The System of Succession (Father To Son) Had Been The Culture Of The Benin Kingdom Since Inception.

By Uwagboe Ogieva

22 October 2014

Benin Kingdom read, acknowledge in many history books, academic institutions and internet media, Edo once known as Igodomigodo, was the kingdom of rulers who regarded themselves as Crown-kings, those whose divine rule is derived from the King Makers – Ogiso. This is also visible in their Philosophic expression like "Agha se oghe Edo, Edo odion"-"Edo gha se oghe omwan Edo odion"- meaning Edo is senior at home and away from home. Edo kings are titled Ogiso or  Oba.

OBA.

The word or title "OBA" has always been in use as a title for the king or ruler in Benin Kingdom.  The 1st Ogiso was Igodo and was titled Oba Igodo or Obagodo, meaning "the leader of Igodomigodo"about 40BC-36AD. Ogiso was later implemented by Ere the second king of Benin After the death of Oba Igodo. Oba Igodo  established the kingdom in such that the  components of Benin were united and formed into a central Administrative Unit. He was the first recorded Ogiso {monarch} of Igodomigodo {Benin} kingdom with his seat of government at ugbekun. He created the Edion Nene the {four elders} Oliha, Edohen, Ero and Eholo. They were chosen based on their merit, to help the Ogiso manage the affairs of the kingdom. Literally, Oba is derive from ‘ba’, ‘O ba’ or ‘Noba ‘in Edo language. Baa or ba means ‘to shine’, brighten, or sparklin.  O’ baa means ‘it’s shining’ or ‘he/she is shining’. Noba means the ‘colour ‘red’ or in a phrasal verb N’Oba meaning ‘the one that shines’. "Omo n'Oba n'Edo" - A son who have come to shine in Edo.  O ba’ or ‘Noba ‘in Edo language.
- Baa or ba means ‘to shine’
- O’ baa means ‘it’s shining’ or ‘he/she is shining’
- Noba means the ‘colour ‘red’ or in a phrasal verb N’Oba meaning ‘the one that shines’

The name, title or word is not an original Yoruba word. After a series of events that led to the death of Ogiso Owodo, the departure of Ekaladerhan(heir apparent) and the emergence of Evian as the temporary head or Ogie of Igodomigodo , the kingdom was going through tough time ranging from the struggle for power amongst different groups . The Kingdom was plagued with famine, sickness and diseases. There was exodus of people from Igodo. The people attributed these to the anger of the gods as regard the injustice done to Ekaladerhan and the activities going on then. This made Oliha to lead a party to bring back Ekaladerhan who was rumoured to be alive in Uhe(Ife). Oliha and is party technically succeeded by bringing back Oranmiyan who was one of the Sons of Ekaladerhan Izoduwa or Imadoduwa (Oduduwa) to Igodomigodo. 

Omonoyan  corrupt by Yoruba as Oranmiyan met strong resistance from Ogiamien and his supporters. He relocated back to the land he was used to since he wasn’t able to cope with the ongoing turmoil in his fatherland and left behind a child he had with the daughter of Enogie of Ogida, Eweka.

After Eweka became of age to assume the throne of his forefathers, he was still being challenged by Ogiamien and his supporters. Many wars were fought between them to enforce their authority as the sole head of the Igodomigodo Kingdom. After several years of warfare, Ogiemien finally conceded the head of the Kingdom to Eweka.

Note that during the reign of Ogiamien as the head of the Kingdom, The name Oba was already being used to refer to Eweka by his supporters as ‘omo no do baa n’Igodo’ or ‘Omo n’obaa n’Igodo’ meaning ‘the child that came to shine for Igodomigo ‘ or ‘the child that shines for Igodomigodo’. Then he has not yet adopted the name Eweka as his Kingship name. Some simply referred to him as ‘Omo’ in a short form. So, after the truce reached between him and Ogiemien , the people still referred to him as the child that have come to shine for the Kingdom and brought peace and prosperity to the Land and felt he should adopt the name as his title. The name was finally adopted as his Title for the King of Igodomigodo considering the events that led to his emergence. (omo n’obaa n’Igodomigodo in Edo language and the short form, Oba). 

