiliate himself by becoming a subject to his younger brother, Egbeka. At this point, it is said Egbeka then sent troops after Avwiake who then fled and crossed the River Ethiope to a place called Ovwuwelame from which the present Abraka clan begins.

In reconciling these two versions of the same story, one can only say that the founder of Abraka is from Benin. The story of Oguola being the father of Egbeka is not supported by Benin history which say that Oguola was the father of Oba Edoni, Oba Udagbedo and Oba Ohen who were the eldest, second and third sons respectively. On the other hand, Oba Egbeka was the eldest son of Oba Ohen (circa 1334). According to the historical Benin records, at the demise of Oba Ohen, there were four sons Egbeka, Orobiru, Ogun and Uwaifiokun. It is on record that all these four princes ruled in succession - Egbeka ruled in 1370, followed by his brother Orobiru on 1400 but when it came to the turn of Ogun (who later became Oba Ewuare) his younger brother Uwaifiokun usurped the throne and by 1430, Ogun was a fugitive who was hunted throughout the land by his brother. It is strongly believed that Abraka would have been founded during the traumatic period when succession to the throne was in a state of uncertainty. Egbeka was said to have fought many wars with the Uzama N’lhinron (The seven ‘King makers’ or what the Benin generally referred to as elders - “Edion. It will therefore not be unlikely that at the time of such confusion, many people would have migrated to found other peaceful homes in Abraka. Ogun on the other hand may well have been the prince who probably consolidated the area under Benin control because when he became Oba Ewuare, he suppressed the powers of Oba N’Ugu’ (a descendant of Oba Eweka I, 1200) who held sway over the whole of Iyekorhionmwon which embraced Orogho, Iguelaba, Urhonigbe and Abraka areas at that time.

Urhobo_OvieUrhobo Ovie (king)
(b) Agbon
There are many versions as to the origin and founding of Agbon Clan. One of such versions says that the eponymous ancestor, Agbon came from Irri in Ase in the present Ndokwa Local Government. It is said that one of Agbon’s wives had three sons named Okpara, Kokori and Orhokpor while the second wife had another son called Eku. The account went further to say that after some troubles with the Uwheru, he moved finally towards Ughele (Ughelle) area where Eku temporarily settled at a place now known as Ughelle-Eku before Eku finally settled at a place known as Isiokoro which is now the clan’s traditional headquarters. Tradition has it that it was at lsiokolo that the clan first made contact with the Oba of Benin who was requested to install an earth fetish or eyan-otor which is usually the Benin method of granting land to any person in those days. The Oba responded to the request by sending a messenger who then requested Okpara to bring a tortoise; Kokori to bring a cock; and Orhokpor to bring a dog to be used as sacrifice. It was said that when these animals were brought, the Oba’s messenger suddenly beheaded a boy and buried the head over which an Iroko tree was planted. There and then the Oba’s messenger proclaimed the Oba’s sovereignty over the whole of Agbon. ’‘This account went further to say that subsequently (at unknown date) a man called Osifo came from Benin and established himself as the Ovie of Agbon. It is said that this man’s rule was marked by tyranny and this was reported to the Oba of Benin. Thereafter, Osifo’s family was driven out of lsiokoro to settle at Kokori, Odovie Ashaka. The genesis of Agbon was further re-emphasised by the Ovie of Agbon (His Royal Highness Okpara 1) on 2nd March, 1982 in a welcome address to Omo N’Oba Erediauwa, Oba of Benin during his “Thank You Tour of Bendel State” shortly after his coronation. Said the Ovie: “.... perhaps, it may be necessary to say something briefly about the Agbon people, who have the rare privilege. to play host to you. To start with the word Agbon means WORLD in Edo dialect and Akpon in Urhobo. The area covers approximately 200 square miles with a population of 150,000 inhabitants. It is the single largest sociopolitical unit in the hinterland of Urhobo. We derive our name from our eponymous ancestor Agbon, who left the ancient Edo Kingdom after the fall of the Ogiso dynasty in the 9th century. He left Udo and moved through the present. Ndokwa and Isoko Local Government areas and finally settled here. He had six children which in order of seniority are as follows Okpara, Kokori, (Uhwokori) Eka (Edo) Orhoakpor (Orhoakpor) Ovu and Igun. The present six sub-clans or ward upon which Customary Administration is based bear the names of their founders. It is these six sub-clans, some of which are larger than some individual clans in Urhobo that constitute the people and land mass known as Agbon among the Urhobo’s of old Bendel State. It is here that the Ovie aptly provided the link of the Agbon eponymous father of Irri in Ndokwa with Udo origin in Benin Area.

