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Historical Records Show Igbo Nation Is 2550 Years Older Than Yoruba Nation In Nigeria |RN

Igbo Chiefs at Igbo Conference in Abakiliki, Ebonyi state

(Total rejection of the collective insult and cultural violence targeted at Igbo People by the Ooni of Ile-Ife)

By Nze-na-Ozo, Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc., CSS, M.Sc., PCR

Ezinifite, Aguata, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria: The Igbo Nation is indisputably 2,550yrs older than the Yoruba Nation in Nigeria. This is in terms of age of existence and settlement. It is further an established fact that no other ethnic nationality out of Nigeria’s current 386 ethnic nationalities is the age mate or rival to the Igbo Nation in terms of age of existence or settlement in Nigeria, Nze-na-Ozo, Emeka Umeagbalasi, said today, Sunday, 2nd June 2019, in his ancestral home in Enuama, Ifite-Ezinifite, Aguata LGA of Anambra State in Eastern Nigeria.

Grand Summary: Historical, forensic and verifiable records, available, have shown grandly that the Igbo Nation is 2,550yrs older than the Yoruba Nation; 2,250yrs older than the Hausa Nation; 3,140yrs older than the Fulani Nation; and 550yrs older than the Bini/Agbon (Agbor) Nation. Most of other Ethnic Nationalities, studied have been found to have relatively new ages of existence or settlement in different parts of the country. That is to say that the only Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria closest to the Igbo Nation in terms of age of existence and settlement is the Bini/Agbon or Agbor Nation which is only 550yrs by default or lesser in terms of Igbo’s 3,469yrs of existence and settlement in Nigeria.

The Agbor People in present Delta State were originally of the Ominije People with Bini roots, just as the Arochukwu People in Igbo Land were originally owned by the Ibibios, who lost same during the Aro or Igbo-Ibibio wars of 1600s. In the case of Agbor People, they had lost their ancient Ogele Kingship Dynasty, established since 701BC to Igbo warriors around 1250AD; with the first Igbo King, Ebonka, crowned as the first “Dein of Agbor” in 1260AD. It must be reminded too that the Igbo People had existed for 1,450yrs before the birth of Jesus Christ around 001BC/001AD; and 3, 436yrs after his glorious death around 33AD. The Yoruba Nation, on the other hand, was founded in Nigeria about 1,099yrs after the birth of Jesus Christ and 1,066yrs after his death.

It must also be pointed out that the position of this writer is not hinged on celestial point of view or the notion of a progenitor of an ethnic nationality falling or emerging from sky or heaven; but from terrestrial point of view or earthly settlement by each of the ethnic nationalities; backed by provable historical instruments including historical facts and symbols. That is to say that the writer of this piece; a researcher, human rights activist and proud Igbo, does not believe that “Igbo or Yoruba or Bini or Hausa founder emerged from the sky or heaven”. The provable and factually corroborative findings have clearly shown that every ethnic nationality in Nigeria was founded by a settler or group of settlers in one part of Nigeria or the other.

The Writer’s Identity & His Reasons For Writing: Emeka Umeagbalasi is a Nigerian and proud Igbo; a university trained criminologist, graduate of security studies and holder of master’s degree in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution. He is also a researcher and detailed investigator. His research on Igbo origin reached its peak during his master’s degree thesis when he worked on: origin of the Igbo People and their traditional methods of peace and conflict resolution; a work thoroughly supervised by internal and external supervisors and remarked at NOUN which later earned him second highest grade (“B”) and a master’s degree with potential doctorate grades. A book on this is in the making.

His work or M.Sc. thesis included the cursory study of history of origins of other key ethnic nationalities in Nigeria (Hausa, Yoruba, Bini/Agbor, Ijaw, Tiv, Jukun, Ibibio, Idoma, Efik, Fulani, Itsekiri, Urhobo, etc) especially how they were founded and settled; using works done by their scholars and other informed sources. Emeka Umeagbalasi, born 1969, is a proud and noble member of the prestigious Nze-na-Ozo Society or red-capped in Igbo Land, specifically in his hometown of Ezinifite, Aguata LGA of Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria. He is of the Class of 2005; and goes by an Ozo title name of Ume-Eziokwu-Welu-Onodu; Asi n’ Oso Anaeme (when truth takes a center stage, falsehood runs amok and vanishes).

This writer is therefore compelled by unhealthy events unfolding in the Igbo Nation and beyond, seen and unseen, cosmically, spiritually and esoterically disclosed to him by benevolent ancestors and forefathers during his routine visit in spirit to their spiritual abodes; to write this benevolent and respectable reply to the Ooni of Ile-Ife and his Yoruba kinsmen and women as well as the silent Igbo scholars and lettered elders as a saying goes that a child automatically becomes the receptor of grey hairs in the absence of an elder.

It is further said immortally that: a child who carefully follows and listens to a wise elder is already qualified to break and eat cola nut and alligator pepper with his ancestors and forefathers; that when a child does the right thing at the right time or independently sets up his homestead, his homestead becomes a popular arena for the meeting of benevolent ancestors and forefathers; that a child with great wisdom is greater than an elder with foolishness; that a wise child does not miss his father’s attendance of a kindred meeting where only the elders are allowed to talk; that a son of a noble or titled man is hardly found guilty when a complex matter is being discussed at a kindred meeting; that he who wants to destroy or rubbish an elder usually takes him to a discussion he does not know its origin; that when teeth gnashing fails to find elders, it becomes the turn of the children to become same overnight; that when a taboo is committed without cleansing and left for long, it becomes a societal norm and reference point; and that when an abomination stays long unchecked, it automatically becomes a tradition.

The litany of adages above is in direct reference to recent insult of the highest order and obvious cultural violence targeted and directed at the Igbo Nation by the 45yrs old Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, born 1974 and crowned in 2015 as the 51st Ooni of Ile-Ife in old Western Nigeria. They are also directed to Igbo scholars and lettered elders who seemed to have gone into silence as elders, watching a mother goat to deliver while in rope.

The relatively young and inexperienced Ooni had on 22ndApril 2019 in his palace at Ile-Ife, Osun State, fallaciously and provocatively claimed that “Yoruba Land is the root of the Igbo People (i.e. where Igbo People were founded by the Yoruba before migrating East of the Niger) and that the Yoruba People and the Igbo People are blood brothers”. The Ooni also claimed falsely: “we still have the House of Igbo right in this palace till date. We call it Ile-Igbo up till now. Our ancestors are buried and transfigured there. That is where kola nut was first discovered and nurtured”.

The relatively young and inexperienced Ooni uttered the provocative and insulting words while playing host to one Mr. Solomon Ogbonna; maybe or maybe not, an Nze ama oke ani; and other non Igbo persons. Mr. Solomon Ogbonna was singled out on account of his being “the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos State”. He was reported to have been in the company of a delegation of “African Farmers & Cultural Organization” that went on courtesy at the Ooni’s Palace. How the issue of Igbo origin took a center stage in a purely non Igbo farmers’ affair is still highly suspicious; suggesting strongly that the event was deliberately arranged to spite the Igbo Nation, using falsehood, misrepresentation of facts or historical accounts and unfriendly media campaigns.

