New book opens discourse on marginalisation in Awori Kingdom
The age-long supremacy contest between the Egba and the Awori in Ogun State was again brought to the fore during a book launch of Ota Awori Kingdom: Synopsis and biography of Oba Timothy Talabi Dada, the Olota of Ota, who reigned from 1954 to 1992 recenly.
The 572-page book traces the history of the Awori sub-ethnic Yoruba group to the ancestral home of all Yorubas, Ile-Ife, and narrates, in great detail, how they moved from Ile-Ife through their progenitor, Olofin, to their present location in and around the coastal region in present day Lagos and Ogun states.
The authors, Prince Gbolahan Dada, who is the son of the late monarch and Frank Akinola, said the book was written to open up intellectual discussions, “to see how we can co-exist without conflict, how we can reverse the issue of marginalisation and how we can move forward.”
Prince Dada described the book as an encyclopaedia of knowledge where the people and younger ones could emulate decency and ability to make sure history is documented for reference purposes.
He said: “People who have written history about the Awori are not Awori. They are other historians, who out of their own bias and prejudice to wrong the right.
“Tribalism and feminism are all explosive ideology to minismise you and take advantage of you. That is what we face with the Egba, I feel our own generation should be able to correct this anomaly, so, it would not spread to other generations. There have been conflicts for some time, but when you look down deeply from the society that we run today, the minority groups have become vocal in their arguments and desire for acceptance and respect. And Awori in Ota, it is the law of the land to correct what is not right.
“We must start to lay foundation for each society to serve in position of moral values, to serve with valour and rule of law, that is the dream. Oba T.T. Dada is gone but his footprints live,” Dada said.
The book reviewer, Prof. Tunde Babawale of the department of political science, University of Lagos, said there is a lot to be learned from the beautifully written historical synopsis and biography of Oba T.T. Dada in the areas of history, religion and tradition, especially as they relate to the Yoruba.
He said the fact of history, as revealed in the book, indicated unmistakably that while the first documented crowned monarch of the Awori ascended the throne as early as 1621, the Egba Kingdom did not come into existence until 1832.
In his welcome address by the Olota of Ota, H.R.M Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, who commended the authors for coming up with such initiative, implored the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to right the wrongs against Awori, even as he promised to use every diplomatic and peaceful way to ensure they are pleased where ever they belong.
Stating that they are not slaves but princes and princesses from Ile-Ife, he cleared the air that Olota of Ota is not under Alake, “though politically we are not strong but as omoluabi, whatever the situation we must continue to respect our elders.
“Our ancestors are not happy with these people and they know themselves. Why don’t we have Awori Traditional Council? We will continue to make case because I believe, what God has joined together let no man put asunder,” he said.
Similarly, Senator Tolu Odebiyi of Ogun West Senatorial District noted that communal clashes and historical distortions would not have happened if the historical facts were documented.