Tribes In Edo State
Edo state is truly the heart beat of the nation. It’s full of beautiful, thriving cultures and diverse ethnic groups. The state is in mid western Nigeria, with a population of 3 million people. The state has four major ethnic groups and a host of other small communities. It is bordered by Kogi state to the North, Delta State to the East and South, Ekiti and Ondo States to the West. The capital of Edo state is Benin city.
The cultural heritage of the people of Edo state are quite intense and can never be fully explained in a small write-up like mine, so this only serves as a peek into the varying heritage of the beautiful people of the state
1. Bini Tribe
Bini people speak the Bini language which is a Kwa-Niger Congo Language. The name Bini is coined from Benin, the capital of the ancient Bini empire which now serves as the state’s capital. Bini people have the most intricate and complex dress cultures made obvious by the assortment of beads (Coral bead been the most used) embroidery that adorned there dresses. Other fashion accessories include bangles, anklets, body marks and so on. The Oba of Benin is the paramount ruler of the Bini. The name Oba was first introduced by Oba Eweka 1, the kingdoms first Oba. The occupation of the Bini people in time past up till date is art and craftsmanship. In ancient times they were the administrative arm of the entire region working as military generals to the Oba of Benin. Bini people boast of many festivals and a rich cultural heritage most expressed in their craftsmanship. Christianity is dominant among the Binis even if Traditional religion is somewhat mixed up with Christianity sometimes by the people.
2. Afemai Tribe
The Afemai people are found in the northern part of Edo state in 6 LGAs namely: Etsako West, with headquarters in Auchi, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Owan East, Owan West and Akoko Edo. They are also known as the Ivibiosakon people. They are made of several clans and were said to have migrated from Benin during the rule of a tyrant called Oba Ewuare. The main occupation of the people are fishing and farming but in history they were the dental practitioners to the Oba of benin, hence the name Ivibiosakon. The Afemais are still very much traditionalists even if Christianity and Islamic religion is gaining grounds in the region.
3. Akoko Edo Tribes
Akoko Edo is a multi-tribal local government area in Edo state. The population of the Akoko Edo tribes is estimated to be around 262,000 people. Igarra is a popular town in the region and also the headquarters of the local government area.
The Akoko Edo tribes include the Enwan, the Okpameri, the Etuno, the Uneme, the Igbegere and so many others smaller groups with distinct history, language and way of life.
The Okpameri constitute the highest percentage of the population of the Akoko Edo tribes.
4. Esan Tribe
Esan Tribe is located to the south of Benin City, with a population estimate of about 1 million people; it is quite a large tribe. The Esan tribe are indigenous to about 5 LGAs namely: Esan North-East, Esan Central, Esan West, Esan South East and Igueben. The Esans speak different dialectal variations of the Edo language. The Esans are mainly involved in agriculture especially in the planting of Rubber trees. The Esans are mainly Christians and particularly love the dish pounded yam and ogbono soup. Population estimate of the Esans is about 1.5 million.
5. Emai Tribe
This tribe is actually a small one. They inhabit part of the Afemai area in the northwest part of Edo state especially in Owan east LGA. The people speak a varied dialect of the Edo( Bini) language. They also practice Christianity even if traditional practices are still quite the norm. some of the villages in this region include: Uanhumi, Afuze, Okpokhumi, Ugboa, Ojavun etc The Emais are mainy farmers in both cultivation of crops and livestock. History has it that they originated from a man called Imaran who was born in ancient Benin and then son of the eldest son of the king at that time.
6. Ijaw Tribe
The ever vibrant Ijaws are also found in parts of Edo state. They make up the clans of Furupagha, Olodiama East and West and Ukomu in the southwestern parts of Edo state. These towns are not all in an area but are scattered in small communities and each speak a different variation of the Ijaw language. The Ijaws in this area are both fishermen and farmers. The Ijaws in Edo state are also mostly Christians like their counterparts in other states.