The Eghaevbo N’Ore Titles
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REFERENCE has already been made to the formation of Eghaevbo N’Ore which was a historical development of the check and balances devised to counter the powers of the Uzama.


When Oba Ewedo decided to assert his suzerainty over the whole City as well as over the Edion (later to be known as Uzama), it became necessary to have a new set of chiefs on whose support the sovereign could count upon. Ewedo, having successfully gained control of the City, proceeded to curb the powers of the Uzama by creating the Iyase, Esogban, Uwangue, Osodin Uso and lsekhurhe titles. With particular reference to the Iyase title, Oba Ewedo said that “This I create to be higher than you all (Iye-Ona-Se-Uwa), and that title thenceforth assumed a precedence over the Uzama group of titles. Naturally, the reduction of the powers of the Uzama evoked a lot of hostility towards the monarchy. Consequently, the new sets of chiefs who lived within the City with the Oba enjoyed the royal patronage in the day-to-day administration of the State. . At best, the Uzama remained outside the City and exercised what remained of their powers over their village enclaves. This position remained for nearly two centuries when Oba Ewuare (1440 AD) drastically altered the political balance of power by creating the Eghaevbo N’Ore titles (which became the “Council of State” as Chief Egharevba called it) headed by the Iyase. The coming of Oba Ewuare saw the creation of more titles like Eson and Osuma who were now constituted into the Ikadele N’Ore or what is generally regarded as the four cardinal Town Chiefs. In the early days of the Eghaevbo N’Ore, the Composition was Iyase, Esogban Eson and Osuma. The last of these chiefs (because of personal loyalty to an Oba in the past) was created Eghaevbo with the special privilege of having the responsibility of sharing out benefits accruing to the group. In other words, Osuma acquired the rare right to choose first as the person who is in charge of sharing out and thereafter takes his own personal share in accordance with the position he commands within the Eghaevbo N’Ore group. Subsequent Obas created more titles with this group and today, the number of chiefs belonging to the Eghaevbo N’Ore has risen to twenty-eight at title time of writing, from four in Oba Ewuare’s time (1440 A.D). The Eghaevbo N’Ore, especially the-group of four commonly referred to as the Eghaevbo  N’ene (or the four pillars), i.e. Iyase Esogban, Eson and Osuma on behalf of and in the presence of the Oba confirm titles on all chiefs other than the Oliha and title Oba himself. The Iyase or any senior Eghaevbo N’Ore present makes the actual pronouncement In the past, when the Oba wanted to make a new law, prosecute war or take important administrative decisions, he had to consult the Eghaevbo N’Ore as well as the Uzama.

At present the Eghaevbo N’Ore comprises the following titles:









Oba Ewedo
(AD 1255-1280)

Originally, he was a war lord but now heads the Eghaevbo N’Ore. When a title is confirmed, it ¡s the lyase who announce it.





Keeper of the Edion Edo (Elders Shrine).Deputize for the Iyase.




Oba Ewuare I
(AD 1440-1473)

He is in charge of Iguisi Area of the City.





In charge of Aru-Oso N’Ogbe.


Iy’Oba (lye-Oba)


Oba Esigie
(AD 1504- 1550)





Oba Ehengbuda (AD 1578-1606)



Ologbose .


Oba Akenzua I
(AD 1713-1735)

Originally created as Iyase to replace ¡yase Ode in 1713 but due to pressure and civil disorder which ensued, the title was changed to Ologbose - A warlord.




Oba Eresoyen
(AD 1735-1750)

Made hereditary by Oba Adolo
(AD 1848-1888)


Ima (Imaran)



A traditional war general




Oba Akenzua II





Oba Osemwende
(AD 1816-1848

Elevated to Eghaevbo by Oba Eweka II




      Oba Adolo
(AD 1848-1888)



Obasuyi N’ Oghaevbo







Oba Ovonramwen
(AD 1888-1914)

On 26/02/90 transferred from Eghaevbo N’Ogbe by Oba Erediauwa














 Oba Eweka II
(AD 1914-1933)





Oba Akenzua II
(AD 1933-1978)

This title was originally both in Eghaevbo N’Ore and Eghaevbo N’ Ogbe but was transferred permanently to Eghaevbo N’Ore on 26/2/90 by Oba Erediauwa




