The Connection Between Ancient Benin And The Igbo Aborigines Of Ile Ife

Ancient Benin (Igodomigodo) had a stage when they asked the Obatala the Oba Igbo and Osere Igbo of Uhe (ancient name for Ile Ife, which was then ruled by its Igbo Aborigines) to send rulers to them.

Uhe accepted the offer. Many of the rulers (Ogiso) of Igodomigodo, starting from Obagodo, were

Igbo aboriginal princes from Ife.

This is why part of the remains of departed Ogisos traditionally used to be sent back to Ife. The word Ogiso means “Sky King”. This is akin to Obatala the Sky Father, and the “Igwe” royal title in today’s Igbo Land, which means ” Sky”.

This arrangement continued until Benin decided they wanted independence again. That was when Ogiso Owodo (a Benin indigenous chief and the regent to Ogiso Prince Chima Obatala became first an Ogiso, then the first Oba of Benin.

He had a disagreement with Prince Chima Obatala- later Eze Chima, who was the last Ogiso from outside Benin. This was during the Ovi-Igbo-Ovi-Edo crisis.

But it was quickly resolved peacefully and amicably – Ogiso Owodo allowed Eze Chima to peacefully go with the Obatala Igbo lands in Niger Delta, while Eze Chima allowed Ogiso Owodo to become ruler of Edo.

This was following the Igbo displacement from Ife by Oduduwa who then established the reigning Yoruba dynasty there.

I leave you with excerpts from Roskiki of about the architectural glory of ancient Benin. Did you know that ancient Benin City had underground drainage & streetlights centuries before any city in Europe? See excerpts below:

There are numerous accounts of ancient Benin by European visitors to the city which tell us what the city was all about: The UK newspaper, the Guardian states:

”With its mathematical layout and earthworks longer than the Great Wall of China, Benin City was one of the best planned cities in the world when London was a place of ‘thievery and murder’.”

The paper further states that ”Benin City was also one of the first cities to have a semblance of street lighting. Huge metal lamps, many feet high, were built and placed around the city, especially near the king’s palace. Fuelled by palm oil, their burning wicks were lit at night to provide illumination for traffic to and from the palace. When the Portuguese first “discovered” the city in 1485, they were stunned to find this vast kingdom made of hundreds of interlocked cities and villages in the middle of the African jungle. They called it the “Great City of Benin”….. Indeed, they classified Benin City as one of the most beautiful and best planned cities in the world.

In 1691, the Portuguese ship captain Lourenco Pinto observed: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon; all the streets run straight and as far as the eye can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king, which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no doors to their houses”.


By OzoIgboNdu1 of Igbo Defender

Digital marketer and Marketing analyst