I am by this article referring to the series of articles on Ika nation in various issues of Ika Weekly Newspaper by Chief (Dr.) Onyekpeze F.A. Before proceeding with this write up on the Agbor Nation, I will like to draw the attention of the reading populace to the following:
- I acknowledge that Chief Dr. Onyekpeze F.A is my senior, and as such, this write up is NOT an attempt to judge him or to cast aspersion on all the selfless efforts he has made in making the history of the origin of Ika nations available to the reading masses and posterity.
- If a speaker or a lecturer had about five people in audience while speaking, at the end of his speech, all the people in audience heard the same words from him but in the end, they will end up having different opinions on the same subject matter. This is called constructivism in English.
iii. Everyone have the fundamental right to write, provided that in the process of writing, you did not deliberately and maliciously set out to slander people.
I love the truth, I also love speaking the truth and standing up for the truth, no matter what.
This write up, or feedback is not to be seen as an academic exercise as I am not a university degree holder but an attempt to contribute my own little quota in our search for a true, genuine and authentic history of the origin of Agbor nation. Thus in the process, I will be employing my level of understanding of English Language.
Before proceeding, I want to seize this medium to appreciate Chief Dr. Onyekpeze for his good idea. I once read a wise saying that said: “I am passing through this world, but once.”
We may not always have Chief Dr. Onyekpeze with us forever, thus the greatest legacy he is passing unto us are these series on the origin of Ika nations and lots more.
I remembered that when I was living in Yoruba land, I had no access to the history of the origin of Agbor nation. When I came down to Benin, I also had no access to it over there.
When I relocated to Agbor in the year, 1981, I also had no access to it; not until the year 2007, when ‘Otu Onyen-Oghani of Agbor’ published one (26years later.)
Thus, I am one of the people that is greatly appreciating the efforts put up for posterity by Pa, Chief Dr. Onyekpeze, F.A. May God give him long life so that we will continue to enjoy more of it from him, Amen.
The Origin of Agbor Nation
In this write up, I will like to confine myself to the origin of Agbor nation versus Benin and not the origin of Ika nations as the two are not the same.
In his write ups, Chief Dr. Onyekpeze, F.A used ‘Nri’ to represent the Igbo race, while he used Bini to represent the people of Benin. Furthermore, I personally agree with him 100% that Agbor have no connection whatsoever with the Igbo race.
In actual fact, part of the present day Igbo lands were founded by Agbor people. A good example is that of Onitsha, proximity and similarity in dialect was the reason why the people were laying claim to the ownership of Agbor people, which is not.
History had it that Agbor originated from ‘Ominijen,’ a place now known to modern history as ‘Agbor-Nta.’
Up till now, nobody have been able to successfully refute this assertion, except some present day Headmasters that forgot that they were once pupils. They were the ones that were misleading us into accepting contrived history that claimed that Agbor people migrated from Benin.
Genuine and authentic history shows that Benin was actually founded by Agbor Prince.
Starting from the time when Agbon nation (now Agbor) was still at Ominijen, till the present day ‘Great Agbor nation’s time,’ they used to have their dos and don’ts.
There used to be that which they cherished most in their lives, individually and collectively.
There used to be that which they are ever ready to die for or not
Agbon nation have never been without a leader or ruler. The official residence of their ruler is the Palace.
Among their rulers, various traditional chieftaincy title was, Ogiso.
One of the don’ts was that a pregnant Queen is not allowed to put to bed in the Palace. Pregnant Queen(s) must go to their parent(s) when their time of delivery is getting near.
Agbon nation of that time and the present day Agbor nation do have what they called ‘Crowned Prince’ and heir apparent to the throne.
During the birth of a Crown Prince, there is a way of announcing his birth to the people of Agbon nation and beyond. There are things to be done first before such announcement (Read Isaiah 9:6-7).
Agbon nation of that time and the present day Agbor nation cherished freedom so much so that they are ever ready to die for it, than remain alive as vassal or conquered tribe to other race or tribe.
