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Location: Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
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Otenmwen koyo good morning. The Benin spirituality is some what different from what you understand it to beOlokun, Ogun, Isango etc all have their roots in Benin. Even Oronmila, if you are an ardent, you will know how the divinity came about. In the Odu OGBIGHITAN (OGBE OLIGUN or OGBE SURU) in the yoruba parlance says that the divinity Oronmila first arrived Benin but at a time the Benin people were preparing for war and this man advised the people to abhor war and sue for peace, this angered our people and so pushed him out and he started his journey towards the west and finally settled in Ile-Ife after several stop overs. All the Divinities came from the celestial spheres and do not belong to any one tribe.But Ogboni and OPC are indigenous to the Yoruba people. These are not Divinities but man self organized groups for the protection of the sovereignty of their peoples.Owegbe is what is indigenous to us Benin which was organized to protect Oba Akenzua II from the oppressive and manipulative tendencies of the Ogboni Cult. At the time they wanted to dethrone the Oba and institute the Yoruba kind of obaship where it is the Ogboni that dictate who becomes the Oba. A Palace coup that was organized by prince Uwaifiokun-Eweka and Gaius Obaseki.
QUEEN IDẸN -HER LOVE BEYOND DEATH By Paul Osa. Igbineweka
We celebrate Queen Idẹn as symbol of love beyond death.
It was not just love for the husband only, but such patriotic love for the continuity of the Kingdom beyond her husband.
She saw it beyond what her husband Ọba Ẹwuakpẹ could fathom.
She lived into the unknown future in the hearts of the Benin kingdom.
How was the Queen became convinced that good fortune awaited the king and the kingdom (after sacrificing her life) was and is a mystery that we had no answer. Only to Almighty God of iwinwinzin- The Omniscient.
No wonder Ọba Ẹwuakpẹ couldn't have endured with his cry nor received the aftermath of the joy.
Ẹwuakpẹ, Ẹwuakpẹ, Ẹwuakpẹ nọ ri'Ọba vbe Ẹdo oo,
Eve ma giẹre viẹ, Oghọghọ ma giẹrẹ ghọghọ Ẹwuakpẹ, nọ ri'Ọba vbe Ẹdo oo!
These are some of the festivals been celebrated in edo:
1. UGIOGUN (UGIE-OGUN) 2. IGUE
3. UGIE ODODUA ("AGUOSA")
4.UGI'AZAMA (UGIE-AZAMA)ESIGIE(1483 - 1504 A.D)
5. THE EHO FESTIVAL OF THE BENIN KINGDOM
6. UG'ORO (UGIE-ORO)
7. UG'IVIE ('UGIE-IVIE)
9 AHIANMWEN-ORO 10 EBOMISI FESTIVAL
11 OHONOMOIMEN FESTIVAL OF IULEHA
12 ADU IKUKUN FESTIVAL
13 UKPE FESTIVAL
14 IGHELE FESTIVAL
15 OTO FESTIVAL
16 ORIMINYAN FESTIVAL 17 IVBAMEN OR ORORUEN FESTIVAL OF OZALLA
The reign of Owodo, the last Ogiso, was a long course of misrule, and anxiety. For instance, it used to be said of him ‘‘Ogiso ma min emwen e fi agba’’, meaning ‘‘Ogiso never convened a meeting except in times of troubles and crisis’’. Domestic worries added to his weakness which ultimately led to the total collapsed of the dynasty around 11 century A.D when he was banished from the Kingdom because of popular hostility against his regime. King Owodo had numerous wife’s, his son; Ekaladerhan born to him by Esagho has earlier be exiled to Ughoton (Gwatto), a place he founded. Although every attempt was made to persuade him to return to the kingdom after his after banishment; Ekaladerhan refused to leave Ughoton where he eventually died.
The people of Igodomigodo decided to set up a republican form of government with a commoner named Evian as administrator; as a reward for the brave and meritorious service rendered by him to the country through killing a murderous beast; Evian was succeeded by Erebo (Ogiamien). Though it is impossible to know the precise date of their foundation, some of the important villages which already existed in the period may throw some light on the problem. Among such villages are the following: Udo, Ihimwirin, Oka, Avbiama, Idogbo, Utesi, Ogua, Urhoho, Ute, Igo, Irighon, Ughoton, Uhen, Esi, Ikpoka, Ayen, Orio, Uwan, Egbaen, Idumwonwina, Ohovbe, Ogheghe, Ite, Iguogbe, Izikhiri, Iyowa, Ego, Umoghumwun, Azagba, Ekho, Ebue, Irokhin, Amagba, Udeni, Ogan, Ugolo, Omi-nara, Unuame, Iyekeze, Ogba, Ogbokhirima, Uwan, Ayen, Orio, Iguogbe, Okenuhen, Okhumwun, Ikoha and Use to mention few.
Furthermore, Some of the titles held by chiefs under the Ogisos were as follows: Esagho (the Premier and greatest war chief), Aragbua, Eraghohen, Lamalua, Ogiama, Ukpoza, Giaghama, Olou, Ogievbeke, Nirokhin, Ogiodu, Ogikeke, Ogiogbon and Iraghoghe. The palace of the Ogisos, which was begun by Ogiso Ere. Was on the site recently vacated by the Western Boys High School off the East Circular Road. It stretched from the school to the cemetery containing many gateways, chambers, council halls and a big harem divided into sections. It occupied a suitably elevated position and its spacious front looked out over the valley of the Ikpoba river to the Arokenogbanwa or Oregbeni hill beyond. Archaeological research may one day allow us to know more about the Ogiso period than is possible at the period.
