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Oba Obanosa (1804 ? 1816 CE)
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written By Osahon Naiwu

Oba Obanosa (1804 ? 1816 CE), was Prince Osifo, Oba Akengbuda's son. There was a great commotion known as the Okpughe during his reign as Oba. As a handsome dandy, before he was crowned king, he felt he had a rival whose name was Osopakharha. The prince hated Osopakharha for his popularity, guts, flamboyance, and for what the prince described as his pretensions. The problem really was that they were look-alike young men, competing for influence and space in public esteem. Osopakharha was the son of the Esogban of Benin. The family lived at Ugbague quarters and there was nothing special about that. Osopakharha was the warlock of a witches coven known as Eniwanren-Aso (the Elders of the night). The prince's parents were the patron and matron respectively of the coven. Even after Oba Akengbuda´s death, the prince's mother, Iyoba Ose, remained the matron of the coven. Osopakharha hated the prince for hating him, and for trying to clip his wings as if he was his slave or underling.

Before becoming Oba, against the strong advice of the king and queen, the prince kept threatening Osopakharha publicly that he would order Osopakharha's death on becoming king. Most people took the prince's threats against Osopakharha as unworthy of the prince and expected him to out grow it. The prince was generally highly regarded even by his elders who saw him as intelligent, wise and with great promise, and nicknamed him Obanosa, (Oba with the wisdom and attributes of God). He chose his nickname as his official royal name at his coronation. Not to be outdone, and perhaps to further provoke the king, Osopakharha immediately chose to be called Oba Aso, (meaning the king of the night). The king of the night continued to match the Oba in flair and grandeur in social space, and to make things worse, became the lover of Iyoba Ose, and was frequently at her palace at Uselu. The order to kill Oba Aso led to heavy street fighting, accompanied by a great deal of public posturing and bravado on both sides. Five thousand people died and all the streets adjoining Ugbague quarters were sacked, and for decades permanently deserted. Oba Obanosa took ill immediately after Oba Aso's death and the source was oracularly traced to Iyoba Ose. Obanosa ordered that the Iyoba Ose be stoned to death with molded bricks of esorhue (sea chalk), at her Uselu palace in public view.

Obanosa then rushed the minimum traditional burial rites required of him as the first son, to enable the mother's soul rest in peace. A few days after burying his mother, he too died, as Osopakharha, the king of the night, had repeatedly warned would happen in these words: ?obo no biekhu, kevbe ekhu, era gba yowa.? Meaning, ´the hand that opens a door goes with the door in the direction the door takes.

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