AFRICAN QUEEN MOTHER AND HEROES IN WEST AFRICAN HISTORY AND HER ROLE OF ELEVATING THE AFRICAN WOMEN PRIDE AND DIGNITY

GREAT AFRICAN QUEEN MOTHER AND HEROES IN WEST AFRICAN HISTORY AND HER ROLE OF ELEVATING THE AFRICAN WOMEN PRIDE AND DIGNITY - YET UNTOLD

10 things you must know about “Idia n’Iye Esigie” of a West African civilization - The Benin Empire

 

By Uwagboe Ogieva

 


QUEEN IDIA THE FACE OF FESTAC 77 Queen Idia was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. She played a very significant role in the rise and reign of her son. She was a strong warrior who fought relentlessly before... and during her son's reign as the Oba (king) of the Edo people. When Oba Ozolua died, he left behind two powerful sons to dispute over who would become Oba. His son Esigie controlled Benin City while another son, Arhuaran, was based in the equally important city of Udo about twenty miles away. Idia mobilised an army around Esigie, which defeated Arhuaran, and Oba Esigie became the 16th king.


Idia – ( Aproximately 1450 – 1530)
Popularly know as “Idia ne Iye Esigie” 

QUEEN IDIA THE FACE OF FESTAC 77 Queen Idia was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. 

She played a very significant role in the rise and reign of her son. She was a strong warrior who fought relentlessly before... and during her son's reign as the Oba (king) of the Edo people. When Oba Ozolua died, he left behind two powerful sons to dispute over who would become Oba. His son Esigie controlled Benin City while another son, Arhuaran, was based in the equally important city of Udo about twenty miles away. Idia mobilised an army around Esigie, which defeated Arhuaran, and Oba Esigie became the 16th king. Subsequently, the neighboring islamic invaders through Igala , who have sent warriors across the Benue River to wrest control of Benin's northern territories fued by the Islamic invation was brought under control by Esigie conquest of the islamic colonization of the Igala, reestablishing the unity and military strength of the kingdom of Benin. 

His mother Idia received much of the credit for these victories as her political counsel, together with her magical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of Esigie's success on the battlefield. Idia became the first Iyoba (Queen Mother) of Benin when Esigie conferred upon her the title and the Eguae-Iyoba (Palace of the Queen Mother).


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Reconceptualizing Iyoba :



Contemporary evaluations of Iyoba Idia tend to underscore her role as royal wife (and mother). Kaplan contends that an Iyoba's power was rooted in her success in childbearing, in bringing forth the reigning Oba, and in ensuring the continuity of the family and the state. In other words, it is because Idia fulfilled her roles as wife and mother that Esigie created the title of Iyoba to honor and reward her in her lifetime so she will remembered thereafter (Kaplan 1997, 59).

This qualification does not mean that motherhood is unimportant or disconnected from the office. Rather, what it states is that we have to make a clear distinction between the political office of Iyoba and the material fact of being an iye oba or Oba's mother. The distinction may seem unimportant since the occupant of the office is the Oba's mother. Indeed, the convergence of the two states makes it difficult to separate the political institution; but there is a radical difference that the focus on being a mother obscures. The creation of the Iyoba title was compelled by sociopolitical conditions of the time which will be explored latter. As a political office with a court, chiefs, and retinue, the office of Iyoba was a political experiment that constitutionally modified the previous or old political system. This modification created and made provisions for the category of Supreme Motherhood, in which the occupant of the office functions as the Mother of the Nation. The political powers that were vested in this office were not parallel to that of the Oba, who created it, or equal to the Oba's power. Because the moral and social authority of a mother supersedes that of her offspring, the moral, social, and spiritual powers of Iyoba superseded that of the Oba because the Omo (child) is subordinate to the parent. Thus, if the Oba was the spiritual embodiment of Edo people, the Oba n'Osa (An Oba who is god to his subjects), and the Uku Akpolokpolo (The mighty one that rules) of Benin, the Iyoba was Iy'Oba n'Osa (The Mother of the Oba who is god to his subjects). Note that on this scheme no father exists!

The office of Iyoba defines a position of supreme moral authority and power. Officially, the occupant of the office was the Supreme Mother ofthe nation as well as the political mother of the Oba. While she supersedes him by virtue of her womb and maternal role, she does not need to threaten nor undermine his political powers. Rather she shores it up, strengthens it, and functions as his strong political and moral center while guaranteeing his safety in the turbulent politics of the kingdom. For all this to work constitutionally, an iye oba's maternity has to be transformed and radically reconstituted at the supranational level so that the occupant is no longer an individual with a personal history. This transmutation is required because the individual to whom she was his mother no longer exists. He has ritually died, and been reborn in a divine state as Oba, and exists as the soul of the nation. The political accession of an Oba paves his way into divinity, and his mother, if alive, would equally undergo a similar transformation to continue the task of nurturing the soul of the nation. Thus, on accession to office, an Iyoba metamorphoses into a boundless fluid state in which she assumes, embodies, and becomes the collective histories of past occupants of the office as well as of the spiritual mother of the Oba and all Edo people. Creating the office of Iyoba, may be Idia's and Esigie's way of constitutionally enshrining and centering Erinmwide or the Edo component in the making of the second dynasty. Whatever the implications, the office was created on the basis of the qualities Idia brought to government.

