Afenmai is made of several kingdoms and clans (large villages/townships ruled traditionally by monarchs) and many of them seem to have their own oral history versions of the origin of Afenmai as well as its own starting point in history. Historical accounts claimed that they migrated from Benin, during the tyrannical rule of Oba Ewuare, the greatest warrior legend and the most outstanding king in the history of Benin Empire. The title Ewuare (Oworuare), meaning "all is well" or the trouble has ceased and as a result the war is over. The title symbolizes an epoch of reconciliation, reconstruction and the return of peace among the warring factions in Benin between 1435-1440 AD.
Shortly after this critical period of war, Akalaka and his two sons Ekpeye and Ogba migrated further southeast to first settle at Ula-Ubie, and subsequently other groups moved out of Benin City and migrated north. However, it has recently become clear that there were people living in Afenmai land prior to the migration from Benin City.
Afenmai People & Language
The Afenmai people, also spelled Afenmai are a group of people living in the northern part of Edo State south geopolitical zone of Nigeria.
Afenmai people occupy six local government areas of Edo state: Etsako West with headquarters in Auchi, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Owan East, Owan West and Akoko Edo. These make up the Edo-North Senatorial District.
The Afenmai are also known as the Afenmai, Etsako, Etsakor, Iyekhee, or Yekhee people. In Benin, they are also known as Ivbiosakon people.
The Afenmai language is a Ghotou-Uneme-Yekhee language, belonging to the North-Central branch of Edoid languages. Afenmai is closely related to Edo.
Afenmai has several documented dialects:
- Auchi ("Yekhee")
- Avainwu (Fugar)
- South Ibie (South Ivbie)
- Uwepa-Uwano (Weppa Wano)
- Uzanu, Anegbette, Udochi, Imiava [Uneme]
- Okpella/Okpekpe/ North Ibie ("Ivie")
The Afenmais do not have a central traditional ruler, but some of the prominent traditional institutions and rulers in Afenmai land are the Okumagbe of Wanno, Ogie Eppa of Weppa, Ogieneni of Uzairue (Jattu), Aidonogie of south Ibie, Otaru of Auchi, Oba of Agbede, Otaru of Igarra, Ukor of Ihievbe, Oliola of Anegbette, Okumagbe of Iuleha clan, Okuopellagbe of Okpella, Oghie Avianwu of Avianwu etc. Afenmai have produced many illustrious personalities in both national and international levels.
Tourist attractions, which span the expanse of Afenmai, are exemplified by the Ise Lake in Agenebode (Weppa Wanno clan) Etsakor East, the Ososo hills (featured in an edition of Gulder Ultimate search), the famous Kukuruku hills and the Somorika hills in Akoko Edo. Somorika hills consist of an extended expanse of hills crowned by massive boulders perched precariously on the summits of hills and alongside seemingly inadequate locations on the sides.
Some of the most important towns/clans in Afenmai land are Agenebode(Weppa-Wanno), Weppa, Oshiolo, Emokwemhe Iviagbapue, Auchi, Ihievbe, Afuze, Warrake, Iviukwe, South Ibie, Agbede, Sabongida Ora, Igarra, Ekperi, Jattu, Fugar, Aviele, Okpella, Uneme Ehrunrun, Uneme Osu, Iviukhua, Ososo, Uzanu, Uzebba, Iviukhua, Weppa, Okpella, Okpekpe, Somorika etc.
The autonomous clans, towns, villages and kingdoms in Afenmai land are currently administratively arranged as follows under the current six local government areas:
Etsako East LGA, Agenebode:
Agenebode, Oshiolo, Iviagbapue, Imiakebu, Afana, Imiegba, Itsukwi, Emokweme, Ekwothor, Iviukhua, Okpella, Okpekpe, Iviebua, Ibie, Weppa, Uzanu
Etsako Central LGA, Fugar:
Fugar, Ekperi, Ogbona, Anegbette, Udochi, Iraolokhor
Estako West LGA, Auchi:
Auchi, South Ibie, Agbede, Awain Community( Ewora, Eware, Ibvioba, Ama, Idegun, etc.) Jattu, Afashio, Ayogwiri, Aviele, Iyorah
Owan East LGA, Afuze
Afuze, Warrake, Igue, Ihievbe, Ikao, Ivbi-Mion, Ive-Ada-Obi, Otuo and Uokha
Owan West LGA, Sabongida Ora:
Sabongida Ora, Iuleha Clan
Akoko Edo LGA, Igarra:
Igarra, Ibillo, Uneme Osu, Uneme Ehrunrun, Ososo, Somorika,
Aviawun (Iviawu) is one of the popular clans in Afenmai. It comprises Unone, Arua, Ogbona, Iriakhor
Awun is the father of Unone Arua Ogbona Iriakhor and Awun migrated from Benin Kingdom and settle in the present Fugar. Unone and Arua make up the present Fugar.
Religion & Occupation
The Etsako people were originally practitioners of the African Traditional Religion, but with the advent of Christianity and Islam many converted to these religions. Etsako people are predominantly Christian today, perhaps due to largely the arrival of the early missionaries at the Waterside in Agenebode. However, high concentrations of Muslims can be found around Auchi, Agbede and perhaps, the Okpella axis.
While most Etsako people are hunters, farmers and fishermen, there are many professionals working as doctors, lawyers, professors, nurses, musicians, filmmakers, Tech Analysts and other walks of life.