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Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins - Culture - Nairaland

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The Name Lagos, Was Called Ekonunuame By The Benins / Benins Are The Owners Of Ogboni Confraternity and olokun worship / Benins Were The First Educated Nigerians. Dr Okafor (2) (3) (4)

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Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by wwwihy: 10:25am On Mar 20, 2021
It has come to my attention how some Igbo elements try to hide their history onitsha to Enugu belonged to Benin king
Hence it has partly Yoruba ownership as Yoruba and edo are cousins

https://www.nairaland.com/3937705/onitsha-belongs-benin

The history of Onitsha is said to have begun with the migration of its people from the Benin Empire towards the end of early part of the 16th century as a result of a wave of unrest, war and displacement unleashed by the Islamic movement from North Africa. One version said that it was during their passage through the outskirts of Ile-Ife that they acquired the name Onitsha, a corruption of Orisha Udo.

Another version has it that their migration to East of the Niger has to do with a misunderstanding that arose between the Onitsha family and Oba Esigie (1404-1550), following the slighting of their shrine, Udo, by the Oba. According to the legend, it was customary for newly installed Oba to pay homage to all important shrines in the Benin Kingdom by slaughtering a cow in the shrines enclave. But Oba Esigie is said to have refused to do this at the Onitsha people’s Udo-Shrine, hence the quarrel and the migration down towards the River Niger area and across it.

Ukpabi disagrees with the Oba Esigie angle and posits that the misunderstanding and migration was rather as a result of “a fight over a farmland. These other people fighting over farmland with the others and interest started coming. And because of interest, bitterness ensued and the two brothers decided to go their separate ways. One said, no, ‘I will now leave you, I’m going to Ado N’Idu.’ ‘Ado’ means border. ‘I will leave you and go and settle down on my own. I’m no longer going to be with you.’ That’s the issue. So, the two brothers had to separate.”

The immigrant settlers from Benin were said to have been helped by the Igalas to cross the river to settle in Onitsha in the 16th century, which was originally called Ado N’Idu. It soon became the capital of an Igbo Kingdom. In 1857, British traders in palm oil established a permanent station in the city, and Christian missionaries soon followed, headed by Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (a Yoruba) and Reverend John Taylor (an Igbo).
In 1884, Onitsha became part of a British protectorate. The British colonial government and Christian missionaries penetrated most of Igboland to set up their administration, schools and churches through the river port at Onitsha.

Historically, Onitsha became an important trading port for the Royal Niger Company in the mid-1850s. Following the abolition of slavery, trade in palm kernels and other cash crops boomed around this river port. Immigrants from the hinterland were drawn to the emerging boom town as did the British traders who settled there and coordinated the palm oil and cash crops trade.

Colonial relics and post-colonial architectural wonders
Areas bordering Old Market, New Market Roads, Upper Market Road, Modebe Avenue, Iboku, Old Cemetry, Old Hospital, Mbanugo St, Emejulu St, Obi Street, Benjamin St, Court, Enugu Road, Awka Road, Egerton, etc are known as Whitemen Quarters, so-called because the white colonial masters who first settled in Onitsha, used to live here. And, even till today, the white colonial style of buildings such as you see at Yaba, Ebute Metta and Central Lagos, can be seen existing, side by side, with the new, on these streets.

But much more modern exotic architectural wonders exist in places like the G.R.A and “33” Housing Estates. Sunday Sun understands that SCityGate Real Estate Ltd, located on Mike Ilodibe Crescent and which specializes in building ultra-modern architectural structures, makes such building wonders happen for interested clients. In 1965, a bridge was built across the Niger River to replace the ferry crossing. Today, plans are said to be underway to build the Second Niger Bridge.
Onitsha is made up of three groups of people, Ukpabi reveals. The first is the Edos, the Ezechima’s team. The second, Igalas. They were the people that were fishing at the Niger by the time Onitsha people came to settle there. The third, the Igbos who are very close to the Niger and had integrated with them. These three groups make up what is today known as Onitsha.”

