For Alaafin, the world converge on Oyo
The Yoruba, who today, are found in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, the Republics of Benin and Togo, Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and other places in the Caribbean, have continued to imagine the glory and renown of the empire and the consciousness created by the kingdom of Oyo and its Alaafins.
The name Yoruba was initially used for the Oyo speaking people, their empire and dialect until the 19th century, when European explorers applied the name widely to other Yoruba sub-groups.
Thus, until the collapse of the Oyo Empire in the early 19th century, its dominance and commercial links with different parts of the world provided the basis for stability that protected Yorubaland from aggression or untoward experiences.
The role, position and relevance of Alaafins before the colonial disruption and post-colonial arrangement have equally proved remarkable in nation-building and human understanding.
How did the Alaafins create such a structure that has continued to live on in history and in people’s lives and consciousness?
What roles did the Alaafin play in entrenching Oyo power, influence and culture in different parts of the world? How did Oyo become so powerful and well respected?
These are some of the questions that would be addressed by participants at the international conference lined up as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
Organised by the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), a UNESCO Category II facility, the international conference will hold from tomorrow, October 8, to Thursday, October 11 at the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo with the theme, The Alaafin in Yoruba History, Culture, and Political Power Relations.
The confimed keynote speakers are two eminent historians, Emeritus Professor Akinjide Osuntokun and Professor Toyin Falola, the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, US.
Organisers of the conference, Professors Siyan Oyeweso of the CBCIU and Tayo Adesina of the University of Ibadan, disclosed, in a statement, that the conference, among other things, would examine the role and depth of Oyo’s influence in the nurturing a Yoruba identity and consciousness.
According to them, “Oyo has continued to live on in the lives, arts and the socio-cultural, economic and political arrangements prevalent among the Yoruba people, their neighbours and the African Diaspora.
“One of the most significant features of Yorubaland was the existence in the geographical zone now described as Southwestern Nigeria, of the ancient and powerful Kingdom (and later Empire) of Oyo under the direction of the Alaafin of Oyo.
The role and depth of Oyo’s influence in nurturing a Yoruba identity and consciousness among the Yoruba has continued to resonate across generations and boundaries.
It also became the basis for a global understanding of the capacity of the black race to construct an enduring political and social arrangement.
The role that the Alaafin played in this has been extremely remarkable.”
The statement added that themes and subthemes of interest that would engage participants include, Theoretical, Methodological, Conceptual and Philosophical Issues about the Oyo Kingdom.
The sub themes range from Interpreting, Interpretation and Re-Interpretation of the Alaafin Institution; Understanding the Political and Imperial Philosophy of the Alaafin of Oyo; Methodological and Conceptual Issues in Studying the Alaafin Stool and the History of Oyo and Oyo Empire.
Also to be studied are, Military Tradition; Intergroup Relations; Pioneers of Change; Oyo and the African Diaspora, and Gender, Youth and Oyo Sub-Culture; Early History and Archaeology; Religious Culture, Rituals and Festivals; The Art of Oyo and Palace administration; Oyo Language and Literature; Oyo Language and its Orthography Before 1900 and After; Early Oyo Authors, Novelists; Poets and Bards, Oyo’s Creative Writers in the 1960s and After; Oyo Literature in Contemporary Nollywood; Understanding Oyo Proverbs and Mores; Yoruba Language Today and The Future of Yoruba Language.