Welcome To Etsako Land
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The territory of the Etsako lies in the North-West of Edo state, Nigeria (Edo north senatorial District) It consists of thirteen clans, namely: UZAIRUE,AUCHI,SOUTH UNEME,THE THREE IBIES,WEPPA WANNO, AVIANWU, OKPELLA, EKPERI, ANWAIN, SOUTH IBIES, JAGBE, AVIELE and OKPEKPE.The people are believed to have migrated from Benin between the 13th and 15 centuries, hence they form one of the Edo speaking tribes of Nigeria according to historical accounts,with a few pockets of exceptions. They all maintain their Edo dialects withvarying modifications, expressed in their respective dialects of the various clans viz. Auchi, Aviele, Anwain, South Ibie, Uzairue, (Etsako west LGA) Avianwu (in Etsako Central), North Ibie, Okpella, Unernhe, and Weppa-Wano (in Etsako East LGA).

Etsako Land to the east is bounded by the Niger river, kwara state in the north, Esan land in the south and Akoko-Edo and Owan territory in the.west.

There are also other Etsako people in Owan East and parts of Akoko Edo Local Government areas. They include Ihiebe, Iviaro in Owan and the North Unemhe in Akoko Edo.

The similarities of the Etsako dialect with Benin are a strange evidence of their Benin origin. In addition to other cultural manifestation and ties, they maintained strong political ties with the Benin homestead, for instance the customs of sending the skin of leopard hunted in the region to the Oba of Benin, in recognition of his political headship (this custom) died a few Centuries ago.

As the metropolis Benin became weak and could not enforce adherence to its political headship as well as ensuring security of the area, Benin started losing its control over these territories, this was noticed especially with the discontinuation of the custom of paying allegiance to the Oba of Benin, with leopard skin and the most beautiful girls. The communities that hitherto made efforts to comply with these customs became emboldened and stopped. The refusal to pay such homage to Benin heighten when the emissaries sent to Benin never returned again, and the waiting period for such emissaries was one year, after which they are declared and deemed dead.

There were other practices like the sending of the most beautiful (“yellow “) girl in any of the Etsako communities to the Oba.

The people of Etsako of the old had bodily scarification like their ancestral Bini and these persisted as a common feature up till the end of 19th century in Okpella, especially among the women folks. There were other facial marks that later crept into Etsako that did not have their origin in Benin. These are more recent cultural features.

The age-grade system, an Edo - Bini cultural feature is still very prevalent with the various Etsako communities, although it has its own peculiarity from one community to another. A very significant cultural feature of the Etsako was the custom of teeth filing. In fact the various Bini communities referred to as Etsako, derived their name from this age-long culture of teeth filing. This custom has waned; it could be safely said to have died, as the generation that filed their teeth has only a few of them surviving today.

The history of teeth filing in Africa dates far back in antiquity. It was found among the Egyptians’, the Bantus of South Africa and the Bassa speaking people of the middle belt of Nigeria. It was introduced from Egypt to the Bini.

The significance of this custom with the Etsako was such that “before an African of Etsakor (Etsako) extraction can be initiated into any age- class or marriage or any other societal organization, the filling of teeth, both in the past and present days (up till 1947), are absolutely necessary “Thence before the people adopted the name Etsako in the later part of the first half of the 20th century (1940s) they were first referred to by the outside world (the Nupes) as Kukuruku. Ku-ku-ruku was an alarm signal adopted by the people in the event of raids or invasion from intruders around 19th century. Kukuruku was actually adopted from the sound made when a cook crow. Later, they became known as Afemai (Afemah) people. “Afemah “meaning “our people “in Etsako dialect, as the division which bore the appellation ‘Afemah “ were to be the same group Of Edo-Bini people in the area before the creation of Etsako division, which came to embrace only the Bini Etsako (teeth filing) people of the area.