The History of Somorika

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Last update June 26, 2020

Historial Background

Somorika lies 2 ½ miles North east of Igarra on a small inaccessible plateau in the hills.  Ogbe stand on a steep hill side 2 miles north of Somorika and is divided from it by a valley, the bottom of which is nearly 300 feet below both villages. Onumu is approximately four (4) miles North West of Somorika at the foot of a steep hill from the top of which the village was removed forcibly in 1919. Eshawa lies 2 ½ miles due west of Osi (Aiyegunle). The Onumu people possess some good farm land to the North but the Ogbes and Somorikas scratch a meager living from the rocky hill sides.

Somorika is one of the Okpameri speaking communities of Akoko Edo, Edo state. According to archives record the people of Somorika, Onumu and Ogbe have a common descent from emigrants from Benin. Therefore bears settled together first at ldah, then at Egay near Okene and then at the west of lbillo and now has no existence. They then move south ward, then the founders of Onumu and Ogbe settling at, or near the present sites of these villages. The Somorikas contained and either overcome or were received by the villages of Uso, Uwehimi, Uwape and Ogosorose, the ruminants of whose people claim be aboriginal.

According to Tunde Ekharo, a writer and an indigene of the ancient town, “Somorikans are Benin warriors who reneged on a military assignment during the time of Oba Ewuare of Benin to found an independent kingdom for themselves. Their leader, Orudu hailed from Usilowa quarters of Benin. On arrival at the Kukuruku hills, they met four aboriginal villages of Wakpe, Usho, Wehune and Ogogorosho on the land. The Benin emigrants were peacefully received and a process of unification and integration with these tribes commenced in earnest resulting in the strong resilient nation state called Somorika today.

Owing to its geographical position Somorika provided a haven as refuge to many other villages during the lbadan raids and their first Nupe invader deemed it wise to make a peaceful agreement with its people. It then became Nupe advanced headquarters and the families gave assistance to them and receiver in return a share of the tribute paid by surrounding villages.  After 1890 Somorika became a focal point to the British authority. Somorika did not come under proper British administrative control until 1909, when it was captured by a strong military patrol

The village has been administered since 1890 from Ikaran, kabba, Okene, Iddo. Fugar and Auchi successively.


Somorika- The first settler was led by brothers Owa and Esano. The descendants of the former became divided into five (5) families (Akonosha, Ilejere. Uwesi. Obakwa and Ibilokara) and those of the latter into five (5) families (Izoba. Ibilokere. Ekpore, Ogun and Ekpereke). The villages was later divided into three territorial quarters Oyinokara, Igeni and Oyenovo and these families were grouped as follows

Oyinokara                            Igoni                              Oyenovo

Izoba   (o)                           Ibilokere (o)                    Ekpere (E)

Obekw a (o)                         Uwesi (o)                        Ogun (E)

Ibilokara (o)                         Ilejere (o)                      Ekpere (E)

                                         Akonegba (o)

(E) Descendants of "Esama” and (o) those of Owa. The aboriginal village of Uwapa had three (3) families and one was allotted to each quarter, the Usos and Ogogoros became part of Oyenovo and the Uewhumia of Igonis. The refugees from Eshiawa joined Oyenovo. At a later date the quarters lost their territorial character and the Akongba family of Igoni was further divided into three (3) parts called Agbaveda. Inye  and Otadi. The village was divided into the following administration units.



Oyenovo Quarters

Uzoba (E)

Agbarede (E)

Ekpere (E)

Obekwa  (o)

Inye (o)

Ogun (E)

Ibilokara (o)

Otadi (o)

Ekpereke (E) .

Uwape (ab)

Ibilokere (E)

Eshiawa (r)

Uwesi (o)

 Uso (ab)

Ogororoso (ab)

(r) denotes refugees   and (ab) denotes aborigines.

The extent of which these units continue to function as such is discussed here after.

