Saturday 11 May 2024


Okpella is a town situated along Benin-Abuja federal high way. It is a town in Edo State, Nigeria and one of the three main towns that make up Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State. Okpella is known for its natural mineral resources, which include limestone, calcium, and granite.

During colonial rule, arising out of personality clashes between Chiefs Sado and Afegbua, the salary due to the head of Okpella was split between them.

Since the period of Oba Obinogbe, Okpella has been administered as one entity. The present paramount ruler is Alhaji Andrew Yesufu Eshioramhe Dirisu, a Justice of the Peace and an Officer Order of the Niger OON; he assumed the throne of his ancestors in 1971, with the title of Okuokpellagbe of Okpella. The appointment of the clan head is regulated by the Chieftaincy Declaration Law of Bendel State, 1981, as applicable to Edo State.

The town plays host to the Edo Cement Company, BUA Cement and Dangote Cement Factories, and home to several granite- and marble-making industries, which gives the community a vibrant industrial outlook.

The people are predominantly farmers, and are known to grow in large numbers,yams and cassava. Its Ewo market, located on the busy Benin-Abuja Road and congregates every fourth day. Okpella is a beautiful and natural town with polite happy citizens who share a communal bond prevalent in most African societies, the town also consist of majority of Muslims and nominal Christians.

The founder and father of Okpella was a man called Ikponwusa meaning ‘I give thanks to God’. He was said to have migrated from a place called Ekae in Benin during the tyrannical rule of Oba Ozolua. Oral tradition has it that Ikponwusa later corrupted Ikpomaza left Benin with his beautiful wife Eveva who was a twin. His departure was said to have been hastened by attempt by royal forces to take his wife. In another version, he was said to have left Benin to hunt for leopards. It should be recalled that leopard skins were exported by Benin Empire to Portugal in the 15th century. The above accounts strongly suggest that Okpella origin lies in Benin.

Ikpomaza arrived at a place called ok’uviogbe a small stream in Ogute-Okpella. There, he had four children namely Ute, Ase (oteku, Otuma (Ekuri) and Egiele. They also met two aborigine groups which are Okhu at Amori cave and Ekpema also at Ekpema rock. These aborigines’ languages were similar to that of Okpella, indication that they also migrated from Benin at a much more earlier period. It suffice to note that these two groups have been completely absorbed by Okpella today. It need be mentioned that the founder of Okpella was addressed to as Okpea N’kpomaza meaning “the man Ikpomaza. The word Okpella was a corruption of Okpea. This was a consequence of British imperialism in Nigeria of which Okpella was an integral part.

After the earliest settlements in Okpella, continued identity with Benin was maintained. The situation was such that corpses were sent to Benin for burial. This became progressively difficult considering head portage as a means of transportation especially when there were heavy corpses to convey.

Consequently, the system was discouraged. In the same vein, Benin traditional facial marks were also used by the people of Okpella.

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