Nonagenarian unveils three books on Benin, Nigerian history

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A 93-year-old Benin Chief, David Edebiri, on Friday, unveiled three titles in his Benin Historical Series to celebrate his birthday.

This latest unveiling brings to 11 titles in the series, so far authored by the highly revered Esogban of Benin Kingdom.

Prof. Osarhieme Osadolor, former vice-chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, who reviewed two of the books, recommended them for knowledge on the biography of great men as well as history, tradition and culture of the Benin Kingdom.

In his review of “The Tripod of Life: Essence of Benin Tradition and Culture”, Osadolor said Edebiri identified three important aspects of a person’s life and on the tripod of birth, marriage and death according to the Benin tradition.

“In Benin tradition, the ceremonies of the tripod of life are Izomo (naming ceremony, Irioha (marriage ceremony) and Irorinmwin (funeral rites or ceremonies).

“He has also explained in this book that in Benin worldview, every person is entitled to 14 circles of life, thereafter the person goes home to settle for eternity with his or her Creator.

“It was not only in Benin tradition of 14 circles of life, the Germans and other European peoples held similar worldview,” he said.

The reviewer noted that Edebiri had pointed out in the book that in the process of reincarnation, the person’s earthly movements and activities were closely guided and moderated by Izomo and Irioha.

“To him, these two ceremonies are distinctively relevant and impactful on the life and times of an individual.

“The third ceremony, Irorinmwin comes after the exit of the person from the world. The Irorinmwin has its procedures and number of days,” said the ex-vice-chancellor.

On the second title, which is “The Life and Times of lyase N’Ohenmwen”, Osadolor said it was a narrative exposition “that tells the vivid story of a legend in Benin kingdom.

“It is not a creative writing but a well thought out narrative in historical perspective.

“It steers the heart of the reader to see how through the voyage of destiny, fortune can smile on an individual.

“It details the importance of trust and hope and the integral moral aspect of the life that one has to live,” he said.

Reviewing the third book entitled ‘Immortalising Our Heroes Past: Nigeria Nationalists in Focus’, Prof. Eddy Erhagbe of the University of Benin, said the book succinctly but very ably captured the development of nationalist movement in Nigeria.

“This is done by putting in clear relief brief write-ups on some early nationalists, often referred to as the proto-nationalists, such as King Jaja of Opobo, Chief Nana of the Itsekiris and our own King Ovonrammwen of Benin Kingdom.

“Their heroic defence of their states against the British imperialists and colonisers are clearly stated as the foundations of the great consistent, and later agitations against colonialism.

“The author in this book, provides inside and refreshing information on the main features and dynamics of the development of the nationalist movement in Nigeria. 

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