Political Changes in Esanland Southern Nigeria during British Rule, 1900-1960

Political Changes in Esanland, Southern Nigeria during British Rule, 1900-1960 and the Impact on Inter-Intragroup Relations.

By Dawood Omolumen Egbefo Ph.D

Department of History and International Studies, IBB University, Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria. E-mail: dawoodamirah@yahoo.com 



The paper examines the issues about continuity and change in Nigeria using the British interference in the political activities in Esanland. The baseline for the discussion with the con quest and imposition of colonial rule in Esanland of present Edo state Nigeria, colonial political were put in place by the British colonial master to facilitate the exploitation of human and material resources beneficial to the industrial development of Britain. Their imperial policies found expression in the political development of Esan community. The paper takes it therefrom where much condemnation is been poured in the imperial colonial policies on aspect of continuity and change, that the legacies of colonialism cannot be forgotten in a hurry because the impact on the indigenous practices of the people long after colonialism ended is still evident and has become so dynamic and more of an unending dimension.

Esanland, before 1900: Origin, People and Land

Esanland (pronounced aysan) is one of the major ethnic groups in Edo state, south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It is believed by many historians that the name “Esan” meaning they have fled or they jumped away).1 Ishan still evident in most colonial records is an anglicised form of Esan, the result of the British inability to properly pronounce the word. For academic purpose, Esan refers to the ethnic group that occupies central Edo state, a person or the people collectively from the Esan ethnic group. The language of these people which linguistically is of the Kwa2 subdivision of the Niger Congo language family is related to something of Esan origin e.g. Uro Esan, Esan language, Uto Esan, Esanland, Ogie Esan, Esan king, Akugbe Esan, Esan unity etc. The group belongs to the one of the largest ethnic groups that belongs to the Edo speaking people in Nigeria and in the diaspora. In her present connections with Benin, Esanland is regarded to belong to the minority areas of the Nigerian state.3

Esanland with long historical connections with Benin kingdom, most especially the dynastic rulers, Enigie, is situated on the north-east of Benin City, the Edo state capital. Esanland is within the rain-forest zone and the year is characterized by two distinct seasons. These are the rainy-season and the dry- season. The rainy season lasts from the later part of March to early November of each year. The rainfall that is evenly distributed throughout these months is heaviest in the month of July and September. The vegetation of the area had been greatly affected by the activities of man. But luxuriant trees with under-growths still maintain the characteristics of the rain-fall in Udo, Illushi, igueben, Amamhor, Ujogba, Egoro and Uzea areas. Such trees such as Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany and a lot of other species are still found in the above areas. Because of the shifting system of cultivation which is prevalent all Over Esan, the savannah type of the vegetation is gradually claiming greater section of the forest Zone. The Ministry of Agriculture and Nature Resources combating this since the 1940s especially in the located forest reserved areas at Udo, Uzea, Amanhor, Egores Ewo and Illushi.


The origin and the population of the area is still tied in contestation and obscurity. However, thirty kingdoms and other chiefdoms (large expanding villages/townships ruled traditionally by exemplary monarchs) make up Esan and many of them seem to have their own oral version of the origin of Esan as well as their own starting point in history. However, it is generally believed that their origin assert to indignity, waves of migrations from Benin kingdom, Nupeland, Yorubaland, other places and resettlement of other groups from the north, and Kogi near in Esanland.

Populated areas before 1900 included Uromi-Uzea, Ekpoma, Irrua, Ewohimi, Ubiaja, Igueben, Ewu, Ugbegun, Ebelle, Illushi, Ohordua, Emu, Ewatto, Opoji, Ewossa, Ogwa, Ugboha, Egoro, Amanhor, Urohi, Ujogba, Okhuessan, Ukhun-idoa, Oria, Ugun, Orowa, Udo and Onogholo. Each of the towns autonomous in status is made up of many villages with an Onojie as king over them. The most populated town in the area is Uromi. The idea of a fixed number of people in the area was never taken seriously by the Esan except for economic and social reasons. The idea of one man, one wife was alien to them. The wealth of the man was assessed based on the number of wives and number of children. Polygamy was never a practice all over Esan because it was the Enijie and Ekhamon, chiefs who had the highest number of wives and children. Therefore, the population of Esanland never suffered declination but continuous growth and increases before and beyond 1900.12