Oba Akenzua II










Oba Erediauwa






























Oba Erediauwa

Made hereditary by Oba Erediauwa in 1991




Oba Erediauwa


From the historical development of the Eghaevbo N’Ore group of title-holders it is ‘easy to appreciate the relative position of the Uzama which now see the new group as their replacements in the affairs-of the State in the main, the Eghaevbo N’Ore (The sharers of the Town) as their name literally connotes, really split the city-state in the hands of the Uzama who hitherto held the administrative control of the State. The new set of Chiefs took a leading role in military and administrative matters of the Suite. People like the Iyase, Ologbose, Ima and many others now became “war generals” almost to the total exclusion of the Uzama (except perhaps the Ezomo who had ab initio been a war lord). Of the general administration, the Uzama found themselves more or less confined to their village enclaves which depended at best, for their well-being, on the city state now transformed into a formidable empire, With the Iyase title hanging over them (Uzama) like the sword of Damocles; their power with which they once challenged the position of the monarch shifted to a new set of rulers. As time went on, the new Chiefs found themselves involved in political power struggle with the monarchy. In the same way as the Uzama became over-powerful for the monarchy, so also the Eghaevbo N’Ore (who lived in Ore-N’Okhua) became over-powerful!

At that time Oba Ewuare bad introduced new beads to the Kingdom and he needed free-men to look after them. The Oba, quite understandably decided to request the Eghaevbo N’Ore chiefs to send their children to perform this service. The story had it that these chiefs sent their slaves instead of their children. These slaves were well looked after and when they made a public appearance, they were dressed with the beads. The chefs were so delighted that they now requested the Oba to accept their own children into his palace. The slaves were then constituted to a department called lwevien while the children of the chiefs formed another department known as Iwenekhua. These sons of nobles now living with the Oba took over the personal services to the Oba from the slaves. In due course, Oba Ewuare created Iwebo Palace Society comprising the sons of the noble chiefs of Ore N’Okhua and gave them specific functions in the Palace. Titles were conferred on some of these sons of nobles and eventually this set of title-holders evolved into what afterwards became the nucleus of the Palace Chiefs, now called Eghaevbo N’Ogbe spread over the three palace societies to be discussed later.

This title came into existence during Oba Ewuare I’s reign (1440-1473). It is said that during the time the Oba waged war on the Eastern part of the Empire, he forgot one of his mascots at the village he sacked. It was believed that if the enemies got hold of the mascot, they would eventually become the victors. In the anxious moment, a faithful servant called Avan volunteered to return to the village to retrieve the mascot. Avan was captured during the escapade even though he had succeeded in getting hold of the mascot which he hid under his garment. Avan remained a captive for some years before he was eventually sold away as a slave. Subsequently, this slave found his way to Benin City having been purchased by a chief who later discovered that his slave was becoming truculent. One day the master decided he would take the slave to the Palace and request that the slave be used for sacrifice. The slave who was by this time gagged made seveal attempts to talk and he was able to attract the Oba’s attention. The royal order requested his release so as to hear him speak. He drew the Oba’s attention to the event of yesteryears and the Oba was so pleased that he immediately ordered the captive’s release and thereafter conferred on him a title Nayasuma (my confidant). This is the origin of Osuma title which is usually conferred on a friend of the Oba. At Ugie Ewere festival, Osuma performs a ceremony which symbolizes the presentation of the mascot to Oba Ewuare by his faithful servant, Avan.

This title was created by Oba Esigie who conferred it on his mother as Queen mother. It ranks with Eson and Osuma titles. It is a title which is confined to EguaeIyoba in Uselu. The title is mostly concerned with the administration and control of EguaeIyoba at Uselu rather than with the entire state of Benin.

A lot has been said about the development of the various groups of titles. Two of such groups are the Ibiwe N’ Ekhua and the Ekaiwe which were the creation of Oba Ewuare. The bulk of them are Composed of the Ekaiwe who are the descendants of past Obs’ daughters. It was customary for the Oba to marry his daughters to the Town Chiefs (Eghaevbo N’Ore) and the sons of the latter were the Ekaiwe who were generally Conferred with the grade of titles referred to as Egie Ologhoro within the group of rules know as Ibiwe N’Ekhua headed by the Edogun whose title is hereditary. It is probably for the same reason of power struggle, that the new sets of title-holders were created to curb the excesses of the Town Chiefs (or rather the Eghaevbo N’Ore). For when there is no Eghaevbo N’Ore to function, the Ibiwe N’Ekhua step into their shoes to perform the function the Eghaevbo N’Ore. For most of the time, the Eghaebo N’Ore had to adjust their position to accommodate the Ekaiwe who because they claimed blood lineage both to the Oba and the Eghaevbo N’Ore could not therefore be made victims of extreme anger of the Eghaevbo N’Ore group. The list of members of the Ibiwe