“Their tradition is blended with the three peoples, first the Edos, second the Igalas”, Ukpabi says. “In fact, in the past, there were some villages in Onitsha that spoke Igala. And they are made up of two villages. They are still in Onitsha. Onitsha is made up of nine villages. Two out of the nine are purely the Igalas: Ogbodu and Obigboru. So, that is how Onitsha people came to be.

“The ones with Edo influence are the monarchy itself. That’s the Eze Chima, that is the ruling villages. They are four in number. Umueze Aroli, Okebunabu (which include Umudei and Ogbabu) and Olosi. The present Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Achebe is the 21st Obi of Onitsha.”
Inter-marriages, says Ukpabi, have long existed between the Igalas and the Edos. “The people our ancestors met fishing at the bank of the River Niger were purely Igallas. They were following the Niger all the way from their place to Onitsha. So, they don’t normally come to the upper land. They remain there. They have their buildings in their canoes. So, we attracted them into coming to the hinterland. We started intermarrying with them. One of the outstanding monarchs of Onitsha, Obi Eze Aroli, the mother, Enubi, is from Igala.”


https://www.edoworld.net/History_of_Onitsha.html#:~:text=The%20history%20of%20Onitsha%20is,Islamic%20movement%20from%20North%20Africa.

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Obalatule: 10:27am On Mar 20, 2021
lol grin

1 Like

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Fahdiga(m): 10:29am On Mar 20, 2021
Instead of the OP to stand in line and collect his share of cabin biscuit in Benin Republic IDP before hunger deals with him he is here looking for attention with this trashy write up

4 Likes

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Coconuthead126: 10:39am On Mar 20, 2021
No be by Wikipedia rants my brother, any half-wit can edit and add whatever distortions he/she wants on wiki... if e sure for Benin people say na dem own Onitsha, then let them cross the river Niger and come lay claim to Onitsha. Igbos made it clear Lagos is no man's land, and they walked the talk by actually taking over the economic threshold of Lagos by buying up lands, owning major businesses, properties etc now lazy and jobless Yoruba youths now queue up every day in Ladipo, Alaba, ASPANDA, computer village, Ajah etc to beg their Igbo masters for small change to buy loud to smoke and Iya Bukayo's ewa agoyin/agege bread to eat grin.

8 Likes

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 10:42am On Mar 20, 2021
[s]
wwwihy:
It has come to my attention how some Igbo elements try to hide their history onitsha to Enugu belonged to Benin king
Hence it has partly Yoruba ownership as Yoruba and edo are cousins

https://www.nairaland.com/3937705/onitsha-belongs-benin
[/s]

1 Like

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by AlexBells(m): 10:43am On Mar 20, 2021
At least we have Obi of Onitsha and not Oba of Onitsha unlike Lagos

6 Likes

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Odua1stson: 11:40am On Mar 20, 2021
Leave those bastard landgrabbers, when the time comes, surely the land will be taken from them and will be given to rightful owners

2 Likes

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 11:53am On Mar 20, 2021
Odua1stson:
Leave those bastard landgrabbers, when the time comes, surely the land will be taken from them and will be given to rightful owners

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Monogamy: 2:02pm On Mar 20, 2021
Mc Oluomo for Anambra guber election.

Tested and trusted

grin grin

1 Like

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by GodIsBiafran: 9:28pm On Mar 21, 2021
bini is a small village founded by the Yorubas. If the Yorubas who founded bini cannot tell us Igbos who or what we are, is it the inconsequential bini that will do that?

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by GodIsBiafran: 9:28pm On Mar 21, 2021
bini is a small village founded by the Yorubas. If the Yorubas who founded bini cannot tell us Igbos who or what we are, is it the inconsequential bini that will do that? My friend mechionu dia b4 I panel beat your ugly face.

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 9:21am On Mar 22, 2021
Onitsha and Obi of Onitsha are product of Benin and by that case related to Ife.


Oni of Ife title is Onirrisha(which means owners of orishas) , there was cultural exchange between Ife and Benin.

Benin Prince founded Onitsha

Oni + Osha = Onitsha - owner of oshas(orishas)

Did the Benin Prince name the place in honor of his paternal great grandfather title (Onirrisha)?

