Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom Worldwide (OGBK) Events and Galleries.
Engr. Isaac Igbinosun, President of Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom Worldwide (OGBK) speech at the Organisation’s Inaugural Meeting in Toulouse, France, on Saturday July 20th, 2019.
Our Royal Father, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare ll, Members of the Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom Worldwide, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is indeed a great delight to welcome you all to this auspicious and epoch-making event in the history of the Great Benin Kingdom. Before I proceed to elaborate on the main reason for our convergence today, permit me to quickly relay to our guests a brief history of our Organisation, what we represent and hope to achieve, as well as to point out a few things we have done since the inception of this rather young Organisation.
The Organization of Great Benin Kingdom Worldwide was set up primarily as a machinery for the promotion and sustenance of the enviable heritage and values for which Benin is historically and globally renowned. The Organisation seeks to bring together reputable sons and daughters of Benin Kingdom who cherish this heritage and who are prepared to commit their time and other resources to ensure that the pride of Benin and of the people of Benin is re-established, sustained and promoted; this having become absolutely necessary in this present age of globalisation and its attendant consequences on a peoples’ history, identity and culture. It was in this regard that after months of intense meetings and consultation with various stakeholders in Benin, Europe and America, on the 3rd of November 2018, the Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom was born. As at today, the Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom is fully registered in Europe and in Nigeria and boasts of an expanding membership of enterprising sons and daughters of Benin spread across Nigeria, Europe, the Americas, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Being a global assemblage of sons and daughters of ‘Idu’- an appellation that encompasses all people, tribes and cultures that owe their ancestry to Edo, we shall by the same token stand as a bastion and a veritable umbrella association with the purpose of collaborating with and integrating efforts by other entities that share our ideals and objectives of the promotion of Edo heritage.
OGBK is essentially a socio-cultural organization and we shall strive to bring the children of Igodomigodo together in unity, brotherliness and mutual respect to confront and address the social ills, as well as some of the economic and developmental challenges which Benin Kingdom is currently grappling with. We shall also engage in regular cultural awareness and promotional and enlightenment initiatives by which we seek to amplify and propagate the positivity and richness of Benin history, values, art and its great people. There is no gainsaying the fact that Edo is the hub of art, sports, education, innovation and tourism in Africa and OGBK is committed to ensuring that Benin’s pride of place is restored and maintained in this regard. These objectives are very dear to our heart and we have lined up a variety of initiatives and programmes geared towards achieving them in the coming years. At this point may I state very clearly that the Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom as a body is, and shall always remain politically neutral, religiously accommodating and socially accepting of all the children of Igodomigodo who are proud of their heritage and ancestry.
The Organization of Great Benin Kingdom has established a strong and active presence in the online and mainstream media, and shall host yearly conferences in different countries of the world in order to establish the identity, propagate the legacy and create positive footprints of the Kingdom of Benin in all corners of the earth – all these being done, while not forgetting our roots, because as they say, our charity must always begin at home. To accomplish this enormous but absolutely necessary task to which we have voluntarily committed ourselves, the Organisation of Great Benin Kingdom seeks the blessings of our Father, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, The Oba Of Benin Kingdom, as we recognise him as our Grand Patron. We are confident that his fatherly prayers and guidance will be our strength.
In the next couple of months, we shall be opening an office in Benin City, which shall be the OGBK Secretariat and liaison office in Nigeria. As soon as the Secretariat is established and functional, we shall embark on investment and developmental projects that will foster educational and economic opportunities for our people. Our immediate focus will be investment in agro-allied ventures, the provision of academic scholarships and grants to our children based on need and academic performance, and the promotion of Edo language and history in our primary and secondary schools.
OGBK participated actively and prominently in the last Edo Festival as well as in the celebration of the Iguẹ Festival which took place in December 2018 in Benin City, where we were ably and proudly represented by delegates sent to Benin City strictly for the purpose. We shall always be grateful to the Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osaze Osemwengie Ero who was present, for the colourful nature and high quality of the Festival and for the warm reception and hospitality accorded our delegation to the said Festival. We look forward with enthusiasm to this year’s Festival and we want to assure you that we shall always make our presence felt at such occasions.
