History

The Origin of Benin Monarchy

What came to be known, as the Benin kingdom did not being its existence as a kingdom in the sense of it being headed by a king or a traditional ruler, as it is known today. It really began as a conglomeration of villages each of which was headed by the oldest man in the community who is referred to as the Odionwere or village head. As time went on, these villages united for the purpose of security against external aggression or for commerce, and the most powerful of the old people was said to have automatically assumed the supreme headship, which eventual metamorphosed into what was known as king or Oba in Edo language.

Omo N’ Oba Erediauwa in his lecture on the evolution of traditional rtuler ship in Nigeria. Given under the auspices of the University of Ibadan, Institute of Africa studies on 11th September, 1984 said that in Benin, the first to emerge as such a leader almost immediately assumed the position of a king, for by the wisdom he was described as being from heaven {Oyevbegie No Riso. This is the origin of the title Ogiso which came to be the title of the earliest Benin kings, before the advent of Oronmiyan.

There were 31 Ogisos. Even though some historians think that the Ogiso era began about the year 900 yet the age of the Edo people’s settlement in the kingdom is over 6000 years. Judging from the long history of the people it is reasonable to suggest that the development of their kingship is much longer than the 900 AD. The much- revered position of the Benin Monarchy tends to suggest that the people found themselves inseparable from their monarchy, which is regarded as the embodiment of custom and culture. The long existences of their king make it unintelligible as to who came first, the people or the king? Thus it is the belief of the Edo people the God sent them to the world along with their kings. Kings are therefore assumed to be born and not created, “Aise Agbon Rio Oba”. Coming back to the Ogisos, We have thirty-one of them who have been named as follows: –

1. Igodo (or Obagodo) 12. Iredia 23. Oriagba
2. Ere 13. Etebewe 24. Odoligie
3. Orire 14. Odion 25. Uwa
4. Odia 15. Imarhan 26. Eheneden
5. Ighido 16. Orria 27. Ohuede
6. Evbobo 17. Emore {female} 28. Oduwa
7. Ogbeide 18. Orrorio {female} 29. Obioye
8. Emenhen 19. Irrebo 30. Arigho
9. Akhuankhuan 20. Ogbomo 31. Owodo
10. Ekpigho 21. Agbonzeke
11. Efeseke 22. Ediae

The peculiar features of the early Ogisos are: –

Founding of the kingdom: Igodo or Obagodo established the kingdom in the sense that it was during his period the components of Benin were united and formed into a central Administrative Unit.

Establishment of good government and the guild system: His successor Ere (who incidentally was a grandson brought in good laws and established the guild

system for which the Edo people are still known. It is to his credit that the palace system was organized and established from which its present form has evolved.

Primogeniture law: Orire brought about the primogeniture law, which lasted more than one century. During ogiso Ighido, this law broke down as a result of palace rivalries. It got into a chaotic situation at a time and this gave rise to the saying that “ogiso will only summon the council meeting whenever there is trouble” (Ogiso mamie Emwen Ei Fiagba”). This situation remained for nearly two centuries when Ogiso Oriagba re-established the primogeniture laws. This brought stability once more to state. The guild system was re-established and all the arms of the government were re-kindled.

Establishment of Benin Army: The stable situation of the state brought about the formation of the Benin Army during the reign of Ogiso Odoligie. A class of people known as “Iyokuo”-the warriors– was established.

Inflation and subsequent currency reforms: During the reign of Ogiso Ohuede, there was serious inflation. There were other pestilences that followed. People counterfeited the coins of the realm by bringing illegal money into the country. What really happened was that people suddenly discovered a large quantity of cowries (which was the then known coin or money in use) and there after flooded the country with it. The attendant result was inflation. When Ogiso Obioye came in as ruler, he harnessed the whole currency by nationalizing cowries wherever they were in private hands or with the state. This money became scarce and its value restored. It is this state of affairs which gave rise to the expression “a valuable article purchased with Obioye’s Coin”. Ogiso Obioye therefore was the first king who reformed the currency.

