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The Story of Ekaladerhan: was Oduduwa Benin or Yoruba?

Hi guys!


This post is a very controversial one. I've been anxious about posting it because I know a lot of people would be unhappy about it. However, I believe we need to have these conversations about our history to try and know is the truth and what isn't.


While on my recent trip to Benin to explore Benin culture, on the top of my list was learning about the history of the Kingship. Benin is well-known to have an ancient empire and a very rich history. For decades, Yoruba and Benin people have debated whether, a Benin prince became the Ooni of Ife or if a Yoruba prince was given to the Benins to become their king.



While in Benin, I visited the National museum and asked for a special tour of some of the historical sites relating to the kingship. Unfortunately we were not able to asses most of these sites because they were not open to tourists. However, the interesting stories I was told in the car while going to these places, more than made up for it.


We started talking about the two major dynasties, the Benin kingdom has had, the Ogiso era and the oba era, that we still have today. According to Benin history, the last Ogiso to rule Igodomigodo (the former name of Benin) is alleged to be Oduduwa's father, who was called Owodo. Owodo inherited the throne from his elder brother and after his brother translated, he decided to also inherit his wives. The oldest of his brother's wives was not happy about this and decided to cause problems for Owodo. From then on, he could not have any more children. However with his first wife, he already had a son called Ekaladerhan.


According to the story, his brother's first wife which had now become his senior wife knowing she was the cause of the problems, framed his only child and heir, Ekaladerhan. She told Owodo, the Ogiso (king) that the diviner she visited said that his only son, Ekaladerhan had to be sacrificed for the problems in Benin to end. The king believed her and ordered some of his guards to take IEkaladerhan to the forest to be killed. So you may ask why do the Benins believe that this child became Oduduwa? You can hear more in the videos at the bottom of this post.


Now, I don't claim to know what is true and what is not. However, what I believe after hearing both the Yoruba and Benin versions of this story is that Oduduwa could not have been the first man in Yoruba land, let alone the world. In Yoruba land, we believe that Oduduwa was the first of the Orishas. However, the first man to live could not have come to earth in the 12th century. It simply makes no sense. Whether or not, Oduduwa was really Ekaladerhan, I believe that is something that will always be contested. Even if he wasn't the first man in Yoruba land, that does not still prove that he was really Ekaladerhan, a prince of Benin. However, I would love to hear you guys' opinion on this. Please leave your opinions in the comments.


Here is a shortened version of the story. However for people who love history and want to know more, there is a longer version below.





4 Comments


Ibrahim Olalekan
Ibrahim Olalekan
Jun 04

All these story about creation are all lies. Including Adam and Eve story, nobody knows how this world started in as much as other kind of human lived before we modern human. It’s means world existed before all these lies came. Modern human have been existing since about 60,000yrs and the first specie of old human lived for over 200,000yrs.

Except every tribe was created differently by different gods. They always tryna make it make sense but once they mention the existence of world, it stops making sense because world been existing before their assumptions.

If Obatala or Oduduwa drop from heaven why didn’t they climb back to heaven? Or we should believe in Israelite history and believes that …

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Brother Bob
Brother Bob
May 11

Yes, I have been seeking an opportunity to discuss this topic with someone for a long time! Firstly, I must clarify that I am of Yoruba origin. Yoruba people generally strongly oppose the notion that Oduduwa might have migrated from Benin. There are various versions of the story of Oduduwa's origin. However, most Yoruba individuals are unwilling to entertain the idea originating from the Benin. Instead, they find it more believable that Oduduwa descended with a chain and a cock, or that he travelled from the Middle East in Mecca, Egypt, or Babylon. A typical Yoruba person would sooner believe any of these narratives than entertain the possibility of Oduduwa's origin from Benin, given the historical context.

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Michael Oyejobi
Michael Oyejobi
Jun 26, 2023

Hi, i understand and appreciate your neutrality. It shows how logical yorubas are.


I want you to know that this narrative of benin is a recent one and deeper in politics, the issue is most people don't bother to find out the backstory of some of this narratives and take it to be an eternal debate, which its actually not.


Below is a clarification of the controversy surrounding Oduduwa and the pseudo narratives of Benin with sources you can check yourself.


"Oduduwa didn’t come to Ifẹ from some distant foreign land. Oke-Ọra is where he came from, a hilly settlement settlement East of the ife main bowl and still part of the larger ife itself. This fact has been long…

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Osamudiamen Omede
Osamudiamen Omede
Apr 20
Replying to

The benin people of that era recognised their son Ekeladerhan which the ife people knew as oduduwa, the benin people came to ife inseach of their son and asked him to come take over his father throne, due to old age, he sent his son oranmiyan.

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C3735453-E195-4AC3-B3BF-0EC5CE815F9C_edited.jpg

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.

 

In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.

 

That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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