Ehennua The Ezomo
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Last Update May 9, 2021

Ehennua’s father removed from Evburhu village under Evboikhnmwi in Ishan to Okhuokhuo in Isi, Benin Division during the reign of Oba Ewuakpe. There Ehennua was born.

The father had heard much of the influential Ode, and at once went to him to beg for his protection and at the same time to place his son, Ehennua, under his guardianship to be trained up with ah necessary and possible qualifications, attainments and attributes as the “Man”. Ehennua soon proved himself as a young man of valour in every way. He did not lack in the courage and influence of Ode his master. At first, he was very much loved and admired by Ode for his surpassing strength and keenness in the management of affairs, but he hated him afterwards because of his intimacy and secret conference with Akenzua I

On one occasion he narrowly escaped un-expected death from Ode on the ground that Ehennua was conspiring against him in favour of Oba Akenzua I. Shortly after this, Ehennua left there to meet his father at Okhuokhuo. The father was proposing to go and beg Ode at Ugha to forgive his son, but he was seized with a slight fever of which he died suddenly before he could accomplish his purpose.
He was buried at the same time by son Ehennua who came to Benin City at the head of the boys of the village who were sent to bring yams to the Oba immediately after the burial. He was permanently detained by Oba Akenzua I according to a prediction of an oracle that his staying with him in the Capital would surely bring peace, success, prosperity and victory to Benin. About three years after his arrival to Benin City, he was placed in command of various armies by the Oba and won splendid victories. Every now-and-then he gained a miraculous victory in any campaign he undertook.

Ehennua ultimately overcame Ode, the greatest enemy of Akenzua I. He won not less than thirty one battles and when he returned home from a long expedition on one occasion, he was awarded the title of Ezomo of Uzebu with all necessary regalia of his office, namely: a Headgear, Swords bearers with brass Anklet, lloi with the Ukpokho (a curious plait of hairs like that of the Oba’s wives), Ugbeku, a resort for the Oba’s wives, and Ihan, a deep pit or hole where the human victims sacrificed were deposited in those days; above all with the soldiers who went with him to the war to be his subjects. The title Ezomo was made hereditary in his family forever. This took place about 1740. Ehennua was still living after the death of Oba Akenzua I to the accession of his eldest son Eresoyen to the throne.

Eresoyen had an eldest son by an Uzebu woman under the Ezomo, and when he was preparing to invest him with the title “Edaiken”, the Ezomo Ehennua entirely refused’ to give his consent. He gave as his reason that he could not allow any child born by his female subjects for an Oba or any ordinary man to be taken away because such a practice would tend to depopulate Uzebu his quarter of the City. Therefore it was enacted by the Oba that any child born by the female subjects of the Oba of Benin for the male subjects of the Ezomo should not be given away to them.

This was one of the substantial causes and the origin of the antagonism between Oba Eresoyen and the Ezomo Ehennua throughout their lives, and has been traditionally and tenaciously kept by every Oba of Benin and every Ezomo of Uzebu to the present day. Eresoyen in consequence of this ceased the rights of having Ugbeku and brass anklet for the Sword’s bearer from Ezomo Odia, the eldest son and successor of Ezomo Ehnnua after Ehennua’s death.

The following are the descendants of Ehennua the first Ezomo of this hereditary line:-

¡.    Ehennua about 1740 A.D.
¡¡.   Odia.
¡¡¡. Ekenneza.
IV. Erebo.
V. Osifo.
VI. Uzama.
VII. Osarogiabon.
V¡¡¡ Omoruyi. 1933

J.U.Egharevba Foot Note: The Ezomo “Omoruyi” tried to trace his forefathers or Ehennua’s origin from the Benin Royal family, but the universally accepted or authentic tradition is that Ehennua’s father, Iza, was one of the sons of the then Enogie of Avburu in Evboihkinmwin in Ishan who thence migrated to Okhuokhuo in Isi, Benin Division - hence the family .morning salutation “Lagiesan”. Ehennua was placed under Ode the Iyase.

All must understand that to be born a prince is not by luck but by chance or accident. Evian was not of royal family when he became a leader of the Binis after the close of the Empire of the first monarchy about 1131 A.D. Chiefs Osaghae the Osague and the Obaseki were not of the royal stock respectively became leaders of the Binis after the fall of the country and deportation of the last independent king of Benin Ovonramwen in 1897. Similarly Oliver Cromwell in 1653 and Napoleon Bonaparte were not of the royal family especially when the latter became the Emperor of France in 1804. There is no glory in tracing one’s origin from a royal family at all but deeds reveal the man. As was said by Sir Christopher Wren -“If you require a monument to me look round you”.

Therefore suffice it to say that Ehennua the first Ezomo of his hereditary line gained the higher post of honour by military talent and achievement not by royal blood. In my own opinion, it is foolish to say that a leader is not a king, because most of the leaders do things well and better than the kings have done.
Consequently no good can be hoped for from modern selfish kings who usually enrich themselves from the public spoils and betray the nation for their own beneficial purposes. A leader has interest in a state than has a king who the measure of autocracy, and adoration of his subjects.

Ehennua the Ezomo conquered not less than thirty towns and villages. Ezomo Odia conquered twelve towns and villages. The Ezomo Ekenneza was a keen and rich trader. The Ezomo Erebo took twelve towns and villages also. The Ezomo Osifo took five towns and villages. There was a perfect peace during the days of the Ezomo Uzama. The Ezomo Osarogiagbon took seven towns and many villages.

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