The Royal rumble between The Ooni of Ife and The Olugbo of Ugbo has melted the airwaves, on the rightful ownership of Ile-ife. In this report by Stephen Ola Ajimisan, We take a look at the struggle between the two as we await the words from the elders. In the last three years, the cyberspace has
The Royal rumble between The Ooni of Ife and The Olugbo of Ugbo has melted the airwaves, on the rightful ownership of Ile-ife. In this report by Stephen Ola Ajimisan, We take a look at the struggle between the two as we await the words from the elders.
In the last three years, the cyberspace has been greeted with a recrudescence of different and hydra-headed altercations between the two leading monarchs of Yoruba nation, the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom,His Imperial Majesty(Oba) Fredrick Enitiolorunda Obateru Akinruntan(CON),Okoro Ajiga the first, and the Ooni of the Source(Ile-Ife),His Imperial Majesty (Oba) Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi,Ojaja 2.
The kernel of the altercations is the supremacy issue and the lordship(ownership) of Ile-Ife, the cradle and the source of the Yoruba nation.
While the Olugbo claims that the Ugbo(Igbo) which now comprises three different kingdoms(Ugbo,Etikan and Aheri in the old Okitipupa Division and present Ondo State,Southwestern Nigeria) were the original owner of Ile-Ife known in some historical traditions as Ugbomokun(Igbomokun), the Ooni of Ife claimed that Oduduwa(his ancestor) was the founder and father of the Yoruba people wherever they may be found in the world.
It should be noted that the Yoruba speaking people are found in Southwestern Nigeria,Benin Republic,Togo,Cuba,Brazil and around the Rivers Mississippi and Amazon in America. A tradition of the Yoruba history that we read in JSS1 under “Itan Isedale Yoruba” the History of the Yoruba People,taught us that the ancient city of Ile-Ife was the cradle from where the different kingdoms of Yoruba migrated to establish their kingdoms. The history also told us that Oduduwa migrated from Mecca and later arrived at Ile-Ife where he seized power from the original rulers of the aborigines of the ancient city. History also taught us that this same Oduduwa that allegedly migrated from Mecca later became the father of the people that he met in an already existing city of Ile-Ife. The same history also said that when Oduduwa and his entourage arrived Ile-Ife,they met an already existing,sprawling city with not less than sixteen or thirteen quarters,governing and conducting themselves in a civilised manner under a centralised authority.
As kids, it is an act of gratuitous impudence for us to meddle in the matter of the elders. However, as scholars, we are forced to ask the following questions from historians and the elders. These questions are: (i) Was Oduduwa the founder of Ile-Ife? (ii) When he migrated to Ile-Ife,did he meet people there? (iii)If he(Oduduwa) met people in the city,who were these people? (iv) After Oduduwa usurped the monarchical structure of the city,did he kill all the descendants of the people that he met there? (v) If he did not,where are remnants of the aborigines displaced and dislodged from their root in the present day Nigeria and the rest parts of the world? (vi) If some remnants of the dislodged aborigines of Ile-Ife exist in other parts of the world,do they agree to be called Yoruba and accept that they have their source traced to either the pre-Oduduwa or post-Oduduwa history?
Great historians, Atanda, Akinjogbin, Ryder,Victor Edo, Jacob Egharevba, Olukoya Ogen, Ashiwaju, Obaro Ikime and others that we have not read will have to come to our rescue in tracing out the missing link or dots in the history of the Yoruba people.
Recently, the Ooni of Ife,Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi made a claim that the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria once inhabited Ile-Ife and were the harbingers of the deity of Aje(the Yoruba deity of economic prosperity and commerce). Responding to this claim, the Olugbo refuted the claim stridently. He claimed that the Ooni’s claim was borne out of a wilful suppression of the verity of history which holds that the Ugbo(Igbo) who were the original aborigines of Ile-Ife were the custodians of the deity. I repeat,as toddlers,we are not to meddle in the matters of the elders. Historians will have to do enormous task of historical reconstruction without prejudice to Oduduwa or Igbo ancestry,if this historical humpty-dumpty must be laid to a final rest. However, the two authorities have established their claims and the world is reading and analysing them daily already. The Olugbo has published his claims of roosting on the oldest throne and wearing the oldest crown in the Yoruba nation in Odu:A Journal of West African Studies(New Series No46,July 2015 owned by the Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife and since then,historians have not faulted his claims.Probably, they are still investigating them painstakingly.
The Ooni has continued to hold tenaciously onto his claims as well. My “childish” advice to the two sages is that they should continue to embrace and preach peace in the interest of the Yoruba nation. The Ooni should respect the Olugbo for whom he is and the Olugbo should as well accord the Ooni of the respect due of a person roosting upon the remnants of his ancestors and ancestral home.