Yoruba Kingdoms - Benin and Ife
Yoruba and Benin Kingdom: Ile Ife The Final Resting Place of History them or his descendants through Eweka 1st, if there was no blue blood connection? Oba of Benin must explain the reason why the Head of all previous Oba of Benin . Royal institutions have been at the center of Benin history and culture by the desire to understand and explain the facts of history as events that have .. Actually, there is no difference between Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa since. The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Tuesday said Benin Benin and that the Oba of Benin stool has no relationship with the Yoruba race.
At any rate, this is not the first time it has visited or reared its head. The ranking, as it happens, is so deeply rooted in the ethnic unconscious of some people that there is good reason for the palace in Benin City to wish, with each eruption of the controversy, to put the records, or lack of records, straight.
It happens to be the case that the ranking of the obas takes on a life of its own within every effort to build a sense of common nationality among Yoruba people. Every bid by the Yoruba to unite under a common leader or in conformity with a presumption of common ancestry, has always yielded one form of such ranking or the other. It has become part of a modernist or modernizing project which nation-builders escape only when they are able to put the knowledge industry at the centre of their quest.
Especially, with the establishment of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa on home ground inthe business of building up such a knowledge industry, creating a formal historiography to get it right, has been part of every bid at nation-building.
With bounding successes in research and publications, everything seemed to be going fine before the regression that came with political crisis in the sixties and the virtual abandonment of the enlightenment project that Obafemi Awolowo is still rightly praised for.
Frankly, it has since boiled down to the old saw about putting things in books if you want to hide them from Africans. Otherwise, too many scholars, Yoruba and non-Yoruba, in our midst, unrecognized by a thoroughly philistine, anti-enlightenment elite, have sweated their lives out researching and correcting the whimsical, myth-suffused folklore and the ultra-parochial rendering of the past, that many of our leaders regard as history, with a capital H.
The result is that, with so much cultural illiteracy abounding, we all go mucking around with woolly and crooked thoughts about ourselves and our neighbours to the detriment of social and political projects that could save our part of the world from backwardness and decay.
Specific to the ranking of the Yoruba obas: So deeply ingrained is the ranking among not only the Obas, but many Yoruba big wigs! The palace in Benin City has had to be effusively vigilant, on perpetual watch, as it were, rebutting every indication of a resurgence of the claim.
It happens to be a claim that many, including Professors of History, lacking the requisite cultural literacy have humoured with shrugs and incipient concordance in order not to be wrong-footed by popular opinionating. Surely, being only too willing to wish the sleeping dog of history back to sleep whenever it is roused by controversy, they wittingly or unwittingly, contribute to allowing the already stated position to remain the unspoken but reigning truth of the matter.
The implication, even if unintended, is that they withdraw enthusiasm from the need to clear the mushy debris of insupportable folklore that masquerades as history. They contribute to the death of historical consciousness in our part of the world.
What must be borne in mind in the case of the Alake's recent pronouncement on the ranking of Yoruba obas, is that it happened during a visit by the newly crowned Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, who has been making commendable representations on behalf of Yoruba unity since his elevation to the throne.
His definitive un-jinxing of the hiatus between the Ife and Oyo monarchies, by a visit that dammed several decades of distancing, has raised enormous and quite salutary vibes across the country.
One wishes that it was actually always the case that we had obas, like him, who would stop distracting their people with arguments about the past that divide rather than bring people together. As such, it was to be expected that visits between kings of different communities swearing descent from a common ancestor would yield some brag, and even some luxuriating in sheer grandiloquence, for the sake of ethnic pride and national self-glorification. In such situations, all traditional cultures in the world, seeking to have their day in the sun, have tended always to confer even other-worldly features on their monarchs as a form of self promotion for the tribe, nation or race.
In particular, new Obas have tended to attract a hyper inflation of oriki and other panegyrics in order to match the character sketch of an igbakejiorisa, a virtual divinity. Such moments in history inspire what, in his essay on The Monarchical Tendency in African Political Culture, Ali Mazrui describes in the context of the quest for aristocratic effect, the personalization of authority, the sacralization of authority and the quest for a royal historical identity.
