Ovonramwen Nogbaisi: Deceitful Negotiation Plan British Used To Over Throw Oba of Benin

The city which is called Benin today was once held by an incompetent ruler who, because of his weak leadership, contributed to the Benin downfall, including some of the tactics that seem to surround the land among the British. Nevertheless, the king was called Ovonramwen Nogbaisi.

Ovonramwen Nogbaisi’s Early Life History

Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, also called Overami, was born in circa 1854 to Oba Odolo. It is expected that the Oba will be given a new name during his coronation.But as for him, he took the name Ovonramwen Nogbaisi after his enthronement in 1888 by the British leaders. 

Prior to his enthronement, the Benin were independent and enjoyed their resources until a group of British decided to penetrate the land and work on it by seizing much of its resources and exiling the Oba. Some of their resources, as at that time, were palm oil, ivory, and rubber.

However, Hensry Gallwey, on his part, smartly moved into having a treaty with the Oba and as an oil river protectorate. The British were the major foreigners that occupied Benin City as a result of its resources.

The Plan To Over Throne Oba

While the British gained ground and had a treaty with the Oba, who in return gave them the opportunity to access most of their resources, most notably the oil. The British decided to find a way through which they could make the Benin residents pay more tax on their own goods by increasing the processing and selling of oil, including the slave trade. Another aspect that led to their fall was having a weaker ruler.

Following that, the South Benin planned on their own to fight for freedom from the British leader by recruiting more soldiers. That went up after the capture of Ebrohimi, where most of their strength lies. Then the thought of war arose. However, with the refusal to admit to the increase in price and that of the British invasion in March 1895.

The Deceitful Negotiations Of Phillip

After James Robert Phillip told Henry Gallwey that the Benin could easily submit their request, Robert Phillip set out to overthrow the king. He made it known to him that he could call the attention of the king in regard to trying to negotiate business with him and the growth of the kingdom.

After some thought, he sought permission from his superiors in London to invade Benin, which became known as the Benin Expedition of 1897, and promised to oversee the Oba’s exile with the ivary he had secretly discovered in the palace.

He was granted permission alongside his colleague, Oba, who saw it as a business opportunity and decided to let him come in and take his true identity, despite being told by him that the white men were preparing for war. Iyase of Benin didn’t care and decided to take action, in which he caught Philip and his troops off guard with an ambush planned against him.

The British Invention

Following the capture of Philip and his men, there was a rising war between the two parties when the British decided to raise the banner against them so as to prepare for war. In the spring, war broke out, and the British captured and massacred the Benin.

The main groups, Sapoba’, “Gwato” and “Main” columns, were formed by the British leaders who fought much to the death of many Benin leaders.

However, the accession of a weak leader to the throne, revenue loss as a result of the abolition of the slave trade, the diversion of trade from Ughoton to Badagry, and revolts by the vassal states all contributed to the downfall of the Benin Empire.

During this, looting of bronze was at a high rate, as was the destruction of both houses, property, and lives. Even the king’s palace was destroyed.

Oba Escapes And Returns

The British have ordered the execution of Oba, who later escapes and returns, at the exact moment of the battle. Six months after attempting to avoid spending time in the forest, upon his return, he was handsomely adored and dressed in his kingly attire and surrounded by his entorage, having the mindset to officially surrender to the British.

The British responded by sending him to exile despite his plea to surround his ivory resources, which were valuable, in vain because they had already been discovered and captured by Consul General Ralph Moor.

Ovonramwen Was Exiled

Ovonramwen was exiled to Calabar with two of his wives, Queen Egbe and Queen Aighobahi. He was offered a small town called Essie Town by Etinyin Essie Etim, where he and his wife had stayed along with their children.

Then, after Ovonramwen died in Calabar in 1914 but was buried in the grounds of the royal palace in the city of Benin, his son Prince Aguobasimwin took over the throne and ruled as Eweka II.

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