MEETING THE OONI OF IFE
26 FEBRUARY 2020
[Photographed, Present day Ooni of Ife, Yoruba Kingdom, Nigeria].
It was an honor to meet the Ooni of Ife on 24 February 2020. We met him later on at the Palace. Ile Ife is a great ancient place where the motif of the Culture, Olokun is situated at the forefront. We met the Palace officials and also were given a personal tour of the mini museum.
It was a great pleasure to meet the actor who played Ovarioman, Oba of Benin Kingdom, that was sacked by the British.
His name is Mr Adeyemi Oyewo. Also an accomplished Lecturer at the Obafemi Awlowo University. The biggest University in the whole of Nigeria.
How very embarassing. When are we going to stop this kind of annoying behaviour as British people. I'm very embarassed by this, and the looting of the Palace, was totally unneccessary from a Cultural view point. I drop my Britishness because of nonsense like this, and find it annoying that I'm carrying Citizenship of of these groups of people. But, I didn't get any choice in the matter. Must I be British by force.
[Photographed, Miss Chermiah Adunni Hart. Leader of the Golden Era, since 2012]
The history of Ile Ife is also strongly linked to Benin. The story of Ovamariovon is that once upon a time, there was a Benin Oba who had one of the largest armies. The British at athe time wanted to visit the Oba, but could not see him due to a festival that the Oba would keep, and his guardsmen would guard him fearlessly. They retalliated against their penetration and chopped off the heads of those British soliders, sending them back with their generals chopped off head. This didn't go down well with the British Monorchy at the time.
As we all know what Britiain are like, they took it to the next level. Britian gathered up all her men, and Soliders to make war on the rampage. They surrounded the City of Benin, sacked the Oba, and burnt the City to the Ground. They took its people and sold themoff into slavery, and looted the Cities Palaces, including artwork. That is my rendition, and the story that I've known, However, I'm going to relay you the facts, from the mouth of the Oba himself, who was reigning at the time and was the cause of the Benin Kingdoms Oba impeachment.
Benin has not recovered since.
It still has alot of its traditions, but it is a very different place. It has not garnered the type of power it had then, since the raid. Nevertheless, still steepd in a rich history and narrative of Kingship & Rulership.
Facts about OBA Story of Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, the Oba of Benin Who was Conquered and Exiled to Calabar by the British.
Here is the story according to our sources. It is probably way different from mine.
Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (ruled 1888 – 1897), also called Overami, was the Oba (king) of the Kingdom of Benin up until the British punitive expedition of 1897.
Born in circa 1857, he was the son of Oba Adolo he took the name Ovonramwen Nogbaisi at his enthronement in 1888, every Oba took a new name at his coronation, the name translates as Ovonramwen meaning "The Rising Sun" and Nogbaisi meaning "which spreads over all."
At the end of the 19th century, the Kingdom of Benin had managed to retain its independence and the Oba exercised a monopoly over trade which the British found irksome. The territory was coveted by an influential group of investors for its rich natural resources such as palm-oil, rubber and ivory. The kingdom was largely independent of British control, and pressure continued from figures such as Vice-Consul James Robert Phillips and Captain Gallwey (the British vice-Consul of Oil Rivers Protectorate) who were pushing for British annexation of the Benin Empire and the removal of the Oba.
A British invasion force headed by 'Phillips' set out to overthrow the Oba in 1896. The force's weapons were hidden in baggage, with troops disguised as bearers. Phillips plan was to gain access to Ovonramwen's palace by announcing that he intended to negotiate. Ovonramwen's messengers issued several warnings not to violate Benin territorial sovereignty, claiming he was unable to see Phillips due to ceremonial duties. Having been warned on several further occasions on the way, Phillips sent his stick to the Oba, a deliberate insult designed to provoke the conflict that would provide an excuse for British annexation.
Phillip's expedition was ambushed and all but two were killed. Subsequently a military operation against Benin in 1897 led by Harry Rawson resulted in the burning of Benin City, the destruction and looting of the royal palaces, and the deaths of untold numbers of its inhabitants. Although the British had orders to hang the Oba, Ovonramwen escaped, but returned to the city to formally surrender on 5 August 1897. When Ovonramwen returned to the city, after six months spent in evading capture in the forest, he was richly dressed and laden with coral beads and accompanied by an entourage of seven hundred to eight hundred people.
He attempted to escape exile by offering Consul General Ralph Moor 200 puncheons (barrels) of oil worth £1500 [£183000.00 today] and to disclose where his 500 ivory tusks were buried [today's value: Up to £275,625,500.00] however this offer was dismissed as Mr. Moor had already discovered them.
Ovonramwen was exiled to Calabar with his two of his wives, Queen Egbe and Queen Aighobahi, and died there around the turn of the new year in 1914. Ovonramwen was eventually buried in the grounds of the royal palace in Benin City. He was succeeded by his first son and legitimate heir, Prince Aguobasimwin, who ruled as Eweka II.
And now that you've heard this interesting story, why not visit the town they call Benin.
Come and visit hitorical cities, like Ile Ife, Where it all started.
Don'tmiss out on great Culture, but also the feeling of a thriving African Community with possibilities and a rich history of Royal Monarchy to explore.
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