Oba Esigie And The Portuguese
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Written By Leo Oronsaye (Last Update June 16, 2023)

There's no records, Portuguese or Benin that says Oba Esigie was educated in the format of western education, it was rather his son crowned Orhogbua after him, that was a beneficiary of the Portuguese education! Though Oba Esigie could speak some smattering Portuguese because of his close friendship with the Portuguese Captain, Alfonso D'Aveiro and as a matter of fact, he wasn't educated in the western sense of it! The issue of western education's incursion into the ancient kingdom as at that period,was necessitated by Oba Esigie, been impressed by the awesome power of the Arquebus as the early guns were called, especially at the pivotal role they played in the destruction of the sneak Idah Army at the famous battle of Ok'Edo in 1515, asked D'Aveiro to furnish him with this noveau weapons, to enable him equip a regiment of Benin warriors! A request that D'Aveiro declined, citing the half century old Pope Nicholas's Papal Bull, that forbade the sale of to weapons and other strategic materials to non Christian States! And Oba Esigie desirous to have his hands on the never before seen wonder weapon in his realm, eagerly expressed his intention to christianize himself and even his entire kingdom, if this was what it would take to acquire the Arquebus! And to prove his commitment to christianization, Oba Esigie had himself and his entire household baptized into the Catholic faith, including his teenage Heir apparent Orhogbua, who he put forward to receive the priesthood in the faith! Thus the young prince left the shores of his native kingdom of Benin, in the company of D'Aveiro, in his return journey to his country Portugal, where he passed through the Portuguese rudimentary education and later was enrolled in a Seminary in Lisbon, to train as a Catholic priest and after many years of stringent training in Spiritual formation and personal discipline, he eventually got ordained and practised as a priest in Portugal and after which he returned to his native home country, Benin where he also practised for many years until his father Oba Esigie joined his ancestors! And at his own coronation as an Oba, he was compelled by the exigencies of his kingly duties to relinquish his priestly obligations! From then on, priestly duties were now handled or administered by the 'Ohen'Osas', that's a crop of native Benin ordained Catholic priests! Orhogbua's western or Portuguese education was of immense advantage especially in his bilateral relations with the Portuguese as he was able to secure their assistance in the procurement of firearms which enabled him to successfully conclude the complete subjugation of the entire coastline of the Mahin/Badagry axis, an imperialist design initiated by his fathers before him, that had degenerated into protracted conflict because the indigenous inhabitants of the area were prone to insurrections! And this prompted the maintenance of a permanent garrison of troops in a camp, 'Eko' in Benin language to act as a deterrence to further insurrections!

Oba Orhogbua in appreciation of the Portuguese role in his successful military campaign, granted them unrestricted monopoly of trade to the area which they named Lagos, because of its topographical similarities with their home country's main port of Lagos in Portugal!

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