The Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ondo State, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan has blown hot over claims by Ooni of Ife in Osun State, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi that the Igbos are owners of Ile-Ife.
In a letter written through his Personal Secretary, Otunba Adeyemi, Oba Akinruntan stated that by divine providence, the stool upon which Ooni of Ife sits is very highly elevated and that the gravity of his words in Yorubaland and indeed everywhere in Nigeria held awesome reverence attached to it by virtue of the imperial labours of his forebears, and indeed, the forebears of all Yoruba ethnic groups.
“I must reiterate Kabiyesi, that while it is very important that we must foster inter ethnic cohesion between Yorubas and Ibos, even as it seems to be a political dynamic plan from the elite or powerful oligarchy; such plans or other motives, even of financial gains, should not use Your Majesty as a tool neither should that objective or any other be achieved using Yoruba historical heritage as the sacrificial lamb.
“Kabiyesi, falsehood remains falsehood, even when it is dressed in gold,” he said in the letter.
The billionaire oil magnate and owner of Obat Oil stated in the letter that he was quite certain “that the Obalufe, an aborigine of Ugbomokun (Ife), Alade and Alaje Iremo, the Ooni Ode and traditional Prime Minister of Ife, who is very knowledgeable as well as many Obas, High Chiefs and Elders of Ife as well as Kings and Kingdoms in Yorubaland are having great concerns or worries about the several unfounded claims which you have brought to Yoruba history since you ascended the throne; the latest of which is your assertions of the aboriginality of Ibos in Ife and their ownership of Aje.”
Oba Akinruntan added that this has brought so much tears to the eyes and so much sorrow to the heart that seemingly, despite the fact that Ooni is the greatest beneficiary of the culture, custom, traditions and historical heritage of Yorubaland today, he seemed to be “so determined to remove Yoruba landmarks and destroy our historical heritage which would result into a generational catastrophy and be averse to the progress of Yoruba sons and daughters.”
“Kabiyesi, Your Majesty, permit me to call out your Director of Media Services, Mr Moses Olafare; the Traditional Guide to Ooni of Ife, Oloye Tajudeen and all others who have a duty in the scheme of things with Ooni to ensure that he does not live a life, say or do anything that will cast aspersions on the exalted throne he sits upon or undermine the safety or cultural fortunes of Yorubas.
“Do imagine if the Personal Assistant to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not understand the fundamentals of Forex Differentials, Fiscal and Monetary Policies…What a blunder it could create in the P.A’s service to the Governor.
“For Mr Moses Olafare, inclusive in your duty is for you to be adept in the profile and proceedings of your Principal.
“You must know the history of Ife like the back of your hands so that when or if Kabiyesi makes an incorrect statement, you will ensure that he is protected by having such false assertions out of reach from the media, until Kabiyesi makes further consultations.
“For Oloye Tajudeen, I feel quite sorry for the Ife Palace if the Traditional Guide to Ooni of Ife does not know basic historiography of Ugbomokun (Ife). Kindly read what happened to the last son of Noah who did not cover the nakedness of his father,” the letter read in part.
Olugbo of Ugbo made reference to a piece in a national newspaper, published on the 20th of March, 2019, which he said had it that Oloye Tajudeen said that the first wife of Oduduwa is Yeyemoolu, “who turned to the pool of water in Ife Palace today.”
He then said that “why persons like you choose to corrupt Yoruba history remains a mystery to me.”
“Does it mean that there is a deliberate scheme from the Palace of Ife to destroy the truth about the authentic history of Yorubaland, which establishes a Pre-Oduduwa era.
“Little wonder, you are determined to sell the Yoruba to the Igbos like a commodity in the market.
“Oloye Tajudeen, Judas Iscariot did not survive it, and so will all those who scheme against Yoruba cultural heritage.
“We have said it severally, and I must reiterate that the quest of the Olugbo on the truth about the peopling and authentic Pre-dynastic history of Yorubaland is not for self aggrandizement or personal gratification.
