HISTORY OF UROMI
The indigenes called the name as Uromi. This name was called so until the arrival of immigrants from Idumuoza quarters of Benin City. The aborigines have existed in Uromi before 1460 AD.
The people of Uromi in majority came from Benin as a result of Oba Ewuare autocracy which made other Esan people to settle where they are today.
The founder of the first recognized settlement in Uromi was the second son of the three sons of an Oba’s wife known as Oakha. It was reliably gathered that Oakha offended her husband and had to be taken away by her sons in order to avoid being tracked down. They travelled far up to Uromi which was to make vengeance impossible.
Two of the three sons are Asukpodudu and Egbele. According to C. G. Okojie, Egbele said that he could not go further because he had undergone serious torture as a result of his handicap nature. He had mutilated fingers and toes. He decided to settle down. The eldest of the sons Asukpodudn decided to proceed with his mother and the youngest brother because he thought his father could still go as far as sending out search team to look for his mother so they excluding Egbele proceeded to a place which is today known as Uzozoghainghain of Idinegbon of Uzea town. The place where Egbele settled was known later as Idumu-Oto Egbele. In 1460 AD when people left Benin in mass exodus those who finally came to Uromi met the place originally as Oto Egbele and its people can pass for the aborigines. The members of the ruling class in Uromi were the leaders of the immigrants who left Benin to settle at Uromi.
As many refugees came in from Benin, some decided to settle at Ivue under the leadership of Owu. Ivue today is known as a proud and progressive Uromi community. There are seventeen villages that make up today’s Uromi. They are:
- Ebhoyoma (Ebhoiyi)
- Uwal o-N ‘ okc
- Ukoni and
It is necessruy to write out the detail hist01y of each of the villages.
Eguare is the headquarter and seat of traditional rulership. The Onojie resides there. In Uromi, Eguare consists of:
- a) Okpuje which was the 01iginal settlement
- b) Odiguele was 01iginally the place where slaves were kept, before now. It is now inhabited by hard working people.
- c) Ikekiyala: in those days, the executioners lived in the villages.
- d) Oyomo is the village where the crown prince resides
- e) Okhieranlen: This place was the hiding place for the slaves in those days. A majority of the settlers came into Uromi from Idumoza in Benin.
Egbele is the oldest settlement in Uromi town. The position of the people of Egbele is vital in the scheme of things. The installation of an Onojie at Eguare is not complete until he has come to Alu-Oto-Egbele for his final installation as owner of Uromi land. It consists the following quarters:
1) Idumu-Oto-Egbele. This settlement is generally regarded as the oldes.t habitation in the whole of Esan land. When the sons Oakha fled with her sometime (1395 AD). Egbele, a handicapped with bad hands and feet settled here while his senior asukpodudu and his junior brother along with their mother Oakha continued on the joumey, the very ancient settlement of egbele is marked by a shrine called Alu-OtoEgbele. The prince who is the traditional title holder of Eholo. It was discovered that the Eholo title holders were traced to Egbele.
2) Idumu-Esele: This was founded by Esele who was the younger brother of Ichesan. Ichesan was in charge of the ward- robe of his royal highness, the Onojic.
3) Afuda was believed to be founded by some princes from Ebhoiyi.
4) Idumuekhuere: The founder of this settlement are believed to have come from Agbor.
5) Idumuagbala: The founders came from a town known as Aviele in today’s present Edo state.
6) Ukpato was founded by some people who fled Okaigben Ewohimi. Other quarters of:
7) Idumu Omon
9) Idumu Enabo
11) Idunwemen and Usugbenu whose majority of the settlers came from Irrua.
Some followers of Oghala of Ivue came into Onewa to settle down here. Others came in from Ebhoiyi.
This village was earlier inhabited by people who came to settle from Okaigben and those who came in from Ebhoiyi Okogun led those who came in from Okaigben and became recognised the first lsodole. There is another pat1 of Ukato known as lduedeso quarters believed to have been founded by an Igala warriors who later settled down there. The native people of Uromi called Igala Ighanlan.
The early settlers of this village came in from a town near Agbede called Abviele. The founders of Odogbe migrated from a place near Ebhoran called Ote. The people of Unuwazi village worship Oto Uromi. They are very rich in cultural dance called Ayele which is displayed during the worship of Olaan.
This village is very important to the Uromi people because it was the residence of the head of Uromi Inotu. It is a fact that some of the settlers of this village came from a town called Uzea and Ekperi known by the indigenes as Ekhuei.