Before I close this speech, kindly permit me to enumerate some of our aims and objectives, some of which include:
1. To unite all indigenes of Great Benin Kingdom Worldwide.
2. To promote and showcase the rich Benin cultural heritage.
3. To propagate the learning and speaking of Edo language, the cultivation of our age long values and traditions, and to support research and studies on Edo history and culture.
4. To promote healthy relationship and integration by fostering cooperation and mutual understanding with all other Great Benin Associations worldwide to achieve the common goal.
5. To contribute to the cultural and socio -economic development of Great Benin Kingdom.
6. To serve, protect and defend the Benin Kingdom by preserving and retaining our heroes’ works.
7. To render charity and humanitarian support to deserving persons and groups within Benin Kingdom and worldwide.
8. To collaborate with countries and institutions in Europe, America and the rest of the world in ways that engender mutual support and benefit between Benin Kingdom and our host communities across the globe.
Finally, I want to thank all OGBK members around the world who have contributed immensely towards the progress of this Organization. Your dedication and contribution made it all a success. Special thanks also go to all the dignitaries and members here present for taking the time to honour our call. May you all be richly blessed.
Oba gha tọ kpẹ re! Isẹ!!
Some morning salutations in Benin language
Some morning salutations Of The Benins
(Ukhu Na Tue vbe Edo)
Family Of Salutation
From Ogiso 1st Royal period Delaiso
From Eweka I of 2nd Royal Period Lamogun
Iyase Of Benin Lavbieze Ohenmwen
Enogie Of Ute
Lagiete Enogie Of Uteh
Eholo N’ Igieduma
Eholo-Nire Laire Ogiamen
Lamehi Ohen-Okun N’ Ughoton
Okao of Gelegele
Ohen-Okun N’ Iguelaba
Enogie Of Ugo N’ Eki
Edogun Lagiewan Iyase Of Udo
Ine N’.Igun Laini Isi Of Utekon
Enogie Of Ugo N’ Iyekorhiomwon
Labo Azagueni Of Urhonigbe
Oloke Laoloke Oshodin
Ohen Iso Of Ugbeku
Delaiso/Laiso Enogie N’ Uteh
Enogie Of Ahor
Enogie Of Idumhunmwughu
Enogie Of Igbekhue
Elawue Of Usen Delaihe
Iyase N’ Uselu Layede
Ise N’ Utekon Laeruvbi/Laru Igiehon Of Ibiwe
Eni Of Uzae (Ijare) Lamore
Enogie N’ Uvbe Lauvbe
Enogie N’ Erua Lagierua
Igieduma Lakhun Iguovbiahianmwen
Imara N’ Uhen Laimara
Enogie Of Egor
Enogie Of Evboekabua Lavbiuwa
Enogie Of Irhue Deelalu/Lalu
Enogie Of Oben Lavbiobu
EkenEzima (Ojima Of Okeluhen) Laugha
Okaligban N’ Uhi Lamoko
The Edo live in their families and have tended to live in their past as well. In the thousands of years that have passed, their families have grown large and each has run into the next through inter-marriages Today, no family can stand without traces of one or the other families in them Yet, the morning salutation of a family, at once gives a glimpse of who they are and where they come from It tells where one might go to start an enquiry into the character of an ¡individual. That often means that a person and his or her family can be known as far as possible into the depths of time
That is a good glimpse of the reach of the Edo oral culture. They developed this thousands of years ago and it has helped them trace others who do not belong in their past or in their present The Edo say that those who have no morning salutations among them are strangers, or slaves. Over the years, strangers arid slaves in their midst have been Known to take to the family greetings of those with whom they have lived. This aspect of Edo culture has sometimes brought startling results. Men and women have often failed to ask their families or have spited them to live as husbands and wives. They find out later that they are from the same family roots and if their branches were close enough on the family tree, the family made them buy a goat for atonement. The family shared the goat slaughtered and as a symbol of the deafness of the man and the woman, they gave them the ears of the goat, for food.
Edo custom is that a woman once married, must use the morning greeting of the family of her husband’s father because Edo culture is patriarchal. Like most other things in Edo life, the morning greeting has its roots in the leadership in war, in peace and in the community. The list that follows confirms this trait. Whether it is in Benin City the largest town, or in smaller towns or villages in the land, leaders and circumstances create or influence the morning greetings. The list below is of those known or discovered at the time of writing..Any reader who knows any should please contact the publishers for editing .
