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IHOGBE FAMILY OF BENIN A Brief Historical Review 

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Dr. (Deaconess) Patricia E. Fadaka-Igbinovia, New York (28-06-2018)

Iyase Okizi (1830-1900) with his eldest son (Sule Odiase Okizi/ Odiase Fadaka, etc.) was of Ihogbe of Benin.
Bradbury (2017) says about the Ihogbe family of Benin Kingdom:
"The actual rites in honour of the past Obas are directed by special priests from the group known as Ihogbe who also officiate at the annual sacrifices to the reigning Oba's own head. The Ihogbe whose ancestors are believed to have followed Oranmiya from Ife, are known as the Oba's family", in virtue of their function as royal ancestor's priest, chiefs Ihama and Isekhure are senior priests. They and other Ihogbe title-holders are the only people who are allowed to stand on the dais where the Oba and his wives and his children sit during the ceremonies: (p. 55). 

Osahon (n. d) states that when Oba Eweka (1200 CE) ruled over Usama, later named Ile-Ibinu while Ogiamien Irebor was succeeded Ogiamien Ubi who ruled over Igodomigodo, Oba Ewedo (1255-1280) changed the name Ile-Ubini to Ubini and he had to move his palace from its original Ogiso dynasty site that was in the epicenter of Igodomigodo. The relocation of the palace resulted in fierce war between Oba Ewedo of Ubini and the Ogiamien Ode of Igodomigodo but the Edion'ise and leaders of Igodomigodo pleaded for amicable settlement, bereft of war, in order to preempt further loss of innocent lives. Therefore, Oba Ewedo asked to purchase Igodomigodo land from Ogiamien, the landlord. The treaty that emerged requires that Ogiamien sells Igodomigodo land to the Oba of Ubini at every successive coronation of any Oba of Ubini. There are specific gifts from the Edaiken (Oba in-waiting) expected as presents to Ogiamien during Oba's coronation ceremonies. Both would meet at the boundary, Ekiokpagha, on Sokponba Road. The Ogiamien would take some fresh sand from the ground and put in the Oba's palm saying, I sell this part of Benin land to you, but not to your son and at your demise, your son would buy this land again according to tradition. Ogiamien has traditional chiefs who assist him in his chiefdom called Utantan. Osarobo Ogiamien Okunghae who holds a master's degree in History from the University of Benin, is the current Ogiamien of Utantan (Onaiwu, n.d).
Oba Ewedo's relocation of the palace to Ubini (Benin) affected the activities of the Ihogbe, relatives of the Oba who originally moved with Oranmiyan from Ile-Ife, on invitation, to rule Ubini, during an interregnum. Oranmiyan was the son of Ododuwa (Izoduwa), migrant prince from Ubini, who became ruler in Ife. He sent his son, as age was not on his side. Ihogbe comprises of Oba's family who accompanied Oranmiyan (Osahon, n.d).
Oronmiyan left his wife and unborn son in the care of three chiefs, Ihama, Letema, and Legema. The titles were hereditary as they had male children, except Legema who had no male child. These three chiefs took care of the birth of Eweka (Oranmiyan's son) who became Oba Eweka. Enila is the title of the Okaegbee or Odionwere of Ihogbe whose leadership is determined by length and quality of service in Ihogbe rather than age.. The Ihogbe was located near the Oba's Palace at Usama and they are the authorized family of Eweka, and hence, of the Oba dynasty in general. "The Okaegbee of Ihogbe, in particular, performs sanctification and purification rites frequently at the palace and officiates during the Oba's propitiation ceremonies" (Osahon, n.d., para. 4). Due to relocation of the Oba's palace from Usama, the responsibility of taking of care of the ancestral shrines involved longer walks through difficult terrains (e.g., Omi river and Oteghele river at Isekhere, now nonexistent; marshland; and floodable plains). The old Enila or Okaegbee of Ihogbe then assigned his eldest son to take charge of Ihogbe ancestral Ukhures (shrines) at Usama and he assigned his second son, Ediagboya to take charge of the ancestral shrines in the heart of Ubini and his title is 'Isekhure'. The Isekhure built his house at Utantan High Street, near Ewedo palace. Isekhure is a hereditary title, emanating from Chief Ihama lineage of Ihogbe. The morning greeting for Oba's family, essentially Ihogbe, is 'Lamogun' and the retort from elders receiving the greeting is: "Omogun Oba".
The current Isekhure title-holder is a graduate (with Master's degree in Political and Public Administration) from American Universities and his name is Chief Nosakhare Idubor Isekhure. He, aged 30, attained the title in 1981 at the demise of his father. He is the 32nd Isekhure since 1255 in the reign of Oba Ewedo. Isekhure is from Oba's family of Ihogbe, the Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom, and the keeper of ancestral staff (Ikhure). He is currently under suspension inflicted by the Benin Traditional Council (PUNCH Newspaper (2017) says:
'The indefinite suspension of the Isekhurhe of Benin, Chief Nosakhare Isekhurhe, by the Benin Traditional Council took a twist on Wednesday when some senior chiefs from the palace of the Oba of Benin moved to his residence to take possession of what they described as the Oba's "property".
"This came less than a week after the family of Iserkhure, Ihogbe N'ore, threatened to take a legal action against the council, if it failed to prove the allegations levelled against him within 14 days" (p . 1).
Comments by the Reviewer: Dr. Patricia Fadaka-Igbinovia
Aiwanguehien (no one outgrows the finger-nail). The Omo 'Noba is our traditional King and deserves all the respect; he's our crown and our pride and nobody should tarnish the image of the Palace. We should all (Edos, Nigerians, and all interested citizens of the world) join voices with prayers and plead with the Oba to tamper justice with mercy and lift the suspension on the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom. There should be no legal action because Benin Kingdom is so disciplined that it can settle its own matter amicably after due process. This is the kingdom of Oba Ewuare II, born to perform more wonders than Oba Ewuare the Great (1440-1475) who was known to have done so many great innovations that his era was termed 'the Golden Age of Benin Empire". Domo Omogun Oba!!! Oba ghatokpere!!!!! Ise!!!!!

MAY THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH US! OBA GHATO 'KPERE! ISE!

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