The Ebolo of Odogbe the Great sent his heir to Arue so as to prepare him for succession. In the old days, it was a general belief that the evil doers could plan to murder the heir apparent so in order to avoid that and to guarantee his safety. The heir later founded Uzeneman quarters in Arue village. He also gave birth to a man called great Idu who also later became the founder of Qbeidu village of Uromi.
Ebhoyoma also known as Ebhoiyi. The Eguare village came under the attack of an epidemic suspected to be acute cholera. Ichesan who settled at Eguare during the time experienced the worst attack as his large harem and family were just dying one after the others. His conscience pricked him to the extent that he offered sacrifice by killing goats to appease to his ancestors. This he did often at the ancestral shrine but the death toll continued to rise. He thought that because he took his elder brother’s seat made the ugly scene to happen. The Onojie and the remaining of his family was saved by the invitation of Ijie the medicine man from Emu town in Edo State of Nigeria. They would have been totally extinct. The medicine man was heavily rewarded for the service he rendered.
The Onojie convinced Ijie to work for him as the special native doctor to him, then it was an enviable position which was created for Ijie. Ijie was handed over to the Esogban, a high chief of the Onojie who gave Ijie a place to settle. That place today is known as Idumuijie. This quarter today is very important during the burial and coronation ceremonies of an Onojie. The quarter is also responsible for the purification and protection of the place Esogban who was already living there Ijie founded the ldumughele quarter of ldun-Esogban.
The beginning of visit to Ebhoiyi by the prince of Uromi at the death of the Onojie began from that time because of the role ljie played by saving their family from death. They now saw him as a second father who should be contacted and relied upon before taking important action. The place Ebhoiyi was later corrupted at the advent of European traders as Ebhoyoma. It is also on record that the princes they were asked to leave the palace at the death of an Onojie for ljie’s place was to solve any upheaval that might arise from the princes. The native doctor to the palace, ljie, would resolve the succession issue as he is highly regarded as a saviour. Any stubborn; Prince would not go back to the palace but stay in a place around Ijie. The place is today known as Idumigun, Ebhoiyi. The man who was delegated called lnenlen became the founder of the settletnent of Idumigun.
When Onojie Agba died, his heir Ikenoa succeeded him while Ikenoa’s younger brothers left Eguare for Ebhoiyi. Onina who was their leader later became the founder of Afuda Ebhoiyi.
This village is one of the largest of the villages that make up Uromi. It is the traditional home of the Oniha of Uromi. It contains nine quarters namely:
- Idumun Uwague
- Idumun Oshodi
- Idumun Obodo
- ldumun Ule
- Idumun lsolea
- ldumeka and
- Idumun Oniha
Okhale founded the Idumun Onika quatter, Okhale who was Omi’s third brother was believed to have escaped Okaigben in Ewohimi town. Idumun Oshodi originated from Agbor, Idumun Obodo was founded by one of the sons of Odeva of Amedeokhian, and Isele founded Umon Khorunon. Isele was a popular Benin carpenter.
Idumun Isolea was also founded by a Benin man called Omokhua. According to historical records Idumonyegua was related to Omi family and also in relationship with Idumun Onihia. It is also on record that ldumeka came out of Idumun Obodo and could be practically regarded as one. Other quarters in this group came from different places to settle at Uromi. There are other groups called Egbele- lmiokoko, they are settlers of Efandion. They came from various places like Ehanlen Ewu and Ewohimi.
They came from Udo town to settle at Ehue Uromi.
Some of the settlers of Uwalo N’oke were princes who moved out from Ebhoiyi while others left Okpuje quarters of Eguare to settle in this village.
In the past this village was located between Awo and Oyomo. They later migrated to a place today known as Ubierunmun Nan Uwa. Few people who did not migrate then remained in the place now known as Okhelen. This is the home of OhetrOsenebulua. Some of the people of Ubiemnnun Uwa later moved while refugees from other places took advantage by taking over the village. It is clear that the people of Ubierununun Nan Uwa have no direct relationship with the people of Ubiemnmun. They have no direct link neither with Okhelen. The beginning of today’s Ubiemnmun can be linked with Okhelen. Other people also anived and settled in the place from a place called Ebhoiyi and some were reported to be descendants of Egbele Imiokoko. The position of Ubiemnmun village is very important as the title of Usukhme who were respected for their roles in the Onojie’s Ihogbe. After so many year of emigration and migrations of the Ubiemnmun, the title and office of the Usukhure was lost to Ewele of Idumuewele.
However, the two traditional titles of Osukhre and Ohen Agba are held in high esteem in Uromi.
