The Kabba Tribe is one of the major enthic groups in Kogi State, Nigeria. It is situated in the Northern hemisphere of the equatorial forests of Nigeria. The city, surrounded by mountains and green habitats,which gives it its beautiful scenery, is the junction that links seven major roads leading to other parts of the country. Kabba, one of the Yoruba-speaking tribes in Kogi State, is located in Okun and are referred to as Owe people.
As it is with many tribes and settlements, there are varying accounts on how Kabba was established. One account records that Kabba was founded by three hunters who left Ile-Ife to look for somewhere else to settle down. Although they initially decided to settle at the first location they got to after leaving Ile-Ife, they moved after some time for another location. It was at this second location that they offloaded their belongings. This second location is, today, called ‘Katu’ (where goods were offloaded). After some time again, they took on their journey even farther and got to a place where they finally settled. This location is the ‘Kabba’ of today.
These three hunters, however, visited the other two locations occasionally, that is, Odo-Ilu (which means ‘downtown’ in English), the first location they settled at; Katu, and Kabba.
The second account states that a Saudi Arabian Prince, Obaro Odide, left his hometown in search of another place to settle. Although he died on the journey, his son, Odide II continued the journey. In the end, Odide V decided to settle at ‘Oke-aba’, now called ‘Kabba’.
COMMUNITIES & CLANS
Kabba is otherwise called “Kabba Oloke meta” (Kabba with three mountains), because there are three major communities that make up the tribe. These communities are namely Odolu, Katu, and Kabba.
These three communities, in turn, have clans under them. Odolu has five; Katu has three; and Kabba has six clans under it. In total, the Kabba Kingdom is comprised of fourteen clans.
The people of Kabba Kingdom have maintained the ruling structure set up by Obaro Odide. Therefore, the title of a Kabba king is ‘Obaro’.
His (Odide) descendants make up the Ilajo clan and have maintained the status of the ‘royal family’. Also known as the “Ilajo Ruling Family”, there are three houses in the clan, namely Mokelu, Ajinuhi, and Ajibohokun Houses. Kingship is usually rotated among these three houses.
Furthermore, Kabba operates a tripodal ruling system namely The Obaro, The Obadofin, and The Obajemu ruling systems, produced by the Ilajo ruling house, Odolu, and Otu respectively. However, the other two heads are chosen by The Obaro.
There are three main traditional titles in the Kabba Kingdom. They are:
- The Igemo: also known as the red cap chiefs because they wear small red caps (called “Odi” in Kabba).
- The Orota: who are superior to the Igemo chiefs and so, wear longer red caps to show their superiority. They are believed to also have supernatural powers which give them the ability to converse with the dead and spirits.
- The Ololu: transliterated as “owner of the town” is a title borne by the Obaro. He is the one who bestows titles on the former two chiefs.
These chiefs are usually highly respected by the people of Kabba while the Orotas are feared, because of the supernatural powers they are believed to have.
The people of Kabba have very special indigenous meals that are unique to them. A number of them are prepared with beans. Some of them are ‘ajiere’, prepared by boiling beans, sieving it dry and then frying in palm oil; popolo, bean cake fried in palm kernel oil; and akara papa, prepared by grinding guinea corn to form a paste, moulding it in between the palms to form shapes and then fried in palm oil.
NOTABLE HISTORICAL EVENT
It is said, that one time in the history of Kabba Kingdom, invaders attacked their land. Each time this happened, the people ran up the hill. The elders had to seek help through diabolical means, and the next time the invaders came attacking, the elders commanded the rocks to fight for them. The rocks formed an attachment and rolled in the direction of the invaders. This was how the people of Kabba gained the victory over their enemies. However, the rocks have remained at the spot they rolled to till date. The spot where the rocks are is called “Ilohin”.
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