The origin and meaning of the term Osinegba and Forms of morning salutations

The origin and meaning of the term Osinegba – By Aha Idokpesi Okhaishe N’ Avhianwu

Among the Nupe stores of charms and amulets was the Egba. Egba was an amulet in the form of a ring and was worn around the upper arm. It was believed to supply superhuman strength to the wearer during encounters. It could also cause the wearer to vanish into thin air in the face of danger, the people were made to believe. This all powerful amulet did not however weaken the reliance of the people of Etsako upon the omnipotence of the Supreme God. They believed still that God transcends all other powers including the powers ascribed to Egba. So, they were confident that God could and would deliver them from the powers of Egba and grant them the strength to vanquish the wearers of Egba. Their slogan was ‘Osi on’ Egba’ meaning ‘God is greater than Egba.’ This slogan was contracted to read ‘Osinegba’ which is today the Avhianwu vernacular version of the name God. In the vernacular of Avhianwu Osi is the word for God.

Forms of morning salutations – By Aha Idokpesi Okhaishe N’ Avhianwu

Various forms of morning salutations today among the various groups in Etsako land are the casualties of the Nupe invasion and occupation of Etsako land and beyond. From these morning salutations it can be known what form of resistance, if any, a particular group put up against the Nupe invaders. That is, did the group seek safety in flight or courageously move to repel the Nupe attacks.

The Nupe slave raiders were known for carrying out their raids and attacks on the people at morning and waking times. Alert cries by the people were given in codes. These were made to look as forms of salutations. As mentioned above, these alert cries among the various groups reflect the form of resistance each group put up against the enemies. Such groups as Avhianwu, Ekperi, Uzairue, Ineme, Weppa-Wano, Auchi and others were known to have sought safety in flight at the advance of the slave raiders. They had such alert cries as ‘Na-egbea’. Given etymologically, Na is an imperative meaning ‘Run!’ While Egbea is the vernacular word for ‘morning’. Na-egbea thus informed the natives of the immediacy to take to their heels as the Nupes advanced to carry out morning raids. The Ibies who would not give in to the slave raiders so easily made such a clarion call for arms as Agbe-lo.

NA-EGBEA meaning ‘run away (this) morning’ and AGBE-LO which translates ‘they (the Nupes) are to be attacked’ or ‘Go for the kill’ have been retained by their inventors as morning salutations to this day.



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