Can we say Onitsha and Anioma are part of lost Yoruba kingdom?

This is a grey area of our history we need to study!

Tao11 tao12 Gbagura legendhero

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 9:28am On Mar 22, 2021
The picture posted above called Onitsha Onicha (correct version)

There is also Onicha ugbo - farmland Onicha

Like their counterpart here ijebu igbo - Bush ijebu

And igbos will tell me igbo does not mean forest, all of you migrated from Yoruba

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Gbagura: 10:07am On Mar 22, 2021
Coconuthead126:
No be by Wikipedia rants my brother, any half-wit can edit and add whatever distortions he/she wants on wiki... if e sure for Benin people say na dem own Onitsha, then let them cross the river Niger and come lay claim to Onitsha. Igbos made it clear Lagos is no man's land, and they walked the talk by actually taking over the economic threshold of Lagos by buying up lands, owning major businesses, properties etc now lazy and jobless Yoruba youths now queue up every day in Ladipo, Alaba, ASPANDA, computer village, Ajah etc to beg their Igbo masters for small change to buy loud to smoke and Iya Bukayo's ewa agoyin/agege bread to eat grin.
Of course you've bought everything including the Atlantic but come to think of it, in spite of you buying the whole of Lagos why couldn't we find just 1 igbo man feature in the top 10 list of the richest men in Nigeria? grin grin

Which igbo man, dead or alive, have more money or chains of businesses in Lagos than Mike adenuga, ọba otudeko, folorunsho alakija, Yinka folawiyo, okoya, Femi otedola just to name few? Do you guys get paid to fool yourselves online? This nonsense is getting out of hand. How could you be believing in your own lies so passionately and derive so much joy in them?

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by TAO11(f): 11:52am On Mar 22, 2021
SuperBold:
••• Oni of Ife title is Onirrisha(which means owners of orishas) •••

Oni + Osha = Onitsha - owner of oshas(orishas)•••
“Oonirisha” does not mean the “owner of orisha.”

Rather it’s “Ooni-[O]risha” signifying that the Ooni of Ife himself is deity — “Ooni, the deity”.

The title “Ooni” itself literally means “the revered personage”.
————————

Regarding “Onitsha,” you have to identify the meaning of this word too before you may draw any parallel if any at all.

My intuition says there is no parallel at all, but there are other better reasons why there is no parallel at all.

But if you want to be absolutely certain, you must begin with what “Onitsha” itself means.

@Redbonesmith, could you please shed some light for @SuperBold as per the meaning of “Onitsha”? Thanks!

Cheers!

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by nsiba: 1:35pm On Mar 22, 2021
Nothing but the absolute truth
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 5:39pm On Mar 22, 2021
TAO11:
“Oonirisha” does not mean the “owner of orisha.”

Rather it’s “Ooni-[O]risha” signifying that the Ooni of Ife himself is deity — “Ooni, the deity”.

Yes, the title “Ooni” itself literally means “the owner of all things” — singnifying “Lord”.

Actually, “Ooni” and “Oluwa” are words which literally mean one and the same thing, viz. “the owner of all things” — that is, “Lord”.
————————

Regarding “Onitsha,” you have to identify the meaning of this word too before you may draw any parallel if any at all.

My intuition says there is no parallel at all, but there are other better reasons why there is no parallel at all.

But if you want to be absolutely certain, you must begin with what “Onitsha” itself means.

@Redbonesmith, could you please shed some light for @SuperBold as per the meaning of “Onitsha”? Thanks!

Cheers!

Thanks. It was intuition too, Onitsha and Onirisha is too close to be coincidence. I'm open for knowledge sha Redbonesmith
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Hellraiser77: 6:35pm On Mar 22, 2021
[s]
SuperBold:
Onitsha and Obi of Onitsha are product of Benin and by that case related to Ife.


Oni of Ife title is Onirrisha(which means owners of orishas) , there was cultural exchange between Ife and Benin.

Benin Prince founded Onitsha

Oni + Osha = Onitsha - owner of oshas(orishas)

Did the Benin Prince name the place in honor of his paternal great grandfather title (Onirrisha)?