In view of the above, it is logical to say the word Oba was first used to describe the new king to be by those around him and the people of Igodomigodo. This was later adopted and used to refer to the King of Igodomigodo. The name was later changed from ‘omo n’oba n’Igodomigodo’ to ‘omo n’oba n’Edo’ after Oba Ewuare changed the name of the Kingdom (empire) to Edo. 
Finally, I hereby conclude that the true meaning of the word Oba is in the literary meaning and the full pronunciation of the sentence ‘Omo n’oba n’Edo’.


NB
• Ukpon Noba (Red Cloth) was adopted to emphasize the significance of the new title of the monarchy. 
• Also note that during the Ogiso dynasty, there was an Ogiso named Ogiso Obagodo. Obagodo literarily means ‘he’s shining very bright’. This is to buttress the points raised above as regard the true origin of the word Oba. 
• I have come to understand that Edo/Benin history can best be explained in the names given to places, persons and traditional titles and idiomatic expressions which still exist up till date.

OGISO

Ogiso was title added to kings and rulers of Benin Kingdom up to Ogiso Owodo. Ogiso Owodo is also same as Oba Owodo in the second millennium, who reign in Benin Kingdom about 1150 – 1180.  "Ogiso" literally is ‘king of the sky' but Its means  "the ordained rulers or leader by God" or ‘God ordained, supreme leader/ruler “Ogiso” was the  titled name  of Ancient king of  Benin kingdom.  Up to Ogiso Owodo, the title of kings and rulers of Benin Kingdom was "Ogiso" while from Eweka I, "Oba" title was re-applied to honour " Oba Igodo" - Edo first Oba

BENIN

 "Benin" in other words are non-Edo words but used by first European sailors along the coast of West Africa to identify igodomigodo or Edo kingdom in the sub region. This was as a result of the pre-colonial practice of naming areas after major geographic landmarks in Africa and in this case the Bight of Benin. Another reason could be that the word "Benin" was culled from "Ubini" whispered by some people settling along the bank of the river the Portuguese  first saw, towards the tail end of Oba Ewuare’s reign. At the actuaries on the bank of what is today known as the Bight of Benin, the local people the Portuguese met there, when asked about the kingdom in the interior, told the Portuguese it was called Ubini. The Portuguese abbreviated this to Benin because they could not properly pronounce Ubini. When the Portuguese arrived in the kingdom of Benin, they were stunned by what they found on the ground in terms of level of administrative sophistication, social engineering and military activities. They found a monarchy dating back many centuries, with complex structure of administrators and palace officials presiding over a kingdom that was expanding in all directions and a highly developed kingdom with unique and very sophisticated political, artistic, linguistic, economic, cultural and military traditions in the process of territorial conquests.

 

IGODOMIGODO WAS THE NAME OF THE COUNTRY:

Igodomigodo is a combination of 'igiodo ọmi igiodo' or 'igiodo ọre ọ mi igiodo'. "igiodo" is derived from 'igiogbẹ' meaning heaven, paradise,  riches or heritage. "igiodo" if further split could refers to 'igie+odo'-'igi'odo', i.e. "igie" means kings - a plural form of 'ogie, - king, head, leader, supreme, co-coordinator, oversea, etc. while "odo" is the mother mortar, a native pounder with a small deep hole use in pounding or grinding. 'odo' also represent 'the heart of it', the center, and the root, the main or mother earth. "igie+odo" or "igiodo", sometimes abbreviated to be 'igodo'  refers to 'main leaders, the key runners, the co-coordinators, pioneers, the nation's executives, the riches, the wise men, the organizers, coordinators, creators or the wealth. "`ọmi" is a combination of "ọh + mi", - he/she/they/it  + made, build, create, manage or construct. ""IGODOMIGODO  or IGIODOMIGIODO" simply means 'nation made nation, kings made kings, great men made nations, great leaders build nations, wisdom made wise men or great men made great nation' as the case may be. Igodomigodo was a sum up of civilized and advance polity that existed at a time in the history of the west African sub-region, sometimes under understated or quoted by historians and scholars alike. It was also recorded that throughout that period, lgodomingodo made steady progress especially in the areas of spirituality, philosophy and administrative development. Its efforts were largely concentrated on the arrangement of human order so that by the time Europeans made contact with the people of Benin in the 14th century, they had already established an administrative system which, till this day, baffled the Europeans and earned for the Capital of this "far flung" African country, the appellation "City". THE ANCIENT BENIN EMPIRE.

