According to ozorogist research about the urhobos, we get to know the truth about thier culture, way of living and how they manage their land.
We give kudos to most urhobo elderly men, urhobo youth, profession in urhobo and wikipedia
The Urhobos are people located in southern Nigeria, near the northwestern Niger Delta. The Urhobo are the major ethnic group in Delta State , one of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Urhobos speak the Urhobo language .
The word Urhobo refers to a group of people rather than a territory. Approximately two million people are Urhobos. They have a social and cultural affinity to the Edo people of Nigeria. The Urhobo people live in a territory bounded by latitudes 6°and 5°, 15° North and Longitudes 5°, 40° and 6°, 25° East in the Delta and the Bayelsa States of Nigeria.
Their neighbors are the Isoko to the southeast, the Isekiri and Ijaw to the west, the Edo people , the Benin to the north, the Ijaw to the south and the Ukwuani people to the northeast.
Urhobo territory consists of evergreen forests with many oil palm trees.
The territory is covered by a network of streams, whose volume and flow are directly affected by the seasons. The wet season is traditionally from April to October, and dry season ranges from November to March.
The Urhobos are organized into two different political kingdoms, gerontocracies and plutocracies.
A gerontocracy is a government run by elders, based on the age-grade-system, while a plutocracy is governed by the rich and wealthy, with some elements of gerontocracy. Although it is not clear which kingship is older among the kingdoms, their developments reached a peak in the 1940s and 50s.
The Urhobo government structure occurs at two levels, kingdom and town. The people are organized either by elders or by the wealthy.
Urhobo indigenous governments have an Ovie (king), who is the highest political figure. The Ovie is the symbol of the kingdoms’ culture and royal predecessors. His councillors consist of the Otota (speaker), and the Ohoveworen or Okakoro , addressed collectively as Ilorogun. Other title holders are the executioners ( Ikoikpokpo ), and the warriors (Ogbu ).
Other political titles are specific to the different kingdoms. The judicial system places a clear distinction between civil and criminal offenses.
The queen, is called Ovieya , and her children are known as Ọmọ Ovie . Presently, this name is given to children without royal heritage.
Some Urhobo cultural divisions adopted titles other than Ovie. For example, the Okpe call their traditional ruler Orodje , Okere-Urhobo call theirs Orosuen , Agbarho uses
Osuivie , Orogun use Okpara-Uku ” (mainly due to their proximity with Ukwuani people ), and the Urhobos in the Olomu Kingdom call their king Ohworode . Some southern Urhobo clans and communities also practice the Odio system, which is widespread in the Isoko region .
LOCATION WHERE URHOBOS RESIDE
The bulk of the Urhobo people reside in the southwestern states of Delta and Bayelsa in Nigeria, also referred to as the Niger Delta. Ofoni is an Urhobo community in Sagbama, Local Government Area, in Bayelsa. Ofoni is about 40 kilometers by water to Sagbama . Many Urhobos live in small and major cities in regions or local government areas in
Ughelli , Warri , Abraka , Orerokpe and Sapele . Some Urhobo major cities and towns include Okparabe, Arhavwarien, Warri, Sapele, Abraka and Ughelli.
The following are local government areas where Urhobo traditional homes are located in Delta and Bayelsa:
Sagbama (in Bayelsa State)
Ikpoba Okha (in Edo State) According to report on Wikipedia
Urhobos also have large settlements in Ore, Owo and Okitipupa in Ondo State, Ajegunle and other places in Lagos State, Oro in Kwara State, as well as other clusters across Nigeria.
Festivals In Urhobo Land
The Urhobos live very close to, and sometimes in boats on the Niger river . Most of their histories, mythologies, and philosophies are water-related. Annual fishing festivals that include masquerades, fishing, swimming contests and dancing, that became part of the Urhobo heritage. An annual, two-day, festival, called Ohworu takes place in Evwreni, the southern part of the Urhobo area. During this festival the Ohworhu water spirit and the Eravwe Oganga are displayed.
