Meet Emotan, The Brave Woman Who Saved A Benin King From Death

Emotan was actually born in a small Edo village called Eyaen and her parents named her, Uwaraye.

Emotan grew up to be a pretty young woman who soon became the second wife of chief Azama of Ihogbe.

In the years of her marriage, Uwaraye struggled with infertility and was terrible at household chores including cooking.

Her husband called her lazy and so did his first wife, Arabe. Soon, everyone started to call her “Emotan” which means ‘lazy bones’.

Despite being terrible at chores, Emotan was industrious. She was very good at taking care of children, making spices, herbs, and so on.

She soon started to take her items to the market to sell. At the death of her husband, Emotan as she was now popularly called built a hut close to her stall at Oba market.

Her hut soon became a local nursery where she helped look after children without collecting money from their parents.

She is famous today for starting the first Daycare in Benin History but that’s not all you need to know about Emotan.


How Emotan Saved A Benin King, Prince Ogun From Death 

In those days, Prince Ogun was dethroned from power by his younger brother, Prince Uwaifiokun.

With a lot of supporters against him, the rightful heir Prince Ogun had to hide and that was how he discovered his way to Emotan’s hut at the market.

The brave woman generously took the Benin king in and promised to help him regain his throne.

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During his trying times, she helped Prince Ogun escape from his brother’s army while they searched hut by hut.

After his narrow escape, Prince Ogun went back to the palace where he killed the usurper, Prince Uwaifiokun, and reclaimed the throne.

Although he faced resistance from his late brother’s supporters, Emotan kept on beseeching and interceding on his behalf.

Soon, the people came around and gave their support to the new Oba.

As king, Prince Ogun was called Oba Ewuare. He bestowed Emotan with the title of Iyeki ( leader of the Ekapte guard).

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Emotan was tasked with protecting and enforcing the rules of the market but later died after some time.

The Oba then decreed that she should be buried in her hut. An Uruhe tree was planted over her grave as a statue.

Although Emotan is dead, but her legacy still lives on.

In 1950, Oba Akenzua II celebrated her life by collaborating with the British Colonial authorities to build a statue of Emotan as a young woman.


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