EDO

Great Benin (Edo) kingdom  was called Igodomigodo never Ile Ibinu anytime. Today many historians tend to use the word lle ibini or ubini which itself was a non Edo word. ile ibini was simply nick name by neighbouring people not the name of the Edo country. Edo country was IGODOMIGODO . Igodomigodo was later changed by Oba Ewuare n'ogidigan. Ewuare changed the name  to Edo after his deified (servant) friend, who was able to save him from a sudden death in about 1440. Before this, the land had been called the land of Igodomigodo, the City known afterwards as Edo ne ẹvbo ahirre (Edo the City of love). Oba Ewuare Ne ogidigan (The great), reign in Benin Kingdom about 1440 to 1473 in the second milenium. From Ewuare, Edo became the name of the Ancient Benin Kingdom, their language and territory.

However, "Edo" was a Benin man who was good in traditional medicine. He may have been serving the Oba from the village not necessary was a slave. The reason he was honoured was for been able to heal the Oba of his terrible illness. Only Edo people were trained to stay with the Oba not foreigners or strangers whether slave or not. Benin Kingdom had other Benin indidgenes who were niether chiefs nor traditional authorities. Had a grandfather who was very good in traditional medicine but was not a chief. Emotan was an ordinary Edo woman that was also honoured and deified by Ewuare about same time

BENIN KINGDOM IN FIRST MILENIUM 

Contrary to the earlier version that the Benin kingdom was a form of republican system were the eldest in the kingdom ascend the throne of rulership, Benin have always adopted the son to hair hereditary kingship from the first king Oba Igodo in 40BC – 19AD. What cannot be disputed was that there was a council of village heads of which the eldest was made odionwere of the community. Odionweres are community representatives to the palace of the Oba (king) of Benin. The Benin monarchy system could have been as a result of their connection with the Egyptians civilization. Evidence in Benin tradition, culture, spirituality and architecture shows much of this trace and migration of the Benin people from ancient Egyptian civilization. 30 rulers or kings of Benin kingdom were titled Ogiso in the first milenium i.e. from "Ogiso Ere to Ogiso Owodo". Igodo assumed the first Ogiso, used "Oba" as a title, Oba Igodo.

EDO OGISO (KINGS) OBA OF BENIN KINGDOM BEFORE 1000A.D OR C.E (1ST MILENIUM)

 

OGISO/ OBA TILL 1000YRS

PERIOD OF REIGN

YEARS

1

Obagodo  (Oba/Ogiso) Igodo

40 B.C - 36 A.D

 

2

 (Ogiso) Ere  

36 – 90 

54

3

 (Ogiso) Orire   

90 - 109 

19

4

 (Ogiso) Odia   

109 – 155 

46

5

 (Ogiso) Ighido   

155 – 180 

25

6

 (Ogiso) Evbobo  

180 -202 

22

7

 (Ogiso) Ogbeide

202 – 248 

46

8

 (Ogiso) Emehen

248 – 304 

56

9

 (Ogiso) Akhuankhuan

304 – 354 

50

10

 (Ogiso) Ekpigho

354 -372 

18

11

 (Ogiso) Efeseke

372 – 400 

28

12

 (Ogiso) Irudia

400 – 435 

35

13

 (Ogiso) Etebowe

435- 465 

30

14

 (Ogiso) Odion

465- 480 

15

15

 (Ogiso)Imarhan

480 – 510 

30

16

 (Ogiso) Orria

510 – 555 

40

17

 (Ogiso) Emose (Female)