- Idum un-Oza
Four of the ten quarters were founded by princes who left Eguare in Uromi. Some settlers too were from Ewu, Irrua and Emu towns. Historical records have it that some .of the settlers were members of the Egbele Imiokoko.
This village is made up of people who came to settle from Benin, Ora, Agbor and Ewohimi. Some came through Omi while others came through Okaigben people who also left Ewohimi about the same time with Omi.
This place was where the people who left Benin in the time of Oba Ewuare. It was not that they were the second set to arrive. They were believed to have moved from Idumoza quatter of Benin under the leadership of a man called Oghu.
According to history they first got to a place very near Irrua where they settled. That place is known today as Eko-Eimuhi. There were always quarrels and fighting between these people and their neighbours of lrrua. They always had one problem or the other to solve which includes land and other farm matters.
As a result of these frequent ugly events. Oghu decided with his people to move further into the inland taken them few kilometres to today’s Ivue. History has it that even Ivue had her original name or obhiei before Oghu got there to settle down with people Ohen Oghu is found in that place today.
Ichesan later back from his trip from Benin being made the traditional ruler over his senior brother in the tradition and customs of the Esan people of which Uromi is one, it is not acceptable for the senior brother to pay homage to his junior who had erroneously be made Onojie by the Benin Oba then . It is on record that Ivue does not pay annual tributes to the Onojie (traditional ruler) at Eguare village wl1ich is the headquarters of Uromi.
Another unit of Ivue was founded by Eigha who was one of Oghu’s sons. Idingun was founded by Oghu’s second son called Odehan. More people began to join the settlement from deferent places like Eben’s Idumu-Igun quarters of Igueben. The second son assumed duty as the heir when Oghu had driven away his first son who had become uncontrollable as a result of stubbornness. He later went to settle and founded Udomi Irrua.
This village was the first settlement that was founded by Idu who was the first grandson of a recognized traditional doctor called Ebolo of Odogbc, Unuwazi. Some of the sons of Idu who later grew up to become recognized traditional doctors left to found other places in Uromi and even foundedIdunegbon in lrrua.
This is a very large village which comprises of”
- Idumuodafen quarter.
- Idumu Odion quarter
- Idumuesonlon quarter
- Idumuogo with Idumeka quarters
The Onojie of Uromi as at 1483 AD was Agba. His reign was loved by the people. At a particular time one of his children whose name was Ujiagbodo was seriously sick that it caused some fear among the residence of Eguare then.
Agba sent for a powerful native doctor called Awenwen. He hailed from Igbanke, Awenwen was able to do his best as regards the treatment he gave to Ujiagbodo. It should be noted that Ujiagbodo was the second son of the Onojie as at that time. The Onojie was however impressed by the success the native doctor had achieved. He was very vast in the traditional medical practice. As a result of the achievement of the native: doctor, he was persuaded to stay and always to assist prince Ujiagbodo anytime it was necessary. The native doctor accepted the offer to stay. He was highly rewarded for it. The place he later settled is today known as IdumuOdion while the settlement of prince Ujiagbodo became known as IdumuOdafen.
The other settlement are Idumuesonlon which was founded by Awenwen’s younger brother called monaole, IdumuOgo was founded by lhanmonelen who was prince Ujiagbodo’s younger brother. Idumeka was also founded by Idumeka who came to settled from Efandion. It was recorded in history that the early settlers of Ukoni village were descendants of the Great War lords of Ewu town known as Ojeade.
This is made of two main quarters namely Iduedeva and Idigun. They are linked with Ewohimi and other parts of Uromi town. The Okaigben people of Ewohimi was traced to Benin. The founder of Okaigben Ezenomon left Benin to settle with Onojie of Ewohimi. He lived in the place for some years and later died living four sons behind. The names of the sons are Omi, Odiale, Okhale and Okogun. These people were highly respected in the villages of Uromi except for Odiale who later committed adultery with one of the queens of the Onojie. This punishment was punishable with death. The best that could happen to an offender was banishment from the town. This banishment could only be meted in a situation where the culprit was seen as a man who had contributed in one way or the other to the development of the village but may be the offence was now assumed to have been committed as by mistake. It is impm1ant to note here that it was the Onojie alone who could use his discretion here. Unfortunately in Odiale’s case, he was condemned to death. Pressure was mounted on the Onojie to commute the sentence to banishment. He refused and at the end Odiale’s head was brought down. When the people of Okaigben saw what had happened, they became frightened that even for the fact they left Benin because of the tough rule of Ewuare that of the Onojie of Uromi was not far from the happenings then at Benin, They left for a part of Ewohimi town