The Origin of Ososo People

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Last update July 3, 2020

Ososo is a clan in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State with a population of about 200,108 people. The area is between 1,200 to 1450 feet above the seal level. The highest peak lies at 2,484 feet is a border town between Kogi and Edo State. 

The historical background is that the Ososo man migrated from Ogbe Quarter in Benin City during the reign of Oba Ozolua in about 1481 A.D. It is also said that the ancestors went through many hardships and suffered so much losses on their way to the Northern part of Nigeria getting to “IDA” a town in the present Kogi State settled down temporarily at a place called ''Unuame'' (water side) where the lake came to "Enidegbe''.

The Ososo man could not find peace due to tribal wars and drowning of his children he left "Unuame" (water side) after the war of the year 1515 A:D and found their way to "Orugbe" in ''Adikhorikho” where they found comfort because of the stream it was also a good land for farming and hunting. This is where he gave birth “Ozshioso" (Ososo) because he could not have his good view of his enemies, he moved to ''Egbegu'' where he sighted "Orhke" where we have the present "Tourist Centre'' in Anni quarter a place he can vividly view the entire valley and its horizons down to ''Okhekhe" a pond area grown with elephant grasses in "Odokpa" quarter. He went next down to ''Egbetua"" but returned back to “Okhekhe” because of the fresh water and other good essential needs for life and has "Osuno''as a spy hill after settlement, he later discover lkpena quarter.

Ososo is made up of four quarters Anni, Egbetua, Okho and Ikpene these quarters has been sub-divided into eighteen since the villages have grown very large and have virtually become one nuclear settlement called Ososo chiefdom.

According to another information Ososo people in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State have a long history of migration. The town has four communities and they migrated from one source, ancient Benin kingdom, settling and resettling in almost the same land mass. These four communities according to Chief Otaru in an interview are Ani, Egbetua, Okhe and Ikpena. The Ikpena and Ani communities came through the place called “Uniamhe”, that is the River Niger bank of present day Ajaokuta/Okene axis. Others like Egbetua and Okhe communities of Ososo came through Okpella, and Makeke routes. In her contact with these towns, Ososo must have been influenced by their cultures and lifestyle as reflected in the similarity of dance and marriage performances.

To maintain constant contact between the four migrating communities, during this exodus, they devised various means of communication. They communicated with one another through the use of signs, symbols, insignia and other means: smoke, bush or grass tying, tree felling, stones and woods arrangements, ululation and these have now been incorporated into their dance culture. To preserve and articulate the migratory centripetal signs and symbols, and historical antecedent, dance was evolved been a powerful medium of expression.

To the Ososo people, life is a complete entity. It is good and peaceful. An understanding amongst the people is maintained through effective communication. This is their worldview and it is what informs the need for constant communication. The living, the dead and the unborn are constantly united by this belief system. As Oba Obaitan Adeloro (the king of Ososo) puts it, the dead, the living and the unborn are constantly united in dance, that is, the past, present and future are brought together in the “Ishimi-Ujo” (the people and masquerade (dance). The ancestor (the past) in masquerade form, blesses the living (the dancers), with tunborn (the future).This is also done mostly according to Chief Ajayi Ubuoro, in an interview, during the Unehe festival when the masquerades move from homestead to homestead blessing, admonishing, warning the wrong and warding off evil spirits from the society. This belief in the unity of the living and the dead is introduced into marriage dance whether for entertainment or punitive purposes.

Ososo Marriage and Semiotics

The Ososo philosophy of life is further strengthened by the marriage system. A mistake in marriage affects not ust the couple, but the society in general. That explains why one marriage is for all and all are for one marriage.A collapse in marriage, it is believed, distorts the orderliness and flow of life. Thus the obviko or obvhiko,maiden rite in which a girl is made to go through the lessons and spirit of marital life was instituted by the society to put marriage in proper perspective and the ishimi -olorho, the marriage punitive dance for a husband,was also instituted to checkmate his assault on the wife.

