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THE INTER-GROUP RELATION BETWEEN THE URHOBO AND ITSEKIRI PEOPLE OF DELTA STATE IN PRE-COLONIAL ERA FROM EARLY TIMES TO 1800

  • Type:Project
  • Chapters:4
  • Pages:72
  • Methodology:Descriptive
  • Reference:YES
  • Format:Microsoft Word
(International and Diplomatic Studies Project Topics & Materials)
THE INTER-GROUP RELATION BETWEEN THE URHOBO AND ITSEKIRI PEOPLE OF DELTA STATE IN PRE-COLONIAL ERA FROM EARLY TIMES TO 1800
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION  
Background to Study                            
Aims and Objectives of the Study                
Scope and Limitation of the Study                    
Significance of the Study                     
Methodology                             
Literature Review                             
Endnote                                     
CHAPTER TWO: THE TRADITIONAL POLITICAL
ORGANIZATION OF THE URHOBO AND ITSEKIRI
PEOPLES AND THEIR INTER-GROUP RELATIONS             
Introduction                             
Endnote                                 
CHAPTER THREE: SOCIO-ECONOMIC RELATIONS BETWEEN
THE URHOBO AND ITSEKIRI PEOPLE
Introduction                                 
Socio-Economic Relations between The Urhobo and Itsekiri People        
Trade and Manufacture                            
The Rise of Merchant Class                        
Endnote                                 
CHAPTER FOUR
Conclusion: Summary                             
Bibliography                                 
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND TO STUDY
This research work will be focusing on the inter-group relation between the Urhobo and Itsekiri people of Delta state, from early times to 1800. For a comprehensive knowledge of the factors that determined the relations of both ethnic groups; it is important to also know about the geographical location of the Itsekiri and Urhobo people and their origin.
The Itsekiri inhabit the North-western extremity of the Niger Delta in an area bounded approximately by latitudes 50 20’ and 60 N and longitudes 50 5’ and 50 40’ East. Their neighbours are the Bini to the North, the Ijo to the South the Urhobo to the East and the Yoruba of Ondo province to the North-West1. While the Urhobo speaking people of Delta state inhabit the area lying roughly between longitude 50 30’ and 60 25’ East and latitude 60 and 50 15’ North in Delta State of Nigeria. Their immediate neighbours are the Bini to the North, the Ijo to the South, Ukwuani and Isoko to the East and Itsekiri to the West2.
The Nigerian geographical environment has not been static, its continuous exploitation has engendered a lot of changes which have affected the patterns of inter-group relation. The Urhobo are united not only by ties of ethnicity and culture, but also by the salient geographical features of the territory they occupy as their home land. The whole of Urhobo land is a deltaic plain, generally under 30 meters above mean sea level, without prominent hills rising above the general land surface. The climate is also uniform, being humid subequatorial rainforest climate with a fairly marked seasonality in rainfall distribution3. While the Itsekiri live around the Benin, Forcados and Escravos rivers in the western Delta, which is an area of many mangrove swamps. However, the Itsekiri of Warri town, the capital of the kingdom, lives on drier agricultural land4. The geographical location is very significance in discussing the inter-group relationship of the Urhobo and Iteskiri; socially they have been interrelated and commercially interdependent; while the geographical location of the Itsekiri gave them access to the Niger; the centre of early European commercial activities; the geographical location of the Urhobo people however made them known as producers of palm oil and kernel5, which in turn consequently led to inter-group relations.
It will be very wrong to speak of Urhobo-Itsekiri relations as involving all Uhrobo land and all Itsekiri land, because there had not come to be a Pan-Urhobo interest among the Urhobo people, but in the case of the Itsekiri people, they had a socio-political system which was centralized.