Marriage In Urhobo Land
Marriage in Urhobo culture requires prayers to the ancestors (Erivwin), and God (Oghene ). The marriage ritual, known as Udi Arhovwaje, takes place in the ancestral home of the bride or a patrilineal relation of the bride.
The groom goes with his relatives and friends to the bride’s father’s home, bringing gifts of drinks, salt, kola nuts and occasionally food requested by the bride’s family. Formal approval for marriage is given by the bride’s parents, or whoever is representing the bride’s family, as are the traditional rites of pouring gin , brought by the groom, as a tribute to the father’s ancestors in order to bless them with health, children and wealth. After this marriage rite the husband can claim a refund of the money (bride price) should the marriage fail. It is believed that the ancestors witness the marriage, and only the physical body that is sent to the husband in the marriage, the Erhi (spirit double), remains in the family home. This explains why a woman is brought back to be buried in her family home when she dies.
In the ancestral home of the man, the wife is welcomed into the family by the eldest member. She is expected to confess all of her love affairs during and after her betrothal to her husband, if any, and is then absolved of them. She becomes a full member of her husband’s family after this ritual, and is assumed to be protected by the supernatural ( Erivwin). This ritual symbolizes an agreement between the wife and the Erivwin.
If the wife later becomes unfaithful, it is believed that she will be punished by the Erivwin – this is why wives are faithful to their husbands.
The Urhobo Okpo (week) is made up of four days, based on regulated market cycles, religious worship, marriages and other community life. The four days are Edewo , Ediruo , Eduhre and Edebi . Edewo and Eduhre are sacred days to divinities, spirits and ancestors. Most markets are held on these days.
On Edewo , ancestors are venerated. Most traditional religious rituals are held on Eduhre .
Spirits are believed to be active in the farmlands and forests on Edewo and Eduhre . Therefore, farmers rarely work on these days so as not to disturb the spirits.
Urhobo months are called Emeravwe and are made up of 28 days. Most of the annual festivals are held during the months of Asa , Eghwre , Orianre and Urhiori .
These are the months of harvest, when farming activity is at its lowest, so most farmers are free to partake. These are also months to honor the gods of the land, as well as spiritual forces that brought a good harvest.
Food In Urhobo Land
As with most tribes in Nigeria, certain foods are considered to belong to or originate from a particular tribe. For example, pounded yam and egusi soup come from the Yoruba’s (Eba ), and Ogbono soup , made from Irvingia gabonensis and sometimes referred to as Ogbolo soup, comes from people of Esan or Etsakor descent. Urhobos claim Ukhodo (a yam and unripe plantain dish prepared with either beef, poultry, or fish, and spiced with lemon grass and potash ), Oghwevwri (emulsified palm oil soup), and starch ( Usi ), made from the cassava plant. It is heated and stirred into a thick mound with added palm oil to give the starch its unique orange-yellow colour. Oghwevwri is composed of smoked or dried fish, bush meat, unique spices, potash and oil palm juice. Other delicacies of the Urhobo tribe are palm nut oil soup and amiedi or banga soup , often eaten with usi and or garri. Banga is made from palm kernel. Other culinary delicacies include Iriboto , Iriberhare and Okpariku .
Religion Belive In Urhobo Land
The main focus of Urhobo traditional religion is the adoration of “Ọghẹnẹ” (Almighty God), the supreme deity, and recognition of Edjo and Erhan (divinities).
Some of these divinities could be regarded as personified attributes of Ọghẹnẹ. The Urhobo also worship God with Orhen (white chalk). If an Urhobo feels oppressed by someone, he appeals to Ọghẹnẹ, who he believes to be an impartial judge, to adjudicate between him and his opponent.
Oghene is the fundamental factor and manifestation of all divinities. Urhobo divinities can be classified into four main categories, which probably coincide with historical development. These categories are Guardian divinities, War divinities, Prosperity divinities and Fertility and Ethical divinities.
