Herdsmen under the umbrella of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have expressed scepticism over the inauguration of Operation Amotekun.
Miyetti Allah, however, warned that it would not condone acts of injustice meted out to any of its members by the officials of the outfit or any other vigilance group.
The National Secretary of the group, Alhassan Saleh, said this on Friday during an interview with Saturday PUNCH.
Saleh said, “We have no problem with them as long as they will not target our herders. We have our own defence mechanisms. We fight injustice anywhere, not only in Nigeria. So, if they end up meting out injustice to us, we will fight back. That is the truth but we are law-abiding.
“And as herders, we must herd our cows until there is an alternative provided for us. If they give us alternative, we will go there and if they say they don’t want us, those that want to leave, will leave but what we will not sanction is anybody taking the law into their own hands because we have a history of fighting injustice anywhere there is oppression.”
He stated that Miyetti Allah was not in support of cows straying into people’s farms but movement, as guaranteed by the constitution, must be respected.
Saleh recalled that herdsmen suffered acts of injustice when the Benue State Government set up the livestock guard which ended up extorting money from innocent herders.
The secretary said Operation Amotekun could be used by politicians to perpetuate themselves in power by election rigging.
Saleh argued that South-West governors should have remained true to their call for state police rather than opt for the Operation Amotekun option.
He stated, “When you empower groups and give them arms, the possibility is that others will follow suit and the central government will begin losing its power. Definitely, our politicians will begin to abuse these outfits.
“When it is election time, sitting governors will use the outfits to their advantage. The first casualties of such malfeasance will be the people of that state, because when they want to impose themselves, they use these people because they are already trained and armed just like in Benue State.
“At the end, the livestock guards ended up killing people. It is on record because people have been tried and jailed. So, it is not the way forward. If they cannot push the debate for state police, they should not do such half measures.” (Punch)
A prominent Islamic scholar, Dr Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, has declared that Nigeria will disintegrate and that the North will suffer most compared to the other regions.
According to him, in the face of a possible break up, the Southwest will be relatively stable; Southeast will be stable, but the North will be volatile.
Narrating what Nigeria will be like if disintegrated, the cleric said, “I see chaos and probably Nigeria can even disintegrate. And disintegration will be bad for Nigeria,” he was quoted by Sun.
“Let me tell you about the North if there is disintegration. The worst thing any country will like is to have an unstable country as a neighbour.
“So, Southwest will be relatively stable; Southeast will be stable, but the North will be volatile. How can we contain Boko Haram in the Northeast? No way.
“How can we contain the problem of the herdsmen in the North? We cannot contain them.
“In fact, the little weight the Southwest and Southeast are adding to fight them is what is suppressing them, but if you go and leave us with them we will just eat ourselves and you have a very volatile North and I do not think we will have peace there because the borders are not barbed-wires and there are so many inter-marriages.
“In fact, Nigeria will just be like another Lebanon or Yemen. Nobody can control the North because nobody has monopoly of power in the North.
“The herdsmen, if they have any iota of political acumen, even if they are evil since your man is in power what do you do? You lie low to allow him to have the power.
“You don’t become so virulent that you end up destroying the northern power by attacking people everywhere not caring who is there. Let me tell you this.
“Nobody is in control of the North now. No northern politician has that clout to embrace everybody in the North.
“Everybody in the North is with his clique and that is a very dangerous situation for the country. The Southwest is divided into two equal house and nobody is in control there too, but generally, the people there are not violent.
“They can negotiate and stay in peace. The people of the Southeast seem to understand each other because their own is business. I see it to be more stable even though the Kanu IPOB people are there because generally the population there can understand and negotiate.
“They can only have population problem if people ask them to go back to their region. But the North? So, you can just imagine
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Kidnappers and herdsmen abducting people have been warned to keep away from the South West or risk incurring the wrath of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).
Giving the warning in an interview is the president of OPC, Aare Prince Osibote, who said the group will resist any attempt not only to make Yoruba land unsafe but also to turn it into den of criminals. Osibote, who succeeded late Dr. Fredrick Faseun as OPC leader also spoke on other national issues.
What is your reaction to the present state of insecurity in the country, especially the South West where suspected herdsmen and bandits have been kidnapping people?
As an organisation, OPC is worried about this security challenge, and our hope is that the various security agencies will be able to quickly nip in the bud the nefarious activities of bad elements behind these vices. As the leader of OPC, I’m calling on Yoruba and other people living in the South West not to panic. OPC is up to the task and we are fully prepared to defend the Yoruba land from any external aggressors. I’m giving the people of the South West the assurance that they should not panic. We are already doing our home work. We are ready to bare our fangs if provoked.
Don’t forget that the primary objective of setting up the OPC as an organisation is to defend and promote Yoruba interests, and we are ready at all times to do that. Enough is enough! These criminals should keep off Yoruba land or risk incurring the wrath of OPC.
