Diplomat unveils book on history, culture of Ile-Ife
To preserve the culture and history of the Yoruba people of Ile-Ife, Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Dr Maureen Tamuno, has unveiled a book titled, ‘Ile-Ife, Cradle of the World’.
Speaking at the unveiling of the book at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, said commended the author for the literary feat, stressing that it is time for Africans to start writing the history of their race and people to correct some erroneous impressions created about them, as well as distortion of historical facts by many foreign writers.
The monarch noted that the step has also become necessary to end activities of persons deliberately turning the facts upside down regarding the history of the black race.
He said: “Works like this one are necessary to correct any errors being peddled about the black race. For instance, some people who have only got one dynasty are claiming to be older than Ile-Ife, which has three dynasties and is thousands of years old.
Ogunwusi described the author as an energetic go-getter, who has performed exceptionally as a diplomat in a male-dominated environment.
He said: “When Tamuno came to me and said she wanted to write a book about Ife, I told her that I was already compiling the real three dynasties of Ife, that has lasted for more than 1,000 years.
“But she said, ‘Kabiyesi, let’s not wait for that, Ife has so much content; let’s achieve a small coffee table extra here and there. She came up with this coffee book, it was all her idea.”
Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Esmond Reid, pointed out that only black people were in a position to tell their stories better.
“Black people, wherever they are, know that Africa is home. Nigeria and Jamaica have many things in common and efforts are being made to further connect the black people in the Diaspora with the Motherland.
“We should also rise up to stop those giving false narratives about our history by writing our history ourselves,” Reid said.
The author said on her appointment as an Ambassador, she conducted research and found some linkages between Ile-Ife and the Caribbean and black people in the Diaspora.
“I had to go to Ife to meet the Ooni and I was warmly welcomed. It was like I have been there before and as an Okrika princess, I am not a stranger to royalty.
“I resumed my duty post at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and some Jamaicans came to me saying they wanted to learn the Yoruba Language.
“I couldn’t speak it myself but I was lucky to get a volunteer who taught them for about 180 days.
“I thought that was all until I saw people trooping in from Dominican Republic, Haiti and other places saying they have traced their roots and found out that they came from Yorubaland.
The book reviewer, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, highlighted the importance of Ile-Ife to Yoruba culture, noting that an international conference on the town is scheduled for October this year.
The event was well attended by many traditional rulers and chiefs, including the Asiwaju of Ife, Dr Alex Duduyemi, diplomats and other prominent Ife sons and daughters. Yinka Davies and an ace female drummer, Ara, gave wonderful performances at the ceremony.