Ewu

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Ewu is a Nigerian city situated in Esan Central Local Government area in Edo State of Nigeria. The city, an Esan tribe, lies on 200 feet in the plateau region of central Edo State, 100 kilometres north of Benin City, the capital of Edo State, Nigeria. Ewu city comprises the villages and towns of Eguare-Ewu, Ehanlen-Ewu, Ihenwen-Ewu, Uzogholo-Ewu, Ukhiodo-Ewu, Idunwele-Ewu, Eko-Ojemen, Oghodogbor, and Ukpeko Ori.

Ewu is bounded in the north by Agbede, in the south-east by Irrua, in the south-west by Ekpoma. Ewu is also pronounced Elu by natives. It is believed that Ewu is the anglicized rendering of the original name of Elu.

History and governance[edit]

Ewu is the second largest city (after Irrua) in Esan Central Local Government Area Council. The Ewu-born playwright, historian and poet Saintmoses Eromosele described Ewu as The Holy City in his book, The History and Chronicle of Ewu Monarchy: Since 1440.[1] The monarchy of Ewu is believed to have been organized by Oba Ewuare, at about 1460 (Common Era) and was associated with Bini princes and warriors who made it their garrison in their quest to subjugate cotton and fabrics producing Esan tribes, especially the powerful Uzea kingdom. Prior to the coming of Oba Ewuare in the mid 15th century, the Ewu community was organized and governed by an ancient geruntocracy where a council of the oldest people called Edion administered the various villages that constituted Ewu, independently. But Oba Ewuare of imperial Benin Kingdom overturned the geruntocratic system of administration he met in his conquest of Esanland and enthroned some of his princes as viceroys in its place, and the Benin general Ozaine (a tradition renders his name a Oza became a viceroy of the Oba in Ewu and first Onojie of Ewu kingdom. These princes of Benin Empire checked the frequent rebellion and insubordination of the ancient, powerful Uzea and Uromi kingdoms in Esanland, and co-opted the Esan kingdoms into the then fast-expanding Benin Empire.,[1]

Notwithstanding the origin of the Benin Empire occupation of Ewu in about 1460, Ewu people have various accounts of oral tradition which trace their pre-occupation existence to time immemorial. In all the accounts of origin, it is generally accepted that the people of Ehanlen were the aboriginals in the ancient land of Ewu. It is also believed that the people of Idunwele were migrant farm settlers and hunters from Emaudo in Ekpoma. It is believed that the people from Benin Kingdom were settled at Ihenmwen and Ukiodo, especially among the families that occupy the area of Ewu known as Idumigun quarters. The people are believed to have originated from Igun in Benin City.

The Ewu kingdom is ruled by the Ojeifo dynasty, which traces its roots via Ekpebua to Ozaine, the first Onoje of Ewu, who was a viceroy of the Oba Ewuare of Benin. The aboriginal peoples of Ewu are the Ehanlen people. Other settlers came from Igun and Ugbekun Quarters of Benin kingdom during the occupation of Ewu by the Benin imperialists. These settlers settled at Ihenwen at the quarters known as Idumigun. Later nomads and emigrants came from Emaudo in Ekpoma and settled in the areas known as Idunwele and Eko. Other waves of Benin emigrants fled from the tyranny of Oba Ewuare to Ewu and settled at Uzogholo, Idunwele and Ehanlen.[1][2][3]

Religion[edit]

Ewu has three major religions: Ebor; Islam; and Christianity. Islam was introduced in the early 20th century. Ewu is home to the St. Benedict Monastery, a monastery of the Roman Catholic Church.[4] It is also home to an advanced theological seminary owned by the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, known as the Nigerian Advanced School of Theology (NAST) [5]

Economy[edit]