The plight of Ikaladerhan: The last Ogiso (Owodo) brought a lot of stresses and hardship on the nation he was incompetent. He more or less fell back to the habit of not summoning the state council meeting unless there was trouble. He was preoccupied wit the primogeniture law especially as he had only one son who he thought might die before him which might leave him without a successor. This obsession drove him to consult the oracle as to how he might have more male

Children who might succeed him. In the end, the tragic episode of Ikaladerhan’s banishment came into our history. However, Ikaladerhan by a change of fortune eventually emerged at Uhe (or Ife) as a king with the appellation Ododuwa derived from the Benin word “Imaghidoduwa or Imadoduwa” which is an exclamatory word “I have not missed the path to prosperity” a reminiscence of his surprise at his emerging as a king in a strange land after having left as a refugee.

Edo Origin and Ogiso Dynasty.

By Prince E.Eweka.

It is said that the Benin monarch date back to Ogiso Igodo who was reputed to have begun his reign in the year 900 AD. It is not quite certain if that year is the appropriate year one can really say that Ogiso Igodo reigned. This is so because Edo Civilization is well over 6000 years old. According to R.G Armstrong in his book “The Study of West Africa languages” the glotto-chronological period of separation between Edo, Yoruba and Ibo has been put between 3,000 and 6,000 years. It is no wonder therefore that prof. A.F.C Ryder aptly wrote about the Edo, that “Linguistic evidence suggests that they have occupied this region for some thousands of years”. P.Amway Talbot confirmed that about the seventh millennium BC, the Edo (Benin) and Ewe (popo) and then the Ibo, followed maybe about thee second millennium BC by the earliest Yoruba”. These suggestions give strong indications that Benin Civilization has grow over a period of some 6000 years if not more.

Many writers have put the origin of Edo people as coming from Egypt while other thought they originated from Ife. Such an eminent writer as Chief (Dr) J.U Egharevba even suggested that the Edo People migrated from Egypt, made a short halt in the Sudan, then at Ife, and finally came to this land where they met an inferior people. The most interesting point about this theory is that no one has paused for a while to ask where the Egyptians migrated. No one is really certain about the Origin of the Edo people whose origin appears to have lost in myths and legends of the distant past. In the absence of any archaeological evidence one is forced to have a second thought on this issue of migration from Egypt. Science tells us that living things grow around fertile areas of the world. As a matter of fact civilization has always thrived in areas of fertile land, which sustains life, and Edo people cannot be exception to this rule.

Let us examine the beliefs of these Edo people. Their mythical story of creation says that Edo is the candle of the world (“Edo ore Isi Agbon”). They say that when God Almighty was creating the world, he also crated the king who was to rule the various parts of the world. These kings before descending from heaven to earth were asked to make their choices of whatever gifts they wanted God to endow them with. While others chose wealth, wisdom or magical powers, the king of Benin had nothing left other than a dirty snail shell containing sand The story says that when the king of Benin got to the world, which was water, logged then, he poured the sand on a point now known as Benin which came to be a dry land. The other kings who had been hovering around without a dry land to settle upon had to ask the Benin king for land. This is the origin of the saying that “Oba Yan Oto Se Evbo Ebo” meaning that the Oba owns the land up to the European country.

Whichever way one looks at the origin of Edo both historically or mythically one comes to the conclusion that Edo origin is not known in precise terms, common among the Edo themselves, they say that the original people called Edo grew on this land even though it cannot be ruled out that other people might have migrated to join the original Edo people.

Modern Archaeological finds show that the oldest human skull was found in Africa. Here in Nigeria the Nok civilization has thrown a new vista on the age of Africa

Civilization. Who knows if the Nok civilization itself is not a spillover of the early Edo people especially as the regions occupied by both the Edo and The Nok are within the same land mass.

Benin Prehistory.

The Origin and settling down of the Edo People.