(c) Jesse Clan
This Clan is reputed to have migrated from Agbarha-Oto some 150 years ago. According to R. G. Biddulph‘s Intelligence Report on Jesse sub-clan, 1937, one Ewerun who committed adultery with an Ovie’s wife, fled home with members of his family. His brother, Ijere first settled at Udurie on the northern bank of the Ethiope River. He was soon joined by other members of his family. It is said that Ijere who had no sons was honoured by his name being given to the Clan. From time immemorial, the whole of what is now known as Jesse had been part and parcel of Benin control. It is interesting to note that up to 1963, the Urhobo settlers in Jesse were paying Land Rent to the Benin Native Authority. The Government reforms of 1938 gave rise to the transfer of Jesse from the Benin Area to the general administration of the Urhobo Area.

(d) Agbarha Clan
This Clan is said to have migrated from Agbarha-Oto because of oppression and enslavement by Agbarho and Okpe people. Other people from Agbassa area of Warri Township and Jesse Clans joined the Ogharha migration. According to E. A. Miller’s 1929/1930 Intelligence Report on Warifi and Warigi: Sobo (Oghara Clan) the Olu of Itsekiri established claims to the area and the first Urhobo settlement was said to have obtained permission from the Olu’s principal agent called Ologbotsere. It is further recorded by the Intelligence Report that both the Itsekiris and Benins extracted tributes from the Urhobo settlement up to the arrival of the British Colonialists in 1897. Perhaps the most interesting fact about this area is that, up to 1930 the Itsekiri’s still collected £9 per annum (in lieu of farm produce) from Warigi (but not from Warifi).

(e) Okpe
According to the traditional account of the clan, it originates from the Olomu Clan in Eastern Urhobo. It is said that Olomu was founded by one Ivboze (variously referred to as Igboze or Ugboze) who was either a son or relation of an Oba of Benin. It is thought that this Oba ¡s probably Oba Ozolua whose son is reputed to be the first Obi of Aboh. According to the Olomu Intelligence Report paragraph (24), Igboze founded the Olomu Ehorwone even though Kubbard, in his book, Sobo of The Delta, pages 268-269, said that Igboze founded the (Ovieship, and if the different versions of the same story is correct, the fact remains that the person Ivboze (or Igboze or Ugbose) left Benin to found whatever was founded at Olomu.

According to the story, one of the sons of the founder called Okpe, left Olomu to found the Okpe Clan of the Isoko Area. Ikime in his book The Isoko People page 11 said that “Aboh, Osissa, Ashaka and Afo-all in the Kwale-Aboh Country - were brothers to Ozo and it was they who founded the settlements named after them.” One should mention here that the traditions of these other places do not bear out these claims. Another version maintains that Okpe and Ozo were brothers, the former being the elder. Okpe founded the settlement which bears his name and Ozo later moved away to found his own settlement. Another Okpe, son of the first Okpe migrated further afield to found the Okpe in the Urhobo Country”. In Mr. D.B. Partridge’s Report in respect of the Urhobo Division (Investigation into the Role of Chiefs in Western State, 1971, paragraph 190) it was said that Mr. (now Dr.) G.O. Orewa’s inquiry to Orodje of Okpe chieftaincy title made reference (inter alia) to certain accounts given by witnesses as follows:

Igboze had settled at Erohwa (Arokwa) in the present Isoko Division and Okpe his son on reaching maturity, obtained his father’s permission to found his own kingdom and eventually moved to Olomu. According to this version, it was Okpe not Igboze who bequeathed his kingdom to the Ibo Olomu. According to this account (which confirms some of FelIow’s account) Orhue, the eldest son of Okpe went hunting, discovered the suitable site of Orerokpe, returned home to Okpe-Olomu and persuaded his supporters, dissatisfied by Olomu’s succession, (Paragraph 188) to migrate and found a new settlement there. On arrival there, Orhue and his three brothers Orboro, Evbreke and Esezi, established the fourth quarter or street of Orerokpe and Esezi although the youngest was made the Orodje or King.