Our warning to all these criminal elements is that they should stay away from Yoruba land. OPC under my watch will not allow Yoruba land to be turned into a den of criminals. Never! It will never happen. They should not play with fire. OPC can’t only bark but can also bite. We will not trigger or provoke any crisis, but any group or individual that attempt to disrupt peace in Yoruba land will have himself to blame. Everybody know what OPC can do, but we are for peace and unity of Nigeria, we don’t want to be provoked and this is why I’m using this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to take urgent steps to put adequate security measures in place to secure lives and properties of all Nigerians.
Why has your voice not been heard all this while on some of these burning national issues?
I have not been speaking out since I took over leadership of OPC after the death of our founder, Dr Frederick Fasheun because I have been undertaking reforms in OPC with a view of sanitising the organisation because on assuming leadership of the organisation, I discovered that some unscrupulous elements have mingled with the organisation and we needed to flush them out. Those are the bad elements that are giving OPC bad name. OPC as an organisation has good ideals and vision with the primary objective of promoting Yoruba interests, values and culture.
OPC was set up during the military era to fight injustice against the Yoruba race especially after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. At the time OPC was set up, former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo was being held in jail by the Abacha military junta. Part of the reasons OPC was set up was to fight the military junta that annulled the June 12 election, and also to ensure a return to democracy, and luckily we were able to achieve those objectives as democracy was restored to the country in 1999.
I’m determined to reform OPC because the impression some people have is that OPC is all about hooliganism and thuggery. But this is a wrong view of the group. Our objective as I said earlier is to promote Yoruba culture and practices. OPC members are not to be used as thugs or to unleash violence on people. I’m rebranding OPC, and this I’m doing quietly and this is why I have not been too loud in what I have been doing since assuming office as OPC leader. Moreover, I don’t believe in speaking too much. I believe in taking action rather than talking every time. Then, again we must try to find out, whether those talking every time have genuine intention or not, or whether they are doing so to attract attention with a view of getting something in return or not.
To tackle insecurity in the South West, some Nigerians are suggesting the idea of collaboration between the Police and OPC like it was done before. What’s your take on that?
It is a good idea, when Alhaji Musiliu Smith was the Inspector-General of Police, he initially expressed reservations about OPC activities but I later got an appointment with him, and I used the opportunity to explain to him in detail what OPC stands for. I told him that what people are telling him about OPC is not true. Then a lot of people were saying negative things about OPC. I took time to explain to Smith about the vision of OPC, and what the group stands for. My interactions with Smith led to collaboration between OPC and the Police, especially in the area of combating and tackling crime. His successor, Alhaji Tafa Adebayo Balogun sustained that relationship and during his time there was also collaboration between the Police and OPC to enhance security of lives and properties especially in the South West.
Balogun is a man that should be appreciated. During his tenure, not only Nigeria was effectively policed and secured but the South West in particular enjoyed peace and security. Tafa Balogun had zero tolerance for crime and criminals and it was during his time that ‘Operation Fire-For-Fire’ was introduced. He is a man that should be appreciated. In the history of OPC, Tafa Balogun can’t be forgotten for how he ensured that the Police and OPC worked in harmony to protect lives and properties of Nigerians especially in the South West. It is a pity and very unfortunate that Tafa Balogun is not being appreciated the way Nigerians ought to appreciate him over his achievements in the area of security. Like it was done during Smith, and Balogun’s era, we can also do it now. OPC is ready to collaborate, and work with the Police and other security agencies to tackle the problem of insecurity in the country if we are invited.
How would you assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?
There is no individual that is 100 percent perfect. As a leader, the president I believe has been trying his best to move the nation forward. He has been trying to sanitise the country through his fight against corruption. Corruption has caused a lot of havoc in the country. It has become a hydra-headed monster that we need to tame. We should all join hands to fight corruption if we want Nigeria to attain greatness.
Some Nigerians recently canvassed death penalty as punishment for corruption, what’s your take on that?
I’m in support of it. Death penalty is okay for corruption. Through corruption and corrupt practices, looters are destroying the nation. They are also killing Nigerians. By the time a few corrupt people are hanged or executed other would-be looters will beat a retreat. I don’t see anything wrong with execution of looters. Their execution will serve as a deterrent. If looters are executed, there will be sanity. Nigeria will not be the first country to execute looters. In China, looters are executed. There are also other countries that do so.
As a way of fighting corruption some have suggested that the newly elected public office holders should be made to swear by traditional gods like Ogun, Esu etc, that doing so will help to stem or tackle corruption as many public office holders don’t respect the Bible and the Quran which are currently being used for swearing-in ceremonies. What’s your reaction?
I fully support it. It is another effective way to tackle corruption. These traditional gods are agents of the supreme deity Yoruba called Olodumare. When you swear falsely on any of these gods, you are playing with fire because if you swear on them, and when you get to public office and start stealing, you will incur the wrath of these traditional gods as calamities in various forms will start afflicting anybody that swears falsely with them and this is why our public office holders are afraid of them. But if these public office holders have genuine intention to serve and not to loot, they should not be afraid or develop cold feet if they ask them to swear by traditional gods.
