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THE GREAT IRRUA- UROMI WAR, 1892 -3

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Omanmoje was a  daughter of a Prince of Uromi who was a brother of the then Onojie of Uromi (OKOLO, 1873 -1901).When she had Osobase, the first son of Eromosele, the Onojie inhumanly told her that was enough for her, and she was left to pine away, uncared for in that great harem. Unable to continue suffering in her youth, she fled to her home, Uromi; and to make matters worse for her home, re-married. That was more than a cheek for Eromosele, the man who never drank water unless it was boiling! War broke out between Irrua and Uromi, with Obeidu bearing the brunt of the free shooting. So too was Ivue, Uromi; that land of great warriors, was thoroughly outraged and she decided to settle these skirmishes once and for all she prepared a great army to come and sack lrrua on a certain day. Unfortunately, a traitor came and hinted war leader Eimuhi (after whom Eko lrrua was named). He in turn went and informed his overlord Eromosele. All able-bodied men in Irrua were gathered and before dawn on that: day Uromi planned to pay a liquidating surprise attack on Irrua, the Irrua army infested all the bush near Obeidu like driver ants. Then came columns and columns of Uromi warriors sufficient to drop all the heads of Eromosele’s subjects before an OGOGO KHO-O could be cried in Eguare square.These were allowed to pass and then Irrua attacked from behind. Realising that it would be foolish to run forwards towards Irrua, Uromi turned backwards only to be mowed down with matchets and Dane guns. It was a blood bath for Uromi. The great AKAIKAWO of Uromi was captured by OJEAGA of Eidenu and that very evening he died on the stake in Eguare Irrua.

Realising the gravity of his loss in men and leaders, Okolo, the then Onojie, sued for peace. Eromosele agreed to his terms of peace which consisted of a woman to die in place of Princess Omanmoje; one of Qkolo’s daughters, as a wife in lieu of the  deserting Omanmoje, the return of Omanmoje herself as well as her son from her present husband-all making four heads in place of one run- away woman.

Eruigbe, the woman sent to replace the head of Princess Omanmoje at the executioner’s stand, was so beautiful that the influential queen Mother Ebuade, successfully begged for her life to be spared. Unuebholo, the Princess Ojiuromi  Okolo sent, was of course appropriated as a wife, while both Omanmoje and the son (name withheld) were taken back into the harem. Omanmoje was fully forgiven as evidenced by the fact that she later had a daughter named IKHEILEN (I wouldn’t have known) I have used real names except the Prince to save embarrassment.

THE UDO - EWATTO WAR OF 1870:
This also illustrates why divorce was rather uncommon in Esan. Eiyoko, the wife of the brave EIDENOJIE who became OJIE -UDO in 1865, deserted her lawful husband and made for home - Idunsenun in Ewatto. Over confident in himself Eidenojie was reckless though he was followed by twelve armed men. He walked right into the compound where his estranged wife was, an affront to the people of Ewatto For the sake of one woman the feared Eidenojie escaped with his head, shaken though still standing on his shoulders, but his stalwarts’ heads rolled on the Ewatto ground and Eiyoko passed into legend.

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