Agbon nation of that time and the present day Agbor nation cherished peace and are very hospitable, accommodating, impartial, sangfroid and sanguine. Their attitude towards strangers and foreigners is, ‘live and let others live too.’ Thus, strangers and foreigners used to feel at home in Agbon/Agbor Land.
This was the setting in Agbon nation during the reign of Ogele as the Ogiso of Agbon nation of that time.
Like I said earlier, Agbon nation of that time had their dos and don’ts.
Pregnant Queen(s) are not allowed to put to bed in the Palace. That was the situation and subsisting rule during the period of Ogiso Ogele who later became the father of Ikaledohan and Igodo.
It was stated that when the mothers of these princes were pregnant and their time of delivery was getting near, they were sent to their parents to deliver before coming back.
The mother of Igodo put to bed in the morning, while the mother of Ikaledohan put to bed in the evening of the same day.
It was stated that the mother of Igodo, the Queen that put to bed in the morning, rather than bringing the news of the birth of her son to the knowledge of the Palace, which was what custom demands, took him to a native doctor, apparently in order to fortify him against imaginary enemies in the Palace and thus failed to bring the birth of his son to the knowledge of the Palace until the following day. That was the beginning of the crisis in the palace of that time.
The Agbon kingmakers of those days, just like the Biblical Pilate of Jesus’ time, refused to change what they had already done. (John 19:21-22)
Was that the end of the matter? No.
The mother of each of the Princes helped each of their sons to keep the hope of ascending the throne of Agbon alive in their minds by taking their respective sons out for training as King.
When their royal father finally passed away, the Kingmakers of Agbon crowned Ikaledohan as the Ogiso of Agbon Kingdom. Igodo and his supporters felt let down or cheated and angrily left Agbon, moved westward and finally settled down in a place they called, ‘Igodomigodo’ also called Bini.
This type of Igodo’s reaction is what Agbor people used to call ‘Ebite’ meaning: ‘Living far away from one’s enemies.”
As to Agbon, where Igodo and his supporters left off, Agbon people used to call them ‘Iduh,’ meaning: ‘The people we escorted away in the interest of peace.’
If the above is the present day Agbor people’s version of the history and the origin of Agbon/Agbor, what are the people of Bini, Igodomigodo or Iduh’s version of the history; “the other side of the coin?”
On page 2 of a publication titled, ‘Eguae Oba Nedo,'(The Palace of Oba of Benin). It stated that during the reign of Ogisos, the Palace was at Ugbekun, which is about six kilometers East of Benin. The site of the first Palace; now a National Monument was built about A.D. 904 by one of the Ogisos, named Igodo.
Thirty six years later, his successor, Ere moved the Palace to Uhunwun-Idunmwun (now called East Circular) where it remained until about A.D. 1170. Page 3 of the same book shows the Monument they erected at the site of the First palace ever built on Igodomigodo soil by Obagodo or Igodo but Benin people stopped short of telling people that Igodo, or Obagodo was an Agbor Prince.
With the above facts with us here in Agbor and beyond, why did people prefer illusion to the truth?
I feel greatly in my mind that: “A lie told so many times, if not challenged, may in the course of time begin to pass for the truth.” One of such lies is the terrible lie that Agbor nation migrated from Benin whereas the reverse was the case and still is the case.
Who was Ere?
The account by Benin Palace went on to say that: 36 years later, Igodo’s successor, Ere, moved the Palace to Uhunmwun-Idunmwun (now called East Circular) where it remained until about A.D. 1170.
The question there now should be, who was Ere?
My research shows that Ere was the grandson of Ogiso Obagodo or Igodo an Agbon Prince (now Agbor) that founded Igbodomigodo, now Benin. Benin used to be called Igodomigodo in the past, as Agbor used to be called Agbon in the past. (see page 7 of the book, Some Facts about Great Benin. Edited by Edun Akenzua).
Obagodo was the Prince that angrily left Agbon because he lost out in the quest of becoming Ogiso but later founded Igodomigodo, now Benin.
Can a stranger have the temerity to move an already existing palace away from where it was to another place unchallenged by the people of such town? No!
Ogiso Obagodo founded and ruled Igodomigodo from 40B.C. to 16 A.D. His grandson, Ere ruled from 16A.D. to 66A.D (50 years).
