Forward: This is an electronic copy of the bulletin written by the Ebhonu Family of Ologhe Ebelle in commemoration of the installation of Pa Ebhonu as Odionwelele of Ologhe Ebelle in 2003. The original copies are in short supply and hence this soft copy deemed profitable for the education of younger generation on some of the customary things and ideas that the Ologhe ancestors handed down through oral tradition. This is one of the earliest initiatives of documenting the customs of the Ologhe Ebelle people.
Gabriel Akhabue Iruobe
3rd December, 2022
THE INSTALLATION OF
PA SOLOMON UKPEBOR EBHONU
AS THE ODIONWELE
VENUE: Installation Ground, Old Agbor Road, Ologhe – Ebelle
DATE: Saturday May 17th, 2003 TIME: 10 AM
THE INSTALLATION OF ODIONWELE IN OLOGHE EBELLE INCLUDING SOME NATIVE LAWS AND CUSTOMS
The traditional Esan history is supposed essentially remembered and handed down from one generation to another
Coming nearer home, it is important for someone to take the task of recording the customs and traditions of our people (Ologhe Ebelle in particular)
The task is desirable as many who are versed in traditional accounts and ancient customs are dying out Even the young educated ones are pre-occupied with other projects or businesses.
The few records published in this pamphlet were collected from my grandfather late Pa. Omoaghe Ogbeide who was once an Odionwele and from other Books of Esan Native Laws and Customs. I wish you a happy reading.
BIOGRAPHY OF PA. SOLOMON UKPEBOR EBHONU
THE NEW ODIONWELE OF OLOGHE-EBELLE
Pa. Solomon Ukpebor Ebhonu was born in the year 1913 to the family of Ebhonu in Idumun Areghan Ologhe Ebelle. His late father Evbonu Ohue lived briefly as a successful farmer in Ewohimi before returning to Ebelle
His mother Madam Aigbuosa Ebhana nee Akhimien from idumebo-Ologhe Ebelle
was a devoted Christian worthy of emulation.
Pa. Ukpebor lost his father at a very tender age. His most senior brother, late Mr Ikhinmwn Ebhonu brought him up. The young Ukpebor accompanied Mr. Ikhinmwin to Ago-Usobo now called Ebute Ujogba, where he was taught the methods of farming.
After the death of Mr. Ikhinmwin, the young Ukpebor returned to Ologhe Ebelle and lived with late Mr. Matthew Aigbe Ebnonu who was now the most senior in Ebhonu’s family. Mr. Ukpebor is the last son of late Ebhonu, hence he is referred to as the last card (ALAGBODE). He is a devoted Christian baptised and confirmed in the Anglican Communion. He is a member of the Elder Union of St. Mark Anglican Church, Ologhe Ebelle.
Traditionally Pa. Ukpebor has fulfilled the necessary requirements which enable him to be installed as the Odionwele of Ologhe-Ebelle.
1. He was a member of Egbonughele group or Ekpolughe group.
2 He later left that group and became a member of IGENE group..
3. Knowing that the position of Edion is that of honour and responsibility. Mr. Ukpebor performed tne expensive clothing ceremony known as IRUEN. This advanced him to be a member of the lower grade of Edion.
4. There is a universal method in Ologhe custom for men to join the senior grade of EDION. This is achieved if the person is able to perform UWIOGUA which is known in other parts of Esan as ILODION.
Pa. Ukpebor performed this ceremony and became a member of the senior grade of EDION. When Pa Danel Equabor Akhimien became the Odionwele of Ologhe, the Elders council of Ologhe decided unanimously to promote Pa. Ukpebor Ebhonu to be among the next three Edions known as EDION NENEN. He was third in rank.
After the death of Pa. Daniel Equabor Akhimien, Pa. Ehijiator Ukhure became the Odlanwere of Cloghe-Ebalie. This raised the position of Pa. Ukpebor Ebnonu to second in command.
He held this position until Pa. Ehijator Ukhure joined the ancestors. In accordance with the customs of Ologhe-Ebelle, the mandle of leadership fell on this illustrous son. Today we are witnessing the traditional ceremony of installing Pa. Solomon Ukpebor Eohonu as the ODIONWELE of Ologhe Ebelle.
He is married with children. It is our fervent prayer that God Almighty (OSANOBUA) will give him the wisdom to rule Ologhe Ebelle in accordance with the customs of the people. Amen.
PRAISE GOD ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!! ALLELUIA!!!
BRIEF HISTORY OF OLOGHE-EBELLE
Ologhe which is one of the five villages that constitute Ebelle is situated along Old Agbor Road. It is bounded on the South by Ewosa on the North by Eguare-Ebelle, and on the West by Okuta-Ebelle. The people of Ologhe like Eguare community traced their roots to Orlu Kwale.
