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Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State - Culture - Nairaland

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Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by KINGOFJAPAN: 1:18pm On Feb 08, 2015
The Esan people (Ishan) are a major ethnic group in Southwestern Nigeria, mainly in what is now the Edo Central Senatorial District, in Edo State. The Esan people live primarily in Esanland, a modern term for the 35 kingdoms or clans making up the Esan people: Irrua, Ekpoma, Uromi, Ubiaja, Egoro, Ekpon, Ewohimi, Emu, Ewatto, Ewossa, Amalu, Igueben, Idoa, Illushi, Ifeku, Iyenlen, Ohordua, Okhuesan, Oria, Onogholo, Orowa, Opoji, Ogwa, Okalo, Ebelle, Ewu, Ugboha, Uroh, Uzea, Udo, Urohi, Ojiogba, Ugun, Ugbegun, and Ukhun. Esanland is situated just north of the Niger Delta and about sixty-five kilometers north-east of the state capital, Benin City. Esanland is also west of the Niger River.

It is believed by many historians that the name 'Esan' (originally, 'E san fia') owes its origin to Bini (meaning, 'they have fled' or 'they jumped away'). 'Ishan' is an Anglicized form of 'Esan', the result of colonial Britain's inability to properly pronounce the name of this ethnic group. It is believed that similar corruption has affected such Esan names as ubhẹkhẹ (now 'obeche' tree), uloko (now 'iroko' tree), Abhuluimẹn (now 'Aburime'), etc. Efforts have however been made to return to status quo ante.

The Esan nation came to be during the 15th century, when citizens left the neighbouring Benin Empire and formed communities and kingdoms called eguares. These kingdoms were subjugated in the 20th century to the British Empire, only gaining independence in 1960 when Nigeria became independent. Although the Esans were ethnically homogeneous, there is no attitude for seccesion, save for a short-lived Republic of Benin instituted by Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War.

It is estimated that the Esan people number about half-a million to 700,000 citizens in Esanland,not counting the Esan diaspora collected in the slave trade, the number of Esan citizens in other parts of Nigeria, and the number of Esan people moved to the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Italy , and South Africa and other parts of Europe.

Esan land is bordered to the south by Benin City, to the south-east by Agbor, to the north and east by Etsako, to the west by River Niger. From Ewu to Benin City, the State capital, is 100 km long. No accurate demographic data of the people is available and the various local governments in Esan appear to lack reliable information in this direction. The people populate areas such as Uromi, Ewohimi, Ewatto, Igueben, Irrua, Ubiaja, Ogwa, Ebele, Ekpoma, Ohordua and Ewu in central Edo State, South-South Nigeria. It has a flat landscape, lacking in rocks and mountains, and good for agricultural purpose.

Geographically, Esanland is on a plateau, surrounded by slopes down to the lower Niger river, the valley and wetland towards Etsako, the Kukuruku Hills and the plain around Benin city the state capital. The tableland though reddish-brown in colour, is a fertile land for farming, which is the main occupation of the Esan people. There is a dense thick forest, nutritionally rich in economic crops and herbal plants. However, it is suffering from bush burning, and wood felling for timber and as a major source of fuel (which is in high demand) for the increasing population of the Esan people.

The Esan traditionally farm yams, palm-trees, meat, and vegetables, hunt, fish, trade cotton,and other materials, and serve in the army of the Benin Empire.

The Esans primarily speak the Esan language, an Edoid language related to the Urhobo, the Edo, and the Etsako.

Esan folktales and folklore, like the igbabonẹlimhin and akhuẹ, serve as forms of learning and entertainment. The Esan have prominent traditional rulers who keep order in a society where beauty and manners are intertwined. Despite the long-term impact of Christianity, the Esan are largely traditional and a large number practice traditional beliefs in the form of worship of ancestral spirits and other gods. A large percentage of Esan are Christians, mostly Catholic and recently of other denominations. Esan has various dialects all of which stem from Bini and there is still close affinity between the Esan and the Bini, which leads to the common saying "Esan ii gbi Ẹdo" meaning, Esan does not harm the Ẹdo (i.e. Bini).

