Ominije – The forgotten original headquarters of Agbor kingdom

The first human beings who
settled in Agbor around 2000 BC were like homosapiens and they started their
life at Ominije. They were created by Osolobue (Almighty God) at Ominije and
evidence had not proved that they migrated from anywhere else. Although, some early
wandered temporally came and live with them but Ominije people were the first
to set their feet in Agbor kingdom.

 The word ‘Agbor’ was
translated from Agbon meaning original or staring point. It can be stated
without contradiction that the people of Ominije are the founders of the Agbor
kingdom. The people grew and expanded to become a kingdom. They had their
Rulers, council of elders, king makers and soldiers of war. As far back as
8000BC the kingdom was already established/

 Historians enunciated that
the land ‘Omonije’ was given by Osolobue to the people as birthright for use by
them and their subsequent generations. Ominije is still in existence today. It
covers the areas presently known as Agbornta, Oki, Ewuru, Aliagwai, and
Amahia-the areas that are now known as Ihu-Iyase. It equally include Otorvbaye
and Idumu-Ugo settlements in Orhionwon Local Government Areas of Edo State.

 Although Ominije or Agbor
is as old and famous as other historical ethnic groups like Bini, Oyo and the
Nupe’s there was no definite knowledge or written records about it. the early
Europeans and writers could not settle at Ominije because it was not a seaport
or a terminal point. It was not a center for slave trade like Bini and Onitsha,
but the people of Ominije were notable war lords. They fought several battles
and won their opponents including capturing them and returning them to Agbor as
slaves.

 The people of Ominije did
not move far from their base and they were always found settling at short
distances where they built huts made of branches. As a result of the fact that
they were fond of settling at short distances, they were called Ominije
Oku-Ntiti meaning tiny legged people who do not move very far. Ominije, who are
the aborigines of Agbor were seen at Agbornta long time ago. At that time there
were no inhabitants anywhere in Agbor. It was around 8000BC that they began to
wander and settle in other small communities. The kingdom of Ominije was ruled
by patriarch or Ogele system.

 To become Ogele or a
patriarch you must be an outstanding personality. For example, Ogele xiv
(1059-1239) became a patriarch when he performed a feat in jumping from one
tree to the other after beating several others. He was made to climb the silk
cotton tree in a place at Ominije called ‘Orhue’ whose height was more than 24
feet. He was also required to skip from the cotton tree to Iroko tree ten
meters away, and then spill downwards on a sandy plain. Ogele xiv was called
Okwakpor. He had five children who were Agbon, Ika, Ede, Otta and Oganbor. When
they were of age, he called them together and sent them to different locations
to retain and maintain Ominije kingdom.

 The first child Agbon
remained at Ominije, the second child Ika was sent to Kwale axis but he settled
at Otolokpo the third child, Ede moved east wards and stopped at a place called
Umunede the fourth child Otta, a girl settled and called the place Otta. The
fifth child Ogan moved west ward and settled at a place and called it Ogan.

 From the above, it is clear
that the people of Ominije are the progenitors of the present Ika land. Problem
started when Okwakpor was told in 1270AD that the patriarchal age would end and
pave way to modern monarchy. It was at this stage Dein Eboka was withdrawn from
the warfront in Nupe to become the king of Ominije. He period marked the end of
rulership by the Ogeles and the patriarch.

 What is not very clear is
why two headquarters emerged during the reign of Eboka. One headquarter was at
Ominije and another headquarters was established at the metropolis. It was at
this level Ominije was thrown over board and has been rejected and neglected
since then. It was the creation of the headquarters by Dein Eboka that led
Oriorwor and the patriarch to become two parallel lines that will never meet.
The popularity of Ominije went down the drains when the divinatory seers and
elders in ancient Ominije met at the sanctuary to reveal that the gods said
that the patriarchal system of rulership should give way to real monarchy. To
this end God sent a messenger to advice king Eboka to meet him in a sacred bush
in the village of Uvbere for a covenant.

 The messenger went before
the king to the place and on his way he met an unclean woman and requested for
water to drink at a well, but the woman declined because she could not have
obliged to such request due to her unclean condition. The messenger turned to
another woman and her husband to request for water to drink. This time he was
given a full dose of water to drink and having been satisfied, the messenger
took the woman and the husband to the sacred spot in the sacred bush and the
man was made the Ohen which in those days means a priest.

 When the messenger of God
eventually met Dein Eboka at the sacred bush, the Dein was shown the chalk land
and the wealth of the nation, after which they entered into a covenant and
there was a flash of lightening which sealed the agreement.

 This accord no doubt
symbolizes the divine powers of Dein dynasty but what happened to Ominije the
original seat of power where our ancestors founded Agbor. Why was the capital
shifted from Ominije to the metropolis? It is not an overstatement to emphasis
that the divinatory spirit or power is still at Ominije and that this original
seat and divinity should not be forgotten or neglected in whatever guise.

 As the old adage says – the
old soldier never die in a battle. Ominije is still alive and the more we
recognise and accept this fact, the better it will be for Agbor kingdom in
particular and Ika nation as a whole.

Dr A.E. Monye is a
contemporary writer and author.

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