555 – 595 

20

18

 (Ogiso) Orrorro (Female)

595 – 635 

40

19

 (Ogiso) Irrebo

635 – 675 

40

20

 (Ogiso) Ogbomo

675 – 700 

25

21

 (Ogiso) Agbonzeke

700 – 743 

43

22

 (Ogiso) Edia

743  - 810 

67

23

 (Ogiso) Oriagba

810 – 830 

20

24

 (Ogiso) Odoligie

830 – 880 

50

25

 (Ogiso) Uwa

880 – 915 

35

26

 (Ogiso) Eheneden

915 – 955 

40

27

 (Ogiso) Ohuede

955 – 1000 

45

 

 Evian ( Administrator)
 Ogieamien ( Administrator)

 

 

 

BENIN KINGDOM IN SECOND  MILENIUM 

 

Benin Kingdom had 9 kings (Obas) after Uwuakuahen before Emperor Ewuare Nogidigan that mark a very import turn in the history of the benin kingdom, namely Ehenmihen, Ewedo, Oguola, Edoni, Udagbedo, Ohen, Egbeka, Orobiru and Uwaifioku  

 

EDO OGISO (KINGS) OBA OF BENIN KINGDOM AFTER 1000A.D OR C.E (2nd MILENIUM)

 

OGISO /OBA TILL 1000YRS

PERIOD OF REIGN

YEARS

1

 (Ogiso) Oduwa

1000 – 1040

40

2

 (Ogiso) Obioye

1040 – 1100

60

3

 (Ogiso) Arigho

1100 - 1150

50

4

 (Ogiso) Owodo

1150 - 1180

30

5

 (Oba) Eweka  I

1180 – 1246

66

6

 (Oba) Uwuakuahen

1246 – 1250

4

7

 (Oba) Ehenmihen

1250 -1260

10

8

 (Oba) Ewedo

1260 – 1274

14

9

 (Oba) Oguola

1274 – 1287

13

10

 (Oba) Oba Edoni

1287-1292

12

11

 (Oba) Udagbedo

1292-1329

35

12

 (Oba) Ohen

1329 -1366

36

13

 (Oba) Egbeka

1366 – 1386

20

14

 (Oba) Orobiru

1386 – 1434

43

15

 (Oba) Uwaifioku

1434 - 1440

6

16

 (Oba) Ewuare Nogidigan

1440 - 1473

33

17

 (Oba) Ezoti

1473 – 1475

2

18

 (Oba) Olua

1475 – 1480

5

19

 (Oba) Ozolua Ni baromi- “Eko”

1480 – 1504

24

20

 (Oba) Esigie

1504 – 1547

43

21

 (Oba) Orhogbua

1547 – 1580

33

22

 (Oba) Ehengbuda

1580 – 1602

22

23

 (Oba) Ohuan

1602 – 1656

54

24

 (Oba) Ohenzae

1656 – 1661

5

25

 (Oba) Akenzae

1661 – 1669

8

26

 (Oba) Akengboi

1669 – 1675

6

27

 (Oba) Akenbaye

1675 – 1684

9

28

 (Oba) Akengbedo

1684 – 1689

5

29

 (Oba) Ore- Oghene

1689 – 1701

3

30

 (Oba) Ewuakpe

1701 – 1712

11

31

 (Oba) Ozuere

1712 – 1713

1

32

 (Oba) Akenzua Nisorho I

1713 – 1740

27

33

 (Oba) Eresoyen

1740 – 1750

10

34

 (Oba) Akengbuda

1750 – 1804

54

35

 (Oba) Obanosa

1804 – 1816

12

36

 (Oba) Ogbebo

1816 – 1816

8 Months

37

 (Oba) Osemwende

1816 – 1848

32

38

 (Oba) Adolo

1848 – 1888

40

39

 (Oba) Ovonramen

1888 – 1897

19

 