What is your reaction to the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day?
It is a welcome development. OPC as an organisation was part of the June 12 struggle. OPC came into being as part of other movements that emerged to fight the injustice of June 12 annulment. President Buhari should be commended for making the declaration.
What are your expectations from President Buhari in this second term in office?
It is only in Nigeria that I see citizens abuse their leaders. Even though you may disagree with his policies and programme, you don’t need to abuse Buhari as a leader. There are polite ways to express your disagreement with him without resorting to abuse.
As for my expectations from him, he should fix the power sector. He promised to do this during his first term but up till today the problems besetting the sector are still there and we all know that power is the key to so many economic challenges facing the nation. If the power sector is fixed, there will be a boom in the economy. Then small scale enterprises will also thrive, and employment will be generated for many unemployed Nigerians.
Buhari also promised to tackle the problem of unresolved murders and assassinations. There are so many unresolved murders and assassinations. We need to unravel these, so Buhari should keep to his promise to let Nigerians know what happened in all these cases.
During his second term, Buhari should also ensure that he put in place, people-oriented programmes that will make life meaningful for Nigerians. He should also find ways to squarely address the problem of poverty.
To the South West governors, what’s your advice to them?
My advice is not only for the South West governors but all the newly elected leaders. They should know that they were elected to serve. They should therefore not be self-serving. They should not betray the electorate. They should know that public office is an avenue to serve and not platforms to loot. (The Sun)
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(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
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The Yoruba have launched what it called a trans-national group aimed at working for self determination of its people all over the globe. The group named Oodua World Congress OWC according to them will represent and defend the interest of the Yoruba and Itsekiri people all over the world.
Two things are very clear about their mission, to defend the interest od he Yoruba and Itsekiri people and to seek for self determination, using nonviolent means. The group will also organise a national summit this year, 2019.
Below is the group’s press release.
Lagos, May 31, 2019
A trans-national group aimed at working for the self determination of Yoruba peoples all over the world has been launched.
The new movement, Oodua World Congress, (OWC) will represent and defend the interests of Yoruba and Itsekiri people all over the world.
The group said it will mobilise local and international community for the realization of Yoruba self determination using peaceful and non-violent means and drawing from Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations which states that all peoples have the right to freely pursue their political, economic, social and cultural sovereignty
OWC draws membership from Nigeria and the six continents of Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia and the Pacific. OWC plans a Yoruba trans-national summit before the end of the year.
In a release signed by Ayobami Akinreti and Dr. Mustapha Idris Olukotun on behalf of the OWC Public Information Bureau (PIB,) the organization said it will work for the self determination of Yoruba people using local and international instruments to actualise its goal within the shortest possible time.
The OWC said Yoruba population is 27th in a list of 233 countries and bigger in size than 165 countries in the world.
In Africa, Yoruba nation will be the third largest nation in population while it will be the first in human resource potentials.
The group said it is time to assert Yoruba as a sovereign nation and free the people from servitude and long-standing bondage.
“OWC is a new movement in response to the need for synergy and intensive local and international campaign for the Yoruba self-determination up to the point of actualising a sovereign nation for the children of Oduduwa who share common history, common culture and common fears and aspirations”, the group stated.
It noted that self determination is the goal of the new millennium.
“In this campaign, OWC promises to provide hope for a despairing population and lead the children of Oduduwa from stupor to greatness, from hopelessness to glory and from shame to fame,” the OWC said in the statement.
The group said Yoruba people do not hate any nationality or tribe, but rather was propelled by the motive to do things and run the affairs of her own government based on the over 2000 year old values and civilisations of the Yoruba people.
“After over a century, Nigeria has failed to give Yoruba people what we want. We have fought wars. We indeed continue to fight different forms of wars as a people in Nigeria where live and living must necessarily cost everything including constant misery and loss of human lives. Our children are crying, our young and old generations are deprived, our values and civilisations are trampled and our rights to choose those who lead us have always depended on the wishes of those who see us as eternal foes.”
OWC stated “What we see today is wasting and destruction in our towns, cities, villages and borders. Our moon no longer shines. Our sun has been suppressed. Our stars trampled under the scorching coercion of the Nigerian state.”
The officials said “We have a long history. We have a long tradition. At a point in world history, Yoruba nation was the reference point for the cultural, political and economic heritage of the black people all over the world. At a point, our standard of living was comparable if not better than some European nations. We have a history of war and peace. We had a history of when the children of Oduduwa had some level of independence later taken away by fiat. Today, the Yoruba fortunes have declined. Our humanity has been punctured by the garrison Nigerian state in the face of a desperate attempt to sustain the obvious ruins that the country has become.”
