Iuleha people

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By Omon Merry Osiki (Last up date October 16, 2018)

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. (Marshall,7 th June, 1939) 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 sub-clans 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. (Ogbomo, 1997; Bradbury, 1964) 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. The work contends that the three cultural elements have acted as centripetal forces, which help to build bonds of kindred identities among the Eruere, Aoma and Okpuje sub-clans that make up the Iuleha clan. Similarly, the same cultural elements have acted as symbols of unity among communities in the various sub-clans. The way markets are scheduled and organized reflected the seniority positions of each community in the sub-clan as well as each sub-clan within the larger clan. In the same vein, festivals were planned to reflect the position of each community in the whole arrangements in Iuleha. Each of these elements is discussed in details to x-ray their roles as unifying factors in Iulehaland.

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