The occupation of the people was/is predominantly agriculture supported with other secondary indigenous art and craft. The greater part of the farm work was done during the rainy-season, while the clearing of the new farm-land was carried out in the dry-season. The nature of agriculture was mixed-cropping, accompanied with shifting cultivation. The implements for agriculture, although crude, include cutlass, axe, hoe, sickle, and knives. The clearing of the bush was under human labour with the cutlass and the big trees were felled with the axe, but those trees too big for cuttings were felled by firing. Planting was done in heaps by the use of the hoe which was also used for weeding the farm throughout the season.13

Apart from farming, other economic activities engaged in by the people include animal husbandry, fishing, hunting, weaving, iron-smith work, carving/carpentary, cloth weaving, brewing of gin and wine, mining of mineral resources, palm oil production and the production of preventive and curative herbs/medicine by various herbalist and native doctors.

Land: Otor the principal means of production was strictly communal and held in trust by the Onojie for his people. It could neither be sold nor bought. If there was a dispute over a piece of land in the village, the edion, elders looked in to it and effected settlement. If it was a land dispute involving two or more villages, the Onojie, king decided the matter because, Otor as the principle means of production was of crucial and central importance to any kind of survival. According to Dr. Omokhordiou, A.O., “land was communally owned and no single individual then had the right to appropriate land except what the society permitted the family that make up each of the Esan society”.15 Which means land was surplus and adequate for every body and again it was not idle as claimed by some scholars, but put to use based on the demand of the market or consumption.

Trading was another pre-1900 activity of Esan people. The consolidation of the various productive activities in Esan by this period no doubt led to the development of an organized and sustained exchange and distributive system through the established market, Eki, or Arki attended by the various classes of home and long distance traders from over the Igara, Igbo,Yoruba, Nupe, Benin, Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw and even Hausaland.16


The means of exchange in these trading activities were dynamic, starting with trade by barter. 

Later commodities such as cowries, salt, iron, bars, gold dust, multi-coloured cloth Ukponododo etc. were one time used as means of exchange in pre-1900 Esanland.

The pre-colonial political set-up in Esanland was very much like that of Benin kingdom where a cross section of the people and the dynastic rulers originated from. The central administration of the pre-colonial era in Esanland revolved round the Enijie where “the legislative, executive and the judicial functions were vested on” the Enijie, king Royal succession was by primogenitor. The king was regarded as sacred and inviolable. He had many chiefs around him who played almost the same role as those of the Oba of Benin kingdom. Among the important chief was the Oliha, Oniha who was the special priest to the royal family and who performed the kings’ sacrificial offerings to his departed ancestors. He was the chief mourner of the royal family and the announcer of the demise of the king. Others were the Uwangue, Ezomon, lyasele, Esogban, Esodole, Oshodi, and some others nominated by the king. They all played important aspects in the administration of the royal court.17

Below the royal court at Eguare, capital in each of the towns was the Egwele, Iguele village organization. The village was organized in the age-grade system whereby the Odionwele was next in position to the Enijie, as he was responsible for the day-to-day activities in the village on behalf of the king. He had a council of four men, Odionene, who were often the eldest men in the village. The position was also sacred and inviolable. They took part in all the major meetings of the village and they were responsible for making pronouncements on all vital issues affecting the village. Through them the village paid their tributes to the king, presented their petition, makes application and submitted appeals to the kings. The council of elders which was the highest administrative and executive organ in the age grade system was responsible for the formulation of laws and the trail of civil case in the villages. It also served as the court of first instance in murder cases rape, insult of foreigners, use of evil magic among others.18

The next lower in rank in the age-grade political set-up was the Igene group made up of “men between the ages of 35-45”. This body acted as the work force, the army and active ablebodied of each of the towns and they were responsible for the construction and digging of wells, building of community shrines, markets, houses destroyed by natural mishaps, digging of graves and burying the dead. They were also responsible for the waging of wars against neighbouring towns and villages and as policemen used for arresting social deviants and escorting those banished from the community.19

The lowest in the age-grade political organization was the Egbonughele youth for errands, and minor tasks made up of males between 12-34 years. They did minor works in the community which did not require much energy, and this included the cleaning of the streets on Edezele, days of rest, weeding and clearing public amenities and infrastructures and custodian of the acrobatic dances group and other cultural activities taught by the elders. The age-grade system of political organization in each of the kingdoms in Esanland helped to set in motion, order, stability and continuity with one political organs serving as a link to the other. The political organization could be compared to a pyramidial shape, with the royal court at the peak of the pyramid, the Igene group at the middle and the Egbonughele at the base of the pyramid. A striking feature of the pre-colonial political set-up all over Esan was that women were somehow not given any place in the scheme of public administration before.20