N’Ekhua is as follows:
(1) Edogun (hereditary) - Leader of Ibiwe N’Ekhua
(2) Oza
(3) Eso
(4) Ezomurogho
(5) Edaza
(6) Obaloza
(7) Esogua
(8) lkegua
(9) Arala - made hereditary by Oba Akenzua II (1933-1978)
(10) Ana
(11) Edamaza
(12) Obasogie
(13) Ezoba (Hereditary)
(14) Derogho
(15) Uso N’Ekhua
(16) Ine N’Ekhua
(17) Zelebi

The individual attributes of some of the titles are:

(a) Edogun
The Edogun is a hereditary war Chief ranking after Iyase and Ezomo (to whom he is second in command). He is however equal to the war-lord, Ologbosere.

(b) Ezoba
This is hereditary title which derived its position from Oba Ewuare who was a personal friend of the holder of the title at that time. It was said that Ewuare was sad that he had no son to succeed him. Ezoba who knew a medicine-man who lived at Uzea was able to persuade the medicine-man to prepare a potion for the Oba who thereafter administered it to one of his wives who eventually produced a sons When however the potion was being prepared for the third time, ram dropped unto the mortar in which the medicine was being pounded. The medicine- man wished to throw away the mixture because he predicted that a son produced by the medicine would kill the maker. The Oba however insisted on taking the medicine which was administered on a wife who produced a son who became Oba Ozolua. The Prophecy of the medicine-man came true when Ozolua declared war on Uzea where the medicine-man was subsequently killed. The Ezoba was rewarded with a hereditary title for the part he played in getting the medicine-man who made it possible for the Oba’s wives to produce sons.

This title was made hereditary by Oba Akenzua II who conferred it on his cousin Chief Sumonu Osula who was a great-great-grand-son of Princess Aghayubini the daughter of Oba Osemwende (1816-1848).


Reference was made earlier to the origin and functions of the Eghaevbo N’Ore who countered the powers of the Uzama when Oba Ewe ascended the throne in 1255 AD. A cursory mention was equally made of the events leading to the formation of Eghaevbo N’Ogbe which had its roots in the Iwebo palace Society which came into existence during Oba Ewuare’s reign. It will be remembered that after Oba Ewedo has cut himself off from the Uzama crowd and created a set of Chiefs later to be known as Eghaevbo N’Ore who lived far away in the City,. The monarchy (by the reign of Ewuare) found itself withdrawn from the Chiefs. As mentioned before, Oba Ewuare introduced some new beads into the kingdom. In his quest of finding reliable people the Oba felt it would be necessary to have some people of noble birth around him and so he decided to select some sons of Eghaevbo N’Ore to live with him to perform some services in the palace.’ These new attendants also took over, for security reasons, some of the essential duties otherwise performed by siaves. In due course, titles were conferred on this new set of people who turned out to be known as Eghaevbo N’Ogbe (or Palace Chiefs). Oba Esigie (1504-1555) reformed the group by appointing the Uwangue (one of the Senior Chiefs) as their leader. Later, other palace societies followed. Thus Oba Ehengbuda (1578-1606 A.D.), created the lweguce Palace Society with the Esere as the leader. Finally, the Ibiwe Palace Society came into existence in the reign of Oba Akenzua 1 (1713-1735 AD) and it is headed by Ine N’Eruerie. ile bulk of lbiwe Society was originally made up of Ora people who came with Oba Ozolua.

In a text of this nature, it is difficult to treat in detail the various Palace Societies because members are not allowed to divulge a great deal of their functions to those who are not initiated into their societies. Even within the palace societal set-up, members belonging to one society do not divulge their functions to members of another. What are outwardly known of the palace Societies is only their general functions. Within the limitation of customs these societies are herein dealt with in a way that they can present ‘y meaning to the uninitiated public. The societies with the ancillary associates or affiliated guilds will now be examined in the light of the functions and importance to the Edo people.

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