Firstly the origin of the Itsekiri people are like the theories of origin of people across the earths which are generally rooted in Fables and Mythologies so also are the origin of the Itsekiri and the Urhobo; but like others in creation they have found themselves settled in their present location6. John Sayag in the Iwere club journal in 1982 says: the people who constitute the tribe called Itsekiri have diverse origin, one of such is the origin based on migration. The migration origin claims that the founders of the capital Ode-Itsekiri, were men from Igala, south of the Nupe country near the confluence of the Niger and Benue. According to this account the migration was part of the Yoruba travelled in the direction of Ife, but a small band followed the creeks and founded what later became the capital Ode-Itsekiri. This view of the migration is used to explain the similarities between Itsekiri and Yoruba languages7. The Itsekiri speak language that has been amply demonstrated to be closely related to the Yoruba. Linguistics generally refer to their language as Yoruboid. Some group of the Itsekiri people known as the Omadino, Ugborodo and Ureju three towns, claims that they came from Ode in Ijebu country. While another Itsekiri tradition claim that they came from Ugbo in Ilaje-Ese Odo local government Area of Ondo state in Yoruba land8.
Another source of origin of the Itsekiri people is based on legend, this account is recorded in William Moore’s work titled History of the Itsekiri; the account says that Iginuwa migration meant on arrival certain mythical beings whom he called Umale. Most of these beings fled on Iginuwa’s leadership, but one of these being was Itsekiri he remained and was so hospitable to Iginuwa that Iginuwa choose to call the new kingdom after him9. This version has been dismissed by historians, but what the legend try to explain is that there were people already inhabiting the area into which a Bini Prince and his party later moved in to join; although some accepted him others who was not impressed moved away to new areas.
Origin of the Urhobo People: The Urhobo people, consist of  twenty two polities namely: Agbarha-Ame (Agbassa), Agbarha-Otor,Agbarho, Agbon, Arhvwarien, Avwraka, Ephron-Otor, Eghwu, Evwreni, Idjerhe, Aghara, Ogor, Okere(Urhobo), Okparabe, Okpe, Olomu, Orogun, Udu, Ughelli, Ughievwen, Ughwerun and Uvwie10. These politics are known as clans; they all make up the Urhobo people. These clans traced their origin to different sources, while some claim Benin origin, others Ijo and Ibo origin. Urhobo belong to the group of people whose written history is largely undocumented; there is almost an absent of early European records on Urhobo people. The early Europeans were preoccupied with economic interest with the Coastal communities. However in 1505 Pereira observed that the hinterland beyond the Forcados River lived the Subou or Sobo a name that is corrected to mean the Urhobo11.
It is significant to note that the traditions of origin of the various Uhrobo groups do not contain specific reference to one ancestor, according to Hubbard and R. E. Bradbury the Uhrobo people trace their origin to three sources Benin, Ijo and Ibo, there are those who traced their migratory history directly from Benin ; others claim they moved to their present sites from Ijo land and yet a third group traced their origin to Ibo land even among those who traced their origin from Ijo group was not a straight line movement as there is trace of early initial movement from Benin and sojourn in Ijo country before finally settling down in their present site12. The Benin account of Urhobo origin is based on migration according to Jacob Egharevba: the early peoples of the Ishan and Afenmai division, the Eka and Ibo speaking people of the West bank of the Niger, Abou, Urhobo, Isoko and peoples of Onitsha are all emigrants from Benin13. Urhobo left under separate leaders in different direction to found separate governmental territories.
According to Obaro Ikime14, five Urhobo clans have traditions which link them with some of the Ijo. The Ughelli clan as it claims founded by Ogele, a son of the founder Tarakiri Ibe who moved farther afield as a consequence of pressure of population on the original settlement. With him went two brothers, Agbarha and Ogo, who founded settlements now named after them. Ogele, however was accepted by the other two as the senior. The three settlements where sometimes referred to as Owha-clan. Ughelli tradition today confirms this version of their origin and Tarakiri is still used at formalgatherings as a kind of salutation. The clan of Ughienvwe and Ewu are said to have been founded from Ogobiri. According to the traditions Ughienvwe and Ogobiri where brothers who lived first at Ogobiri before some disagreement with their kinsmen forced them to move out. They followed the creeks down the Bomadi area where they settled for a while before they moved unto found the two Urhobo clans which bears their names. The Uwherun tradition speaks of a Bini warriorwho was father to Uwherun the founder of the clan, Uwherun is said to have fled from Benin because his men had accidentally killed one of the Bini Prince during a war. Two of his brothers Utwo and Motolo where among those who joined him in flight. The tradition indicates the three brothers settled somewhere in the eastern Delta; while Utowo and Motolo stayed permanently in the Urhobo clan which bears his name. The Urhobo clan of Uvwie would appear to be found by mixed group, Ijo tradition claims that Evhro was founded by immigrants from Erohwa in Isoko country. The people speak a language that bears striking resemblance from the point of view of a lame man to be the Erohwa tongue, and the Evhro town shrine and festivals are also very closely related Erohwa’s. It may be that both Ijo and Erohwa element fused in Evhro.
