Okpekpe

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Okpekpe (Okphekphe) is a town in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. It is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of Auchi. It has a population of 3155 inhabitants.[1] Its people belong to a large homogeneous group of people, called the Afemai.

Geography[edit]

Okpekpe (Okphekphe)is located at a latitude of 7.2 (7° 12' 0 N) and a longitude of 6.47 (6° 28' 0 E), about 354 kilometers south west (209°) of the approximate center of Nigeria and 240 kilometres (150 mi) south-west (209°) of the capital Abuja. Okpekpe (Okphekphe), due to its unique location and climate, has a huge potential for tourism, though not yet fully developed because of lack of direct investment. Okpekpe (Okphekphe) is surrounded by hills and big rocks, which makes its weather very friendly. It is rumoured that the rocks hold vast amounts of rare mineral resources, though yet to be explored. Okpekpe, is in North Ibie, belongs to a large homogenous group of people, the Ibie found in Afemai land, which is at the northern part of Edo State. The Ibie are bordered by River Niger to the east, Etsako West to the west, Auchi to the south, and Kwara State & Kogi State to the north. Okpepke is surrounded by other towns and villages like Imiegba, Itsukwi, Imiakebu, Ebelle, Ukhomedokhai, Okeko, Ikphelli, Ukho, etc. The population of the Ibie people has been estimated to be about 100,000 people according to the 2006 population census.

History[edit]

The Okpekpe (Okphekphe) people are believed to have descended from Ogogo (father) and Atuegbe (mother)'s children, who later migrated to their present location from the old Benin Kingdom during the ‘tyranny' of Oba Ewuare I, the great, the then Oba of Benin. Oral history has it that, the reason for the migration was because the Oba had decreed that all communities within the Kingdom must mourn the death of his (Oba Ewuare I) son for a long period, without going to farm or hunting. This led to starvation and death among the Okpekpe people, thus forcing them to migrate to their current location, a mountainous topography that could serve as defence against any likely invasion by the Oba. The oral history further goes on to say that the present settlement of Okpekpe was occupied by very dangerous thorn bushes, called "Ugba-Okpekpe", meaning "the thorn of Okpekpe".

In another account of oral history, the North-Ibie people migrated to their present location as a result of the demands of Oba Ewuare I (The great), when Ukwi killed a lion. Then Oba Ewuare I demanded the skin of the lion and a virgin girl called Azebo. Because the girl was so beautiful and dear to the people of North-Ibie, they decided to run away overnight with the girl to a safe and secure place to form their kingdom. This migration involved five major kindred that formed the North-Ibie Community; namely Otsele (the founding father of Okpekpe), Akebu (the founding father of Imiakebu), Ukwi (the founding Father of Itsukwi), Ugbamhe (the founding Father of Imiugbamhe) and Egba (the founding father of Imiegba).

The Imiugbamhe are not existing as a village or town, but are in the midst of other villages and towns. They lived for a very long time without death and burial ceremony. They brought a corpse to burial in their place when the saw other villages and gown celebrating burials. This caused them a massive death on a daily basis and the remaining few had to run to other villages and towns for safety.

Culture[edit]

Every society has its own culture, which is its way of life. Okpekpe people are no exception.

Associations[edit]

There are several groups and associations that are operating within and outside the town of Okpekpe. One of such is the Okpekpe Peoples Association, National Association of Okpekpe Student (NAOS) which is a sociocultural group of indigenes of Okpekpe, both within and outside of Nigeria.

Language[edit]

The people of Okpekpe speak the "Ivie Language", a homogeneous language generally spoken by the "Ivie" people. Most English words have Ivie variants, where such English words are not readily available, phrases are used to describe them or caricature version is coined e.g. "motor" becomes "umoto" or "bicycle" becomes "ibasiko", and "aeroplane" becomes "anupele" etc.

Justice[edit]

Minor cases are settled by family elders from both contending parties. Cases may also be settled by members of the age grades. While major cases are settled by the chief and his council of advisers.

Religion[edit]

The people are predominantly traditional religion worshippers, but a significant number of them have embraced Christianity and Islam.

Village Head[edit]

The village head and "clan head" is called Onwueweko of Okpekpe. The clan headship rotates between Apa and Ede title holders. The current Onwueweko is Peter Abalume Osigbemeh. Whilst the current Ede is Engr. Donaldson Aloaye Eshilama.ref>"Okpekpe Community Marks Maiden National Day". The Nigerian Observer. Retrieved 2011-06-17.</ref>

Education[edit]

They have one primary school, "Otsele primary school" which was founded in 1914, and one secondary school, "Okpekpe Grammar School" which was founded in 1980.

Economy[edit]

The Okpekpe people are mostly subsistence farmers producing crops like yam, cassava, cocoa and rice. Some are engage in hunting games and fishing

Marriage[edit]

Marriage is usually contracted by the families of the spouses and it is mostly done during the marriage season which is during harvest when there is plenty of food.

Festivals[edit]

They have several festivals, notably Beans and New Yam Festival locally called Eshile and Ukphakpha respectively. It marks the beginning of the harvest season. Another notable festival in Okpekpe is the National Day celebration.[2][3]

International Exposure[edit]

Idigenes of Okpekpe were actively involved in the recently concluded maiden edition of Okpekpe International Road Race which was won by Moses Masai from Kenya, with a time of 29 mins 39 seconds. This maiden edition of Okpekpe International Road Race was inaugurated by the former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, who was the former president of Nigeria Labour Congress and also a participant in the Okpekpe International Road Race. Okpepke is located in Edo State.

Prominent people[edit]

Some prominent Okpekpe indigenes include (Dr.) ST Alokwe (1944–2002), the first medical doctor to come out from Okpekpe as well as the immediate past clan head. Another prominent daughter of the clan is Barr. Grace Egbagbe, renowned broadcaster with the Nigeria Television Authority and Omo Alokwe who recently became famous for riding his bike solo and unsupported from London's Landsend to Lagos (Nigeria) in attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest journey in a single country by motorcycle while raising funds for Medicins San Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Edo State Population, World Gazetteer, 2010". WikiMapia.org. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  2. ^ "Attend Okpekpe National Day". The Nation. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  3. ^ "Nigeria: FCT's Okpekpe Indigenes Urged to Unite". AllAfrican.com. Retrieved 2011-06-17.

External links[edit]