In the case of the Ooni Ogunwusi, until the Alake's 'goof' which the Benin Palace has rebutted, something ethereally all-accommodating, sanguine, and salutary seemed to be attending to his forthright bid for unity wherever he went. Now, clearly, what has been pulled out of the bag by the Alake, even if returned to the bag, can no longer spell in a way that will make all comfortable.
Benin Kingdom in Edo is Yoruba territory - Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi - Premium Times Nigeria
It calls to be taken in hand and dealt with in a manner that will not continue to put the Nigerian Project at the mercy of poorly designed ethnic projects. Indeed, now that the Alake, through his media spokesman, has insisted that his ranking of the obas is bam on the mark, and not retractable, it calls for a serious engagement of the issues beyond reliance on work-a-day folklore.
To be sure, his insistence may be quite benign in the context of intra-ethnic muscle-flexing which may cause only mild grating, such as when the Alafin of Oyo haggles with the Ooni over decades, as to who is superior. But when the matter goes inter-cultural, applied in a multi-ethnic situation, it can get truly pernicious, with grave repercussions; enough to unsettle the balance of respect between neighbours.
This is especially so when all the verifiable propositions to the contrary are dismissed without a second thought; such that the cooping of ethnic self-assurance, on the one hand, is turned into a means of thumbing noses at or down-grading neighbours who, on the other hand, have been no less illustrious from antiquity to the present.
The core issue is that, whether intended or not, the ranking of the obas across ethnic boundaries implies an attempt at a form of suzerainty of one ethnic group or nationality over another. By imputing a vertical ordering of sorts, it puts a dubious historical stamp on sheer fictions that could be truly disorienting.
In an age when, as we know, aspiring internal colonialists begin the quest for assimilation or overcoming of others by, first, having to invent whimsy as a verity of times and tides, it can get quite far reaching. Who needs to be told that such tides must be stemmed before they harden into inscrutable canon! Or, let me put it this way: Who can tell what could be made of a cunningly designed myth of ethnic super-ordinance as a means of turning the freeborn into a non-citizen in his father's house?
This is not just a matter of rhetoric. It raises questions, not to be taken lightly, in the face of a new Ooni, preaching unity of the Yoruba people, at a time when dithering Yoruba elites, annoyingly self-deprecatory in normal times, have been finally goaded by hard times, to reach the point of agreeing to join in forging a united economic front around the Odua Investments; with Lagos joining the fold.
It begins to serve as a warning or a threat, however, when a paramount Oba, such as the Alake, claiming fourth position in the hierarchy of Yoruba Obas, chooses to flaunt one myth that has been permanently disputed by a neighbor for as long as it has surfaced. Even for people who do not normally care about such things, it begins to grate, when it is realized that such ranking is based on myths that cannot even bear forensic scrutiny.
What they may not realize, and therefore need to be told, is that it gets truly atavistic, when others claim you as sibling only in order to degrade or down-grade what you are. It has the same kind of feel as the myth which makes a distinction between Hausa Bakwai and Hausa Banza with a peculiar cunning of history built into it.
It could be worse when it comes from a very unnecessary wish to assimilate others while negating their interests through a cold indifference to facts, thus turning whimsical mythology into history.
The good part is that, in an age when History is being displaced by so much cant, ignored and muddied by those who prefer to re-invent the past as a means of achieving modern ambitions at other people's expense, there are criteria of ascertainment of knowledge which can be deployed to test the veracity of narratives. No matter how cleverly or high-mindedly such narratives try to overcome what is already known or knowable, the point is that they can be defeated by invoking the awesome wealth of information at the behest of contemporary knowledge industries.
I dare say that on this matter of the ranking of the obas, the saving grace is that all the information needed to decide one way or the other can be found in debates that have been going on, for decades, among historians and anthropologists, disquisitions between cultural philosophers and the search for balance between literary critics.
In my book, In Search of Ogun: Soyinka In Spite of Nietzsche, published in I have pooled together a number of the strands in order to indicate the necessity for movement away from metaphysical dead ends and the parochial dredge of many of the arguments which over privilege inward-looking ethnic issues rather than their universalistic implications.
