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Tribute to Oba Dahunsi: Odogbo of Ode Omi

Oba Amese was the first Odogbo of Omi. He was the son of Eweka the first of Benin in the early 13th Century, precisely around 1210. The heir to the throne of Benin was through succession from the first son. There was an heir to the throne already before the birth of Odogbo. Odogbo’s birth was attended by some mysteries. He was born with a sword in one hand and a thunderbolt in the other. These mysteries prevented the father’s servants who were eunuchs from revealing the birth of the boy to the father. He was kept in a dustbin while the palace officials deliberated on what was to be done to the baby. Some of them decided to get rid of the baby.

One of them declared: ‘let the devil push one of you to touch the baby.’ That was where the name of the baby Odogbo derived his name: ki odo o gbe enikan ki o fi owo kan omo yen. Later in the evening, the birth of the baby was disclosed to the father and the mysteries that surrounded it. The father’s response was that two Obas could not occupy the same domain. The baby was thus sent to his maternal parents. There he was nurtured at Ego in Edo State.

He was sent away with many servants and grew up there. The thunderbolt he brought from heaven caused heavy caused heavy storm that destroyed their houses. The elders resolved that the boy should be sent away from Ego. This was with the consent of the father. Odogbo left Ego to Umi along Siloko. He was in the company of Segbemi-Onugo numi. Odogbo was at Umi for sometimes and moved towards Siloko road. At Siloko, they got the service of one Adun-ungba at Esi to paddle their canoe across Owena River to the present location of Iyansan, which was then known as Ikofo.

The train went upland and settled at Ejire and other places before they finally arrived at the present location of Ode-Omi. After the death of Amese, his son Ogunle succeeded him around 1290. He reigned for about fifty years. Jadoo succeeded him in 1340. Agbooja who reigned between 1398 and 1440 reigned after the death of Jadoo. It was during the reign of Agbooja that Omi moved to Umi. Jabaala who reigned between 1481 and 1521 succeeded Agbooja. Between 1481 and 1521, Adokunwa succeeded Jabaala. It was during this period that the folk moved and crossed River Owena to Ikofo, now known as Iyansan. The folk did not settle at Ikofo but they settled at Ejire about two kilometers from Ejire. He however let Adeugba at the beach side of Ikofo.

Adeugba was later honoured with the title of Losunmare. At the demise of Adokuwa in 1482, Olagbegi took the mantle of leadership and reigned between 1521 and 1551. Jaweda succeeded Olagbegi and reigned between 1551 and 1579. Omi folk had a short stay at Ejire. The present Odogbo of Omi Oba J. T. Dahunsi is the 21st monarch of the town. It is noteworthy that Ode Omi experienced an interregnum for seventy years when a regent named Iheluwa ruled the folk. In 1810, there was a catastrophe that adversely affected the population of Ode-Omi.

There were rumours of War and a stranger element brought a device named Ojukoba and placed it at a strategic location. Every onlooker met an instant death. As a result, many chiefs died in one day and several thousands folks migrated from the town. That was when Yasere Iheluwa from Ile-Oluji capitalised on the situation to hold the reins of governance for seventy years before Odogbo Owoyokun the 15th Oba of the town ascended the throne.

There are three ruling houses at Omi. Namely: Seja, Akinro and Akinboyewa. The principal quarters at Omi are Seja, Akinro and Yasere.

Chronology of Obas in the history of Omi

Amese- 1230 to 1290

Ogunle –1291 to 1340

Jadoo- 1342 to 1398

Agbooja- 1398 to 1440

Jabaala –1441 to 1481

Idokuwa—1481 to 1520

Olagbegi- 1521 to 1553

Jaweda- 1554 to 1579

Losefon – 1580 to 1625

Adebuluwa- 1625 to 1667

Majogberun – 1678 to 1691

Iretimehin –1692 to 1718

Efuru- 1718 to 1765

Moneyin 1766 to 1787

Woyokun (The Great) 1787 to 1811

Interregnum 1811 to 1881.

Chief Yasere became the regent for 70 years.

Oba Akinboyewa 1881 to 1893

Oba Akinyelure 1894 to 1925

Oba Adetuwo 1. 1926 to 1931

Oba Alademo 1933 to 1951

Oba Ayegbe Adetuwo 11. 1954 to 1984

Oba Dahunsi 1990 to

Oba Akinyelure 2019 to present.

Omi is also known as Omi- Aragua because of its indomitability. The deity worshipped at Omi is Eminale, a deity associated with paralysis. Eminale is celebrated every April when women are barred from the arena all through the day. Onile festival is also celebrated in the month of February in memory of their ancestors. Erunfon is also celebrated in the month of August. The festival is meant for women and children. Omi also celebrates Eje festival beginning from the month of November.

Culled from Dr. Segun Omosule’ Ikale history – Ikale the great. First published on Scholars Views International Journal.

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