The group said the campaign for Yoruba self-determination has become inevitable “in the face of the horrific sufferings and deprivations of our people” adding that the problem has been compounded by the invasion of Yoruba territories by armed Fulani men who appear anxious and determined to impose siege and war on Yoruba people.
“Throughout Nigerian history, the Fulani have always been the aggressor. Our territories are currently occupied by armed groups. Our wives and daughters are raped. Those who challenged them have been killed in the most savage manners. Our farms, our homes, our cities and our forests have become death traps. It will be foolish and catastrophic for our people to fold their arms with the illusion that war is not being planned by people who consistently portray themselves as our eternal enemies inspite of the affection and love of the Yoruba people.”
The OWC said the group is open to all children of Oduduwa who are in the age of 18 and above.
“Our convenant is to liberate our people from the shackles of agony and bleakness.”
It urged Yoruba, Itsekiri and all Oodua descendants all over the world to unite and prepare to defend their ancestral territories from the aggression and organised hostilities of arrogant aliens currently occupying Yorubaland including our sacred forests and groves. OWC said it will shoulder the historic and necessary burden of redeeming Oodua descendants from their affliction and put an end to the mourning, the gnashing of teeth and the desolation of the people.
It said Yoruba people will be energised to act with the philosophy of proportional response to the premeditated attacks being planned by those who wish to keep Yoruba under brute force. The group said it is ready to work with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria who share the dream of OWC.
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ADO-EKITI—THE Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, in Ekiti State, yesterday, expressed confidence that the Yoruba nation would produce the country’s next president in 2023.
Speaking with newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, State Coordinator of ARG, Mr. Bunmi Awotiku noted that the body would play significant role in rallying the Yoruba nation for the realisation of the 2023 agenda.
He said: “The South West has been supportive of the policies and programmes of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and we shall continue to do so. We want him to succeed and he shall succeed by God’s grace.
“We would come to the round table and I can assure you that Yoruba would forge a common front this time around. We have learned our lessons as a people and we won’t allow internal fight or acrimony to deprive us this great opportunity like the presidency.” (Vanguard)
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President Muhammadu Buhari and APC Chieftain, Bola Tinubu
A Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has described as deceitful the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that his campaign would be led by the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
The spokesperson for the group, Yinka Odumakin, warned that any attempt by Buhari to avoid the presidential debate slated for next week could spell doom for his re-election bid.
Buhari, while inaugurating the APC Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja on Monday had said he was handing over the campaign to Tinubu.
He had said, “But I must also add that though we will all be deeply involved, I will like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work to suffer. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.
“That is to say the operational buck of this campaign stops at his table, and I therefore urge all of us in the leadership of this campaign, in the field operations, on the campaign trail and in the secretariat to consult with Asiwaju whenever guidance is needed.”
Odumakin, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Monday, said the statement smacked of deceit.
He said, “I think the whole thing is just to make Tinubu feel good and think he is being reckoned with. But in any case, it is said that those who don’t learn from history will repeat it.
“This confirms that there are political forces that see some personalities at desperate times as people they can just toy with and once they dangle some carrots before them, there will be no problem.
“But if he tries to avoid the debate, it cannot work. Nigerians will not be wise to vote for anybody that is not ready to debate.” (Punch)
A chieftain of the All progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ayo Arise, has said that the South West zone will vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he spoke on various issues.
It is two months to another round of general elections and there is a heightened political tension in the country now; what are your thoughts ahead of the 2019 poll?
Looking at what is on ground and the efforts of the incumbent government and the lackluster campaign of the opposition, it looks to me that the election is going to be what the Americans call a home run. I have my reasons. Maybe the master strategy and masterstroke that the APC as a party adopted ab initio, their social services to the poor have virtually made members of the opposition to panic with some actually saying it is like bribing the electorate. That is the kind of panic that I have seen that shows that this government is actually working. Every government around the world that has been so popular has always done so. I will take you back to immediately after the Second World War or shortly before that, during the reconstruction when President Roosevelt started what he called the social security benefits; in the process, he introduced the post stamps to those people who could not feed themselves. The idea was for them to go to the post offices and collect stamps and they could feed free in America. Something similar to that is what the APC has done to the poor in our society. Not only do they give the elderly, the very poor, they give them stipends to live on. It might be poor but there is a difference between zero and something.
The APC has done so much for the poor in our society by giving them something to feed themselves and to have hope that tomorrow will be better. They have gone beyond that. The niche is the ‘Trader moni’ programme. It is actually given in the form of a loan but is interest-free to encourage people to develop themselves and as soon as they pay back, the money is increased and the person could have 100 per cent once he pays back the initial money. How do you want to tackle that in any society? Roosevelt was not only popular, he did four terms as president.
