Accurate Origin of Anebira (Ebiras)
Igbirra hereby refers to Ita’azi Attanuje more commonly addressed as Igbirra at Idaa; in the realization of the fact that he was the only one of the three half-brothers that were from both Ebira father (Idoko) and mother (Upai)l while his party, most likely included these two fully grown—up sons together with his grandchildren (from Adaviriku Ehinkoto and Uga), wives and other extended family members as well as the slaves of Ita’azi Attanuje.
But most relevantly is the fact that the early history of the party is recorded (coded) in the names given to his (Attanuje’s) eldest and second eldest sons (Adaviriku Ehinkoto and Uga respectively); a country in this sense means virgin (farm) land as defined by A.S. Hornby’s Advanced Learners’ Dictionary.
The meanings of their names are not far-fetched. “Adaviriku” (from the expression “Ada vi iriku”) is clearly referring to the rulership position occupied by the ancestral father in Idaa (formerly called Adu but was changed by the Jukun immigrants from Burak Hill of the old Apa kingdom).
These Jukun immigrant Ruling Castes took—up the name, (Ebiras) Ebira (Egbura or Igbira or Igbirra) on arrival at Adu. They founded the Ata Idaa Dynasty; changed the name, Adu (which means stool in Okpoto language of the aborigines) to Idaa (which means Rock or Cliff in Ebira language but was later known as Idah) “Ehinkoto” (from the expression, Ehi an’okoto) means the home of the Okoto; referring to Adu, the home of the Okpoto.
Hence, Adaviriku Ehinkoto was a child born at the land of the Okpoto during the reign of Idoko (the ancestral father who was reigning supreme then at the land of the Okpoto (or Okoto as pronounced by the Ebiras).
“Uga” Means fame in Ebira; referring to the child born during the glorious reign of the said ancestral father.
“Obaji” Means Virgin land in Ebira (as earlier treated)
“Ododo” Means flower (of the virgin land); as earlier treated too.
“Ihima” (contracted from the expression, Ihi mi ma); refers to the last born, whose other name is Onootu.
“Opete “ is the Ebira archaic word for a stool which is called Akpete in Igala.
That the five male children (Adaviriku Ehinkoto); Uga, Obaji, Ododo, and Ihima) of Ita’azi Attanuje left their father at Opete: and migrated further hinterland to safeguard the Ebira opete Chiefdom at the Okehi frontier with the Akoko, owe and Ese people should not be misconstrued.
That part of the parcel of land of the ancestral father later passed to the hands of his slaves and immigrants alike should not be misconstrued either. …and further south, along the left bank of the Niger, the border of the river is occupied mainly by clans who regard themselves as IGALA BY ASSIMILATION rather than by origin”, referring to the inhabitants of Etobe (now Itobe).
“These immigrant groups are of Bassa and Gwari stock in the immediate vicinity of the confluence. Further south, the left bank is peopled by the IGALA SPEAKING groups of IGBIRRAstock”. “Igala Kingdom” states inter alia:-
The Hima group whose settlements run inland from Ajaokuta on the right bank of Niger. This means the land which runs inland from Ajaokutato Ihima as Ebiraland is hereby corroborated. However, Ajaokuta District was carved out of the old Eganyi District in 1926.
The name, Ajaokuta, was derived from the nickname given by the Igala-speaking immigrants of the Ikere, Inike, Avapa, and different ethnic stocks Egodo people. Today’s Ajaokuta village is called “Utenyi” by the Ebira owners of the land which means ‘Waterside’ or Riverside’.
The market which sprang up there as a result of the said migration is still called ‘Ohutenyi’ by the Ebiras while these Igala speaking groups nicknamed it “Ajaokuta “, from the Igala expression, ‘Aja okuta which means ‘Stone Market’; being market where stones were used as seats by the traders at the said Riverside’.
The market, ‘Ohutenyi’ was among the three markets that sprang—up during the days of our ancestors to boost the economic growth of the newfound land “Ohutenyi”, for the fishing community of the riverside; “Ohungere”, blacksmith market, and ‘Ohuruku’ farm market.
The latter two are in the opete neighborhood. That these four Igala-speaking Clans migrated finally and settled permanently at this riverside market which was hitherto a marketplace only, should not be also misconstrued either.
Their migration and final settlement took place C.(1750—1830); most probably during the reign of Onuche (Ata’ Idah), long after the migration of Attanuje, the founding father of Ebiraland C.1550 AD. The nickname, Ajaokuta, got into the records of the British explorers during the period (1832—54) of the British expeditions.
Ajaokuta is now a global name as a result of the siting of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization). Ebiraland is blessed with abundant mineral resources amongst which is the Iron Ore deposit at Itape, right in the heart of Ebiraland. It is only the processing industry that is sited at this riverside, Ajaokuta, because of the abundant water needs of the steel-making process.
The present Steel Site area is called Agumagu in Ebira language, which means, ‘the one (deity) that does not accept offerings’ while today’s Geregu Camp up to the Geregu Water Treatment plant is called Opata. The settlements from Geregu up to Ganaja in the vicinity of the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue are part and parcel of Ajaokuta District; being part of the old Opete (Okpete) country; founded by Ita’azi Attanuje.
“This term, “Kwotto ” ) was applied by the Hausa to the tribe in question in recognition of the fact that their ancestors were persons of Igara origin who migrated from the (originally) OKPOTO town of idah…
“The IGARA conquerors fused 10 some extent with their Okpoto subjects, although they did not use the Okpoto tongue (Idoma) as their court language”. The author further explains the choice of the word ‘Igara ‘ which at that point in time was a synonym of Igbirra (particularly, the ruling caste of Jukun descent) now represented by the four ATTA ruling lineages Amacho, Itodo Aduga, Akogu, and Ohiemi Ubogo (Ocholi).
Being the direct descendants of Ayegba (Om’Idoko) who undoubtedly became the apex of the dynasty, following the departures of Ohimi (Ozi Agye) and Ita’azi Attanuje (Ozi Upai), who left no male issues behind. other Ebira clans left behind include Agaidoko, Ohiomogbo, Ohiuga, Ede, Ohieda, Acadachi.