Can we say Onitsha and Anioma are part of lost Yoruba kingdom?

This is a grey area of our history we need to study!

Tao11 tao12 Gbagura legendhero
[/s] You must have come up with this crap under the influence of something grin grin

IGBOs are aboriginal to the IFE area and occupied it for several millennias before yoruba incursions
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 7:45pm On Mar 22, 2021
Hellraiser77:
You must have come up with this crap under the influence of something grin grin

IGBOs are aboriginal to the IFE area and occupied it for several millennias before yoruba incursions

Gbegile cheesy u don come grin na we name you igbo wink
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Hellraiser77: 7:52pm On Mar 22, 2021
SuperBold:


Gbegile cheesy u don come grin na we name you igbo wink
Aturu Hausa named you "Yoruba" right after they captured ilorin and enthroned their emir

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 7:57pm On Mar 22, 2021
Hellraiser77:
Aturu Hausa named you "Yoruba" right after they captured ilorin and enthroned their emir

Igala and ijaw captured you and sold you to Oyinbo. Small tribes dey turn igbos to O#u in their land tongue
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Hellraiser77: 8:13pm On Mar 22, 2021
SuperBold:


Igala and ijaw captured you and sold you to Oyinbo. Small tribes dey turn igbos to O#u in their land tongue
Akuko ikoja cheesy The whole of ilorin is now Fulani land from now till eternity grin grin, Half of ogun now lives Benin Republic

Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by TAO11(f): 9:56pm On Mar 22, 2021
SuperBold:
Thanks. It was intuition too, Onitsha and Onirisha is too close to be coincidence. I'm open for knowledge sha Redbonesmith
Like I already noted in that same comment, it’s not my intuition alone that makes the supposed parallel a superficial and coincidental one.

I had noted (and I quote here again) that “there are other better reasons why there is no parallel at all.”

Some of these “other better reasons” are that:
(1) There is no substantive evidence to conclude that the indigenous people of Onitsha have Bini ancestry; or that Onitsha was ruled by Benin or a Bini.

The most one finds is identical cultural artifacts (which are plausibly indicative of mere cultural borrowing). One also finds certain information to the effect that:

(A) The Igbo people of Onitsha used to live within or around Benin city, but that they later drifted eastward from their initial/host community due to some turmoil.

This account by itself obviously proves nothing vis-a-vis a Bini ancestry of the Onitshas.

(B) The 1970s autobiography of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe admits a royal Bini ancestry for the people of Onitsha.

This is non-conclusive (and suspiciously suggestive of his personal vainglory) for the very fact that this detail is contradicted by an historical essay compiled by the same author some forty years earlier.

(2) Even if we pretend (for the sake of argument) that the Igbo people of Onitsha have Bini ancestry (a claim for which there is zero substantive evidence), the Onitshas could not possibly have adopted the name “Ooni-‘risha” (on the assumption that “Onitsha” = “Ooni-‘risha” as you thought). They wouldn’t dare because even their alleged ancestors (the Binis of old) wouldn’t.

This becomes clearer on considering the fact that the present-day evolved Yoruba word “Ooni” is a cognate with the Bini word “Oghene” (which is the precise word used by the Binis of old in reference to the Ife monarch).

Just as the word “Ooni” signifies Lord (lit. “The Revered Personage”), the Bini word “Oghene” (as used by the Binis of old for the monarch of Ife) similarly signifies Great Lord.

To the Binis of old, the Ife monarch is the great ancestral deity whose face you dare not behold let alone take on his title.

These foregoing reasons, I believe, explain why these two expressions appear to match, but the apparent matching is in fact due to mere coincidence.

In other words, these two expressions must be in relation to different things and as such have different significances.


I should add, as a side note here, that the closeness in sound (and even in meaning too) of two expressions or words (each from a different language) does not lead to the conclusion that one of these is necessarily from the other.

Consider the following pair of words from two unrelated languages, viz. English and Yoruba. It is interesting to note that not only do the corresponding words in a pair sound alike, they also have the same meanings.