The sum total of the narratives above indicates that Ivboze (or Igbose or Ugbose) who migrated from Benin was the father of Okpe who was the founder of the Okpe Clan in both Isoko and Urhobo areas. Furthermore Okpe was the father of Esazi who subsequently became the first Orodje or King of Okpe. Other versions regarding the Orodjeship, state that Okpe was connected with the first Obi of Aboh reputed to be the son of Oba Ozolua (circa 1481-1504). On the Obi’s death, a dispute arose over succession whereupon the two rival sons went to Benin for settlement. It was said that the Oba then decided that the elder brother should return to Aboh to become the Obi while the younger brother called Oputa with his son Ekweri were asked to remain in Benin. Subsequently, we are told that Oputa with his son Ekweri were empowered by the Oba to found a Kingdom of their own. They founded Okpe-Olomu. Later “Ekweri accompanied by Ogben, a physician and Orhue a hunter (who had ‘discovered’ the Orerokpe Site) left his father to found the Okpe CIan. “ The relationship between Benin and Okpe was summed up in the welcome address by the Orodje of Okpe when Omo N’Oba Erediauwa, Oba of Benin on a “Thank You Tour of Bendel State” on 2nd March, 1982 visited Orerokpe.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness Omo N’Oba and his entourage to Orerokpe, the traditional Headquarters of Okpe Kingdom. While this is not the first time a Benin Monarch is visiting Okpe Kingdom, today’s visit is unique and significant in many ways. Firstly, the bonds of affinity that had existed between the Benin and the Okpe Kingdoms is re-affirmed and strengthened by this visit. Secondly, it offers opportunity for our peoples to cultivate new acquaintances which will in no small measure enhance understanding and create awareness of our common heritage and thus pave way for re-assessment of the need for closer cooperation amongst our people.

(f) Udu Clan
The history of this clan is said to have begun originally with the migration of both refugees and warriors from Benin during the time when the expansion of the old Benin Empire was at its peak in the reigns of Oba Ewuare the Great 1440-1473; Oba Ozolua the Conqueror (Nibraromi) 1483-1504, Oba Esigie 1504-1550 and Oba Orhogbua the founder of Eko (Lagos), 1550-1578. It is said that the area was first populated by refugees and warriors from Benin and that these groups of migrants were the Evwrirhe and Ovo who were subsequently followed by neighbouring people seeking protection from invaders. It is believed that the first settlers were one Uherejo and his two sons Ogbe and Oruode who fled Benin to found Orere Uherejo (Orere Means Township). According to the story, the next arrival was Omerie who was the eldest son of Omerie who was the eldest son of Igbede who also fled Benin and was reputed to have founded Erohwa allegedly killed by Evwrirhe and Ovo who were in the services of the then Oba. Erohwa’s son Omerie then fled Erohwa and moved to the Udu area where he founded Uruworun (which is the present site of Ovwrode). When the punitive expedition of Erohwa ended, Evwrirhe left the services of the Oba to settle at Igbeni in Ijaw area where he married Udu. Thereafter, Evwrirhe migrated further to Olu Jeremi from here he moved to Otu Jeremi where in due course, they were joined by Ovo. The history of the area stated that Evwrirhe and Ovo subsequently built their prestige which then brought many neighbouring areas under their protection. However, the excesses of Ovo drove a lot of the people away. This led to the general migration and exodus from Otu-Evwrirhe to found separate settlements especially after the death of Evwrirhe who was the founding father of the Clan. As time went on, Udu and her three sons, Uhuwru, Adedja and Uloho were left in “undisputed possession of Otu Evwrirhe together with Ikete another son of Ovwrode. Subsequently, Udu’s sons migrated to found other villages and today the inhabitants of Olu-Udu are the descendants of lkete and occupy the site of Ovwrode’s quarter (the original quarter of Evwrirhe) others being completely over-grown and deserted. The founding of the various settlements from different backgrounds has led eventually to the lack of a central Authority which one may regard as a clan head for the area. The Udu people have an ancestral shrine headed by a hereditary priestess.

