index contact us Guestbook News Sources Advertise with us Corruptcracy Hypnotherapy Send Articies Jokes Poems Religion
Benin kingdom Historical Sites Edo Heritage sites Edo_state_Recreational Parks Other tourist sites Tourist Advice Tourist Information Edo People Location Edo state weather Edo festival Edo Religion Were to stay What to eat Shopping Moving around Edo Medias Telecommunication
Edo Women

OGISO OWODO (ABOUT 1059A.D - 1100 A.D)

Bookmark and Share

Owodo was the last Ogiso of the Ohuede dynasty, the last Ogiso of Igodomigodo and the last Ogiso of Evhuoto. His rule caused a lot of problems and confusion that led to two generation (50 years) of interregnum. He had inherited a kingdom that was still recovering from the effects of the great famine. There was now sufficient food but there was only little (cowries) money in circulation and the economic still remained depressed. Arigho’s money was still kept in the bank four years after Owodo was crowned.

Owodo was a very weak ruler, who lacked political will tact and vision hence he lost control over the Nobles and title holders. The Nobles (Enigie, Okaevho, Edionevbo) and title holders that were created by the past Ogiso since the days of Odoligie and Orriagba dynasties had grown and became very wealthy, particularly through the use of slave labour. They had been encouraged since the reign of Ohioye and Arigho to be independent of the palace and provide for themselves through farming. The Nobles knew Owodo to be a very weak Ogiso and ignored him entirely. They did what they like and get away with it. The towns and villages under the influence of these Nobles and title holders strove towards independence likewise the people, the Etsako, Otuo in the North the Urhobo, Isoko, Aboh in the South became so free and stopped paying homage and tributes to Owodo

The Enijie,Edionevbo and Okaevbo did not only condole these acts of rebellion. but also started flouting the law of the land and , embezzling the sales tax or Arigho’s money which was untouchable. Converting the kingdom’s land and properties into private properties and selling them this practice made it difficult for the poor citizens to get land for farming. This further widened the gap between the rich and the poor. and the rich become richer, while the poor become poorer. The worst affected were the slaves, who lost access to land and the rich people started selling them as a means of making money. People became concerned about accumulating riches and no longer took interest in the affairs of the Kingdom. There now existed social discontent in the kingdom.

The Edionisen who would have helped Ogiso Owodo io restore order to the kingdom were no better than other title holders and had become outlaws themselves. Before Owodo came to the throne, the Edionisen had become very powerful, influential and proud of their hereditary position.

They had built for themselves palatial structures similar to that of Ogso since the days of Orriagba who made their position hereditary Ogiso Oduwa, Ogiso Obioye, Ogiso Arigho were all conscious of the growing powers of the edionisen and their influence in the land. They tried to check their excesses and made them respect the crown without eliminating them from the palace. In this way they were able to retain their support and have peaceful reigns. Rather than use of tack and diplomacy, Owodo confronted the edionisen and other Nobles. He stopped them carrying Ada along the streets and when coming to the palace, stopped their wives having a special hair-do (okuku and ukpohokho) He forbade them from having their own chiefs without permission. He abolished slavery’, sale of land and sale tax, of Arigho money, and forbade people attaching themselves to Nobles: Edionisen stopped going to the palace. They were joined by other chiefs, Nobles and others to avenge for the withdrawal of slaves from them. The edionisen were of coürse mindful of their hereditary position and started plotting ways of dealing with Owodo But the slaves and poor people jubilated in the sreets in support of Owodo’s laws which freed them from slavery and: economic bondage. Though Ogiso Owodo was able to deal with the Edionnisen and The rich Noble, he had serious personal problems which were to be his greatest undoing. Ogiso Owodo had many wives more than 200. He had only a son called Ikaladerhan who was the hope of continuing the dynasty. Other women had no children. All efforts to make them have children failed. The wives led by the senior wife Esagho continued to clamour for children. Due to this pressure Owodo sent Esagho to an oraclist in company of his servants to find out the cause. The oracle claimed that Esagho was responsible for the barrenness of the women and unless Esagho was killed, the women would not produce children.

On their way back Esagho begged for her dear life and asked the servants to tell Ogiso that the oracle held Ikaladerhan responsible and Ikaladerhan should be killed Esagho promised them fantastic gifts and also threatened that if they failed to abide with her instructions, she would lie to the Ogiso that  the servants had an affair with her along the road

The men knowing what Esagho could do became afraid and accepted. to change the message of the oracle. When they arrived Esagho told her husband and co-wives that Ikaladerhan was responsible .for their barrenness and unless he was killed no one could bear any child and they would remain fever barren.

After much pressure, Ogiso Owodo agreed to kill Ikaladerhan, the only hope of the throne in order to have more children. This shows again how weak Ogiso Owodo was. However Owodo was depressed, but as a weak king, there was nothing he could do. He ordered Ikaladerhan to be executed. The executioners saw Owodo as a thoughtless father who would take decision without giving it much thought and weighing the consequences. They took pity on Ikaladerhan and freed him at a village called. Urhuokhokho along Ekehuan Ughoton road. They killed a chicken and used the chicken’s blood to rub their swords to give the impression that they had really executed Ikaladerhan.

They let Ikaladerhan with the promise never  to come back to Igodomigodo so as to save their lives from the hands of Ogiso Owodo They knew that it was not Ikaladerhan that the oracle recommended  to  be kill.

kaladerhan purported execution are still remembered in a Benin song that;
Ede , ne a khun Ikaladerhan
Ame kaka maa rho
Oven kaka maa yunmwun
Ede susu aro vbe ne o khje
Errio agbon vbe erinmwin vbe khie

Meaning: On Ikaladerlian exile
Not a drop of rain did fall
And sun withdrew her ray
The day was dull with grieving
As it was set avenging.

