sculptural representation ofOba Eweka
Bronze plaque illustrating a battle led by Eweka I, Oba of Benin. Photo: The Yoruba Benin Museum

Eweka; Second Oba of Benin kingdom in present day Nigeria who reigned for 35 years. At his demise, his two children ruled in succession. They were Oba: Uwa-khuanhen c. 1235AD-1243AD and Oba Ehenmihen c. 1243AD-1255AD. Eweka I was the son of Oromiyan who became the was the first oba to rule the kingdom with the assistance of his maternal grandfather, Ogiegor. Oromiyan himself was sent by his father, Oduduwa, after the banishment of Owodo; the last Ogiso under the Ogiso Dynasty, to Benin to rule the kingdom.

Legend of the Benin kingdom cites Oduduwa as Ikaladerhan, the man who migrated to become monarch in Ile-Ife. It was believed that Oranmiyan (or Oromiyan in Benin language, got to Benin in 1170 AD. He was said to have named Benin as Ibinu. Unable to speak the Benin dialect, a gulf existed between him and the people. Thus, the reality dawned on him that only someone who understood the culture could pilot the affairs of the town[i].

[i] Nation October 16, 2016

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer