Yoruba World – The Yoruba culture is one of the most important, ancient and refined in Africa. This blog is meant for Nigerians, Italians and other international people who may be interested in the culture and might want to become more familiar with it.


Most people who live in the western region of Nigeria and the former Federal Capital Lagos, are Yoruba. Yoruba have a long history; when and where the story begins, no one quite knows. In the olden days, there are not many written materials left behind for us to read today. Then how can we know about the distant past? The best we can do is listen to the stories which people have handed down from generations to generations.


These stories of legends as we call them, are still told today by parents to their children. They are still all true in every details. In fact, there are often several different versions of the same story, but if we put them all together, we can learn what really happened in the earliest days of the Yoruba.
The Yoruba are divided into several tribes cities and towns which include the Oyo, Ijebu, Ekiti, Egba, Ijesha, Ondo, Akoko and Ife.
The Yoruba, claiming a common descent from Oduduwa, have a fairly homogeneous culture.
The cultural homogeneity is reinforced by a powerful religious belief system which make Ile-Ife the spiritual centre as important as Oyo which was once a political centre of a large part of Yoruba land


The Yoruba Culture originated from the Western Nigeria, and it is diffused in some neighbouring countries, but we know that their real origin was from somewhere else.

Through slave trade, the culture crossed the Atlantic ocean and took roots in Brazil, Cuba,  U.S.A. and many central American countries, where  it became  one of the dominant culture.   The slaves went without loads or properties, yet they conserved in their minds and souls the culture and deities which permitted many of them to survive.

For more than 50,000,000 people uprooted from Africa, of which many millions perished during the journey, up to date, nobody has asked pardon or forgiveness to Africa for that horible act as the whole world justly is everyday doing to state of Israel for the 6,000,000 Jews killed during the second world war. It is right and necessary  to ask forgiveness to all wrongs done by humanity in the world, so that we may return to live in harmony and peace.



Life in the old Oyo Kingdom:
Politics in the old Oyo city.

As the years passed,the city of Oyo,which Oranmiyan founded, grew into a great and powerful kingdom, and remained strong and independent for hundred of years.

The King was called the Alafin, and he was known also as Ekeji Orisa –  that is, companion of the Gods. The Yoruba kingdom was far too big for the Alafin to control by himself and under his rule were a number of smaller kings, and these were provincial kings, because each one ruled a particular area or province. 

The provincial kings that lived near Oyo were completely under the rule of Alafin, but those who lived further away, became more independent and powerful for example; those in Ijebu, Egba or Ilesha.When the Alafin died, the next king was chosen by seven chief councillor of state, who were known as the Oyo Mesi. In the earliest days, they always choose the Aremo; the eldest son of the passed away king, butunfortunately, the son sometimes killes his father, in order to become king himself. To avoid this, the Aremo was allowed to rule together with his father, and when his father died, the Aremo was expected to die too, by commititting suicide.


Yoruba’s Religious Beliefs:

Traditional Yoruba belief see the world made up of two connected realms; The visible world of the living which is called Aiye,  and the spiritual world of the Orisas, the ancestors and the spirits, which  is called Orun.  Ase  is the life force that is given to everything by the Creator of the universe.

Ase is in everything: plants, animals, people, prayers, songs, woods, rocks, and rivers. Existence is dependent upon Ase  because  Ase is the power to make things happen and change. The Yoruba believe in the Creator who rules over the entire universe along with many other gods that serve underneath him. The Creator of the universe is called Olorun.

Olorun  lives in the sky and is considered to be the father of all the other gods. Olorun  is the only god that never lived on earth. Olorun  is the supreme God and has no special group of worshippers or shrine, like the other gods do. The Yoruba people worship over four hundred different deities. The gods are called Orisas.  Some of the Orisas  are worshiped by all of the Yoruba. Other gods are only worshiped by certain towns or families. Every person is given or receives a special deity to worship. A person usually worships the god of his father, but some worship the god of their mother. Some people are contacted by a particular god in their dreams and are instructed to worship them.

Creation according to the Yoruba’s Belief:

IFE – is an important Yoruba city, and It is their spiritual centre. It is believed that there, is kept a shrine for every Yoruba divinity.


Ife  was also the intellectual centre of Yoruba traditional society. This ancient rain-forest city which now houses the University of Ife can be regarded as the Mecca of the Yoruba. It is, however, not certain whether the Ife of mythology where the divinities landed is the present-day Ile-Ife. There are several Ife known to Yoruba historians, but the one in which the divinities landed from heaven is known as Ife- Oodaye. The Yoruba people believe that Ife is the cradle of humanity. Ife therefore represents among other things to the Yoruba what could be termed the Garden of Eden. The mythology probably explains why the hen is used as an offering to Ifa more than any other creature. The hen was the first messenger of the divinities and therefore can be trusted as a means of sending messages through Ebo  (sacrifice) to the divinities. Hens which have five fingers, are regarded by the Yoruba as strange creatures, and they are therefore used in the preparation of important medicines. The chameleon is a sacred creature of the Yoruba. In traditional Yoruba society, it was forbidden to kill chameleon except for medicinal or ritualistic purposes.