Apart from the unique language, there were some other cultural modes which distinguished the Esan people from other peoples of Nigeria. These were in the aspect of dressing habit. The men worn loin-cloth, Igbulu-Ododo, made of assorted colours with another smaller one, Obenuku, tied around the waist. To give a finishing touch to elegance the men hung an Ijakpa on the left shoulder. The Ijakpa was made of leather tassels with knitted and decorated handle. Because the wearing of Igbulu-ododo left a part of the body exposed the Ijakpa was used for killing flies and other insects that perch on the exposed body. A cap, Arhu, made of same material won on the head to match with the face, added colour to the man’s personality and acted as a shade over the head from the rays of the sunshine.

Socio-culturally, there were cultural ceremonies ranging from new yam festival naming, birthday ceremonies, title taking ceremonies and burial ceremonies. The festivals were head once a year or once in life time. They were marked with imported rituals and also in ‘meal’ communion with the ancestors. The festival also served as occasion for the renewal of the oath (Okoven) of solidarity and loyalty. There were other ceremonies like Ogbe and Iruen. These ceremonies improve the relations of the departed and harmonious existence of the living.21

There also exist in their religion, the belief in Osenobua, God, Ehi (Angels) Elimi, spirits and Eneyulu, ancestors. They believed in the existence of these bodies but in the case of Osenobua, they had no cult or statue for him. The people of Esan were so conscious of the existence of God that the name Osenobua featured prominently in their daily lives.22

British Dimension in the Political Changes in Esanland

By 1899, the impact of the British presence was very much felt in Esanland following the Benin expedition of 1897, the deportation of Oba Ovoranmwen to Calabar and the takeover of the central administration by the British. According to some informants in Uromi and Benin city, “some of the Benin chiefs who had taken refuge in some part of Esanland wanted to fight their way back to Benin”.25 They therefore sought the help of some of the Enigie in Esanland, particularly the Onojie of Uromi. The British expeditionary soldiers stationed at Benin were not un-aware of the plan, and under the instruction of Raph Moore some British soldiers were dispatched from Bemn to Esan areas to punish the rebellious chiefs and also to set-up an administrative base somewhere in Esan land to take control of the area. Before then, according to some informants, the rumour that some British soldiers were moving towards Esanland soon began to gain momentum. The different Enijie began to make individual preparation on town bases. It was current among the Enijie and the chiefs that they would not accept the British soldiers because they were regarded as invaders and usurpers. The people were therefore prepared to resist them and if possible to turn them away or kill them. This was however a joke as the soldiers were better armed and better disciplined; indeed, the British arrived in Esan in 1900. They arrived at Uromi from where they spread their operation to other parts of Esanland, my informants educated me.

Ogbidi, the Onojie of Uromi wanted to show the lead by resisting the British soldiers when they arrived in 1900. He was over-powered, arrested and deported to Calabar. Immediately the resistance was brought under control. In resisting the British soldiers, he was isolated by the other Enijie in other Esan areas who failed to have a united front against the invading soldiers. Another Onijie who resisted the presence of the British soldiers was Ojiefoh of Ewu. He was attacked, defeated and deported to Ubiaja to be under the watchful eyes of the British soldiers. Between 1900 and 1902, the British soldiers had over-run the whole of Esanland as there was no other king that could resist the soldiers of ‘fortune’. As the news of the defeat and deportation of the Enijie of Uromi and Ewu spread to other parts of Esanland, the other Enijie were prepared to accept the British as their over-lords. Within the next four years works of pacification was carried out and by 1906 the British had established their station at Ubiaja which was to become the Administration Headquarters for the whole of Esan country.

The Emergence of British Administration

By 1906 the British assumed all the functions of the government, legislative executive and the judicial powers. Owing to shortage of man-power, lack of sufficient funds, the unhealthy climate for the British Officials and because of the First World War which was to come up shortly, the British was forced to make use of the existing Enijie and their chiefs in what was called the indirect rule, and where such conditions were not favorable they created new ones under the direct control of District Officer (D.O) resident at Ubiaaji. The coming of the British as discussed in this paper into Esanland marked a change in the existing form of administration and such changes to be reflected in the socio-political and other human endeavours all over Esan.