Ologhe was founded by Ebo, a great leader who was sent from Orlu Kwale to recall Agbabhoko who had by now begun to enjoy a peaceful rule of his followers. On seeing Ebo, the King convinced him to remain, telling him that the place is peaceful i.e EBENE-MAKA which was corrupted by the British as EBELLE. Ebo settled at idumebo quarter which later developed to the present Ologhe.
There are five quarters (IDUMUN) in Oleghe-Ebelle They are (NOT according to
2. IDUMU-EDESE OR IDUMUN-IYANGBO
In terms of infrastructures Ologhe has one Primary School The Electrification scheme which has been connected to NEPA National grid was carried out by members of the community through self help effort. There is a plan to sink a BOLE HOLE which will provide drinking water to the community.
The inhabitant of Ologhe are predominantly farmers with high agricultural output for both personal consumption and commercial purposes. Palm wine tapping is their core occupation.
Ologhe has contributed immensely to the overal development of Ebelle. It has produced eminent personalities in the State and Federal public services the Nigerian Police Force, it has also produced Lawyers. Doctors and successful Businessmen and women.
Ologhe is mainly dominated by Christians.
There are Churches of various denominations. Ologhe has a parish of the Anglican Communion with a Parish Priest. Also the Parish Church of the Roman Catholic is situated at Ologhe
Ologhe people have various forms of salutation to suit the morning, afternoon or evening and according to sex.
Junors always greet their seniors first. It is mockery for an elder to greet erring junior
first. Usually women except the aged greet men first.
MEN: Morning greeting by man is AESAN
WOMEN: Morning salutation for women are (1) LABO and LAGIESAN
To elders and acquaintances, men greet with KHARA while both sexes to other people give the common greetings of Do-o or merely OBOKHAN (welcome)
After evening meal it was incumbent for all subordinates like children and woinen to
greet. Boys stamped one foot on the ground and greet with KARA. The evening greetings for females after meal is USIOMON KHISIE (may you be fruitful). Some of the women greet their alders with BUKPEVBEN.
ACTS OF RESPECT
The people of Ologhe are very polite. They have a great respect for old age and tradition
1. CHILDREN TO PARENTS
Children with good manners never called their parents by their names. The father is called ABA or BABA While the mother goes by the name INENEN or IYIONMEN
2. WIFE TO HUSBAND
Wives never referred to their husbands by names, she calls her husband ENOYANMEN (my master)
3. JUNIORS TO ELDERS
The juniors always call their elders with OWANLEN or ENOWANLEN
Depending on the size and genealogy of an Idunmun, lovers are not permissible. In born Egbe and Idunmun, inter-marriage is not allowed.
The standing law is that NO COUPLE WHO CAN TRACE ANY RELATIONSHIP PATERNALLY OR MATERNALLY CAN MARRY despite the loose talk that things are not forbidden towards a mother’s origin.
As stated earlier, there are five quarters (IDUNMUN) that constitute Ologhe. The Odionwele is the supreme Head, socially and religiously in all matters affecting Ologhe. He with the next three Edion form EDIONENEN. Meetings affecting the elders alone are held in the Odionwele’s house usually, but bigger meetings are held in the village square.
AGE-GRADE AND AGE SET ORGANISATION
The male population of Ologhe village is organised on an age-grade basis very similar to that of Benin Kingdom. There are three main age-grades or Otu. They are:-
1. Egbonughele or Ekpolughe
2. Igene or Ighele
3. Edion (The Elders)
ESBONUGHELE (OR EKPOLUGHE)
These are known as street sweepers. Their most well known job is that of cleaning end sweeping the village square once in a month. They clean the roads half way to the next village. They are responsible for a major part of communal labour in the village and only get from Igene when the job is really too much for them. This is usually on appeal to the Edion who instruct the igene to go to their assistance. Boys join this grade as soon as they are strong enough usually from ten to twelve years (10-12) years of age and leave it at about (30-35) years. Before leaving this grade, the group have to perform IZEKI ceremony. In Ologhe, females of the same age are included in the ZEKI ceremony.