This clarification is important not just because it tries to grasp the philosophical worldview underpinning the creation of the Iyoba office, but because it explains why occupants of the office should not be represented as “queen mothers.” Such a representation diminishes their stature and power in that it amplifies their royal wife (queen) identity that is not part of the political rational underpinning the institution or of the rituals transforming an iye oba into Iyoba. The state of wifehood introduces an unacceptable incestuous relationship between the Oba as “soul of the nation” and Iyoba as “mother of the nation” that is not part of the spiritual transcendence and divine conceptualization of Iy'Oba n'Osa. The trouble with accounts of the Iyoba as “Queen mother” is that they are too closely tied to the sexualized, empirical, male supremacist mode of thinking that sexualizes social relationships and is used to secure gender ideology. This western epistemology misses the spiritual symbolism that is central to the processes of transformation enacted in African rituals and rites of initiation and governance.

Although located within a western epistemological framework and she used the term “queen mother,” Barbara Blackmun's portrayal of Idia is closer to the historical figure because she stresses the skill and knowledge resource that Idia brought to office (1991). She acknowledges Idia's status as a mother without circumscribing her potentialities; she correctly explains that the most admired feature of Idia is her knowledge of the occult; but she does not explore the political implications of the concept of Iyoba and the Iyoba's office for the kingdom of Benin. Although Blackmun is aware that being knowledgeable in the occult may define a woman as a witch, she is quick to note that it is not considered evil in a responsible woman like Idia. The relevance of this observation is that it shifts the basis of Idia's power from procreation to knowledge possession, and to the type of knowledge she brought to Esigie's administration. A study of these show that she was feared and that her political opinions, pronouncements, or acts, were respected. The areas where Blackmun's analysis runs into difficulties, in her review of the “Queen Mother tusks of Set IV,” is when she slid into the western gender framework and failed to see that those tusks may actually be stating a radical fact about the political institution of Iyoba and that some Iyobas may actually have ruled for their sons (1991, 61)

source: http://edonationsatelite.blogspot.com.es/2016/02/the-great-idia-que...
. His mother Idia received much of the credit for these victories as her political counsel, together with her magical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of Esigie's success on the battlefield. Idia became the first Iyoba (Queen Mother) of Benin when Esigie conferred upon her the title and the Eguae-Iyoba (Palace of the Queen Mother).

FACTS: 

Idia – ( Aproximately 1450 – 1530)

Popularly know as “Idia ne Iye Esigie” was the …

 

  1. First Woman to earn a title from the Benin Empire as “IYOBA” also represented as “The Queen mother”
  2. First Woman to have succeeded the killing of the King’s mother at the ascension of kingship throne in the history of Great Benin – West African Civilization
  3. First Woman commander [mother of the king] to have led soldiers/warrior to fight and win a war in defense of her Nation.
  4. First Woman [mother] to have produced a one of most enlightened prince(Son) relating with the Europeans in their early encounter. 
  5. First woman to have witness one of the highest diplomatic ties btw Black Africa and Europeans [Portuguese] in her time, say about 1450 – 1530.
  6. First woman to have witness the early formation of churches and missionary school in Nigeria.THE HOLY ARUOSA
  7. First Woman to have lived one of the most fearful and dreadful time of continues war both in her husband’s reign [Ozolua] and her son’s reign [Esigie].
  8. First woman to have taken up the mantle of leadership in terms of socio – economic development of the Old Benin Empire, that was later invaded and burnt down by the British military on the Benin punitive expedition 1897 to finally exile Oba Ovonramen to Calabar. A time when some of the finest bronze of Benin were made and exported to Europe.
  9. First woman to have introduce the gladiators spirit and high virtues of feminism in the history of Black African civilization
  10. First black African woman to have earn such world recognition, respect and dignity in the west African sub region, a great work of art whose presence [sculpture and art work] continue to show in every media and publications far and near. the popular Ivory Mask, face of African culture and pride of the black race

 

 

By Uwagboe Ogieva

4 September 2011

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RECOMMENDED:

Reconceptualizing Iyoba
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/group/womenaffairs/forum/topics/reconceptu...
The History Behind The Emotan Statue
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/group/healtheducation/forum/topics/the-his...
Significance of Ivie and Ekan (Coral Beads) in Edo Culture
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/significance-of-ivie-and-ekan
Idia: The First Queen Mother of Benin
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/idia-the-first-queen-mother-of
Queen Mothers IN EDO KINGDOM
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/queen-mothers-in-edo-kingdom
10 things you must know about “Idia n’Iye Esigie” of a West African civilization
http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/greatness-of-an-african-que...

 

Relative Articles:


 - Queen Mother in Edo Kingdom

 - Reconceptualizing Iyoba: Edo Culture

- Idia: The First Queen Mother of Benin

- Help Stop the sale of The Mask of the Queen Mother

- Queen-Mother Idia, Others Must Return Home: Training Courses Are No...