Having waited in vain for long for Igbo scholars and lettered elders to reply and tutor the relatively young and inexperienced Ooni as well as calling him to order to further desist from ignorantly encroaching on Igbo matters especially as they concern the Igbo history of origin and settlement in Nigeria or any part thereof, this writer; foreseeing the consequences of leaving unanswered and un-replied such provocation, gross misrepresentation of historical facts and imposition of phantom tribal superiority through the age-long cultural violence against the Igbo Nation; has decided to do the needful as a proud Igbo.

This is more so when in the words of Les Brown, it is always better to speak out and clear a doubt than to remain silent and thought to be a fool or defeated. The Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi may be relatively young and inexperienced, but he occupies a stool, regarded as the most supreme, sacred and historically authoritative in Yoruba Land and beyond; meaning that his false and provocative utterances must not be allowed to go without replies. The Ooni, by this special this piece, is hereby called to order and lectured on the following sacred and incontrovertible facts provided below.

Igbo People As Oldest Settlers In Nigeria: These findings are verifiably derived from historically and scientifically grounded accounts of origin variously written by scholarly natives of the affected Ethnic Nationalities and the corroborative findings from other scholars, jointly and forensically analyzed by this writer. From records supplied by various scholars who traced the Igbo roots to Aguleri and Umunri, the Igbo People through Eri and his companions, had existed from about 1,450BC (Before Common Era) or 3,469yrs from 1,450BC to 2019AD; making the Ethnic Nationality or Nation-State the oldest settlers in Nigeria.

Bini/Agbon (Agbor) People As Second Oldest Settlers: The second oldest settlers in Nigeria are the people of Bini/Agbon Ethnic Nationality. Although the kingship in Bini was much younger than its age of existence, having been established pre-imperially in 1180AD or in the era of Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE), yet the kingship in Agbon, now Agbor Kingdom was dated back to around 701BC. The Agbon People had its “Ogele Dynasty” established around 701BC, lasting till 1250 to 1260AD when it was conquered, abolished and replaced by some returning Igbo warriors. The Ogele Kingship Dynasty had its last Ogele or king in the person of Ogele XIV Okwakpor, dethroned by Igbo warriors in 1260AD.

The Stools Of Ooni Of Ile-Ife & Dein Of Agbor As The 13th AD Age Mates: As at the time the first Ooni of Ile-Ife was installed around AD 1200s, per Ooni Oranmiyan, with Yoruba Nation founded by Oduduwa around 1100AD; the Ogele Kingship Dynasty of old Agbor Kingdom had existed for 1,900yrs; meaning that the Ogele Dynasty of old Agbor was 1,900yrs older than the stool of the Ooni of Ile-Ife. The Dein Igbo Kingship of Agbor, established by some returning Igbo warriors was established in 1260AD, almost during the same decades the stool of Ooni of Ile-Ife was established; with the latter producing 51 Oonis in Yoruba Land till date. The Ooni stool remains the oldest kingship dynasty in Yoruba Land till date, but one of the youngest in Nigeria particularly older than the stools of the Shehu of Bornu, inherited from the Kanem-Bornu Empire established in 1380AD and the Fulani Emirate Kingship (Sultanate of Sokoto), established in 1804.

The stool of Oba of Lagos was established in 1630AD, with its palace constructed in 1705AD by the Portuguese, who named present Lagos after group of lakes. Lagos or “Eko” was originally founded by the Benin Empire as a military camp used for its imperial wars with other neighboring old empires. The word, “EKO” is originally Bini word, meaning “war camp”. It was also used for trade purposes and diplomatic exchanges between Benin Empire and Europeans. The Bini Empire was established in 1440AD and lasted till 1897AD, with first European-Portuguese-Benin contacts or diplomatic exchanges taken place in 1472AD. The pre-imperial Benin Kingdom was established in 1180AD.

Hausa People As Third Oldest Settlers: The third oldest Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria is the Hausa Nation, established around 800AD or 1,219yrs today. The Hausa Nation, by the accounts of Hausa scholars was founded by a Baghdadi (Iraq) Prince, named Bayajidda, calculated to be around 800AD; which was about two centuries before the ancient Kano was founded by one of his grandsons, named Bagauda who later became its first king or Sarkin Kano in 999AD. According to the Kano Chronicle, the ancient Kingdom of Kano recorded a total of 38 Sarkin Kano or Kings of Kano between 999AD and 1743AD before the invasion of the Fulani Islamic Jihadists led by Usman dan Fodio at the beginning of the 19thCentury AD or early 1800s. Prince Bayajidda originally founded Daura (the oldest of the seven original Hausa States which is now in Katsina State). The kingship in Hausa Land, formerly Sarkin Kingship Dynasty, was violently replaced with Fulani Emirate Councils, with the exception of Borno, which had established Kanem-Bornu Empire as far back as 1380AD; over 420yrs before the Fulani Jihadist Revolution in most parts of Northern Nigeria.

Yoruba People As Fourth Oldest Settlers: The Yoruba Nation is likely the fourth oldest settlers in Nigeria having recorded to have been founded by Oduduwa; a migrant, in about 1100AD. He later sent his last son, Oranmiyan (Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede) to Benin in about 1170AD as the first interim Oba of Benin and was later succeeded by Oba Eweka 1 in 1180AD signaling the establishment of Pre-Imperial Benin Kingdom, which lasted from 1180AD to 1440AD, replaced by Benin Empire (1440-1897AD).. Oduduwa, the founder of Yoruba Nation was believed to have lived around 1100AD upwards while one of his sons, Oranmiyan, the first Ooni, was said to have lived between 1200AD and 1300AD.

Eze Nri & Eze Ora Stools Of Nri And Aguleri As Evidence Of Igbo Seniority In Nigeria: From the historical accounts of Aguleri, backed by facts and symbols, concerning the lifetimes of Eri and his first generation children (i.e. Agulu, Menri, Onoja-Nwa-Oboli (founder of Igala), etc), Eri; the Igbo founder was likely to have lived around 1,450BC, making it 3,469yrs today. It was further recorded that one of his first generation children who also founded the present Agulueri; by name Agulu, lived for about 140yrs.

That is to say that Eri, his son, Agulu and grandson-Enugu were likely to have lived for 360yrs in all before the Eri’s great grandson, Anyiamaigbo, the Eze Ora 1 was crowned in 1087BC as the first king of Aguleri. Another son of Eri, by name Menri, the founder of Umunri Clan, had his direct but last son; Nri-Ifikwuanyi or Ifikwuanim who in turn was Eri’s grandson was made the first famous priest-king of Umunri, the progenitor of famous Eze Nri stool in Igbo Land. His crowning was recorded to have taken place around 1230BC (reconstructed by this researcher/writer using the Aguleri’s account) after the death of his father, Menri; thereby signaling the establishment of first or premier priest-kingship in Igbo Land, followed by the Eze Ora Dynasty of Aguleri in 1087BC. It is reminded that BC period was counted in descending order while AD or CE period is counted in ascending order.

