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The Ivbi-Uchi of Etsako and Ivbi-Adaobi of Owan Relationship

By Wajeed Obomeghie

Ivbi-Adaobi means the children of Adaobi. The demography and settlement pattern that shows the population figures of the Ivbiosakon tribes of the 1952 Census categorizes Ivbiaro, Uareke [sic], Ihievbe, Era as Ivi-Adaobi.  Though the Uareke [sic] people, claim that they are a part of the same migration from Benin as Adaobi and other elders which led the various companies while Ihievbe people claim Obo as their founder, a man who was driven away from Benin. And Era people claim to be an offshoot of Ovbiomu village, Emai which its founder left after a dispute. What it means is that only the four villages of Ivbiaro claim Adaobi for their founder and Great father [5], but for the overwhelming personality of Adaobi, the White man had no choice but to categorize all above as Ivhi-Adaobi.

In Auchi tradition, however, Adaobi is venerated as one of the deities. In fact, Bradbury agrees to this description when he refers to Adaobi as “a supernatural being’ (who married a) ‘mortal, Aro”. Tradition has it that the same Adaobi of Auchi people, is the Adaobi of the Ivbi-Adaobi of Owan. But one wonder when supernatural being ever lived in the then Afenmai land, to the extent they even procreated? If the same deity of veneration of the Auchi kingdom is the very founder of the aforementioned Ivbiosakon tribes, then, intelligence requires that the Adaobi phenomenon need be understood.

There is a particular theory which is prevalent among the elders of Auchi Kingdom that there is a family-tie between Uchi, Orle and Adaobi. It is a very eye-opener one, but for the sake of brevity, I would not delve into it so much. But the essence is that in the early 1400s when there seemed no end insight to the unwarranted and wanton oppression afflicted on brothers by brothers, the people were said to have been led out of Benin by their elders, among them, were Uchi and his younger brother, Adaobi. Included in the siblings of Uchi were Ogholodio, Amanue, Aidenome and Orle her only sister. And when they had arrived at their present destination, Adaobi disagreed with Uchi because he ruled Auchi much like the Oba of Benin, and resulted in Adaobi leaving the settlement. Orle their only sister tried to mediate and failed. So, she went into mourning and began to cry. She cried for so long that the tears rolling out of her eyes turned into volumes of water. Meanwhile, Adaobi heard what had happened to his only sister after he had found his own settlement somewhere in the present Owan, as man he was, he did not cry. He sat beside the river and exploded in anger and turned into a hill. This hill is today known as “Ege-Omonokhua”.

Now let us analyze this theory. Adaobi was not a spirit but also born flesh and blood as his elder brother, Uchi. Then when did Adaobi become a god-figure in the eyes of the natives, including the Ivhi-Uchi?

It is not very unusual in African Traditional Religions to use examples of deified humans. In list belongs Sango known as Jakuta. He was the third Alafin of Oyo, following Oranmiyan and Ajaka. Jakuta brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire. According to Professor Mason’s Mythological Account of Heroes and Kings, unlike his peaceful brother Ajaka, Jakuta (meaning: someone who fought with stones) was a powerful and violent ruler.

In comparison, it could be said like Jakuta like Adaobi, and like Ajaka the elder brother of Sango like Uchi. This similarity is significant when one realizes that unlike his elder brother, Uchi who was an accomplished gentlemen, a wise, patient and tolerant leader, Adaobi was a tough, strong-headed leader; violent defender and protector of the Auchi people and interest; a critic of the Benin’s exploitative intimidative and oppressive tendencies.

At too long, when the company led by Uchi and Adaobi had arrived at the near by Oiklokhai hill, there was an emergent call by the then ruling Oba of Benin for all runaways to come back to Benin. As for which Oba of Benin, neither my informants nor Chief Egharevba mentioned the name but in Ikharo (1985), he has it that it was in the reign of Oba Ozolua in about 1481-1500 which is highly debatable. The callback was necessary because Benin kingdom had drastically been reduced in number by the hasty migrations of settlers. And unlike his elder brother, Adaobi found nothing of importance to understand about the messenger and his message. Like Jakuta, the Sango, always ready for war, Adaobi pounced on the Oba’s messengers, got them beaten up severely, and was determined to have them killed until Uchi intervened to save the emissaries from further punishment.

Uchi foresaw the consequence of Adaobi beating up Oba’s emissaries, that the Oba was likely to send a punitive force to redress the molestation of his emissaries by Adaobi. He neither had the opportunity to appeal to the emissaries to bear with him and forgive and forget what Adaobi had done to them (as the emissaries had escaped to Benin before such appeals could be made); nor did he feel that it was safe enough to send a small delegation of some Auchi elders and leaders to apologize to the Oba in respect of the situation. Uchi took a decisive but subtle action against Adaobi, requesting him and all his descendants to vacate the community to settle elsewhere; so as to give the impression that he had already taken a punitive action against Adaobi. Adaobi understood the situation and left Auchi to found his own small community on the outskirt. This new community which had emerged in the area of present-day, Owan territory, served as the nucleus for subsequent villages that grew up from that settlement. This justifies why Ivbiaro, Uareke [sic], Ihievbe, Era are today collectively known Ivi-Adaobi.

For Jakuta, the Sango, his seven years reign ended due to his inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning while for Adaobi, it could be said that, his fellowship with his Auchi people came to halt as a consequence of his positive radicalism, military character and strong anti-imperialist disposition.

One fact about life is that the noisy and bold win our heart, and the silent and quiet is forgetting quickly. This attitude also affects whom we deify and those we reduce to non-relevant. That is why ancestors like Jakuta, Adaobi, would become easily the youth favorites in their time. In Yorubaland, Jakuta, the Sango is still worshiped on the fifth day of the week in which is named Ojo Jakuta. The youths saw Adaobi as a role model of some sorts, and were said to have “mourned” his dramatic exit from Auchi. And Adaobi remained one of the very few noble ancestors of Auchi Kingdom who retained their devotees down to the modern times. Adaobi, becoming an object of veneration and a sort of supernatural being, had its genesis where he created a cult-like following by his strong anti-imperialist disposition.

Wajeed Obomeghie is an Award Winning Author/Cultural Ambassador

One Response to The Ivbi-Uchi of Etsako and Ivbi-Adaobi of Owan Relationship

  1. Umoru says:

    Quite enlightning. But where is Uareke

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