JAGBE TRADITIONAL INSTITUTION, NIGERIA

 

CHAPTER ONE


INTRODUCTION

            FEW scattered documents were prepared and available for JAGBE CLAN in her Traditional, Customary, Cultural and Administrative formations. Till 1979, tradition and administration were focus on and linked to a spot, The OBA OF BENIN (BINI), the OBA OF EDO KINGDOM, OMO N’OBA N’EDO UKU-AKPOLOKPOLO. He is and continue to remain one of the only know Three Traditional Majesty of Traditional Institutions. That is the human aspect of it. All in all, everything is ordained by Almighty Osanobulua! Here, Jagbe Clan derived her traditional heritage. Therefore, Jagbe people can be regarded as Benin or Bini from home.

           

           There are stories on how Jagbe people came from Benin through Urole (Uroe) in Owan as Ivbiesako District and Afuze as the Headquarter till this present situate. The first SPOT of ABODE was the spot of where IHELANMEN is occupying. It was this spot of Ihilanmen other villages, Imiokono, Imiogian and Ikhua emigrated included extension of Ihelanmen, the ‘IJIOGBE’ and the ‘Eguale’ unambiguously remains the traditional and administrative Headquarters of the numerous Villages that made up Jagbe Clan. Abhusi (Auchi), Ubiaza (Ubiaja) then became Jagbe Divisional Headquarters respectively with the competing Islam and Tradition side by side. Jagbe Clan can neither abandon Etsako because of Islam and administrative headquarters particularly Agbede and Abhusi nor abandon Esan because of tradition and markets, particularly Ewu, Idoa, etc.

 

            The book on “JAGBE PEOPLE ORIGIN AND CULTURE” written by SULEIMAN A. QUADRI is a good reference. For it may be said to be the first of its kind to dare on such issue. The gathering and excepts make such reading. By its collections, at least, Jagbe People have a handy record of a book for further investigation as to what Jagbe Traditional Ruler / Clan Head and administration should be. Although the book did not mention exactly where lies the religious institutions which some schools of thought, thought was the main purpose of that book, it subtly cycle round gerontocracy / Ikhodalo Commission versus PRIMOGENITURE; thus, the conclusion of the book created vacuum in recording history of Jagbe Clan. The book would have done well in recording history if it had added this conclusive sentence. “…. THAT, AT THE TIME OF ITS WTITING, SOME OF THE ISSUES RELATING TO THE TRADITIONAL RULER / CLAN HEAD WERE IN COURT FOR LEGAL DETERMINATION AND SUBSEQUENT ADMINISTRATIVE RESOLUTION…” The book merely questioned as to why it took so long to get the “Staff of Office”. Let’s quickly put here that gerontocracy / Ikhodalo Commission’s declaration which were “alien, archaic and retrogressive and also full of gaps and contradictions” were properly looked into by the Appropriate Authorities Government in order to resolve the issue once and for all. This, you will see later on in this book! However, the book was a beautiful academic exercise.

 

            It must be said that education which is the hub of awareness has been hindering Jagbe. Illiteracy breed superstition rather than the WILL OF GOD. Whatever the position, Jagbe Clan is still in her first generation culminating in individual struggles with too many obstacles. Jagbe is an independent Clan from origin. Always separatism and exclusiveness in her own right.

 

TRADITIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES

          There is no pretending about it at all. The issue is Traditional Ruler/Clan Head of Jagbe. In other words, the ONOGIE OF JAGBE and CLAN HEAD no more no less.

 

            What this book attempts to establish is ‘structure’. Structure that will name organizations in which Jagbe clan can be administered under modern ADMINISTRATIVE HEAD. These organizations include: The Traditional Institutions, The Odionwele, the Religious Bodies, Social Clubs, the Youths etc. These may instigate some inquisitive people to investigate and write more books. And their functions.

 

            No community of people can live in isolation.

            Since the crowning and coronation of the ONOGIE of Jagbe on 28th December, 1991, many Jagbe people became aware of the rightful position on that Throne. This, you will see later on in this book. Also, since the coronation, many appointments including the ODIONWELE of Jagbe, the Chief IMAM etc. have been made. Celebrations and Natural features and fellow-beings, know and worship God properly. For these, there are understandings in Jagbe amongst Jagbe people themselves. And of course, LOVE.

 

ISLAMIC INTERACTION     

        Those who introduced Islam to Jagbe made negative impacts of the religion on the people of Jagbe. Thus, so many forbidden things were taught more often than not. Like it is forbidden to drink, to build house with zinc, to eat bread because it was made with alcohol, even to go to school to be educated. You do not do business even if it was genuine because according to them profit and interest are not allow in Islam. Whereas these are selfishness, exploitativeness because Almighty God is not rigid but gracious, benevolent, merciful.