In order to avoid open rebellion from the inhabitants, most especially the Enijie and their chiefs, the British adopted a gradual system of takeover of power from the Enijie who formally controlled all the state mailers. These Enijie apart from resistance who were not banished or deported were stripped of all the control over villages except in those belonging to them as individuals.26 They were no longer to retain such power and authority as was formerly the case in particular towns in Esanland.

The British within the first twenty years of arrival in Esan area welded the whole area together for administrative purposes and created one Council of Chiefs for Esanland. It should be noted that this type of council, had never existed in Esan area, except the royal council the council of the elders down to the council of Egbounghele (errand youths) which were created in each of the towns that made up Esanland. The single council of chief for Esan people did not have its representations from all the kings that made up all towns in Esan land. There were only eight Enijie that were selected to represent the interest of the people in the new British imposed council which welded the legislative, executive and judicial powers subjected to the overall powers of the D.O. According to C.G. Okojie:

As things stood in 1920 the all-powerful Esan (Ishan) council consisted of eight Enijie: Imandojiemu of Opoji, Eromosele of lrrua, Ulagbale of Uromi, acting for his exiled father, Orhibhabor of Ohordua, Ojiealekhe of Emu, Ifebhor of Ewohimi and Agbebaku of Ora.27

Ora at this time were regarded as parts of Esan area until the 1950s when it joined her kith and kins, the present Owan local government of Edo state. Although these kings were members of the Esan native council, they were appointed by the D.O who could terminate their appointment if they are found wanting in the discharge of their duties. This council was under the control of the British administrative officer. These occupants of the new political position under the colonial regime were styled paramount chiefs.28

This council performed so many functions. It served as a legislative instrument, executive and a judicial body, responsible for administering Esan districts. Among other things, this council was also responsible for the disciple of the other Enijie and chiefs. The most ‘stubborn ones’ among them were sent to disturbed areas in company of the British soldiers to put things in order.

The appointed paramount chiefs were placed in change of larger areas than formally was the case. They were to administer justice in such areas, collected taxes and supervised other public works. Chief Esogban Esene confirmed that in several areas some chiefs believed to be cool headed’ by the British administration were made paramount chiefs to the detriment and popular discontent of their people. According to sources when Ojiefoh of Ewu town was deported, a puppet Onojie was appointed, who the British could control to their own advantage. The resident D.O and his successors and other political officers administered the area through the created Native Council who becomes antocrative due to the enormous powers given them by the British officials. 29

Sir Raph Moore who was the High Commissioner for Benin area including Esanland regarded the Oba of Benin and the Enijie in Esan as politically supreme and dominating which was not true. The Oba and the Esan Enijie though were highly respected, they only reign but does not rule alone. They were given unlimited powers to the detriment of the people.

According to Professor I.A. Okoduwa, “they were the kings of the countries, but service to them was based on several checks and balances. It was a give and take approach”.30 And before the end of the l940s, the Enijie in Esan area under the colonial administration become mere rubber stamps as they could no longer initiate any major policy as they were doing previously in the Royal Council.31 The royal court and council become more shadow of itself as its functions were restricted to religious rituals and other lawful traditional ceremonies, which did not interfere with the polities of the period. The kings become powerless as they could no longer retain the eunuchs as body guards in their palaces and also they were no longer allowed to handle civil and criminal cases independently. They were also restricted under the British administration the power to inflict capital punishment on anybody. They were only to see to the maintenance of law and order in their towns on behalf of the majesty, the British crown. This was contrary to the traditions of Esan people, for example, it was the Onijie in each of the towns who was the head of government but under the Native Council the D.O was regarded as the chief executive “overall” of the towns and the people of Esanland.

After the amalgamation of 1914 Sir Frederick Lugard introduced the indirect rule to all parts of the country. Esan area was not left out under the new dispensation and in the 1930s Esan area was under the administration of Mr. E.C. Palmer and Mr. W.B. Rumann who were the District Officers. The period also witnessed the introduction of the Native Authority, the Native Court and the Native Treasury in Esanland.

