I am sad that fiction pre-empts proper historical research. Very little real historical and archaeological research has been done in Benin; and it is astounding that the same old oral data is just recycled with new spin and no cognizance made of the hard data that Bradbury, Connah, Ryder, Ben-Amos,Darling and Omokhodian have produced.
Until this material is properly considered by the Bini, the rest of the world is going to continue sniggering at its myopic perceptions of Benin’s past. However, if you wish to insist that Benin derived from Egypt, why not conduct serious DNA tests to show whether or not this was the case? In an era when most Nigerians wish to emphasize their indigenous roots, it is odd that Benin should want to have exotic origins. Egharevba never cited his sources, so his data is difficult to evaluate fully: I only saw him after he had become blind, and was more impressed with his amazing memory than with any historical acumen. Indeed, I have already noted how he altered his history in resoect of the main City wall/moat.
I do not have access to the full conversation you seem to be having on the side with African legacy. But the snippet you forwarded had an edge to it that was unpleasant.
Differences of opinion and thought are part and parcel of the process of dialogue and academic pursuit. However, we need to be cautious about villifying those who are dead and cannot partake in the discussion to defend themselves. Egharevba is dead. Those who shoot at him shoot at a target that cannot reply. I take a dim view of such an asymmetric exercise. In our culture talking ill of the dead is not a favorite pastime.
That there has been little archeological work done in much of black africa is true – and the limitations of archeology in that part of the world are well known and have been elaborated on these pages before. Those who are archeologists should take up the challenge.
DNA anthropology is also gaining currency – and one has advocated that it be used in clarifying (to the extent possible) edoid ethnography. As ridiculous as it sounds it was recently published by researchers at Oxford University (based on genetic mapping) that ALL of Europe descended from seven (7) women! Were it not for the source some might have dismissed such a claim as a fairy tale. Do not be surprised if DNA mapping in Africa eventually shows patterns of origination and differentiation that may not make sense when viewed from the standpoint of conventional paradigms.
Regarding the issue of Egyptian/Sudanese origins I brought back (from my trip to Benin two weeks ago) an interesting piece of work done by OSB Omoregie – who is a PHD holder and a scholar. He is well known as a historian and a writer of Edo language books. I shall shortly share some of it on the web. Omoregie agrees with the Sudanic hypothesis but disagrees with the Egyptian – while opining that commonality of sudanic origins of ancient Benin AND ancient Egypt (which is NOT the same as modern Egypt) could explain many areas of similarity. Note that he defines “Sudan” differently from the modern day Sudan. Much of the middle belt of modern Nigeria is referred to as Sudanic. Omoregie also describes in detail (based on analysis of ancient folk songs and an extensive bibliography) a race of short people – of congolese origin – who were on the land of what became Igodomigodo when waves of migrants arrived from the Sudan (technically modern Kogi and Niger states of Nigeria). It is the combination of those short people and sudanic migrants that formed proto edoid society – in the opinion of Omoregie.
Good thing is that Omoregie is alive and well (on 3rd East Circular) so it is fair game to take him up (man-to-man) on his work which I shall cite. You will also see how Omoregie maturedly and non-belligerently handled his disagreements with one or two aspects of Egharevba’s interpretations of oral accounts as influenced by the “Johnsonian” school of thought – which was prevalent at the turn of the century.
Lets keep up the dialogue. Eventually the truth shall emerge.
The said African legacy is Patrick Darling and he claims to know Edo history than most Edos. One funny story he told me was that Oba Esigie defeated the Yoruba dynasty at uhumwode and that the Edo version of Edo- ife history was made up only recently. He went on to claim that the word oba has a yoruba root even tho´ I reminded him that the first ogiso was known as Obagodo or Igodo.
I am not surprised. That is the sad effect of oral history. What do you expect even when the written history is perverted and distorted? People must say, people must write, people must hear, people must buy; and, people must read! Don’t be surprised, in years to come, historians will tell the future world that the former world created by God ended by the year 2,000 AD; and that they world they now live was the second and or the third world created.