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Zaiki Igbinigie (1910-1971)

Zaiki Igbinigie became the Enogie of Ebelle in 1910 following the demise of his father Akhimien. The Royal Highness was actually the second son of HRH Akhimien and his elder brother, the first son of Akhimien (Emovoun) lost his right to the throne at his demise after ruling for just 3 years , since he did not succeed in performing the final burial rites he was supposed to perform on his father. Thus, he only assumed office for a while and left his descendants with no kingly right in accordance with the Ebelle Native Laws and Customs.


King Igbinigie was a very calculative person. He learnt from the mistakes of his elder brother, Emovuon and named the heir apparent Imhanduogiemu which by interpretation, “I have not stolen  kingship” implying that he got it from God. Whether he was referring to himself or his heir apparent is not within our knowledge.


king Igbinigie had some tough times with the colonial masters that made Ebelle their headquarter and treasury. Due to the issue of settlement of disputes which were now being seconded to the White Man’s Court at the displacement of Palace Chiefs by the Colonial masters on some matters of national security, Ebelle Customary Court was set up. This didn’t go down well with the Ebelle people who saw the European Court System as a means of causing disaffection among the people and division in society. In fact, the Court was labelled “House of Terror and Horror ” since they did not understand the Whiteman’s concept of Justice or Jurisprudence.  The Ebelle people protested to the King and the King protested to the District Officer (DO) and the court that was set up was taken to Ewohimi. No sooner than that was done, Ewohimi gradually became a centre of attraction and point of penance for  earring communities upon default in tax payment and non-remittance or for individuals that took laws into their hands. Matters that used to be settled by a fine of cock, keg of palmwine and lobes of kolanuts became liable for detention and imprisonment. By the time Ebelle people recognized the function of the court system and its effects, Ebelle had lost its savory to Ewohimi under the watchful eyes of the Colonial Masters.


What was also notable about King Igbinigie was that he never answered any man in straight words neither did he have time to listen to fables. And in order not to disappoint the people of Ebelle that made him king, he worked tirelessly to defend tor justify and showcase his rulership competence. He laughed less and had a questioning and inquisitive posture towards every person he encountered.

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