Under the new system the people were to be allowed to participate meaningfully in the new system. The post for the Enijie, their chiefs, the district heads and village heads were created for easy administration and communication in the land. For the first time direct poii tax of two shillings was introduce for men and women. The women resisted in 1927. According to Mr. Usunobu Andrew, “There were wild demonstration against women taxation all over Esan, in which the women took to the streets in different groups from the towns and villages over all parts of Esanland”.32 They marched to the D. O’s residence at Ubiaja to demand exemption from the oppressive taxation that the women were made to bear. Mr. V.C.M. Kelsy who was the D.O. feared that the situation could lead to open riot if the men were to join the women’s demonstration. He was sure that the British who had recently emerged from the First World War would not sponsor another war against an uprising from taxation in Esanland. He eventually exempted them from the payment of the poll tax. All the taxes collected were paid into the native treasury in Ubiaja and the Native Authority clerks kept the official records of such accounts.33 Receipts were also issued for all the money paid into the treasury. The Native Treasury also made vouchers for all salaries and wages paid out to the native authority staff and any other work carried out by the native authority. The paramount chiefs also ensured the safe keeping of taxes and other fees, like court fines until such money was transferred into the local treasury”. The annual salary of forty shillings for these chiefs depended on their ability to collect taxes from the people in their area.34

The Judicial System

The Native Authority was the law making organ and it was its duty to make laws which prevailed all over Esanland laws were no longer localized according to the wishes of the people in each town. In pursuance of the N.A system measures were taken to ensure that the people were fully consulted about the laws which were made the British district. Officials encouraged the Enijie and their chiefs to participate in the law making process since such laws were to affect their welfare.

An aspect of this policy which was of peculiar importance in this respect was the doctrine that the jurisdiction of the native authority must be on the consent of the people whom such authority would be exercised.35

While the N.A made all the regulation which had the force of law all over Esanland, the native court were responsible for the proper keeping of such laws hearing of and the trail of civil and criminal cases. The absolute powers which the royal council had over civil and criminal offence were usurped by the N.C. for it had wide overall powers over all cases. This extended to the trail of capital offences and the imposition of death penalty but no death sentence imposed by the N.C. was to be carried out unless first confirmed by the high commissioner”. With the new instrument of law making execution and adjudication, a new source of power emerged all over Esanland which in the existing order.

Continuity and Change in Esanland

If Esan was an aspect of the political heritage of the people after the British had left the scene by 1960, there were more significant areas within the colonial period where more changes had been introduced but in some cases traces of originality were left behind. This was more prominent in the political development of the people during the period under survey.

Although by conquering the Enijie and their Ekhaemon, chiefs the British were able to impose their own type of political arrangement on the people but with the political domination essentially on the chiefly class, paramount chiefs who were appointed over specified areas,40 thus leaving behind a greater section of the community. Indeed, most people in the rural village never felt the presence of the British administration in their areas except when they are called upon to pay their annual poll tax. In such villages the form of administration which operated was quite different from those in the urban areas. Their form of administration was still based on the age-grade Otu system where the Odionwele was still at the head of affairs. Beginning from the council of elders to that of Egbonujhele still operated and even today the pre- colonial form of administration still goes on side by side with the British imposed system of administration, Agbon Ebo which is today in most Esan towns. Although the Enijie and their chiefs has lost their political powers during the colonial era, they did not only constitute the paramount chiefs, they also declined in the traditional respect attached to them”41 Enijie still remained unchallenged and undwindled. They all ‘maintained the royal institutions despite the changes introduced by the British in to the politics of Esan. According to Chief Agbie Samuel, “the British were always conscious of their importance in the society and they were involved in the administrative reforms and assisted in the wanton and massive exploitation of man and materials for their selfenlightened interest. Though he still lives in the traditional palace, surrounded on occasions by the traditional title holders performing ceremonies and rituals for the city, his political role has greatly changed. This change is in respect of his relationship with the chiefs, people, political elites and in the roles they expect him to play”.

The Enijie only had mere shadow of their powers during and immediately after the period under review, they were only made a divine king to the head of a native administration in order to fit into the system of government based on the principles of what has been called indirect rule”.43 Although they continued in office until the 1960s their powers were further reduced by the new educated elites who formed the local councils because the councilors (who then) “looked upon the traditional rulers as instrument of a reactionary colonial regime”.44 The new breeds of councilors were more radical on their attitudes towards the Enijie and their chiefs not given recognition. All the Enijie and their chiefs were not allowed into the local councils that were introduced in 1952. Out of the lot only one-third of the total elected number of councillors were allowed in the new administrative setups. “Though traditional chiefs were included in these councils, they were not to exceed one-third of the elected membeis”.45 The change in the position of the Enijie and their chiefs continued throughout the period under review. Beginning with the coming of the British as we mentioned before now, in 1900 those of them who resisted the Europeans were deported or dethroned. For instance, Ogbidi of Uromi and Ojiefoh of Ewu were deported. Those that were not deported were stripped of their powers and some of them who remained in office till 1952 even lost their titles.

