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Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. - Culture - Nairaland

Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Culture / Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. (53252 Views)

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Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Nobody: 2:21pm On Feb 15, 2015
Many of you have heard about Warri in Delta State. It is a very popular place and one of the most well known areas of Southern Nigeria. Warri is a fast growing megacity filled with so many potentials and so many people. It is like a small Nigeria of its own. Warri is the unofficial capital of Delta State as well as its economic hub. It is a well known fact that politics dictated the relocation of Delta State's capital city to the current Anioma town of Asaba. This act prompted a lot of sentiments from all corners but what has been done has been done. I wish to present you all with some facts about this oil city that should be known and also address its origins and theories about its ownership.

- Warri was a major hub for trading as far back as the 15th centuries when Portuguese traders arrived its shores.

- Warri is occupied by three main ethnic groups: the Ijaws, the Itsekiris and the Urhobos. Each of these ethnic nationalities claim original ownership of Warri and each may as well be right. However, this issue will be treated later on.

- Warri was the headquarters of the colonial Delta province and has always served useful functions as a hub for all the nearby ethnic groups.

- The FIRST NIGERIAN to ever go to a university was Antonio Dom Domingo who graduated from Coimbra University in Portugal in 1611. He was a Warri Itsekiri man.

- Modern day Warri is made up of three local government areas; Warri South LGA which is dominated by the Urhobos of Okere and Agbassa and the Itsekiris, Warri South West which is dominated by Ijaws and Itsekiris and Warri North which is mainly dominated by the Itsekiris with Ijaws as well. These LGAs are all in Delta South Senatorial District. They share this district together with the Isokos.

- Warri was a major slave hub during the transatlantic slave trade that lasted for over 400 years. Itsekiri chiefs and monarchs were partners with European slave traders and they imported slaves to be shipped to North America, South America, Europe and the West Indies.

- The name "Warri" was coined by a Portuguese explorer and has no origin with the Itsekiri titular name of "Iwere". This is a historical fact. Furthermore, other names of places in the Warri Axis such as "Forcados" were also colonial coinages.

- The Agbassa (Agbara-Ame) People of Warri South Local Government Area were migrants to Warri from their home town of Agbarha-Otor just like the Idjerhe(Jesse) and Oghara people of Ethiope West. The Itsekiri people of Warri are also migrants. Their documented history shows that most of them migrated from Ijebu and Ilaje(Yoruba conclaves) and were placed together as one people under the reign of Ginuwa, an exiled Benin prince who took refuge at Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri people. The Ijaws are quite older in Warri. However, history documents that they were also migrants from the hinterland of the Niger Delta when the old Edo people came to their current land in the Pre-Ogiso era. So if any tribe can lay claim to Warri (based on original occupation), it will be the Ijaw people. However, it is known that the Ijaws, prior to the Kaiama declaration, were less concerned with territorial holds. There were passive in old Warri. In reality, Warri is no man's land .

- In Pre-colonial times, it was fashionable for the tribes occupying Warri to inter-marry. In fact, there are a few Warri indigenes without any mixed Itsekiri, Urhobo or Ijaw ancestry.

- In pre-colonial and colonial times, there was a marked division of territory in Warri. The Ijaws occupied the islands and shores in the Warri South West Axis, the Itsekiris occupied the islands and mainlands close to the coastal areas in Warri South and North while the Urhobos occupied the hinterland with the exception of Okere-Urhobo and Agbassa urhobo who occupied coastal regions.

- Due to the fact said above, the Itsekiris had the privileged advantage of meeting the Europeans first and trading with them. There were open and eager to learn the European way of life. They eventually monopolised trade with the Europeans and other ethnic groups went through the Itsekiris in other to gain access to the Europeans.

- When colonisation started officially, the Itsekiris were much more favoured by the British. This brought about envy and jealousy by the other tribes occupying Warri. The Itsekiris became colonial court clerks and judges, they were interpreters, they were agents, they were virtually everything embodying the indirect rule system. Bad blood was developed.