That is to say that the Eze Nri throne in now Nri Kingdom, the first priest-kingship stool in Igbo land is 3,249yrs today and 2,430yrs older than the Ooni of Ile-Ife stool in Yoruba Land, likely to have lasted till date only for about 819yrs; having been established around AD 1200s. For the Eze Ora Dynasty of Aguleri, established since 1087BC, it is 3,106yrs today and 2,287yrs older than the Ooni stool in Yoruba Land.

It is on verifiable records that the ancient kingdom of Aguleri has the lists of its kings from 1087BC till date, comprising 34 Eze Oras; with Eze Ora, Anyiamigbo as the first or Eze Ora 1, crowned in 1087BC. There are also decades in the history of Aguleri without records of kings owing to intra and inter communal wars and kingship tussles; and much later, due to Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism. It must also be stated that linage of kingship and historical facts and symbols including naming, special trees, etc; not celestial junks and its false linkages are the surest and evidential ways to ascertain the age of existence or settlement of a community or an ethnic nationality.

Reconstructing Distorted Account Of Existence Concerning The Throne Of Eze Nri: This writer had found the accounts of Profs Angulu Onwuejiogwu and Elizabeth Isekwei anomalous as it concerned the historical existence of the first Igbo king, the Eze Nri, Priest-King, Nri-Ifiukwuanim, who was erroneously recorded to have started reigning from 1043AD to 1089AD. The accounts also recorded erroneously that “Eri, the founder of Igbo Nation, existed from “948-1041AD”.

It is possible their erroneous accounts were based on what they laid their hands on as at the time they wrote in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. Today, this narrative has historically and verifiably changed with the emerged accounts from Aguleri, supported by provable historical symbols, etc. Biblically speaking, too, this is not out of place, as it was similarly the case with the written lifetime of Jesus Christ whose written lifetime account disappeared when he was 12yrs and reappeared when he was 30yrs (disappeared at 12yrs and reappeared at 29yrs), a loss of 17yrs.This has come to be known as “the unknown years of Jesus Christ”.

While the existence of the revered priest-king of Nri was never in dispute, timing of his era or reigning was fundamentally and historically fallacious. Using Aguleri’s accounts to reconstruct and correct this historical anomaly, the Nri priest-king must have existed and be made the premier priest-king about 200yrs or more after the death of his father-Menri and grandfather-Eri; or from 1450BC to 1230BC when he was probably crowned. This is more so when Eri and his first generation sons (Agulu, Menri, Onoja-Nwaoboli were never kings; likewise in Yoruba Land where Oduduwa was never recorded as a king, but his last son-Oranmiyan, crowned as first Ooni of Ile-Ife.

Fulani People As Fifth & Newest Settlers In Nigeria: The Fulani People are a group, originally from Futa Toro in Senegal who are pre dominantly pastoralists. Members of the Ethnic Nationality were recorded to have started migrating to different parts of West Africa as early as 14th Century AD. In Nigeria, the Fulani Ethnic Nationality is 229yrs old today having arrived and settled in Northern Nigeria their large numbers in 1790s. That is to say that the Igbo Nation is 3,240yrs older than the Fulani Nation.

By 1790s, the Fulanis had migrated in large numbers in Northern Nigeria and settled in Gobir (Sokoto), Adamawa in then part of Cameroon, among other areas or cities. They were congregated, aggregated, inspired and led by an Islamic diviner/cleric, Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817), who lived in Gobir (Sokoto). Usman Fodio had quarreled with Hausa Kings (Sarkins), mainly pagans and accused them of “being little more than pagans”; resulting in the mobilization of Hausa commoners and his own Fulani pastoralists (today’s Fulani Herdsmen/Jihadists) and commencement of Jihad or Islamic Holy war.

By the account of King Ben Azubuike (via Elombah Reports, 29thMay 2019), Usman dan Fodio assembled a Fulani army to lead a jihad against the Hausa kingdoms of the north of Nigeria. The forces of Usman dan Fodio slowly took over more and more of the Hausa kingdoms, capturing Gobir in 1808 and executing Yunfa. The war resulted in the creation of the Sokoto Caliphate, headed by Usman dan Fodio, which became one of the largest states in Africa in the 19th century. His success inspired similar jihads in Western Africa. The Hausa had established well organized city states before the advent of the Fulani. These states included Katsina, Daura, Kano Zazzau (Zaria), Biram, Gobir and Borno. Some of these were conquered and re-established by the Fulani. A few other kingdoms such as Katagum, Hadejia and Gombe were founded.

The Fulani led Islamic Holy War had swept most of the Hausa Land, leading to killing, abduction or exiling of Hausa Kings and forceful takeover of their kingdoms and conversion to Islam. The Usman dan Fodio holy war was only repulsed in Northern Nigeria in the Eastern Empire of Kanem-Bornu, an Empire established as far back as 1380AD. The war engulfed Adamawa, Nupe and Ilorin part of the Yoruba Land. The war was crushed in 1903 by the new British colonial authorities. Before then, the holy war had abolished Hausa’s Sarkin Kingship and established the Fulani Islamic Emirate Councils with Fulani Islamic Emirs appointed to rule over the conquered Hausa Lands till date. Usman dan Fodio later installed his son, Muhammed as the Sultan of Sokoto, while his brother, Abdullahi, took charge of Gwandu.

The Shehu Othman dan Fodio’s Jihad also consumed the Ilorin, a Yoruba border town, now referred or considered to be one of the Banza Bakwai, or one of the adulterated Hausa-fulani Kingdoms. At the start of the 19th century, Ilorin was a border town in the northeast of the Oyo Empire, with a mainly Yoruba population but with many Hausa and Fulani immigrants. It was the headquarters of an Oyo General, Afonja, who rebelled against the Empire and helped, bring about its collapse with the assistance of the Fulanis. The rebellion was powered by Nupe and Bornu Moslem slaves. Afonja had been assisted by Salih Janta, also called Shehu Alimi, a leader of the local Fulani. In 1824 Afonja was assassinated and Alimi’s son Abdusalami became Emir. Since then till date, Ilorin had become an emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate.

Written By: Emeka Umeagbalasi

Contacts: Email: emekaumeagbalasi69@gmail.com

Mobile/WhatsApp: +2348174090052

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Ooni Of Ife, Oba Of Benin Crowned By The Igbo – Prof. Osuagwu |The Republican News

 

 

By Prof. Osuagwu

 

There is a more poignant point people can make about Igbo linkage to the autochthonous peoples of what we now call Western Nigeria.

Ironically, it is the Ooni of Ife that is making that point, but people lack the background knowledge to understand.

If Eastern Igbo understand that it is the autochthonous Igbo at Igbomokun, aka Ile-Ife, that must crown Ooni of Ife; as they must crown Oba of Benin and the Ezenri, all this ethnic arguments will take a less hostile and quarrelsome form.

The honest and wise current Ooni has, since he was coronated, been trying to draw attention to this historical and anthropological fact.

The press just report him and it ends there. Just two weeks ago; during the Aje Festival, the Ooni had been quoted as pointing out:

  1. Jews came from Igboland and not the reverse and
  2. There are autochthonous Igbo at Ile-Ife, who are related to the Igbo in Eastern Nigeria.

