ORIGIN OF THE EBIRAS – THE HISTORY OF EBIRA KINGDOM

ORIGIN OF THE EBIRAS - THE HISTORY OF EBIRA KINGDOMEbira Tao is the largest of the several Ebira groups found in about 8 states of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Teritory (FCT). The other sister groups are Egbura Koto and Ebira Mozum (Kogi state), Ebira Panda, Ebira Oje/Toto (Nassarawa state), Ebira Etuno (Edo state), Ebira Agatu (Benue state) Ebira Oloko (Ondo/Oyo/Osun states).

Written records about the origin of the Ebira people were those compiled from palace sources by the British colonial administrators in early 20th century. The Ebira, through 0ral tradition, trace their descent to Wukari (in the present Taraba state) where they were a constituent part of the Kwararafa confederation. In about 1680 AD, they (along with the Idoma and Igala) migrated out of Wukari a chieftaincy dispute.

The Ebira later split into various groups and settled in different locations between 1680 and 1750 AD.

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The Ebira Tao first sojourned with the Igalas at Idah but later crossed the River Niger and settled at Ebira Opete located the vicinity of Upake in Ajaokuta LGA. The ‘father’ of the Ebira Tao who led them to this premier settlement in Ebiraland was Itaazi. Itaazi had five (5) sons who all later migrated from Ebira Opete and were the founders of the various districts in Ebiraland. The children and the districts they founded are Adaviruku/Ohizi (Adavi), Ododo (Okehi), Obaji (Eyika), Uga (Okengwe) and Ochuga/Onotu (Ihima). His daughter named Ohunene settled in Eganyi district.

Members of the various clans in Ebiraland are descendants of the children of Itaazi. Ohizi had five children who are progenitors of the five traditional Adavi clans named after them. These are upopo-uvete (Apasi), Uka, Idu (Aniku), Adeyika and Uhwami. A migrant group from Eganyi known as Ezi-Onogu clan is also found in Adavi. The sons of Ododo who are the ancestors of Okehi clans were Okovi Oviri and Enwgukonyai. Obaji the founder of Eika had ten children named Ohiaga, Iyewe, Avassa, Ehemi, Anchi, Epoto, Egiri, Ubobo, Ogu and Eyire. Uga of Okengwe had two sons whose children constitute the present Okovi and Agada group of clans. Due to a sizeable concentration of other Ebira clans in Okengwe district, they formed a socio-political coalition known as Ada-ehi. Ochuga had six children and their descendants make up the six clans in Ihima.

These are Emani, Oha/Idu, Ohueta, Ure, Ohongwa and Odumi. The seventh clan is Akuta who migrated from Okengwe. Though Itaazi’s daughter named Ohunene was the founder of Eganyi, not all the clans there are descended from her. Eganyi clans are Ede, Esugu, Eheda, Ogu, Onoko, Idu, Anavapa and Ogodo. The Aningere who are skilled craftsmen are found in all districts. They are, however, more concentrated in Okengwe and Adavi districts.

 

LOCATION AND SIZE

Ebiraland, the home of Ebira Tao, is located in the central senatorial District of Kogi state. It has a landmass of 3,426 sq km. The 1991 national census puts the population of the area 722,032. Another national head count was undertaken in 2006. The provisional figure of 884,396 released by the National Population Commission (NPC) is being disputed. It is distributed as follows: Okene LGA (320,260), Adavi LGA (202,194), Okehi LGA (199,999), Ajaokuta LGA (122,321) and Ogori Magongo LGA (39,622).

 

THE PEOPLE

The Ebira people are republican by nature, outspoken and very hard working. Farming and cloth-weaving are occupations for which the Ebiras are well known. They are presently spread in five Local Government Areas of Kogi state namely: Adavi, Okene, Okehi,  Ajaokuta and Ogori-magongo. A sizeable number is also found in Lokoja Local Government Area and Oyo states. The paramount ruler of the people is called Ohinoyi of Ebiraland. The Ebira cherish their traitional festivals in spite of the infiltration of some negative tendencies.

