Remi Oyeyemi

The seminal mandatory traditional reverence that are usually accorded our traditional rulers have come under egregious exploitation in recent months by the incumbent Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II. What has made this case more tragic is that he has engaged in this obnoxious exploitation of the culture and tradition of respects for elders and traditional rulers from the pinnacle of most revered stool in Yoruba History and Yoruba Nation. 

Without let or hindrance, garmented in the ornamented honour and glory of Oduduwa Stool,  Ooni Enitan has been yawning reeking breaths of History from the most sacred temple of the Yoruba Race; yes, from the Palaces of Ife Oodaye, ibi ojumo ti gbe mo wa.  Ooni Enitan, in obvious oblivion of the History of himself, his people, the Yoruba Race, and the Stool on which he sits, has no idea why the occupant of that Stool is referred to as OLUAYE. 

If Ooni Enitan had any idea of why any occupant of that revered Stool is called OLUAYE, he would not be adorning the drapes of dirty diddle and dawdle. If Ooni Enitan had allowed himself to be properly tutored, he would not have been twining and threading tapestries of tall tales to tarnish his own heritage, his own inheritance, his own people, his own Nation and his own Race. 

It would have been less painful and more bearable if this kind of macabre dance had been engaged in by lesser monarchs of lesser importance and relevance to the glorious, almost 2000 years of History of the Yoruba Race. Yes, almost 2000 years because before the advent of Oduduwa around 9th Century, there was the Yoruba Race, there was Ile - Ife, there were City States across the Yoruba landscape for over 700 years. And six of them were in the vicinity of Ile-Ife alone.

As the 51st on that Stool, Ooni Enitan is claiming things that have no basis in any type of History, whether written, oral or archaeological. These three major sources of History have always been the fountains of the Political history, Diplomatic history, Social history, Cultural history, Economic history and Intellectual history of a people, of a Race, of a Nation. Through all these, the cosmological understanding and existential philosophical principles of a Race, a people, are extrapolated and explained. They are the tools and building blocks for putting together the anthropology of a people and a race.

All these were totally held at bay by Ooni Enitan when he was fulminating his feruling fibs of Ibo people and their Obatala connections. This supposedly fugacious fib has been fabricated into a fibre of official, albeit false, narratives that have invited derision from the Ohaneze Ndi Ibo, who now reportedly claim to own Ile-Ife and that the Yoruba were once their slaves! 

What a blasphemy!

Ooni Enitan, like a wide - eyed weirdo, weaved wondrous wires of fables about the Ibo Race and the Yoruba Aje Deity. The narrative that would have perplexed and embarrassed an intelligent six year old, not just with its wobbliness, but also in its ludicrously lousy logic, was furnaciously stunning to the Yoruba sons and daughters across the planet. It was a new low. It was disheartening. It was denigrating and disgraceful to the entire Yoruba Race.

In a desperate attempt to validate a vacuous and rhapsodic rendition of history, Ooni Enitan and his hapless, tired and confused co - travelers latched on to a pseudo - scientific research to engage in luciferous revisionism of History. In a manner evident in its howling hollowness, they hewed fallacy flagrantly and presented it as facts.

Ooni Enitan and his boondoggle scientists claimed there is "genetic connections" that show that the Yoruba and Ibo are the same and one. They fatuous assertion claim that the Ibo had roots in Ile-Ife when the Ibo themselves traced their origin to elsewhere. They lay claim to a spurious scientific research that has woefully failed the test of elementary journalistic examination, not to talk of rigorous academic peer review.

In an article published on September 1, 2014, by Kate Wong, a Senior Editor at the Scientific American, titled, "Tiny Genetic Differences between Humans and Other Primates Pervade the Genome," she had written inter alia:

"In 1871 Charles Darwin surmised that humans were evolutionarily closer to the African apes than to any other species alive. The recent sequencing of the gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo genomes confirms that supposition and provides a clearer view of how we are connected: chimps and bonobos in particular take pride of place as our nearest living relatives, sharing approximately 99 percent of our DNA, with gorillas trailing at 98 percent.

"Yet that tiny portion of unshared DNA makes a world of difference: it gives us, for instance, our bipedal stance and the ability to plan missions to Mars. Scientists do not yet know how most of the DNA that is uniquely ours affects gene function. But they can conduct whole-genome analyses—with intriguing results. For example, comparing the 33 percent of our genome that codes for proteins with our relatives' genomes reveals that although the sum total of our genetic differences is small, the individual differences pervade the genome, affecting each of our chromosomes in numerous ways."

This article which was initially titled. "The One Percent Difference," underscored how little difference there was or there is between these lower creatures and human beings while at the same time explaining what a BIG DIFFERENCE they make not just between us as humans but also between us and them as "lower animals."

Also in a piece written on April 17, 2017 by Vivian Chou, "How Science and Genetics Are Reshaping the Race Debate of 21st Century," she had made reference to a landmark 2002 study by Stanford scientists that examined "the question of human diversity by looking at the distribution across seven major geographical regions of 4,000 alleles. Alleles are the different “flavors” of a gene. For instance, all humans have the same genes that code for hair: the different alleles are why hair comes in all types of colors and textures."