Those not familiar with the custom might ask how the people use these greetings. The first thing to know is that the young say the greeting to their parents and to those more than two years older than they are. The practice is to say it at first meeting in the morning, and not after usually, no one says it after the sun has passed overhead on its way to the west.
The elder does not answer in the same words. Several families have words of praise with which they answer back .The young might say lavbieze no nwanren and the elder might answer back if he or she were much older —Eh, ovbieze no z ‘uwa. Koyo omwinmwen. If he were only a few years older he or she might say, Eh, koyo otenrnwen or ko ‘lenmwen for short.”
For what is left of each day, other general greetings of the people would apply. One might say obavan in the afternoon, obota in the evening or obe ‘vbariu if the person were busy .Age does not matter in these cases.
WHY ENAUMOGUN BY THE QBA?
This could be attributed to the successful use of Ogun force in the conquest of Osogan (the monster that terrorized Benin) by Evian. It became another source of power and this source of power was looked upon as the most significant to be crystallized in the position of the Oba himself. In other words, Ogun (god of iron, smiths, warriors and hunters) was a symbol of strength too. The Oba decided to assume the family morning salutation of ‘Enaumogun’. All adherents, children of the Oba at that time began to greet ‘Enaumogun’. The Edion ne Isen who had earlier rendered ‘Enaiso’ in the Ogiso era changed their tone because they could not greet Enaumogun since they did not belong to the Oba’s family lineage. Oliha, the head of the King Makers took on ‘Enaogele’ because ‘ogele’ became his popular appellation at that time after he successfully preserved the seven lice, thereby passing through the lice test and won an acclamation by it “O gele mu irru” meaning he indeed preserved the lice. Because of the joy he Edohen expressed in their ability to survive the turbulent period and come to a period of great relief and joy, he (Edohen) invented ‘Enatose’. His prayer during the turbulent period was “Te ima gha to se oyenmwe uwa “May we live long to merry in prosperity” And after that period of’ political confusion, he said, “A to se oyenmwe uwa’’ meaning “ One has lived long to merry prosperity”. Some members of Edohen family however greet ‘Enauvbe’. In sometime past, Edohen of that time had no male child and when he joined his ancestors, his nephew born of his own sister stepped into the shoes to inherit the title and so, the family greeting shifted to Enauvbe simply because the late Edohen’s Sister was married into the lineage of Enogie of Uvbe whose morning salutation the new Edohen and his immediate family must render. In another setting, ‘Enaemehi’ greeting that originally belonged to the Oloton family was welcome into the family of Chief aganimwoyi the Obazuaye (Nogienebo of Benin . He married the daughter of Oloton of Benin (one of the Uzama N’Ihinron).This wife refused to render her husband’s family morning salutation with the statement:. “Me ne ovbi eknnagben, I I setin tue ukhu Ovien Omwa”-”l, a noble’s daughter cannot afford to render a commoner’s morning salutation” because oloton their forefather and Oranmiyan’s relative was among those that accompanied Oranmiyan from Uhe. She decided to stick by her own family greeting Enaemehi’ (Lamehi), and it was incorporated into the Bazuaye family. It is still maintained till date.
Ero took on the greeting of ‘Enaumosun’, osun being the god of medicine and Eholo ne Irre (Eholo of Irre village took on the greeting of Enairre as Evian because of the joy of associating with Evian who was the conqueror of osogan the monster that terrorized Benin for quite some time and had people swallowed up live in its mouth at Okedo (on Agbado market days.). Here the origin of AMUFI (A Guild specialized in catching eagle live) comes into play. This group of people from different families groomed in (traditional) tree top acrobats was constituted and camped in a settlement named Evbo-Amufi in Ikhuen N’Iro Community. On every Agbado market day Amufi would appear in their paraphernalia comprising charms and ropes tied on Okha trees at the market place with heavily made fire bearing a sizeable iron rod placed at the middle by Evian by the side, all to attract the monster to destruction. The charms which enabled them to swing, behaving in a manner similar to that of avamu (a kind of bat) also enabled them to ‘tapua’(vanish) in case the ropes disengaged in the process of the dance. On this fateful day, the acrobatic display attracted osogan and as it moved closer in its flight to perform its usual market day routine of swallowing one person, it met its waterloo: Evian swiftly picked the red hot rod from the fire and threw it into the rnonster’s mouth. That saw to the end of osogan till date. It is worthy of note here that the last Okao Amufi was the Author’s paternal grandfather, Aken (Prince) Samson Erreikomwe Erhahon and the Iast display by Amufi was in 1942 during Oba Akenzua iI’s reign. Till date, any family represented in Amufi has AVAMU as taboo.
