Agban (Ezomo of Benin Kingdom)
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Last Update May 1, 2021

At the close of the reign of Oba Orhogbua to that of Ehengbuda lived Agban, one of the most prosperous and renowned warriors of the Ezomos of Uzebu, Benin City. Two years after. Orhogbua’s arrival home from, the wars on the sea coast, about 1577, he found most of Obis of Eka and others on this side of the river Niger in the state of rebellion and neglecting, their usual tribute to the Empire of Benin He therefore dispatched Agban the Ezomo to each of them a sharp lesson and bring them to their senses. It was indeed the longest expedition which Agban had undertaken, and it lasted over two years, But it was successful for he captured their towns one after another in the form of depredation. Ogboeka the name which was changed to Agban, (corrupted to Agbor) after the conqueror’s name by the order of the Oba, was the first captured.

Having returned home, one day while he was giving the account of his victorious campaign to the succeeding Oba Ehengbuda in the palace, there was a sudden terrible roar of thunder. Agban was very angry and in consequence left the palace. He said to his servants, “Build me a scaffold and l will wage war on the thunder in the sky which has dared to interrupt me while I was speaking to the Oba”. So he built a very high scaffold or tower to which he tied many calabashes of palm oil and set them on fire.

Tradition says that as the flames went up in the air, there alternately came a down-pour of rain and some thunder bolts fell from the sky, which was taken as a sign that he had gained the victory over the thunder. When the burning scaffold fell the pinnacle touched the ground at a spot about three miles from Benin City on tie Benin-Sakpoba road while the base of the scaffold was at Idunmwerie. Two Ikhinmwin trees were planted at both places, and they are still known as Aro Ezomo Agban or Ezomo Agban’s shrine. Everyone in the City who is invested with a title has to visit the shrine at Idunmwerie to honour the spirit of Agban the Ezomo, and pray to him for prosperity and renown.

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