(g) Uvwie Clan
Generally, it is accepted that the Uvwie people originated from Erohwa clan in Isoko. There are very many versions as to how the migration came about. According to one version, Erohwa at one time was a centre of a powerful kingdom in the Niger Delta Area during the 12th century. The Kingdom was reputed to have been founded by a man called Oghene one of whose sons was named Uvwie. It is believed that Oghene came with Prince Oromiyan from Uhe (Ife) during the restoration of monarchy in Benin. According to the story, Oghene obtained the Oba’s permission to move southwards to establish another kingdom of his own. This move eventually brought Oghene in contact with the Erohwa people who were at that time headed by a priest-vassal called Opubu Ale (meaning Ale the Great Lord) who is still remembered in Uvwie traditional songs and dances. When Opubu Ale died, Oghene succeeded him but after the death of Oghene, the Kingdom split into two and Uvwie then founded his own separate domain. The story went further to say that after Uvwie’s death, Imowe and Agborhorho succeeded him but Agborhorho died, his son Ovueraye who was then living at Ewu with the Ovie refused to return and so succession passed on to Agborhorho’s brother, Uwangue who then moved his headquarters to Effurun. It is said that the names Effuruntor and Effurun Kokeme are corruptions of Oghene-N’Ororo (Lord of the land) and Oghene-N’na’ne (Lord of the sea-shore).

Other versions of the founding of Effurun were recorded in the Partridge’s Report of 1971 (Investigation into the role of Chiefs in Mid-West State, paragraphs 253-257) summarised as follows:

Hubbard in his book however, makes no reference to Oghene but does support the tradition whereby Effuruntor originated from Erohwa and Uvwie from Effuruntor. He states that the Erohwa people make the most extraordinary claims in their tradition and claim they are the original inhabitants of the area, have an immense history behind them, have never lived anywhere else and originally possessed all the land for many miles around. He also records an account given by the Reverend S.O. Efeturi (from Anibeze in Erohwa) in which the five villages of the clan, namely Ekow, Efru or Evro, Umuti, ¡gule and Anibeze were founded by descendants of Erohwa “the great-great grandfather of the Arokwas”. In this account, Evbro or Efu were members of a family which settled on the present site of Patani and the site of their famous juju Okiale’s was the C.M.S. Compound and the kola-nut tree which belongs to juju is still there, Subsequently, slave raids by the main clan and a search for fishing ground led them to migrate to Uzie Evrho near Uwherun and from there to Evhro-Otor (Effuruntor), near Okpare. Later on, because of congestion, some moved to Ikoko-Ame and then to Evhro near Warri (Effurun). Paragraph 255 of the Partridge’s Report on Ogelle Clan (Ughelli, Agbarha, Ogor) which says that “Effuruntors were the only strangers in the area (of the Ogelle Clan) and came originally from Erohwa under the leadership of one Ekove whose son and grandson (Ogien and Erohwa) succeeded him in the leadership. His great grandson Eniowa received a right from the Olu of Itsekiri and this resulted in friction with one Ogene who had obtained a title from the Oba of Benin. As a result of the ensuing troubles many of Emowa’s people (but not apparently Emowa himself) migrated to Effurun which they built as a replica of Effuruntor. Subsequently, Emowa married a daughter of Adagui, Ovie of Ughelli, a union which led to the eclipse of Ogene and the establishment of a close relationship between Ughelli and Effuruntor.”

There are other minor versions of the founding of the Effurun coming from the Ijaw area of Gbara but in the main, the whole story tends to point to the fact that the founding of the Uvwie Clan is from Erohwa clan in the Isoko country or area.

Ovie of Urhobo people
Ovie in Urhobo land
The most distinctive and prestigious title in Urhobo area is the Ovie (Ivie is the plural of the word). The word Ovie is said to have been derived from the Benin word Ogie (or Enogie) a word connoting “Duke” of some place. Unlike in Benin or Ishan where the titles are hereditary, the position of the Urhobo Ovie is different. In some places, the Ovie acts as a priest-King while in others he is civic King. Chief Salubi in his book, Urhobo People, paragraph 15 referred to Ovie as ‘the fetish Ovie and the Civic Ovie’ and others, the spiritual and executive Ovie,’ The Partridge’s Report at paragraph 86 also draw attention to Dr. Obaro lkime’s observations in his Niger Delta Rivalry, page 18, quote:

"Certain clans possessed the office of Ovie, a kind of priest-king. There were two types of Ivie (plural of Ovie). The first type, like those of Ughelli, Iyele, Ewu, Ozoro, Okpe (here he is called Orodje) and Agbon combined in themselves executive and priestly functions and were in a very real sense the heads of their people. The second types were essentially priests charged with responsibility for maintaining the clan Shrine and performing various sacrifices and other sacerdotal duties to the clan god and ancestors. This second type did not usually possess executive authority outside their defined sphere. But as the whole life of village and clan depended on the continued goodwill of the gods and ancestors, the man who ministered to those supernatural agencies was obviously a very important personage of the clan. Ivie of the second type existed in Erohwa, Uzere, Igbide and Uvbie Clans. The Ivie were usually connected with specific lineages. Very often the Ivie (especially of the first type) came from the lineage of the founder of the Clan.”

The differences in the type of Ivie are responsible for the differences in the method of succession. In some cases, succession is by primogeniture while in others, succession goes by members of one or more extended families. It is even said that in some other cases, the demise of an Ovie may involved a particular family iii the traditional right to establish regency for an interregnum period of three years. Perhaps the most humane aspect of some of the successions is the one which- allowed the eldest son of a late Ovie to for the position of his father for a period of three years before the Ovieship passes to the next titled family.

Whatever the type of Ovie exists in any clan; it is observed that most executive Ovieships were obtained and renewed from Oba of Benin. On the other hand, priestly Ivie are known to be associated with areas which have affinities with Ijaw areas. It is believed that in such cases the Chief Priest of such clans originally having indigenous titles may have changed such titles to those of Ivie at later dates owing to the influence of Benin Chieftaincy systems. An example of this is the Edjuvwie of Uvwie who would normally not bother to travel to Benin for recognition because as a priest, he may find his position secure. However, any Ovie worth his salt usually sought the recognition of the Oba of Benin who is the overlord of the old empire. Most candidates for Ovieship usually obtain the consent of their people before undertaking the journey to Benin to obtain the Oba’s recognition. An account of the journey to Benin for recognition was given by Chief Salubi in Mr. P.V. Main’s Intelligence Reports of 1932 011 Udu Clan, pages 11-14, as follows:

"After such prior consent the applicant then prepared and set on a journey to Benin City. This was generally referred to as “O ra du Uvie” (Going to buy Uvie). As may well be imagined, the journey to Benin was most hazardous. With a large retinue, relatives, escorts, slaves etc. fully armed, and carrying their foods, gifts etc. the applicant sets off. There were-no straight open roads, only foot-paths through jungles with intervening settlement or towns here and there. The inhabitants of the settlements or towns were in many cases people of different clans, and for all intents and purposes, these people were complete strangers to the party. The party could be waylaid and challenged to a fight. The position was always worse if a member of the applicant’s party or family or clans - or town’s man had offended any people or group of people along the route before in that case, the journey presented an opportunity for revenge. To ensure safe passage, gifts were always made to the people through whose territories the party had to pass. When the party arrived at a town, they generally enquired for the head or the most important person. If favourably received the party would present gifts and there they would lodge for the number of days rest required before moving forward. Usually, it was that head who would send his own escort with the party to the next place where they should stop at their next stage. The distances between, being usually one day’s walk; such head or important man usually knew the other important person in the next place, and so the chain of movement continued until at last Benin was reached. The applicant might of course be lucky to have the service of a single, reliable escort who knew all the important persons or headmen all the way through, in which case; the applicant’s lot might be less difficult. The journey to Benin could take a number of months, all depended on what happened on the way. For one reason or the other, some have been known to abandon the venture, or to be forced back home without reaching Benin. Some even died while there. At Benin, the party usually lodged with an influential Chief who could introduce the applicant to the royal court and finally get him formally presented to the Oba. Here again, a great deal depended on chance. Innumerable gifts and exactions were, according to customs, often taken by different grades of Chiefs. Having gone through all these hard and patience-exhausting stages, the applicant was led to the court where he was received in audience by the Oba. If the applicant did not appeal to the Oba, he might be beheaded before the shrine of his ancestors. If, on the other hand, he was considered suitable, he would be required to make presentation to the Oba, after which a time was fixed, and the title conferred. The paraphernalia of the office were the traditional “abere”, one large “IRHU” (A gate with a number of necklaces of some beads) and a scarlet cap. The whole process used to take a very long time, and applicants had been known to be away from home for about two or three years from the time they first set for Benin".