The Yoruba regard the chameleon as Ajeegun, (the one who makes medicines potent).The chameleon is usually included in many important medicinal preparations in order to increase their potency.

Creation Myth:

Every culture has stories that explain how the universe was created. This is one version of a creation story that is told by the Yoruba to explain the beginning of the universe.

 Olorun lived in the sky with all the other gods. He told Orisanla,  the god of whiteness, to create the earth for him. Olorun  gave Orisanla  some soil, a chain, a five toed chicken, and a snail shell and sent him on his way. When Orisanla  got to the gates of heaven he noticed some other gods having a party. He stopped to chat with them for a bit and drank some of their palm wine. Orisanla  became drunk from the palm wine and fell asleep. Orisanla’s  younger brother Oduduwa  noticed his brother fast       asleep. He took all the things that Olorun had given him and went to the edge of the heaven with Chameleon. Oduaduwa  dropped the chain and climbed down, throwing some of the soil onto the water. He then realized  the chicken scratched out the earth, expanding it in many directions until the ends of the earth were made. Chameleon then stepped upon the earth to make sure that it was stable and solid.  Oduduwa  followed and settled at a place called Idio.

Orisanla  soon woke and realized what happened. From that time on Orisanla put a taboo on palm wine. Even today those who worship Orisanla  are forbidden from drinking palm wine. Orisanla  came down to claim the earth but his brother, Oduduwa  claimed that he was to be the owner of the earth since he had created it. The two brothers quite drunk continued fighting until Olorun heard them and called them to report to him. Olorun  granted Oduduwa  the right to own the earth and rule over it. Olorun  then told  Orisanla  that he would become the creator of mankind. In order to keep peace amongst the two brothers Olorun  sent them back to earth with Sango, the God of Thunder; Ifa the God of Divination; and Eleshije, the God of Medicine.

ODUDUWAthe father of the Yoruba:

There are two oral traditions among the Yoruba about the identity of  Oduduwa.

First Story:

The first oral tradition states that he descended from heaven and he was specifically sent to the world by God to rule mankind. He was said to have no earthly parents. According to this story, the creator of the world was Olodumare  (The only almighty God). Before the world was created, there was only a watery, marshy waste. Olodumare  live in heaven. In order to create the earth, Olodumare sent his son Oduduwa  down from heaven.  First, Olodumare  let his son down with a chain carrying a handful of earth, a cockerel and a palm-nut. from these things, plants and animals grew. Oduduwa  spread the earth over the marshes, the cockerel scratched it and the palm tree grew up in it from which all people came.

Second Story:

The second oral tradition which is a later tradition gives Oduduwa  an earthly personality. There are so many legends about the person of Oduduwa  that it is necessary to find out who he really was, and what part he played in the spiritual and political lives of the people who inhabited the territories now known as theWestern and Mid-Western areas of Nigeria.According to Yoruba legends, Oduduwa is the ancestor of the Yorubas and the progenitor of all the Yoruba Obas (kings) and also the Oba of Benin. There are conflicting stories in Yoruba mythology about his origin but one thing that is certain is that Oduduwa  was a foreigner who settled in Ile-Ife. First, Yoruba people came to their present place from somewhere else, secondly, the first centre of Yoruba life was at Ile-Ife: (The Spiritual city).

The Religion & Beliefs of the yoruba people
(source: professor Bolaji Idowu Ph.D.)

ILE-IFE:  “Our Ancestral Home”- The first of the creation here below; the original home of all things;   the place from which the day dawns; the enchanted, holy city; the home of divinities and mysterious spirits!
That was the multifarious picture of Ile-Ife which use to form part of
our childhood knowledge. Even today, in spite of several years of Western sophistication, the city still has a  certain enchantment for the Yoruba people,   if only because it is the heart which sets the religious blood coursing through their national veins.
Until comparatively recently, when easy communication has made it possible to travel almost all over the country safely and quickly, Ile-Ife used to be the sacred loadstone which filled the Yoruba people
everywhere with a deep yearning for pilgrimage.
There was ever in evidence something nostalgic in everyone, always a community of interest everywhere, about the city.