[me] English: ‘me’ | [èmi] Yoruba: ‘me’

[yawn] English: ‘yawn’ | [yán] Yoruba: ‘yawn’

[ruin] English: ‘ruin’ | [rūn] Yoruba: ‘ruin’

[iron] English: ‘iron’ | [irin] Yoruba: ‘iron’

[in] English: ‘in’ | [inú] Yoruba: ‘in’

And so forth.

On the basis of these, shall we then conclude that one of the Yorubas or the English people actually descended from the other? Obviously not.

These are known as ‘coincidences’ in linguistics, and you will certainly find one or more of such instances in any two languages you scrutinize.

In sum then, ‘sound’ (or even ‘sound’ and ‘meaning’) isn’t a deciding factor of any ancestral connection as is the proven case here with “Ooni-‘risha” and “Onitsha”.

Cheers!

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Nobody: 10:08pm On Mar 22, 2021
TAO11:
Like I already noted in that same comment, it’s not my intuition alone that makes the supposed parallel a superficial and coincidental one.

I had noted (and I quote here again) that “there are other better reasons why there is no parallel at all.”

Some of these “other better reasons” are that:
(1) There is no substantive evidence to conclude that the indigenous people of Onitsha had Bini ancestry; or that Onitsha was ruled by a Bini or by Benin.

The most one can find are identical cultural artifacts (which are plausibly indicative of cultural borrowings due to proximity); or some information from some oral account from certain Onitshas to the effect that:

(A) The Igbo people of Onitsha used to lived within or around Benin city, but later drifted eastward from their initial/host community due to some turmoil. This proves nothing vis-a-vis a Bini ancestry.

(B) The oft-cited 1970s autobiography of Dr. N. Azikwe — by certain Bini elements — is non-conclusive (and quite suggestive of his personal vainglory) for the very reason that the relevant detail therein is contradicted by an historical essay complied by he himself some forty years earlier.

(2) Even if we pretend (for the sake of argument) that the Igbo people of Onitsha have Bini ancestry (a claim for which there is zero substantive evidence), the Onitshas could not possibly have dared to adopt the name “Ooni-‘risha” (on the assumption that “Onitsha” = “Ooni-‘risha” as you thought).

They wouldn’t because their supposed ancestors (the Binis) would even dare use such name let alone them — the successors.

This becomes even clearer on considering the fact that the present-day evolved Yoruba word “Ooni” is cognate with the Bini word “Oghene” which is the precise word used by the Binis in reference to the monarchs of Ife.

Just as “Ooni” signify “Lord”, the Bini word “Oghene” (used by the Binis for the monarchs of Ife) similarly signifies “Great Lord”. To the early Binis, the monarch of Ife is a deity whose face you dared not behold — let alone bear his title.

These foregoing reasons, I believe, explains why these two expressions are mere coincidental. In other words, they must relate to different things thus have different meanings.


I should add as a side note that the closeness in sound (and sometimes even in meaning) of a pair words (each from a different language) does not necessarily guarantee that one of the said pair of words is descended linguistically from the other.

Consider the following words from the English language and the Yoruba language respectively.

Despite the fact that these two languages belong to different, distinct unrelated language families; the words not online sound alike, but also have the same meanings:

[me] English: ‘me’ | [èmi] Yoruba: ‘me’

[yawn] English: ‘yawn’ | [yán] Yoruba: ‘yawn’

[ruin] English: ‘ruin’ | [rūn] Yoruba: ‘ruin’

[iron] English: ‘iron’ | [irin] Yoruba: ‘iron’

[in] English: ‘in’ | [inú] Yoruba: ‘in’

And so forth.

On the basis of these (five pairs of example with same respective meaning — not merely one pair example whose meaning are most certainly different), shall we then conclude that the Yorubas or the English originally descended one from the other? Obviously not.

These are known as ‘coincidences’ in linguistics, and you will certainly find one or more of such examples in any two language you scrutinize.

In sum then ‘sound’ (or even ‘sound’ and ‘meanings’) isn’t a deciding factor of any ancestral connection as is the proven case with ‘Ooni-‘risha’ and ‘Onitsha’.