The bottomline; the present day Benin was founded by an Agbor Prince named, Igodo or Obagodo who because he lost out in the quest of becoming the Ogiso of Agbon, now Agbor angrily left Agbon and moved out westward and founded a settlement he named after himself ‘Igbodomigodo.’ He also chose the chieftaincy title he so much cherished while still at Agbon which he was denied; that was how the title of ‘Ogiso’ founded its way to Benin.
By the way, where did the Binis originate from, if I may ask? There is need for the people to be historically conscious.
There are two major components in Benin, namely; Oredo and Uselu. Like Oredo that was founded by an Agbor Prince, Uselu was also founded by an Agbor man by name, Ikenchukwu. Iken, for short, he was a warrior. Modern historians used to refer to him as captain Iken.
Modern Day Benin Account of Iken
It was stated that the foundation and growth of Uselu dates back to the period of the Ogisos but its significant position in the history of Benin did not come to limelight until the Palace of Edaiken and the Palace of the Queen mother were established there during the reign of Oba Ewuare and Oba Esigie respectively.
Oba Ewuare the Great sent his senior son Kuoboyuwa to hold brief for a man called Iken of Uselu who was a strong and powerful warrior, who constantly challenged the authority of the Oba and he often prevented Uselu people from paying the annual tribute to the Oba in Benin City.
As a result of this opposition constituted by Iken, Oba Ewuare wanted to eliminate him by sending him to the battle front during the war between Benin and Owo.
Kuoboyuwa, the senior son of the Oba was to hold brief for Iken during the period. Iken won the war but he was killed on his way back to Benin. When the Oba realized that Uselu people would react violently, if Iken failed to return from the war front, he decided to make the position of his son a permanent one to enable him assume full responsibility of the ruler of Uselu.
He therefore, conferred on him the title of the Edayi-Ni-Iken at Uselu where he will remain until when he is called upon to ascend the throne as Oba (Some Facts about Great Benin. Edited by Edun Akenzua).
The above is modern day Benin’s version of the origin of Uselu. An Agbor Prince, Prince Obagodo or Igodo founded Modern day Oredo, Benin; and an Agbor man Iken, founded Uselu. What more do we need to establish the fact that Agbor nation didn’t migrate from Benin but founded it?
Therefore, those Ika nations saying that they migrated from Benin might not be telling lies altogether, what happened was that, there are things that they might not know. (Read Exodus 1:8).
Those Ika nations that said that they migrated from Benin were the great, great, great, great grandchildren of Igodo; the ones he and his supporters gave birth to in Igodomigodo by the time Igodomigodo began to expand and the people then began to leave in search of more spacious land, and they unwittingly returned back to Agbor, their ancestral home land, many decades later!
There are some Ika nations that might not know anything about Obagodo, the founder of Benin. They never arrived that never traveled!
When some people were leaving Agbon Palace, Agbon Palace remained there. When their great, great, great, great grandchildren were unwittingly returning back to Agbon/Agbor, Agbor remained there, thus making Agbor people the Agboriginals and indigenous people of this part of the world.
This goes to show that Agbon/Agbor have long been in existence before any other tribe in the then old Mid-western region, since all the tribes in the defunct Bendel State traced their origin to Benin and the same Benin was founded by Agbor people.
The Birth of a new nation
From the above, it becomes very clear as the saying goes; they used to call Agbon/Agbor people Ominijen Ndi Okwu ntiti (The Ominijen people that never wanders far away). Agbon/ Agbor people never wandered far away from home.
But some of them did, they were the ones that founded Benin. Decades later, their great, great, great, great grandchildren unwittingly returned back home and their arrival gave birth to a new nation, ‘Ika nation(s)’
Agbor nation never left home in the first place, not to talk of arriving via migration, for it used to be said that: they never arrived that never travelled.
The bottomline, we have two nations;
- Agbon nation – the Aboriginals that never come from any other part of the world.
- The Agbon nation, the great, great, great, great, great grandchildren of Igodo that unwittingly came back to Agbon land, they are the present day Ika nations.
WRITTEN BY EMPEROR OBUSEH