Abavo Kingsley, Benin

 

Protestors

The Ogiamien story is thrilling and mind boggling just as the entire history of the great Benin Kingdom, with its complexes that sometimes are difficult to unravel by strangers and even modern day natives.

Maybe, in history having a way of repeating itself, prior to ascension of the Monarch, HRM Oba Ewuare II to the throne about three years ago, in the middle of preparations the world was stunned by the sudden revolt of the Ogiamien descendants laying claims to ownership and ruler ship of half of the Kingdom through the now contentious ‘Ekiokpagha Treaty.’

The development was swiftly tackled by the then Adams Oshiomhole led Edo State government in collaboration with other relevant authorities thus giving way to a very successful Coronation ceremony of the Monarch.

Aggrieved the Ogiamiens went to court in attempt to seek redress and recently on social media, some members of the family posed with banners carrying different inscriptions while at the Supreme Court, Abuja.

“The Oba of Benin is a Yoruba man from Ile – Ife

“Ekaladerhan story is an intellectual fraud created by Oba Erediauwa

“The Great Ogiamien Royal family Utantan Kingdom, Edo State.

“Oba of Benin has no blood relationship with the Ogisos.”

In quick reaction, the ‘Great Benin Descendants Worldwide’ a socio – cultural group of the Kingdom, led by its coordinator – general, Imasuen Amowie Izoduwa  pointed out that the ‘Ekiokpagha Treaty’ was established on lies and deceits.

Briefing the media in Benin last week, the Group held that in the face of today’s realities and development, it therefore can no longer stand.

GBD consequently appealed to the Monarch, HRM. Oba Ewuare II to abolish it.

An act they believe would naturally put what they term; the unnecessary agitations of the Ogiamiens to rest.

One Arisco Osemwengie said to be maternally related to the Ogiamiens allegedly leads the continued revolt against the Royal throne of Benin Kingdom.

The Group traces the origin of the revolt to had began when Oromiyan returned from Ile – Ife to Benin as the rightful heir to the throne of his grandfather; Ogiso Owodo.

But he was stiffly resisted by the Ogiamien family who were the regents for about 70 years of absence of Prince Ekaladerhan; the exiled first son of Ogiso Owodo who was said to had migrated to Ile – Ife and later known by the Yoruba people as Oduduwa.

Following the Ogiamien resistance of Oromiyan, the Council of Elders (Edion) decided to build a palace at Usama, a periphery of the Kingdom along the present day Siluko road where he settled to rule over Benin but just for awhile.

 

The press conference

In later years, Oromiyan’s grandson, Oba Ewedo moved the palace to the heart of Igodomigodo now known as Benin (Edo) on the realization that “as an Oba, his authority over his people must be total and not sectional.”

Here again the Ogiamiens stiffly resisted the King in a fierce battle as they were already colonizing the area.

But upon Oba Ewedo’s defeat of Ogiamien and his warriors, the Ekiokpagha treaty was brokered.

After the defeat of Ogiamien, and a treaty reached, his jurisdiction subject to Oba Ewedo’s approval, was “therefore reduced to Utatan (Sokponba Road) from the beginning at present day Asoro to Ivbiyeneva moat (present day third junction).

“So when these people currently come out to claim Utatan Kingdom, it therefore means that they are referring to the beginning of Sokponba road at first East Circular to where Sokponba terminates at Third Junction, which inherently means that Chief Ogiamien is more or less an Odionwere of Utantan (Sokponba Road).”

Further, the group narrated that the Oba’s army defeated Ogiamien and pushed them to Unueru where the battle ended (now Asoro street) while Oba Ewedo was at Ekiokpagha where Ogiamien surrendered to him.

 

Protestors

Pointing out that the Ekiokpagha treaty was a ruse created from the imagination of the Ogiamiens, the group questioned “how then did the vanquished Ogiamien now determined terms of the treaty as been canvassed by the descendants?

Hence, “majority of the Obas did not observe the Ekiokpagha mock battle because of the insignificance of the practice as obtained during the coronation phase of the newly crowned Oba of Benin.”

GBD noted that it was another moonlight tale when the Ogiamiens argued that Ogiso Owodo had no child hence Obas of Benin have no royal blood relationship with the Ogisos.

“The Ogiso family are still alive till date and they all acknowledge that the Oba of Benin is an extension of them.

“In order to show respect to the Ogiso dynasty by the Obas, they have continually allowed Ohen Iso to be the only Chief with right of the Cowry crown that was once used by the Ogisos.”

On Ekaladerhan, GBD said it was not true that he was a myth created by Oba Erediauwa as been bandied by the Ogiamiens.

“Ekaladerhan was the only son of Ogiso Owodo who went on exile and found himself at a place now called Ughoton” asserting that history is replete with the origin of his personage, and exploit.

Restating that Evian was a regent during the period of the Ogiso interregnum in Benin Kingdom, the group underlined the role of Ogiamien, Evian’s second son and successor.

“The role Evian played is not different from the role Chief Agho Obaseki played, they were both opportunistic administrators.

According to the group, Ogiamien was a Chief in the Oba’s Palace responsible in the ancient days for the carving and maintenance of the ‘Ekette’ (the Royal stool) to the reigning Monarch. He belongs to the group called Uzama N’ Ibie; a junior Uzama.

The group asserts that it decides to take upon itself the responsibility to resist every element that tends to rubbish, humiliate  and reduce the status and relevance of Benin Kingdom ” because this is our heritage, history, and Oba.”

Calling on the governor Godwin Obaseki administration to intervene to halting the continued revolt, it urge all Benin natives to at this time rise and fight those who wish to denigrate the pride of the Kingdom for posterity’s sake.

When our reporter contacted Arisco Osemwengie on phone and addressed him as Chief, he snapped that he should be addressed properly. “I am king Arisco.”

Pushed a bit further to extract more comment, he said “I don’t disclose my whereabouts because they are hunting to kill me.” But he did not mention who the ‘they’ were, as he referred us to the Public Relations Officer of the Ogiamiens, Monday Where said to be based in Port – Harcourt.

In reaction, Wehere said that the Ogiamiens are in court fighting the alleged secret repeal of the edict that recognized the Ogiamien throne as a traditional ruler, and Utantan Kingdom in 1979 by Oba Erediauwa.

Also, to determine if a traditional stool which is not a ceremonial one could be repealed.

 

Supreme Court premises

According to him, “we are not even interested in the stool of Benin, rather, it is the Oba that is struggling the stool with us.

“We have always installed our king without recourse to the king of Benin and when we had our internal challenge when the throne was vacant, we used internal mechanism to install Arisco Osemwengie, who is a full blooded member of the Ogiamiens.”

Asked if a kingdom could exist within a kingdom, Wehere replied; “We are not under Benin kingdom, ours is Utantan, we are distinct.

“We are only using plan A for them, we have not even entered plan B, and they are already panicky.”

He said the only reason Benin is worried about the existence of Utantan Kingdom is because it is at the centre of  the City.

This is as he  gave a different account of the Ekiokpagha treaty which he said occurred when the Yoruba people invaded Igodomigodo led by Oromiyan.