 

SHRINES OR ALUOSE OR CHURCH OR MOSQUE            

            Jagbe shrines and other cultural heritages were removed or destroyed. These disorganized Jagbe people and thereby, Jagbe became subject to another Clan and started wandering. Things then fell apart. And Jagbe cannot be said to categorically be Moslem although there are assumption here and there, nor are they Christian or Pagan? If Jagbe claim Moslem, how many of the studied, know and really understand the Quoran, and other scripture, custom and tradition? Few of them who studied Quoran, assume they know it best than others, and that any other person should take their dictates at the expense of Jagbe Tradition. And how has that helped in the development of Jagbe people? How is it applied in contemporary issues? Is Islam so rigid as Jagbe people were made to believe?  But one thing I must emphatically re-affirm that Islam is the ‘best’ Religion to actually serve and worship GOD all things put together. Islam has a well-structured and organized art and act of praying prayers, supplication in addition to making ‘izobo’ or sadaka or offering. The Holy Quoran, sura IV by Abdullah Yusuf Alli says “…ABRAHAM was the fountain and origin of the three streams of religious thought  crystallized in the institutions of Moses, Jesus, Mohammed the chosen one.” Hadith means tradition with wider meaning and interpretation. Hadith is an Arabic word while Tradition is an English language. But they both means the same thing tradition of Ancestral heritage. Saudi Arabia Mecca-Medina did not discard tradition or hadith. Pilgrimage there is to join the observe and preserve the tradition. Kiss stone, stone devil, visit particular spot etc. What about ‘IGUE’ Festival in Benin, Edo Kingdom? Gwawenyenn! Igue Festival is in tone with any known good religion to worship and obey GOD. Thus, thanks are given to God for the past and requests made for the coming years. Economically, these are all acts of international trade and co-operation.

 

NAMES   

          Jagbe names were replaced by Arabic names, thereby lost their meanings. For example, Alo-ataegbe was given Yusufu (Isu). Alo-ataegbe has effective meaning to a Jagbe person than yusufu. Alegimenlen, ogbekhiulu, Oroabhunu, Enakkhimion, Uduba Isesel, Otio-lemii, Unuayan, Izokhian, Akhasuekelebho, Iselebho, Iye-ebhoodan, Aidenogie, Emoisedole, Aisogie Ojekhebholo, Ehizogie, Aiino-ebesunu Odekhilan, Aitanegbe, etc. etc for Momoh, momodu, Mamuna. Jagbe names are meaningful, eventful and historic.

 

“….INTRODUCTION TO THE HADITH BY A RAHAMAN DOE, says “….There are ancient custom which could be accepted…” “Sunnah which means way or rule or manner or mode of live…” Jagbe has her rites. If  these are blended with Quoran and Hadith, the arts and acts of Islamic practice become easy and not rigid to the extent of denying people their rights or rites, tradition and custom in a given geographical situate and allowing ‘ababe’ or ‘aria’ or ‘Idobolo’ (devil) to operate freely. People act and behave in such peculiar way as influenced by the environment they are living in.

 

MUSLIM     

        Muslim or Moslem means those who submit to the WILL OF GOD ALLAH. D inanimate, that is, those with lives and those without lives. Dead wood, iron, trees, grass as well as human beings and animals are all Muslim. Because the obey the Will and Command of ALLAH GOD. Kun, “BE”, it will be. For example, deadwood re-incarnate worm, or reproduction. But those practicing Islamic system of religion with the five cardinal prayers are called muminii.

 

TRADITION  

           Jagbe has not been able to disengage from tradition like any other tribes. This is Natural! Within a geographical situate, there is always a tradition or hadith as earlier said. Not Islam parse. No, but those who interprets the Quoran suppress Jagbe tradition. At the same time, they use the Islam to dot the work of  tradition while Jagbe Priesthoods were sent to oblivion. Thus the two, Islam and Tradition became mixture of conflicts in Jagbe. Whereas they are almost the same thing recognizing that there is only one GOD-ALLAH. Tie of’ Nan’ (armlet) and consulting oracle or Ancestral Spirit were taken over by Mallams. The practice has being for some to go to Etsako (Agbede) to consult Mallams on Islamic way while others go to Esan (Ewu) to consult in native way. The usurping of Jagbe tradition by Islam denied Jagbe people of their instincts particularly the use of ‘herbs’ in treating illments. Jagbe was known to be one of the powerful people within Etsako and Esan. But the Islamic initiation subtly negates that power. The Natural Laws are the language of the Creator ‘herbs’ of all types, bitterleaf, basil (ebe-alumokho, etc.)  traditional abomination was no more observed. Traditional Ruler is the center of all traditional and religious institutions, clubs, parties etc. He does not need to take oath or swear. He is oath himself. For he only refers to Ancestors (Enekalo or Enikalo)> Things may be attributed to the will of God. Yes, that is true in a normal circumstance. But at the same time, the existence and influence of Satan-devil, or idobolo, or aria or ababe cannot be ignored and underrated. Education or Scriptures and Tradition are very important in knowing and serving God better. Traditional custom is one man’s meat which is another man’s poison.

