Brief Background of Imiegba Community
Settlements all over the world are established through the foresight of courageous people who move round to locate areas that would be conducive and suitable for human living. Some of the things people looks up to are availability of water, easy access to food, protection from external aggression and then provision of shelter. The moment a person or a family finds a suitable place to settle, that person or the head of that family becomes owners to the territorial land found. The chosen leader normally might be the person who founded or who first occupied the area or he might be a person with sterling leadership qualities or one who, in his own special way, radiated respect and confidence which helped the inhabitants to live in peace and harmony. That particular person or family that founded the community becomes permanent leaders to the settlement. Among the Imiegba people, No specific family that takes the royal status but it has always be from a particular system to the other (e.g; the ruling system started with the Onotu system of leadership and later becomes Enejor ruling system and now a Tripod system of leadership ). And this was because the community has been seen by some historians as three distinct groups of people that migrated in different period of time to make up the complete settlement of the present day Imiegba community. What have placed the present day Imiegba people high among the North-Ibie people are their vast historical migrations which began in 13th to 16th centuries with the migration of the Agbi-noko, Egba (now called Imianwulo) and the Anwulo people from the present day Benin Kingdom.
Origin of the Imiegba people
The present day Imiegba community is located in the Edo-North axis of Edo State known as the North Ibie people in Afemai, South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Prior to the existence of the name “Imiegba’’ as a community, the people were known as Agbi-noko which later evolved into Igbinoko. The name Imiegba came to be after the second group of migrants known as the Egbas (now called Imianwulo) in the early 16th century. The Egbas were in the company of Akhunu, Ekhu, and Otu respectively. By the late 16th century, the Anwulo people had arrived in the ancient Agbi-noko territory in the company of Aremiele, Achinye, Ofu and Osotse. The arrival of the Anwulo group of people in the present day Imiegba community gave rise to other two neigbouring communities which include the Imiakebu and the Itsukwi people.
The Agbi-noko who were said to have been the Aborigine of the present day Imiegba area were part of present Igala traditional history through the lost Agbi-noko hunter called Oboh (Obomi in Igala) who through him the Egbas were brought to a place now called Ibaji in Kogi State. The later arrival of the Egbas into the Igbinoko territory made the Agbi-noko got partitioned into Ujiokpha (brew the hill) and Ukhomokpha (up the hill). The Agbi-noko first accommodated them at the present day Obaji were the Agbi-noko had their farmland. At later time, the Egbas got married to the Agbi-noko daughters and the need to have their settlement was necessitated, hence, they moved up the hill (Ukhomokpha) with their families as their abode. This was the first known separate settlement in the Imiegba settings. By the arrival of the Anwulo in a company of Aremiele, Achinye, Osotse and Ofu respectively, they joined the Egbas at the Ukhomokpha were they both lived together as one family. Ukhomokpha and Ujiokpha were both now considered as a street name. As years gone by, the ancient Market square were the Ujiokpatsa (now called Apata), Obodo, and the Uchioke people used to bring in their farm produce for sale in Igbinoko Kingdom became a village square for cultural and traditional display of various activities including a centre for Oracle consultation. The name Ujiokpha and Ukhomokpha later evolved into Ujiogwa and Ukhomogwa. The village square became a boundary between the Igbinoko and the Eno-khomokpha people. Through development, the two groups gradually merged and continue to live as one indivisible community.
It is good to understand the evolution of administrative structure in present day Imiegba community. The traditional inhabitants of the ancient Kingdom (Agbi-noko) were known as the people of Iroko tree. These were very powerful people with mystical powers (now suppressed by modern religion). Traditionally, the Onotu, the Odegbe, and the Okaku are the title that makeup the Council of Elders in Imiegba community. The chieftaincy Gazette in Imiegba community recognized three ruling houses (Igbi-noko, Imieanwulo and Anwulo). ‘’OGIE’’ is the name given to the Imiegba ruler. He rule and govern the village with staff of office. The various Chiefs in each ruling house are presented to the Ogie by each Kindered as their representative.
Imiegba religion (Ugamhi) was of two dimensions, which centered on the pouring of liberation, sacrifice, ancestral worship, consultation of Oracles, communication and invocation of the gods of the land (Okivie). God of the Earth (Ilimhi Eke) and the Supreme Being (Ishinegba) by the constitutional and Religious King/Head of a community who was known from the ancient times as the Chief Priest.
The Second dimension of Imiegba religion centered on the worship, consultation, invocation, sacrifice, appeasesment of God of the Heaven (Ishinegba Nokpeda) and the god of the Earth (Ishinegba Nokeke) through various invisible or spiritual entities (Ifa) of the various Imiegba Ede such as the Igbinoko group of people, Imieakhunu, Imiekhu, Imieosotse and other kindred in the Imiegba community.
The Priest of this dieties (Oboh) was the temple Chief Priest/ Prietessses is own by the Igbinoko people and entrusted to Imieakhunu as the custodian of the community Shrine. Today, the community is predominantly Muslims and Christians which do not interfere with the activities of the Aboriginal Igbinoko traditions.
The overall present day Imiegba ruling house and their kindred includes;
- The gbinoko ruling house:
- The Imieanwulo ruling house:
- The Anwulo ruling house:
Imiegba Rulers from 1913 to date
- Umoru Ikagha 1913 -1916
- Egbona 1916-1918
- Okoko 1918-1929
- Momoh Agbegbenokhe 1929-1952
- Umoru Ibadeki 1953-1989
- Musa Sule Evua 1989-2012
- Ali Sulayman 2015 till date