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).
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).
Idia – ( Aproximately 1450 – 1530)
Popularly know as “Idia ne Iye Esigie” was the …
By Uwagboe Ogieva
4 September 2011
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10 things you must know about “Idia n’Iye Esigie” of a West African civilization
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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 https://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". https://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
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- The Edo Man of the 20th Century (Oba Eweka 11 life history). $10.00
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- 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
TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT:
- The Portuguese National Archives in Lisbon
- British Museum
- National Museum Benin City