A renowned dentist and academic, Prof. Enosakhare Samuel Akpata, has written a book on the genealogy of the Akpata family of Benin Kingdom. The book, titled ‘Our Family Tree, Five Generations of Akpata Descendants’, and published by Narrative Landscape Press, details the origin and accomplishments of the Akpata descendants, while also touching briefly on the history of Benin Kingdom.
It was formally unveiled penultimate Saturday at The Grand Junction Ballroom, Landmark Towers, Oniru, Lagos, during the 2019 Akpata Descendants Annual Carol Singing event.
Chairman of the occasion was Emeritus Professor Osato Giwa- Osagie while Mr. Uyi Akpata, Country Senior Partner at PwC Nigeria was chairman of the book launch organising committee. In the book Akpata traces the roots of the Akpata family from the first to the fifth generation with a view to allowing Akpata progenies know their ancestry and facilitating networking amongst them.
“Akpata descendants, including the extended family members, will find this book useful. Younger generations of the family, in Nigeria and in Diaspora, who wish to trace their roots, will find it invaluable. “It may also be a useful resource for historians, and an inspiration for other people who wish to document relationships within their families,” he said.
As revealed in the book, Akpata was actually a nickname of one of the progenitors of the family, Abraham Okoro Oviawe. He said: “Abraham Okoro was a famous trader and travelled to several places including Otun, Ijero, Ilorin, Ijebu and Lekki Peninsula in present-day Lagos State. “According to the family archives that Emmanuel Fabiyi Akpata documented in 1925, Okoro participated actively in the expansionist wars of Benin Empire.
For example, he was head of a troop during the Obadan war, and Oba Ovonramwen was highly impressed by his performance.
“It is possible that it was his prowess in war or perhaps his reliability in the commercial circle that led to Abraham Okoro Oviawe being nicknamed Akpata (meaning rock in Yoruba language).”
The nickname was eventually extended to the entire family. Also worthy of note is the book’s expose on the close contact between Akpata descendants and the Yoruba people as well as the Yoruba names of some Akpata descendants. In the book’s foreword, the Enogie of Evbuobanosa/Abudu, Benin Kingdom, Prof. Gregory Akenzua, commended Akpata for writing the book.
“Prof. Enosakhare Akpata must be commended for writing this book. It may not be an Opus Magnum on Benin History, but it certainly provides inspiring insights into the life and times of prominent Nigerians of Benin extraction. “The narratives in this book have the potential to spur all Nigerian youths to strive for noble and higher ideals. I therefore strongly recommend the book for all Nigerian youths.
“I encourage other Benin families that have not yet documented their family trees to follow this example, as this is bound to enrich Benin history,” Akenzua said.