Traditional Esan religion has many similarities to traditional Edo religion, due to the Esan migration to the northeast during the 15th century from the Benin Empire. There are many deities of the Esan religion:

Osanobua, the main Edo-Esan god. This name for God was brought over to Christianity and its missionaries, and thus the translation for God in Esanland is Osanobua.
Olokun
Eshu, the Esan trickster god. This god is shared with Yoruba and Edo myth. The name Eshu was used as a translation for Satan by Christian missionaries.
Osun, the Esan god of medicine. This is where the surname Olokun, or son of medicine, originated from.

Notable Esans in Nigeria

Ambrose Folorunsho Alli, Governor of Bendel State and the founder of Ambrose Alli University

Anthony Anenih, a Nigerian politician and former minister of Works and Housing
Anthony Enahoro, who raised the motion for the independence of Nigeria in 1953 at the age of 30

Festus Iyayi, writer

Stella Obasanjo the First Lady of Nigeria from 1999 until her death

Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the Archbishop of Lagos state

Sonny Okosun, musician

Chris Oyakhilome, an international renowned evangelist

Fidelis Oyakhilome, former Lagos state Police commissioner and formal governor of Cross river state

Wilfred Ehikametalor, Former Kogi State Commissioner and former Assistant Inspector General of Police

Lugard Ibhafidon Sadoh, Baptist Pastor and an academic in the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Nobody: 3:20pm On Feb 08, 2015
The average Esan man can at best understand and at worst pick out words from Edo language meanwhile the Esan language sounds foreign to most Bini people.

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by FKO1(m): 4:24pm On Feb 08, 2015
charix:
The average Esan man can at best understand and at worst pick out words from Edo language meanwhile the Esan language sounds foreign to most Bini people.
So true wink
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Funjosh(m): 3:47am On Feb 09, 2015
Why the so much hate towards the Esan people by the Edo, I travelled to Auchi and met an Esan girl from Ekpoma but was advice to stay away from her by my friends and team members in which most of them are from Bini, Owan, Etsako and AkokoEdo on the ground that Esan people are very wicked, outsiders marrying from Esan is like signing your own death williling lipsrsealed

Am a Yoruba boy not from Edo so I have to belive what they said; but I must confess most of the Esan girls I met are very beautiful wink

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by FKO1(m): 5:06am On Feb 09, 2015
Funjosh:
Why the so much hate towards the Esan people by the Edo, I travelled to Auchi and met an Esan girl from Ekpoma but was advice to stay away from her by my friends and team members in which most of them are from Bini, Owan, Etsako and AkokoEdo on the ground that Esan people are very wicked, outsiders marrying from Esan is like signing your own death williling lipsrsealed

Am a Yoruba boy not from Edo so I have to belive what they said; but I must confess most of the Esan girls I met are very beautiful wink
That's Edo state for u... Esans also speak ill of the binis..
Lol @ "outsiders marrying from Esan is like signing your own death williling" Funny enough this only happens when you marry a Bini woman grin grin

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Nobody: 8:20am On Feb 09, 2015
Is it usual for Esan parents to give their children Yoruba first names? I noticed two of the Esan notables whose names appear in the list above have Yoruba first names.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by FKO1(m): 7:05pm On Feb 09, 2015
Radoillo:
Is it usual for Esan parents to give their children Yoruba first names? I noticed two of the Esan notables whose names appear in the list above have Yoruba first names.
I've noticed this too.. . I've got an uncle who has a yoruba name... Its common among the binis too..