This Igbo he refers to are in fact those that welcomed Oduduwa when he came from the Benin Kingdom, and who still have to crown the Ooni.

Those Igbo who rejected the cultural and the political ideas of Oduduwa people, from whom Moremi saved them, are still there ruled by Olugbo of Ugbo.

Till today, the Oba of Benin pays rent to the autochthonous people he reigns.

We should get to know who these people are.

We should find out why Ezes from Ikwerre, Ohaoda, etc published advertorials congratulating the ruler of these people to whom Oba Bini had stopped paying rent, but was compelled, by the courts, to resume making payments in a landmark ruling in 2017.

Can a prince of Benin; which the Oba of Lagos is, justifiably talk to Igbo about territorial issues anyhow he likes?

Many of the Yoruba picking quarrel will know that the Igbo are their true cousins.

But ignorance on both sides is a disease.

People should listen to Ooni.

God has endowed the Igbo with almost magical attributes, but only the knowledgeable thrives.

 

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Ooni Ordered His Guard To Push Me At Meeting Of Traditional Rulers – Oluwo

oluwo-of-Iwoland
                      Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi

Femi Makinde, Osogbo

The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Adewale Akanbi, has alleged that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, ordered his bodyguard to push him out of the way during the meeting of traditional rulers in the country held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Oba Akanbi made the allegation in a statement, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Friday.

The Oluwo claimed that the incident happened on Tuesday at the Hotel Presidential when the Ooni was called to the podium to give a vote of thanks.

The statement read, “The bodyguard of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, in what seemed to be an errand message, pushed Oluwo at the public gathering of the first-class paramount rulers held at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State last Tuesday.

“Dignitaries at the event were taken aback by what they considered as a desecration of the crown as the bodyguard of the Ooni pushed a first-class paramount ruler, Oluwo.

“As shown in the pictures, the Ooni was called to make a vote of thanks as the Oluwo was engaging the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, who came to represent President Muhammadu Buhari.

“While the Ooni was coming to his seat, his security guard descended on the Oluwo and asked him to give way or he would push him. Oluwo tried to plead with him to be patient, but he (bodyguard) resisted. He then pushed the Oluwo.

“The monarch excused himself in order to maintain peace. The Ooni was observing and he felt satisfied with the action of his guard. Oluwo stepped aside and thereafter revisited his conversation with the minister.”

But the Ooni, while reacting to the allegation in a statement issued by his Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Moses Olafare, described the claims of the Oluwo as untrue.

Olafare said, “There was no altercation between Oluwo and anybody at that venue at all.

“Kabiyesi Ooni went to make his speech in his capacity as a co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers. On his way back to the seat right beside the representative of the President, General Dambazau (retd.), on sighting Oluwo who had come to the high table to take pictures with some dignitaries while the programme was still ongoing, he waited for some minutes to allow Oluwo leave the way to his seat.”   (Punch)

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Olojo Festival: Ooni Advocates For Making Culture Inspiring For Youths |RN

Ooni-of-ife

 

From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has called for total repackaging of African culture through advocacies capable of inspiring interest and practice, especially among the youths.

The monarch made the call in his palace, ahead of the annual Olojo festival, which is one of the major cultural activities in Ile-Ife, Osun State, scheduled for this month.

He stressed the need to remove all negative tags and impressions about cultural beliefs of the black race to be able to maximise cultural benefits.

Oba Ogunwusi also called for proper education of the younger generation on the significance of major cultural celebrations of the Yoruba race. 

He disclosed that some foreign tourists, including members of Black Caucus of Pennsylvania House of Representatives and about 150 other black America tourists have already indicated interest to participate in the event as a part of tourism experience

The monarch,  who gave a historical background of the festival, revealed that during the festival, the Ooni would wear the Are Crown, an annual ritual and take a trip to Oke Mogun, the spot where the first dusk and dawn reportedly first happened.

Highlighting activities lined up to make this year’s festival a rewarding outing for tourists and participants, Oba Ogunwusi said it would feature reorientation workshop for the youths on culture, football competition, ayo olopon, fashion show and traditional musical night.

The Ooni is expected to go into a seven-day seclusion, to commune with his ancestors, and pray for Nigeria before the grand finale slated for September 30, 2017. (The Sun)

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Serial Divorce: Like Ooni, Like Wuraola, What Ex-Olori Must Do To Remarry |RN

 

Ooni-Olori

Ooni of Ife and Olori Wuraola

 

…..What ex-Olori must do to remarry

–Elebuibon, Yoruba traditionalist

By Bolatito Adebayo

Ithe wake of the breakup of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, and his former wife, Olori Wuraola, which expectedly created shockwaves and reverberated around the world, more salacious details have since emerged.

Information gleaned from various social media platforms and other sources indicate that both parties, prior to being joined in matrimony, were divorcees, who had been involved in failed marriages.

Sunday Sun gathered that the ex-Olori Wuruola, who has reverted to her maiden name, Zaynab Otiti-Obanor, following the breakup, had been married twice, thereby making her failed marriage to Ooni the third marital union that crashed. On his part, the Ooni had been garlanded with the medals of two failed marriages before his latest (and third) broken union. 

In the face of the serial divorce now associated with both the Ooni and his ex-queen, a serious twist has been added to the tale as an expert on Yoruba culture and renowned Ifa priest, Chief Yemi Elebuibon has revealed that ex-Olori Wuraola, must necessarily undergo appropriate traditional cleansing process to enable her to regain normal life.

While noting that Ooni would not be the first Yoruba Oba to be separated from his wife, Elebuibon stressed, however, that marriage breakup is not very common among Yoruba Obas.

However, if the breakup happens as in the case of the Ooni and his wife, he said that “the wife of the Oba will be asked to consult Ifa and Ifa will give directions on how she will make the necessary atonement for her cleansing.”

He explained further: “In Yoruba tradition, a woman who has been married to a king cannot lay with any other man even if the marriage breaks up. But when the right atonements have been made, there won’t be a problem.”

On the kind of problems which an Oba’s ex-wife might encounter if she refused to undergo the traditional cleansing rites, Elebuibon said: “For the woman, she might not really have a problem but for any man who sleeps with a queen or marries an ex-queen without the appropriate cleansing, the man may die prematurely, he may be struck with sickness or there might be retrogression in his life.”

He explained that if an ex-queen wants to remarry, she will have to do the cleansing with her new husband. Both of them have to take part in the atonement procedures so that they won’t have any future problem.

“Any marriage she would be going into must not be elaborate. They should go far away and avoid any flamboyant wedding,” Elebuibon warned. 

The news of the breakup between the Ooni and the ex-Olori confirmed stories that had been circulating for months on blogs, social media and some magazines, to the effect that the marriage was troubled.

But, last Wednesday, Olori Wuraola Zynab Ogunwusi, released an official statement on her Instagram page to confirm that her 17-month marriage to one of the most revered monarchs in Yoruba land had broken down irretrievably and was officially over.

Although both parties have refused to give reasons for the breakup, in her statement, the ex-queen stated that the failed marriage was not as a result of infidelity or infertility on her part.

