Akinruntan: I occupy oldest throne in Yoruba history, making me first among equals
I Can Never Be Referred To As “Omo Oduduwa”
Sometimes in December 2016, at the instance of the Olugbo of Ugboland, Palace Watch was in Ugboland in Ondo State. The visit provided the opportunity to closely observe how the Ugbo Palace functions, as well as how the Olugbo of Ugboland conducts his daily affairs. The visit also facilitated a one-on-one interaction with Oba (Dr.) Frederick Enitiolorunda Obateru Akinruntan, Okoro Ajiga 1, Paramount ruler and Ulogbo of Ugbo.
In the course of all this, Oba Akinruntan demonstrated that not only was he grounded in Yoruba cosmology, but that he also has a deep insight of cultural and historical background of the Yoruba people, especially that of Ugbo and Ile-ife connection and origins.
He explained that he is compelled to make these interventions, as it has become the habit of some people to continually peddle falsehood in the place of historical facts. This, he said is being done for selfish gains and motives.
“Sadly, some people have decided to continually twist the facts about Yoruba historical background to suit their whims and caprices. This can no longer be allowed to continue, for posterity sake,” he said.
Oba Akinruntan maintained that every claim(s) he has been making with regards to the Ugbo people and history are backed and supported with historical facts, which are verifiable.
He said: “Mind you, I am not into any superiority contest with anybody. I know my history and God willing, I will do my utmost best to defend it.”
On how Ugbo land came into being, he said:
“We have a very long history, but I will try very much to paraphrase it. It is an established fact that despite the age-long scheme by powerful Yoruba oligarchies to build a common front for Yoruba unity, using the Oduduwa paradigm, particularly at the outset of our quest for independence from the colonial government, the majority of the original indigenes of present day Ile-Ife rejected to be called Omo Oduduwa. They asserted that they are Ugbo, and that Oduduwa is not their eponymous father, as against the well-packaged myth, which seeks to present Oduduwa as the progenitor of the Yoruba people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The Ugbo-Ilaje are direct descendant of Obamakin Osangangan, whose dynasty founded Ile-Ife, and reigned as the aboriginal paramount ruler of ancient Ile-Ife, which was known at that time as Igbomokun. He, too, was the son of Oramfe, who is recorded to be half man and half spirit, and lived on the hills of Ora. His offspring and siblings included Obalufon, Ojoyin, Alawo, Obawinrin, Obariyun, Owajan, Woyeasiri, Obarena, Obalara, Lonwagbafin and Baba Sigidi, to mention but a few. In present day Ile-Ife, there are existing quarters of Obamakin Osangangan, where his direct descendants, who are my kith and kin, reside.
“Oramfe, the father of Osangangan Obamakin, was mystified as a god and believed to have his palace build of fire both in heaven and his earthly abode on Ora hill in Ile-Ife. That was why he was fondly referred to as Oramfe Onile Ori Oke. Oramfe was greatly revered and the entire spiritual paraphernalia (Ase Idaye) that founded ancient Ugbomokun, otherwise known as Ife Ooye or Ife Ooyelagbo, was in the custody of Oramfe, which included the dictates of the Oro initiates, as well as the powers of Ifa, the god of wisdom and divinity, after the ascension of Orunmila (the progenitor of Ifa) from the earth.
“To corroborate the above assertions, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, Iku Baba Yeye, Alaafin of Oyo posited by saying, “the ancestors of Olugbo are the first original settlers of ancient Ife town.” This statement was widely reported in most National Dailies in Nigeria of January 13, 2013.
“To further buttress this claim, the revered Omo N’Oba Erediauwa, the immediate Oba of Benin Kingdom, in his personal memoir entitled “I Remain, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,” gave the place of Oduduwa in Yoruba history as follows “… it is necessary to point out that it is historically wrong to describe Odua or Oduduwa as the “father and progenitor of the Yoruba Kings.” The knowledgeable (and one may add, the honest ones) among Yoruba traditional historians know only too well that the person who came to be known as Odua or Oduduwa had only seven children with Oranyan (or Oranmiyan) as the last and youngest. It is also known fact that by the time Oduduwa emerged in Ife, “from the east” as modern Yoruba historians usually put it, there were many Yoruba communities in existence and who had their leaders or “kings.” So Odua or Oduduwa could not have been the father of Yoruba kings.”
Speaking on the significance of the arrival of Oduduwa In Ile-Ife, the Okoro Ajiga I explained: “Oduduwa came as a stranger to Ile-Ife, and sought to rule a land he had no idea about the interplay of its foundation. Up until today, there is no original verse of Ifa that made mention of Oduduwa compared to Oramfe and Obamakin Osangangan, as well as Obatala (Alamo Rere) with his wife Yemoo (Iya Aye Gbogbo), as well as the aboriginal rulers of these aboriginal communities, whose names lace the 256 original Ifa Corpus.”
According to the renowned Professor of History, Akin Alao, “the antiquity of the throne of the Olugbo of Ugbo is beyond any shadow of doubt or disputation. The crown of the Olugbo pre-dated the Oduduwa example and the use of seseefun could in fact be a borrowing from the Ugbo. The familiarity of the Ubo with Ikedu ancient version of the Yoruba language will further lend credence to the fact of Ugbo’s claim to antiquity.” “In present day Ile-Ife, it is considered an insult to address a man from Idita as Omo Oduduwa.”
Referring Palace Watch to a book he authored entitled “A History Of The Oldest Throne In Yorubaland,” Oba Akinruntan stressed that “the advent of Oduduwa into Ile-Ife came at a period, when Ugbomokun experienced its most prosperous era. According to him, the fallacies, contradictions and inconsistences of the various theories propounded by historians bordering on whether Oduduwa descended from heaven in a chain or migrated from Mecca is not correct. Explaining that Oduduwa came into Ugbomomkun from the eastern parts of Ile-Ife, Oduduwa was completely out of tune with the socio-cultural, political and economic framework of Ugbomokun.
He said: “Oduduwa was a likeable man, who was soon given an abode to stay and he settled down to learn the culture and language of ancient Ile-Ife, called the Ikedu language. It is on record that it took Oduduwa 16 years to become fully proficient in the theatrics of the Ikedu language.”
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