Cheers!

Wonderfully put! I'm convinced

smiley

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by RedboneSmith(m): 10:55pm On Mar 22, 2021
There is one thing people do not know or do not take into consideration when trying to ascribe a Yoruba meaning to Onitsha (more correctly, Onicha; Onitsha is an anglicisation.)

It is this: Onicha is actually a pretty common place-name in Igboland. There are Onichas in every single one of the 5 Southeastern states. Every single one of the 5 SE states has Onichas. Delta State has Onichas, too. Both in Aniocha and in Ukwuani. The popularity of the one Onicha in Anambra (Onitsha) in modern times has cast a shadow over the existence of an innumerable number of Onichas among the Igbo-speaking peoples.

These Onichas do not all share a common migration story.

Now, Onitsha (when I use the anglicized version, I am referring strictly to the prominent market town in Anambra State) has migration links with the Onichas in Delta State. But the other Onichas in the east are completely distinct. Onicha in Enugu State has nothing to do with the Onicha in Anioma, and the Onicha in Anioma has nothing to do with the Onicha in Ebonyi, as far as tradition goes.

Unless one is hypothesizing that the Yoruba colonised every corner of Igboland and planted "Oni Orisha" communities all over the Igbo space, a Yoruba etymology for 'Onicha' just doesn't make sense.

Cognates of "Orisha" actually still exist in all Western Igbo dialects and many Eastern ones as well. They are Olisa/Olise/Orisa/Orise. In at least one instance, it is Orisha. In none of the cognates does the "-sha" of Orisha vary as "-cha". If "Onicha" derives from Oni Orisha", I would expect Onicha to be "Onise" in Anioma and "Onisa" in the East.

The word 'Onicha' is in all probability an ancient Igbo word.

And no, no one is exactly sure what it means. Zik said it means 'Onini ncha' (i.e., one that has proven too tough for everyone), according to his Onitsha people's tradition. Personally, I think Zik's meaning is probably folk etymology, invented by the Onitsha people to explain Onitsha's history of quarrels and conflicts with almost all her neighbours. I've been in groups where some other pretty logical Igbo etymologies have been offered. It may have initially indicated land on which some communal shrines stood. Onicha is actually till this day a shrine/deity in some areas of Ika.

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by TAO11(f): 11:09pm On Mar 22, 2021
RedboneSmith:
There is one thing people do not know or do not take into consideration when trying to ascribe a Yoruba meaning to Onitsha (more correctly, Onicha; Onitsha is an anglicisation.)

It is this: Onicha is actually a pretty common place-name in Igboland. There are Onichas in every single one of the 5 Southeastern states. Every single one of the 5 SE states has Onichas. Delta State has Onichas, too. Both in Aniocha and in Ukwuani. The popularity of the one Onicha in Anambra (Onitsha) in modern times has cast a shadow over the existence of an innumerable number of Onichas among the Igbo-speaking peoples.

These Onichas do not all share a common migration story.

Now, Onitsha (when I use the anglicized version, I am referring strictly to the prominent market town in Anambra State) has migration links with the Onichas in Delta State. But the other Onichas in the east are completely distinct. Onicha in Enugu State has nothing to do with the Onicha in Anioma, and the Onicha in Anioma has nothing to do with the Onicha in Ebonyi, as far as tradition goes.

Unless one is hypothesizing that the Yoruba colonised every corner of Igboland and planted "Oni Orisha" communities all over the Igbo space, a Yoruba etymology for 'Onicha' just doesn't make sense.

Cognates of "Orisha" actually still exist in all Western Igbo dialects and many Eastern ones as well. They are Olisa/Olise/Orisa/Orise. In at least one instance, it is Orisha. In none of the cognates does the "-sha" of Orisha vary as "-cha". If "Onicha" derives from Oni Orisha", I would expect Onicha to be "Onise" in Anioma and "Onisa" in the East.

The word 'Onicha' is in all probability an ancient Igbo word.