By Dmitri .M. Bondarenko and Peter .M. Roese

Legendary versions of the Edo origin and setting down and their analysis First of all let us set up in chronological order a number of different statements from the mythology of the Edo. One of the earliest reports comes from the English trader Cyril Punch who stayed on the coast and visit Benin City from the end of the 1880s up to the 1890s several times. He had good contacts with the royal court. He reported, “tradition says the Bini came from a place north of the Niger originally and lived under a king Lamorodu” (Roth 1968:6).

The Benin chronicler J.U Egharevba collected material in the 1920s and 1930s. He writes: “Many years ago, the Binis came all the way from Egypt to found a more secure shelter in this part of the world after a short stay in the Sudan and IIe- Ife, which the Benin people call Uhe. Before coming here, a band of hunters was sent from Ife to inspect this land and the report furnished was very favorable to met some people who were in the land before their arrival “These people are said to have come originally from Nupe and the Sudan in waves (Egharevba 1960) 1: see also Egharevba 1956: 1). In another work Egharevba specifies that the first wave of migration took place from Sudan via the present-day Nupe land in the 7th century

A.D and the second, from Egypt via Sahara and Ife in the beginning of the 8th century (Egharevba 1965: 8 f). But very soon he declares: “It is known that the Bini came to this Land in 3 waves. And not 2 as was previously supposed” The first (without a concrete date) was from Nupe, the second- from Sudan via Nupe in about the 7th century A.D and the last one, without a date again was from Egypt via Sahara and IIe- Ife (Egharevba 1966: 7-9).

At another place Egharevba writes also about three migration waves. The first came from Nupe land the second from Sudan via Nupe land and the third from Egypt through the Sahara and IIe Ife (Ife). This was “…one of those migration common to many tribes seeking more fertile land and more secure retreat from an enemy during the Islamic crusade from 600 A.D. “(Egharevba 1969: preface; see also Egharevba 1964:6). The newcomers united after some time. But another, a later Bini chronicler prince Eweka, practically recognizing the Egyptian version, the popular among his compatriots, considers the question open because there are no real proofs of the exodus from Egypt. He admits that the Edo could be autochthonous in their area being genetically connected with the population of Nok (Eweka 1989: 9 f.).

Glottochronology suggests that the separation between the kwa peoples’ protolanguages, including the Edo and the Yoruba, happened about 2,000-3,000 years ago (Darling 1984/I: 63), or even earlier, between 3,200 and 4, 600 or about 5,000 years ago according to Armstrong (1962) and Smith (1988; 11). Bradbury’s date it later than 4,000 years ago (1964: 150). Never mind, some of the Yoruba Ododuwa myths (those not deriving the Yoruba and the whole mankind from Ife) have much in common with the Edo ones cited above. This fact makes them helpful for our analysis. Generally, such myths connect the Yoruba origin and migration to western Africa with basically the same geographical regions and historical events just as those of the Edo do. Studying Yoruba myths, Talbot has come to the conclusion that the Yoruba had arrived to Nigeria from Egypt possibly in the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C being pushed out of their motherland by the

Nubian wars of the 19th century B.C or the Hyksos’ conquest of the country (1926/I: 276, II: 2) Samuel Johnson, whose dealing with the myth is best-known, has also argued that the Yoruba had resettled from Upper Egypt or Nubia. Following sultan Bello of Sokoto (see Hodgkin 1975: 78 f), he writes that Lamurudu, Whose subjects they were, was Phoenician numrod, the conqueror of Egypt. Those people accompanied him in military campaigns and reached Arabia with him from where they were expatriated for their devotedness to their religion, paganism, or more probably, a kind of Eastern Christianity (Johnson 1921; 7f) Biobaku has developed the version more than anyone else. He sees the Yoruba home country in Upper Egypt and introduces the idea of two waves of migration from there to Western Africa in about A.D 600 and about A.D 1000. The latter, just reflected in the myth of the migration under the leadership of Oduduwa, was provoked by the spread of Islam according to Biobaku. Having crossed the Niger in the Nupe area, the Yoruba went southwestward-founded IIe- Ife and settled there (Biobaku 1955: 1958: 24f.). It is worth mentioning that the data of the first wave of the Yoruba migrations, according to Biobaku, corresponds to the last wave of the Edo’s advent in the final, 1969, concept of Egharevba. i.e. about A.D. 600. But while the latter connects it just with the Muslim pressure, the Yoruba historian ascribes it to the second, the Oduduwa migration of his people about A.D. 1000.