EBIRA HEROES/HEROINES

There are several people who made tremendous impact on Ebira nation in ancient times. These were:

  1. Itaazi – ‘FATHER’ or progenitor of Ebira Tao people
  2. Ohizi (Adaviruku) – Son of Itaazi and founder of Adavi district
  3. Ododo – Son of Itaazi and founder of Okehi district
  4. Obaji – Son of Itaazi and founder of Eika district
  5. Uga – Son of Itaazi and founder of Okengwe district
  6. Ochuga – Youngest son of Itaazi and founder of Ihima district
  7. Ohunene – Daughter of Itaazi and founder of Ihima district
  8. Obege Ikaturu – Greatest herbalist in Ebira history
  9. Otase – Greatest marksman in Ebira history
  10. Atta Omadivi Abonika – Ebira war commander during the 1885 Ajinimo war (Nupe invasion of Ebiraland in which Ebira defeated the Nupe)
  11. Ovanesi – War commander during the Ebira/Bassa war where the Bassa were defeated (1890).
  12. Zainab Ejinovo Iyebe – Princess and later ‘Queen mother’ of imense influence
  13. Atta Ibrahim Onoruoyiza – Leader with great vision and father of modern Ebira
  14. Onono Idogido – Great social crusader and leader of 1951 women revolt against taxation.
  15. Raji Abdallah – nationalist who fought for Nigeria’s independence along with Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi  Awolowo. He was imprisoned by the British colonialists.

CULTURAL FESTIVALS (ECHE-OZI  ETE)

The Ebiras have several annaul cultural festivals. Three of the most prominent ones are ‘Echane’, ‘Eche Ori’ and ‘Ekuechi’.

ECHE-ANE

This is an annual masquerade festival celebrated in rotation from one district to the other in Ebiraland (between April-June).  In the past, it was only during the period of the festival that betrothed girls were given away in marriage to their suitors. That is why the festival is called ‘Eche-ane’ (women festival). Masquerades, though carried long canes, came out primarily to entertain people and received gifts in return. It is regrettable that this very popular and interesting festival has been bastardized and now a source of constant breach of peace.

ECHE-ORI

‘Eche Ori’ is a new yam festival celebrated only in two districts in Ebiraland. These are Ihima and Eganyi. During the festival, traditional worshippers make sacrifices in the secret groove of ‘Ori’ (deity) high up in the mountain to show gratitude for its protection and provision of bounteous harvest.

The worshipers carry long canes with which they whip one another in turns without anyone exhibiting any sign of pain. This is a mark of strength or M@nh00d. Another important attraction of the festival is the delightful ‘Echori’ music in which female singers feature prominently. Only after this festival can one eat or sell new yams in the market as it is a taboo to do so before the festival in Ihima and Eganyi.

 

EKUECHI

This is a night masquerade festival which marks the end of the Ebira calendar year and the beginning of a new one. Ododo is popularly acclaimed to be the initiator of this masquerade festival. The ‘Akatapa’ masquerade in heralding the beginning of the festival often say “Irayi ododo osi gu, Irayi akatapa osi gu eeeh! Osa yeeeh!” which means “the year of the Ododo has ended; the year of Akatapa has ended. Here is another year”.

The festival begins with a festival eve in which folk singers (ome ikede) perform to the delight of both men and women. The following day, the real festival in which masquerades sing and dance to entertain people from dusk to dawn takes place. It is restricted to men only so all women stay indoors throughout the duration of the festival. All D€ad relatives are believed to return to a earth on a visit this night, so, women prepare delicious ‘Apapa’ (bean read) and he-goat meat for the visitors. The women also, at times, leave monetary gifts with the men for the visiting D€ad relatives. Trust men, the meals and gifts are properly and neatly delivered to the beneficiaries who only the men have the privilege of seeing and interacting with, that night.