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Nobody: 7:08pm On Feb 09, 2015
I've also noticed that many Yorubas have the last name Esan. Also many areas in Lagos, i.e. Idumota, Ikeja(Ikhedia), Esale Eko are Esan named.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by ChristyG(f): 10:28pm On Feb 09, 2015
aim5:
I've also noticed that many Yorubas have the last name Esan. Also many areas in Lagos, i.e. Idumota, Ikeja(Ikhedia), Esale Eko are Esan named.
d name esan has nothing to do with d esan tribe,d meaning of esan in yoruba is revenge,ikeja has no relation to esan either and it is isale eko not esale(why did u get that one from).i thought it was bini that has influence on some few parts of lagos,where did esan one come from?

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Nobody: 11:04pm On Feb 09, 2015
ChristyG:
d name esan has nothing to do with d esan tribe,d meaning of esan in yoruba is revenge,ikeja has no relation to esan either and it is isale eko not esale(why did u get that one from).i thought it was bini that has influence on some few parts of lagos,where did esan one come from?

It's true. I don't know about the last name Esan but the rest are too. The Yorubas changed or edited those names and places. Idu, Idis and Eko are user to divide neighborhoods in both Lagos and Esanland.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by ChristyG(f): 11:18pm On Feb 09, 2015
aim5:


It's true. I don't know about the last name Esan but the rest are too. The Yorubas changed or edited those names and places. Idu, Idis and Eko are user to divide neighborhoods in both Lagos and Esanland.
nah,i dont think so,those names has alway been like dat and dere is not much details about any esan influence anywhere in lagos unless u are talking about bini..the oshodi tapa family in lagos has nupe ancestary and everybody knows dat....... It is just d names dat look alike
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by Nobody: 11:20pm On Feb 09, 2015
ChristyG:
nah,i dont think so,those names has alway been like dat and dere is not much details about any esan influence anywhere in lagos unless u are talking about bini..the oshodi tapa family in lagos has nupe ancestary and everybody knows dat....... It is just d names dat look alike

Haha okay.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 4:23am On Aug 12, 2015
It is believed by many historians that the name 'Esan' (originally, 'E san fia') owes its origin to Bini (meaning, 'they have fled' or 'they jumped away')


it's a Yoruba phrase, probably Yoruba was spoken in Bini at the time.

E sa fun wa.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 4:08am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:



it's a Yoruba phrase, probably Yoruba was spoken in Bini at the time.

E sa fun wa.

I believe the idea that the name "Esan" derives from a Bini phrase about them leaving Benin comes from the work of the Esan scholar C.G. Okojie on Esan traditions.

Do you think "E sa fun wa" is actually closer to "Esan" than "E san fia" which literally has "E san" right there in the sentence? I would take "E san fia" as "they jumped loose" if I were looking for its literal meaning. What does "E sa fun wa" mean and why do you think Yoruba was spoken in "Bini" at the time?
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 4:14am On Aug 13, 2015
Radoillo:
Is it usual for Esan parents to give their children Yoruba first names? I noticed two of the Esan notables whose names appear in the list above have Yoruba first names.

Anthony Okogie and Ambrose Alli both had Yoruba mothers, so that could explain it, if those are the two you names you had in mind.

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Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 4:23am On Aug 13, 2015
PhysicsQED:


I believe the idea that the name "Esan" derives from a Bini phrase about them leaving Benin comes from the work of the Esan scholar C.G. Okojie on Esan traditions.

Do you think "E sa fun wa" is actually closer to "Esan" than "E san fia" which literally has "E san" right there in the sentence? I would take "E san fia" as "they jumped loose" if I were looking for its literal meaning. What does "E sa fun wa" mean and why do you think Yoruba was spoken in "Bini" at the time?


Seems the phrase is either E san fua or Esan fia.


Either way, the meaning is the same as E sa fua, E sa fun wa, E sa fun a in Yoruba which means you fled from us, they fled from us, you ran from us, you fled from us, etc.

Esan by itself (depending on pronounciation) would mean you/they ran in Yoruba.

