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(Last up dateJanuary 1, 2022)

Iuleha is in Owan West is a Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Sabongida Ora. It has an area of 732 km² and a population of 97,388 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 313.

Uzebba is the headquarter, capital and seat of the Oba of Iuleha. The Osi of Eruere should have been the Oba and head of Iuleha clan. The supremacy of Uzebba was because they helped their neighbours win inter tribal wars. This made Uzebba the center of all activities in Iuleha. Uzebba had repositioned itself to its present site from its former site near Umiehi stream. She made this move primary to prevent its vulnerability to attacks.

Iuleha people occupy the north-western part of Edo North in Edo State, in the South-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Iuleha clan is the single largest conglomeration of community in the Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, in terms of size and population. It has continued to play a vital role in the socio-political, cultural and economic development of the local government area. Like many other clans and subclans in the area, the development of Iuleha’s history was highly motivated and influenced by the phenomenon of market rings, ancestral figures and age-grade celebrations. At the same time, these factors were very important as unifying elements among the various villages or communities that make up Iulehaland. Their stories of migrations and settlements are largely woven around the factors of age grade celebrations, market organizations and chanting of primordial songs during major festivals.

Historically, the foundation of Iuleha community relates to one Irimo who is believed to have had a Yoruba ancestry. For instance, Ife and Ijebu-Ode sometimes feature in the discourse relating to the origin of Irimo. This contentious issue is discussed in details in the course of this work as it related to the roles played by market rings, ancestral figures and age-grade celebrations as unifying elements among the people of Iuleha. Iuleha comprises of the following sub clans Aoma,Okpuje and Eruere

Irimo[Aremu in Yourba language] is believed to have migrated from Ile-Ife via Benin or directly from Ife before settling down in Iuleha land around 1200 AD after a brief sojourn in Uokha(or Isokhai), a community believed to be the first and earliest settlement in Ivbiosakon area of present day Owan East in Edo North. It should be added that majority of Ivbiosakon communities and inhabitants claim descent from Benin.However, it appears that Iuleha is the only clan that claims descent from Ile-Ife, the cradle of Yoruba’s sociocultural empire.Evidence indicates that Irimo traced his friend from Benin to Uokha. It is safe to conclude that Irimo sojourned in Uokha with his friend called Akpewewuma

According to Iuleha historian Ayo Obuhoro,Aremu is the son of Izoduwa or Oduduwa of Ile Ife;the present day Osun state. Aremu migrated forst to Ibini or Benin in the company of Oranmiyan,where they met Oba Awaika(pronounced Eweka) who was the then Oba of Benin.

Mr Ayo Obuhoro further states that Aremu moved from Benin with his wife Ooto (Meaning truth in Yoruba language) to his distant cousin in Uokhai. Ooto is commonly called Otoi or Otai in many books on Owan history. Ambition and incompatibilities from Aremo's Yoruba mannerisms led to their separation that made Aremu (Irimo or Aremo) move to the Kukuruku land that had a mixture of Hausa,Ebira, Yoruba and other migrants.They were called Kukuruku because during the Nupe War: when the Nupes come to capture them,they shouted as cockcrows to deceive their captors. They were protected by hills that surrounded them. Those hills are called "Kukuruku hills."

The popular market where the Yorubas and the Kukuruku people traded in Etu (meaning antelope in Yoruba) was called Oja Etu. Oja Etu or market for antelope blossomed and was synchronized as "Jattu" located in Auchi land or Etsako.

Ora historians have a different view about the Origin of the Iuleha people.They disagree that Irimo is the founder of Iuleha. They were of the opinion that when Obazua and Okpame me at Uokha, a bond was formed. When the father of Okpamen [the Oba of Benin ]died,he was recalled to come back to inherit the throne of the Oba of Benin. He went to Benin leaving childless and wifeless Obazua with his wife and children at Iregbe [a village that exist today at west side of Ojavun between Ojavun and Iuleha-Avbiosi] Iregbe now called Odorere today has no inhabitants but is still claimed by Ora people especially when they want to inflate their census figures.

Aoma, the second son of Irimo,see that Obazua was lonely invited him to stay with him.Before Obazu died, he told Aoma people to play Ikpele instrument during his burial which they did. This is what is today the Obazu festival celebrated by Iuleha people.

Some writers were of the opinion that Okpamen and Obazua were great hunters and on one of their hunting expedition,the met a village called Ukpele. Obazua made visits to Ukpele a regular event and on one occasion he saw them in the middle of a festival that strangers are not allowed to observe.He hid and secretly observed the festival.

As he became familiar with Ukpele people, he was allowed to observe the festival. Of the seven instruments were used for the festival, Obazua was allowed to take three of them with him which he used to teach his people about the festival. These same instruments were used during his funeral and today these instruments became an intergral part of the famous Obazu festival. Women stay indoors during the Obazu festival

Some writers believed that Irimo came to Benin from Ile Ife with Oranmiyan. After sometime,Oranmiyan commited some crimes in Benin ans was banished from Benin by the Oba.He left Irimo behind.Irimo,a hunter and spiritualist committed crimes in Benin and was also banished by Oba Ewuare. Similarly, Prince Okpamen Uguan was banished from Benin and he also headed towards Edo north and settled at Uokha where he crossed path with Irimo.

