HISTORY OF ERO FAMILY

 

     The history of Ero family of Benin Kingdom came to be since the Foundation of the Benin Monarchy under Ogiso. It is recorded that Ogiso Ere 40 B. C. selected four elders and marked them out as his wise counselors. They were Oliha, Edohen, Ero, and Eholo Nire. They were called Edion Nene. At that time, a man called Ero was chosen among the four elders. It was these people that came to be known as king makers in later days. Ero was formally at Ugbekun, but when Ogieamien started fighting Oromiyan after his arrival to Benin kingdom, Omokhua Ero, in 1180 A. D. moved out of Ugbekun to the present area of Urubi. Ero family is one of the largest corporate families in Benin Kingdom. The family’s greeting is “Lamosun”. The family has been known as the defender of the kingship. For example, Omoregie Ero defended and preserved Idia, the mother of Oba Esigie in 1504.

 

     In 1897, Izedonmwen Ero also defended Oba Eweka II before he was crowned in 1914 when the British wanted to crown another person. The family is known for telling the truth. It is pertinent to know that there has been 22 Eros in Benin Kingdom since 1200 A. D. when they became known as Uzama.

 

 

THE UZAMA NIHINRON – THE SEVEN UZAMA (KING MAKERS)

 

     The Uzama originated from Ogiso era. They were known as Edion who ruled jointly with Ogiso kings who were more or less in a primus inter pares position with them.

 

     They were five until 1200 A. D. as follows:

Oliha, Edohen, Ero, Eholo Nire, and Ezomo. They went to search for Oromiyan to come to Benin in the face of Evians opposition.

 

     Oloton who came with Oromiyan from Uhe was added to them by Oba Eweka I. Oba Ewuare later added his Edaiken to them, bringing the number to seven. Oba Ewedo changed their names from Edion to Uzama in 1255 A. D. They crowned the Oba and Oliha as their leader. Their title is hereditary and live in palaces in their own domain outside the moats. They also occupy the Western side of the City.

 

 

LAMOSUN

THE MORNING GREETING OF ERO FAMILY

 

     The morning greeting of Ero is “LAMOSUN”. Like other greetings in Benin Kingdom, it is very distinct and unique in the sense that it has kept the family together wherever they are.

 

     The word “Lamosun” always strike the ears of any Ero family member whenever any one greets it. With it, they embrace themselves even though they have never known each other before. The greeting came to be when there was chaos in Benin and the City was decaying as a result of epidemic and other violence and riots infused on the City by people with evil spirit’s demonic powers; evil thinkers and evil doers of whatever class or grade. The then Ero went away by land and brought Osun- god of herbs, to quell down the situation. The problem was solved. There was peace, unity, welfare, and prosperity came to the City. The Oba was grateful to him and asked him to carry the Osun to his domain and to mark and remember this great act, he was told to be greeting “Lamosun” meaning carry the osun, for you alone can operate it for the benefit of the Kingdom.

 

 

ERO AND THEIR PERIODS IN THE STOOL

AT URUBI – BENIN KINGDOM

 

S/N

NAMES

PERIOD

1.

OMOKHUA ERO

1180 A. D.

2.

IYANGBE ERO

1220 A. D.

3.

EILOGHOSA ERO

1245 A. D.

4.

EHIBO ERO

1270 A. D.

5.

OGBEBO ERO

1345 A. D.

6.

EREBO ERO

1430 A. D.

7.

EKHOSUEHI ERO

1770 A. D.

8.

OMOREGIE ERO

1504 A. D.

9.

OSEGBOWA ERO

1596 A. D.

10.

AIGBOKHAEVBO ERO

1698 A. D.

11.

UYIEKPEN ERO

1725 A. D.

12.

OMOGHAN ERO

1749 A. D.

13.

UWAILA ERO

1750 A. D

14.

OMODUA ERO

1754 A. D.

15.

OSAWENWEN ERO

1760 – 1790 A. D.

16.

OSIFO ERO

1790 – 1820 A. D.

17.