There is even no necessity to stop for a long time on the obvious fact that, if someone of these two prominent Africans were right, it could not have been Egharevba in any case. Islam only appeared just in the beginning of the 7th century

A.D. (622) in Arabia; though in Africa Egypt and especially Ethiopia played a major role in disseminating the ideas that laid the groundwork for the emergence of Islam. But Egypt assured a leading role in the development of the Islamic civilization not earlier than in the 9th — l0th centuries. Towards the brink of the millennia, Islam in the form of Kharijism Lind Sunnism made its way with the caravans of merchants into the countries of West and Central Sudan. In the 10th and mid- 11th centuries, the new religion was formally accepted by the rulers of a number of states of this or that way subordinate to large Christian xum,

Nubia) and pagan (Ghana, Zaghawa) kingdoms. The movement of the Aimoravids in the name of jihad, a major event of this period, resulted in the integration of Sahara, West Sudan, Maghreb, and Spain into a political, religious, and ideological union. Concurrently, the entire regional system of states was reshaped, effecting the disintegration of the Christian (Axum, the united Nubia) and pagan (Zaghawa, Ghana) kingdoms that had been hindering the progress of Islam into the heart of Africa (Kobishchanov 1987: 14—40). It seems reasonable to come to the conclusion that Islam could indirectly influencing the territories rather far south of the area of its immediate just at that time, not earlier.

Edo State History.

EDO, is what you can describe as the “generic name given to a group of people who have a common ancestor and have a common language, with some different variants, depending on the distance between the group and the ” tap root, ” resident in and around the present day Benin City. In short, the land, the political state, the people, tribe, language and the principal city. Benin City is called EDO. At a point in the history of these people, another name called BENIN came into use. These Edo- speaking people are divided into the following clans today:

  1. BINI – derived from the word Benin for people living in and around Benin City, in Edo State. People living in and around Benin City, are gradually accepting the word BINI, as descriptive of their clan. Otherwise, they prefer to be simply called EDO.
  2. ESAN/Ishan-for the immediate neighbor to the north are people living in around Irrua, Orhodua, Uromi, Ubiaja, Ewu, Ewatto, Igueben and the almighty Evbohimwin (Ewohimi))” the city by the big river ” or ” the city of Ikhimwin trees ” etc. ESAN/Ishan occupies the central part of Edo State. The Esan land is made up of thirty-four kingdoms, which are ruled by different monarchs. The Esan land is flat landscape, which is good for agriculture. The Igbabonelimhin cultural dance is synonymous with the Esan people.
  3. AFEMAIS known as IVBIOSAKON by those living in and around Benin City to the north of Ishan/Esan clan. The Afemai people occupy the northern part of Edo State with its headquarters in Agenebode. They are believed to have migrated from Benin during the reign of Oba Eware. Afemai is made up of different kingdoms and clans who have their own traditional institutions and rulers.
  4. AKOKO-EDOS based in Igarra, Ibillo and its environs to the north of Afemais.
  5. OWANS-ORAS occupying Eme, Sabogida-Ora, Afuze, etc. Uhobe (SOBE) and Ifon in Ondo State. The Owan and Ora people trace their history to Oba Ozolua who ruled them when he was still a Prince. The Oras are called the children of Ozolua. They are in charge of propitiating the physical earth and are responsible for exorcising any harm that might come upon the Edo land as a result of violation of sexual or other taboos.
  6. Ekas-to East of Benin. A sizeable chunk of the Edo speaking people flow across River Niger and ending at ONITSHA.
  7. Isoko, Urhobo, Itsekiris and about 70% percent of western Izon (Ijaws) in Ndegeni and its environs
  8. A sizeable chunk of the Edos is found in River States and Balyesa States e.g. Ogba land and Diobu, Port Harcourt.
  9. A sizeable chunk has been ” Yorubanised in Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun States. The descendants of Edo soldiers stationed in Akure are referred to today as ADO- AKURE (Edo ne ’kue) There are many Edos in Ekiti land, Idoani, Idanre etc going through life in Nigeria with Yoruba names. Acculturation has taken place. You are either a Yoruba man or you go nowhere.
  10. The ILAJE community at OKITIPUPA and its environs.
  11. The Edos who conquered and settled far way land like Dahomey, Togo and Ghana.