Her words: “We have got to stop this culture of shaming and vilifying women with false stories of infidelity and nefarious behaviour. The spreading of false information (through “sources” afraid to be identified), is the mark of cowardice and a cover up for guilty parties to justify their horrific actions. There is absolutely no truth to the media circulated lies of infidelity and infertility – on my end.”

Although Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has not issued a statement, it is glaring that the once fairy tale marriage has finally packed up.

Genesis of the breakup

The collapse of the marriage can be traced to the very beginning. Some people believe that one of the reasons the marriage failed was because Ooni made a hasty decision to get married to the ex-Olori, while others opined that the breakup happened because they didn’t court for long. Ooni was an eligible bachelor when he came to the throne and as the tradition demanded, he needed a wife and so he was introduced to Wuraola. As at that time, there were speculations that Wuraola was married to a Lebanese businessman but when the Ooni became serious that he wanted Olori Wuraola as a wife, she left the Lebanese to become the queen of Ife.

According to Linda Ikeji’s blog in February 2016, Olori Wuraola was still with the Lebanese businessman: “She was with this guy in February 2016.  In fact, she had their photo on her WhatsApp DP and just the following month, in March, she was married to the Ooni. We were all surprised.”

Many reports alleged that the Ooni was advised by many well respected Nigerians not to marry her. The former president, Olusegun Obasanjo was also mentioned as one of the well respected Nigerians who told the Ooni not to marry the former Olori but he refused. There are also reports that Olori Wuraola had earlier been married to a former governor.

Another reason was given, for the breakup was that the former Olori expected so much from the Ooni and when the expectations were not met, a friction began developing in their relationship. The Ooni on his part was said to have started to doubt her loyalty to him. It was claimed that there was an issue of text messages found on her phone. Also, there was an instance when she travelled abroad without her being accompanied and so many other sundry issues that made the Oba say he was no longer interested.

However, there are also speculations that the ex-Olori left because she was aware that Ooni wanted to take more wives and, according to sources, this didn’t sit well with her.

Queen between tradition and modernity

The ex-Olori once spoke at the Emerging Women’s Forum, in Maryland, USA, stating that she was not a fan of gender equality, which she felt limits women.

“I am not a huge fan of gender equality. We can’t be equal, we can’t be men. We have our roles to play here, a very pivotal one. The modern pattern of feminism has succeeded in limiting women and denying them of the heights they could reach; gender equality is unrealistic.”

However, sources from some quarters claimed that the comments at the American forum were more like the Ooni spoke through her. Many believe that the former Olori was not well schooled in the traditional role of a queen of the Ooni. According to the Yoruba tradition, a queen is trained to worship the ground on which his king walks upon. She is not allowed to ask questions and must be in total submission to the Ooni and she would dare not speak back at him. A woman who is married to an Ooni cannot exhibit any modern traits if she wants her marriage to succeed. There are speculations that the ex-Olori behaved otherwise. This was seen as an abomination and it ran contrary to the traditional role of an Ooni’s queen

Is there a new Olori about to be unveiled?

Days before the former Olori announced her failed marriage, there were speculations that the Ooni had married a new wife, whose name was given as Bolanle.

The word out is that Bolanle had always been in the picture. In fact, many people had assumed that she was going to be the Olori before Wuraola snatched the queen’s crown, albeit briefly.  Some sources said that Bolanle might be the new Olori. Even though the information about her is still very sketchy, the same source revealed that Bolanle is also fair-skinned like the former Olori.

However, Bolanle won’t be the only Olori at the Ooni’s palace; two women are also said to be coming to join the Ooni’s group of wives. One of them is a classy lady who works with one of the big telecommunications companies in the country and the other whose full identity is not yet known is said to live abroad.

Reactions of the public

Since the news of the failed marriage was announced, there has been heated debate about it.  Nigerians have been divided as the news generated mixed reactions from the public. Here are some of the comments made on social media:

LALA:

After that long speech on how wives should submit to their husbands, to keep a home, I guess she didn’t know her place as a woman herself.

ANONYMOUS:

As if I knew it won’t last, where are the oracles that confirmed she was the chosen one. Just go and dump those mortals in the flowing lagoon. A Huge possibility of the same story to the new incoming queen. I advise Ooni to go and beg his first wife and live in peace.

OPEYEMI ALEBIOSU:

I still maintain my stand! Unless they allow this Ooni of a dude to look and court the wife himself, serial divorce looms in Oduduwa House. Yea, it will take a couple of months but it will be worth it, then all this instant substitution and elimination method.
We are in technology era! That era of Balogun gifting his daughter to the king is far gone. Or Iyalode gifting her daughter to Kabiyesi is extinct.

CALEB ADEYEMI:

Honestly, this is not good for our tribe. Kabiyesi could have married her no matter what happens. And this thing happening to our best Kabiyesi is unfortunate if the story is true.

BIMMY D. ALEX:

It is true, once a woman has married an Ooni no man can marry her even if the Ooni dies, she is still not free because she has slept with a god. The only person she can marry is another Ooni, but that was in those days. I am not sure if it is still relevant because our Ooni is a modern guy.

OYEBOLA:

I have always wondered when people want to get married and they say we have prayed and God has given us the go ahead, but you don’t want to work on having a good marriage. The Oonirisa when accused of already dating this Olori denied and said that she was chosen by the “gods” and not by him should have known that he has a lot of work to do in moulding her into a real traditional Ife queen and not the one that wants to be everywhere like the First Lady. Maybe when the Ooni decides to get another Olori, he should send her to Olori Ladun Sijuwade, for tutoring and mentoring in queenship.

EUNICE:

I think the problem is because Olori Wuruola decided to ask questions and challenge traditions. I really don’t blame her for doing that and I salute her courage. (The Sun)

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Ooni Of Ife And Olori Wurola Have Parted Ways, Olori Wuraola Confirms |RN

Ooni-Olori

Ooni of Ife and Queen Olori Wuraola

Wife of Ooni of Ife, Olori Wuraola has finally confirmed the end of her marriage to Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.

She released an official statement on her Instagram page, on Wednesday, stating clearly that her marriage to Ooni was over.

She said, “What I can confirm, is that the Ooni and I are no more.”

