Behold The Live wire Of Ife Throne | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Behold The Live wire Of Ife Throne

Posted: Aug 9, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Anthonia Duru, Lagos.

Traditional rulers especially in Yoruba land and Benin are never said to be dead because tradition believes they are sprit-beings and spirits don’t die. This is according to the rich tradition of the Yoruba’s. the culture which according to history emanated for Ile-Ife the source of the Yoruba’s has been inherited from generation to generation. Ile-Ife is the revered and cherished abode of the progenitor of Yoruba, Oduduwa and the stool of Ooni is the property of Yoruba race.

Following the alleged news that the Owooni (Ooni)  of the Imperial Majesty of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade has joined his ancestors, there were many specualtions and rumours over who should announce the passage of the revered monarch.

According to history, Ooni is the custodian of the household of Oduduwa, its shrine and the protector of its legacies. Therefore, it is absolutely a taboo for any prince, royal family and palace chiefs to break the news without clearance or approval from the appropriate traditional quarters. The only authorized person to announce his passage is his brother who is one of the 16 foremost monarchs in Yorubaland, the Oore of Otun and Mobaland, a son of Oduduwa.

The reigning Oore of Mobaland, Oba (Dr.) James Adedapo Popoola JP, CON, Odundun I Adimula, is a first class traditional ruler and former Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs. He is an economist and chartered accountant.

After ascertaining that the Ooni has waja (died), the palace chiefs are expected to inform the Oore. The Oore will mourn his passage in a traditional way. He will not waste time in breaking the news to other Oduduwa children, especially the Alaafin, the descendant of Oranmiyan Akinorun, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, the Oba of Benin, the Onipopo of Popo, the Onisabe of Sabe, and the Owa Obokun Adimula. The Oore will also carry along the Ajero Asotemaru, the Alara and the Obalufon Alayemore.

The foremost rulers will break the news to their towns and vassal towns. Days of mourning will be declared. The attention of the towns and villages will focus on Ile-Ife, the Orirun, where their kings obtained their legitimate crowns.

In ancient times, a celebration will be proclaimed, with its characteristic visitation to the cradle by monarchs, accompanied by their chiefs and families. The palace chiefs will play dominant roles during the burial ceremony. They will also play dominant roles during the selection of a new prince for the prestigious throne.

Origin of Moba can be traced to the Atlantic Ocean and Ile Ife, the ancestral home of the Yoruba. Origin of Moba and Otun-Ekiti The origin started with the emergence of Omolokun from Okun-Moba, the present coastal area of Lagos with all the paraphemalia of royalty- a big crown, beads, kolanut and a calabash containing cool water.

He also emerged with Ogbo-Ifa Ide, that is a silver container where all Ifa divination materials were kept. Omolokun emerged from Okun-Moba where he was referred to as Okun Eleke. Okun Moba was the origin of Moba people. Moba does not connote a geographical location, but a group of people. Otun people are also Moba people. Omolokun migrated like other Yoruba and came to Ife during the time of Oduduwa, where he settled.

In Otun-Ekiti, there is a settlement called Ife Oore, like that of Ife Ooni at Ile-Ife. When Omolokun was at Ile-Ife, Oduduwa went blind and all efforts to restore his sight proved abortive. It was Omolokun who was a very strong Ifa diviner that consulted the Ifa oracle which instructed that Oduduwa would only regain his sight by using water from the sea. When Oduduwa summoned his children only his grand child called Ajibogun agreed to go. Ajibogun did not return from the expedition in time and he was presumed dead, while the children of Oduduwa settled with their father, shared his property and went away.

However, because the oracle predicted that Ajibogun would return from his journey with the water, Omolokun decided to wait and he brought the seawater. Oduduwa referred to the water bearer as Obokun, meaning the one that fetched water from the sea. Ajibogun became the ruler of Ijesa called Owa Obokun of Ijesaland. Oore used the seawater to prepare a concoction which he used to wash Oduduwa’s eyes and he regained his sight. Since then people started calling Oore as Olore Oduduwa. Although Oduduwa did not change the name of Omolokun but people named him Olore Oduduwa.

That was how he became Olore which was shortened to Oore. Oore requested to leave Ile-Ife and Oduduwa reluctantly released him that he would always pay him a visit whenever he needed his service. Immediately Oore left Ile-Ife, Oduduwa passed on. But because Oore was with Oduduwa throughout his stay, he knew the in-and-out of the palace and where his children settled. Oore went back to Ile-Ife to prepare the rites of passage and installation of one of the children of Oduduwa to take over his throne.