Ewu is the site of one of the largest factories in Edo State, the Bendel Feed and Flour Mills, BFFM, Limited.[6] Ewu economy is basically farming and trading, producing and trading in food and cash crops, chiefly yams, cassava, maize, groundnut, rice, cocoa, and rubber, pepper, oil palm, melons, tomatoes and beans. Ewu's high yield and good farm output is greatly made possible by the vegetation zone which is a rain forest zone, loamy soil type and its arable topography. Ewu has two major markets; Ehanlen market (also known as Ewu Market) and Eguare market, and several other very small markets called Ovbi-Eki - translated small markets). The Ewu Market is possibly the oldest market in Esanland. The Ewu market was founded by a textile trading couple named Izele and Ogogo who traded in textiles at the time that Oba Ozolua met his waterloo at the historic Benin-Uzea war that claimed the lives of both Oba Ozolua of Benin Empire and Onoje Agba of Uzea at Uromi in the late 15th century. The Esan common word, and Ewu proper name, for market day or public holiday is Edi-Ekenlen or Edi-Izele (translated: Day of Izele), lending credence to the claim that Ewu market may have been the first market to have been established in Esanland. The Izele and Ogogo statue stands right at the front view of the Ewu market and is by far the most famous and one of the oldest statues of a legend in Esanland. Also, The sacred day of ancient Esanland where no one must go to the farm is called the Edi-Ekelen or Edi-Izele and that is also the market day for Ewu, the fourth day of the four-day Esan calendar. Ewu also has a good number of factories for its agricultural products. The two most famous factories; Bendel Feed and Flour Mills, BFFM, Limited and Aira Nigeria Limited founded by Engr. Adams C. Okoene, for the manufacture of Rubber and plastic products and processing of safe drinking water.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Fidelis Oyakhilomen, retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Nigeria, formerly military Governor of Rivers State and formerly Chairman, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA[7][8]
  • David Iyoha, Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly.[9][10]
  • Saintmoses Eromosele, author of The History and Chronicle of Ewu Manarchy: Since 1440, international poet and novelist who wrote his bluckbuster first novel, "The Winds of Life" at the age of sixteen and while still in secondary school. .[11][12]

References[edit]

General
  • James B. Webster & Onaiwu W. Ogbomo, Chronological Problems in C.U.Okojie's Narrative Traditions; 2007,
  • Egharevba, J. U. 1968 A short History of Benin, Ibadan, I.U.P.
  • Onaiwu W. Ogbomo, Esan Women Traders & Precolonia Economic Power, 1995 published in African Market Women and Economic Power: The Role of Women. Edited by Bessie House-Midamba, Felix K. Kelechi 1995. Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, United States of America. cf. Chapter 1,pages 1 – 17. ISSN: 0-313-292-0, ISBN 0069-9624 number 174. Library of Congress Catalogue
  • Saintmoses Eromosele, The History and Chronicle of Ewu Monarchy: since 1440; 2003. By Saintmoses Eromosele and Ewu Students' Association of Nigeria, ESAN, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
  • Omonkhodion, J.O., 1998. The Sociology of the Esans, Tropical Publishers Limited
Specific
  1. ^ a b c Eromosele, Saintmoses (2003). The History and Chronicle of Ewu Monarchy: Since 1440. The Pedagogues Publishing, in association with Ewu Students' Association of Nigeria. 
  2. ^ Okojie, C.G. 1960. Ishan Native Laws and Customs; Lagos, John Okwere Publishers Limited. cf. Page 139
  3. ^ Okoduwa, Anthony, 2006. Tenacity of Geruntocracy in Nigeria: An Example of the Esan People. cf. Page 106
  4. ^ Ibiam, Agha (11 October 2007). "Nigeria: Ewu - Where Tradition and Christianity Mix". This Day. 
  5. ^ http://www.nast-ewu.com/
  6. ^ E. Ainabor Augustine (2008). "Extrinsic Motivation and Organisational Productivity: A Study of Bendel Feed and Flour Mill Limited, Ewu Edo State, Nigeria". Research journal of applied sciences 3 (3): 246–249. 
  7. ^ "Nigeria: Oyakhilome, Now a Septuagenarian". Daily Independent. 11 April 2009. 
  8. ^ Ibagere, Eniwoke (6 June 2000). "Drugs: The Nigerian connection". BBC News. 
  9. ^ "Nigeria: Politicians Want Edo Speaker to Resign". Daily Champion. 11 November 2003. 
  10. ^ Adekoye, Vincent (28 February 2006). "Nigeria: Anenih Group Sacks Edo Speaker". Daily Champion. 
  11. ^ http://ubiajaunion.org/default.aspx.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Esan