ENAEGIESAN BY EZOMO FAMILY
.Ezomo of that time was not a hereditary title as it was a title given to a war chief in Benin where as those of the remaining four members of the Edion N’Isen were and still remain hereditary titles. So, every Ezomo then before the reign of Akenzua I could not be pinned down to a particular greeting. The hereditary Ezomo family started from Ezomo Ehennua who hailed from Ebhurhu in Esan land. Ehennua according to Benin traditional history was the son of Aikhalama of Ebhurhu in Esan land who rebelled against the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuakpe (formerly Prince Idova who later became Prince Ehennegha who ascended the throne instead of his old father, Prince Akennuzama who relinquished it to him) and was killed by Okizi who led the Benin troop to Esan. Aikhalarna’s wife by whom he had a son (a kid) was brought to the Oba in Benin and got converted to OIoi, thereby making Ehennua become his umwobo(stepson). She gave birth to Qba Akenzua I, thus Ehennua and Akenzua I became half-brothers. Ehennua was also Akenzua I’s ETE NE OT1N “that is a rebel brother because his (Ehennua’s) father was a rebel. This is the origin of this greeting: Koo te ten mwe (koo ete ne oten mwe), “hello my rebel relation which is frequent in Edo greeting and conversation because of its erroneous use. An example is when two persons are quarrelling and the third person now comes in as a peace maker. One of them when asked by the peace maker to let go of the .quarrel, may answer “I hon ‘te ‘ten mwe” or “ghe ze ye ore te”meaning “ I hear my rebel relation” or “don’t mind him rebel” In actual sense, the other person, with. Whom he has engaged in the quarrel is the rebel and not the peace maker. The point I am making here is that, the word ‘te’ in greeting or conversation is ignorantly used by the speakers of the language.
Ehennua assisted his brother in pulling down Ozuere the usurper and his strongholds, thereby enabling him ascend the throne as Oba Akenzua I. His reign was prosperous and that earned him the nickname “Akenzua N’Isonorho” (Akenzua the Rainy Sky) Ehennua who was always at the service of the Oba, his younger brother helped to restore peace and joy as his brother was being troubled by some anti Royalists particularly lyase Ode who was fond of harassing and killing people as well as having his crew intercept okun-highly decorated box used in isoton (a procession dance round the town taking place in traditional obsequies). It came to a point when the Oba felt enough was enough and decided to get rid of Iyase Ode. His half brother, Ehennua being a man of strength and forceful personality with the nickname ‘UTI’ successfully killed Ode on a fateful day this earned Ehnnua the praise-name “Utigbeni’. After a short while, he sought permission to go back to Ebhurhu since he was his father’s heir to succeed him to the throne and become the next Onojie. This, his brother, Oba Akenzua I vehemently refused to grant. He pleaded with his brother to remain in Benin. with him, saying “E da omwa se ovbi iye omwa rae, “and promising him a hereditary title, he conferred on him the title of Ezomo to be resident in Uzebu quarters where he seems to enjoy sovereign rights to a greater extent than any other ruler and bequeathed him privileges attractive enough to make him relinquish his Esan stool such as sharing some praise-names, having his wives being called iloi, Sons and daughters to okoro and uvbi respectively. And in order to make Ehennua still feel much at home, he allowed him adopt the family greeting of”Enaegiesan”. To interpret this means, “Owner of Esan title.” Qba Akenzua I above all bequeathed .him the right to possess Ada (the symbol of authority) hence only the Ezomo has Omuada (scepter bearer) besides the Benin Monarch. This nobility bestowed on Ehennua from whose time and turn the Ezomo title became hereditary, there is this question “Ovbi Oba re u khin ra ovbi Ezomo?” meaning “Are you a scion of the Royal family or the Ezomo’s?