La Religione & le Credenze del popolo Yoruba.
(fonte: professor Bolaji Idowu Ph.D. )

ILE-IFE “La casa/dimora ancestrale” del popolo Yoruba – il primo della creazione qui appresso;
l’originale dimora di tutte le cose; il luogo da cui nasce il giorno; l’incantata città santa; la casa delle divinità
e dei misteriosi spiriti!
Questa era l’immagine multiforme di Ile-Ife, che solitamente faceva parte delle nostre conoscenze infantili.
Ancora oggi, nonostante i numerosi anni di civilizzazione occidentale, la città ha ancora un certo incanto per
gli Yoruba, non fosse altro perché è il cuore che stabilisce il religioso sangue che corre attraverso le loro vene nazionali.
Fino a tempi relativamente recenti, quando una comunicazione sempre più facile ha reso possibile viaggiare in quasi
tutto il paese con sicurezza e rapidità, Ile-Ife era considerata il sacro (loadstone) che riempiva gli Yoruba ovunque,
con un profondo desiderio di pellegrinaggio.
C’era sempre in evidenza qualcosa di nostalgico in ognuno, sempre un comune interesse ovunque, intorno alla città.


Who are the Yorubas, Where did they come from and What is their History


Chief Fani-Kayode

The ”Yorubas” are the descendants of Ham who was the third son of Noah. They are the direct ancestors of Cush, the son of Ham, and the black Cushite migrants and settlers that refused to go to Africa with the other descendants of Cush and his son Nimrod but that rather chose to settle in the ancient Cities of Mecca and Medina in what is presently known as Saudi Arabia. They were there as settlers for thousands of years and they constituted a prosperous powerful, large and respected minority within the larger Arab community.
However they were eventually driven out of those Arab towns and communities and forced to leave them for refusing to give up their religious faith, their deep mysticism and paganism and their idol worship after Islam was introduced to those places by the Prophet Mohammed in 600 AD. They then migrated to the banks of the great River Nile in Egypt where they intermingled with the Egyptian Arabs, the Nubians and the Sudanese of the Nile. Many remained there but the bulk of them eventually migrated to what is now known as the north-eastern zone of Nigeria and once again mingled and bred with the Shuwa  Arabs and the Kanuris of the Borno people. From there they eventually migrated down south to the forests and farm lands of Ile – what is now known as south-western Nigeria making their primary place and location of pagan worship Ife. Ife was to the Yoruba gods what Mecca is to the Muslims and the establishment of Ife as the centre of all that is Yoruba was confirmed by Oduduwa himself when he sent his sons out from Ife to other parts of Yorubaland  to establish their own independent kingdoms.

It was after that, that we broke up into various kingdoms and communities within what is now known as south-western Nigeria. Some of those kingdoms and empires were sophisticated, powerful, large and great (like the Oyo Empire which was one of the greatest empires that ever existed on the African continent and indeed the world and which was responsible for halting the ”jihad” of Usman Dan Fodio from coming any further south by defeating the Fulanis and their allies in battle and confining them to Ilorin) and some were not so great and large. These Yoruba kingdoms spent hundreds of years fighting one another in totally unnecessary wars but it is a historical fact that they were never defeated in any war or conquered by any foreign army. Yet the only thing that they had in common amongst themselves was their language (which broke into different dialects depending on where you were), their historical stock, their affinity and respect for Ile-Ife and their acknowledgement of it as being their spiritual home and their anthropological source.
This group of different kingdom states with a common ancient root were collectively known as the ”Yoruba” and the fact of the matter is that the word ”Yoruba” has NO meaning in our language or any other language that is known to man. No-one has been able to tell us the meaning of the word ”Yoruba” or indeed where it came from. This really is very strange and is indeed a deep and unsettling mystery. For all we know it could even be an ancient insult. That is why I have always preferred to be referred to as an ”Ife” rather than a ”Yoruba”. Another question that is often asked is why did our forefathers indulge in all the mass migrations from first Mecca, then to Egypt, then to Borno and then finally to the plains and forests of what was to become, thousands of years later, the western region of modern-day Nigeria? Well my own personal theory is that the reason that our forefathers kept having to emigrate until we found somewhere of our own was because we refused to give up our pagan beliefs and practices and when Islam was eventually introduced or took full root in all the areas that we once settled our forefathers were no longer comfortable there and they must have suffered all manner of persecution for their tenacity to their ancient pagan and ”Ifa” faith and practices. Whatever the reasons for the mass migrations may have been it is clear that the influences of paganism, their traditional faith of ”Ifa” worship, the Egyptians, the Nubians, the Sudanese, the Arabs and the Kanuris is very strong amongst the Yorubas, their music, their language and their  culture till today.