The general and specific conclusion of geneticists across the planet which is yet to be questioned insists that Race "cannot be biologically defined due to genetic variation among individuals and populations." This gives two pointers:

(A) The old concept of the “five races:” African, Asian, European, Native American, and Oceanian. According to this view, variation between the races is large, and thus, the each race is a separate category. Additionally, individual races are thought to have a relatively uniform genetic identity. 

(B) Actual genetic variation in humans. Human populations do roughly cluster into geographical regions. However, variation between different regions is small, thus blurring the lines between populations. Furthermore, variation within a single region is large, and there is no uniform identity.

So, if the geneticists agree based on "Actual genetic variation" that despite the "smallness" of the genetic variation between "different regions" which blurs "the lines between populations," variation "within a single region" is still large and that "there is no uniform identity," wherefore is the basis of the claims being made by the purveyors of "genetic connection" between Yoruba and Ibo Races?

What science has shown is that all human race have over 98 percent genetic connection and even with some lower creatures. Science also agrees that the peoples domiciled on African Continent also have over 98 per cent genetic connections. If this be the case, the Yoruba genetic connection is not in any way mutually exclusive to the Ibo. Evidently, the Yoruba have genetic connection with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. This implies that there is no basis to make spurious special cases for the Ibo to be connected genetically with and to the Yoruba. 

I have challenged and I am still challenging the purveyors of this half-baked science of Yoruba - Ibo genetic connections to produce scientific evidence that shows the special genetic connection between Yoruba and Ibo that is different from those between Yoruba and any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. There has to be a basis for COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SEVERAL OR ALL GENETIC CONNECTIONS OF AFRICAN PEOPLES, to be able to isolate which ethnic nationalities have "special genetic connections."

This claim that Yoruba and Ibo is the same is a dangerous political campaign masked as science and aimed at rubbishing the Yoruba Race and turning them to second class citizens in their own land. It is part of the diabolical grand plan to take over Yoruba land stemming from the initial claim that Lagos is "no man's land." It is unfortunate that the loudest mouthpiece for this shenanigan is Ooni Enitan sitting on the stool of Oduduwa at Ile-Ife, the Orisun of the Yoruba Nation.

These merchants of Akotileta politics have even alluded to linguistic connections to validate their vacuous claims of Yoruba - Ibo connections. In their hallucinatory haste to heinous hiatus, they hung on to what could have been elements of study of linguistic etymology and claimed it as incontrovertible evidence of Yoruba -Ibo connections.

They have forgotten that the Yoruba even have more authentic and stronger linguistic and cultural links with Nupe and Igala. The kind of cultural links that exist between Nupe and Igala and Yoruba far outstrips any, if at all,  between Yoruba and Ibo could ever be, in the next one hundred years with a deliberate,  conscious and focus efforts of acculturation of the Ibo.

The Yoruba and Ibo are not the same by any stretch of imagination. We are two distinct peoples with different cultures and philosophical world view. We are not the same in more than several ways and this has been evident in our different approaches to the challenges that have faced us at different times as Nations.

It is not a bad idea for the Yoruba and Ibo to work together for whatever purposes. But this should not be on the basis of a spurious and fallacious claim of blood connection. It should not be on the basis of turning ourselves into slaves in our own land. It should not be on the basis of turning ourselves into Akotileta. It should not be on the basis of selling our heritage. The working together of the two ethnic nationalities could and should not be based on fallacy and falsehood. Otherwise, it would be failure ab initio.

Ooni Enitan has caused and is causing anger and consternation across the Yoruba Nation. There is shock and embarrassment among the sons and daughters of Yoruba Nation and in Diaspora. Agonised silence, permeated by bouts of betrayal has given way to whispers of disconcertion. Whispers of dismay are becoming loud voices of bewilderment and trepidation. There is a quietude akin to that of a sepulcher across Yorubaland, and everyone, young and old, rich or poor, powerful or weak, are wondering what is going on?

Ooni Enitan should leave science to scientists. He should take serious his responsibility to the Yoruba Nation. He should travel less and stay in that Palace. He should watch his utterances and cease bringing ignominy to bear on that throne and the Yoruba Nation. He should please, for the sake of our heritage, caution himself and be more circumspect. He should reflect more and weigh his words and actions.

Ooni Enitan should be properly advised, tutored and guided that the Stool on which he sits is a hallowed one. It is a sacred one and had to be put to the service of the Yoruba Nation. As Aare Ona Kakanfo Obadoke Latoosa, Asubiaro Agadagudu once posited, and rightly so, the Ooni Stool "belongs to all Yoruba." To begin to promote foreign interests on that throne is treachery that is tantamount to treason. It should and must stop forthwith.

I am aware that the elders across Yoruba Nation are talking. The intellectuals of the Yoruba Nation are discussing and comparing notes on the way forward. Our traditional rulers are networking to see how this could be managed. All are seeking ways to diminish the damages that have been done by Ooni Enitan. I hope Ooni Enitan would let them.

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