Of the remaining Urhobo clans, Abraka, Aghou, Orogun and Olomu claim to have been founded from Benin. It must be stated however that close questioning of the elders failed to produce any great details other than the general claim that the founding ancestors moved away from Benin on account of the Oba’s hostility or fear of punishment after some misdemeanour. The Olomu traditions also indicate that at some point Ibo elements moved into the area and where assimilated into the population15.   
The origin of the peoples of Delta state particularly the Urhobo and Itsekiri people one cannot speak with exactitude even when it’s based on British intelligence report; as they found themselves that is colonial officials who wrote these intelligent reports, sometimes having to write what their senior officers would like to read rather than what really is the peoples history. According to Obaro Ikime16, he said that in virtually all tradition of origin of the Urhobo people there is some reference to Benin; clearly it was fashionable to claim Benin origin because of the reputation that Benin attained in early times. However linguistics evidence has called to question claims of Benin origin by Urhobo and Isoko. According to Ben Elugbe17, the Edo language of Benin proper and Urhobo language are amongst others which have been classified as Edoid  and are of about the same antiquity. Thatmeans Urhobo people could not have developed new languages after migration from Benin. Elugbe 18 therefore points that the Bini, Urhobo, Isoko and other Edoid groups had a common origin in the distance past and migrated to their present locations in different waves at different times. If this be so, then the reference to Benin in tradition of the Urhobo could well be referring to later (rather than founding) migrations into areas already inhabited by groups who spoke the Urhobo language. It can therefore be argued that since the Benin migration was the latest, they are the most remembered19.
    Having discussed the origin of both ethnic groups, it is important to state that origin in themselves cannot be used as determinant for inter-group relations; but each migrant went up to develop their own patterns of political organization but as times went on and as they existed side by side as neighbours both groups developed a socio-economic relation which is the focus of this research work; the intergroup relation between the Urhobo and Itsekiri people from early time to 1800.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY   
    The aims and objective of this study includes:-
To examine the geographical location of both ethnic groups and their origin and its effect on the pattern of inter-group relations
To show how inter-group relation influences the social organization of the Urhobo and Itsekiri and its consequent similarities in various social aspect of lives of the people, from early times to the period under consideration.
To examine the various economic development and commercial relation between both groups.
To explain the nature of their relation and its importance to their survival. Areas of success and failures, areas of advantage and disadvantage based on the geographical location of individual ethnic group.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work will focus on the history of Itsekiri and Urhobo people from early times and terminate at 1800.
This research work shall be limited to a critical and analytical method for a valid knowledge of the inter-group relations between the Itsekiri and the Urhobo people.
The study will cover all aspect of the lives of Urhobo and Itsekiri people based on available sources, to place this research work on historical perspective.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this research work is to develop a valid knowledge based on available sources on how two different ethnic groups has existed side by side and also to know the nature of their relationship and how their interaction had been from early times to 1800.
Through the result gotten from this research it will contribute greatly to a more comprehensive and broader knowledge of educating other students of history and non history students who want to have a knowledge about inter- group relation concerning the Urhobo and Itsekiri people of Delta state.
METHODOLOGY
In the course of this research, relevant data from two main sources will be utilized. These are Primary sources and Secondary sources. The Primary source which will be utilized in this research includes Archival materials, unpublished government records, Government publications, News Papers, Private papers, Dairies, minutes of co-operate organization, correspondence, Pamphlets, Oral tradition gotten from  interviews; these will be utilized for a careful examination of inter-group relations between the two ethnic groups under consideration.