The religious faiths of Islam and Christianity both came much later and were both established primarily through the strong trade links that existed between the Yoruba and the north-western Hausa/Fulani caliphate from the north, the Turkish traders of the Ottoman empire of the southern Atlantic African coast from the south, the primarily Portuguese and European sailors and traders who plied that same southern Atlantic coast from the south and finally with the strong efforts of the Christian missionaries of both the Anglican and Catholic churches respectively. Both of these two great monotheic faiths of Christianity and Islam eventually took full root in the land and in the hearts and minds of the Yoruba people whilst paganism, the worship of ”ifa” and the practice of our original and more traditional faith was eventually pushed to the back seat even though initially, and for hundreds of years, they were both fiercely resisted.

That is why, till today, it is very rare to find a Yoruba family that does not have Christians, Muslims and adherents of the more traditional and ancient tribal faiths in their ranks. The slow and massive migration of our forefathers from the Middle East, north Africa and north-eastern Nigeria to our own homelands in the south-west are why the Yoruba, together with the northerners of what is presently known as northern Nigeria are generally known as the ”Sudanese Nigerians” whilst the Nigerians from the rest of southern Nigeria, which comprise of the Igbo race and the people of the south-south are generally known as the ”Bantu Nigerians”.

(Chief Femi Fani-Kayode  was the spokesperson to President Olusegun Obasanjo; he subsequently became Minister of Tourism & Culture & later served as Aviation Minister for Federal Republic of Nigeria.)


Yoruba / the egyptian Connection

By Olomu and eyebira



Ferdinand de Saussure, the surest way to prove a cultural contact between peoples is to adduce linguistic evidence (Since Ferdinand de Saussure (1972) General HISTORY OF Africa).

One of the largest inhabitants of Egypt were Yoruboid, and it will be expected that a good percentage of their language will be yoruboid, too. See the table below.


1. Wu (rise) Wu (rise)

2. Serpent) Ere (Python / Serpent)

3. Ere ( chant Igede (a chant)

4. Horise (a great god) Orise (a great god)

5. Sen (group of worshippers) Sen ( to worship)

6. Ged (to Ausa (Osiris, father of the gods) Ausa (father)

7. Ta (sell / offer) Ta (sell/offer)

8. Sueg (a fool) Suegbe (a fool)

9. On ( living person) One ( living person)

10. Kum (a club) Kumo( a club)

11. Enru (fear / terrible) Eru (fear / terrible

12. Kun / qun (brave man) Ekun (title of a brave man)

13. Win (to be) Wino (to be)

14. Odonit (festival) Odon (festival)

15. Ma or mi (to breath) Mi. (to breathe)

16. Tebu (a town) Tebu (a town)

17. Adumu (a water god) Adumu (a water god)

18. Khu (to kill) Ku (die)

19. Rekha (knowledge} Larikha (knowledge)

20 Hika (evil) Ika (evil)

21 Mhebi (humble) Mebi, humble to ones family

22 Sata (perfect) Santan (perfect)

23 Unas (lake of fire) Una (fire)

24 Tan (complete) Tan (complete)

25 Beru (force of emotion) Beru (fear)

26 Ma (to know) Ma (to know)

27 Mu (water) Mu (drink water)

28 Reti (to beseech) Retin (to listen)

29 Ta  (spread out) Ta (spread out)

30 Kurud (round) Kurudu (round

The words above are used to show that most Yoruba words are identical to the ancient Egyptian.



Since the month of May 2004, there has been a raging intellectual battle on the personality of Oduduwa. The Binis claim he was a Bini prince, the Ifes claim otherwise.

This approach will be purely scientific and will be as objective as possible. The following areas: (1) The personality of Oduduwa {Ikaladeran}; (2) archaeological researches; (3) the linguistic linkages; (4) scientific analysis of the myths; and (5) Benins historical debt to Oduduwa will be analyzed. (a) The monarchies; (b) the water religion, (c) bead manufacturing (d) salt industry; and (e) the Lagos conquest, will be scientifically analysed.


The personality of Ikaladeran; whether he was the man who later became Oduduwa will be scientifically analyzed.

In this discourse, Oduduwa is seen as the founder of the Yoruba monarchical system, or at least, a founder of a prominent dynasty in Yoruba history. There must have been many dynasties in Ife, as Ife legends put pre-Oduduwa monarchs at more than ninety.

The personality of Oduduwa has suffered many attacks in recent times. The Binis claim he was a Benin prince (Ekaladerhan), who later became Imadoduwa or Izoduwa, and then Oduduwa. The Igbos claim he was an Igbo man from Nri. Some Igalas claim he hailed from Igala land. The Igalas have many Ifes, and they claim Oduduwa was from one of such Ifes. The Igala language is close enough to the Yoruba, to assert a common origin for both peoples.