She also changed her name on Instagram from Queen Wuraola Zaynab Ogunwusi (@oloriwuraolaogunwusi) to Queen Zaynab-Otiti Obanor.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT We have got to stop this culture of shaming and vilifying women with false stories of infidelity & nefarious behaviour. The spreading of false information (through “sources” afraid to be identified) is the mark of cowards and a cover up for guilty parties to justify their horrific actions. There is absolutely no truth to the media circulated lies of infidelity and infertility- on my end. What I can confirm, is that the Ooni and I are no more. I inhale love & exhale gratitude. My journey continues as Humanitarian aiding women and victims of domestic violence & abuse with the United Nations. No matter how much time you’ve invested, no matter the use of media to silence & manipulate, no matter the circumstance, slander, embarrassment, threats and lies: Get out and seek immediate help! We’ve seen this movie before. Women being dragged in the press & blamed for everything under the sun. This behaviour is unacceptable. I urge those involved to be mindful of their actions for the eyes of our Almighty God are always watching. The seeds of slander are cancer that harvests to eat away the souls of the planter. The throne is sacred and the attempts to tarnish the name of a Queen, in defence or on behalf of a silent King makes all involved look terrible. Remain dignified in all you do. It’s not the end of the world, but the start of a new chapter and you must turn the page with grace. The world is watching. As I bid adieu to this chapter, my wish to you all is to step into your lives – boldly & fearlessly, the way God intended and live not just by words, but through example. The best chapter in our lives is the one we are writing now. Thank you for your love and support. With peace, love &  light, -Her Highness, Zaynab Otiti Obanor. (The Sun)

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Afenifere, Agbekoya, Okurounmu, Others Rebuke Akiolu For Snubbing Ooni Of Ife

Image result for ooni and oba of lagos

Ooni of Ife and Oba of Lagos 

Femi Atoyebi, Samuel Awoyinfa, Friday Olokor and Femi Makinde

The President-General of the Agbekoya Farmers Association in Nigeria, Chief Aremu Okikiola, has called on the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, to respect the Yoruba traditional hierarchy instead of debasing it.

Oba Akiolu snubbed Oba Ogunwusi at a public in Lagos on Tuesday when they latter attempted to greet him.

The Agbekoya chief, who spoke through the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Chief Olatunji Bamidele, said it was wrong for traditional leaders to disrespect themselves in the public, saying that Agbekoya, as a Yoruba socio-cultural group, would not support any traditional ruler that displayed immature attitude in public.

He said, “Any mature traditional ruler should not fight in the public. They should find a way of solving whatever the issue is in private. The Ooni and the Alaafin are the most respected Yoruba obas. Akiolu should not disrespect the tradition.”

“Akiolu should not be rude to that extent because he is only an Oba of Lagos. Agbekoya will not support any traditional ruler that is rude to the Ooni.”

Speaking on behalf of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Director, Media and Public Affairs to the monarch, Adeola Oloko, told our correspondent that the Olubadan revered the Ooni and Akiolu, saying that he was making contact with the two monarchs to find a solution to the issue.

“I can tell you that the Olubadan had been making contacts with the Ooni and the Oba of Lagos, whom he respects mostly, with the view to mediating in the issue. He will talk to the press as soon as there is information to pass across. As an elder, he is making the contact,” said Oloko.

A chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, Chief Femi Okunrounmu, said Oba Akiolu’s action was an embarrassment to the Yoruba race.

He said the action portrayed the Yoruba as an unorganised set of people before the world.

He noted that it was unfortunate that some monarchs in Yoruba land did not seek the interest of their subjects.

He pointed that Yoruba elders would talk to Oba Akiolu on what he termed unbecoming behaviour.

Also, the Yoruba Youth Socio-Cultural Association has condemned Oba Akiolu for snubbing the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, publicly at a function.

The youths, through their coordinator in Osun State, Mr. Adeboye Oluwabusoye, said the attitude of Oba Akiolu was wrong and it was not expected of any king in Yoruba land to disrespect the Ooni.

But the Ooni has said he will not stop according Oba Akiolu with respect despite snubbing him at a social function on Tuesday.

The foremost traditional ruler in Yoruba land said he was unperturbed by Akiolu’s action, adding that the action would not make him to lose focus of his resolve to ensure unity among traditional rulers in the land.

Oba Ogunwusi spoke to our correspondent through the Director Media and Public Affairs of Ooni’s Palace, Moses Olafare, on Wednesday.

The monarch said, “Nobody should castigate anybody for doing what he did because of the position he held and because of his age.” The Ooni will not stop according his colleagues and every category of people the respect they deserved.  (Punchng.com)

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Ife Unrest: Ooni Condemns Investigation, Afenifere Visits Clash Scene

Ooni-of-ife

                             The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi

Femi Makinde, Osogbo

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Wednesday, condemned the nature of the investigation launched into the clash which involved some Yoruba and Hausa people in Ile-Ife recently.

However, the monarch appealed to the leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, to refrain from making inflammatory statements capable of causing further crisis in the country.

Oba Ogunwusi made the appeal when Afenifere leaders, led by Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Olu Falae paid a visit to his palace to commiserate with him on the March 8 crisis, which claimed lives and destroyed properties.

The monarch expressed gratitude to the Afenifere leaders for their concern but begged them to consider the interest of the whole country while making remarks about the clash and the manner of investigation into it so that their comments would not cause another round of crisis in other parts of the country.

He said, “I want to implore everybody to exercise restraint because we all have family members all over Nigeria and even in other parts of the world. If we decide to be say things which could aggravate the situation, nobody knows what would be the end of any crisis, so we have to exercise patience.

Speaking in Yoruba, the Ooni said, “‘A kii fa’ri apa kan’ (it is not proper to shave one side of the head and leave the other side unshaved)”

This elicited laughter from the palace messengers (emese), who sat round his stool.

Each of the messenger’s head is shaved on one side while the other side is left unshaved.

The monarch later made a clarification on his proverb when he expatiated on it, saying ‘a kii fa’ri apa kan, bi ti emese ko o’.

He said he had told security agents to look into all the issues surrounding the clash, saying everybody should be concerned about how to make sure that such a tragic clash never reoccurred.

The monarch described the Yoruba race as a special race wherein Christians and Muslims live together amicably without engaging in religious war.

He stated that the Yoruba people should be studied by researchers because of their level of religious tolerance.

He advised the youths not to allow themselves to be used by politicians, saying where were the politicians coming to the Sabo area in Ile-Ife now before the clash happened?

Afenifere leader, Adebanjo, accused the police of being behind the crisis. He said the way they handled the crisis was the reason for its escalation.

He also berated the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for not being apologetic even when the force was accused of bias in their investigation into the clash.

Adebanjo said the group was not against the arrest of Yoruba suspects but it frowned on the arrest of only Yoruba persons when the clash was between some Yoruba and Hausa people.

He said, “We were surprised that such a tragedy occurred between those, who had been living peacefully for decades without any clash. Even when there was a crisis amongst ourselves, they (Hausa/Fulani) were not affected. The police caused the crisis.

“The police who are supposed to be neutral were taking sides especially, the Inspector-General, who should be remorseful for the shoddy job done by his men is justifying their actions.

“We are not against the arrest of the Yoruba people. Yoruba people were killed during the clash, their houses were burnt; their shops were looted. Is he saying that the Yoruba people who were killed committed suicide?

“The IGP should not think that Yoruba people are fools. Yoruba and Hausa people have been living together before he was born.”

Falae said Afenifere leaders were in Ife to commiserate with the victims and to give them some gifts.      (Punchng.com)

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Hausa/Yoruba Clash: Ooni Of Ife Calls For Peaceful Cohabitation

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Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has called on indigenes and non-indigenes to continue to live in peace and avoid any act that could threaten the peace of Ife kingdom in Osun.

Oba Ogunwusi made the call while addressing newsmen after an inter-tribal clash in Ile-Ife, Osun on Wednesday.

A clash between factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Abuja branch and Ile-Ife branch, led to the destruction of property worth millions of naira in Ife kingdom on Wednesday.