- Britiish soldiers sitting behind looted religious objects in the ob...

- FG moves to repatriate stolen Benin artefacts

- The Salient Witness

- Greatness of an African Queen Mother: IDIA

- Significance of ivie and ekan (coral beads) in Edo culture.

- Babacar M'Bow On The Broken Queen Idia Mask From The Osemwegie Eboh...

 - Idianiyesigie by EFI (Edo Film Industry) [Complete Film]

 

RECOMMENED READING:

 

- Abolish Edoid Group of Race for One Edo Nation or Edoid Nation!

- Contesting the History of Benin Kingdom By Peter P. Ekeh

- Benin - Urhobo Relationship By Dr. Nowa Omoigui

- Language and unity of Edo people By Uyilawa Usuanlele

- Benin_Igbo_Yoruba Historic relations (Onitsha, Orisha) By PHILIP EM...

- Esan Not An Ethnic Group But Benin(Edo) By Uwagboe Ogieva

- Ogiso and Eweka times: A prelimnary history of Edoid Complex of cul... By Peter P. Ekeh
- Let Boko Haram have their own country, says Omoruyi By Omo Omoruyi

- Crisis in Belgium:If Flanders Secedes Wallonia Disintegrates

- Edo-African heritage within the context and the dynamics of Nigerian culture

- First European Contact With Nigeria Was 1485 By The Great Benin Emp...

- Greatness of an African Queen Mother: IDIA By Uwagboe Ogieva

- Excellence in education and culture for the new millennium By Chief Oje Aisiku, PhD

- Bini Names in Nigeria and Georgia By Roger Westcott, Professor Emeritus, Drew University

- Nigeria: The Edo of Benin By Osamuyimen Stewart, Ph.D.

- THE CORRECT HISTORY OF EDO By NAIWU OSAHON

- Agbor link with Edo people "Origin of Agbor - Agbon" By By Emeka Esogbue

- Benin (Nigeria) and its Mystique By MIKE JIMOH

- Benin History and the Museum's Benin Collection From the museum.upenn.edu

 

RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

 

- Benin and the Europeans, 1485-1897 by Alan Frederick Charles Ryder
Product details: Hardcover: 388 pages / Publisher: Prentice Hall Press; 1st Edition edition (July 1969) Language English / ISBN-10: 058264514X / ISBN-13: 978-0582645141

- Graham Connah. 1975. The Archaeology Of Benin: Excavations and other researches in and around Benin City, Nigeria. Clarendon Press : Oxford. Pages - 266 (plus photographs) ISBN - 0 19 920063 7 http://ihuanedo.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-archaeology-of-benin

- Kings, Magic,& Medicine " by Chief Dr. Dayl Peavy JD. An African American that has an Esan Chietaincy title (2007). An Ob'oguega as well as an Ob'orunmila. Have been conducting research in Edo State since 1997 and published in a book titled: "Kings, Magic & Medicine". http://ihuanedo.ning.com/forum/topics/new-book-on-great-benin

- Evolution Of Benin Chieftancy Title (Very specific facts on Edo and Edo's in Diaspora). $25.00

- Benin City Pilgrimage Stations (Detailed Edo History). $25.00

- Benin City- Edo State Capital (More details on the colonial Era).

- The Edo Man of the 20th Century (Oba Eweka 11 life history). $10.00

- Erediauwa, Prince of Benin. (About the Price and not this Oba).$10.00

- Iwu- The body marks of Edo People. $10.00

- A DVD on Edo History from Ogiso to current. Concluded by an address by Omo N'oba himself. $10.00

[Contact Tina Iyare tinaiigho@yahoo.com Tel:610-563-9131 Tel:610-873-6842** TO PURCHASE ANY OF ABOVE BOOK WITH PRICE TAG]


TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT:

 

- The Portuguese National Archives in Lisbon

- British Museum

- National Museum Benin City

 

LINKS:

- THE IMPERIAL ARCHITECTURE OF GREAT BENIN.

- EDO NATION PREMIER WEB

- EDO FOLKS HISTORY AND LANGUAGE

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Great Benin Bronze

EDE N'ERHENA VBE EDO

"

These anti-Edo political organizations you folks went to join are the most anti-African - and Africans - in the world.

They're worse than anything; we obviously can't stop you though, even Ewuare II's manifest destiny lies in our own regional party.

We have egba Omo Oduduwa and so on, NPC, AG, the forerunner of them all NCNC and then now these cancers of today.

Stay "with them", but register for your most important election first: your local election, register Edo Political Front, and if you don't, vote the front.

No self respecting Edo will - in the future - find themselves the flag bearers and cheerleaders of foreign parties with indirect rule political and economic mandates, it just doesn't work.

No sane Edo person lives to "have the ear" of someone who doesn't have Edo at their heart.

The Supreme Court is the place to remove the frustration of these lethargic and "periodic" additions to the voting rolls; here - where I live - you can fill in the forms regarding changing your voter registration at the post office and other easy access places.

At the rate things are going we're going to find ourselves truly in decline as our populations suffer from simple things like protein deficiencies in children

" - Reggie Akpata

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