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OGISO  ODUWA ABOUT (917 A.D – 967 A.D)

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Oduwa was the eldest son of Ohuede and succeeded his father as Oglso. His coronation was a victory for the Edionisen (king makers).

There was to the struggle again between the Edionwere in Igodomigodo. But the king makers averted this. They quickly went into action by crowning Oduwa, the senior son of Ogiso Ohuede.
The Ohuede dynasty was thus secured against the wishes of the Edionwere who had wanted the post thrown open for contest. But the Edionisen feared that if they did this,their own hereditary titles would be compromised and were thus determined to secure their hereditary titles through a hereditary kingship. This made them committed to the cause of Ohuede dynasty and they stood by it. Because of this defeat of their ambition and aspirations, most of the Edionevbo and Edionvere refused to pay obeisance to Ogios. Some even refused attending council meetings and taking part in functions in his palace

Oduwa refused to adopt a military approach to solving the problem of rebellion of his subjects. He did not want to plunge the kingdom into civil war which his enemies wanted. They wanted to lure him to a civil war when he was unprepared Oduwa’ feared that if civil war occurred, the wealth of the nation would be destroyed. He chose a. different approach to this problem, firstly he made friends with those who accepted him and gave them gifts and titles. In the areas adjoining the territories of the Enigie who did not accept his authority, Oduwa appointed Okaevbo (Governors) and sent them to these areas. By appointing these provincial administrators to all parts of Igodomigçdo, he gradually restored law and order in the country. More powers were given to Ekaevbo who were given large areas to rule. The powers of the opposing enigie were restricted to their village or town over which they ruled.
This was a new innovation in the Ogiso system of rule. After his death, some of the powerful Ekaevbo grew to become enigie themselves because they were accorded the same respect. They were good administrators who were reporting ah activities in the country to Ogiso Oduwa. With this,he subdued the power of the Edion-evbo and Edionwere in Igodomigodo.

To direct attention from domestic affairs and to restore the poor condition of foreign trade that had fallen even before he took over. Oduwa increased contact between Igodomigodo and neighboring towns and villages in the West in the present Yoruba area. He encouraged traders to redirect their trade to the West: Yoruba traders in return brought various items such as the dyed cloths, green beads (ekan) earrings of various types and otber woven cotton clothes, from their area as well as hides and skin materials, pottery of various sizes from lorin and Okene.

They also purchased very many articles from Igodomigodo which were either more expensive or unavailable in their areas such as brass articles for decoration, b1acksithing or materials made from iron, some decorated pottery and ivory materials. The ivory materials were very much in vogue because they were used for bangles rings, earrings and other aesthetic materials Tobacco pipes of various types were also exchanged because both tribes grew tobacco in their areas. But.., the Yorubas treated theirs better. Since then, there had been friendly relations particularly on trade, between Igodomigodo and Yoruba land.Ogiso Oduwa also encouraged relation with the southern parts of Igodonngodo, particularly the riverine areas. Although there were scarcely towns and villages in this mangrove swamp Iands adjoining the sea, some Edo fishermen had some knowledge of the Iwere (Itsekiri) and Uzon (Ijaw) people who lived in those mangrove swamp areas This contact made it easy for the Edos to increase  their trade with the Itsekiri and later the Ijaws they sold clothes, Iron implements such as cutlasses, knives.. needies (ukotin) thread, bronze tobacco pipes and pepper to the Ijaws. The Itsekiris at that time used bronze for decoration and making of religious objects, The Edos having been using bronze since about 700 A D. This was why Ogiso Uwa was able to obtain a lot of brass for decorations during his time Iron, was more easily obtainable from local sources.

The Igodoniigodo also got from the riverine areas items such as fish and sea food. This encouraged some of them to settle in Igodornigodo land since then. As they grew in number especially around the Ekehuan and Ikoro areas. an Okaevbo was appointed to administer them on behalf of Ogiso from Ughoton. The Ijaws were coming from Eastern delta areas such as Brass. Towns like Burutu, Escarvos or Focados were not known nor founded at that time.

The itsekiri ere at this time trading with the Igodomigodo in the riverine areas like the Ijaws the Itsekiri were said to migrate from the western side while the ijaws from the Eastern side. But the Itsekiri were the first to settle in the western delta areas than the Ijaws. They have been there for centuries before the coming of the Ijaws. Ogiso Oduwa had contact with them as they were - also coming frorn the present Ilaje or Ikale areas of Ondo state.

The goals of his diplomacy were’ to promote peace or conclude his treaties, develop and protect trade, economic and financial interests. Ogiso Oduwa formulated and implemented foreign policy.
Measure of sending messages were symbolic languages which people, states, towns or kings involved in diplomatic ties could quickly and rightly interpret. Such materials were shells, sponges, soaps, salt, palm frond, palm kernels, cowries, feathers, pieces of iron, bark of special tree and seeds. Ah these were used to convey requests, responses, sentiments and ideas because these items carried different impressions and information which the recipient would understand. In Igodomigocio areas, to send charcoal to someone meant war while native white chalk meant peace.

Ogiso Oduwa sent his Uko as agent or ambassadors to represent him and make peace and security with neighbouring; owns or people he dealt with. These diplomats carried along with their credentials or badges of offiice. They always y has a badge of Ada and Eben scepter which is still the emblem of the Oba of Benin today. The Oba’s massangers still attach the emblem or badge of Ada and Eben to their caps or uniform up till date. Once they are seen, it clear that they are Oba’s messengers.

To the south Eastern areas towards the Niger Delta the Igodomigodo peoples. Influence also spread far beyond Aboh and the present day Onitsha areas. Under - the reign of Oduwa, this was achieved contacts of trade. He established his Ekevbo (Governors) in the area. When a large number of Igodomigodo people got to the areas, they met some of the people who have migrated from Igodomigodo towns. They came with new articles of trade which they ‘obtained particularly from the Yoruba areas in the west, as well as their own products.

The North eastern side was not totally neglected and there was still trade connections between Igodomigodo and Nupe,. Idah and Idoma and the far Northern Nigeria where most materials for ornaments and tools were obtained.

More traders visited Igodomigodo town (Benin City) more than ever, because of his friendship and international diplomacy. Oduwa was more of a diplomat in faraway lands than as a ruler at home. But domestic problems at home in addition the used the Ekaevbo to counter the Enigie who then started paying tributes. Oduwa was a lover of peace who believed in diplomacy and negotiation rather than war.

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