( British Colonial Administration )

 

 

40

 (Oba) Eweka II

1914 – 1933

19

41

 (Oba) Akenzua

1933 – 1978

45

42

 (Oba) Erediawa

1979 –till date

-

 

 

Oba Ohen 1329-1366 was the 39th king of Benin, the 12th in the second milenium, whose murder of his Iyase, the traditional prime minister of Igodomigodo land, led to a rebellion that brought his reign to an end with his stoning to death and was succeeded by his son, Egbeka

Oba Egbeka took over about 1366  after the death of the father Ohen, and ruled for 20 years. Later were Oba Orobiru, Oba Uwaifioku and Oba Ewuare the Great. Ewuare consolidated, developed, and expanded the kingdom through innovative leadership ideas, closely knit, disciplined community organization, warfare, and conquests.

EMPEROR EWUARE N'OGIDIGAN

Ewuare was a great magician, physician, traveller and warrior, constructed Old Benin, created the Edaiken title, He was first to come in contact with the Europeans sailing West African coast. His rulership expanded Benin kingdom to a great hight stretching far North, South, East and West. Became the first King of Benin to come in contact with the Europeans. It is on record that in 1472, the Portuguese captain Ruy de Siqueira brought a sailing ship as far as to the Bight of Benin under the reign of Oba Ewuare. Ewuare ushered in the period of warrior kings, which lasted into the 16th century CE, traversing the reigns of Obas Ozolua, Esigie, Orhogbua, Ehengbuda, Ohuan, Ohenzae, Akenzae, Akengboi, Akenbaye, Akengbedo, Ore- Oghene, Ewuakpe, Ozuere, Akenzua Nisorho I, Eresoyen, Akengbuda, Obanosa, Ogbebo, Osemwende, Adolo, Ovonramen, Eweka II, Akenzua  and Erediawa. 

READ MORE ON OBA EWUARE BY NAIWU OSAHON

TO BE CONTINUED................

The history of Benin predates Yoruba history (as a state, and not necessarily as a "people" by 1,000 years).

We have pottery shard streets carbon dated to ~AD1300.

Here is the archeologist (a guy who through archeological digs provides concrete proof and evidence) Graham Connah's representation of African cities circa AD1200.

If these cities - and by extension "civilizations" being discussed existed prior to AD1200, then where is the evidence of them? the map is from a book called "The Next Gulf"

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Replies to This Discussion

Ise-egheghe Jackson Ekorowiro The word or title "OBA" has always been there right from the beginning, the time of Ogiso Obagodo The 1st Ogiso was
Igodo or Obagodo

{About 40BC-16AD}
He established the kingdom in the sense that it was during his period the components of Benin were united and formed into a central Administrative Unit. He was the first recorded Ogiso {monarch} of Igodomigodo {Benin} kingdom with his seat of government at ugbekun. He created the Edion Nene the {four elders} Oliha, Edohen, Ero and Eholo they were chosen based on their merit, to help the Ogiso manage the affairs of the kingdom.


Godfrey Omorodion Do you know the period of Evian the regent, who held the throne, do you know the period of Ogieamien the son of Evian, find out about the reason the seven Lords of the kingdom, Ezomo, Oliha, Ero of Urubi,etc fought Ogiamien, the Ogiamien |Palace and family is still at sokpoba road, Evian Palace is still at first east circular rd. meet with this people and find out about your history..

Godfrey Omorodion please, find out your fact about Ogiso Owodo, the last Ogiso of Igodomido Land, Ekaladerhan the only prince of Igodomigodo at that time, the period of the vacant throne in Igodomigodo and the begining of the Oba Dynasty by Oba Eweka 1st... I am doing a movie Ogiso Owodo...

