- 1.TRUTH OR MYTH? REAL STORY BEHIND OBA AKENZUA THE SECOND OF BENIN KINGDOM GOING TO JOIN HIS ANCESTORS.
I have been in Benin for a while and every day I get more fascinated with Benin traditions.
This has led me to shed more light on the controversy of Oba Akenzua the second of Benin kingdom going to join his ancestors.
I was asking a friend of mine about some Benin traditions and the story he gave me sparked up my curiosity and made me do my research.
The story which ended up being a myth goes thus:
Every great kingdom has its own taboo and traditions, and the Benin kingdom is not exempted.
For many years in Benin kingdom, it was a taboo for the King of Benin to see the Crown Prince.
In those days, immediately the Crown Prince (the senior son) is birthed, he has to be taken away from the palace and never to set eyes on his father.
He can only come back to the palace after the king dies because it was believed that there were some spiritual attachment for two kings to be in the same palace and to set eyes on each other.
The child is taken overseas and will only be brought back only when it is time for him to be King.
This kept going on for years until Oba Erediawa became king.
Prior to this, when Oba Akenzua the second was king, his son Oba Erediawa was in overseas as was the custom and after years of not seeing his father (Oba Akenzua the second), Oba Erediawa got tired and sent his father a message.
Do not forget that at this time, Oba Erediawa was already getting old and was growing grey hair.
Confused on know how to reach his father without breaking tradition, Oba Erediawa sent his father a strand of his gray hair to let him know that he is not getting any younger.
Some years after this incident Oba Akenzua joined his ancestors in 1978.
A lot of people believed that his death was caused because he saw a part of his son which was against Benin tradition.
Immediately Oba Erediawa became king, he did a lot of sacrifices to change the tradition so he could meet his child one on one.
Even though the current king (Oba Ewuare the second) lived most of the time outside Nigeria, he met with his father (Oba Erediawa) a lot of time before he joined his ancestors in 2017.
It is an interesting story to start with and this is the story everyone knows or believe to be true.
I also believed it as it is quite fascinating.
My curiosity to know if it was the strand of hair the Great King Erediawa saw that killed him, led me to actually finding out the truth.
I will just have to burst your bubble as the previous story is just a myth, there is no record of this ever happening in the history of Benin Kingdom.
Here is the truth you probably do not want to hear.
There is no tradition that says a crown prince cannot see his father.
In actual fact, the Crown Prince grows up in Benin kingdom.
Before modernization, the prince grows up and stays in the palace until the time permitted by custom, when he will be taken to a big chief within the city from where the young prince will learn the administration of the kingdom.
He is free to see his father any time he deems fits.
A proverb will say, two captains cannot be on the same ship and this is just one of the cases.
The crown prince is not supposed to be in the same palace with the king, but that is not because of any spiritual background.
Anywhere the king is most especially in a public gathering, the Crown Prince is not expected to be there.
This is just to ensure that unity remains and none of them feels threatened by the others’ presence.
I know you were probably not expecting this twist but this is actually the truth.
This automatically means that Oba Akenzua the second went to meet his anscestors at the right and appropriate time and not due to any incident that did not happen.
To further butress my point, above is a picture of Oba Akenzua the second with his Son – Oba Erediawa.
Special thanks goes to Chief David Edebiri, OON (the esogban of Benin kingdom), an intellectual man who is concerned about propagating the culture of the Benin Kingdom.
My gratitude is not complete without thanking Osifo Lugard – the person who gave me the myth amd made me do my research.
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Do you think there is something I left out? Do drop a comment.