“We are telling our story and setting the records straight. There is no need for a scheme from the Palace of Ife to sell Yoruba heritage to Ibos in a roforofo scuffle.
“Kaka Ki Eku Ma Je Sese, A Fi Se Awadanu is uncalled for here. Even a child in Ile-Ife today knows that Yeyemoolu is the first wife of Oranfe Onile Ina, Onile Ori Oke, Okanranjigbo, Ebora Ti N Je Ewe Gbegbe and subsequently the first wife of Osangangan Obamakin, who was the first son of Oranfe, the first Olugbo and direct forefather of His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Frederick E. Obateru Akinruntan, CON,” the letter read.
The Oba added in the letter that Yeyemoolu, Osara and Akinsin were the wives of Osangangan Obamakin, and that they all turned to pools and rivers of water.
He said further that the letter would not permit him to give descriptive analysis of the period, place and reasons each of them subsequently turned to water.
The letter reads further: “immediately a new Ooni has been determined and installed, his first assignment is to be betrothed to Yeyemoolu, the aboriginal queen of Ugbomokun (Ife) so as to receive the blessings of Oranfe, the Progenitor of the Yoruba as well as Kutukutu Oba Ugbo, Osangangan Obamakin before the Ooni can sleep in that Palace else, the Ooni will join his ancestors in 3 Days.
“Oloye Tajudeen, amateur or false historians and propagandists like you force persons like me to bring out facts that would have been concealed for initiates but that must be said to counter the daring falsehood from you.
“So as it is, Yeyemoolu is the First and Permanent wife of every Ooni which all other wives and the Ooni must seek blessings from on a daily basis.
“I am very sure that even Oba Orarotimi Mulato, the Obaluru of Ife, who is the custodian of Oranfe Deity, a monarch who would do anything to please the Ife Palace no matter what it takes, will not join you in your scheme of lies. Ask Kabiyesi Obalufe, Kabiyesi Obaluru, Kabiyesi Obalesun and revert on the position of Yeyemoolu.”
Olugbo stressed in the letter that the published interview of Ooni Ogunwusi was “void/empty of facts about your assertions on the aboriginality of Ibos in Yorubaland, and rather than invite the Olugbo for clarification as you have done, I would rather have you set me up with your aides amidst Yoruba scholars of note so I could educate them at my level and compare notes.”
He added that he would have expected Ooni to draw citations from Anthropology, Archaeology, Yoruba Cosmology, Panegyric, Ifa Corpus and Dialectology, to mention a few in support of the Ibo agenda, so that jurors could compare them with against volumes of facts which scholars and eminent academicians have affirmed points to the connectivity between Ugbomokun (Ife) and Ugbo-Ilaje in the coastal part of present day Ondo Syate where the Olugbo of Ugbo-Ilaje is the King.
“Kabiyesi Alayeluwa, I will only dwell on fundamental dialectology which studies the evolution of languages.
“Linguistic historians have theorized that the vocabulary, diction and pronunciation of Ugbo-Ilaje dialect of Yoruba Language bears 90% similarity to the Ikedu, which was the aboriginal language of ancient Ugbomokun (Ife) as ascertained by Professor I. A. Akinjogbin.
“Linguistic science also affirmed that even present day core Ife dialect has 85% cognitive resemblance to Ugbo-Ilaje dialect. Kabiyesi Oonirinsa, to what percentage is ebuka and ezeokoli similar to Ife dialect or even Yoruba Language.
“It is rather amusing Your Majesty, that you are not aware that in the book, “Encyclopedia of the Yoruba,” written by Professor Toyin Falola and Professor Akintunde Akinyemi, the Term or Word ‘Yoruba’ was not in our vocabulary until sometime in the middle of the 19th Century when the European Missionaries and Explorers sought a common name by which many tribes of the same ethnic group who spoke various dialects of the same language could be called.