Secondary sources will also be utilized in the course of this research, the secondary sources includes books written by scholars in history; particularly authors who have done considerable research and published their works on Niger Delta People particularly the Urhobo and Itsekiri. Also; the secondary source will be text books, journals and periodicals gotten from libraries across the country; internet materials, monographs and theses. With the information gotten from both sources, it will give research work factual backing for a better historical interpretation of the inter-group relations between the Urhobo and Itsekiri people.
LITERATURE REVIEW
These are literatures which deal with relevant aspects of the Urhobo and Itsekiri peoples and their area of inter-group relations. Some of these literature includes:- Obaro Ikime20. “The peoples and kingdoms of Delta Province”, in Obaro Ikime ed, Groundwork of Nigeria History this work specifically treats “The peoples of the kingdoms of the Delta Province” The origin of the people of Delta state and their trade system, the rise of kingdoms and inter-group relation. The author further examine in chapter ten of the work Nigeria before 1800: aspects of economic development and inter-group relations. This scholarly work not only examines the economic development of both groups but also talks about their interactions.
Another work that will also be relevant to this long essay is the work by William Moore, History of Itsekiri21, this book examines the origin of the Itsekiri people using both mythologies and migration theories, it also went further to discuss the socio-political system and organization of the Itsekiri people in early times; this work will assist in giving a foundational knowledge of who the Itsekiri people are and how they establish their socio-political organization.
Another major work in regard to the Urhobo people that will aid this research is by Onigu Otite, “A Peep into the History of the Urhobo” in The Urhobo People22, ed. Onigu Otite this work takes a careful look at the geographical location of the Urhobo people and also discuss the origin of the various clans that make up the Urhobo people and their socio-political organization and economic lives.
Moreso J.O.S Ayomike, A History of Warri23, the focus of this book is on the Itsekiri, it examines the origin of the Itsekiri people that is how they came to be and the origin of their monarch and the establishment of a centralized system; this work will assist this research in the political organization of the Itsekiri people.  
Also serving as a secondary source of this research work is R.E Bradbury and P.C Lloyd, The Benin Kingdom and the Edo Speaking people of Southern Nigeria together with a section on the Itsekiri24 these book will aid this research work as it examines the various Edoid linguistic groups in terms of their origin, physical environment, demography, social and political organization and main features of their economy and a section of Itsekiri socio-political and economic system, which gives a complete information about the Urhobo and Itsekiri People.
Further more Obaro Ikime The Niger Delta Rivalry25, this book examines the indigenous  antecedents, the work is also concerned with the study of the two peoples ( Urhobo and Itsekiri )  the Itsekiri as well known fisher folks and traders, who occupy the coastal belt, while the Urhobo a hinterland agricultural people known for their dynamic socio-political system which their respective geographical location have been a determinant of the nature of their relation during the period under consideration on this research.
Another Literature is by Anthony I. Ogbemi Ifediora, “Fishing in the Economics of Pre-Colonial (Ale-Iwere) Itsekiri land” in Pre-colonial economic History of Nigerian26 (ed.) I.A Akinjogbin and S. Osaba this work focuses on the pre-colonial economic system of early Nigerian people and in particular the Itsekiri economic system in pre-colonial times, it high lights an aspect of the economic history of the Itsekiri people which is fishing.
Furthermore assisting this research work is the literature by Obaro Ikime, 27History, The Historian and The Nation. The work is a collection of essay and seminar papers delivered at different fora by Professor Obaro Ikime,it discusses inter-group relations in our culturally diverse nation in pre-colonial times and the role of the historian in reconstructing the past.
 Also Peter P. Ekeh Urhobo Studies28. This literature by Professor Peter P. Ekeh talks about every facet of the Urhobo people, their origin, language, social organization, political organization and economic activities, this work will also assist in a better research based on vital sources such as this.
