Facts you should know about the first Oba of Benin Kingdom

Facts you should know about the first Oba of Benin Kingdom

Ogiso Owodo ruled as a king under the old Monarchy of Ogiso in the old Igodomigodo kingdom. Ikaladeran was his only son who later became the Oduduwa of Ife.

After Ogido’s demise, a local chief identified as Irebor forcefully took over the kingdom and adopted the Ogiearnien title.

Thus, the Edionisen (king makers), sent for Oduduwa at Ife to come back home to take over his father’s royal seat.

However, Ododuwa was about 70-years-old and was too old to undertake the long journey to Igodomigodo.

The Edionisen mounted pressure on him to send his son if he could not come back. After a few years, he accepted to send his first son, Oranmiyan, to Igodomigodo.

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Oranmiyan’s entourage included amongst others the Edigin Ilawure Ihama and Ezima. They accompanied him to Igodomigodo.

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They entered Igodornigodo through the western route via Iyekovia. Ilawure and Ezima stayed off at Usen and Okemuen respectively and settled there.

Oranmiyan had not reached Igodomigodo when he started feeling the resistance of those protesting against his coming.

Irebor the Ogiearnien mobilized his supporters to stop Oranmiyan from entering the city.

Thus, the Edionisen kept Oranmiyan and entourage at Ego and prepared a palace for him at Usama. He was there for some years.

He was not however crowned because of the enormous problems created by Irebor and his supporters.

Irebor continued to rule almost half of the kingdom as an administrator. He surrounded himself with soldiers and declared his new title hereditary, with the hope of passing it to his descendants who would also rule like him.

He resisted all attempts by the Edionisen to dispose him of the Ogiso’s stool. The inability of the Edionisen to depose Irebor created difficulties for Oranmiyan. He was living in fear and suspicion of the people.

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He could not successfully adapt himself to his new status despite the great support the Edionisen gave to him. He had a problem of communicating with people because of his lack of understanding of Edo language.

Prince Oranmiyan, unable to bear the animosity for very long, renounced his office and called Igodomigodo land "Ile Ibinu", a Yoruba word loosely translated as "a land of annoyance and vexation".

He declared that only a child of the soil, educated in the culture and traditions of Igodomigodo could rule the kingdom.

Meanwhile, he fell in love with the daughter of Ogie Ego, a local chief, named Erinmwinde who eventually had a male child for him. By this Eririmwinde became the mother of the first crowned Oba of Evbuoto community.

Oranmiyan decided to go back home as he could not rule successfully especially because of the resistance put up by Ogieamien and his supporters.

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The Edionisen then waited for his child to grow up so that he can assume the throne. At first, the child could not speak and the oracle was consulted.

The oracle prescribed the performance of some rites and the playing (akhue) marble by the young prince. After the rites, while playing the marble, he uttered the Yoruba words "owo mi ka" meaning “I captured it” when he struck the only remaining marble.

His first Yoruba expression was as a result of his training in the Yoruba language by Edigun at Use, who was one of those who came from Ife with Oranmiyan. Since then, Use became a place where all Obas perform the marble playing ceremonies preceding their taking of titles.

Facts you should know about the first Oba of Benin Kingdom
A sketch of Prince Oranmiyan. Credit: edoworld.net

After Oranmiyan had left, the Edionisen busied themselves with training the young prince in the mysteries of Ubani or Evbuoto kingship.

They suspended all their political differences until the prince was old enough to take his father’s place and crowned Ogieamien.

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Meanwhile, Irebor was determined not only to rule but also to ensure that Ogieamien became a hereditary title to be used by his descendants.

When he died, he was succeeded by his son who went by the same title Ogieamien. He was, however, not as able and forceful as his father.

His weak character made him loose supporters to the young prince, Oranmiyan’s son who had grown up and crowned the king of Igodomigodo/Ubini.

The new king was reportedly referred to as Oba Eweka by some historical accounts.

The Edionisen and their supporters were reportedly aware of the fact that prince Oranmiyan was Ikaladerhan’s son. Ikaladeran was the only son of Ogiso Owodo who became Ododuwa of Ife, hence the rightful heir to Benin throne. That is why they brought his son to come and continue the line of his father.

Though the Edionisen tried to convince the people that Oranmiyan was a son of Ikaladerhan who became Ododuwa of Ife and that they wanted the continuity of the monarchy through the system of primogeniture, not all were convinced and accepted the newly installed monarchy of Ubini.

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Those who opposed the new monarch, that it is Ife offshoot, did not allow the remains of any Oba to be buried in Ubini.

This was why the remains of any Oba was carried to where Oranmiyan was buried at Ife and the place was known as “Orun Oba Ado" loosely translated as “Heaven of the king of Edo”.

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Oranmiyan was, therefore, the link between the old monarchy of Ogiso and the new monarchy of Obas of Benin.

According to edoworld.net, Oranmiyan was not a foreign, invader who having failed, assigned his infant son to the task. The Edionisen were instrumental to Oranmiyan’s coming, having been sent by Ododuwa (Ikaladerhan).

The Edionisen wanted to preserve the royal line as best as they could. If Oranmiyan was a foreign invader, it would have been impossible for his infant son to be given so much care and protection in the midst of anti-royalists who were opposed to the restoration and his kingship installation.

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Source: Legit.ng

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