According to the monarch, the Ife traditional council kicked against war or violence of any form, for I am a king that canvasses for peace and unity among Yoruba race and Nigeria at large.

“As Hausa are sojourners on this land of Ile-Ife, likewise Ife indigenes live in other towns and cities across the country and in diaspora.

‘‘Let’s give peace a chance and maintain peace and harmony on the land.”

The monarch urged people who are aggrieved to direct their grievances to the appropriate quarters rather than causing any unrest for citizens.

Oba Ogunwusi warned that anyone caught by the security agencies fomenting trouble would be made to face the full weight of the law.

Also, the Elejesi of Ejesi Kingdom, Ife, Oba Babatunde Awosunle, called on the people to allow peace to reign in the land.

Awosunle urged them to crown the efforts of Ooni Ogunwusi`s peace effort and that of the security agents to make Ile-Ife a peaceful town to live in.

Sarun of the Source, Chief Yemi Oriowo, alleged that one Hausa man slapped the wife of NURTW Vice-President (name withheld), which led to free for all.

At Lagere area of Ile-Ife, some Yoruba youths, who were armed with cutlasses, knives and clubs allegedly attacked some shops, said to be owned by the Hausa.

In retaliation, at Sabo in Ile-Ife, some Hausa youths also armed with cutlasses, knives and other dangerous weapons allegedly attacked shops belong to Yoruba people.

It was gathered that some school children took refuge at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi amidst radio broadcast that their parents should visit the palace for their wards.

A combined team of security agencies were on ground to restore normalcy to the town.

When contacted the Police Public Relations Office, CSP Folasade Odoro, said that the police are on top of the situation.

He said the command has been able to restore peace to the ancient city and warned that anybody caught fomenting trouble would be dealt with accordingly.

(NAN)

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Why Obas Inherit Wives Of Former Kings-Kiladejo, Osemawe of Ondo |The Republican News

The Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba Victor Kiladejo, in this interview with TUNDE AJAJA speaks about his life before and after ascension to the throne and interesting things about the custom and tradition in his kingdom

You were a practising medical doctor before you became a king, could you tell us more about your career then?

I’m a medical doctor as far as my profession is concerned. I finished from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where I studied Medicine. I did my postgraduate studies in reproductive health at an equally reputable institution; University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. When I came back, I joined the Ondo State Civil Service and I rose from the level of a House Officer to that of a Medical Director before I resigned to establish my own hospital, called Kiladejo Hospital, in Lagos. I worked there for almost 20 years before I ascended to the throne of my forefathers. I’m from the Okuta ruling house and my father, the late Gbadebo Kiladejo, was a man who commanded a lot of respect.

We learnt you are from a polygamous family, was there any premonition that you would be a king someday?

My father had 22 children, and I’m the first. Growing up, our family was a lovely one and you could hardly distinguish or differentiate among us as far as our mothers were concerned. As regards any inkling, I would say yes and no. Yes, because there were some revelations here and there, but as a young man, I never took that seriously. But when the time came to choose a new king for Ondo Kingdom, I was to travel to the United States to attend a medical conference when an uncle of mine, in company with some people from the community, visited me in Lagos and invited me to come home. By the time I got home, the contest for the throne started. Before anybody is favourably considered for that position, there is always a thorough check about the person’s past, where the person worked earlier, the educational history, the position the person held while in school, the kind of work the person does, the opinions of co-workers about the person and so many other things. I was made to understand later that those things were done before they came to me in Lagos. To cut the long story short, I eventually emerged as the choice of the kingmakers. As a matter of fact, it was a unanimous decision among the kingmakers. They voted and all the six kingmakers voted in my favour, despite the fact that seven of us contested. Being chosen was by the grace of God. That is my belief. I will also say destiny had a role to play.

Ondo is believed to have a rich history and many people would like to know its origin. Could you take us through the journey to the present Ondo Kingdom?

Many years back, history has it that a favoured wife of the Ooni of Ife, specifically, Oduduwa was delivered of a set of twins. As of that time, it was an abomination to have twins. When such things happened, the expectation was that the twins and their mother should be killed. However, because the mother of the twins was a favoured wife of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race, he decided to save her. He hid her for some time and then sent them (the wife and the twins) out with a large retinue of his trusted chiefs, juju men and warriors, together with the crown, beads, the royal walking stick and all the insignia of the office of a king. The person that led them was called Ija and the first place they settled after leaving Ife was Ijama, which means the land discovered by Ija, who was the leader of the warriors. That Ijama is one of the cognomens of Ondo. There is another version, which to me is the same with the other one. This version says the wife of the king that was delivered of the twins was one of the wives of Oluaso, the then Alaafin of Oyo, who was a direct son of Oduduwa. What that means is that Ondo is a direct descendant of Oduduwa. Whether directly from Oduduwa or from the son, we are still saying the same thing. To me, they are essentially the same. History is never conclusive. They stayed in Ijama for so many years before they moved to another town, called Epe, which is about 5km from Ondo. Later, they consulted Ifa (oracle), and history has it that the oracle said they should continue on their journey and wherever the stick (yam stick) refused to enter the ground was where they should settle. The oracle also revealed that the female twin, who survived the trip, was directed to go towards where we eventually settled and she (Oba Pupupu) was the first king of Ondo. When they got to an area very close to the palace, just opposite the palace there (pointing), the yam stick refused to enter the soil. So, they exclaimed, ‘Edo du do,’ meaning the yam stick would not enter. Hence, the name Ondo is merely a product of the phrase ‘Edo du do’.

How did the title ‘Osemawe’ emerge between when they left the palace and when they arrived in Ondo?

When the favoured wife of the king had those twins, the king was embarrassed because it was then an abomination. He was so bewildered by the birth of the twins that he exclaimed, ‘Ese omo re’ (meaning these children are an abomination). It is said that this exclamation has through linguistic evolution changed into ‘Osemawe’, which is the title of the monarch of Ondo today. It is also necessary to tell you that by the time they arrived Ondo, they met some people, but because of the princely appearance, the retinue of servants and because of the perceived valour of the migrants, all the people they met surrendered to them. And so the paramountcy of Osemawe started immediately from inception, and that was over 500 years ago. We actually celebrated 500 years of documented existence in 2010 with pomp and pageantry.

The name Ondo resonates with people as being the name of a notable kingdom and that of a state. Why was the state, created in 1976, named after Ondo Kingdom?

That is an interesting one. Ondo was lucky that it never faced any war. It was never attacked by anybody. There was peace. So, development was rapid and it became a place of abode for many people and natural preference for the colonial masters when they came. Ondo also became the headquarters of most of the multinational companies, and in terms of education, religion and commerce, Ondo was a preferred choice. So, when the province was carved out, consisting of the present Ondo and Ekiti states, it was not difficult for that province to be named after Ondo, under the reign of a very powerful Osemawe. So, they were all called Ondo Province before the creation of Ondo State. Thus, when Ondo State was created, the name was equally adopted. That was how the state got its name.

There seems to be some supremacy battle among traditional rulers in Yoruba land, but not many would know the position of the Osemawe. What is the rank of the title ‘Osemawe’ among Yoruba Obas?

