Emotan of Benin | She saved the GREATEST Oba of Benin

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Emotan of Benin | She saved the GREATEST Oba of Benin
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THE WOMAN CALLED EMOTAN…

Emotan who was born between 1380 and 1400, hailed from Eyaen

village, close to the present day Aduwawa cattle market

area, along the Benin-Auchi Road.

The name her parents gave to her was Uwaraye.

As a young woman she married Chief Azama of Ihogbe district,

as his second wife.

Uwaraye was considered indolent by her husband because she

could not cook. She could not get pregnant either.

Azama´s first wife, Arabe, handled the domestic chores and

gave birth to all the children of the household. Azama soon

nicknamed Uwaraye, Emitan, corrupted to Emotan, meaning lazy

bones.

She had a redeeming feature, though. She was good at helping

to nurse and take care of the brood of the household.

Emotan who could make evbarie´ (a soup seasoning condiment

made from fermented melon seeds), and spin threads from

cotton balls, began taking these plus some herbal products

to sell at a stall opposite the city market (present day Oba

market).

When her husband died, she could not return to her parents

home because they too had died of old age earlier on.

She set up a hut to live in at her trading post opposite the

market place.

Her hut soon became a popular make-shift nursery for the

children of families patronizing the market.

She attended to the children’s health and other needs

selflessly without charging fees and the kids’ parents soon

could not have enough of her services.

Some Historians are of the view that Emotan was a market

woman who took care of little children, whilst their mothers

were away buying and selling their wares in oba market. They

refer to her as the woman who began the first “DAY-CARE

CENTRE” in Benin City.

At that period, Prince Uwaifiokun usurped the throne of the

Benin kingdom, thereby denying his elder brother, Prince

Ogun (Oba Ewuare I)
his legitimate position as king.

Prince Ogun in those times of travail, paid secret and

nocturnal visits to Benin from his place of exile.

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