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The Okhuaihe of Ikhuen

Last update April 18, 2021

Ogbeide nicknamed Okhuaihe, was the son of Ehien and the grandson of Ovato of Igieduma was a medical and magical student under the grandfather, but later on he was more versed than the grandfather. He never did any work at home, for his father; he usually set traps to kill animals and also to get efficacious herbs in the bush. Sometimes he would stay in the bush for more than three days, so much that the people would wonder whether he had lost he way or was taken away by satyr suddenly he would appear again to the surprise of the people. He was sent to Oba Ewuare to stay with him because he was a heavy-load to his parents hence his nickname Okhua--Ihe for he surpassed everyone in the village.

Okhuaihe was the leader of the famous deified heroes and heroines of Benin in the reign of Oba Ewuare in the 15th century

From childhood, Okhuahe was good, kind, merciful and sympathetic, but bold and fearless. He did everything thoroughly and cheerfully with a charming manner as a good leader. Whatever he says used to come to pass as a prophet. He was equally loved honoured and highly respected by all

In order to test the abilities and skill of the famous Heroes and heroines of Benin, it ; said that at one time, Ewuare made a grand feast for them at lweton, just at the back of  Oba’s market and locked the doors against them; but when they were eating and drinking he set fire to the house. Each of them came out safely and unhurt

The Okhuaihe first came out of the burning flame, the Ovato of Igieduma through a palm and pole the Emuen of Uhi out of the ashes so on. To the great surprise of the public, Ewuare therefore ordered that every— one of them should be deified and worship as gods after their death.
Okhuaihe was usually being flattered as Obanikhuen meaning the king of Ikhuen. There is a shrine of Okhuaihe at Okegbudu in the Royal Palace in Benin City as a remembrance of his good works to the state during his days.
Like others the Ogan of Ekhua usually obeyed, honoured and highly respected the Okhuaihe of Ikhuen throughout their days

Having been reformed from his rascally behaviour and disobedience,Okhuaihe was loved, trusted  and admired at all time by Oba Ewuare the great.

Therefore Ewuare once sent him to a Portuguese colony to invite the Europeans to Benin and sent also Ogan with him, in order to ask the Europeans to visit Benin for the first time, for any town or country they are; used to improve and good.

"Very well your majesty, your idea is reasonable, in shall try my best TO GO AND INVITE THE European, and they will surely come to answer, the invitation”

Okhuaihe went and returned home safety. In 1470-1471 according, a Portuguese employer, Ruy de Sequera visited Benin in 1472. Both Oba Ewuare the Great and the Okhuaihe were hailed with surprise by the people when Ruy de Sequtira came. As a result of this Okhuahe became more famous and influential in the whole land. According to the ideal of the time, it was generally believed that Okhuaihe went to heaven

He ultimately died at Evbiekoi a village on Benin Eho road where it is said he became a River by his name Okhuaihe in 1473, where he was buried and deified. His shrine “Ogua” is at the fountain of the river.

At his death Okhuaihe left an only son named Iyadonmwen who ultinately became his first priest Ohen nukoni. Like his father, Iyadonmwen was a clever and great seer. Ever since there are several priests everywhere in Benin division but the chief or high priest, “Ohen—nukoni” is where his shrine stands at Evbiekoi, Some of them are clever seer

The post of every priest of Okhuaihe from the chief priest “Ohen nukoni” downwards is hereditary in their family. During the season of celebrating his memory a ceremony called Ikpoleki is held by all the priests in under the chief priest Ohen nukoni at Evbiekoi.

It is incumbent on the priests of Okhuaihe to come to Benin City to play thier part in the anniversary ceremonies “Ugie” of Oba Ewuare the great.

