Enogie of Ugo N' Iyekorhionmwon
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Last Update May 16, 2021

Emokpaogbe was the eldest surviving son of his father Kalakpo, the then Enogie of Ugo in Iyekorhionmwo. He had a daring brave and indomitable spirit, but he was very ugly-looking. He was a great hunter by profession and very keen in the killing of leopards, elephants and other fierce animals.

It is customary for every Enogie of Ugo to hunt as they are all born-warriors, but Emokpaogbe had been specially forewarned in youth by his parents through the oracle that he should not hunt at the bank of the River Igbaghon (Jameison River) especially on an Eken day (a native Sunday) just to avoid an ill-fated circumstance against him.

Emokpaogbe ultimately became the Enogie of Ugo with the renowned title “Agboghidi” after the death and funeral rites of his father. A few years after, regardless of his parent’s advice or warning, Emokpaogbe wilfully went a-hunting on an unhappy Eke day, and on his hunting expedition through the forest he unfortunately found himself on the bank of the River, where to his great surprise he unexpectedly met the Nymph Igbaghon. At the sight of her, he became utterly speechless and returned home down cast.

A great horror and consternation overwhelmed his broken-hearted mother Iduzaye, who instantly invited different native Doctors in various places to treat her son, Emokpaogbe, but no success and no cure whatever. Consequently an oracle hinted that the Obi of Oboro-Uku, a most skilful Physician of his time, could effect the cure with all ease. Iduzaye the mother of Emokpaogbe was too old then to travel so Emokpaogbe was taken to Oboro-Uku by his favourite wife Emokpolo before the Obi, who accordingly effected the cure after two months treatment.

Such a speedy and miraculous recovery included Emokpaogbe to remain under the Obi at Oboro-Uku as an occult student studying higher knowledge in Medical Science for a whole year. Having graduated, and when he was about to return to Ugo his town, the Obi predicted and told Emokpaogbe that he would kill him in the future, but he himself would surely become a victim of the same fate afterwards, as it was a crime for a student to take the life of his tutor. In reply, Emokpaogbe said “Heaven forbids that I should reward your unspeakable favour to me with ingratitude. I shall ever remember and esteem it as the greatest favour done to a mortal like myself in the world. I shall especially relate your generosity to my people on my arrival home. Many thanks I beg to depart”.

Emokpaogbe was received with unbounded joy and great festivities by his old mother Iduzaye his other wives, house-members and his people in general at Ugo his capital. The next day witnessed the throng of people in his court and the feast and sacrifices of thanks-offerings at various altars and shrines of the gods. Three years after this in 1774. A.D. Oba Akengbuda twice sent troops under different Generals against Uboro-uku to avenge the murder of Adesua (Adesuwa) on the Obi, but they were defeated. On consulting an oracle the Oba was told that the Obi could easily be subdued by Emokpagbe the Enogie of Ugo, because he had studied magical arts or science under the Obi while he was at Oboro-Uku being cured of a serious malady. Special messengers were therefore sent repeatedly by the Oba to invite Emokpaogbe to Benin City in order to undertake the campaign. At first, Emokpaogbe refused the undertaking because he recollected the prediction of the Obi to him while he was a patient and an occult student under him, and pleading as an excuse to the Oba that the Obi was his benefactor and therefore he could not do it.

After much pressure, however he agreed and was eventually placed in command of a large army and marched against Uboro-uku. After terrible fighting the town was captured and the head of the Obi was sent to the Oba at Benin City. Emokpaogbe was very indignant at the rough words used against him by the Imaran (Ighama) as a result of the altercation regarding the accounts of the punitive expedition and he was also dissatisfied with the reward given him by the Oba. Consequently he returned to Ugo in a bad humour. The Oba tried to persuade him to come back and not take offence but all to no purpose.

Through industry, Emokpaogbe had previously founded two villages and populated both with his own bought slaves and pawns, all trained soldiers, amongst whom was Arasomwa his head slave and a brave war drummer. Through the advice of Arasomwa he behaved in a very unbecoming manner so much so that a serious report was lodged with the Oba against hm. He rated the price of all, goods or foodstuffs very low so that many people came there from Benin City to buy the cheapest of goods. He then had them massacred. The Oba sent for him to come to Benin City but he refused and had the messengers killed. He then decried war against the Oba, who at first refused to engage in conflict with this General who had distinguished himself in the (Oboro-Uku campaign, and offered to pardon him at all costs.

Emokpaogbe would not desist and began to harass the City. In 1775, the Oba was therefore compelled to despatch three companies of warriors - Obakina, Ighizamete and Agodo all dressed in red uniforms under the command of the Ologbose and the Imaran. They camped at Ugboko-niro, and fought several battles and (Ogboko-nosote, one of the villages allied to Ugo, was taken now Emokpaogbe lost his mother Iduzaye in the midst of the severe fighting, and had her funeral rites performed at Ugogho. On the occasion, he massacred a countless number of the Royal soldiers for the funeral. The royal troops then marched against Ugo, and a fierce battle was fought about a mile from the town Emokpaogbe was defeated, but he escaped and being hopeless of further success he drowned himself in the River Igbaghon (Janieson River) before he could be overtaken- thus the prediction of the Obi of Oburuku against Emokpaogbe was fulfilled and the end was reached.
It is said that Emokpaogbe’s favourite wife Emokpolo who had helped her husband greatly in all affairs was an influential sorceress of her days. She was in consequence brought to Benin City after the conquest. At first she was shut in the royal harem but later was sent to the Ologbose, and became very useful to him because she taught his soldiers the drilling songs or dance “Eghughuagba, one of the most famous drilling songs of Emokpaogbe Agboghidi the most renowned Enogie of Ugo.

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