The additional n could be a dialectal difference.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 4:46am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:



Seems the phrase is either E san fua or Esan fia.


Either way, the meaning is the same as E sa fua, E sa fun wa, E sa fun a in Yoruba which means you fled from us, they fled from us, you ran from us, you fled from us, etc.

Esan by itself (depending on pronounciation) would mean you/they ran in Yoruba.

The additional n could be a dialectal difference.

"Fua" is probably not the word assuming the phrase is Bini like the Esan traditions C.G. Okojie relied upon said. It would be "Fia." ('cut off' or 'loose'). "Fua" means to release something in Bini ('kua' has essentially the same meaning).

"Sa" and "San" in Edo have different meanings.

"San" means jump/jumped (depending on the usage it may not be meant exactly literally) and is not the same as "Sa", which can mean different things such as "cast" (in metal), "collect", "weave" or "bite" depending on the pronunciation.

No Bini traditions that I know of claim that "Esan" comes from a Bini phrase about them leaving Benin, but apparently Esan traditions do make that claim, so it's possible that it does derive from such a phrase.

Is there a Yoruba dialect where "san" is used in place of "sa"?
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 5:00am On Aug 13, 2015
Fia in Yoruba means quick or quickly. ( eg O sa fia or o sa fiam).

Fu a/fun wa/fun a means with us, for us or because of us.

When fun a follows a verb such as we see in E sa fun a, then it means you ran from us, in this instance. In addition, the "you" is plural, referring to a lot of people.

The dialectal importance of n as per placement, would be the Edoid dialects, not Yoruba ones.


If you have another meaning for Esan which doesn't reflect Yoruba, then you can share it.

However, point to note is having Yoruboid place names doesn't automatically mean people are Yoruba, it just means the place names are. It may show Yoruba contact however.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 5:08am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:
Fia in Yoruba means quick or quickly. ( eg O sa fia or o sa fiam).

Fu a/fun wa/fun a means with us or because of us.

When fun a follows a verb such as we see in E sa fun a, then it means you ran from us, in this instance.

Thanks for the explanation.

Assuming the name does derive from a statement about them leaving Benin as the currently believed etymology claims, I would still lean more towards one with the name (Esan) already explicitly in the statement so I think the currently known etymology is closer to the mark.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 5:14am On Aug 13, 2015
You're welcome.

Yes, the current etymology is most likely correct, I'm just explaining the exact meaning of the phrase itself, which is from Yoruba.

Its possible Yoruba was more widely spoken in Benin at the time the name Esan was applied to them, going by the meaning of the words.

What are Esan people called in Bini language or tradition?
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 5:17am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:

The dialectal importance of n as per placement, would be the Edoid dialects, not Yoruba ones.


If you have another meaning for Esan which doesn't reflect Yoruba, then you can share it.

However, point to note is having Yoruboid place names doesn't automatically mean people are Yoruba, it just means the place names are. It may show Yoruba contact however.


If "Edoid dialects" were a factor, I don't see how there wouldn't be a conflict with the fact that "sa" as you defined it in Yoruba conflicts with the meanings of "sa" in the actual "Edoid dialect" in question (Bini/Edo). Perhaps you could explain what you think an n being added to sa would mean.

I don't see "Esan" as a Yoruboid place name really (well, I mean that I don't see it as exclusively Yoruboid, since it seems to have its own meaning in Yoruba) in this case. Since the (Edoid) group some of their traditions claim gave them the name could clearly use a phrase that actually has "E san" directly in the phrase, it seems the name is more likely Edoid here.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 5:17am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:
What are Esan people called in Bini language or tradition?

Esan.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 5:26am On Aug 13, 2015
PhysicsQED:



If "Edoid dialects" were a factor, I don't see how there wouldn't be a conflict with the fact that "sa" as you defined it in Yoruba conflicts with the meanings of "sa" in the actual "Edoid dialect" in question (Bini/Edo). Perhaps you could explain what you think an n being added to sa would mean.