Ikaladerhan wandered away and stopped at Ughoton. The Olughoton or Okeavho took him and cared for him. He finally left when news reached him that his father was already aware of his presence in Ughoton.

Three years passed after the purported execution of Ikaladerhan. None of .Ogiso Owodo’s wives was still able to become pregnant. Investigation then revealed that Esagho had master minded the whole story. She was killed Attempts were made to bring Ikaladerhan back but he refused and continued on his wandering

Another problem that arose during Owodo’s reign was the emergence of Osogan which terrorized the City and neighbouring areas. Osogan had been described as a man eating animal by J. U. Egharevba. It was a very huge animal - as big’ as an elephant. It suddenly appeared, at about 1090 A.D. in Okedo near Ikpoba river between the area of Eyanugie and third East circular road junction along Akpakpava area. Okedo is the main road leading to (Ekiogiso) Ogiso rnarket, now called Agbado market this market was a great commercial centre and the biggest in the capital city of Igodomigodo. Goods from trans-Sahara trade caravans and ‘other sister kingdoms Iike Ghana, Mali Old Ife (Uhe) Okene, Idah Ozigono Wadai, Kanuri, Zarja. Gombe, Kano,Gohir Kebbi and Katsina found their way to Abado market. More so materials from the South such places like Brass, Bonny Onitsha and Aboh, Wadah and Mahin were also brought there. So one can see that Agbado was a great commercial market that received goods from all over.North and West Africa in early days. That it was disturbed by a man eating animal, was of great concern to the people who wanted this problem solved. But Ogiso Owodo had no answer to it. At night around Okedo, people were afraid to come out and many people stopped going to the market. For fear of being attacked by Osogan and this led to the expression in those days when greeting in the market.

“A gba do
A ¡ gba rre”

Meaning “We trade together
We do not return together”

It is from this expression that .Ekiagbado or Aghado market was derived as a substitute for Ekiogiso the former name.

The destruction caused by Osogan remained both a prominent cause of problems and disaffection towards Owodo. The people wanted urgent solution to the problem of Osogan. One day one of the senior Nobles on iron smith, Evian, killed the terrible Osogan by throwing a burning hot iron into the monster’s mouth. It cried widely and ran into the bush. It never appeared again. That meant that it had died.

Evian therefore, killed Osogan. That feat brought Evian into prominence and people started looking upon him as their saviour and protector from the jaw of Osogan the monster instead of the king.

The final undoing of Ogiso Owodo was his killing of a pregnant woman which was an abominable act. Ehiosu was a, pregnant widowed woman. She was married to Ogbeifun a nephew of Oliha, one of the Edionisen. But the man was murdered and it is believed that Owodo has a hand in the killing. Day and night Ehiosu cursed Ogiso Owodo. with impunity.

When Ogiso Owodo did not react, Ehiosu was emboldened to go to the gate way of Ogiso palace and started weeping and cursing. Owodo ordered the woman to leave the palace gate but she would not. She demanded her late husband from him.” Where is my husband’? Where is Ogbeifun my husband? Give me my husband, Owodo give me my husband” was the cry of Ehiosu.

Those who were present at the palace even the Nobles or the Chiefs who would have told her to depart, sympathized with her and shared in her sorrow instead. This was the greatest provocation to an already distressed Owodo.

Owodo in his fury and high temper hit the woman and killed her If it were to be in normal circumstances, no one would dared accuse the king since he had power over life and death But this was a different case since Ehiosu was a pregnant woman. By this act, Owodo had Committed a crime ‘Kirri Kuviia” KimkuVua literary rneans the murdering of a pregnant woman In Igodomigodo or Evbuoto,Kirrikuvua was a crime punishable by death either by gallows hanging or Ostracizing. No one in the land was exempted from this law which must be upheld in all cases. Also it is a law of the land that no king should be hanged nor gallows But since Owodo was a king, the law was a bit relaxed and the resolution passed in the council of the Nobles was that Owodo would be banished Owodo was therefore banished from Igodomigodo throne to his village Ihinmwinrin He later died there after three years in 1100 A D Thus ended the reign of 31 kings 40 B.C. - 1100 A.D. The Nobles succeeded on the long run and removed Owodo from the throne.

Generally, Owodo was a weak ruler. He failed to utilize the various opportunities he had. For instance he could not direct the freed slaves to deal with the Nobles militarily. Thus vested with as much authority as someone wearing the crown could wield he relaxed and allowed the Nobles to intimidate him. This position was a test of character and ability to handle crisis. A king worth his sort might have used such situation to reduce the power of his rivals. The freed slaves and some trusted friends would have been helpful in that situation. He failed to appoint new councilors and to fill offices with his hunch men. To worsen the matter Owodo was generous to his enemies. He emptied the treasury of Arigho

Those who ate and dined with him called him an extravagant king. Although we have blamed him as a weak king, yet he wanted to avoid becoming a tyrant. He abhorred the methods by which blood would flow from the subjects as a means of dissolving the opposition. In the face of this problem he sought to enthrone persuasion and gentleness. His most striking efforts were the decree for the freedom of slaves in the kingdom. He endowed them with impregnable rights, the rights to be free, to own property, to speak their mind and to resist oppression.

With regards to his son: he was weak and failed as a king who should have known that an heir to the throne was not one that should be so treated. This was where he offended the Edionise more than anyone else. Hence it is said that he was punished by the ancestors for freeing the slaves and ordering the execution of his only son.

Comment Box is loading comments...

Benin Kingdom & Edo State tourism Edo Women
Edo Royalty Photos