Origin Of The Isoko People Of Nigeria And The Benin/Igbo Affiliation

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The political lifestyle and structure of the Isoko people is built around age groups, political sets, religious groups and family. However, just like the pre-colonial Igbo people of Nigeria, the absolute power to govern the affairs of the people is held by the council of elders (Ekpako).

Photo Credit: Bellanaija.com

The Isoko people are one of the many Nigerian ethnic groups from the South-South region of the country. They are predominantly found in Delta State, Bayelsa State and some parts of Rivers State, Imo State and Anambra State.

The Isoko people are further divided into two, there are the ones that trace their origin from the ancient Benin kingdom (Iyede, Emede, Owhe, Emevo, Aviara, Okpe-Ozoro and Uzere), while the rest (Enwhe, Igbide and Ume) trace their origin to the Igbo land.

Historians have opined that the reasons for the migration of the Isoko people from the Benin kingdom was as a result of an issue with the then Oba of Benin. It is also believed that their migration happened in waves as some tribes are older than others.

However, there is an Isoko clan (Erohwa) that dosent believe they migrated from anywhere. Their claims have been subject to a lot of speculations and investigations to uncover the truth. The clan is also considered rhe oldest clan among the Isoko people.

Among the council of elders governing the tribe, there is no fixed number of members of the council and not all the elders have titled positions. However, there is a spokesperson of the council (Ugo), who is often selected based on his knowledge of the culture of the land, charisma, wealth and intelligence.

The Isoko people do not have a specific economic life, they venture into different lucrative businesses such as fishing, farming, basket weaving, salt making, wood carving, canoe making, weaving of clothes and palm oil trade.

Because they had prior knowledge of their environment, their skills were highly required for navigation along the Niger River during the British colonization……Séé Móré

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