The History of a People: EKPEYE, OGBA AND IWURHUOHNA KINGDOMS!
By: Kenneth Orgwu,
Rivers state coordinator, GBD.
The Ekpeyes, the Ogbas and the Iwurhuohna (Ikwerres) have a common historical pathway as they are the offspring of the same man. This great pathway started from Benin about 1460 under the reign of Oba Ewuare N’Ogidigan (Ewuare the great)
What precipitated the establishment of these three oil rich Kingdoms now Rivers State were the state of Benin Kingdom after the brief days and reign of Oba Uwafiokun. The ancestor of these three Kingdoms is Akalaka (possibly a corruption of Akanaka) a Benin blood by birth, lived in Benin, worked in Benin and as a major warrior of the Oba staked his precious life in numerous occasions for the Oba and Benin Kingdom.
A couple of events led to the movement of Akalaka to the present location, these were the following;
- The harsh regime under Oba Ewuare I N’Ogidigan (Ewuare I)
- Incessant wars embacked by the regime under the regime, over 200 wars in about 32 years alone.
- Finally, the result of the sudden deaths of Oba Ewuare’s children; Ezuwarhe and the crown Prince Koubuyuwa on the same day. The results were the Oba’s actions.
The result of the death of the Oba’s two children (Ezuwarhe and Koubuyuwa) was the deep and painful mourning the death and the Oba’s far reaching pronouncements. First Oba Ewuare declared a total mourning in the Kingdom to last for 3 years and to crown it all that no man should sleep with the wife in the same 3 years.
These pronouncements of the Oba, in full strength and anguish, coupled with the continuous war and conquests tortured the Chiefs and people of Benin painfully from the skin, muscles, bones and marrow, would have played huge rule in The History of the People of EKPEYE, OGBA AND IWURHUOHNA KINGDOMS!
The entire subjects of the Oba were uncomfortable, the Chiefs as well as the peoples. The account was that some Chiefs became disgruntled and their loyalty to the Oba and the Palace became questionable. There was pronounced suspicion that some Chiefs and Warriors had a clandestine plan to unseat the Oba. Of course, just like the morden day coup those suspected to be disloyal to the Oba can no longer be seen as his friends without capital punishment. The Oba had started identifying the culprits with maximum penalties. It was the sister of Akalaka (Akanaka), a Palace servant, that told Akalaka of the plan to eliminate the suspected Chiefs and warriors. The strongly believed that because of Akalaka’s position as a warrior and the Administrative head of Ogbah, there was no way Akalaka would not be part of such intrigue.
Under the circumstances, Akalaka had no choice than to hastily move away from the seat of power, that is if he loved his life. Rivers in Ogbah aided Akalaka to assess Agbor.
While at Agbor Akalaka, his Benin wife and Ekpeye his first son then realized that whoever runs away from the Oba of Benin must run sufficient milage if he wishes to live. So, from Agbor Akalaka ran to Ogwashiuku, Ibussor and then to Aboh Kingdom. Akalaka had a second wife and a second son at Aboh. But when the King of Aboh wanted to conscript Akalaka’s first son Ekpeye to his warrior Akalaka became nervous as he realised what he passed through in Benin as King’s warrior. Akalaka did not wish his son to be King’s warrior like himself at all. The conscription attempt on Akalaka’s son made him to still move further, now with a larger family size crossing River Niger to Ndonni. Ndonni settlement was not a comfortable settlement because of the terrain with too many creeks, carnals, forests and marshy lands. Also at Ndonni, Orashi River joins River Niger, so Akalaka waded Southward on the Orashi River as he would never like to join core Igbo territories up north east Orashi river.
Down south the Orashi river Akalaka disembarked to assess Ayahu where he finally. At this point information of Akalaka in his escape could no longer filter to Benin. No wonder that by the time Akalaka got his third son Uwuruonah (meaning death will no longer come this way) because he confidently assumed that the escape from the Oba of Benin is all over as his whereabouts was no longer known. Akalaka disappeared in the creeks of Niger Delta which confirmed that death will no longer come his way. At this point the information of Akalaka’s third son cannot be assessed way back in Benin as Benin territory then ended back at Aboh Kingdom. This is why Iwurhuohna, the third son of Akalaka is not well known by Benin.
Ayahu was the center of the three Kingdoms of Ekpeye, Ogba and Iwurhuohna (Ikwerre) and it was there they separated.