The point is that ethnic solidarity may be quite a good workshop for developing values that are relevant for wider activism in the promotion of shared human values, but the latter must always be properly minded to obviate the tendency for self-apprehension to be turned into the case of a snake eating its own tail unto death.
Nigeria: Benin Kingdom VS Yoruba Race - Why Oba of Benin Is Number One
I see it as a case for unveiling supposedly esoteric or secret knowledge, making public property of arcane issues of cults and conclaves, such that, for instance, we can appreciate the reality of Yoruba people who may worship a deified Edo personage; Edo people who are devotees of a Yoruba god; and the treason of history which can confront people of different ethnic groups, even enemy nationalities, with the reality of a common ancestor.
In Soyinka In Spite of Nietzsche, I contend with principles and values that promise astute approaches to management science and management of society by looking through and beyond positions that are derivable from the gods our ancestors worshipped. I am concerned that it is because we do not always keep the right perspectives on such matters that, adding the ranking of obas, we run into major altercations.
There was no proper channel of control during Odua. Oyo Empire gave the Yoruba race the much respect and proper foundation in the south of Sahara. The new empire grew with amazing rapidity throughout West Africa and was like the Ghana or Shonghai Empire of the medieval history in the south of Sahara. One of the strategies of the Oyo Empire was engagement in slavery."BENIN PRINCE IS NOW IN YORUBA'S LAND" MAN EXPLAINS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EDOS & YORUBAS
Oranmiyan and his descendants were absolute in control and management. Infact, the word Kabiyesi that was later adopted by subsequent Alafin from the time of Sango oko Oya in Oyo meant absolutism the king could never be wrong. Such was the fear and power of Alafin throughout Yoruba land.
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The Empire expanded up to the present Benin republic. On the East side there was no historical record of any interference between the father and the son the rulers in Benin Kingdom. The reason for this was not known but it will amount to fighting yourself if Oranmiyan had to wage war of control over Benin. Why is this so if Benin was the source how come the source goes to the Ife for approval of final rest of the head of Benin Obas?
Yoruba and Benin Kingdoms
Ile Ife in actual fact demonstrated its superiority by having the head of Oranmiyan himself. At least there was no record of history of any transaction between father and son commercially or any known tribal or communal war between Yoruba and Benin Kingdom while Benin Kingdom continued to progress and Oyo Empire continue to expand to the west coast.
Was it a mutual agreement or respect or tactical error or oversight in the expansionism of Yoruba Empire? The fall of Oyo Empire Oyo Empire later suffered from over expansion while some local heroes started to emerge to challenge the authority of the Oyo kingdom or that of the Alafin of Oyo.
Lisabi was never a king in fact he was murdered by the Alake of Egbaland because of his popularity after he used his Aaro o method to form a rally point and effectively destroying the mirth surrounding the Alaafin control in Egbaland The Egba emerged as a new power block in the south west. And major control of the slave market at Badagry and women like Madam Tinubu from Owu Abeokuta moved to Lagos known as Eko to further consolidate the gain of slave market route.
Kingdom of Benin
The new empires moved toward western civilization with sophisticated weapon while the Oyo remained old fashioned and did not modernize its weapons. The collapse of the Oyo Empire led to the Yoruba Wars, which was never concluded until the British finally took over Nigeria in with the amalgamation of North and Southern Nigeria by Lord Luggard.
Oyo town in the present Oyo State is just a new creation to symbolize the memory of the Old. The Egbas and Ijebus took over the control of southwest towards the Atlantics because of lucrative slave trade and closeness to the white man. The emergence of western civilization further weakened the Old Oyo empire, the empire collapsed and the ruminants of it can still be found at the old site, the irony of it is Alafin of Oyo in the present Oyo town continue to live in the memory of his ancestors glory of the Old Oyo empire.
Alafin has never made spiritual contact with old Oyo town nor effort to salvage the relics of history, which should be used as fundamental tourist place in Yoruba history Ile Ife The Final Resting Place of History Ooni who is not a direct son or descendants of Oduduwa may not necessarily be considered viable in this discussion.