The present writers are holding the following positions:
1. The Yorubas are aborigines or autochthonous to their present environment;
2. The monarchical structure seems to be alien. The present writers tend to place the origin of the Yoruba monarchy in ancient Egypt and Nubia. This is because a lot of Egyptian related relics, words and practices can still be discerned among the Yorubas, particularly among the following: Ife (where the Ifa oracle and Yoruba monarchical system blossomed); Ijebu (with some ancient settlements; Ijebu Ode, the seat of the Awujale, Ode, the seat of Lenuwa, in present day Ogun Water side Local Government, Oke-Eri, purported to be the home of the biblical queen of Sheba, called Bilikisu in Ijebu legends), Ugbo, the ancient city of the Ilajes, Idanre (the home of Ogun, the god of iron), all show some similarities and identities in their monarchical and religious authorities. Basil Davidson, Olumide Lucas, Tariqh Sawandi, and even the present Awujale of Ijebu land, have pointed to ancient Egypt or Nubia as the origin of Yoruba monarchical system.  All the above have used the similarities or the identities of cultural practices to substantiate their claims.

If the Yorubas left the Egyptian or the Nubian axis, they must have left during turbulent periods of war, economic stagnation or religious persecution. Thus, we shall examine the periods of upheavals in black Egypt and black Nubia; and examine when the Yoruban aristocracy descended from the Nile valley. They may not be one migration, but several migrations and the personality called Oduduwa, must have led one of the various migrations.

The first crop of migrants or southward push of the Egyptians took place about 2000BC  500BC. The Hyksos invasion (2000-1500BC) caused some of these southward migrations. Many of the black Egyptians seemed to have moved to Yoruba land during this period. .

The second wave of migrations will correspond to what Laoye Sanda, of the department of Public Administration,The Polytechnic Ibadan, refers to as the black Nubian emigrants. The Nubians were black, they occupied present day Sudan, which was an integral part of the Egyptian Empire. The vocabulary, body scarification, and religious discourse resemble those of the Ijebus and more so, the Itsekiri. The 1984 Awujales coronation manual will make this manifest. These migrations occurred about 500BC.

A third wave of migration took place between 90BC and 30BC. The present writers feel the personality called Oduduwa, came in that migration trend. A fourth migration will correspond to the Christian conquest of Egypt, about 100AD.

The last wave of migration will correspond to the Arab enforced emigration, between 700AD 1100AD, when the Arabs had consolidated their control over Egypt; they chased the last batch of traditional worshipping Egyptians from Egypt. This occurrence would have led to many Yoruba claiming that their ancestors were chased from somewhere in the Middle East for not accepting Islam.

The proof of archaeology

There has been a dearth of archaeological researches in Nigeria. Whatever research has been done is not final, for new finds can be found in future.

The most ancient archaeological finds in Nigeria are the following: (1) the relic at Iwo Eleru (with a radio carbon date of about 12,000BC). Iwo Eleru is close to Akure, Ondo State. (2) The findings at Igbo-Ukwu of about 6000BC. (3) The findings at the Mejiro cave near Oyo (about 4000BC). The Nok culture that is more than 1000BC. (4) The Oke-Eri walls and graves purported to be more than a thousand years. The walls are reputed to be the biggest in the world, but for the walls of China. (5) The bronze heads at Ife about 1000AD. (6) The bronze heads at Benin about 1400AD. This might authenticate the Ife claim that the Binis got the civilization of bronze casting from the Ifes. Both the Binis and the Ifes claim that Igueghae was the one who taught the Binis how to cast bronze, during the reign of the Oba Oguola, fourth king from Eweka, the son of Oramiyan, a distant descendant of Oduduwa from Ife.


According to the studies of philology and etymology, most of the languages in Nigeria in the Kwa group of languages have a meeting point. The Yorubas and Idoma separated some six thousand years ago; while the Yoruba and Igalas separated about 2 thousand years ago; two thousand years ago corresponds to the time that the Yoruba dialects: Ekiti, Ijebu, Oyo, Itsekiri, Ilaje, Ikale etc started having distinct dialectical identities.

Linguistic studies have indicated that Yorubas in the Eastern Flanks of the Yoruba nation; Ekiti, Yagba, Kabba, Owo, Ijebu, Itsekiri and to some extent the Ifes, speak the most ancient Yoruba dialects. Glottochronological studies have shown that the dialects in the south east are more ancient than those of central Yoruba land and western Yoruba land. The table displays it further still.

A table showing east to west ancientness of the Yoruboid languages.

ENGLISH       –  ITSEKIRI                –  YORUBA OYO/YORUBA
RESPECT      –  OGHO                     –  OWO
MONEY          –  OGHO                     –  OWO
LOOK              –   GHO                        –  WO
SAY                  –  GIN                           –  WI
FORBID          –  GHO( r )                   –  WO( r )
THEM             –   AGHAN                   –  AWON

The table shows that the Itsekiri dialect retains the more ancient gh or g guttural sound to the more liquid wof the Oyos.

