AN ODE TO ESAN PEOPLE
By Saintmoses Eromosele (SME)
I crave your indulgence, let me celebrate my people today. Join me if you care. Share and Like if you like. I am Esan and we are Edos. All of us are children of the great Oba in Benin.
I love many things about my people – Esan.
The three most interesting things to me about the Esan people are;
1. Esan men’s global reputation as warriors (both physically, spiritually, religiously and intellectually, in ancient and contemporary times – Generals Isidaehomen of Irrua, Agba of Uromi & Lagos Island (Ala Agba), Ezomo of Ewu, Uwagbonohue of Ewu and Ukpota of Urhokpota to Heroes Enahoro, Shaka Momodu, Ambrose Alli, Aikhomun and Anenih).
2. Esan women’s well documented reputation for marital fidelity (both ancient and modern times), little wonder most tribes across Nigeria rush to Esanland to find a virtuous wife.
3. And Esanland’s agriculture, hospitality and industry, especially the ancient and modern cotton industry that was the ‘Oyel’ of the ancient Benin Empire for which the famous Benin/Uzea war was fought that claimed the lives of two famous kings, (Onojie of Uzea and Oba Ozolua of Benin), and a relic of that ancient cotton industry is what you see in the unique Esan dressing and the Igbabonelinmwin custume, an eloquent testimony of our dressing, as you can see in the attached photo.
Besides the above mentioned three most interesting things to me about the Esan, I also love the fact that Esan is probably the only Nigerian language spoken in the Bible and, like Esan people believe, “Esan ole aze vbi elinmwin” meaning Esan is the language spoken in the spiritual realms.
Remember “Abba, Father” as used in the Bible?
Abba is Esan word for father. Little wonder it is difficult to tell the difference between the two great cities of Cardinals; Rome & Uromi. It is perhaps more than mere coincidence that both cities sound and feel alike – Rome, Uromu (corrupted Uromi).
I love every inch of soil, water and rock of Nigeria. My love for Edo State, her peoples and her development is boundless. But I love this unique brand of Edo people – the Esans, even though I was never born there not have lived significant part of my life there, but the Esan blood flows in my veins, the beautiful black blood that irrigates freedom everywhere they find themselves.
Esan, a people so naturally blessed that no one can curse. Esan, a people who bring special pride and glory to themselves, to the Mother Edo Nation, to Nigeria and to the world, since ancient time – Anthony Enahoro, Olubunmi Okogie, Ambrose Alli, Tom Ikimi, Tony Anenih, Oserheimen Osunbor, Eunice Osagiede and Chris Oyakhilome, are only a few examples.
Gen. Isidaehomen from Irrua founded Dahomey for the Benin Empire, Onojie Agba of Uromi was loyal to the Oba and helped to subdue Eko (Lagos) for Benin, King Ogbidi of Uromi terrorized the colonial usurpers and fought side by side with His great Oba and brother, Ovonramwen n’Ogbaisi, to resist the invasion of Benin until he too was apprehended and banished to Calabar, Anthony Enahoro needs no introduction in modern Nigeria. Tony Anenih, Ambrose Alli, Oserheimen Osunbor, Chris Oyakhilome, DIG Oyakhilome, Real Adm Ebhaleme, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, Prof Okonofua, Prof Okojie, Prof Anao, Prof Aigbokhian, Prof Isokun, Vice President Aikhomun, Chief Justice of the Gambia Justice Omosun of Ewu, Prince Shaka Momodu, etc, even SME…. We are all Esans and Edo is our Mother Nation!
Esanland, we have them all – the good, the bad and the ugly – truly a great man’s house .
We are Edo people and we are Nigerians. But our native name is ESAN – WE ARE NOT TO BE CALLED THE COLONIAL NAME ‘ISHAN’ ANYMORE!
Esan, we are great warrior Kingdoms loyal to the Emperor in Benin, who is both our father and also our brother – the Oba of the Universe.
Oba Gha Tor Okpere, Ise! Esan Di Fure, Ise!