 

WOMEN  

           When writing or talking of people, women must just have to be number one. The survival of man is woman. So also, the center of tradition is woman. Every successful man they say is woman. The reason is that woman possesses that magic power. Dictionary define “witch’ as woman using magic, female sorcerer or medicine man. As a result of this, tradition or hadith is naturally introduced alongside the Holy Books in any Community of people. This is to check the extreme and excess of witchcrafting which graduates to ‘ababe’ and ‘aria’ devil, esu. It is not when things are said or done in Arabic or English that is more correct. It is also very, very correct when it is by Shaikh Muhammed, page 2 “…A man may not have sexual intercourse with his wife during her menstrual period of following childbirth as this is harmful to them both. The most modern views concerning hygiene are those which have always been held by Islam. Almighty God says: “If they ask thee concerning women’s courses: they are a hurt and a pollution so keep away from women in their courses and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves ye may approach them, in any manner, time or place ordained for you by God. For God loves who keep themselves pure and clean” (Q.2: 222) QUORAN SURA II: C 50 (169): ‘we have an appeal to all people, Muslim, Pagan as well as people of the Book… All …Society lay down reasonable limitations. These and show what is lawful in the Society…coincide…with what is ‘good’ GOOD Taiyib pure, clean, wholesome nourishing, pleasing to the taste”

 

SHARIA  

           Sharia means the Rule of Law, the Natural Justice, GOD ALLAH’s Laws and Commands, inclusive of tradition, custom, Ten Commandments etc. in all ramifications that nobody is above the Law except Almighty GOD.

 

MARRIAGE

            As a result of the way Jagbe people were taught, Islam took over the jagbe traditional marriage practice to a dangerous angle. Many relevant questions are no longer asked. Whose family? How is the family? Character? Mental antecedence and all other are not put to clearance. Traditional oath taking helps man, the family and the community at large. These traditional practices should be combines with Quoran and hadith injunctions. Symbols like colanut, salt, are (native chalk), esien edo (alligator pepper) etc. What is their significance? In Ere and umenlen and esien edoare symbols of happiness in blessing of celebration. It is not idol serving.

 

DEATH

             Death is the surest banker of a life of a man. Illness and death of a man raise alarm traditionally in those days particularly young man. There were questions as to the natural illness and death of a man. Questions on artificial illness and death of a man. Also, psychological illness and death of a man. And preparation before, during and after war. Natural, artificial and psychological development of man and Community. Even modern medical institutions investigate and record cause of illness and death for future treatment and prevention. In other words, developments of medicine, with science replacing superstition, opening of hospitals, improved sanitation lessened the incidence of epidemics, disease…

 

BURIAL

            Some Jagbe burial rites have been neglected. The caliber of person involve influence certain performance of rites. This may be necessary before the Moslem burial. That “…the Quoran with its wealth of details is still insufficient by itself without the assistance of ‘fatawa’ (a religious decision) and tradition, and the Hadith arose to supply this need…”

 

WINDOW

            The re-marry of a woman who lost the husband was not automatic in those days. There were questions as to whether the woman has been faithful to the husband and the family? Generally, was she ominous woman etc.

            Jagbe tradition practice these investigations for the purpose of cleanse and sanctification. Elders, the Odionwele and Edionwele etc. with the sole knowledge of the Onogie and traditional Ruler carry out these spiritual functions. Every child is everybody’s child and Community. The practice of people’s tradition unifies the people enable them do things in common of their Ancestral heritage. Jagbe was one of the centers for spiritual consultation by suburbs. Those who assumed Islamic faith negate the traditional jagbe mode of life. Quoran and Hadith are written document which Jagbe tradition included. Therefore, Jagbe should not abandon her tradition. Again, HADITH BY A. RAHAMAN DOI, I quote …while Quoran gives the Muslim a primary rule and way of life, there are oblivious thing was to follow the custom or usage of the Prophet i.e. Sunnah … Unquote.

           

ANIMAL

            Animals are under human control. Animals are checked. If there are abnormal or suspicious movements of any animal, Elders would find out and check the extreme. Animals like goat, fowl, sheep must be tied or put in their cage. They are restricted and confined from certain time of the evening till dawn of the following morning. Owl, snake, dog etc. are watched with suspicion.

 

FARM

            Wealth and death have almost the same tradition rites. Certain rites used to be observed before, during and after farm season. The conflicts between Jagbe tradition and Islam have not helped things here. Although crude implements were used for certain cultivation, Elders would consult spiritually and instruct that certain rites should be carried out by people: Age Group, women, Youth etc. These are parts of Jagbe Festivals, yearly.