If it is taken that the Yoruban ruling class came from Egypt, the southern Yoruba block, particularly the Itsekiri, would have served as an initial stopping point and a secondary course of dispersal. The table displays it further still.

EGYPTIAN                                     –     ITSEKIRI             –    YORUBA OYO-YORUBA
ADUMU (Water god)                 –    ADUMU (Water god) –   ADAMU (A god)
Kuku (Darkness)                         – Okuku (Darkness)     – Ouku (Darkness)
Dudu (Black Image of Osiris) – Dudu (black )               – Dudu ( black )
Omi (Water)                                   –  Omi (Water)                – Omi (Water)
Heket-Re (Frog god)                   – Ekere (Frog)                – Akere (Frog)
Horise (Sky god)                           -Orise (Sky god)           – Orisa (A god)
Hika (Evil)                                        – Ika (Evil)                        – Ika (Evil)
Shu (Evil god)                                – Eshu (Evil god)           -Eshu (Evil god)
Co-opted from 500 word-word correlation between, Yoruba and  anthic Egyptian languages .

From the above, it means that the eastern Yoruba blocs such as the Itsekiri, Ilaje, Ijebu and the Owo are more cognate with the Egyptian than those of Oyo or Ife. .

The Awujale has testified that the Itsekiri are speaking the original Ijebu dialect.  This is why Bolaji Idowu derived the origin of Oritse to the Itsekiri-Owo axis within the eastern Yoruba kingdoms…

It is proper here to state that the word Orise is almost cognate with the Egyptian, Horise. Both deities represent very high gods.. Both deities were first water divinities before they became sky or heavenly divinities. Both words are derived from identical etymological origins. Hori(Ori) means head in both places. Se means a source in both places. Thus both words mean a source of creation in both places. This type of linguistic similarity or identity cannot have arisen by mere accident – there was a concrete historical intercourse. The Binis call God Oyisa, a corruption of the eastern Yoruba form. This is certain because the Binis cannot derive the meaning of Oyisa by breaking the word into morphemes as the Yoruba can display, or draw up any identity with ancient Egypt.


  1. Oduduwa:  The myth of Oduduwa seems to be valid. Minus the fact that many Yoruba claim descent from Oduduwa, some Urhobos and even Ijaws also claim descent from Oduduwa.
    2. Ekaladerhan  This name exists in very little, if at all it exists, in the oral tradition of any of the Bini neighbors. There has been no relevant oral tradition among any of the circumjacent peoples that can recognize Ekaladerhan or identify him as Oduduwa. So, the Ife claim concerning Oduduwa seems to be more tenable.
    3. Oduduwa descent from heaven,  The Ifes have been totally embarrassed by the invectives thrown on them by the Binis in their I claim that Oduduwa fell from the sky.

Yes! It is true. People can fall from the sky as modern interaction between earthmen and those from other planets have authenticated, and this can be displayed both in mythology and in real hardcore science in many parts of the world. The story of Ezekiel in the bible, the story of the Dogon mystic tribe of Mali are cases in point.

Then, some Yoruba ancestors would have been some of the Umales (aborigines) using their Umale-Olunas (spaceships) to travel across the universe, as this can still be sighted in Yoruba land today.
4. The huge bodies of water which the Bini and Yoruba mythologies claim their ancestors landed, would have been one of two waters (1) the Atlantic ocean, the home of Umale-Okun at the coastal flanks of Yoruba land , or the Mediterranean which was the biggest body of water known to the ancient Negro Egyptians.




– The Monarchies

There are areas where the eastern Yorubas and the Binis have a lot of historical linkages. It is an indisputable fact that the founder of the present Itsekiri dynasty was Ginuwa, the first son of Oba Olua of Benin. The Binis ruled over most parts of Ondo state: Akure and Ode-Ondo, to be more specific. They even established dynasties in some of these places, including Owo. There are a lot of titles that the Eastern Yorubas derived from the Binis. Those titles include: Ologbotsere, Iyatsere, Otsodin, Olisan (Oliha) etc. There are also many areas where the Binis are indebted to the Eastern Yorubas. Many of these have not been given prominence by historians. But the more we delve into History, the more we are convinced of Binis indebtedness to the Yorubas, particularly the Itsekiri-yorubas. Some of this indebtedness are the Bini religious discourse, the conquest of Lagos, the manufacture of salt etc.