Among the Ososo people, marriage (Ikpovbiko or Ikposa) is held sacrosanct. It is traditional and a means of “Ijetaro” (continuity) and “Ikwegbegbe” (solidarity) among the four Ososo communities. As we have in most African countries, it takes the involvement of both families of the man and women to contract a marriage. Semiotics plays a crucial role in marriage and evident in the exchange of gifts items, sharing of food (“Enere”) and drinks (“Ato”) and of course dancing (Ishimi). Marriage dissolution also involves the issuance of semiotic materials like; leaves, corn cob, empty calabash etc. In spite of modernization, when three leaves areenveloped and sent to a wife in a distant town or city, it indicates that she should move out of the husband’s home and is hereby divorced. Further still, when a corn cob or calabash is taken to a couple it is to ask them why a child has not been given to the family. Furthermore, the carrying of a he-goat on the shoulders by a husband in Ishimi Olorho, speaks punishment or reprimand. The aforementioned semiotic interaction, according to Chief Michael Irefu in an interview, ventilates the power of non-verbal communication in Ososo culture. He also points out that a gift of a he-goat to a wife’s mother by a husband at the birth of the first male child signifies gratitude and reference. This attitude and ideological use of sign and symbols among the Ososo people is reflective even more in their dances.

This is not farfetched because dance to the people is a purveyor and transmitter of culture. when a husband divorced his wife with izunu (a curse), never to re-marry her, if the husband so wishes to re-marry the same woman he must perform the goat–backing or carrying, dancing and cleansing ritual known as igwugwe in Ososo parlance. During the performance, his age-grade members use "Operi" (whip in English) on the man An interrogation of the dance implies that a goat is known to be stubborn. It goes astray without telling its owner, the whip is usually the weapon used on it. In this dance iconic signs are applied, the man is the goat, and the whip, the society and the route of the dance performance, a correction. The likeness is derived from the society's recognition of them as traditional semiotics. The man, just like the goat, needs the whip (the society), to come back to his senses before his wife returns to him. It is believed that his action negates the sacrosanct position of marriage in the society. Therefore, he must dance round the town to seek forgiveness. This attitude serves to prevent men from taking undue advantage of the women in the Ososo society.


The entire clan speaks the same language and they have no cultural and traditional conflicts.


The people of Ososo are predominantly farmers. Cocoa and oil palm is part of their cash crops and resources. The women do petty trading, cloth weaving and brewing of "pito" beer.

Clan Headship

Ugbedu kindred" in Olehe village Ososo is the particular kindred that produce the king whenever there is vacancy.

Traditional Festivals

Ososo has many festivals. The most important one which embraces the entire town or chiefdom is "Itakpo" festival which takes place ever seven (7) years. This festival brings men - young men into maturity - or manhood. When a man accomplishes this stage, he is now regarded as an elder and can sit in the council of chiefs and elders and make his own contribution to the issue affecting the community. There are other festivals like “Owa” which takes place annually. And of course, there is a borrowed festival from Okene which most people celebrated annually it is called “Ulehe” Christians don’t take part in this festival since parts of it are fetish.


It is claimed that Christianity is the main religion of the Ososo people. Islam is practiced on a small scale. Those who belief in African traditional religion have their shrine and priest there too.

Marital Rites

Ososo chiefdom has simple bride price (a) 30 tubers of yams (b) suitcase with some bridal clothes, like wrappers, head tie, under wears shoes etc. (c) an umbrella (d) 28 cowries and about N1000.00 and many more . Ososo people do not discriminate in issues of marriage. They also have an open door policy for non indigenes. Today, the social taboos about marriage are over in Ososo people marry from anywhere in Nigeria - even oversees. They do not have an inhibition in marrying anywhere in the local government - Akoko-Edo - or in the entire Nigeria.

Ososo kindreds

Ososo have Olehe with three kindreds. vis

OLEHE                          EGBETUA                            IKPENA

Ughedu                         Obiomokiye                          Udu

Oporipo                         Uduoke                               Oshemi

Ubereni                         Anni                                    Ode

These kindred foster unity among their difference groupings. They make sure there are no conflicts with other groups. They also have Anni oldest among the early settlers. This village in size remains the smallest refuses to grow fast like the others. However in spite of their size they are accorded their seniority status.

Traditional Dressing

In dressing Ososo people have a combination of native attires and western dresses.


Ososo people are good eaters their staple food is pounded yam. They also eat eba, amala, rice and beans.

Land Ownership

0soso people have communal and family land in their clan The Olosose of Ososo owns all land in principle as he hold all land in trust for the government

Traditional Medicine

Herbal medicine which is also called traditional medicine - simply put asTrado-Medicine is operational. They are used side by side with western drugs.

They are effective here the people of Ososo do not rely on western alone. In fact, their traditional medicines complement western and Asian medicine here.

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