In the judicial aspect, the Enijie and their chiefs constituted the highest court of justice at the pre-colonial times but when the British came into Esan in 1900 there was a change in their powers. Formally the Enijie could hear appeals from the lower councils of the elders and any other council below that. However, when the Native Courts were formally established in 1920, the Enijie and their Chiefs had only functional roles to play. These functional roles were subjected to the authority of the District Officer (D.O) Other provisions conferred minor executive powers on the district chiefs and established Native Courts, presided over by the district chiefs but supervised by the British officers to settle specified classes of cases.46 In the precolonial days, the Enijie had absolute powers over civil and criminal cases. They could pronounce judgment on all cases without reference to any other authority but at the arrival of the British administration in Esan, the kings had limitations placed on their powers. For example, they could no longer pronounce judgment on death penalties.

No death sentence imposed by a native court was to be carried out unless first confirmed by the High Commissioner.47

This change continued throughout the period under review and even thereafter. When after 1954, these Native Courts became “Customary Courts”.48 The Enijie and their chiefs further lost their position in the customary courts because these courts were then presided over by the educated class in Esan society. “Some of these courts were presided over by qualified persons49 vexed in legal studies”. It would therefore be seen that there was continuity in the change of the position of the Enijie and their chiefs all over Esanland as far as the judicial system was concerned in the period under review. Their loss of judicial power was gradual until 1954 when the climax was reached and they had to give up to the educated class who all along played less dominant role in the judicial powers of the chiefly class. Indeed, it led to a smooth handover of the judicial system in Esanland from the old elites to the new elites. As one class of people gave away to the other, so also the Native Courts gave way to the Customary Courts at the early periods of the l950s. Although there was a wave of change in personnel responsible for the judicial management in Esanland, there was continuity in the judiciary itself. 50

There were only changes in the staff of the judiciary and a change in the name of the judiciary in 1954 which made the Native Courts, Customary Courts but in actual fact the judiciary continued to grow from strength to strength during and after the colonial period in Esanland. However, it should be noted that although the Native courts or customary courts featured in both civil and criminal matters, not all the cases within the period were taken to the courts. Most cases were still tried in the family circle during and after the colonial period in Esan. The family in each of the homes helped to settle some of the cases that could have resulted in court actions. Although the courts were there, the family units became great forces which were able to stand the test of time. In other words, the family circle acted as independent courts whose judgments were binding and final. This was one aspect of the judicial system in Esan which the British could not play down and in fact it continued throughout the period without suffering any change. According to Chief Imagborsoria Akota “Ours was the highest court of law in the land as no one in the family could take any member of the family to the whiteman’s court without coming back home to pay a greater fine than the white man’s own”5° because whatever the judgment the elders of the family pronounced, received the backings of the ancestors and the spiritual world. The changes and continuity in the society were not limited to the political system. It also affected the Cultural, Economic and Intergroup relations of the people. To this we would turn to another article.


With the coming of the British in 1900 new form of politics and other human actives were introduced as evidenced by the creation of the paramount chiefs and the limitation of their powers which was placed under the suspension of the District Officer from the 1920 onwards. The Native Authority and Native Courts and the native treasury were introduced in 1921. Esan area for first time in her history witnessed the payment of poll tax by both adult males and females.


1.  Okojie, C. Esan Native Laws and Customs with Ethnographic Studies of the Esan People Lagos, Illupeju Press Ltd; 1994 p.25

2. Okoduwa, A.I. “Esan Under British Administration 1900-1960” B.A. Long Essay Submitted to the Department of History, University of Calabar 1983. p6

3. Okoduwa, A.I. “Esan Under British Administration 1900-1960” ... p.10

4. Okoduwa, A.I. “Esan Under British Administration 1900-1960” ... p12

5. Okoduwa, A.I. “Esan Under British Administration 1900-1960” ... p14

6.  Darling, P.J. Archaeological and History of Southern Nigeria: The Ancient and Linear Earthworks of Benin and Ishan, Britain Bar; 1984, p.51

7. Darling, P.J. Archaeological and History of Southern Nigeria: p.52

8. Darling, P.J. Archaeological and History of Southern Nigeria: p53

9. National Population Commission, Benin City Office. 2006 Population Census Figures Benin City Edo State.

10. Pa Steven Eromonsele, 78 years old, (Oral Evidence) An Educationist and Proprietor of Akota Commercial College, Lagos.

