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Oba Esigie
{About1504-1550AD}
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Prince Osawe ascended the throne with the title Oba Esigie. After the power struggle between him and his brother Arhuanran  {Goliath type stature} the powerful ruler of Udo town some kilometers outside Benin City.

Concerned about the transgression by his brother Aruanran against his monarchial authority launch a full-scale war on Udo one of the bloodiest war in Benin history The battle was fought and won by Oba Esigie.
Arhuanran drowned himself in Lake Odighi N’Udo.

Chief Osemwughe the Iyase of Udo took arm again, against the monarchial authority to avenge the defeat and the death of Arhuanran. Oba Esigie launch a war on Udo once again .Udo was destroyed chief Osemwughe and his rebel armies fled. West of Benin kingdom now part of Yoruba land.

Oba Esigie determined to put an end to Udo rebellion once and for all. Sent royal troops under the command of Odobo and Aile to pursue them in the process the Benin royal army builds military camps {Eko} along the way some of these camps {Eko} are now towns in Yoruba land.
Some of the Camps are camp Odobo {Eko-Odobo} name after general Odobo  contracted  into Akotogbo and camp Ikalo {Eko-Aile}name after general Aile was contracted  to Ikale.

Osemwughe and his militants gave themselves up; when they could not face the war machines of the Benin royal troops much longer.They were later given a royal pardons by Oba Esigie  but decided not to return to Udo. chief  Osemwughe  and his party were called Emma n’ Udo{the Udo deserters} which was later contracted to Ondo and  the leader of the militants  chief  Osemwughe was mispronounced Osemawe a title by which all Ondo monarchs are now know.

He was the Oba who established christianity in the kingdom and exchanged ambassadors with the king of Portugal. Missionaries were sent from portugal to establish churches the remainants of which are: Aruosa N'Idunmwuerie, Aruosa N'Akpakpava and Aruosa N'Ogbelaka.

Oba Esigie sent Ohen-okun [Olokun priest] of Ughoton to portugal to understudy christianity and report to Benin.
 

Chief Oliha always boast of his wife Imaguero  fidelity.  But Oba Esigie try to make him  understand that women are full of surprises a view Chief Oliha disagree with to prove his point Oba Esigie decided to send a cripple to Imaguero Chief Oliha’s wife.Imaguero don’t only commit adultery with the cripple she created a way, the cripple can have free and easy access into her many times.
When chief Oliha had how his wife he trusted so much fell for a cripple he was ashamed. The disgrace too big for him to bear he ordered the strangulation of Imaguero.
To revenge the "expensive joke" of Oba Esigie, Chief Oliha created a war between Benin kingdom and Idah.

Queen Idia the mother of Esigie mobilized the people of Uselu backed by the Benin royal troops and Portuguese missionaries, Idah was defeated.
The Benins have a saying that "women do not go to war expect Idia the mother of Esigie".

Today she is one of the most respected woman in Benin history. An ivory mask carved in her honour {the Idia ivory mask} was the official symbol of the second world black and Africa festival of art and culture {FESTAC}.The true masterpiece is still lying captive in a British  museum.

The title of Iyoba{Queen Mother} was created by oba Esigie and was conferred for the first time on his mother Idia. He also builds a palace for her, Eguae-Iyoba (Palace of the Queen mother) is located at the lower part of Uselu.{Benin City suburban}. The Queen warrior who also exercised a lot of political influence in the administration of the kingdom. Oba Esigie started this tradition probably to forestall the conflict that would have arisen between his mother and himself over the exercise of political power. An almost independent domain of the Queen mother was therefore carved out for her.The Oba grants her a priviledge of recommending to him people who she wishes to be conferred with specific title perculiar to her palace.

Thus it has become strongly -established in Benin tradition that a year or two after the coronation of every Oba, he invests his mother with the title, lyoba (Queen mother) and sends her to reside at lower Uselu in Eguae-lyoba (Palace of the Queen mother). If it happens that the mother dies before the coronation of the son, the body is preserved for  a year or two after the coronation to enable the Oba confer the title lyoba on her and later bury her at Eguae-lyoba.

It was at the peak of Oba Esigie's international diplomacy that the portuguese explorer John Affonso d'Aveiro visited the City a second time. The Oba could read and write Portuguese fluently.

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