Oore’s spirit must be invoked at the installation of a new Ooni because in ancient time, he was present when the Arole was put on the throne of Oduduwa. At the installation of a new Ooni, the spirits of four Obas must be invoked and that Oore is one of them. Oore settled in many places when he came out from Okun.

He settled at Mushin, Igbobe, Ebe, Oke-Olodun and Ipole. It was at Ipole that an organised community was first established with various quarters, palace and a traditional festival. They spent over 200 years at Ipole. Because of scarcity of water, they left Ipole to their present settlement, which was founded by two hunters sent out by Oore Owaforan who was the last Oba at Ipole.

The two hunters, Babasikin and Babalitin, were instructed to look for a perennial stream. They found one each which were named after them as Omiabasikin and Omiabaletin. Omiabasikin is the water drawn for annual Ogun festival at Era, while water from Omiabaletin is used to prepare Oore’s food and poured as libation to the gods daily at the palace.

There are more than 201 deities in the palace and the Oore makes sacrifices to them daily. The water is the one the Oore takes to Ife any time he is on visit to the Ooni. He always gives the water to Alaafin also to pour libation to the gods in his palace. Moba people settled at the present site over 600 years ago. Ogun festival Our own Ogun festival is referred to as Ijesu-new yam festival which comprises series of activities.

We left all the materials used for Ogun festival at Ipole as instructed by the Ifa oracle, to ensure the defence of the southern part of the community during war. Every time we are celebrating Ogun festival, we usually go to the Ogun shrine at Odo-Are, Ipole, to bring its relics. It is usually a ceremonial festival, a red dog is sacrificed at the shrine along with other rituals.

The dog is beheaded and its blood sprinkled on the relics before they are brought home. The relics are kept until after Otun and Moba pay homage to the Oore, that is when the festival is concluded. The first of the Ogun festival is when the Oore eats new yam called Ojo Aye. The Oore consults the Ifa oracle twice during the new yam festival and Ifa festival. Every five days, Ifa priests come to the palace to consult Ifa for him.

The Oore sits in the palace during both festivals to make renditions to the Ifa of sacrifice -a very big he-goat or big pig to the oracle. In those days, human being was usually sacrificed to Ogun at night. Right in the shrine there was elaborate ceremony climaxed by the beheading of human being. When the white men came and led Oore and other Obas in 1866 to sign the treaties that they would not make human sacrifice again, the practice stopped. The second day is Awo market. It is the first day new yam appears in the market and anything not sold is left behind for human beings and animals to eat. The Oba appears to the people on the third day.

From the second day of the festival, people pay homage to him from 12noon to 7pm. At the end of the day, the Oore addresses his subjects and reels out laws that would guide them for the next one year. Significance of the public dance by the Oore Yes, I will dance two types of dance called Otapo and Ketekete. Otapo, in those days, was danced with a very big horse which at the end of the day would be beaten to death.

This practice was stopped by the white men who came to watch the festival and ever since we looked for something that looked like a horse to dance with. After Otapo, it is Ketekete dance, when the Oore will dance with wrapper to the admiration of the people. That is when the people would see that their Oba is well fed over the year. The festival It is to thank the gods and ancestors that they have kept us for another year. That war has not ravaged the community and the kingdom is increasing in strength.

Oore is always found in the fore front in all matters connecting the Yoruba Obas. This was clearly evident during the meeting of all Yoruba Obas that was held with Governor Sir Mcgregor on 31st May, 1939 at Rex Cinema in Ibadan. After the meeting, the Governor together with all the Yoruba Obas took a group photograph in which 12 of the Obas sat in the front row. On the right hand side of the Governor was the Ooni of Ife, Oba of Benin and Ewi of Ado. The Oore Otun, Oba Oyinloye Olubin sat fourth to the immediate right of the Governor. This picture was reproduced in the center spread of the Nigerian Tribune of April 5th 1987. In the same vein, a columnist in the Nigerian Tribune captioned “Aiyekooto” wrote in his article of April 6th 1987 “It is not my list. It is the list given in 1903. Oore was the first Oba in Ekiti land to be presented with a certificate of honour by His Majesty King George VI in 1947. This was in addition to the certificate of honour he received in 1886 and 1900. The next Oba that got the certificate did so two years after Oore.

Though not much is known or heard about Moba and the Oore, it is a powerful stool in Yorubaland which will always be prominent whenever the story of Yoruba is told. Oba Sijuwade is however very much alive until the Oore says otherwise. For those who think the alleged death is shrouded in secrecy, it is not, tradition must be adhered to in making such announcement.