The Edo language is part of the Kwa-Niger group of languages according to Linguist. These people have lived were they are now for ” Thousands of years.” The monarchy centered in Benin City is about 6000 years old, including pre-ogiso and Ogiso era of history. All the clans had various functions, which they perform at the palace. For example, the Ishans/Esans were principally the medicine men and warriors of the ancient empire. They were the medical practitioners. The chieftancy groups responsible for the Oba’s well being are dominated by Ishan/Esan descendants. The Ivbiosakon (Afemais) were the dental surgeon of the palace. That is the origin of the name IVBIOSAKON. Oba Esigie assigned that function to them in the c1500’s.

The Owan/Ora people were the propitiators of the physical earth for the Oba of Benin. It was their responsibility to prevent things like earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes and anything associated with geological disturbance to occur in Benin. In short, they were the geologists and weathermen of their day, forecasting and preventing physical calamities. Those we call BINIS today, were the traditional bureaucratic administrators and military generals. The Izons (Ijaws) were the ” OZIGUE” -SAILORS The Ekas were farmers. They were in charge of the royal farms.

The Ibos across the Niger call the Edos, IDU, the name of the progenitor of Edo race; the Yoruba’s call us ADO, which is a corruption of the word EDO. However, the Itsekiris, another sub group in the Edo clans call us UBINI. Tradition asserts that it is derived from ILE-IBINU, which is descriptive of the exasperation and frustration encountered in Benin City, by Prince Oranmiyan of ILE-IFE. A further research may prove that, it was the Itsekiris who gave that name, to the people living in and around Benin City. The Itsekiris told the white man of the powerful overlord living in Igodomigodo. It was the Itsekiris who told the Whiteman that the name of the tribe of this powerful king was UBINI- a term, which Whiteman corruptly wrote down as Benin. For example, the name of the eldest daughter of Oba Osewende, the mother of the OSULAS and the AIWERIOGHENES is today known as AGHAYUBINI. A closer examination of that name would reveal that the name is an Itsekhiri phrase-” The Ubini Lady or woman ” i.e. the woman from Benin. Aghayubini was a very wealthy trader among the Itsekiris, from whence she got the money she used, is getting the throne for her brother, who became Oba ADOLO. An Itsekhiri descriptive phrase has simply over powered her original Edo name, to the extent that nobody knows anything about it now.

The ancient Edo/Benin Empire covered the whole of Bendel, parts of Bayelsa State and I repeat Balyesa State. The second son of the Enogie of Brass, popularly known as IYASE NE OHENMWEN became the Iyase of Benin under Oba Osewende. Iyase Ohenmwen is the ancestor of the OTOKITIS, THE OKEAYA-INNEH AND THE AIWERIOGHENES of Benin today. It also covers the IGBO-speaking areas of Delta State stretching to Onitsha. People hardly know that the actual title of the Obi of Onitsha is AIGBOGHIDI. The historical Chief Agho Obaseki of Oba Ovoranmwen era and later the Iyase of Benin under Oba Eweka II, was a descendant of the second son of Enogie of NSUKWA now in Delta State. It extended to the whole of Ondo State, parts of Ekiti and Ogun State and the whole of Lagos State including BADAGRY. It stretched to southern Dahomey (Republic of Benin) and on to the coast of Togo and Ghana.

