Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Edo-Igbos groan marginalisation in Edo state

Some Part Of Edo State Is Igbo Land A Case Of The Igbanke People
By Tochukwu ifeduba

Igbanke is an Igbo community in Edo State. They are of the Ika people family stock in Delta State, Nigeria, which also constitutes Agbor, and up to the border towns of Alifekede (Ala Ifekede) down to Umunede. Today's Igbanke village is constituted by Omoluah, Obiogba, Idumuiru, Igbontor, Idumodin, Ake, Oligie and Ottah, all of which have different histories of migration. The people have organized various movements to change the name of the town back to "Igbo Akiri", which is its true name.
The government of Igbanke is presided over by Eze, Dei (Dim), odiowere (ndi owere), Ndichie, Dikens (Dike), okhiolors (okenye ulo), and Okhialis (okenye ala). Each of these heads has his jurisdiction. The jurisdiction could be stratified into three: The family level, the clan or hamlets and the villages. At the family level, the okhilor (he is usually the oldest man in the family) presides. At the village quarters, the okhilor is the head, while the eze rules over the entire village. Igbanke is chiefly a patrilineal society and as such its women are seen as performing passive roles. The language spoken in Igbanke is the Ika dialect of Igbo.
1)Most Igbanke indigenes who have Ika ancestral names like, “Emeka”, “Maduka”, “Chukwuka’’, “Chinyere”, “Amaka and “Ogorchukwu etc are often confronted with all forms of harrowing experiences when there are needs to visit our council headquarters, Abudu to process one official documents or the other. We are often denied the issuance of documents like, ‘’Certificate of Local Government of origin’’, Protest Letter’’, To Whom it May Concern’’ etc on the guise that we are Igbos not Binis.
2) Those who have the likes of the Ika aforementioned names, but can speak Bini language are rarely subjected to the above embarrassments and discriminations. This act goes a long way to vindicate our fear that there is a subtle, but carefully planned agenda to make us lose and abandon our ancestral linguistic and cultural heritage.
3) In order to escape from these unnecessary embarrassments, some have no other option left than to change their identity from Ika to Bini names.
4) Today, we, the good people of Igbanke are gradually losing our once envied linguistic and cultural identity.
5) Some of the eminent sons and daughters of Igbanke, whom out of their outstanding contributions to the development of the community, were recognized and given chieftaincy titles had had such titles changed from their original Ika origin to Bini equivalence.
For example, few years ago, one of our sons who addressed himself as “Chief Orike-Eze” in Oba of Benin palace was shamefully harassed, insulted and forcefully forced, right in the palace to change the title to its Bini version. According to the palace, the title, “Orike-Eze” had its origin from Ika and Igbo nations.
5) Most times, when we have cause to attend meetings with the Binis in our local government area or senatorial district, deliberations are often conducted in Bini in language without considering the fact that the people of Igbanke in such meeting neither speak nor understand the language. Often than not, when we attend such meetings, we left the venue more confused than we were before we went.
6) In Edo state, Igbanke is only tolerated, not respected, seen, but not accepted. Today, in Edo state, plans are underway by the state Ministry of Education to introduce the teaching of Bini language in Primary and Secondary schools across Edo south senatorial district including Igbanke. Unfortunately, our indigenous language, Ika is not in any way considered qualified and appropriate to be taught in schools in Igbanke. To us, its another deliberate attempt to send our linguistic identity into extinction.
7) Our people have also suffered several inexplicable discriminations when it comes to political appointments. During the 2013 Edo state local government elections, one of our sons, Mr. Peter Ikem was refused to contest the chairmanship position in Orhionmwon local government area. Reason? His surname, “Ikem” was an Igbo, not Bini name.
Sir, based on the foregoing, we therefore, solemnly ask for the folling:
1) A local government be created that would comprise all Ika speaking communities scattered in Orhionmwon, Uhunmwode and Igueben LGAs of Edo state. Some of the Ika speaking communities in Edo stateinclude:
Orhionmwon LGA —-Igbanke, Iru, Ohezenaka, Otobaye, Ugbeka
Uhunmwode LGA —– Oghada
Igueben LGA ——- Ekpon
2) Where, for any reason, creation of a local government area that would consist all Ika speaking communities is not in the immediate possible or feasible, we therefore ask that Igbanke be severed from Edo state and merged with our kiths and kins in Ika south local government area in Delta state.
3) The people of Igbanke should be seen, recognized and accepted as Ika people residing in Edo.
4) That Igbanke people, based on our forceful membership of Edo state, reserved the natural and inalienable right to decide, at any time, either to continue our membership with the Binis in Edo state or join our Ika kiths and kins in Delta state.
Igbanke is an Ika speaking community in Orhionmwon local government, Edo state
We, the people Igbanke are gradually losing our linguistic and cultural identity as a result of our forceful membership with the Binis through conquest.
If urgent measures are not taken, our linguistic and cultural identity would sooner than later go into sudden extinction. In order to avoid the impending extermination of our race, we therefore, ask that a local government area be created that would consist of Igbanke and other Ika speaking communities in Edo state.
Alternatively, if local government creation is not feasible or possible, Igbanke, should therefore, be severed from Edo state and merged with Ika south local government area in Delta stat
--by tochukwu ifeduba



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