As contained in Chief Salubi’s account there was the hazard inherent in the Custom of making the applicant to identify the skill of his predecessor which skull has been previously taken to Benin and preserved at the Oba’s Court. Quoting Chief Salubi, he said:

“Here again, as in the case of his predecessor, the process was fraught with dangers and hazards. Practically the whole of the former procedure though in a mild form was repeated. The hereditary process was generally expressed as O ra ri Uvie” (going to eat Uvie). It is not buying” but eating this time. A most important part of the hereditary ceremony at Benin was to submit the prospective inheritor to the vigorous test of identifying his late fathers’, or Ancestor’s skull among many others that were arrayed before him at the Court in the presence of the Oba. If he failed to identify it, not only was he not given the title, but he was also condemned there and then to death and slain before the Oba’s ancestral shrine. We were told however, that one seldom failed at the identification, there being a sure way of avoiding failure. Before the appointed day, the candidate usually sought the favour of the officiating chiefs by bribing. Having satisfied them, they then rehearsed him secretly so that he could make no mistake on the ceremonial day. After conferment of the title, the Ovie returned home in the manner before described”.

In more recent times, it is said that the Oharisi, the Ovie of Ughelli spent some time in Benin before his title was subsequently ratified by the Oba of Benin. In 1953, the Orodje of Okpe (Okpe-Urhobo in Urhobo West Division) obtained a traditional ceremonial sword from the Oba of Benin in just the same way as the Ovie of Oghara did during the same period.

The Major Traditional Rulers In Urhobo Land

Central Urhobo District

1. The Otota of Agbarha

2. The Osuivio of Agbarho

3. The Otota of Agbarho

4. The Ohovworo of Agbarho

5. The Ovie of Arhavwarion

6. The Orovworere of Effurun-tor

7. The Ovie of Effuruntor

8. The Otota of Ewu

9. The Okobaro of Jeremi (Ughievwen)

10. The Igbu-Eshovwi of Jeremi (Ughievwen)

11. The Otota of Jeremi (Ughievwen)

12. The Odede-Ade of Jererni (Ughievwen)

13. The Ovie of Ogor

14. The Ovie of Okparabe

15. The Ohworode of Olomu

16. The Okpara-Uku of Orogun

17. The Ohovwore of Orogun

18. The Onotu-Uku of Orogun

19. The Ovie of Ughelli

20. The Otota of Ughelli

21. The Otota-Ode of Ughelli

22. The Odion of Uwherurt

23. The Ovie of Agbarha

24. The Odion of Evwreni

25. The Ovie of Evwreni

26. The Odion Orode of Evwreni

27. The Ovie of Ewu

28. The Ade of Jeremi (Ughievwen)

Western Urhobo District

1. The Orodje of Okpe

2. The Omorovie of Agbon

3. The Okakuro of Okpe

4. The Otota of Okpe

5. The Ogoni of Okpe

6. The Okpo of Okpe

7. The Ovie of Oghara

8. The Iyasere of Oghara

9. The Ovie of Agbon

10. The Otota of Agbon

11. The Ovie of Udu

12. The Otota of Udu

13. The Clan Otota of Abra ka

14. The 2nd Otota of Abraka

15. The Senior Ovwuvwie of Udu

16. The Onotuku ofAbraja

17. The Ovie of Uvwie’

18. The Unuevboro of Uvwie

19. The Ovie of Jesse

20. The Iyasere of Jesse

21. The Senior Uwuvwie of Uolu

22. The Okakure of Jesse

23. The Ohovboren of Uvbie

24. The Otota of Jesse

Sapele Urban Dlstrict

1. 1st Okakuro of Sapele Okpes

2. 2nd Okakuro of Sapele Okpes

3. 3rd Okakuro of Sapele Okpes

4. 4th Okakuro of Sapele Okpes

5. lst Otota of Sapele Okpes

6. 2nd Otota of Sapele Okpes

7. 3rd Otota of Sapele Okpes

8. 4th Otota of Sapele Okpes

9. The. Orodje of Okpe

10.The Okakuro of Okpe

Comment Box is loading comments...
Benin kingdom copy right