In a more correct account, in his latter days, Okhuaihe went to Evbiekoi, where the spirit directed him to stay for the rest of his life. On arriving there, Okhuaihe asked the people to apply drinking water to his followers. They did so in a small quantity because there was no river in the area. He asked them whether they want him to give them a river; they replied with thanks that they did want a river. He told them that there will be a great storm in three days hence, and that every one of them should hide themselves in, during the hours. Accordingly on the third day, Okhuaihe magically invoked the spirit violently and then come a great storm felling trees with roofs including a big tree. The next day, water flowed out from the base of the big tree unceasingly throughout the day and making a path way; to the rejoicing and amazement of the people in the village. Consequently, Okhuaihe died and was buried at the base of the big tree and his Shrine “Ogua” was inaugurated there. The creek bears his name Okhuaihe from that time forth to the present day. Throughout his days Okhuaihe was known as a supernatural man all over the land.

The emblem of worshiping Okhuaihe of lkhuen whose good name filled the realm of Benin are as follows:—
Usually, small stones or pebbles in a water pot or jar chalk wooden image and others.

The child or children born during the anniversary celebration of the Okhuaihe called

Ikpoleki are named accordingly such as:
Okhuaihe—sogie, Okhuaihe Orobo,
Evb’okhuaiheru, Igbinokhuaihe,
Okhuaihesuyi Okhuaihesumwen e .t .c.
I followed the correct side of the name not the corrupt side of them. Okhuaihe is corruptive part of Okhuaihe’.

The family morning salutation of the Okuaihe of ikhuen is delaihe and not delauhe of the Lawure of Usen, for which please take note and correct your tongue hence forth. To the Okhuahe of lkhuen is to say Luck attended Lucky and he was a real God.- sent man on earth like other great men.
The official members of the Okhuaihe cult dance with Akaba, or medium sizes of gongs set together in roll and tied round their waist during the anniversary ceremony of the Okhuaihe of Ikhuen called IkpoIeki

The first Portuguese explorer Ruy de Sequeira visited Benin in 1472 by the invitation of the Okhuaihe of Ikuen by the order of the Oba Ewuare the Great and then other Europeans followed:-

John Affonso d’Aveiro first came to Benin City in 1485, Windham came to Benin City 1553, john Bird, Newton; James and welsh 1588-1590 Father Francis de Romano and Filip da Figuar 1682-1688 D.V Nyendael 1669-1702: Captain J.F.Landolphe 1769, 1778-1787; John King R.N. 1815-1821:BELZONI AN Italian explorer 1823; Captain James Fawckner 1825; Moffatt and Smith 1838; Sir Richard Burton 1848; The traders Samuel Cheetham, Hugh Craw ford. Clark and Henry 1864: Cyril punch powis, Mc Naught,   Annesley and Bleasby1889, 1890 and 1891; paton Ochterton 1890, Capt.H.L Gallway 26th March 1892 Mr.H.M.Douglas ( D.O)1910 etc

In short the invitation of the Europeans visitors to Benin since Ruy de Sequeira in 1472 to the punitive expedition of Benin in I897 and the establishment of Schools from 1901 to the present day. We are gradually .improving and grown wise in our knowledge of better things and better condition of life in our land. Therefore we owe much gratitude to the Oba Ewuare the great and the Okhuaihe of Ikhuen who paved the way for them. Mr. W. T. Okai (a Ghanaian) was the first teacher and headmaster of Government School Benin from 1901.

A part from petty individual home worship by the members of Okhuahe cult, there are many centres and shrines everywhere in Benin division of worshiping the great departed spirit of the Okhuaihe of Ikhuen
Since his death early in 1473, some month before the death of Oba Ewuare the Great. It is usual for every reigning Oba of Benin to send emblematic articles termed Ekpan to every recognized priest of Okhuaihe of ikhuen during the occasion of the anniversary of the Okhuaihe.