OMOREGIE ERO

1820 – 1890 A. D.

18.

IZEDONMWEN ERO

1890 – 1918 A. D.

19.

EVBUOMWAN ERO

1918 – 1938 A. D.

20.

OSEMWEGIE OZO ERO

1938 – 1972 A. D.

21.

AIYEVBEKPEN ERO

1972 – 1972 A. D.

22.

IMAFIDON ERO

2000 – PRESENT

 

 

     Chief OSEGBOWA ERO is recorded to have stayed longest in the stool of Ero of Urubi for 102 years. He was installed as Chief Ero at a tender age of 6 years (1596) and died in (1698).

 

     Omoregie Ero (1820 – 1890) was made Administrator (ENOTUEYEVBO) by Oba Adolo (1848) to both Iyekovia and Iyekorhionmwon respectively. As a result, he had many wives in these areas that bore him several children. He was the father of Izedomwen, Ediae, Igiebor, Ogbebor, Osemwegie, Ehigie, Aghedo, and others. During his burial rites, there were 60 Oton and Urubi was filled to capacity.

 

 

THE USE OF BRASS “EROMWON”

BY ERO FAMILY

 

     Omoregie Ero the 17th Ero of Benin helped Esigie (1504) in preserving Idia, the Oba’s mother. Before this time the culture was to eliminate the Oba’s mother, but Oba Esigie found this culture to be barbarous. He used Omoregie Ero (1504) to stop this custom. Omoregie Ero had a secret groove at Idumwum-Oro at Uselu and called it Aro-Osun – The Shrine of god of herbs which no one, except those initiated could enter the place. For a long time he kept Idia the mother of Esigie there while Oba Esigie also fought to eradicate the bad custom of eliminating the Oba’s mother.

 

     When Oba Esigie eventually crowned his mother as Oba’s Queen Mother; he rewarded Omoregie Ero with “Brass Plates”. He said, while decorating him “as you made my mother to be durable to me, I give you these brass plates to be used by your family for as Brass is durable so also will your family be durable”. “Oze i keke, eronmwon i guehun”. “the brass does not rotten”. It is only Ero family that can use brass in festivals, marriage ceremonies and burial rites in Benin Kingdom.

 

 

THE EMEHE OF URUBI

 

     The Emehe of Urubi are sets of people who were dedicated to serve Ero throughout their lives. They are not slaves as some people call them, but are free citizen who perform not only rites in Urubi but do all sorts of works, serious or minor. They were forbidden to see Chief Ero without doing any work or carrying a load. Hence, whenever they see Chief Ero, they pick something from the ground and put it on their heads, or pretend to be carrying even the wall of a house. They are very reasonable and talk to Ero on certain issues wisely. They entertain Ero with story telling, dancing and wrestling, sing songs in proverbs, riddles, fairy tales, folk tales and stories of the past Obas and Eros.

 

     The Emehe protect Ero and his family and were made to take oaths on this. They also entomb the body of the corpse of Ero when he joins his ancestors. They are still very active today.

 

THE IYA ERO (MOAT)

 

     The word: Iya Ero” is not one word which people usually write or pronounced as “Iyaro”. It is two words – that mean (Iya Oghe Ero). The word is used in describing the domain of Ero of Urubi. The moats at both ends are a gate way from Benin City when crossing the moat towards Urubi. The moat was said to be dug by Oba Ewuare in 1440 A. D. Chief Ero took care of the gate during ancient wars.

 

The moat is called “Iya Ero” not “Iyaro”.

 

 

THE IYAKPAN

 

     The Iyakpan on the Uselu side is the boundary between Urubi and Uselu Quarters. Iyakpan is the present five junctions at Uselu (TV Road). The moat was dug by the Oba Oguola in 1280 A. D., it was here the Uselu Chiefs handed over the Edaiken to Chief Ero and Benin Chiefs during coronation of any Oba. The Iyakpan has been covered in several places for building. This is a very sad situation and very embarrassing to the Museum or Tourism Authorities in Nigeria.