As a matter of fact, the man was on a wheelchair. So, the APC has continued to do things for the poor people and that is where the PDP has no response. When the President came out to say that he would not allow what they did to him to happen to another person, it is that he is so confident of what he has done. Anyway you look at it, whatever grammar and noise you make, the social services to the poor have achieved a lot and the politics of the APC is working the talk. But it is very painful for those who are making easy money in Nigeria. In this dispensation, there is no free money anywhere. It is being ploughed back to those who require survival in the society and the money could go round the people. So, I support the APC and their programmes.
Our people are prepared for this election more than three years ago unlike the PDP that are struggling for votes two months to the election. You can see all the programmes of the party. Some are three years old, some two and some even recently, and looking at all of these, I want to say that 2019 is going to be a homerun election for the APC. If you look at the geographical configuration, you find out that even if the South East will vote for the APC because of the PDP vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi for whatever reasons, you find out that that zone has been effectively neutralized by the votes that will come from the South West. Don’t forget that almost all the South West states now have APC governors. Forget about all the noise in some quarters; the moment you allow a stranger to occupy your house and you do not have a house to go back to, you. are finished. The South West will vote for Buhari.
You talked about a lackluster campaign by the opposition but many people feel it is the other way round and that they are not seeing much of the APC campaigns; is it a matter of strategy or what? Again, what would you say to those who hold the view that some of the social investments your party is embarking on now like the ‘Trader Moni’ programme are like vote-buying ahead of the election.
It is just a question of looking for excuse. Those people who are complaining know the programme of the APC ab initio and were here when N500 billion was allocated for that purpose some two or three years ago. Why you see all these is because they have not been able to respond to most of these policies to make any impact in the coming election. The government started with the N-power and would you now say that because of the fear of what the opposition would say, you stop such a programme that is good for the people. Or would you say because the PDP is complaining, you would not give the poor people money that sustains them? Would you say that because the PDP might call it bribery, you would stop giving loans to the traders? There are so many things that are going on that you can see but it is only lazy people who do not want to work for their money that are complaining. I am talking about those who are used to free money and stealing. I have always encouraged everybody to work for his money; this country will move faster than waiting for free money. I was part of the PDP when I was at the National assembly and I had my voice and supported everything that was progressive. So, for me it is not an issue of waking up overnight and now saying this. I started from the Alliance for Democracy; that is my own background. Politics is about caring for the people; it is not about making money.
You sound very optimistic about the APC winning the election but unlike in 2015, the two major candidates are both from the Fulani tribe in the North and of the same Muslim faith, don’t you think that it is going to be a tough battle?
Some people are of the view that former President Jonathan lost because the election was between a Christian and a Muslim and a Northerner versus a Southerner but they have forgotten that in 2011, all those were not considered before Jonathan was elected. Some people compare Buhari to Atiku but let me tell you, if Buhari goes to any state in the North, it is always a lockdown; I have never seen that level of followership before. Even before the social investment programmes that the government has been executing, if you saw the followership, you would marvel. It is not an issue of where a candidate comes from but that of what do we want as Nigerians. If Buhari is able to do what he has done so far, imagine if he stays four more years and he now moves the power generation to 10000 megawatts or more than that. Look at our foreign reserve! Where were we in 2015? Look at the agricultural sector! We are looking for a country that would care for everybody.
In the area of security, remember that in 2015, we were already getting jittery that Boko Haram was coming to the Southern part of the country. Today, Boko Haram is contained in the North and most of the local governments where the sect hoisted its flags before have been fully recovered by the Nigerian Army.
What is your take on the order of the Nigerian Army for the Amnesty International to quit the country following its report that about 3500 Nigerians have been murdered under this administration? I listened to both sides and the Army spokesperson said they recommend their relocation from Nigeria. It is not the military that should tell them to move out of Nigeria. The woman who spoke on Channels for the Amnesty International said they never got any clarification from the military even though they made attempts to do so. She said that when there was a response from the Benue State government, they had already written their report. It is good for people to continue to do their work but when there is exaggeration of statistics based on probably rumour, it is wrong. So, I think the reaction by the military was in anger because they do not have the right to order the Amnesty International to relocate from the country. When you are wrongfully accused, there is a tendency for you to get angry and upset.
What would you say about the president declining to assent to the Electoral bill? Do you agree with those who insist that President Buhari did that because he does not want a free and fair election in 2019?
I have listened to so many people on the Electoral bill. In that bill, a section says 90 days notice is required and in another section on the same thing, 41 days is required; how would you now say you should go and pass an act that has such an obvious conflict. The president has an Attorney General who would look at it and luckily enough, he has a Senior Advocate of Nigeria as his vice. What would you imagine would happen if people go to court if they find the obvious conflict in the act? So, when people trivialize this, I started wondering what is the problem. That is the way we trivialize everything in the country. Most of the people in the National Assembly, on individual basis, we are friends and most of them who have even moved back to the PDP are people that I know but I am saying that if people defected from the party that voted them in, they should forfeit their seats. (The Sun)
The Afenifere leaders, led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, held the meeting at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat Agodi, in Ibadan.
Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Notable leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, rose from a meeting which lasted for about three hours on Thursday, in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, and endorsed the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for re-election in February 2019.
x states in the South West, also fixed January 29, 2019 for an official declaration for Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.
The Afenifere leaders, led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, held the meeting at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat Agodi, in Ibadan.
The resolution was reached by Yoruba leaders including former governor of old Oyo state, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, former deputy governor of Lagos and Oyo states, Prince Biodun Ogunleye and Iyiola Oladokun, respectively, Dr. Abayomi Finnih; son of the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin, a former governor of old Ondo State, Tokunbo, and former commissioner for Lands in Osun State and son of Chief Bola Ige, former Minister of Justice, Muyiwa. The roll call also included Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Mr. Ayo Afolabi, Prof Adebayo Ademudi, Oladosu Oladipo, Tajudeen Olusi, and chairman of Ekiti State chapter of Afenifere, Chief Akin Fasae.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Fasae said: “We have decided to host Yorubaland in Ibadan, on January 29, next year. It is to proclaim the support of Yorubaland for president Buhari in 2019, and also, to tell the whole world that Afenifere, which Chief Obafemi Awolowo (former premier of the Western Region) created before he left, is still intact as a progressive movement. And any Afenifere person, who is not in the progressive, is not part of us. “We are now telling the Yoruba people and the whole world that Afenifere, as enunciated and enacted by Chief Awolowo is still intact and we are going to support president Buhari and Prof Osinbajo; come the presidential election in February 2019.”
Giving more information about the January 29, 2019 Declaration, Fasae said that “the owner of the mandate of the Yoruba people is APC. The six governors of Yorubaland are APC. Speakers of all Houses of Assembly in Yorubaland are APC. So, we have six speakers.
“Those people in other group of Afenifere, none of them has ever contested election. Go and research it. So, they don’t have any mandate. The Afenifere we are talking here has the mandate of the Yoruba people, and you will see them here, all of them,” and added that Osinbajo and progressive
leaders of Yoruba nation would attend the January 29 declaration. Fasae dismissed the notion that Afenifere should not be playing partisan politics by endorsing a political party.
“Yoruba, as a nation, must have a political interest. So, when they tell us this is their political interest, as Afenifere, we must support them. This is just the point. We cannot say because Afenifere and Yoruba people want this, then, we’ll run away from them. No, we don’t do that.”
In response to the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Fasae said: “The Afenifere we know in Yorubaland is progressive. And this is where we are in Ibadan. The other Afenifere that is talking about Atiku is the Ayo Adebanjo. They are not part of us. They are usurpers in the group.” (The Sun)
Professor Sophie Oluwole retired 18 years ago from the Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos. In her research that produced several books on philosophy, Ifa and Orunmila were to correct the Western philosophers that Africans have a philosophy. The 83-year- old professor speaks to Flora Onwudiwe about training some young people that will take after her
You are a Professor of Philosophy, Why do you choose to write on Ifa and other deities and what are the sources of your new ideas?
Well, during my study of philosophy, the only philosophy I was taught was Western Philosophy. That’s not all; I was always taught that Africans have no ideas, they cannot think, they are stupid, they have no philosophy, they have nothing, and each time they said that I was agitated to find out whether that is true. If you say Africans have no ideas, I was interested in finding out; is there anything in Africa.? That was how I started looking to see if I can find African ideas. I know that there are so many theories, proverbs and so on, but I discovered that the Yoruba people had something which they call Ifa system. Although it is generally regarded as a divination system; a communication between man and God, some lecturers like Prof. Wande Abimbola had written some ideas on Ifa. I first read his books the 16th Major Books and Chapters of Ifa, but they were literature. If this is literature, then I should read it may be I will get new ideas from there. That was why I started searching Yoruba for recorded ideas in Ifa system.
The belief is that a man who holds that system is called Orunmila Baba Ifa. The patron of Ifa is called Orunmila. Some people say Orunmila descended from heaven but whether he descended or not, he was a human being, teaching people knowledge, he had disciples, he practised divination; Ifa is a system of divination
Is that why you chose to focus on tradition, especially on Ifa and other deities, not Philosophy?