Erivwin , which is the cult of ancestors and predecessors (Esemo and Iniemo ), is another important element. The dead are believed to be living, and looked upon as active members who watch over the affairs of their family. Urhobos believe in the duality of man, i.e., that man consists of two beings: physical body (Ugboma ) and spiritual body (Erhi ).
It is the Erhi that declares man’s destiny and controls the self-realization of man’s destiny before he incarnates into the world. Erhi also controls the overall well being (Ufuoma) of the man. Ọghẹnẹ is like a monarch who sets his seal on the path of destiny.
In the spirit world, Erivwin, man’s destiny is ratified and sealed. In the final journey of the Erhi , after transition, the Urhobo believe the physical body,
Ugboma , decays while the Ehri is indestructible and joins the ancestors in Erivwin. The elaborate and symbolic burial rites are meant to prepare the departed Erhi for happy re-union with the ancestors.
Despite this age-old and complex belief system, the influence of western civilization and Christianity is fast becoming an acceptable religion in most Urhobo communities. Many belong to Catholic and new
Epha divination, similar to the Yoruba Ifá and practiced by many West African ethnic groups, is practiced with strings of cowries. There are 1,261
ejo (deities), including the one-handed, one-legged mirror-holding whirlwind-god Aziza.
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Man Commits Suicide In Sapele Over Wife’s Infidelity
A 48 years old father of six, Felix Edore, has taken his life in Sapele, Delta State, after finding out that his wife of over l6 years was cheating on him.
Sources said the cab driver who shuttle between Abraka – Eku and Sapele took his life when he opted to drink Sniper on Friday night and was rushed to a private clinic in the Amukpe area of Sapele, where the doctors battled to save his life until he gave up on Saturday morning.
Residents described him as an easy going man, who was passionate about his job and had just bought a second hand car that he was using to play his route.
A neighbor who identified herself as Mama Rita told Vanguard that “Edore decided to end it all when he suspected that his wife was indulging in extra-marital affairs.
“The deceased was married to the wife and they have six kids, the man was always complaining of his wife infidelity and most times they would quarrel over it, and he was always saying he would kill himself because of her infidelity so that day we never knew he had bought a sniper insecticide and before we knew what was happening, he drank the insecticide in his car and people who saw him raised alarm, that was how we found out and people rushed him to the hospital, only to give up on Saturday”
A neighbor, who beg not to disclose her name, recalled how Edore drank the Sniper that evening without drawing suspicion “He came home that evening and was as usual very lively, he brought his car and was complaining about the radiator or so, it was when he left and came back that we learnt he had drank Sniper, I think he must have taken the insecticide inside the car”
The incident was reported at the Okirighwre Police Station, while relatives were said to have assisted in burying Edore’s body in his village, Kpokpogiri, along Warri – Sapele road.
Two Injured As Ambulance Conveying Corpse Causes Multiple Accident In Ughelli
The ambulance with registration number, Delta AA 232 TDU, was said to have been heading to Owerri in Imo State from Ughelli with the corpse when the driver of the ambulance lost control according to an eye witness at the scene of the accident.
Two children who were by the roadside sustained injuries during the accident involving three other vehicles.
However, the driver of the ambulance narrowly escaped mob action from sympathizers at the scene of the accident who blamed him for the crash after he was alleged to have lost control and rammed into a building by the roadside.
It took the timely intervention of a police officer from the Ughelli Police Area Command who rushed to the scene of the accident to rescue the driver from being lynched after the angry mob that had gathered had already started beating him.
Confirming the incident, a police source from the Ughelli Police Area Command said: “From investigations carried out at the scene of the accident, it appears the driver of the ambulance lost control due to break failure and rammed into a building leading to an accident involving three other cars.
“The driver had to be rescued and taken to the police station to avoid a mob action on him while the children injured during the accident, were also taken to the hospital for treatment.”
Schools In Urhobo Communities Where Students Sit On Bare Floor To Learn
Isherhe Primary School and Adagwe Grammar School in Ughelli North local government area of Delta State are places where pupils and students sit on the bare floor to learn despite provisions by the state ministries of Basic Education and Higher Education.
