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1.1 Background of the study
There are many versions of the origin of Benin or more appropriately the Edo people. Chief Dr. Jacob Egharevba account stated that many years ago, the Bini’s came all the way from Egypt to found a more secure shelter in this part of the world after a short stay in the Sudan and at Ile-Ife which accounts take no real cognizance of the culture which migrant people bring along with themselves to their new founded land.
As a further proof that the Edo people do not come from Egypt, one may say that the Egyptian writing culture is significantly absent in the Benin (Edo) culture. The origin of the Edo people remains on Edo land and cannot have it origin from Egypt which lends none of her culture to the Edo. The nearest in form and style to Edo culture is that of ancient Romans whose law, culture, social and architectural forms compare in similar terms to the ancient Benin (Edo).
This is not to say that the Benin’s migrated from Rome but it indicates that life springs up at different points on the earth surface and the Edo people cannot be excluded from such a natural phenomenon. In short, no one can say where the people came from the Edo mythology says that Benin is the cradle of the world. It is believed that the Oba of Benin (King of Benin) owns the land as given to him by God Almighty. The Binis are the dominant sub-group of the total ethnic group know as the Edo the tribe of this ethnic group are among the numerous tribes that occupy Edo state of Nigeria as a result of migrations and various quarrels among them in the early century, some Edo’s left the kingdom this exodus explain the origin of several Edo’s tribe, including Ishan Owan Akoko –Edo Esako Urhobos etc.
The local government areas which are predominantly Benin territory are Oredo having Benin City as its headquarters, Uhunmwonde having Eho as its headquarters, Ovia North East having Okada as its headquarters and Ovia South West having Iguobazuwa as the headquarters, Benin City is also known and called Oredo and it is the traditional headquarters of the Bins.
WHO ARE THE EDO PEOPLE
The Edo people of South Western Nigeria are divided into a number of sub-Units. The people of Benin occupied the heart land of the territorial patrimony of the Edo race and they constitute the people of Benin Kingdom. The principal town of the Edos is Benin City and it is the ethnic rally point of the Edo race from Benin City each of the ethnic sub-Unit drawn spiritual substance and derives her sense of racial identification. Benin is called Edo by its inhabitation. The Edo constitute the people of Benin Kingdom whose land is terminous with the present Oredo, Ovia, Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon Local Government Area, a satisfactory explanation why this sub-unit came to be known by the name Edo is desirable as it will throw more light on those parts of our history which still remain obscure. The edos (Binis) do not call themselves by the genetic name of the race Edo and in some contexts Ivbie Edo. The origin of the current name Edo is fully documented by chief Egharevba (1954) as follows: Edo was a slave to the Ogiefa He saved Eware from a sudden death When he was about to be arrested by the chiefs. In order to immortalize the name of his defied friend, Edo, for the good service he rendered him (Eware) changed the name of the city from Igodomigodo to Edo according to his friend’s name. The same individual that refers to himself as Ovbiedo (child of Edo) or Ovien Oba which literally means kings slave but in essence a subject of the oba (king) and so not served bounded individual as some European writers have interpreted the expression. The ovbiedo or ovien oba must specifically speaks of himself as a child of his village or his region of the kingdom in which he lives. The major regions are defined by the people in terms of the main rivers, this explain the description Iyeke Ogba (trans Ogba) Iyeke Ovia (trans Ovia) Iyeke Orhionmwon (trans Orhionmwon) and Iyeke Ikpoba (trans Ikpoba)
OCCUPATION OF THE BINIS
The occupation of the Binis is mainly farming (Ugbo nagbe) trading (eki nado). There are also involved in hunting )obafi) and crafts.
The Edo name for greeting is otue and the Binis strongly believed that when character is lost all is lost. Character being respect honour and dignity which all make up greeting. It is the natural law that the young one must greet the elder first but this is reversed when the younger one fall sick and the elder has to greet first. Greetings (otue) are peculiar ways of respect to co-equals juniors and elders are held by the culture and tradition of the people.
Culture which could be seen as the general pattern or way of life of the people includes beliefs customs tradition and morals. Traditional greetings differ from one culture to another. The English from good morning, good afternoon to good evening as permitted by their culture and tradition. This is applicable to other cultures in the world but in different, words that might mean the same thing. In Nigeria where there are over one hundred different ethnic groups, they equally have variation in their ways of greetings Benin a home of culture and tradition, where the Binis are in the majority have diverse ways of greetings (otue) for any action exhibited, it has a particular greeting that goes with it.
The focus of this project is on the differences in greetings generally as well as in the diverse form of greeting adapted from one family (egbe) to another, and also their historical background. The greeting begin from lamogun which is solely for royalty those that are of the royal linage (egbe oba). This is unlike her close neighbor the urhobos which has one form of greeting in the morning for example miguo means my knees on the ground. Every family in Benin has its own identification greeting known as (ukhu egbe) which is peculiar to the lineage (unien). Every member of the family renders it to his/her elder in the morning. The same family greeting can still be rendered at any time of the day. This exception will however, validity applies if the giver sender is seeing the receiver for the first time on that day. This links us up with the saying in Edo that eghe a ya rhiorre o re owie.
The reason why a study of the extended family greeting (ukhu egbe) of the Binis is to be carried out are as follows:
5. Since greetings (otue) is a part of the culture of the Binis, there is need to know the different types and the origin of Bini greetings (otue Edo).
6. To enable the Bini child know and internalize his/her culture property instead of the good morning, good afternoon the western civilization.
7. To enable any Bini child know more about his/her own seasons.
8. To enable the Bini child us the appropriate form of greeting (otue) at the appropriate time event and season.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Benin as a home of culture and tradition has not much documented facts to show for the diversities in their traditional salutation (otue) from one family to another.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Amongst the Binis, salutation (otue) is considered very important because. It is seen as a way of showing respect to elders and it is also a part of the people way of life that is their culture. Tylor defines culture as that complex whole of man’s acquisitions of knowledge, moral, beliefs, art, customs technology etc which are share and transmitted from generation to generation.
5. This project work is geared towards the expansion of knowledge in the area of greeting in Benin (Ukhu egbe na a tue vbe edo).
6. It is to enable this generation and those yet unborn to uniqueness of their own family greetings.
7. It will serve as a reminder to the Binis about the origin of family greeting (Omuhen O Ghe Ukhu Ne A Tue Vbe Edo).
8. It will score as a resource materials to students and scholars who are interested Benin greetings and history.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work will be limited to Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State for the following reasons;
5. Oredo is the central seat of the administration that is, it is where the Oba of Benin (Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Erediauwa) as the traditional head has his throne and from where he administer the kingdom.
6. Oredo is regarded as the major town among Bini towns and Villages.
7. All other extended families including chiefs and Enigies Edo (as well as than subjects) of other earthly groups in Edo land have their attributes in Benin.
8. Oredo is regarded as the cultural centre of the Binis.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Greeting – first words used on seeing somebody or in writing to somebody
Culture – State of intellectual development of a people
Tradition – Handing down from generation to generation of opinions beliefs customs etc
Others in Edo means greeting: salutation in English
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