ENAVBIEZE BY IYASE FAMILY
Because of the power tussle between the Oba and. Edion, the title of Iyase coined “I ya ona See uwa” meaning “With this, I surpass you” was created by Qba Ewedo who got fed up with the behavior of the Edion which to him was repulsive and felt enough was enough of their disrespect to the monarchy. Addressing them, he said “Uwa zama omwa” meaning “You pay no one deference” From this statement, the word ‘UZAMA’ was coined. Besides Iyase title, Qba Ewedo created the titles of Esogban, Uwangue, Osodin, Uso and Isekhurhe. Prior to this development, Oba Ewedo had already moved the Palace from Usama to the main City out of which Ogiamie had kept the Obas Eweka I, Uwakhuaihen and Ehenmihen who enjoyed little or no respect from Edion. In addition, Oba Ewedo seized power from Ogiamie and retrieved the Ogiso’s throne, Erhe. In protest, Ogiamie engaged him in battle at Ekiokpagha.
All Iyases that have existed in Benin up till Oba Ohen’s reign had their individual family salutations and these they and their families rendered, more so when the title was not a hereditary one. The title ‘Iyase’ originally was a Warlord and more or less Prime Minister but now, he is the Head of the Eghaevbo N’Ore. He is the spokesman of the people. The vacuum was not filled for about eight decades following the death of Iyase Emuze during Oba Ohen’s reign. Upon accession on the throne by Oba Orhogbua (Oba Esigie’s eldest son and successor) emerged an Iyase in the person of Eze of Eze-Chima from Obodo Ikem (Obbior) now in Aniocha North Local Government Area. He found favor with the monarch and had the title conferred on him, thus becoming the first non Benin on whom to be conferred the title ‘Iyase’ of the kingdom having agreed to some terms arid conditions such as adopting the family salutation of ‘Enavbieze’ (Lavbieze) with his family as identification. It had been the tradition that whoever the Oba of Benin bestowed with the title of iyase Must relinquish his family morning salutation and take on ‘Enavbieze’ (Lavbieze) including iyase N’Ohennwe up to the time of Hon. Gaius 1kuobasoyenmwe Qbasçki who was made Iyase of Benin in 1948 during the reign of Qba Akenzua II. His father, Chief Agho Ogbeide-Oyo who was bestowed with the title of ‘Obaseki’ (which became the family name even though not hereditary) by Oba Ovonramwe, was made iyase in 1914 the year Oba Eweka II ascended the throne. Chief Humphrey Omorogbe Osagie who had the title conferred on him by Qba Aknzua II maintained’ Lagiesan and, all other Iyases up to the present have retained their family morning salutations.
Family greeting (lineage identification greeting) was » not an imposition by the Qba on any family. The ways by which families formed their UKHU included the following:
(i) Through individual’s profession of his Ewae e.g. Enaumogun,, Enatose by Amaghizemwe family (Isienmwero). This family greets Enatose besides Edohen’s family and its appellation is Asaka ne o sa oghian Oba “The giant ant that stings the king’s enemy”
(¡¡) Originator’s appellation e.g. Enaogele, Enaegiesan, Enatose
(iii) Originator’s profession eg. Enabo
(iv) Originato’s habit e.g. Enagiewan
(y) The found —land’s name e.g. Enauvbe, Enaumodu
The family morning greeting has a perpetuating effect on the traditional ancestor of the family title. The salutation consisted of two parts:
The family word, and the introductory word was (E)na’ literally meaning ‘Owner of’ and expressively implying “I belong to ….. . .“ Or “I am of”. The family word for the full Ukhu salutation would take for instance, the form of’Ena iso’ meaning “I belong to or I come of Iso or Ogiso family.” In most cases, the variant of ‘n’ is now used in its stead, making the introductory word ‘la’-’Laiso’. The letters ‘n’ and l’ are used .interchangeably as in node, lode ‘yesterday’.
The simple reason why appellation is being used by the receiver to the giver — sender who renders the family greeting is that it i.e. appellation stands in the position of condiment to family greeting.
It is worthy of note here to learn that ILOI (the queens) are exempted from rendering the morning salutation Enaumogun (Laumogun) to their lord. Instead, they greet him ‘Oburhiomwe’ simply because Oba re o yaen Umogun eren. While as ‘Omonorrowa’ and as ‘Edaiken’, his wi
ves render Enaumogun (Laumogun) to him.