That is the mistake you people make. What is philosophy? Philosophies are ideas of people about reality, God, politics. Does it mean that only the West has Philosophy? Every Language in the world; Chinese people have their own philosophy, Japanese, why not Africans? You see, I was told in my class that it is only the Westerners that have Philosophy and me was forced to find out if that is true. Philosophy expressions are human beings’ about different aspects of life. The thinking of people; what they think about man, woman, politics, religion and these thoughts of human beings are they not expressed in particular languages. The ideas of the British people are they not in English, the ideas of the French are they not in French; same with the Germans. So if Africans have ideas which we can call philosophy, will it not be in our language. You see the problem with my dear Africa. The only example, I have is in the Yoruba Language. So let me correct you, Philosophy exists in all cultures of the world and not only Western. As the thinking of the British, German, French and Chinese people is their Philosophy, so is the thinking of the Yoruba people in their language, Philosophy; because for you to express a philosophy, you must use a language. So if you are talking about African Philosophy, how many languages do you have in Africa? In Nigeria alone, we have 256 languages; I chose the one I know because it is the only language I know. I want to look at the thinking of the Yoruba people to see whether there is Philosophy in it. I want to confirm whether they have or they don’t have a philosophy, and unless I look into Yoruba language and Oral tradition, there is no way to know whether they have African Philosophy or not. For you to say there is no African Philosophy, you must know all African languages to know there is no Philosophy and that is stupid as nobody does. Let me repeat that to say there is no African philosophy, you must know all African languages, you must have studied them and you don’t see philosophy there. There is nobody who has done that. I used Yoruba as an example to show philosophy exists in all languages and you must speak one language to know whether there is philosophy there or not.
While writing the book on Ifa, what were your new discoveries?
First, let me warn; William Bascom was an American who came to Nigeria to write a book about Ifa. He studied Ifa and he felt it is the communication between man and God. In other words, what is in Ifa is what God told the Yoruba people and that is communication between man and God and they are using it for divination. This should not be strange to you; if you study the book of Moses in the Bible, everything that Moses wrote, what did he say,?
‘And God says to Moses…,’ So Moses wrote his communication between God and man. That is the way of looking at it. The idea is when you consult the Ifa divinatory, he throws the signs (cowries) and to you, he is talking to God.
Is divination really about talking to God or to deities?
Well, you can call it anything you like. When you call God or small god, it is talking to the Supernatural being; that is what the Ifa man tells you. But there is something you have to know. I go to an Ifa diviner and according to him; he is talking to the spiritual being. What do they learn, if I ask the Ifa Priest, what Eji ogbe is, he will read it, is he talking to any supernatural being? There were 16 chapters and whenever he is reading an Ifa verse, is he talking to a supernatural being, he can come out and read the verse, he is not denying it.
How does the diviner learn his trade?
The literature you must learn by heart, without literature dictated to him by heart, the person reading Psalm 23 is he communicating with a deity? When you credit Literature to Ifa or Orunmila to something else and it is written in a book when I read the book, am I talking to Orunmila? So what I am saying is that when I take an Ifa piece and my interest is to look at the literature, I am not trying to communicate with a deity. What did the Ifa say in this particular piece, because its language is in literature, it is when I look at the literature that I will know whether communism is there, democracy is there, marriage is there and reincarnation is there? I must look at what the people say before I will know what they say, so to me I am studying literature and I am not studying divination. Divination is a thing that we learn. The expression you give is what I take as literature. I want to understand the literature, what did the Yoruba people say. What do they mean, is there any idea about socialism; that is what I study. So I am reading the literature on Ifa and not the practice.
Nigeria seems to have a low reading culture. How would your efforts be appreciated in the larger society?
Can you define not having a reading culture? How do we read? What is a reading culture? It means having the ability to read; in what language? Today, education in Nigeria is given in English, isn’t it? But suppose I can read in Yoruba, does it mean I have no reading culture? I was joking with my Philosophy professors when I was given lectures and I said you professors are illiterates. Are you going to say that the professors have no reading culture?
They have reading culture because they can read in English. So when I told a professor that you are illiterate, they will say how can you say I am an illiterate? I brought a sheet of paper on which I wrote Yoruba, he could not read it, is he not an illiterate? Today, reading is carried from form one to University in English. So to have a reading culture you must read in English. But suppose I can read Yoruba, don’t I have a reading culture? But there is a problem; we have 256 languages in Nigeria and English is used by all of us, I agree. Because I read in Yoruba, the Igbo man will not understand my language and vice versa, so let us be careful. The general reading culture in Nigeria is English, and for you to be able to address everybody in Nigeria, you must speak English. Some people are very good in Yoruba but they don’t speak English, I agree that English is what they use to unify us but the danger is reading English alone is what qualifies you as educated, now you are illiterate in your own language.
You are 83 years old, your creativity seems to be going down
That is a practical question. I am still thinking and I am still writing. The day I cannot write, I will stop, but for your information I have set up a centre; Centre for African Culture and Development (CACD) and I am training people to do what I am doing because even if I live to be 100 years, whether I like it or not like every human being I will die. So even if I have the ability to write now, can I write after I am dead? No. As you know death is inevitable; you must train people to continue the way you are thinking. Fortunately, I have a few people who are in the group that I am training. They are much younger so that whenever I leave this mortal world, they can continue. But I am still writing because I still have the capacity to write.
Which are some of these books mentioned?
The first book I wrote was Philosophy and Oral Tradition (1999), A Witchcraft, Reincarnation and the God Head (1991), Katanfuru, (to show that Africans have ideas) (2015), Socrates and Orunmila (to compare the Yoruba thoughts in Ifa and thoughts of Socrates in the West). Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy (2017). Co-authored; African Myths and Legends of Gender (2014) with J.O. Akin Sofoluwe.