“The unifying name they chose to call us was Yoruba. We used to be Ugbomokun in Pre-dynastic times and later Ife, and migrations led to creation of many tribes like Ulaje, Ujebu, Ukale, Ujesha, Ekiti, etc, and generally we were Omo Kaaro Ojiire, confirmable from the works of Professor I.A Akinjogbin, Professor Banji Akintoye, Professor Ishola Olomola, Professor Akin Alao, Professor Olukoya Ogen and many others,” the Oba said in the letter.
Olugbo revealed further that at that time, each tribe spoke separate dialects, but that the British Missionaries evolved the common Yoruba, “which we all speak today which began sometime at the middle of the 19th Century.”
He pointed out that according to Professor Sope Oyelaran, different dialects of the same language evolved before the advent of the British and that of particular importance is the note that “we did not have the letter ‘I’ as a starter for words rather we had the letter ‘U’ in our vocabulary.”
“Kabiyesi, Ijesha, Ekiti, Ife, Ilaje, Ikale, Igbomina and many tribes used the letter U. Ujesha, Ulesha, Ufe, Ulaje, Ukale, and Ile (House) was Ule, Isu (Yam) was Usu, Akarigbo was Akarugbo and obviously Igbo that you referred to in the works of Professor I. A. Akinjogbin referred solely to Ugbo.
“Your Majesty, how could you miss this fundamental point in Yoruba dialect formation and subsequently mislead the entire Yoruba. Eti Ti O Gbo Alo Ko Le Gbo Abo. Kabiyesi, Akeregbe Ti Fo, Omi Inu Re Danu.
“Kabiyesi Alayeluwa Oonirinsa, we have asked you to show us the orirun of Ibo in Ife, where in Ideta Ile or Ideta Oko did they migrate from, if you say they are from Obatala?
“KabIyesi, who led them out of Ife, where was the first place of Ibo settlement in the ancient Ibo forest. Nibo Ni Orirun Ibo, Ta A Lo Ko Won J’ade Ni Ife, Ni Ibo Ni Won Koko Tedo Si.
“Kabiyesi Alayeluwa, let me digress into culture and tradition a little bit. Opa T’olugbo, Aja T’Oghonne.
T’ibe Ka Re Ufe, Ile Ti Oronmakin,” he said.
It was stated in the letter that the ancient ‘Are crown’ was worn by Oranfe and prominently by Osangamgam Obamakin, the first Olugbo.
The letter revealed further that eminent scholars had ascertained that Oduduwa did not wear the Are Crown, and that neither did he rule Ife from the Palace today, but from his quarters in Idio community because of the Pre-dynastic crisis of that time that culminated in the Obatala-Obawinrin bloc against the Oduduwa-Obameri-Obadio bloc.
It was explained in the letter that it was the crisis that led to the Moremi Episode in the history of Ife, adding that up till today, the right to the crown of Ife is bequeathed to Obalufon (Obalara), the last son of Olugbo, and the rights in Ile-Ugbo performed by the aborigines legitimate Ooni’s stay in that Palace because of the truce and accord of peace between Osangangan Obamakin and Oduduwa.
“So It brings tears to eyes that you could desecrate Ile-Ugbo, which according to Professor Akinjogbin, is the most sacred part of Ife Palace occupied by the rulers of Ugbomokun by ascribing it to Ibos of South East Nigeria.
“This is a great disservice to our deities and ancestors.
“Kabiyesi, can the Ibos show us how the Oro Isese is performed. Kabiyesi, Olugbo, Osangamgam Obamakin, husband of Moremi gave her the Aja and initiated her into Oro…Moremi Ti O N Fi Aja Se Oro. Which of the Ibo Kings can describe the Oro or give the Oro corpus.
“Kabiyesi Oonirinsa, Ofun Alaje does not refer to the Ibos of South East Nigeria and I will make an elaborate submission to Your Majesty on this quite soon,” the letter read.