Irimo left Uguan at Uokha and sojourned northwest with his wife to a place he name Oke hill. Otoo had a baby girl named Okosanmi [meaning, this bushy area is homely and favourable to me]. The baby developed upper set of teeth first and this is a taboo in Benin culture. It is called Akon Ohan in Iuleha language. The baby had to be killed or thrown alive into the bush. After consulting an oracle baby was thrown into the bush alive with food to last her for a long time.A hunter from Ikpele (a town in present day Ondo state) found the baby alive and later married her. These people from Ikpele are progenitors of Uroe, a town in present day Owan West Local government area. Other writers believed that Uroe farmers heard the baby crying in the bush and took her to the elders of Uroe,who took care of the baby till she grew up.After some time when Irimo heard that the baby was alive,he went to see her and gave her a name- Omo-Emi [meaning this is my child]. Presently Omo-Emi is a shrine in Uroe and Iuleha.

After the daughter that was thrown into the bush came the sons. Irimo is believed to have had three sons that made up the three sub-clan of Iuleha, namely, Eruere, Aoma and Okpuje, in order of seniority and based on customs and traditions.

The first son was named Ore lu ere named after a their hero,a war lord that ruled the aborigens Azanomos. The second son of Otoo was Aremo named after Irimo's father and now pronounced Aoma. The third son of Otoo(also pronounced Otoi) was named Opa Oje- a Yoruba name;meaning a stick made of silver .This is now pronounced Okpuje in Efenma-Iuleha language

Other historians potray a different picture that Irimo and Otoi, his wife, produced Aoma[a son], while Okpuje seems to have been from a second wife and that Eruere is from a third wife. In any case, it is believed that Otoi lived and died in Oah, a sub-unit of Okpuje. If this is true, it would mean that both Otoi and Okpuje are related.

The major ancestral figures that contributed to the building of centrifugal forces in Iuleha clan included Otoi, the mother figure of Iuleha people and possibly wife of Irimo and Obazua, deified, worshipped and revered among Aoma sub-clan. The spirit of Otoi was remembered through the celebration of Okosan, a non-annual feast organized in her honour. The place of the celebration was in Oah in Okpuje sub-clan, believed to be the last place of abode of Otoi when she agreed to live with her last son, Okpuje.

Irimo Is referred to as Era Iuleha or the father of Iuleha.some Iuleha historians portray a different picture of Irimo. The alleged that when Irimo went back to Ife for the Obaship and refused the Obaship title, on his way back,he founded a town called Erimo near Ijesha land where he died. However; Chief Benjamin Ojeaburu Okpoje Imiewarin; the present custodian of Irimo's burial site opposed this arguement and said that Irimo and his wife lived and died in Oah Okpuje in Iuleha land. These historical facts were passed to him by his late father who he alleged died at the age of 120years and he at 2004 is 84 years of age. He alleged that his father passed every thing about Irimos burial site and that of his wife to him before he passed away.He affirmed that Okosan the burial site of the Irimos still exist till date and he took Mr Ayo Obuhoro to this site for verification and authentication.

Irimo still had ambitions to be the Oba of Ife. He went back to Ile Ife, but was unsuccessful,so he returned to his family at Iuleha. Upon his return, he continued farming. On one occasion, it was alleged that as he ploughed the land, he struck a mysterious three-in-one gourd co-joined at the head ( it is called Ukoleha in Aoma language). At some other time he also struck another mysterious object with designs carved like a tripod for use as a cooking native fireplace or stove called Awe. Unable to unravel the rationale behind these mysterious discoveries, he sojourned back to Ile Ife to consult the oracle. There he was told that he will never be an Oba but, from his blood lineage will emerge kings. There he was told that the mysterious findings of three headed gourd and the tripos styled earthware precludes the future of his three sons. Dejected that his ambition to ever become an Oba will never be fulfilled,he returned home. On getting home he delivered the spiritual message to his family and further implored his wife to use the tripod earthenware (three styled stones) to make fire and cook his food ( this is called IU in iuleha language). He preached unity among his children and gave Eruere his oldest son three headed gourd for safe keeping. This revered gift is still worn today by the oldest man during traditional functions in Eruere.

To Aoma Irimo bequeathed a calabash filled with stringed coral beads given to him when he went to Ile Ife for consultation.to Okpuje, he bequeathed the mysterious tripod styled heart. Okpuje was also saddled with the responsibility of taking care of their mother Ooto which means truth
historian Ayo Obuhoro also alleged that Irimi name his farm Okosanmi (meaning I have gained from tilling thiss ground in yourba language). The name is now altered to Okosan. Irimo and his wife died at Okosan somewhere in todays Oah in Okpuje in Iuleha land.

Ooto had become a diety for all Iuleha people and whenever she is to be worshiped, a cow or Emela is slaughtered with the accompanying song: Oke Amudo, amudo oo do do Egua Okpuje Oto;Ooto's burial ground is slightly distant from that of her husband Irimo, who died before her to educate his children the importance of unity; Irimo used tree huge rocks to symbolize Hearth IU ( native fireplace). He demonstrated how only two stones can make the pot on top of the stones to loose its contents. This is a mark of instability. He affirmed to his the children, the power of the triangle or three

As a consequence of this demonstration the tree children of Irimo agreed to call their unity,union,land and nation "Iu'leha" meaning three stones used to make a native stove can provide collaterally to provide the necessary fore and support to any pot or Uwawa when cooking.

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