The Foundation of Igodomigodo Kingdom and The History of Ogiso Dynasty.
by: Jacob.U. Egharevba (Short History of Benin, First Edition 1934, Second Edition 1936, Third Edition 1960).
Before the foundation of Ogiso dynasty, the management of affairs of the kingdom was carried out under different leadership. Igodomigodo is a conglomerate of different clans (Idumu), with each clan having (Edionwere) community leader. The Empire of this first period dynasty was founded about 900 A.D. The rulers or kings were commonly knowns as ‘‘Ogiso’’ before the arrival of Obaship and his party at ille ife in Yorubaland about the 12 century of the Christian Era.
Ultimately one of the prominent leaders among the (Edionwere’s) Igodo, was made ‘‘Ogiso’’ (king of the sky). Igodo, the first Ogiso, wielded much influence and gained popularity as a good ruler. He died after a long reign and was succeeded by Ere, his eldest son. It is said that Ogiso Ere suffered much in childhood and as a price who had been much in the world. Ogiso Ere was very zealous in the management of the affairs of the kingdom. He was a lover of peace and concord, for instance if there was fighting or quarrelling among his people a crier would be sent out by him to announce to the fighters the term ‘‘A wua ne Ere’’ meaning ‘‘quarrelling is forbidden by Ere’’ and at once peace would be restored.
There were many improvements during the reign of Ere. He founded many villages such as Ego and Erua and the group of craftsmen known as Onwina and Igbesamwan. The former are the traditional carpenters and the latter the carvers in wood and ivory. It was Ogiso Ere who introduced the royal throne (ekete), the rectangular chiefs stool (agba), the round leather fan (ezuzu), the round box (ekpokin) made of bark and leather, The Sword of Authority (Ada and Eben), beaded anklets (eguen) and collars (odigba), and a simple, undecorated form of crown. He also introduced such domestic articles as wooden plates and bowls, mortars, and pestles. Which were carved by the Onwina; and the wooden heads, carved by the Igbesamwan, which are placed on ancestral shrines. Ogiso Ere died peacefully after a successful reign.
After the death of Ogiso Ere, the country was ruled by the following princes and princesses Orire, Akhuankhuan, Ekpigho, Oria, Emose, Orhorho, Oriagba, Odoligie, Uwa, Hennenden, Obioye, Arigho, and Owodo. Ogiso Emose and Ogiso Orhorho were women, Orhorho was a wicked queen and in consequence she was killed when on her way to Omi, her mother’s native village. There was peace with tranquility and prosperity during the reign of Ogiso Hennenden and the city increased in population.
osun ematon, BeninDuring this [1902 - 1907] period, London-based dealer W. D. Webster was the source for several Chicago-destined Benin objects, among them the upper portion of a diviner's/healer's iron staff. Chameleons, ibis like birds, and miniature blacksmith's tools are the iconographic elements on this wrought-iron insignia.As with many of the iron staffs by the neighboring Yoruba peoples, this partial Benin staff features birds and iron implements in a larger statement on the complex relationship between righteous and malevolent forces in the universe (Thompson 1975: 56-59; Rebora 1983: 30-32).Chicago Natural History Museum; Field Museum of Natural History
WHAT WERE THE REASONS BEHIND THE BENIN COURT ARTS?By Paul Osa Igbineweka
The Great Benin Kingdom encouraged arts in various ways; The Bronze casting ( Cire perdue process), Ivory carving, Wood carving, Crafts, Embroidery, Sculpture, Beading, Ceramics, Weaving and Drawing. The Artisans were classified into guilds of Artworks as specified by the name.
The OBA had commissioned Artists to replicate the best of their works for the Royal Court. The Royal Court Altar had the categories of various arts, based on historical events. The Great Benin Kingdom saw art as an instructional edifices and temple furniture. They were objects that revealed the historical events, telling what transpired as captured by the Artist. They represented what modern day picture can reveal of events.
The knowledge of the Great Benin as Art is concerned was above fanaticism. The art objects were never worshiped. The Benins were far ahead in their reasoning to know that God Almighty does not reside in them. As an academically trained artist with this home background, it was quite not surprising to see that those outside the Benin Culture had the assumption that Benin Arts were objects of Worship, especially the fanatical religious people in society.
They could even imagined that the "gods" inhabit them. The best these objects can serve outside the Royal Court for historical purposes, is to be offered as souvenirs. Which is practicable till date.
It is for the same reason, The OBA of Benin, OBA EWUARE II is requesting that the United Kingdom and other parts of the world where the stolen Artefacts of Benin were kept since the British invasion of 1897 be returned for a befitting museum for tourist attraction. It is in the Arts and culture that the Great Benin Kingdom revealed her history.
THE EDO WOMAN. The women of Benin Kingdom pride themselves in their traditional attire, which consists of Igbegbe (Velvet), Ivie and Ekan (Coral Beads). Their hair as adorned with Ivie in an elaborate hairstyle known as Okuku.
*_Benin Was Once A Country:_*
We are Edo people from the great Benin empire, we belong to one of the surviving kingdoms in the world.As far as Nigeria nation is concern we are not answerable to any tribe nor to any region, we are only answerable to the Benin kingdom.
Should there be any eventual disintegration of Nigeria we will stay alone with our brothers from the old Midwestern state.We are the Edo people from the Benin empire.
Michael Odeh Anderson*Leader of the Benin Artefacts Repatriation Campaign Organisation Worldwide (BARCOW)*
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