THE OWANS /ORAS:

Oba Ozolua is traditionally regarded as the ancestor of the Owans/Ora. He was known as Prince Okpame before he became known as Oba Ozolua. He had sought refuge in Uwokha in Ivbiosakon areas in c1473. From Uwokha, Oba Ozolua founded Ora and other villages. Oba Ozolua was a warlord. He beat the people of Uzea near Uromi to a pulp when there was a revolt. He extended his carnage to Uromi when the Enogie was reported to have been rude to his messengers. He went up through Akoko land, wandering into Nupe lands where he acquired a lot of sophisticated weaponry then. He attacked the Igallas and Igbirras in the present Kogi and Kwarra states. After spending the greater part of his life in ORA, he left behind his son UGUAN and returned to Benin City.

But before he left, he proclaimed everybody free men and free women, entitled to enjoy the privileges of Edo princes and Princesses, for all the services they had rendered in his military campaigns. That is why the Oras call themselves today, the CHILDREN OF OZOLUA. Besides being in charge of propitiating the physical earth,

They are responsible for ritually exorcising any harm that might come upon the EDO NATION-the land due to violation of sexual or other taboos. Their GUILD, quartered at EVBORHAN quarter in OGBELAKA in Benin City by Oba Esigie, demands steep fines from the culprits for their services.

A few years ago, the Oba of Benin created an Ogie-Duke-traditional rulership for the Oras because of popular demand.

Cultural Heritage, Ademola Iyi Eweka.

Edegbake/Oghodoghodo caves:

Those two caves are located near Fugar in Etsako central Local Government Area. They are prehistoric and are believed to have been the bode of a community of early men. Edegbake the smaller of the two can conveniently accommodate 50 persons while Oghodoghodo has a capacity for 200 persons. A slow-flowing stream runs through Edegbake and there are prospect for amateur fishing, excursions and more

The giant footprint of Ukhuse Oke:

Located in a sacred grove between Ukhuse-oke and Ukhuseosi in lulehe clan of Owan west local government area, very distinct footprints of a prehistoric giant are permanently embedded on the flat granite rocks it is believed that the footprints were made when the world was still in its molten state. It presents a challenge for archaeologists and anthropologist.

The animal footprint of Ivbiodohen:

Footprints of various species of animals are embedded is a flat granite stab that confound all imaginations. Legend has it that the footprints were imprinted during the formative stages of the planet earth.

The footprints are very detailed and like the ones in Ukhuse Oke, will require an extensive archaeological or anthological research. Ivbiodohen

The Ede or Anagwu Caves:

These caves also know in the local parlance as Igodo, are located in the heartland of Edegbe village, which lies between Ivioghe and Iviukwe towns in Etsako East Local Government Area. The Anagwa stream flows through the basement of the caves. The caves play a significant role in the initiation rituals for the age-grade members of the community.

Historical Festival

Edo state has a very rich tradition of festivals and masquerades through which the people either appease the various gods and goddesses, purification of both the land and individual celebrant, initiate men or women into age-grades or as a traditional get-together. More than one hundred major festivals are celebrated in the state between September and March every year. Those celebrations offer opportunities for re-unions of members of the family and friends, it also offers opportunities to visitors to see and feel the rich cultural heritage of the state.

The Igue festival takes the pre-eminence among festivals celebrated in the state. The most colorful and paramount importance to the people of Benin .It is celebrated every December by the reigning Oba and his subjects to marks the end of the Benin’s year and to usher in the new year and as a thanksgiving for the outgoing one. The Igue festival attracts visitors from across Nigeria and abroad. Celebrated annually during the ancient time in the month of September .Oba Akenzua II moved it to the month of December to coincide with other series of festivals. No one can say

the exact date or when it began. But tradition says that when the ancient Benin man became conscious of his creator and his success in his undertaking, he thanks his head and god. He believed that his head led him through the successful adventures of the year. When Oba Ewuare The great {1440-1473} came to the throne, he made many innovation into Igue festival because of the terrible experience he had in his early life, before he was crowned the Oba of Benin

Most of the Festivals have a yearly cycles and are open to general viewing and sometimes, participation some other like the Obazu festival held among the Aomas of luleha in Owan West Local Government Area the state is strictly restricted to the men folks.