On face value, the Lagos conquest seemed to have been done by the Binis. Many authorities however, agree that it is the Itsekiri of Warri that served in the Navy that attacked Lagos. The assertion is likely to be true because of the following (1) The Binis are not watermen and could not easily travel on the lagoons to Lagos. (2) The name Olu is common among Lagos Obas eg. The Olu of Ikeja, the Olu Eko of Eko (Eleko) etc. The name Oluis Itsekiri or Oyo-yoruba and not Edo or Bini (3) The Eyo masquerade attire and dance style is similar to that of Awankere of Warri. It is true that the Eyo masquerade originated in Ijebu, but the attire is purely of Warri origin. This will authenticate a not-too-popular Okere(Warri) legend, that it was the descendants of Ekpen that accompanied Orhogbua (Osogbua) to conquer Lagos. .

. Also, the drums used by the Awori people bear striking resemblance to the Itsekiri drums, but bear no resemblance to the Bini drums. In summary, the material culture of the Aworis is far more akin to the Itsekiri than to the Binis.

Now hear the authorities: Captain Leonard says; Of the Jekri (Itsekiri) also there is much more definite, although to a certain extent contradictory evidence. According to one account, they are said to be closely connected with the Yoruba, the Warri kingdom having extended to and embraced Lagos as well as some of the surrounding territories to this day (1906), in fact, Jekri inhabit the strip of country, along the coast from the Benin river westward to Lagos This might be due to the fact that Itsekiri held most of the trading posts along the coast when Leonard was writing.

Captain Leonard in another section of his work says: And from all accounts, it is more than possible, if not evident that the army of warriors who founded Lagos proceeded in reality from Warri, but doubtless by the command of the king of Benin.

Corroborating Leonard and Nirven that the Itsekiri aristocracy has at least some politico-economic interests in Lagos, H. Ling Roth says Such corals as the Binis had, were obtained through Jekri traders either from the Benin River or Lagos


The Itsekiri have always claimed that beads started with them and that the Binis got their beads from them. Settlements such as Omadino, Inorin, Ureju and Korobe area of the Warri kingdom are the ancient Itsekiri settlements with the bead industry.

The people of Ureju and Korobe in Koko claimed to have given Ogboruware (Ewuare), probably a usurper to the Bini throne, beads for the first time. There is a legend among the Korobes, that Ogboruware (Ewuare), had his swelling disease as a result of an affliction placed on him by Korobe, a legendary spiritual woman. Now hear the authorities:

H Ling Roth says

According to Bold, coral beads, are the intrinsic treasures of the rich, being held in highest estimation and from their rarity, are only in the hands of a few chiefs, whose avidity for them is immeasurable, the species admired are the pipe beads of various dimensions and are valued at ten large jars of oil an ounce, of the smaller sort, and so on in the proportion for the larger sized. Mr. Punch informs me that as a matter of fact, the king of Benin had few, if any of the large coral beads such as Nanna, Dore, Dudu and Jekri chiefs obtained from the merchants in the Benin River. His coral was insignificant pipe agate and was only significant when made up into vests and hats. The Benin value more the agate beads and especially the dull agate was a kings gift and no one could wear such a necklet unless it was given to him by the king. It was death in fact, to wear it otherwise. The shiny crystalline agate, with white quartz, anyone could wear. Such corals as the Binis had were obtained through Jeiri traders, either from the Benin river or Lagos. The Binis said it was dug up at the back of Benin but everything in the days I am speaking 14 15 years ago (from 1898) which was at all mysterious came from the back of Benin .

Eve de Negri says,

This coral was first discovered (so it is told) during the fifteenth century in the reign of Oba Ewuare. This type of coral was obtained from a tree, growing on the sandy bank of the Benin River.

PC llyod also commented that Itsekiri legends claim that their ancestors, the Umales, got the blue corals from particular trees that were growing in the Jekri country.   From the above quotations, it is evident that the Benin got their beads from the Itsekiri, and the Itsekiri legends that they gave beads to Oba Ogboruware (Eware), has to be positively examined by scientific historians.

The Binis are land-bound people and they know very little about salt. Itsekiri legends testify that they gave salt to Binis for the first time

The Itsekiri are known as the manufacturers of salt.. Alagoa, H Ling Roth, and Obaro Ikime, agree to this position. H. Ling reports,

According to Roupels officials, king Osogbua (Orhogbua) is credited with discovering salt in the Jekiri country. Pg. 142. H Ling Roth Great Benin

It is now factual that Orhogba discovered salt when he came to the Jekiri (Itsekiri) country to seek the assistance of the Itsekiri navy in order to attack Lagos. In 1818 they also sought the assistance of Kaye, an Itsekiri mystic-warrior in order to attack Akure. He was given Ologbo some 25 kilometres south of Benin city.

