OBODO- UKWU IN HISTORY
By Iyare Chuks
Assisted By Okwunoji Silva
Right in the cool breeze of the equatorial forest, at the
harmatan period, the founding fathers of Obodo –Ukwu left for a new found land.
It was necessitated by a dint of accident or a desperate search for peace and
freedom which only solitude or little distance from home and kinsmen could
during the preparation for the great feast of “Ibuze” festival of then days
otherwise called the (feast of walnut). Able men and family head should provide
generously for the family. It was a task of providing meat and other delicacies
for the feast. It takes a long time of hunting for wild game. Although, there
were domesticated animals such as cow, goat, fowl, abound, there was high
tastes for bush meat. Wild games like antelope, warthog, deer, porcupine,
hyena, leopard, bush dog, grasscutter, ukapi, buffalow, zebra, baboon, orange-
otah, bison. There were also giant snakes like boa, python, puffada etc. these
wild life had to be hunted and well preserved for the feast delicacies some of
these wildlife were strictly under community protection. Hence the community
decides when to organize group poaching of such games. Animals like warthog,
zebra, buffalo and African elephant enjoy such community protection.
a time Omi left his kinsmen at Oki in Agbor for a hunting spreed, went alone in
such a brave but dangerous expedition armed with only machete, bow and arrow
into the jungle that was dominated by wild and dangerous animals. Perhaps he
was moved by a natural instinct to discover what was hidden from others. He had
to cross the natural divide manifested through the Iyama River. As providence
may have it, the day proved some how unfortunate which made him to go further
into the hinder land. He had to go through a group of huts/hamlet which is now
believed to be Owanta.
historians claimed that Omi got lost in the forest, driven by forest spirit
which made him go far into the jingle. He came to a sport and discovered an
abandoned settlement which the former settlers had recently relocated further
north. It was the founding fathers of present day Owa-Ekei, they were the
former settlers of the plain of ARADA before they were forced to move further
North by out break of epidemics.
some settled about a mile away from the plain of Arada, others decided to take
a long journey, until after a ravaging search and instinct found (Owa-Riuzor)
near Abudu in present Edo state.
South East of the plain of Arada, the Abavo people had also moved away to
further south west. In the south, the founders of Idumu-esah had also left
their old settlement and moved south wards. (The remains of their old settlement
can still be found in Okpulor in Alioye quarters of Owa-Alero).
relocations were attributed to two things: firstly, an outbreak of epidemics
that almost crippled the infant population and secondly, a gorilla war that
plagued the area for a long time. Since the hamlets were small and are
distantly separated from each other, a common protective front against such
gorrilar’s attack was shabby.
artifact remains of their first settlements are living proofs. Omi, in a bid to
return home with something tangible was carried away by abandoned huts and
artifacts in ruins. He had to climb the hill of Aduaran i.e (Oke-Aduaran). It
was reported from the legend that
Oke-Aduaran was a man made hill (Hill of Giant) created by a legendary giant
who was a direct descendant of Ogiso dynasty in Ancient Benin Kingdom. The hill
was created in a bid to protect the kingdom from invasion. It was said that
“Aduaran” made deep mark with his foot print wherever he goes which turned to
be a great hill to other people.
passed through this hill of Aduaran, it became a no return journey. He was over
whelmed by a bed of luxurious walnut (which was left behind by former
dignified natured climbers flourished luxuriously in the undisturbed forest,
only seldom patronized by monkeys and apes of distant mans family.
highly cherished walnut fruits were wastefully littered on the ground. For
sometime, he was literally carried away by this rare sight of walnut
plantation. He decided to pick as much as he could. Apparently forgetting the
pains and disappointment of not having a catch of any game that day.
least, (he thought) if I could not have a catch of any game for the feast, I
will make do with the walnut (which was also a highly favoured delicacy). This
sport became marked for walnut collection.
are obvious two major reasons why Omi (founding father) decided to relocate to
this plain of Arada. Firstly, the discovery of this productive and luxurious
walnut; secondly was the bed of a dried river called (Mkpitimeh) known to day
as (Egboko Mkpitimeh) in present Idumuebor quarters of Owa-Alero.
Legend had it that a great river once
existed there. Today there is a small brook to mark the spot and source of the
river that had existed before at the forest of Mkpitimeh. According to
traditional legend, gods and goddesses within the vicinity once held
convocation at the plain of Arada. Each participant made a speech and a show of
their store house, the kind of sacrifice each accept. The meeting was conveyed
under the instance of Mkpitimeh the host. It was discovered that many gods and
goddesses has human skeleton in their cupboard. It was only Mkpitimeh that had
fowl feather, animal skeleton and gold. These rivers were driven out of the
plain of Arada. However, the excommunicated spirits revolted, she too had to
relocate but left behind her a source as a monument to keep her memory.
Therefore it was decreed that no god or goddess that feed on human blood should
be allowed to remain at the plain of Arada.
time, father Omi and his only wife Iroro started having family problem such as
the death of children. It was what informed their choice of relocation to this
plain of Arada finally.
lost five of his children to disease and epidemics which he attributed to evil
forces within his family circle. Every attempt to unraveled the calamity proved
abortive. Left with surviving three children: Nkulike, Ugbala and Oyeme (Oye).
He also had a servant whom he adopted as a son called (Ebom) Ekayemebon. The
slave boy was captured in a slave raid from a royal diadem. Because of his
background Omi decided to adopt him as a son. Omi was later nick named “Ebor”
Ebor decided finally to move to the plain of Arada, he took his entire
household and perhaps his domesticated pets such as dogs, cattle, goats, fowl,
yams, cocoyam, lina beans pod, groundnuts and other ancient agricultural
produce some of which had gone into extinction. The traditional kola-nut,
ancient rice called bread fruits (ukwan). In those days, these were the beauty
of farm road. It was indeed their succor in time of hunger and famine. Today,
pressure on land had forced men to destroy bread fruit trees and traditional
kola-nut trees that once adorned our farm roads. No thanks to men’s inability
to discern the value of tomorrow.
now Ebor or Eborwise, settled at the plain of Arada with his household. At such
a time when the true test of a man’s valour was based on the strength of his
arm and his subtle ability to employ the weapons of war. A great man must be a
gallant soldier, a proficient farmer, a cunning hunter or a distinguished
herbalist, copiously loaded with mystical prowess. Those were the traits that
made a true icon, a true taste of manliness and strength. Also
the ability to acquire more titles e.g. Ebor had the famous Emi title (IPA
EMI). This title is one of those titles that had been lost to civilization.
Title holders of Emi were expected to travel over 200 villages and hamlets. In
each town visited a specimen and a herb is collected in form of relics. At the
conclusion of the mission known as Mbia Emi, a large heap of fire wood is set
in form of a pyramid which lasted for eleven moons.
little holder plants a monumental tree. The favoured trees were Iroko tree and
silk tree. At the end the young title holder were adopted into the elite
society of Emi title holders. Ebor’s Emi monuments can still be found at
Idumuebor. Other Emi title holders are Ugbala, son of Ebor, his Emi monument
was the crashed Iroko tree at Idumuebor. Another is Egwe, the founding father
of Aliegwe. His Emi monument is still in Aliegwe the mystic Iroko tree at Idumu
Orgi of Aliegwe Ukwu in Aliegwe.
To be continued next week
For re-actions, contact:
Iyare Chuks 08030717686
Okwunoja Silva 08072236677
Or Modern Press Office: 8 Alika Street B. B Owa
Chief S. I. Agidi (Oduri of Owa)