Osakue Cypher @Stephen Obakpee, that's d story of Arhuan and Esigie and not Ekalderhan and Eweka I

Reggie Akpata One of our most prominent ancient values, and one that ties us to the values of other cultures held in high esteem such as The Egypt of Nefertiti and Cleopatra, and the England of Boadicea, was our never ending adoration - and respect for women as equals and even "superiors", up to and including two who were Ogiso/Oba.
We should never allow the value system that crept in during the Middle Ages of the subjugation of women and establishment of patrilineal descent - to the extent that - as if pariah - there is no Benin woman chief - has been almost complete.

To turn this around, this so called parochial "family values" message must take a back seat to practical and honest development; start looking at "home" as your home, and not a 5 second drop in "star visit" joint.

Just the other day a group of mindless idiots colluded to - instead of creating natural water marshland and catchment zones for water that could be used for secondary sources: irrigation etc. instead elected to - build a massive gutter to run untreated sewage in storm run off straight into the vulnerable rivers: Ikpoba, Sakponba and Ogba etc., sans any treatment! Sewage-Storm run-off, straight into the River!

Naim we dry talk about "cultural lessons"?

Here's one in a medieval bronze relief that illustrates the story above, share it with your children.

By the way, we weren't always "great"! In fact we were down right beastly to a lot of people.

Pumping one sided propaganda into kids is an extension of everything we're running away from

Reggie Akpata's photo.

Enina Percy igodo or obagodo ws an odionware in idumvbioto, he anex oda domains includin ugbekun, b cos he ws powaful & opresive, we his died he ws taunted by pipo say igodo mien igodo mini igodo had seen igodo, & dey said if he ws dat powaful y cudn't prevail on death to spare his son, igodomigodo is deriv frm igodo mien igodo, y shud land b call afta a derogatory & mockry term? my questn remain y do we say edo nevboigodomigodo edo has always b d name of our land ,our pipo & our dialect.

According to Benin archaeological history and traditions, thirty Ogiso ( Kings and Rulers) ruled in Benin Kingdom before Ogiso Owodo. Ogiso Owodo had two son, Ekaladerhan Izoduwa (imadoduwa or Ode-oduwa) and Eweka. Ogiso Owodo had two wives, Imade and Arhukho. Imade, the senior wife gave birth to Eweka contrary to the earlier version that the mother of Eweka I was Erhinmwinde from  Ego a daughter of the Enogie at the time.  Arhukho was the mother of Ekaladerhan Izoduwa. Eweka being the legitimated son of Ogiso Owodo ascended the throne after the death of his father. Eweka was the senior brother to Ekaladerhan Izoduwa (imadoduwa or Ode-oduwa) . Some argue that Ekaladerahn was born almost same time with Eweka, and that created a clash between him and the senior brother on whom should ascend the throne after the death of Ogiso Owodo. Others say, Ekaladerhan was born 2 hours before Eweka on the same day at different location but, the birth of Eweka was reported first to the palace and it was recorded thus, without taking due cognisance of reasons given by Ekaladerhan mother on why the news bearer came late. That itself can not be a justified reason why a formally reported birth will be canciled because someone came later to say I was first but could not get to the palace on time or same day.   This angered Ekaladerhan who could not bear to remain in a Kingdom where his younger brother have been made a king, and he left. He was a great mystic. The two sons Eweka and Ekaladerhan was at longer heads. Ekaladerhan  left Benin Kingdom with some followers to far south west to establish his kingdom which he named Ilefe. Similar situation have been happening in Benin kingdom resulting the emigration of many prince from the Kingdom to other parts of West African territories to establish their kingdoms. Population movements in form of migration are a dominant thread that runs through the history of pre-colonial Kingdom of Benin, especially when in some cases the first wife of the Oba or Ogiso have no male child or no first to have a male child. Oba Eweka I reign in Benin Kingdom 1180 – 1246 and was succeeded by his son Uwuakuahen that only lasted 4 years on the throne. 

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