I don't see "Esan" as a Yoruboid place name really (well, I mean that I don't see it as exclusively Yoruboid, since it seems to have its own meaning in Yoruba) in this case. Since the (Edoid) group some of their traditions claim gave them the name could clearly use a phrase that actually has "E san" directly in the phrase, it seems the name is more likely Edoid here.

Esan means revenge in Yoruba.

E sa means you ran. Sa is to run.

The interpretation of Esan as E san fi a or Esan fua, implies the same thing as the Yoruba E sa fun wa.

Differences in dialectal languages might move the n to the last phoneme although why the f was removed might also be explained by the same perhaps.

E sa in Yoruba would also imply past tense, meaning you ran, as opposed to e nsa or en sa which would mean you are running or you have been running.

How do you pronounce sa and san in Bini?

If san means run and sa means something else, then I see your point.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by PhysicsQED(m): 5:51am On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:


Esan means revenge in Yoruba.

E sa means you ran. Sa is to run.

The interpretation of Esan as E san fi a or Esan fua, implies the same thing as the Yoruba E sa fun wa.

"E san fua" is not so likely as the phrase, since, as I said, "fua" refers to releasing something in Edo (Bini).

Differences in dialectal languages might move the n to the last phoneme

So, what would these differences be? And if I'm interpreting this right, you believe the "n" would be moved from "fun" and placed after "sa", basically? Is there some linguistic rule that you're basing this idea on?

although why the f was removed might also be explained by the same perhaps.

So "sa fun" was changed to "san" after a shift of n from "fun" to "sa" and an f was dropped?

How do you pronounce sa and san in Bini?

Sa is pronounced basically how it looks when typed ('sa').

San has the a lasting longer ('saan', basically two a sounds).

For sa if the "a" is longer lasting (sounds like 'saa') it has different meanings than when it's not (just 'sa'), but all the meanings (weave, bite, collect, burst/explode) are different than the meaning of san.

If san means run and sa means something else, then I see your point.

Sa does mean something else, not related in meaning to san.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by bokohalal(m): 7:19pm On Aug 13, 2015
The other day, it was the word OGIE AMEN, (Ogiamen)an appellation of the Olu of Warri, that Tpia deemed Yoruba.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by bokohalal(m): 7:39pm On Aug 13, 2015
The Bini say jocularly of Esan people "Esan ni san la oha." Meaning "Esan that jump into the bush". It is never used in the past tense.
SAN is the Bini word for JUMP.
LE, TULE, RHULE means RUN.
In colloquial Bini,SAN is more expressive for ESCAPE than LE,or any of it variants above.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiander: 7:58pm On Aug 13, 2015
bokohalal:

The other day, it was the word OGIE AMEN, (Ogiamen)an appellation of the Olu of Warri, that Tpia deemed Yoruba.



post a link plz, let me see what you're referring to.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by bokohalal(m): 8:42pm On Aug 13, 2015
tpiander:




post a link plz, let me see what you're referring to.

Search for
Re:Who Are The Akokos Of Northern Edo State?
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiah2: 8:50pm On Aug 13, 2015
bokohalal:

Search for
Re:Who Are The Akokos Of Northern Edo State?


this?

https://www.nairaland.com/1043937/akoko-northern-ondo-state/1
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiah2: 8:53pm On Aug 13, 2015
bokohalal:

Search for
Re:Who Are The Akokos Of Northern Edo State?

there is no such thread, can you post a link.

if you are advocating for a northern Edo state, dunno how you're planning to do it.
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by bokohalal(m): 9:12pm On Aug 13, 2015
Re: Interesting Facts About The Esan People Of Edo State by tpiah2: 9:16pm On Aug 13, 2015
bokohalal:

This!

where did I say what you're claiming?


The monarch said Ogiame means water, I pointed out ame indeed means water, and is called omi in Yoruba.

what's your question?

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