- When the colonial NCNC and the Action Group party was formed, the Itsekiris embraced the AG while the Urhobos embraced NCNC. Awolowo punished the Urhobos for this by placing the Itsekiri monarch above all the Urhobo monarchs. Awo also changed the traditional title of the Olu of Itsekiri to the Olu of Warri and moved their traditional island of Ode-Itsekiri to mainland Warri. This led to a series of protests by the Urhobos and Ijaws. This period also marked the beginning of Urhobo nationalism led by the great Mukoro Mowoe, M.G. Ejaife and others. However, the change was already gazetted and little could be done about it. Another bad blood was spilt.

- With the discovery of Oil in the Warri region, another trouble started for the people of this region. Most of the oil wells in this region were presumably in Itsekiri land. However, Ijaw and Urhobo land has its large share of these oil wells. The Olu of Itsekiri, in a bid to monopolise the oil wells, decided to impose lordship over all lands in Warri since his title is the Olu of Warri and there's an etymological link between Warri and "Iwerre", an Itsekiri word. This led to a series of court cases which lasted for decades until a particular court ruling that stated unequivocally the the Olu of Warri is a mere titular appellation and his over-lord's powers are limited to Itsekiri traditional homesteads. This brought relative peace to Warri.

- With the coming of oil companies such as Shell, Chevron, NNPC and others, the Itsekiris presented themselves as pitiable minorities that were oppressed by their big brothers in Warri. Employment was monopolised to Itsekiris, so also with development, scholarship, etc. Urhobo and Ijaw lands became desolate like the proverbial "wasteland" of T. S. Eliot, the British poet. Ironically, the areas of Warri that are shared by the tribes were never developed by these companies due the influence of the Itsekiris. Even the airport in Warri now was fought against by the Itsekiris for their own reasons. More bad blood was spilt again...

- The heightened tension came when the Delta State government decided to situate the headquarters of Warri-South West LGA in an Itsekiri land, bypassing the proposed Ijaw land of Ogbe-Ijoh. This led to a series of violent clashes now known as the Warri Crisis that lasted for years. It was only the Urhobos that were somewhat neutral in this clash. Relative peace was regained when the headquarters was shifted to the proposed Ogbe-Ijoh land of the Ijaws.

- Warri is currently enjoying a very delicate peace among the tribes. However, this peace can change at any given moment if any tribe engages in any actions not sanctioned by the other tribes.

- The Itsekiris are currently seeking for their own state with capital at Warri. Before now, they sought to be placed together with Edo state in a contraption known as "EDOWA" or to be connected with Ondo state. It is even presumed that they had political roles played in the situation of the Delta State capital at Asaba and not Warri, the true heart of Delta. This is because they believed that the Urhobos will gain more from this rather than themselves.


The above facts have been presented as objectively as possible. I am not from Warri. These facts beg the question, who TRULY owns Warri City? Is it the Ijaws, Urhobos, Itsekiris, all of them or none of them? Judging from the above facts, please answer the question.

p.s. I am not claiming to be an authority in Urhobo-Ijaw-Itsekiri relationship and history. I am only trying to educate others. So if you have a point to add, or a correction to be made, please state it. This thread is not for ethnic rivalry or the likes. It is for the truth.

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Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by moststylish(m): 2:49pm On Feb 15, 2015
power shuld be rotated,urhobo wadooo

15 Likes 1 Share

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by sweettease(f): 3:17pm On Feb 15, 2015
With this history, the itsekiris seem to be the most favoured but currently, the urhobos seem to have the strongest hold.

5 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Nobody: 4:17pm On Feb 15, 2015
Wow nice job op
Am from delta state and its nice knowing about the history of my region and ancestors

God bless delta state
God bless warri(sappele)
God bless Nigeria(my papaland)


Mods in the name of st. Valentine do the needful

8 Likes 1 Share

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by englishmart(m): 4:23pm On Feb 15, 2015
lol. Nothing dey happen. I shall embark on 92days dry fasting. Op, God will answer your prayer

1 Like

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by tobtap: 4:34pm On Feb 15, 2015
quite bias against the itshekiri....but the OP try