The head of Egbonughele grade is called ODIO-EGBONNUGHELE
IGENE (OR IGHELE)
The Igene group is responsible for maintaining law and order within the Community and provides warriors for defence and attack vis-a-vis other invading communities its members also take part in heavier communal tasks and play advisory or executive role in ward meetings. The head of the IGENE grade is called ODIO-IGENE Promotion to the higher grade is based on the ability of the persons to perform the expensive clothing ceremony IRUEN
The Edion or elders form the village council dealing with crimes involving native laws and customs eg. Adultery, bad medicines, disobedience likely to disrupt the village etc. Serious offences like stealing, murder, rape etc are sent to the Onogie through OKHAEMON or EKHAEMON (plural)
Generally the Edion led by the Odionwele, are the main repository of custom and authority within the village. The Odionwele and the next three Edion form EDIONENEN, All the Eiders have big walking sticks called Dipo, but it is usually the Odionwele and the senior three, that is Edionenen that are more comectly qualified to have Okpo
All members of the elders council known as the Edion must of necessity performed the IRUEN and UWIOGUA ceremonies before they can be admitted into the elder council
CLOTHING CEREMONY (IRUEN)
Clothing ceremony (IRUEN) plays important role in the movement of an igene (ghele) to Edion. It is the most authoritative act of a man who desires honour and respect in all the village. Without performing this ceremony an Ignele can not be promoted to Edion. The performer must have buried his late parents completely However, if the parents are still living, he is qualify to perform the (RUEN
The performer danced round the village with his first son kneeling before or have performed the IRUEN ceremony for blessings On the D-day the e removes all his clothes and the appointed elder sed the white cle round Thereafter the ighele will have a mock wresting battle with the Odionwee representative The Odionwele always have the upper hand by defeating the lghele
After the ceremony the performer is strictly guided by certain laws calculated to make him live an honourable life for the rest of his life. These laws are
He is duty bound to settle dispute coming to his knowledge between a man and his wife.
He could no longer be called upon to sweep the street or be challenged to a wrestling match, or be attacked. Any attacker did so at the risk of having a goat slaughtered against him by the Edion.
He could no longer carry load on his head. He could no longer sit on bare ground.
As a man of dignity, he must never again do certain acts of dishonour like kneeling, stooling over paths, yam holes, or moat (lyala) or clean himself after defecation on a kolanut tree, telling lies and abetting crimes etc. In death, honour and respect followed him to the grave. With or without children he must be fully clothed before burial in his house. In the olden days, a man who had not performed this ceremony was on death buried in burial ground as he was born NAKED,
INSTALLATION OF ODIONWELE
When an Odionwele died, the burial ceremony is performed. Three native months wo calendar months) mourning is observed for the departed Odionwele, after which he next oldest member of the EDIONENEN is installed as the new Odionwele.
He can only be installed the has performed the following:-
1. IRUEN clothing ceremony
2. UWIOGUA ceremony
3. The burial ceremonies of his late parents. No man who had not performed these ceremonies could be made Odionwele. No STRANGER CAN BECOME AN ODIONWELE. What is more, such long-staying stranger can not handle the village Okpo or shrine worship.
There is a slogan in Ebelle which is used in hailing Ologhe. The slogan is OLOGHE- NO-ROBO-MUE-NIN meaning, “Ologhe that used hands to capture an elephant”. It is on record that the pair of tusk of the captured elephant was divided into two. One tusk was sent to the senior brother-Onogie (King) Aigbabhoko while the other was left for Ebo, the junior brother who founded Ologhe.
The remaining tusk with Ebo formed the basic ingredients in producing UKHURE which is the symbol of Authority for the Odionwele, or Staff of Office which is given to every new Odionwele after investiture.
GENEALOGYCAL TREE IN RESPECT OF THE PAST ODIONWELE
Below are the past Odionwele in Ologhe-Ebelle from the twentieth century Note
these may not be the total numbers of Odionwele that have reigned in Ologhe
1. Pa. Enaiho from Idumu-Areghan
2. Pa. Amiendamhen from Idumu-Areghan
3. Pa. Omoaghe Ogbeide from Idumu-Iso
4. Pa. Ikhilal Adoga from Idumu-Areghan
5. Pa. Adams Ukhure from idumu-Edese
6. Pa. Daniel Eguabor Akhimieh from Idumu-Areghan
7. Pa Ehigiator Ukhure from Idumu-Edese
8. Pa Solomon Ukpebor Ebhonu-the current Odionwele from idumu-Areghan
ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE
According to records available, two of the past Odionweles performed exceedingly well. They are (1) Pa Omoaghe Ogbeide the great who after being installed abolished the worship of OWU and IYANTOR which he claimed to be pagan worship: He also abolished the law which forbade every male and female adult to have sex during day time. This abolition was received with joy and dancing by the youths of Ologhe living at home and abroad.
The second Odionwele was Pa. Daniel Eguabor Akhimein who carried out reformation in respect of Burial ceremony. He reduced the period to two days. He also reduced the financial cost of burial ceremony to enable low income eamers perform burial ceremonies for their late parents
The Ebbonu family from Idumu-Areghan in Ologhe Ebelle wish to sincerely thank God for making it possible for the investiture of
PA. SOLOMON UKPEBOR EBHONU as the Odionwele of Ologhe Ebelle. We appreciate the love and interest demonstrated by you all in various ways. In particular, we are touched by your cherished presence. May God grant you all travelling mercies back to your respective homes. Amen.
For further details, Contact the Editor Mr. Peter Omoaghe
C/O SO. Agwinede Chambers,
21. Mission Road, Benin city
Published by: Ebhonu Family