 Another secondary source that will aid this long essay is by HRH Onajite Igere Adjara III and Andy Omokri, Urhobo Kingdoms Political and Social Systems28. This literature specifically focuses on the social system of the Urhobo people in early times and until date and also in the political Organization. This work emphases on the peculiarity of the egalitarian and republicanism kind of political system as power was not so centralized in early Urhobo society, it also discusses other Urhobo Clans that have also succeeded in establishing a central system and the recent emergence of monarchical system in clans where it was previously absent, but this work will aid this research in the area of socio-political organization of the Urhobo people in early times.
Justin Okoroji Itsekiri, traditional worship this literature will assist this project work in the social organization of the Itsekiri people, as its talks about the religious believe of the  Itsekiri people their festivals and also their culture.   
ENDNOTE
Obaro Ikime, Merchant Prince of Niger Delta (London: Heinemann, 1968) 1.
Onajite I. Adjara and Andy Omori, Urhobo Kingdoms Political and Social Systems (Ibadan: Textflow, 1997) 1.
Albert O. Aweto and Jomata L. Igben “Geography of Urhobo Land” In The Urhobo People, (ed.) Onigu Otite (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1982) 11.
J.O.S. Ayomike, A History of Warri (Benin City: Ilupeju Press, 1989) XXIV.
Obaro Ikime, Niger Delta Rivalry (London: Longman, Press 1969) 6.
J.O.S. Ayomike, ‘Foreword’ in Warri: A Focus on the Itsekiri, (ed.), J.O.S. Ayomike, (Pennsylvania: Dorrance, 2009) XXIV.
O.  Ikime, Niger Delta Rivalry 33.
A.I.O Ifediora “Fishing in the Economy of Pre-colonial Ale – Iwere Itsekiri Land”, in Pre-Colonial Economic History of Nigeria, (ed.), O.N. Njoku (Benin City: Osasu Press, 2002) 63.
William Moore, History of Warri (London: Fraule Cass and Co Limited, 1970) 13.
Albert Orodena Aweto and Jemata Lucky Igben, “Geography of Urhobo Land” in The Urhobo People, (ed.) Onigu Otite (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1982) 11.
Ibid 36.
Onajite I. Adjara and Andy Omokri, Urhobo Kingdoms Political and Social Systems, 3-4.
Jacob Egharevba, A Short History of Benin, (Ibadan; Ibadan University Press, 1968) 5.
Obaro Ikime, “The peoples and Kingdoms of Delta Province” in Ground Work of Nigerian (ed.) Obaro Ikime (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1980) 93.
Ibid. 92.
Obaro Ikime “Thoughts on Isoko – Urhobo Relations” in The Urhobo People of Niger Delta, (ed.), Peter P. Ekeh (Ibadan: Intec. Press, 2006) 503.
Ibid 506.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Obaro  Ikime,  “The Peoples and Kingdoms of Delta Province” 89.
William Moore, History of Itsekiri, 14.
Onigu Otite, The Urhobo People, 5.
J.O.S Ayomike, A History of Warri (Benin City: Ilupeju Press, 1988) 878.
Daryll Forde, The Benin Kingdom and the Edo-Speaking Peoples of South-Western Nigeria with a section on the Itsekiri (London: International African Institute, 1957) 123.
Obaro Ikime, Niger Delta Rivalry 8.
Njoku, Pre-Colonial Economic History of Nigeria, 64.
Obaro Ikime, History, The Historian and the Nation. (Ibadan: Heinemann, 2006) 91.
Peter P. Ekeh, Urhobo Studies, 460.
Onajite Igere Adjara and Andy, Urhobo Kingdom Political and social systems, 5.
Eg Justin Okoroje, Itsekiri Traditional Worship (Delta; Island Press and Co. Ltd, 2006) 4.

THE INTER-GROUP RELATION BETWEEN THE URHOBO AND ITSEKIRI PEOPLE OF DELTA STATE IN PRE-COLONIAL ERA FROM EARLY TIMES TO 1800

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Type Project
Department International and Diplomatic Studies
Project ID IDS0071
Price ₦3,000 ($9)
Chapters 4 Chapters
No of Pages 72 Pages
Methodology Descriptive
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department International and Diplomatic Studies
    Project ID IDS0071
    Price ₦3,000 ($9)
    Chapters 4 Chapters
    No of Pages 72 Pages
    Methodology Descriptive
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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