From the era of the 31 Ogisos to the reign of the current Monarch, the 40th, Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare N’Ogidgan 11, who had a historic and majestic ascent of the throne of his ancestors on Thursday, October 20, 2016, the Palace of the Benin Monarch, Eguae Oba N’Edo Ore Nokhua has remained a fortress, impregnable, Osa N’Ugiabi as revered as the exalted throne itself, and as majestic in splendor as the wise one,
Oghodua, who seats in grandiose panache surrounded by a galaxy of dignified Palace Chiefs in ready obeisance to the King’s royal directives. However, like any other such glorious creation, Eguae Oba also has its challenges. It has been admired, envied and regarded with keen covetousness, even with Ekpen N’Owa, Home Leopard, Adimila, sitting time indeterminate to carry out the bidding of the gods of the land!
For the Benins, even in Erinmwin – the Spirit World – it is known, that “Aise agbon ri o Oba”, Kings are created, and not made by man; this is a tradition to which generations of great sons and daughters of the Kingdom have become accustomed, for this reason, the law of primogeniture, succession by birth, subsists in this Kingdom, a definitive law re-enacted by Oba Ewuakpe who reigned from about 1700 AD- 1712AD.
The Benins consider their Oba as God’s supreme ruler and priest on earth. Prof. P.A. Igbafe, in an article written in 1979 affirmed the deification of the Benin Monarchy thus: ‘The socio-political organization of Benin during the pre-colonial years of its history was dominated by the special position occupied by the Oba of Benin who was, and still is, the pivot around which everything revolved, the supreme religious as well as the civil authority in the land.” The playwright, poet, historian, antiquarian journalist, teacher, native doctor and controversial African Traditional
worshipper, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon in his book, Olokun Worship in Benin Kingdom also described the awe-inspired reverence for the personality of the Oba, “…taking metaphor to an expansive height, he is considered as God. Only God appoints, deposes him.”
It was therefore for the Benin people the making of a taboo, a sacrilegious act, aigbe uru ebo, awua, breaking the pots of the gods, when Arisco Osemwegie, in connivance with some persons declared himself as Imperial Majesty, the Ogiamien of Utantan Benin Nation after a failed attempt to usurp the position of the reigning Ogiamien, Osarobo Okunghae, though said to have been last seen in public in 1998, a move which the Palace viewed as a rebellion in the Kingdom and resisted. Like a drunken poltergeist, the Osemwegie family moved on further to lay claim to the stool of the revered Benin Monarch in a publication in ‘Ogiamien Trumpet’ part of which claim is to the effect that …Ogiamien is the traditional and original landlord of Igodomigodo now Bini Kingdom.” This insinuation as well as breaching the Traditional Rulers and Chieftaincy Law of 1979 which prohibits any person or group from proclaiming self as a Chief or Traditional Ruler, a breach of which is a criminal offence, was also irksome and drew the ire of both the traditional institution and the state government.
The Benin Traditional Council, BTC, expressed its angst in that regard and also, the Edo state Government, in a statement signed by Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof Jullus Ihonvbere cautioned the section of the Ogiamien and Osemwegie families from bringing the name of the Benin Monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa into disrepute by claiming to be a traditional ruler through imposition.
History, they say remains a great teacher and to ensure there is a place of reckoning for such historical event, the book, The Benin Monarchy and Ogiamien Connection, The Historical Facts was birthed, written by the duo of Chief(Hon.) Osayomwabo Ero and Simeon P. Owie, great sons of Benin Kingdom who so far as any claim to knowledge of history would go, have been bestowed with residue’ knowledge of the Benin History and Tradition, and have been described by some members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm as “Mobile Archives for Benin History and Traditions”.
The 269-page, eight chapter book with 8 appendixes, 2 tables, and 7 figures has beautiful histories and pictorial representations of important people, places and events which shaped the overall history of the great Benin Kingdom, from the Ogisoship which is said to have evolved from the Odionwere system to Oranmiyan whose memory has now been so celebrated by the current Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare N’Ogidigan 11, who declared on ascension to the throne of his ancestors that Oronmiyan be listed as the first Oba of Benin, making him, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare N’Ogidigan 11, the Oba of Benin’ , the 40″ rather than the previously thought 39th Oba of Benin. The “Untold Story” of Prince Oranmiyan is an interesting one as vividly captured in this book, a table of great historical ‘meals’ served in 65 stylish and equally historical plates of moving images!
In the foreword, the lyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, vent into his akpama, bag of wisdom, and gave a vivid insight, like a refresher course, on how” a brand new version of Ogiamerusrn emerged in the year 2015 with unjustified, yet venomous tantrums of anti-royalist pretensions,” and stated clearly that The Ogiamien Trumpet, as tool in the hands of a section of the Ogiamien family, was used to ridicule the highly revered Benin Monarchy and “Thus, it became necessary for us, as Omo
N’Oba’s chiefs, to try and explain to enquiring friends and well wishers of Benin people, the non-existence of an origin for these attacks. 1t also became imperative to tell the story of the Ogiamien connection in Benin history.”
According to him, it was during one of such usual meetings that the idea to sponsor the production of this tableware of histories arose. The foreword also delved into how, during the Ekaladerhan interregnum, Evian, later described in Chapter Three as “ very hard working, brave blacksmith, farmer and renowned herbalist” spread the theory of Ogie mianwe n’aga, his idea that, “Kings are difficult to serve,” a move which propelled the Ogiamien’s attempted revolution.
“Nature abhors a vacuum and emptiness. The Ekaladerhan interregnum therefore, encouraged Evian, who was then an Okao Evbo, an administrator, to originate efforts to sell the idea of his offsprings becoming rulers in Benin to the people … this however, motivated the Edion N’Isen to intensify the restoration of the monarchy, the vital engagement to bring Prince Ekaladerhan back to his throne. The counter efforts, the saga of Ogiamien’s attempted revolution, and the strong response of the Edion ‘lsen, listed in Chapter Two as five elders and members of the Uzama Chiefs(Kingmakers or Crowners) who fought for the restoration and re-establishment of the Benin Monarchy which culminated in the second dynasty in about 1170 AD, which frustrated their efforts, constituted the genesis and the denouement of the Ogiamien anti-royalist insurgence in the Benin history, and thus, fast-tracked the beginning of the Oba Dynasty in the land.