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Ogiso Ekpigho (ABOUT 466 A.D-482 A.D)

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Ogiso Ekpigho hailed from Use quarters. The name Ekpigho meaning “bag of Money” was derived from the fact that he was a money lender. He called himself Ekpigho and of course he never knew that he would the day become a king. He was generous with his money but was merciless with defaulters and even seized their properties. Some defaulters even made themselves slaves in orders to repay the money they borrowed. Many people hated him for his monetary business, and this turned these people against his candidature as the Ogiso Odionwere , but the Edionisen could not do otherwise, because he was the most senior Odionwere at that time, and it was his turn. They also thought that he would uplift the society with his wealth.

He developed pawn-ship in the ancient Benin; pawn-ship is a system whereby debtors worked for their creditors until the loan was paid. The service of the pawns represented both the collateral security and the interest on the loan. This system called in Edo “Ovien Aruosa”. The borrower can surrender a young person or a slave to work for the creditor until the debt was paid. Some wealthy nobles or citizens adopted the system and used their money to recruit labour. Infact it was an avenue to obtain more labour in the ancient times. It was developed by Ogiso kings

It is said that when he was crowned, people expected him to lavish money for entertainments, but they were disappointed, when he told the teeming crowded people that kingship was not a merry making affairs. He said that he was crowned not because of his money, but it was a position that his ‘Ehi Guardian Angel’ and the law of the land had given him. He was crowned at 85 years and spent 16 years on the throne. He was a very prudent manager of resources.

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