And no, no one is exactly sure what it means. Zik said it means 'Onini ncha' (i.e., one that has proven too tough for everyone), according to his Onitsha people's tradition. Personally, I think Zik's meaning is probably folk etymology, invented by the Onitsha people to explain Onitsha's history of quarrels and conflicts with almost all her neighbours. I've been in groups where some other pretty logical Igbo etymologies have been offered. It may have initially indicated land on which some communal shrines stood. Onicha is actually till this day a shrine/deity in some areas of Ika.
Thank you @RedboneSmith for the deep insights.

As is to be expected @SuperBold, the name “Onitsha” has nothing to do with Benin, nor does it have anything to do with the Ooni of Ife.

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by RedboneSmith(m): 11:11pm On Mar 22, 2021
And secondly, I know I have already said this a million times. And I know our Benin brothers will stick to their guns even after reading this. But I will keep saying it. Onitsha did not migrate from Benin.

They will come to quote Zik's autobiography from the 1970s now, but they will not remember that Zik wrote something completely different 40 years before his autobiography. They will not also remember to mention Northcote Thomas from the 1910s who investigated the Benin claims and concluded they didn't hold water.

The most interesting thing is that the names that many quarters of Onitsha bear till this day will clearly tell you where they migrated from.

Obio quarters in Onitsha migrated from Obior in Delta.
Obamkpa migrated from Obomkpa in Delta.
Ubulu-na-Ikem quarters migrated from Ubulu clan in Delta.

And in cases where the name of the quarters doesn't give the origin away, tradition still steps in to provide the answer.

Agba-na-ute quarters migrated from Onicha-Olona in Delta.
Awada clan migrated from Issele-Mkpitime. And so on.

Onitsha was founded by Igbo-speaking Anioma people who clashed with Benin's expansion into the Anioma area and fled eastwards away from that power.

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by TAO11(f): 11:48pm On Mar 22, 2021
AlexBells:
At least we have Obi of Onitsha and not Oba of Onitsha unlike Lagos
https://www.nairaland.com/6234931/why-ikwerres-not-igbo-logic/15#96513655

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by Christistruth00: 8:00pm On Mar 24, 2021
TAO11:
Like I already noted in that same comment, it’s not my intuition alone that makes the supposed parallel a superficial and coincidental one.

I had noted (and I quote here again) that “there are other better reasons why there is no parallel at all.”

Some of these “other better reasons” are that:
(1) There is no substantive evidence to conclude that the indigenous people of Onitsha have Bini ancestry; or that Onitsha was ruled by Benin or a Bini.

The most one finds is identical cultural artifacts (which are plausibly indicative of mere cultural borrowing). One also finds certain information to the effect that:

(A) The Igbo people of Onitsha used to live within or around Benin city, but that they later drifted eastward from their initial/host community due to some turmoil.

This account by itself obviously proves nothing vis-a-vis a Bini ancestry of the Onitshas.

(B) The 1970s autobiography of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe admits a royal Bini ancestry for the people of Onitsha.

This is non-conclusive (and suspiciously suggestive of his personal vainglory) for the very fact that this detail is contradicted by an historical essay compiled by the same author some forty years earlier.

(2) Even if we pretend (for the sake of argument) that the Igbo people of Onitsha have Bini ancestry (a claim for which there is zero substantive evidence), the Onitshas could not possibly have adopted the name “Ooni-‘risha” (on the assumption that “Onitsha” = “Ooni-‘risha” as you thought). They wouldn’t dare because even their alleged ancestors (the Binis of old) wouldn’t.

This becomes clearer on considering the fact that the present-day evolved Yoruba word “Ooni” is a cognate with the Bini word “Oghene” (which is the precise word used by the Binis of old in reference to the Ife monarch).

Just as the word “Ooni” signifies “Lord,” the Bini word “Oghene” (as used by the Binis of old for the monarch of Ife) similarly signifies “Great Lord”.

To the Binis of old, the Ife monarch is the great ancestral deity whose face you dare not behold let alone take on his title.

These foregoing reasons, I believe, explain why these two expressions appear to match — that is, due to mere coincidence. In other words, these two expressions must be in relation to different things and as such have different significances.


