Ebira people are a set of race with strong fraternal relationship which began from our Father and Founder Itaazi. The Ebira people belong to various clans, these clans trace their origin to Itazzi, (usually they are the offspring of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Itazzi).
An Ebira person must belong to a clan in Ebiraland, a man/woman who is clan less in Ebiraland is usually referred to as “Òrìhì” (a slave). As time went by, Òrihis were allowed to take up the clan of their masters and mistresses as this was a way Ebira people integrate strangers and make them feel welcome.
Examples of clans in Ebira land are;
- Ezi-Ogu (children of Ogu),
- Ezi Apasi, Ezi-Uka,
- Ezi-Otu Ezi-Apasi,
- Ezi- Omoye,
- Ezi-Udu e.t.c
(“Ezi” means “children of” Ezi is the plural form of “Ozi” (child)) Every clan have a symbol or identity that makes them unique, this symbol is held very sacred and revered by some chosen by sons and daughters of the clan and appeased by the custodian. This Sacred Symbol called “Ényà Ohinoyi” consist of relics of the clan some of which may be the personal effects of the ancestral head or first chief of the clan.
The “Enya Ohinoyi” also consists of sacred items used to commune with the gods and to foretell events. Whoever sits on the stool as the clan head of any clan keeps this sacred Symbol with him.
This symbol can’t be seen by all especially females though some parts of the “Enya” are seen by some “special females ” called the “Onokus”. This symbol is appeased with kolanuts, traditional wine (Eche Ayi), and sometimes animal blood are sprinkled on it. An interesting thing about this symbol is that at times it moves by itself and can never be carried (no matter how strong the carrier is)except it gives permission to whoever wants to lift it.
When it gives permission, even a toddler can lift it. As earlier said, the human custodian of this “Ényà” is called “Taru” and the process of installation is discussed below. Every Freeborn Ebira man is royalty, which means every male is eligible to seat on the Taru stool to oversee the affairs of the clan…
To avoid clashes and bad blood amongst the people, the rotation of the Taru stool is divided in such a way that every family is given an opportunity at some point to seat on the stool. As such, every clan (Iresu) is divided into “Abara(s)” (lineages) “Abara” each Abara is further divided into “Ohueje(s)” (families). Now the stool is rotated round the Abaras with the “Ohuejes considered in selecting who sits on the Taru stool.
When a Taru joins his ancestors and after mourning him for 9 months, the symbol of kingship “Ényà”, is removed from the late Taru’s house and carried to the eldest person in the clan’s house…
The Ényà is carried at night by a virgin youth (a male) after some appeasement are made some which include prayers using palm oil and salt (Òhine) and some kolanuts also a white ram tied in the place from where it was carried from.
The search for the new Taru begins from a meeting where the clan elders seat to select the “Abara” to produce the next Taru. Choosing the next Abara is usually not difficult as every Abara has their turn in accordance to the level of seniority. When the succeeding Abara is chosen, the elders from that Abara seek from amongst themselves the Ohueje from which the new Taru should emerge, this too is in accordance to seniority.
When the Ohueje is chosen, the elders now seek divination (Èva) to tell them who amongst the the eligible young men in that Ohueje should be chosen as Taru. After consultations (usually lengthy) and sacrifices, the best person is chosen by the gods. Note that whoever is chosen must be a complete human without any form of physical or mental deformity.
After the person is named, the oldest woman in that Ohueje (called Onyeiza) is the first person to greet the “Taru Designate” with the salutation of “Taruuuuuuuu”. After this, preparation begins in earnest for the installation of the new Taru.
Also Read: Eva Ozi – Child Divination in Ebiraland
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This article was written by;
By Salami Amina Ann.
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