{Benin City, Nigeria Local Time}
Bookmark and Share

The True Story of Oke n’ Alubode and Eze n’lmimikpe

Bookmark and Share

By Ekhaguosa Aisien (Last update 30-08-2018)

Ughoton village sits on the banks of the OVIA river, in the lower reaches of the river as the river approaches the BENIN River, into which it finally empties its waters — as all rivers in the Benin kingdom ultimately do.
At Ughoton village itself, the track which led to the beach. to the river-side, was

called the: Oke n’ Alubode.

At the beach itself, two or three wooden jetties led into the water where Europeans trading ships would be at anchor.

These ships patiently rode at anchor for considerable periods, probably weeks in some cases, collecting, in drips and drabs, the merchandise with which to fill the ships’ holds, before departing Ughoton for Europe. The merchandise usually consisted of pepper, cam-wood, ivory, woven and dyed cloths, and slaves.

The full name of the track from the village to the Ughoton river beach, and of the beach itself was:

Oke n’Alubode N’Erinmwin la yowa:

“The Alubode Hill, Through which the heavenly Beings Return home."

The river itself, the GWATTO (Ughoton) creek, leading from
Ughoton village to the Benin River and the sea was called:

Eze n’lmimikpe N’Erinmwin la yowa

“The Imimikpo River, On which the Heavenly Beings Return Home”

The “Heavenly Beings” were the European sailors. The “Heaven “to which they returned in their ships was the Atlantic Ocean en route Europe.

Frequently, the sailors on board the ships, there at anchor at the river beach, would come out on deck, or down to the sandy beach itself And to kill the boredom of their having to Walt interminably for cargo to trickle in to fill the holds of their vessels, would link hands and dance the jigs, and sing the oo-lee songs of their native European lands.

The Edo locals, listening to these white sailors dancing and singing on the sandy beach, would say:

Oke  n’ Alubode,
N’Erinmwin na gb’Okele!

“The Alubode Hill,
Where the Heavenly Beings
Dance their jigs!”

The Ughoton Oke n’AIubode was, in old Benin, the equivalent of tite Apapa or Tin Can Island Ports of modern Lagos.

Say the Edos:

Ebo ma dunmwun
Ohanmwen gh’ Ughoton

“When European ships do not arrive and dock in Ughoton,
The village goes hungry.”

It should also be remembered that the first storey building in Edo land was built on the beach of this Ughoton water-side, this Oke n’Alubode, in 1718,by the Dutch, The storey building was the beach house, or the so-called “factory” of the Dutch Trading Company, a  company whose country, Holland, was trading with Benin during that period. The building ante-dated, by nearly two hundred years, the first storey building in Benin City, the Egedege n’Okaro, in ERIE Street, built in 1906.

The Oke n’ Alubode was, of course, also the Benin equivalent of the “GOREE Island” of Senegal, the Route of No Return, through which passed the multiples of thousands of people who were sold as slaves to the Europeans in Edo land during those four centuries. It was the beach from where these slaves departed for ever from the African continent to servitude in the Americas

he village of Ughoton today looks nondescript, diminutive and unimpressive because it has not recovered, in any degree, from the destruction it suffered at the hands of the British army during the Benin/British War of 1897, eleven decades ago.

Ughoton was invaded twice by the invading British army February 1897. And troops from five British warships were involved in the operation. The warships were the PHILOMEL, the BARROSA and the WIDGEON during the first attack on 10 February 1897. The invading troops landed in and destroyed Ughoton, but were subsequently driven out of the village back to their warships by the Benin army, led by their leader Ebeikinmvin, the Commander of the Ughoton Front during the war.

The British re-attacked and re-captured (Jghoton six days later on 16th  February. having been re-enforced by troops from two other warships, the St. GEORGE, the flagship of the whole of the expedition, and the THESEUS. The village was then systematically destroyed with artillery fire, and leveled to the ground.

The victorious troops remained in occupation of Ughoton for a further twelve days, and then departed to their warships on 27 February, leaving a contingent of the Niger Coast Protectorate Force to garrison the destroyed village, and to link up later with the larger body of troops garrisoning the fallen City of Benin. (See Robert Home’s “The City of Blood Revisited, Pp 71 and 92.)

Comment Box is loading comments...