Bookmark and Share

Last update June 1, 2020

The North-Western Edo inhabit compact towns and villages, usually divided into wards which may in turn contain a number of extended families having, as their nuclei, corporate, localized descent groups.

If the alternative forms of marriage described for the Etsako are practiced in this area too (and the evidence is inconclusive) the probability is that the descent groups are bilateral. There is no direct evidence concerning their structure, but the named founders of extended families are said to have lived, for the most part, more than 100 years ago. Extended families are no longer always discrete geographical entities; in several cases portions of the same family are attached to different wards and even different villages. Nevertheless, they still function as social units with a headman—usually the oldest man—and common objects of worship.

At Ososo there are six descent-groups to which affiliation is through the mother. Members of these “mother-groups “are supposed to support each other in times of misfortune. In Nupe times they are each said to have been responsible for providing two slaves annually towards the tribute sent to Bida. There is some indication that similar groups are present at Somorika and they may prove to be a more general feature of the area.

Wards, like families, are, in many cases, no longer discrete territorial entities, a situation which is probably due to the scattering and re-grouping of the last 100 years. They have; however, remained coherent socio-political units even when, as at Ikpeshi-Egbigele, all wards and extended families are divided between two villages. It is not clear how consistently wards can be associated with single descent-groups; at Somorika this seems certainly not to be the case. In some wards particular families have special privileges in such matters as the appointment of ward headmen.

Although the town or village is usually the autonomous unit the latter is in some cases a pair of villages, which have resulted from the splitting of a single community in recent times. Though divided geographically the community never the less generally continues to function as a single social and political unit. In the case of Osi and Ikiran, however, fission has been more complete.

The three communities Oja, Dagbala, and Ojirami are together called Okuluso, a term apparently connected with the ukpe festival which is common to them al!. They are closely related in dialect and culture though they claim different origins.

Comment Box is loading comments...