15 Likes 1 Share

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Nobody: 5:15pm On Feb 15, 2015
Op thank you. Well, I'm Ijaw frm Rivers State, this issue of Warri affects me so much because I have my brothers and sisters there. Well, I wouldn't want to go into any argument but I have to correct one impression. According to we the Ijaws, the word Warri originated from the Ijaw word "Wari" which means house. The Iwere stuff of the Itsekiri is unacceptable to us, and that is it.
The Itsekiris are more educated and the British favored them, the Oil Companies also favored them against the Ijaws. What is keeping the Ijaws today is Almighty God and our zeal to defend ourselves against every odd. The issue of Warri is a very special one, and I believe a roundtable discussion should be convoked to solve every grey area once and for all. However, the Ijaws will not seek to take what is not theirs and will not lose an inch of what belongs to them. God bless us all

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Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by SmooshCHN: 5:49pm On Feb 15, 2015
Me undecided

1 Like

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Nobody: 5:49pm On Feb 15, 2015
Human beings don't own land,rather the lands own humans... Cos we all would die & the lands are still there.

Now coming to your question:i think no one owns it in particular,cos none of em has the power to drive/pursue the other outta town.

18 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Samneer: 5:50pm On Feb 15, 2015
I think the Itsekiri... Ijaws are fishermen

17 Likes 1 Share

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Sijo01(f): 5:50pm On Feb 15, 2015
I think it's the urohobos

15 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by okoviv2sure(m): 5:50pm On Feb 15, 2015
What can I say, than naija is beautiful in all ramifications. I cant help but shout Area!!!
Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by DickDastardly(m): 5:51pm On Feb 15, 2015
Ayiri Emami owns warri cool

14 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by mifavour(f): 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
wink ayeri Emani

1 Like

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by simplemach(m): 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
Just ask the gods
Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Bluetooth2: 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
Yorubas cheesy

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Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by marksooyinmiebi(m): 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
its waré not warri, and its originally owned by the Ijaws. no quote me sha

2 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by mifavour(f): 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
DickDastardly:
Ayiri Emami owns warri cool

how we saying d same thing
Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by tunapawizzy: 5:52pm On Feb 15, 2015
DickDastardly:
Ayiri Emami owns warri cool
u knw sumtin
Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by tobtap: 5:53pm On Feb 15, 2015
barcanista:
Op thank you. Well, I'm Ijaw frm Rivers State, this issue of Warri affects me so much because I have my brothers and sisters there. Well, I wouldn't want to go into any argument but I have to correct one impression. According to we the Ijaws, the word Warri originated from the Ijaw word "Wari" which means house. The Iwere stuff of the Itsekiri is unacceptable to us, and that is it.
The Itsekiris are more educated and the British favored them, the Oil Companies also favored them against the Ijaws. What is keeping the Ijaws today is Almighty God and our zeal to defend ourselves against every odd. The issue of Warri is a very special one, and I believe a roundtable discussion should be convoked to solve every grey area once and for all. However, the Ijaws will not seek to take what is not theirs and will not lose an inch of what belongs to them. God bless us all
i think the itshekiris have better claim....but the ijaws and urhobos also have historical claims...but my observations is that those THREE ethnics setup have intermarried alot and all have alot to lose if there is war in warri.
peace

11 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by Rapmoney(m): 5:54pm On Feb 15, 2015
Op, nor let Area!!! Catch u o! grin
On a serious note, you very WRONG that Warri is a 'no man's land'!!! Warri, historically, belong to the Itsekiris. Where do you think names like Giwa-Amu, Giniwa, Pesu and the likes came from? The Itsekiris lost a greater part of their lands due to inter-ethnic conflicts with the Ijaws and Urhobos. When I was in secondary school, we took 'Itsekiri' as our local language!!! Today, you won't find that! And am talking of Warri-South Local Government Area which the Urhobos are claiming ownership of. This led to to many tribal wars in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2000. Any one who witnessed the crises will definitely know what I mean.

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Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by ednut1(m): 5:55pm On Feb 15, 2015
it belongs to oduduwa

8 Likes

Re: Warri- The Urhobos, The Itsekiris And The Ijaws : Facts And Factlets. by ghostofsparta(m): 5:55pm On Feb 15, 2015
Let me consult Ifa knows the truth.

1 Like

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