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HISTORY OF YORUBA LAND

 

Yoruba people (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language (Yoruba: èdèe Yorùbá; èdè). The Yoruba constitute between 30 and 50 million individuals [8] throughout West Africa and are found predominantly in Nigeria with around 21 percent of its total population.[9]

Yoruba settlements are often described as primarily one or more of the main social groupings called "generations":

  • The "first generation" includes towns and cities known as original capitals of founding Yoruba states/kingdoms.
  • The "second generation" refers to settlements created by conquest.
  • The "third generation" consists of villages and municipalities that emerged following the Yoruba wars.

The Yoruba share borders with the Borgu (variously called "Bariba" and "Borgawa") in the northwest; the Nupe (whom they often call "Tapa") and Ebira in the north; and the Edo, the Ẹsan, and the Afemai to the southeast. The Igala and other related groups are found in the northeast, and the Egun, Fon, and others in the southwest. While the majority of the Yoruba live in western Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in the Republic of Benin, USA,the United Kingdom,and Togo.

 

 

Introduction

 

The first edition of this article was titled  “Yoruba and Benin Kingdom The Missing Gap of History” following the Statement credited to Oba Ereduwa Omonoba Polopolo, that the Yoruba race originated from Benin Kingdom, was very rich in details and calls for re-examination by historians of high repute from all the Nigerian Universities and recognized institutions not from uneducated and bias sources of chambers or shrines of some Obas or traditional rulers as presently being envisaged or contemplated. The statement from Ooni of Ife disputing the fact of Oba of Benin was not strong enough or capable of influencing any academic exercise. The statement from the two kings and the follow up from Oba of Lagos and host of others had generated lots of discussion worldwide but some questions still remain unanswered. This has given this writer the opportunity to further ask questions hopefully it will lead to getting the solution about the source of the Yoruba and Edo with the publication of this second edition now titled “Ile Ife the final Resting place of History”.

 

I was often fascinated by the different versions of uncoordinated folk stories we were told about the origin of the Yoruba.  As a very young Yoruba man from Abeokuta I was told Oduduwa was the first man created by God just like the Bible said Adam and Eve were the first to be created by God. The Bible says Cain the only surviving child of Adam and Eve went to another city called Nod to marry his wife. The question is who created the wife, the wife parent or the family of the in-law if any. Just like I asked in my innocent mind as a student in the primary school then who created Oduduwa and how did Oduduwa marry his wife? Where did parent of the wife of Oduduwa come from?  My Teacher never told me the answer.  We were even told Oduduwa was the son of one Lamurudu from Far East most likely Saudi Arabia and that some of Yoruba cousin can be found in Uganda infact they call the Yorubas in Uganda Akarabas, which is true.  Most of these uncoordinated conflicting stories were very difficult to prove or be binding on history for any academic minds.

 

The Genesis of the Yorubas

 

Oduduwa had sixteen children we were told and the eldest was Orangun of Ila and the Egbas in Abeokuta were descendants of the female child of Oduduwa named Alaketu. None ever disputed the fact that Oranmiyan the last born of Oduduwa also ruled the Benin Kingdom. Why did Benin or Edos allowed the last child of Oduduwa to be made a king over them or his descendants through Eweka 1st, if there was no blue blood connection?  Oba of Benin gave a detail account of fact of history that are very difficult to dispute. The Yoruba share so many things in common with the Edo’s in names and culture, which must be part of the reason why it is very difficult to dispute the version Omo noba polo polo Oba of Benin.

 

Again, in the Bible, Adam and Eve who were believed to be the first human creation by God never told or shown Cain the only surviving child the Garden of Eden where God created them, just like Oduduwa never shown the place and real evidence how he was created by God. The idea of a rain and dove as the method of earth creation sounds more like magic than real. Archeologically, the Yoruba race is not more than 2000 years meaning other tribes excited before the Oduduwa appearance. None availability of any other serious fact to negate this lend credibility to Oba Benin’s version in which he the Oba of Benin himself has not proved positively where the Edo’s also came from. Did the Edo’s also come from heaven? Or emerged from the Igbos that often regarded themselves as the lost tribe of Israel? Why does is necessary to bury the head of any late Oba of Benin at Ile Ife or why is it compulsory to receive the blessing of Ooni before a King or Oba is crowned in Benin. All these are missing gaps of facts and history, which the academic institutions must trash.

 

Aside from the above both versions of History from Oba of Benin and Yoruba agreed that Oramiyan the last son of Oduduwa returned to Ife from Benin after he installed his son, Eweka the first as Oba of Benin after he became frustrated with the strange land.  He met  his father Oduduwa who was very advanced in age and blind more also, all properties had been shared and distributed among his fifteen brothers and sisters. Alternatively, seven brothers according to Oba of Benin, Oduduwa was at a dilemma on what to do because he assumed Benin Kingdom would be enough inheritance for Oranmiyan.

 

Both versions of history agreed that the name Benin meant “the land of the annoyed” because Oranmiyan left the place in annoyance. Could it be said that Benin had another name before Oranmiyan went there? What was the name? Does it have anything to do with the destruction of the Edo Empire or can we say Oranmiyan actually founded the Benin Kingdom, which must be the reason why he changed the name of the city to Benin? Oba of Benin comment on the Edo’s checking the secrecy of Oranmiyan led to his abdication of the thrown for his son is not convincing enough taking into consideration the attitude of Oranmiyan who was believed to be ruthless, one would have thought he would have handled the issue in different method.