African StoriesHistorical Fiction Stories

The Kingship

In Ogon Kingdom reigned King Edion VI. He usurped the throne after the death of his father, King Edion V. The late King gave up the ghost due to a strange illness contracted from a poisoned sword. That was during his last war when he led the Ojudu warriors against Unedo warriors of Ofu Kingdom, during which he suffered defeat. The defeat had dashed his hope of taking full control of the fertile Bakassi land which had plunged the two kingdoms into years of dispute, disaster and dismay.

Now, King Edion VI (Pasu Edion) was the king; more fearless, braver and more determined than his late father to rewrite history. The young king had sworn to capture the fertile land not just for his people but in the honor of his late father.

Having gotten the full support of the gods, he proceeded to seek alliance from Nsema Kingdom. The king of Nsema Kingdom, Odu Nsema, pledged his alliance only on one condition:

“Pasu Edion, the only great son of his father, King Edion V, I will send my best warriors to aid you conquer Ofu Kingdom. But… but on the condition that a tribute be paid to us four times in a year at interval of three months.”

“Odu Nsema my friend, talking about tribute, I ask you to hit the nail by the head. What do you really want?” Pasu Edion enquired.

“Seven gallons of palm oil, five jars of palm wine, three jute bags of cassava tubers. That is all. No negotiations,” stated Odu Nsema.

The deal was finalized the following day and the two parties agreed to work together.

Pasu Edion led Ojudu warriors, now strengthened by a number of finest warriors from Nsema Kingdom, to the battle Unedo warriors of Ofu Kingdom. Expectedly, Pasu Edion’s men went home triumphant. The victory was swift. They had decimated every warrior of Ofu who stood their way. The only ones left in good shape were those that retreated and ran for their lives. It was, indeed, a lopsided battle.

Some months later, after the first tribute to Nsema Kingdom, Pasu Edion realized how powerful his throne was meant to be. He was not meant to be subordinate or bow to another throne. He rose from his throne, his eyes smeared with fierceness. He yelled for Otubo, the leader of Ojudu warriors.

“The great Otubo, I called upon you to make known to you that we shall no longer pay tribute to Odu Nsema and his people. If it calls for war, so be it. Go to the Chief Priest and inform him about what I just said.”

The Chief Priest pasted spit on the ground as the message got to him. He warned and enjoined the King to retreat from his action as the gods would turn their backs on him.

However, Pasu Edion turned down the warning of the Chief Priest.

“He is not the king after all. He is not the commander of our warriors,” he murmured, referring to the Chief Priest.

Fast forward to three months and it was time for another tribute. Odu Nsema had bragged on receiving the agreed tribute. But his excitement was cut short and his bragging rights became dented. He was grievously infuriated and left aghast at what the tribute turned out to be. Abomination! Pasu Edion had sent seven gallons of watery faeces, five jars of urine, and three jute bags of rotten cassava tubers. What an absurdity! An absurd disregard for the throne of Nsema.

Odu Nsema rose in anger. He roared to his warriors for retaliation. The last thing he would condone was the belittlement of his throne. The battle line had been drawn. It was time to identify whose throne was supreme.

In three days time, a war broke out between the two kingdoms. The Unedo warriors of Ogon Kingdom were decimated and overpowered. Pasu Edion was murdered right in front of his palace by the chief warrior of Nsema Kingdom. It was really a black day as the sun stood still when the war began and immediately ran to hide in the dark when the war ended.

The remains of the dead Unedo warriors were buried so was that of Pasu Edion, the last Edion king. Because Pasu Edion never married and had no heir to the throne, history was set to be rewritten.

The Chief Priest was set to talk to the people of Ogon Kingdom at the King’s palace. He had to deliver a message from the gods to the people. He bemoaned the cost of disobedience to the words of the gods. He went on to introduce a new way of kingship.

“Henceforth, the kingship of Ogon Kingdom shall be rotated among the seven clans in Ogon Kingdom. This shall take place in order of seniority, hence the rotation starts with the eldest clan, Eyan. The clan will have to select the best behaved, noble man amongst them who shall also be accepted by the gods before he is coronated. This is the message of the gods.”

A crescendo of thunderous clap interrupted the Chief Priest. The people of Ogon Kingdom were excited. They welcomed the idea as it would pave way for fairness and accord, while it would shun the monopoly of power. A blessing in disguise!

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