CHECK THIS OUT: The Great Culture Of Ebira People & Ebira Traditional Marriage Right

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32 Comments

  1. Thanks for this but u need to dop tell about EGURA koto very well vox this is just about okene people

  2. Nasiru adavudi 4rome okene local goverment

    Very intresting.i love ebiras am happy to be anebira.long life ebira land

  3. Am happy to b one of ebira son

    Akeem aliyu

  4. wow very interesting may we live a good legacy like our forefathers I am proud to be anebira

    Muhammed suleja

  5. We are the best tribe ever, i am a proud anebira, i am from OKEHI LGA (ihima).

    Fache Oyiza Gloria

  6. We are the best tribe ever, i am proud to be anebira, i am from OKEHI LGA (ihima).

    Fache Oyiza Gloria

  7. Bello Falila Onize

    Wow! That’s great I am proud to an Ebira. One love, one Ebiranation.From Okene L.G.A.

  8. God bless

  9. This is about ebira okene,what of ebira/koto?Am proud 2be an ebira/koto. I'm abdulaziz idris 4rm ohyabutu family,the present ruling family in opanda umaisha.tnx

    Abdulaziz umaisha

  10. what an interesting tribe, am happy to be married to am ebira ma. waooo he is such a wonderful husband.

  11. Your comment…we they son of ebira i an my friend we are proud to be among this great tribe to our knowlegd we are originated frome BBURWA, at the back of MACCA, ooh GOD, you are great may GOD, blessd EBIRA, nation AMEEN. from Etudaiye Ataba, Abdulkarim Hussein OZI.

  12. Prince abdulhakeem Ganiyu Attah

    So proud to be an ebira son…first time am seeing an acknowledgement to my ancestors and great grandfather, one love y’all

  13. Good to learn more about my people. God bless us.

  14. am very happy to be the origine of ebiraland long lif to my people. ameen.

  15. adavuruku omieza ajayi

    Your comment…am highly proud to an ebira

  16. Your comment…I Thank God We Are Good PPP

  17. Your comment…i am proud to be an ebira

  18. Alex durojaye OSIVAVE

    Thanks for this history is very wonderful and exciting to read am proud to be an ebira may God keep good peace and Harmony for us in ebira land Amen

  19. EKURE NOAH DAWARI

    I must say well-done to those who see that the history of Ebira put to book for generations to come to see. I belong to the dialect of Egbura Koto, from Nasarawa state, Nigeria. love you all.

  20. Adozuka Binbakar

    Am proudly Anebira

  21. Omeiza ojo ozi raani matthew

    Am proud to aneebira Knowning my sources of being am greatifyuI Your comment…

  22. Am prpud ebira nationYour comment…

  23. Oh my God,am highly elevated and proud to be an Ebira man.i have learned a lot about my tribe history .In fact I remain ever greatful,now I can transfer the history of my tribe to my children

  24. salihu alhassan dio

    9ice 1

  25. mojeed adeiza by name

    long life to all people themselves I pray for a good deed in my lands for everyone that’s ready to take our language arts and culture to next level … we shall not seen a bad omen in our land in mighty of Allah and our ances
    tor ( amin……) am from oha clans in adavi LGA

  26. am samuel adeiza kayode

    am frm uye families in oboroke ihima of kogi state,infact as many that has put this together to bring our past glories into existence,so that our lost childrens can founde their ways back home,God and ohiku anebiras will not forget you all,THKS live in makurdi.

  27. SAMUEL JAMES OMEIZA

    Your comment…Long Life My People Ebira I Love My Fathers Land wish all my follow ebira well.

  28. Momoh jamiu Adinoyi

    Am proud to be an ebira. Long live ebira. Am from Adavi ogaminana

  29. I’m so happy to be, an ebira proudly from Ihima in Okehi Local government.

  30. usman muta adeyza ohiare

    Your comment…i am very proud of my tribe ebira i thank god for that.uhi ami osa maravive ani ebira miravivini god will bless all ebira people both guys and ladies what ever they are god will me an you amin amen.

  31. Solomon Adoiza Ozi Daniel

    Your comment…Infact i dont know how to express my happiness for seeing the HISTORY of my Ebira land i gave kudos to the writter may Adai Ebeba continue to bless you my full wings are from ebira land am proud to be ozi anebira ozi ohogwa Oboroke Ihima

  32. I am proud to be an Ebira. May God grant the poster more wisdom

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