I should add, as a side note here, that the closeness in sound (and even in meaning too) of two expressions or words (each from a different language) does not lead to the conclusion that one of these is necessarily from the other.

Consider the following pair of words from two unrelated languages, viz. English and Yoruba. It is interesting to note that not only do the corresponding words in a pair sound alike, they also have the same meanings.

[me] English: ‘me’ | [èmi] Yoruba: ‘me’

[yawn] English: ‘yawn’ | [yán] Yoruba: ‘yawn’

[ruin] English: ‘ruin’ | [rūn] Yoruba: ‘ruin’

[iron] English: ‘iron’ | [irin] Yoruba: ‘iron’

[in] English: ‘in’ | [inú] Yoruba: ‘in’

And so forth.

On the basis of these, shall we then conclude that one of the Yorubas or the English people actually descended from the other? Obviously not.

These are known as ‘coincidences’ in linguistics, and you will certainly find one or more of such instances in any two languages you scrutinize.

In sum then, ‘sound’ (or even ‘sound’ and ‘meaning’) isn’t a deciding factor of any ancestral connection as is the proven case here with “Ooni-‘risha” and “Onitsha”.

Cheers!


More Yoruba Words with Similar English sounds and meanings

Immunity. E mu ni ti

Dirt. Idoti

OK. Oke

Yam. Iyan. ( Though some say Yam actually came from Iyan)
Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by IDENNAA(m): 11:14pm On Mar 24, 2021
RedboneSmith:
And secondly, I know I have already said this a million times. And I know our Benin brothers will stick to their guns even after reading this. But I will keep saying it. Onitsha did not migrate from Benin.

They will come to quote Zik's autobiography from the 1970s now, but they will not remember that Zik wrote something completely different 40 years before his autobiography. They will not also remember to mention Northcote Thomas from the 1910s who investigated the Benin claims and concluded they didn't hold water.

The most interesting thing is that the names that many quarters of Onitsha bear till this day will clearly tell you where they migrated from.

Obio quarters in Onitsha migrated from Obior in Delta.
Obamkpa migrated from Obomkpa in Delta.
Ubulu-na-Ikem quarters migrated from Ubulu clan in Delta.

And in cases where the name of the quarters doesn't give the origin away, tradition still steps in to provide the answer.

Agba-na-ute quarters migrated from Onicha-Olona in Delta.
Awada clan migrated from Issele-Mkpitime. And so on.

Onitsha was founded by Igbo-speaking Anioma people who clashed with Benin's expansion into the Anioma area and fled eastwards away from that power.


You dealt with these revisionists so devastatingly. But , of course , the Bini minions don't want to hear this...they are holding tightly to the useless Zik's folktale that suits and massages their brittle ego...bunch of useless empire builders claimants!

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Re: Why Onitsha Is Not An Igboland, It Belongs To Benins by TAO11(f): 11:52pm On Mar 24, 2021
Christistruth00:
More Yoruba Words with Similar English sounds and meanings

Immunity. E mu ni ti

Dirt. Idoti

OK. Oke

Yam. Iyan. ( Though some say Yam actually came from Iyan)
Thanks for those additions — particularly the first two, viz. “ì mú ni tì” and “ìdọ̀tí”.

Regarding the last two, I am not sure what Yoruba word you mean by “Oke”? And how does it mean the same thing as the English word “Okay” (OK)?

Also, “iṣu” is the Yoruba word for “yam”, not “iyán”. I could swear you know this.

“Iyán” means “pounded (cooked) yam”. No Yoruba man would see “yam” and call it “iyan”. Never!

Furthermore, who said “yam” came from “iyan”? I’m curious.

In any case, the point I was making with that listing remains that:

The closeness in sound (and even in meaning too) of two expressions or words (each from a different language) does not lead to the conclusion that one of these is necessarily from the other. ••• These are known as ‘coincidences’ in linguistics, and you will certainly find one or more of such instances in any two languages you scrutinize.

Moreover, Yoruba language is a Volta-Niger language in
the family of languages named Niger-Congo.

English language, instead, is an Anglic language in the family of languages named Indo-European.

These two families are linguistically unrelated.

Cheers!

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