You are known to be a radical, courageous woman; some say your philosophical background made you so. Do you agree?
What is the meaning of radical; I think the greatest tragedy to human kind is for somebody to accept everything as it is. If what you meet in the world you accept it, you cannot make progress. You must challenge, you must find out, you must be radical, you must find out whether what has been said is correct or not. Every philosopher in the West is who challenges the philosopher that came before him and that is to be radical. If Aristotle accepted Socrates, there would be no Aristotle. Anybody who challenges what has been said before is a radical. But if you memorise what has been said before and you keep quiet, then that is not me. I want to say whether what they tell me is true or false. And that is why when I come out, I will say the truth; that is why they say I am different and radical is a discovery.
Yoruba culture does not believe that your sex determines who you are. The Yoruba agree that men can be bold but there are some women who can be bolder than some men. Ti Okunrin ba ri ejo ti Obirin pa, means a man sees a snake and he runs the woman kills it, is that not strange? When the snake is killed it does not matter whether a man or a woman kills it. Whether I inherited it from my mother or father, I don’t want to trace history. My grandfather was an Edo man at that time in Akure area and Ogedengbe was coming to Ilesa to destroy them. So the Oba of Benin sent somebody to police village in Igbareko, which was my grandfather; man who was sent from Benin to be the ambassador of Benin Empire. My grandfather is from Benin, he was not a Yoruba man. The only problem is that I was born and brought up in Yoruba language, Culture and I speak Yoruba but I don’t speak Edo. So I am not a Yoruba person. Even mother’s father was from Benin. My grandfather was sent from Benin to Yorubaland to be the ambassador of Benin Empire. Oyo Empire was usurping part of Benin Empire and my grandfather must have been a bold man for them to ask him to go and fight and protect the interest of the Edo man.
Why did your first marriage fail?
I went with my husband to the Soviet Union and we left the Children in Nigeria. We moved to Germany and America. One of the things we learned was that the children we left behind were not being taken proper care of. My husband graduated in economics from the University of Ibadan and was on Scholarship. I had wanted to study Language, but I came home and was admitted to the University of Lagos.
He came back with a white America woman who had had a son for him. He filed for a divorce, the allegation was that the last child we had was from a white man and when the child was brought to the court, he was a replica of his father. But there was no way I could force him to continue in the marriage. I was already employed at the University of Lagos, he was also employed at the same university and we were living in the same building but different floors.
The news of the divorce was popular and you know in the university, once you are divorced, you are a common commodity as many men will come to woo you and not for love but as friends and I did not want to become a pun. So I decided to take a second husband for safety purposes. I took a second husband, fortunately, I had three children from the second marriage and four from the first husband children and luckily they are all successful. But the interesting thing about them is that the six of them in Nigeria are not employed. I brought them up in Yoruba culture that whether you are a man or woman, you must work.
Psychologically, did it affect your academics, or was it something you simply waved off? When you are divorced unless you are not a human being, will you not be affected? That was not even the problem if he was employed by the University of Ibadan and I was in UNILAG that will be easier. He was employed by UNILAG and we were in the same block of buildings. He was on the fourth floor and I was on the sixth floor, which means I will be seeing him regularly; his wife was also employed by the University. I think she was in Sociology or Political department. How will I cope, I was seeing this man and his wife almost every day, will I be running away from them, No.
The first day I saw him coming down, I greeted him “Lanre how are you?” He went and reported me to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ade Ajayi, that I was embarrassing him. Why should I be greeting him when he has divorced me? The Vice Chancellor called me, he said your former husband has come to report you, let me warn you, respect that man as a senior lecturer because then he had gotten his PhD and I was a Graduate Assistant Lecturer. He said if I disturb him, he will terminate my appointment because we don’t want to lose a Senior Lecturer. It is easier to send away a graduate Assistant lecturer (laughter).
The next time I saw him coming I started running away, he went and reported me to Professor Ajayi again that I saw him and I was running away. So he told him to take one option; the next day, he started answering me. Ade Ajayi told him “You reported her and I told her not greet you and now to avoid greeting you, she must go another way, what do you want her to do? So you should leave her alone”. May God bless his memory. Amen.
So eventually, we became friends. My second husband was in Oyo State; the principal of a secondary school. Within two or three years, I had a baby and I decided to embarrass my former husband. We were wearing the same dress and the baby too, we were going to UNILAG and we saw a car parked; it was my former husband. Two of our very close friends were talking to him and I told my new husband not to say anything because I wanted to greet them. He did not know who they were. I had dated the two men, they knew us and they saw me with another man wearing the same dress, by the time I came back to my husband, the two of them came back and said “You are a bastard, why are you embarrassing us?”, and I said, “I only greeted you” (laughter). (New Telegraph)