Sunday 2 June 2024

Oranmiyan's Strategy in Invading Igodomigodo

Before the invasion, Oranmiyan and his men devised secret strategies. They infiltrated Igodomigodo and began having illicit sexual affairs with the daughters of the land. H. Ling Roth, in his book Great Benin: Its Customs, Art and Horrors (1903, p. 7), revealed the method of the invasion:

"He came with a few men, he came to Benin City; he went softly (slowly) into all the country; if the people were weak he fought with them and caught them; if strong, he talked cunningly with them; and he and his men sat down there and took their daughters to wives."

When the news of the pending invasion reached the strong children and relatives of Ogiamien Erebo, and aborigines through their clandestine relationships, these targeted children and aborigines secretly traveled through bush paths with the help of their sisters' lovers to spy on the invading forces. Upon discovering the extent of the preparations, some of those targeted for elimination did not return for safety reasons. Instead, they disguised themselves and established settlements in coastal areas along the Ondo Rivers, creeks up to Etinosa (now Lagos), and some neighboring West African countries. They also sent messages to their fathers, Ogiso Evian and Ogiamien Erebo, to prepare for the impending invasion of Benin.

Igodomigodo was a thriving nation, home to a diverse population of various tribes, including the Olukumi, Ijaw, Esan, Igbo, and others. However, the illicit relationships between Oranmiyan's invaders and the Igodomigodo women resulted in the birth of children who would later form the core of Ile-Ibinu and a small group of loyalists. When the invaders were granted control over a portion of Igodomigodo land, they established a rent system, paying annual tributes to the indigenous Ogiamen, the original owners of the land.

Recall that it was the son of Oranmiyan, Prince Ado (Edo) popularly known as Owomika or Owoka but corrupted to Eweka, born to him by the Egor Princess, who ascended to the throne as the Oba after a portion of the land was ceded to the Ile-Ibinu. This significant event marked the beginning of a new era in the new kingdom's history.

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