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IN retrospect, the ancient Kingdom of Benin had been blessed with heroines. Some of these historical characters are Idia and Emotan an elderly Benin woman in the days of Okoro Ogun who later became Oba Ewuare the great in about 1440 A.D., This senior citizen was a petty trader in sit opposite the Oba market.
To be frank, this soft headed individual was instrumental to the successful enthronement of Okoro Ogun as Oba Ewuare in Benin Kingdom because she was sympathetic with Okoro Ogun who was banished from the Kingdom by his subjects. Despite the fact that he was the heir apparent to his ancestral throne.
His banishment prevented him from becoming the King for some period of time. According to my research findings Okoro Ogun sent his younger brother Uwaifiokun who was equally banished with him to the city from their hideout for sight seeing and to come back with the situation report of current events.
Regrettably, Okoro Uwaifiokun decided to usurpe the cherished throne with the aid of senior chiefs Eghavbonare and consequently planned out a scheme of a total annihilation of his elder brother despite this clandestine motive of Okoro Uwaifiokun and the senior chiefs Ogun was later crown Oba Ewuare Ogidigan of Benin Empire (signifying Ewuare the Great King of Benin Kingdom).
Bronze Head of Queen Iden
It is worth mentioning here that these two women of high esteem in the ancient Benin Kingdom have been immortalized as both have schools named after them in the City centre. The statue of Emotan at Ibiwe Opposite the Oba market where she was buried is now a tourist attraction. In addition, it also benefit from the homage of every titled chief in the Kingdom as well as that of all noble Benin person during the funeral of their demised parents.
Comparatively, Queen Idia also has a secondary school named after her and she is also known to have created the Ekasso royal dances. This dance now features prominently in the funeral ceremony of a demise Oba “of a broken chalk” she is the primary queen mother to be vested as Iyoba nu Uselu with her private chiefs in her royal palace at Uselu.
Statue of Emotan
After her migration to Uselu as the traditional head of that community. It became compulsory for every other successive queen mother who by virtue of her status is the mother of a reigning king in Benin Kingdom must be so esteemed with the Iyoba title and given her own palace at Uselu neighbourhood.
Imaguero is another woman of historical significance in Benin Kingdom. She was the wife of Chief Oliha. During the reign of Oba Esigie. She was used by his majesty to attest to the fact that women can be unfaithful at critical period as she succumbed to the passes of Oba’s porter, named Uke who deceived or entice her with some coral beads only to end up in sexual activities.
Although one might cast aspersion on her actions of derogatory to good matrimonial behaviour still her character is outstanding as a proof of life reality in the belief of a royal predecessor in the kingdom, that women can be very flexible and their decision can be turned around at any given circumstances.
This unfaithful wife of Chief Oliha has been…