In early days, the village was ruled by the chief priest, who now takes the title of Otaru. The holder of this post was selected by the whole village from the descendants of OWA and ESAMO in turn and as time went on he became so holy that he was confined to his house. About 1860 the choice fell on the Usomo of the Owa family, who being a man of personality and courage gave it to his brother and himself assumed executive control over the village. Assisted by Nupes with whom he had the good sense to make peace, he reduced the descendant of Esamo, and of the aboriginal villages and refugees to a state of seldom. They were forbidden to keep cattle, wear beads and to worship their family gods and were compelled to carry loads and perform menial tasks for any son of Owa who required them to do so. This state of affairs lasted until 1936, when Daiye a direct descendant of Usomo who had become District head in 1924, died. The serfs then revolted and refused to acknowledge the individual selected as village head (or lmah) by the Owa family.

They were led by one Aduro of the Ekpere family of Oyenovo quarter who does not appear to be more than 30 years of age and it is interesting to note that this is not only a revolt of the oppressed against their oppressor, but of youth against age.

In January 1940 there were two irreconcilable parties, the Owa family insisting not only their sole right to appoint a village head but also to prevent anyone else keeping cattle, wearing beads or reaping palm trees on the one hand and the other the rest of the village range solidly behind Aduro to resist these claims. After the first meeting held in the market at Somorika they expressed determination to divide the village entirely independent administrative units (descendants of OWA, ESAMO, ESHIAWA, UWAPE, UWEHUMI, USO and OGOGOROSO) was answered by a refusal to proceed with proposals for reorganization on those terms.

During the ensuring month negotiations led to some form of agreement and at a village meeting held on 24th of February a representative village council was selected with the following membership.

Oyenokara Quarter: Uwape 2 member, Obekwa family one. Ibilokara one.

Izoba 2 -6.

lgoni quarter: Agbavede family 2 members, Ibilokara 2. Uwape 2, Uwesi

In Somorika, according to one of Somorika’s high chiefs, Chief Ogedenbge, there are seven basic age grades: Isisiboto, Isiri, Ekuefe, Iposha, Ekualeburu,Ekuopa, Ibiase. He adds that there are equally more advanced ones such as the Eku-elayannefe, Ihuwa ekara, Isogule and equally the revered philosopher kings age grade called Isuogulehu who wear the wing feather of a very rare bird called Okosomi fixed on a special straw hat called okara. At the next celebration of the wearer the feather faces outward and then inwards again until the owner joins his ancestors. The oldest man in Somorika however retains a unique position in the power equation of the community.

Musical Instrument and Drums in Somonka

(1) Agba  (2) Usa  (3) Odi  (4) Ile (5)Iro (gong)  (6)Ekanga

The Odi drum is used during Ogiri festival while the Ilo is used during women age grade festival called Umanaza festival but a woman who does not have money during this age grade festival, can use hand in place of this musical instrument.

Shrine and Deities

Somorika is known by people from far and near because of the efficacy of a powerful shrine called Olukwaigbe which has the same name with the deity called Olukwaigbe . The motto of this powerful Shrine is "Love Your Neighbour as Yourself'

In the recent past Olukweigbe shrine serves the spiritual needs of the people of Somorika. But recently people still come in mass with their different problems to seek for solution from Olukweigbe

According to Somorika’s chief priest they have a prominent shrine here that was established in 1955 to meet the spiritual needs of its adherents and strangers. The major ideology preached at the shrine is encapsulated in the spiritual principle of “love your neighbor as yourself and do unto others as you would want others do to you.” There, you can find solutions to all life’s problems such as poverty, infertility, sicknesses and spiritual attacks.They have recorded a lot of successes. People also come from abroad to sample their miracles in Somorika. The shrine resonates around a particular juju which automatically protects any Somorikan wherever they may reside on the surface of the earth.

On the perceived powers of the average Somorikan to read minds and predict future happenings .He says this is true but the powers are not as widespread among the indigenes as many are wont to believe. He adds that only a few possess this mystic gift as specific families where the gift resides pass it along to their children while those who desire it have to learn from the few who actually possess the gift. According to him “If you wish evil for any Somorikan, you must be prepared to die because we all have a powerful deity guarding us from all forms of evil. Some of us are even blessed with the powers to read minds so even before you carry out your evil intention, the average Somorikan will be aware. Some even have the power to foretell what is to happen in the future. Some prominent fortune tellers in our midst have even passed down the gift to their children or younger ones. For those who are willing to learn, they can serve as apprentices under such famed persons and after a few years, they would be able to operate the gift. But it is not true that all Somorikans possess mystic gifts”

Due to its efficacy civilization,  Christianity and Islamic  religions has not be able to bring it down or to totally scab it away, people still come in mass with their problem .

Somorika is also blessed with so many Tridomedical doctors among others villages in Akoko Edo


Minerals like Gold, Diamond, Granites precious stones are found mostly in Sornorika and there are still tying untapped. This is because the miners that comes (1) Do not follow the due process, if one wants to mine in Somorika there are some spiritual and official due process which one has to go through and through the right source which is through the clan head the Imah of Somorika.


Their major occupation is farming and petty traders they trade in cocoa, palm oil and kolanuts

Their major festivals are the age group festivals, new yam festivals and annual festivals (Ukpe) .


Interestingly, despite the prominence of traditional worship in Somorika, conventional religions like Christianity and Islam equally thrive in the community. There is a sense of tranquility and peace amongst the three religions, says many of the residents with the different adherents practicing their faith without infringing on the rights of others.


Marital rites in this clan is unique, bride price varies depends on the families of the bride. Marriage is not based on category of the bride and no preference is given to an indigene that is deprived a foreigner. But there is some clan in Akoko Edo which they cannot marry for reasons, been that they inherited this practice from their forefathers based on cultural differences.

Though it has not affected their relationship with these clans, there seem not to be any consequences if violated though this culture can be abolished.

The Mode of their Dressing:

For men - the usually wear traditional shirts with native woven wrapper and matched with as cap. Agbala, Jumper. Caftan and shoroh (native trousers) are also in vogue. While the women - are noted for buba and wrapper with head gear to match. They also wear only wrapper with well plaited hair.


Their major delicacies are Ilazo, pounded yam, Plantain and cassava.

Land Ownership

Land is owned by families but all the land belongs to the Oba.

Trido-Medical /herb

Herbal medicine is embraced as alternative to orthodox medicine in this Clan.

Somorika’s awe inspiring tourist spots:

What perhaps never cease to amaze visitors who throng this historical enclave is the precipitatious natural rocky ascents that go as high as 1700 feet which are interspersed at roughly unequal intervals that fill the borders of the village. These also contain artificial rocky hangers that served as formidable defenses for the Somorikans during the British assault of 1904. These formations of boulders like smooth topped rocks appear to have been concentrated at the summit of the Kukuruku hills. Somorika was reputed to have served as relaxation and vacation spots for British officers and their families during the colonial era due to its exciting landscape.

Another site worthy of beholding are some indelible marks which appear well preserved by nature. The marks are believed to have been made by shrapnels from the British rockets during the war. The region is called Ekisa rocks by the natives. There is also the Oriakpe rock. It comprises a human shaped rock carved intricately by nature on a massive boulder. It is believed to belong to a girl who was agglutinated to the rock due to her disobedience and insolence to the gods. The girl, Omologboloyin, violated an outstanding taboo during Ohome, the marriage festival of the Somorikans. She was subsequently turned into a rock by the gods. Oriakpe rock with Omogboloyin sitting appears to be the only known symbol of Somorika today.

One other prominent rock is the Odeburu rock which is seen as the highest peak of the Kukuruku hills. It is said that with the aid of binoculars, one can see the silvery edge of the River Niger from its peak. The peak can also be seen from surrounding towns and villages even as far as Auchi.

The Iresha spring which flows as deep as 50 feet, is also a unique site that visitors may want to see whenever they go to Somorika. Its water is extremely cool and forms ice at extreme temperatures. This however, pales into insignificance for tourists who prefer to visit the Okoye Rock Lake named after a powerful spirit ancestor of the Somorikans who is reputed to have been a master manufacturer of iron and war implements which the warriors relied on during ancient times. Somorika was perhaps, most appreciated for its healing and miracle center called Ulokuiagbe shrine which even after years of decline, continues to attract many from different parts of the country and beyond who are in search of solutions to varied life’s problems which center on the physical and the spiritual.

Somorika is very rich in culture. Cultural troupes from Somorika have represented Akoko Edo in cultural festivals at the state and national levels in the past and done the area proud. Over the years, some annual and occasional festivals have served as a tourist attraction for people to Somorika.”

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