Alafin of Oyo who is a descendant of the acceptable link between Yoruba and Edo must examine his place in history and that of his senior brother Orangun of Ila the first son who had disappeared into history because he never challenged Oranmiyan. The question is this. Can a son be greater than his father can? Or can a river be greater than its source? Otherwise it will dry. The source of Yoruba from Benin although appeared to be very authentic as presented by Oba Eredua than Saudi Arabia or Lamurudu, which cannot be traced, traced in Saudi Arabian history.
This is an area the Ooni and other Yoruba writers have not defended. The argument of Professor Ajayi was not detailed or courageous enough. The professor wrote as if he was afraid to offend both the Yoruba and the Edos as against the fact, which would have helped the issue unless the Professor has no answer to the problem.
Alternatively, can we write off Alafin of Oyo from this discussion because his descendant failed to head the thrown at Ile Ife when Oranmiyan was called? Some will say since he was buried at Ife to symbolize his rights to the thrown or why did all his brothers fail to challenge his right to the Ife thrown if he indeed was the last born maybe, that part of history was right that Oranmiyan was the first born not the last as mentioned by Oba of Benin.
It is often said that it is a taboo to bury a king in exile. According to Edo oral tradition, during the reign of the last Ogiso, his son and heir apparent, Ekaladerhan, was sentenced to death because one of the Queens deliberately changed an oracle message to the Ogiso.
In carrying out the order of the palace, the palace messengers set him free recognizing his innocence. Centuries later, inOba Ewuarealso known as Ewuare the Great, came to power and expanded the borders of the former city-state.
It was only at this time that the administrative centre of the kingdom began to be referred to as Ubinu after the Yoruba word and corrupted to Bini by the ItsekhiriEdo, and Urhobo living together in the royal administrative centre of the kingdom.
The Portuguese who arrived in an expedition led by Joao Afonso de Aveiro in would refer to it as Benin and the centre would become known as Benin City. The Kingdom of Benin, eventually gained political strength and ascendancy over much of what is now mid-western Nigeria. Nowadays, scientists have discovered that the Edo people did have a writing system, their art work which had let the scientists discover their true history.
Including the armor, magnificent drawing skills. Benin city in the 17th century. The Oba had become the mount of power within the region. Oba Ewuare, the first Golden Age Oba, is credited with turning Benin City into a city state from a military fortress built by the Ogisos, protected by moats and walls. It was from this bastion that he launched his military campaigns and began the expansion of the kingdom from the Edo-speaking heartlands.
A series of walls marked the incremental growth of the sacred city from AD until its decline in the 16th century. This was excavated in the early s by Graham Connah. Connah estimated that its construction, if spread out over five dry seasons, would have required a workforce of 1, laborers working ten hours a day seven days a week.
Ewuare also added great thoroughfares and erected nine fortified gateways. These were apparently raised to mark out territories for towns and cities.
The present-day Republic of Benin, formerly Dahomey, decided to choose the name of this bight as the name of its country. These include bronze wall plaques and life-sized bronze heads depicting the Obas of Benin. A strong mercantile relationship developed, with the Edo trading slaves and tropical products such as ivorypepper and palm oil with for European goods such as Manilla money and guns. In the early 16th century, the Oba sent an ambassador to Lisbonand the king of Portugal sent Christian missionaries to Benin City.
Some residents of Benin City could still speak a pidgin Portuguese in the late 19th century. The first English expedition to Benin was inand significant trading developed between England and Benin based on the export of ivory, palm oil, pepper, and slaves.
Visitors in the 16th and 17th centuries brought back to Europe tales of "the Great Benin", a fabulous city of noble buildings, ruled over by a powerful king.
However, the Oba began to suspect Britain of larger colonial designs and ceased communications with the British until the British Expedition in when British troops captured, burned, and looted Benin City as part of a punitive mission, which brought the kingdom to an end.
It is divided into many magnificent palaces, houses, and apartments of the courtiers, and comprises beautiful and long square galleries, about as large as the Exchange at Amsterdam, but one larger than another, resting on wooden pillars, from top to bottom covered with cast copper, on which are engraved the pictures of their war exploits and battles