The Origin of Ezechime dynasty


Eze Chime who ruled over Ovio people at the time of the Benin invasion of Ubulu kingdom and the subsequent exodus from Obior, had thus become the starting point and centre of a new epoch in the life of the people. It is no surprise, therefore, that the communities, which evolved as a result of the exodus from Obior, were and have continued to be known as Umu-Eze-Chime — the children of Eze Chime (children of King Chime). Eze Chime was therefore, as has now become evident, of Benin ancestry. But, according to Okwechime, he was not the one who led the flight from Benin. The exodus from Benin took place no less than five centuries before his time.

The Origin of Ezechime dynasty

Afigbo, on the other hand, claims that “a tradition has recently come to light that Chima, the legendary ancestor of the Onitsha people, who the latter believed to have been a Benin refugee, was an Aro oracle agent and slave dealer. Chima is a name encountered mostly among the Aro, but this tradition just referred to require further detailed and critical investigation”.

However, Afigbo believes that Eze Chime was neither a Benin warrior as some traditions claim nor a priest-king as were the kings Nri. He was also not a great traditional medicine man or diviner as were Ezemu of Ubulu kingdom and Eze Okwunye of Idumuje kingdom. If he were, present day diviners would probably still be invoking his departed spirit in their divination rites as they still do to the spirits of Ezemu and Eze Okwunye. Rather, like his ancestors before him, Eze Chime was a descendant of Ovio and a peaceful wealthy and industrious king who ruled and reigned in a magnanimous fashion and taught his children the virtues of healthy communal life and filial love.


The establishment of other kingdoms through migration


Nevertheless, one should not brush aside emigrations, which as earlier noted by Egharevba, were very common in those days because of the atrocious hearts of the people.

For example, during Ozolua’s time (about 1481 AD) there were many migrations from Benin. The Ora people are descendants of Uguan, one of the sons of Ozolua whom he left behind when he returned from exile. Sobe (Uhobe), Ijagba and Uhie were founded after Ozolua’s death by some of the soldiers who went with him to the Uzea war. Ifon was founded by the soldiers of Ozolua and eight people who migrated from Yoruba-land. The Ishans are early Benin people and their Enigie or Enije were mostly princes of Benin, sent there as chiefs by various Obas.

It is also instructive that as a result of emigrations attendant to wars, many towns and communities were founded by emigrants from Benin. For instance, after the defeat of Arhuanran (Arhuanran was actually born first before Osawe, who later became Oba Esigie, but his birth was not reported to the Oba until many hours after the announcement of the birth of Osawe, so Arhuanran was regarded as the junior according to custom) by Oba Esigie (Osawe) in the fiercest battle of Okuo-Ukpoba (Battle of Blood) in which Oni-oni, the only son of Arhuanran, was killed, and to avoid being taken prisoner, Arhuanran drowned himself in the lake Odighi n‘Udo.

After this victory, Esigie had peace for some months, until Osemwughe, the Iyase of Udo, to avenge the defeat and death of his master, challenged the Oba to fight. So troops were sent against Udo once more. In this campaign a series of battles was fought and the town of Udo destroyed. Osemwughe and most of the rebels fled. Esigie sent soldiers to pursue them under the leadership of Odobo and Aile. The most important of their camps were at Akotogbo (Eko-Odobo) and Ikale (Eko-Aile), the places being named after these generals. From these camps, repeated attacks were made on the enemy, and after a short time Osemwughe and the other rebels surrendered and sought the Oba’s mercy. They were forgiven and took the oath of allegiance. They decided to live in their new home, but Osemwughe had to pay a yearly tribute to the Oba as his overlord.


These people were called Emwa n’Udo (the Udo deserters) which was later contracted to Ondo. The name of the Chief Osemwughe, is mispronounced Osemawe by the people of Ifore, Ife and other adjacent Yoruba towns and this is the title by which all rulers of Ondo have since been known.

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