11. This is an opinion of the researcher

12. Omoregie, S. “Esan in the Precolonial Era up to 1900” M.A. Thesis submitted to the Dept. of History University of Benin. 1985.

Several Pages.

13. Ehimogie, S.O. Agricultural Production in Precolonial Esan. Benin City Odua Publication 1969. p.49

14. Ehimogie, S.O. Agricultural Production in Precolonial Esan... p.50

15. Darling, P.J. Archaeological and History of… pp56-57

16. Darling, P.J. Archaeological and History of... p56

17. Ofighor, O.D. Chiefs in Esanland: Functions and Limitations before 1900. USA: Pearl Publications, 1998 p43

18. Ofighor, O.D. Chiefs in Esanland: Functions and Limitations before 1900... p.44

19. Ofighor, O.D. Chiefs in Esanland: Functions and Limitations before 1900... p.46

20.  Edeki, R. “Esan Pre-colonial Political Administration 1852-1900”. M.A. Thesis University of Jos, Dept. of History 2001 p25-27.

21. Ugiagbe, O.I., Beliefs and Religious of the Benin Peoples. Benin City. Pillars Publishers, 2000. p26

22. Ugiagbe, O.I., Beliefs and Religious of the Benin Peoples... p.27

23. Ugiagbe, O.I., Beliefs and Religious of the Benin Peoples... p35

24. Ofighor, O.D., Chiefs in Esanland: Functions and Limitations before 1900... p48

25. Asemota, O.A. “The British Invasion of Benin and Esanland: The Economic and Socio-Cultural Impact” B.A. Thesis, Dept of History, University of Lagos 2000.

26. Michael Crowther and Obaro Ikime (ed) West African Chiefs: Their Changing Status Under Colonial Rule and Independence. London Caxton Press W/A Ltd: 1970 p.277

27. Okojie, C.G: Ishan Native Laws and Customs. Yaba John Okwesa and co. p.23

28. Michael Crowther and Obaro Ikime (ed) West African Chiefs... p.227

29. Michael Crowther and Obaro Ikime (ed) West African Chiefs... p.228

30. Michael Crowther and Obaro Ikime (ed) West African Chiefs... p.229

31. Michael Crowther and Obaro Ikirne (ed) West African Chiefs... p230

32. Oral Interview Mr. Usunobu Andrew 91+ Effandio Uromi 17/1/2008 A Retired School principal. Now a Herbalist and Bone Setter in Benin.

33. Okojie, C.G. Ishan Native Laws ... p336

34. Okojie, C.G. Ishan Native Laws ... p337

35. Okonjo, I.M. British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1 950. A Nigerian View New York Nokia Publishers Ltd. p.47.

36. Okonjo, I.M. British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950... p47.

37. N. A1 Ishan Division Mr. J.A.G. McCall, D.O. Personal Papers

38. Agboutean, O.S. “Colonial Administration in Esanland 1900-1960” B.A. Long Essay, Dept of History and International Relations, University of Benin 1995 p.28.

39. Agboutean, O.S. “Colonial Administration in Esanland 1900-1960” ... p25

40.  Igbafe, P.A. “Indirect Rule in Benin” Tarikh Vol.3 No.3. Longman Humanities Press United States p.30

41. Crowiher, M. and Ikime, O. (ed) West African Chiefs: Their Changing Status Under... p.285

42. Crowther, M. and Ikime, O. (ed) West African Chiefs... p286

43. Crowther, M. and Ikime, O. (ed) West African Chiefs... p287

44. Crowther, M. and Ikime, O. (ed) West African Chiefs... p288

45. Crowther, M. and Ikime, O. (ed) West African Chiefs... p.283

46. Ajayi, J.F.A. History of West Africa. Aydes Bury, Hazeu Watson and Viney Ltd. 1977 p.461

47. Okonjo, I.M. British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950... p.47

48. Okonjo, I.M. British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950... p.47

49. lkiine, O. (ed) The Groundwork of Nigerian History. Nigeria, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. P407

Oral Interview with Chief Imagbosoria Akota 63yrs Retired Customary Court Officer (1954-1973) Ubiaja 2009