By each priest from the chief priest Ohe nukoni at Evbiekoi downwards. Some of the centre and shrine are:— Aronde of Qgheghe Igbighi of Azagba, Obaro of Idumwunehigie Uhunmwunameneka of Ekiugbo, Ebomwennaka of Ikhunbo, and many others too numerous to be mentioned

The Okhuaihe cult was thoroughly organized from the very beginning. The Okhuaihe cult is peace, love, unity and progress. The chief priest Ohenukoni at Evbiekoi the seer of Okhuaihe cult, is the president and father of all members of the cult, He is the chair— man of both executive and general councils of the Okhuaihe cult he is being installed in office by the reigning Oba of Benin. He is to be obeyed, honoured and respected by all His orders and decisions are final in all matters affecting the members of the cult. He installed in office all priest Ohen of Okhuaihe cult in each centre with priest Ohen anywhere.

There are some titles in the Okhuaihe cult such as the lyase, the Oliha, the Esogban, the Osodin etc. In every centre from Evbiekoi downwards

Permission must be obtained from the chief priest Ohenukoni before opening a new centre of branch with priest Ohen anywhere

The anniversary ceremony of the Okhuaibe of Ikhuen Ikpoleki usually performed at Ikpe finally, and thus closed the ceremony till the next year.

For instance like the worship of the Jewish God who lived almost five thousand years ago, so the worship of the Okhuahe of Ikhuen,  a boy who never joined his father to work  in the farm or any work his father in the home, but often set trap to kill animals in the bush; he lived in the 15th century of rather 500 years ago in the Benin division

From that time forth to the present day people came from every place far or near to the Benin division in every centre to seek the help and advice of the priests Ohen Okhuaihe, as to their condition of life and welfare.

Apart from being sent by Oba Ewuare the Great to go and invite the Europeans to Benin from Sao tome one of the Portuguese colonies in 1471, the Okhuaihe of Ikhuen visited many other places in Benin division in Nigeria and outside Nigeria; Dahomey, Fanadopo etc. It is said the Okhuaihe died at the age of 40 years. Tradition says that Okhuaihe could do anything effectively and successfully— through his magical and supernatural power.

The ruling house of Dahomey came from Benin and Yoruba, Perhaps; therefore Okhuiahe was warmly received by the people on his visit to Dahomey in 1471.

The user of the expression of deep meaning of choice of words is called Ugomugo preacher of Okhuaihe; the seers priests Ohen Okhuaihe usually express this expression during the anniversary ceremony of Ukhuaihe in every centre or every branch Preaching the messages of good will of Okhuaihe cult to the people, warning the evil doers to turn from their evil ways for the better and the good people to continue to be good generally.
Therefore readers will agree that apart from his natural skill Okhuaihe has properly educated by the Satyr and he gained much by his training. In those days any herb he touches becomes useful for any treatment and any purpose, any words from his mouth formed a code of law.

A thorough rascal fellow leader of the famous deified heroes and heroines of Benin. A Wiseman who invited the Europeans to Benin by the order of Oba Ewuare the Great Oba Nikhuea the King of Ikhuen.

The invitation of the European to Benin by the Okhuaihe of lkhuen through the order of the Oba Ewuare the Great, also paved the way for the preaching of Christianity in Benin by Portuguese Missionaries in the later part of the 15th Century in 1485 downwards.

Islamism or Mohammedanism was introduced to Benin during the punitive expedition in 1897 by the soldiers; Hausas and Yorubas of the British troops. At the same time chief Olojo Kosoko was worshiping with them together. Ibrahim was the first native of Benin to become a Muslim in 1898 and drawn many citizens of Benin into it from 1899, gradually became Chief Imam of the central mosque in 1930, the post which he held to till his death 1934.
Those who joined him are the following: Naibi Yesufu Otokiti, Balogun Bello Osagie, Sarumi Lawal Aguebor Osula, Lawani Borokini Edo, Yesufu Fke, Obasuyi, Yesufu Giwa Osagie, r
Okunzuwa Uzamere, Chief Omokaro Ighama, Aminu Ugo, Ginadu Idehen, Ibrahim Obasuyi, Mustapha Udo, Ibrahim Asa, Jimoh Idukpaye, Jegede, Salawu Guobadia, Jimoh Edo, Oyiboke, Adam Osunde, Bakare Akpata and many others. Yesufu Otokiti became the chief Imam after the death of Ibrahim.

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