Among the Esan, Ukpe Festival holds annually between December and January in Ewossa, Ewohimi, Ewatto, Ebelle and Ogwa. It is celebrated to appease the gods to bring prosperity.

In Ihievbe, Owan Local Government Area, Iko Festival is held from November to February to initiate girls into womanhood. In Ozalla, Ivbamen festival is held in April to iniate boys into manhood similarly, Irhua is celebrated in Auchi, every two years to initiate youths into manhood

The masquerades in Edo state are generally believed to be earthly representative of some celestial gods, goddesses or ancestors. Masquerades like the Igbabonelimi of Esanland are very popular social entertainers whose secrets and working are only know to initiates who are sworn to utmost secrecy

Many masquerades are linked to traditional festivals, while others are only social and have no ritualistic backgrounds or undertones.

Traditional belief/ Religion

Edo state inhabitants’ enjoy freedom of religious worship. Inside and outside Observers give credit to the state, as one of the most peaceful place in Nigeria. The state has escaped the ethnic and religious bloodbath that has engulfs and destroys tens of thousands of lives in the country. Edo state is also credited as a Place was religions and states are totally separated.

There are three types of religion. Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. Traditional religion is rooted in an indigenous belief system based on a Supreme Being supported by deities and natural forces, which act as intermediaries between the divine, and humanity. The Portuguese brought Christianity to the Benin Empire in the 15th century and during this period, Missionaries were sent from Portugal to establish churches in the kingdom. The remnants of which are Aruosa N’Akpakpava, Aruosa N’Idunwuerie and Aruosa N’ Ogbelaka all in Benin City. Subsequent Obas and their chiefs were made Catholic priests and were encouraged to dress like one and to spread Christianity throughout the Benin Empire. To this day the Benin monarch, his Chiefs, Enogies and other traditional titleholders still dress like a catholic priest. Alongside with other varieties of Benin royal dresses. The garment now represents royalty and one of code of dressing of the Benin’s people.

Pope Innocent XII sent father Angelus with a special letter to {25th} Oba Oreoghene {1689AD-1700AD} encouraging him and his subjects to continue to keep to the Christian faith.
{16th} Oba Esigie 1504AD-1578AD sent the priest of Olokun shine at Ughoton to Portugal to understudy Christianity and report to the kingdom. But Benin Empire inhabitants’ still continue with their traditional religion not until the tail end of the 20th century that Christianity really take roots, due to indigenous Pentecostal churches. In a resent survey carried out a vast majority of the Edos Considers themselves Practicing Pentecostal Christians why a very few says they practices the traditional Religion.

Christian groups comprise the Anglican {Church of England}, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witness, God’s kingdom society, Apostolic and Pentecostal churches. In Benin City, there is the Holy Aruosa, a traditional place of worship headed by the Oba of Benin. The Pentecostal Churches popularly called the ‘Born again Churches’ have made remarkable progress in recent years. Spear headed by the renowned flamboyant, well-traveled TV minister. Late Arch. B.A. Idahosa through his popular high profile American styles TV Christian ministry and crusades. Spread Pentecostal Christianity from his base in Benin City to other part of Nigeria, Africa and beyond. Although he is dead now his legacy lives on. Historians will have it to say; that the history of Christian evangelism of the 20th century in continental Africa will not completed without the mention of Arch. Idahosa. All year round Christian and non-Christian alike visit his tomb along Airport road Benin City very close to the City Airport. To pay respects to the Christian Pentecostal Icon.

To this day, it is unusual to pass a street in Benin City without coming across one or two Pentecostal churches they can easily be found in remote villages too.

Nupe warriors who carried out their campaigns in some part of north of Edo State when the land was still under the jurisdiction of Benin Empire Monarchial Authority. The Benin royal forces were able to prevent them from spreading it into the main Benin kingdom introduced Islam towards the end of the 19th century. Hence, Islam has a large following only in those parts. To this day, it is hard to see a Benin’s person who is a Moslem though many Moslems live in Benin City and other part of Benin kingdom.