Afemai people

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Total population
(274,000 (1995)[1])
Regions with significant populations
Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion

The Afemai people, also spelled Afenmai are a group of people living in the northern part of Edo State south geopolitical zone of Nigeria.

Afemai people occupy six local government areas of Edo state: Etsako West, with headquarters in Auchi, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Owan East, Owan West and Akoko Edo. These make up the Edo-North Senatorial District.


The Afemai are also known as the Afenmai, Etsako, Estakor, Iyekhee,[1] or Yekhee people. In Benin, they are also known as Ivbiosakon people.[2]


The Afenmai language is a Ghotou-Uneme-Yekhee language, belonging to the North-Central branch of Edoid languages.[1] Afemai is closely related to Edo.

Afemai has several documented dialects:

  • Auchi
  • Avainwu (Fugar)
  • Aviele
  • Ekperi
  • Ivhiadaobi
  • South Ibie (South Ivbie)
  • Uwepa-Uwano (Weppa Wano)
  • Uzanu, Anegbette, Udochi, Imiava [Uneme]
  • Uzairue.
  • Owan]
  • Okpella]



Afemai, is made of several kingdoms and clans (large villages/townships ruled traditionally by monarchs) and many of them seem to have their own oral versions of the origin of Afemai as well as its own starting point in history. Historical accounts claimed that they migrated from Benin, during the tyrannical rule of Oba Ewuare, who was the greatest warrior legend and the most outstanding king in the history of Benin Empire.[citation needed] “The title Ewuare (Oworuare), meaning it is cool or the trouble has ceased” and as a result the war is over.[citation needed] The title symbolizes an epoch of reconciliation, reconstruction and the return of peace among the warring factions in Benin between 1435-1440 AD.

It was shortly after this critical period of war that Akalaka and his two sons Ekpeye and Ogba migrated further southeast to first settle at Ula-Ubie, and subsequently other groups moved out of Benin City and migrated northward.[citation needed] However, has recently become clear that there were people living in Afemailand prior to the migration from Benin City.

Some of the most celebrated sons and daughters of Afemailand, past and present, are the late Pa Michael Imoudu, who was a foremost labour leader and founder of the Nigeria state, the late Chief Julius Momo Udochi the first Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, late Gen. George Agbazika Innih, who was one timeMilitary Governor of Bendel and Kwara States, Late Major- General Abdul Rahaman Mamudu Former Commander Nigerian Army Signals Corps and Military Administrator Gongola State, Sir Pa Hudson Arikalume Momodu, MBE, was the leader of the National Labour Congress Union for the Nigerian War Workers Department of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (he received the ADC hands medal from His Excellency on behalf of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), Adams Oshiomhole, the past president of the Nigeria Labour Congress and now Governor of Edo State, Pa Johnson Jimoh Iyere, Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi,(chairman/ceo Africa Independent Television),Senator Franca Afegbua, first Nigeria female senator, Late Chief Inu Umoru, chairman/CEO, Setraco Ltd, Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information and Culture, Commander Anthony Ikhazoboh, minister of sports and transport, Prince Fidelis Oyogoa (SNR) Acclaimed Former Tennis Coach at the Port Washington Academy who trained the likes of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming and Renowned Real Estate Developer (MAKU Holdings), Aret Adams GMD NNPC, Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe Ex-Chief Of General Staff and Ambassador Abdulaziz Garuba etc.[citation needed]. Major David O. Odiwo.


Most people are farmers and fishermen.


The Afemais do not have a central traditional ruler, but some of the prominent traditional institutions and rulers in Afemai land are the Okumagbe of Weppa Wanno (Agenebode), Ogieneni of Uzairue (Jattu),Aidonogie of south Ibie, Otaru of Auchi, Oba of Agbede, Otaru of Igarra, Oliola of Anegbette, Okumagbe of Iuleha clan etc. Afemai have produced many illustrious personalities in both national and international levels.[citation needed]

Tourist attractions, which span the expanse of Afemai, are exemplified by the Ise Lake in Agenebode (Weppa Wanno clan) Etsakor East and the Somorika hills in Akoko Edo.[citation needed] Somorika hills consist of an extended expanse of hills crowned by massive boulders perched precariously on the summits of hills and alongside seemingly inadequate locations on the sides.

Some of the most important towns/clans in Afemai land are Agenebode(Weppa-Wanno), Weppa,Oshiolo,Emokwemhe Iviagbapue, Auchi, Afuze, Warrake, Iviukwe,South Ibie, Agbede, Sabongida Ora, Igarra, Ekperi, Jattu, Fugar, Aviele, Okpella, Iviukhua, Ososo, Uzanu, Uzebba, Iviukhua, Weppa, Okpella, Okpekpe, Somorika etc.[citation needed]

The autonomous clans, towns, villages and kingdoms in Afemai land are currently administratively arranged as follows under the current six local government areas:

  • Etsako East LGA, Agenebode:
Agenebode, Oshiolo, Iviagbapue, Imiakebu, Afana, Imiegba, Itsukwi, Ayogwiri, Emokweme, Ekwothor,Iviukhua, Okpella, Okpekpe, Iviebua, Ibie, Weppa, Uzanu
  • Etsako Central LGA, Fugar:
Fugar, Ekperi, Ogbona, Anegbette, Udochi
  • Estako West LGA, Auchi:
Auchi,South Ibie, Agbede,Awain Community( Ewora, Eware, Ibvioba, Ama, Idegun,etc.) Jattu, Afashio, Aviele, Iyorah
Afuze, Warrake, Igue, Ihievbe, Ikao, Ivbi-Mion, Ive-Ada-Obi, Otuo and Uokha
  • Owan West LGA, Sabongida Ora:
Sabongida Ora,Iuleha Clan
  • Akoko Edo LGA, Igarra:
Igarra, Ibillo, Ososo, Somorika,

Aviawun (Iviawu) is one of the popular clans in Afemia. It comprises 1 Unone 2 Arua 3 Ogbona 4 Iriakhor

Awun is the father of Unone Arua Ogbona Iriakhor and Awun migrated from Benin Kingdom and settle in the present Fugar. Unone and Arua make up the present Fugar.

The origin of Aviawun Clan[edit]

Awun is said to be migrated from Benin Kingdom during the 15th century and he left Benin Kingdom because of the iron hand the Oba of Benin was applying on its subjects. He first settled at Jettu and the natives of Jettu did not welcome him, so he further migrated eastward and settled in the present Fugar. It was said that when he arrived at Fugar, he did not see any big trees and the only tree he saw that could shade him and his family was not big enough. This particular tree still exists to the present day. The tree is named Agbabo. It is a traditional tree and no Awun descendant dares cut it. It is also considered a tourist attraction


The Etsako people were originally practitioners of the African Traditional Religion. However, with advent of Christianity and Islam, many got converted to those religions. Etsako people are predominantly Christians and Muslims today, perhaps due to largely the arrival of the early missionaries at the Waterside in Agenebode. However, high concentrations of Muslims can be found around Auchi, Agbede and perhaps, the Okpella axis.


  1. ^ a b c d "Yekhee." Ethnologue. Accessed 12 May 2014.
  2. ^ Ademola Iyi Eweka. "Edo People." Edo World. Accessed 12 May 2014.

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