Founded in 1980, Adagwe Grammar School, located in Eruemukohwarien, plays host to hundreds of students from Ekrokpe and Ekakpamre communities while Ishwrhe Primary School, founded in 1929, accommodates pupils from Oviri, Orho-Agbarho and a host of other communities.
While Eruemukohwarien also plays host to the Transcorp Power Station, Beta Glass Company, the OML30 and 34 and a tank farm, known as the Ughelli Pumping Station, UPS, owned by ND-Western/Shoreline/NPDC joint ventures, Agbarho is the traditional headquarters of Agbarho Kingdom.
Similar to the Success Adegor story of the Okotie-Ebor Primary School, Sapele, who protested after being sent away from school for non-payment of school fees, students of both schools are forced to learn in ridiculous environment while using their thighs as table as others sprawl on the floor for their daily lessons.
The current Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, who was Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, had, while responding to an Instrgram post by a youth corps member in May 2019 on the poor state of Adagwe Grammar School, affirmed the efforts of the state government to transform the physical infrastructure in schools in the state with a promise that the challenges of the school will be looked into soonest.
However, a visit to the school by Sunday Vanguard proved that the promised transformation of physical infrastructures in schools in the state by the Delta government is yet to get to the school as things are going from bad to worse.
At Ishwrhe Primary School, the pupils, who seem elated by the visit, were seen on the bare ground owing to the non-availability of furniture while others, who seemed lucky, were seen kneeling on the ground while using a makeshift table without a chair as their writing pad.
Though the Headmaster and Principal of the schools refused to comment on the level of infrastructural decay in the schools, the students lambasted Delta State government for being insensitive to their plight, with one of them lamenting, “Government refused taking care of our school because we are in a rural community.”
Amrore Faith, a 12-year-old JSS 1 student of the school, said: “Delta State government is not trying at all. We need chairs in our school. Our ceilings are not good. We don’t have boards to write on. We don’t have chairs to sit down to learn; we are pleading with the government to bring chairs.”
Okeoghene Thompson, an SSS 2 student, said: “We receive our tutorials while standing or sitting by the windows.”
On his part, Senior Perfect of the school, Atumrigho Matthew, said: “Since we have no chairs in our classes. We have to move to the empty laboratory and call in teachers to teach. Students find it difficult to cope with their studies because right from SSS 1 till now, we have not been taught a single practical.
“I am appealing to the state government and the Commissioner for Education to please come to our help by providing us chairs and enabling learning environment.”
N2, 500 furniture levy
Speaking on efforts taken so far to draw the attention of government to the school, the Parent Teacher Association, PTA, Chairman of the school, Prince Felix Ogbobore, said: “We have written severally to the local and state governments all to no avail.
“There was a time when a PTA meeting was called at the instance of the immediate past Principal, Mrs. Onome Polokor, and, in that meeting, it was resolved that every parent should pay the sum of N2,500 in order to construct desks but the Principal refused, claiming that she needed to formally inform the state government first.
“After a while, she told parents that the state government had turned down the proposal of the N2, 500 levy, saying it was illegal to levy parents.
“She told us that government will do the needful by supplying desks to the school, but for the past five years, nothing has been done and we have not heard from government and that Principal has left the school now.
Govt. accuses communities
Contacted, the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Patrick Ukah, while accusing the host communities of failing to maintain and manage furniture provided for learning in schools in Delta, warned them to use government properties properly.
He said: “Go to the schools and see how many chairs are being destroyed and ask what is destroying these chairs?
“But we have just given four awards for the supply of chairs again and we have done the needs’ assessment and already know how many schools that do not have.
“We have done our own manual of going round all the primary and secondary schools in the state to do the needs’ assessment and that is how we are going to intervene.
“So, we have awarded the contract for chairs for schools in the South, Central and North senatorial districts, then Warri and the state capital and any moment from now they will begin to come out and we embark on the needed intervention.”
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