As far as I’m concerned, as the current Osemawe of Ondo, my current priority is not on the ranking, but to ensure the sustenance of peace in my kingdom, to attract developmental projects to the kingdom as well as ensure that the culture and tradition of Ondo is maintained. However, as far as the title of the Osemawe is concerned, documents in the archive revealed that as far back as 1885, Osemawe of Ondo was one of the first five Obas to be given staff of office (pointing to the staff) by Her Royal Majesty, the then Queen Victoria of Britain. Other Obas were Ooni of Ife, Alaafin of Oyo, Alake of Egba and the Awujale of Ijebu Ode. In the 1903 Obas’ protocol list of Sir Macgregor (a Briton who was the then governor of Lagos colony) , which is now used as a reference point, has Osemawe as number five on the list. Again, the Osemawe was once the chairman of all the Yoruba Obas in Pelupelu (meeting of Obas). But, like I said before, my priority is on the development of Ondo Kingdom and not on ranking.

It is a norm in the African setting for communities or cities to have taboos. What are the taboos in Ondo Kingdom?

There is hardly any community in Yoruba land that does not have its own taboos. The one that readily comes to mind is that in Ondo community, we don’t eat rodent (called Okete in Yoruba language). And if you are bringing palm fruits into Ondo, you don’t bring the whole bunch. You need to have detached the fruits from the bunch. Again, new yams are not to be exposed or brought to the market until after the yam festival when the Osemawe would traditionally eat the new yam. It is after this that it can be exposed. Those are the major taboos.

It is also a traditional norm for kings to inherit the wives of former kings. Does it also happen in Ondo Kingdom?

It happens in all Yoruba land. When an Oba transits, the new Oba inherits the wives and children of all the past Obas. What that means is that it is the responsibility of the king to provide their material needs, and the new king is expected to treat the inherited wives both as his ‘mothers’ as well as ‘wives.’ The important thing is the care for them. That is why the Yorubas don’t say an Oba dies, an Oba can only transit, and when that happens, whatever was left by the past Oba, the new Oba would have to inherit them. It is continuous. Inheritance, in this case, means that you take up the responsibility of providing their material needs.

You recently celebrated 10 years that you ascended the throne. What has it been like?

I would say it has been quite interesting and challenging. But, I must confess that I enjoyed every bit of it. Challenges are inevitable and they are to prepare one for more serious tasks in the future. I’m happy my chiefs and subjects are cooperating with me. There are so many visible  developmental projects that we can point to that have come into existence since I ascended the throne. Many of our roads are dualised, we have many mega schools, we have modern markets and we also have universities now, particularly the Wesley University and the University of Medical Sciences. It will interest you to know that the University of Medical Sciences is the first of its kind in West Africa, and we have people coming from virtually all over the world to receive treatment from qualified, experienced doctors there with the ultramodern and state-of-the-art equipment that are comparable with what you can see in the western world. That truly gladdens my heart.

Ondo Kingdom was pronounced a city in 2015. Was that something you specifically set out to achieve when you were crowned?

Immediately I ascended the throne in 2006, I invited the sons and daughters of the community to brainstorm on what they thought we should do to move the community forward. We then established the Osemawe Palace Forum and that forum set up the agenda as to what they expected of their king. By the time I finished the traditional rites, which lasted for about six months, my high chiefs and other chiefs also cooperated with me. They reviewed the outcome of the deliberations and we came up with what they believe I should do. So, the achievements were products of combined efforts. We have an enviable history, which we are very proud of. We have detailed records of our history from inception over 500 years ago. So what we did was to celebrate the 500 years of our existence. It was as a result of the celebration that we wrote a book that detailed everything that happened in different phases; medicine, education, religion, and different facets of life. Different segments were written by professors in different fields. The book was titled, ‘The Evolution of Ondo Kingdom over 500 years; 1510 to 2010.’ That was when the idea of Ondo becoming a city came up. We set up a committee, called the Ondo City Vision 2015 Committee, to look at how we can justifiably turn Ondo from a town to a functional city within a period of five years, so that by 2015, we would be able to proclaim Ondo a city. To the glory of God, by December 2015, we justifiably proclaimed Ondo town a city.

We rarely find traditional rulers having pet projects, but you have one. What inspired that move?

It was borne out of my interest in rendering service to my people, particularly the underprivileged. As far back as 2009, I established the Oba Kiladejo Crown Foundation for the benefit of all. We have economic empowerment programmes, public advocacy and health programmes. We also assist prisoners in skill acquisition. On yearly basis, we invite doctors from the state and beyond to provide free health care to our people. We also provide drugs for those diagnosed to have chronic  non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. We also provide glasses for some, we do counselling, and we don’t normally limit ourselves to just investigation; we continue with their treatment. This year, we attended to well over 2,000 people. That is very important to us. We also give scholarship to indigenous students and we also help the widows. Some years back, we built and equipped a medical centre for one of the universities in this community. There are so many things that the foundation is doing and that gives me joy.

Before now, people used to take their conflicts to the palace for resolution, but given the civilisation and growing number of courts these days, do people still bring cases to the palace like before?

I would want to refer to what we have now as a place for alternative dispute resolution. The fact is that, we only resolve conflicts because conflicts are bound to happen. While conflicts are about persons, crime is against the state. So, in our own centre, we don’t attend to crimes at all. We use many methods, like negotiation, conciliation, mediation and then arbitration. It is only when all these fail that we think of litigation. But in most cases, I’m happy to tell you that it’s been quite rewarding because ADR is cheaper, faster and the pre-conflict relationship is always maintained. In Yoruba land, it is said that you don’t come back from court and still maintain cordial relationship, but relationships are not ruined with this approach. Let me also tell you that we are trying to reorganise it the more by involving experts, like retired judges and other professionals to give expert opinions.

There have been differing opinions on what the roles of traditional rulers are in the contemporary society. What is your view on this?

That is an interesting one. As far as the roles of traditional rulers are concerned, we have the formal and informal. The formal role is primarily to advise the government and the advisory role is not limited to the state, it applies also to the Federal Government. For example, we have the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, which gives us the opportunity to advise the Federal Government and I’m the representative of the South West Obas in the Security Committee of that council. Also, at the state level, we also have State Council of Traditional Rulers for us to get involved in whatever the state government is doing. So, we do quite a lot. We also act as intermediary between the government and our people because we are the closest to them and we know where the shoe pinches. As for the informal roles, which is just as important, we are the custodians of the culture and tradition of our people. We provide the necessary umbrella and much desired enabling environment for peace. We also attract developmental projects to our respective communities. We have quite a lot to do and we do it all the time.

Some people are also saying there should be constitutional roles for traditional rulers. What is your view on this?

On the issue of constitutional roles, all we are saying is that those things we do should now be part of the constitution, and the kings, Obas, Igwes, Emirs and others should be appropriately recognised in that respect, and if need be, compensated for that. When we talk of constitutional role for traditional rulers, we are not saying we want to start competing with the politicians, neither are we advocating for political appointment or involvement in politics, I believe that our formal and informal responsibilities are so much that we should not be bothered with additional responsibilities of becoming quasi politicians.  (Punchng.com)

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