The Origin of the Idoma

The Idoma are located in the Niger-Benue confluence. The Idoma ethnic group. comprises the Igede, Agatu and other ethnic groups around the Niger-Benue confluence. This is the area of Nok culture which is characterised by ironworks and terracotta works. The Idoma are close neighbours of the Tiv.


Socio-political organisation of the Idoma

Though the Idoma were united by language, they were not united into a single political state. In each land or clan, there was a hierarchy of elders who selected and advised the head chief. In a few places, state organisations emerged, extending beyond single clans.



Political structure/institutions of the Tiv

The early Tiv system was centred on a secret society called Mbatsav, where members produced two principal rulers of every clan. One of such leaders was Tor spokesman. He was believed to be gifted with great magical powers which were important to the prosperity of the people. He controlled spiritual and legislative matters.

The second ruler was the Shagba, a man of wealth or one blessed with many children. It was possible for an individual who was not a member of the tsav to hold the office as Shagba.

Tiv contact with the Jukun modified the political structures as the Tee and Shagba gave way to a new class of chiefs called the Drum Chief – Tor Agbande. The Drum Chief received his sanction and regalia from the Jukun King. Initially, it was only the Tiv clans closest to the Jukun that had Drum Chief but, over time, other clans copied the institution. Membership of the Mba Tsav was the major criterion to becoming the Orum Chief.

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