The itsekiri were the major salt producers in the Niger delta area. On this hear Alagoa: the itsekiri supplied clay pots to such Ijo communities as the Gbaramatu and Bassan, and also sold salt to traders from eastern delta who took it up the Nigeria Other Ijo exchanged dried fish and salt, which was manufactured by the Itsekiri , with the Urhobo, Isoko and Igbo groups along the periphery of the Niger Delta and along the Lower Nigeria (Alagoa 1989)


The cult of Olokun (the water religion) of the Binis seems to be purely alien. This is due to the following reasons: (1) the Binis are a land based people. Their main occupations are; farming, hunting and sculpture. So it will be unthinkable for the Binis to have a water religion as a major cult. (2) If a water religion exists among the Binis, and it has become prominent, the Binis might have copied from one of their riverine neighbors (3) these neighbours are the Ijaws, the Itsekiris, the Ilajes, and more distant neighbours being, the Asabas, the Onitshas, the Afenmai or Igala people around the river Niger.

The Afenmais and the Igalas seem too distant from Benin to have a good influence on them. The Asabas and the Onitshas, also, seem to be too far away form Benin. Minus that, they don’t seem to have any serious water cult to influence the Binis to have a viable water religion.

Thus, the Bini (a land locked people) must have had their water religion from the Ijaws, the Itsekiris or the Ilajes. The Bini religious discourse has nothing to do with the Ijaws. Besides that, the Ijaws that are the immediate neighbours of the Binis did not have any significant civilization. These Ijaw neighbours are the Egbemas, the Arogbos, the Apois now Yoruba-speaking the Ogbe-Ijohs, the Isabas, the Gbaramatus, the Ogulaghas, the Oburutus, and the Meins. No significant civilization or kingdom has emerged from these Ijaw clans. E.J Alagoa asserted that most of these Ijaws did not arrive their area by 1500, which is quite recent according to historical chronology. The cases settled in the Supreme Court between the Ijaws and the Itsekiri; place the date of Ijaws coming to these areas at the early 19th century. Now, hear Prof.Alagoa , an Ijaw doyen of history:

Pereiras record suggests that those Ijo groups now living west of the Forcados and east of the Bonny had not yet arrived at their present territory by 1500. Thus, it is unthinkable for the Binis to have copied the water religion from the Ijaws.

The Itsekiri and the Ilajes receive the likelihoodof having given water religion to the Binis for the following reasons:1)The Binis situate the home of Olokun, the god of the sea, in the Atlantic Ocean. Both the Itsekiris and the Ilajes are in the Atlantic coast. (2) The Bini religious discourse shows a strong Yoruba affinity. The name, Olokun, (Olu Okun) is an eastern Yoruba name that can apply to the Itsekiri as well as Ilajes, as eastern Yoruba dialects. The Binis call God Osa, which is the same word that the Itsekiri call father. The other Bini word for God, Oyise, is clearly corruption of the much older Itsekiri name, Oritse. . In the early days of November 2004 , the Bini Monarch invoked an Ilaje deity, Aiyelala, to recover some property that was stolen from the Oba Market in Benin . This will authenticate the Ilaje story of the Binis coming to Ugbo once every year to serve Umaleokun, the water god of the Ugbo Yoruba
H. Ling Roth went further, quoting Burton says:

Similar to other west Africans, the Bini When drinking, the Binis always pour a few drops upon the ground, muttering the while (Mobia, Malaku Mobia (Mobie, Umalokun, Mobie)  Ibeg, O Malaku (Umale-Okun, fetish guardian of lands and waters 1 beg of thee to defend me against all evil, to defeat and destroy all my foes. This said, a broken bittock of Kola (stercula acuminata) is thrown upon the ground, and is watered with a few drops of palm wine. Burton Pg. 281. Mobia (Mobie) is however the Jekiri for 1 beg you : 59.

It is evident that the Bini religious discourse was, and to some extent is, still infiltrated with Itsekiri and Ilaje. This is most evident in the water religion of the Binis.

From the above, we see that some of the most important aspects of the Bini civilization: their bead industry, the cult of Olokun (Olu Okun King of the sea), their salt industry etc are from the eastern Yoruba land of Itsekiri and to some extent the Ilajes. Apart from this, the Itsekiri warrior, Ikaye, saved the Bini kingdom from being crushed by the Akures. For his settlement Oba Semede gave him Ologbo.
Again when there was leadership dispute between Obaseki and Aigwobasinwin, it was an Itsekiri chief, Dore Numa, who restored the Benin monarchy. He also gave them a lot of beads which the Bini aristocracy has not returned till today. It is therefore unthinkable that Ife, where the Yoruba kingship blossomed, would have copied from Benin. This is most evident when we consider the following facts: (I) The name, Oba (the Edo word for king), is copied from the Yorubas, particularly those from Ife (2) the heads of the Obas of Benin were taken to Ife, until very recently.

The place where the heads of the Obas of Benin were buried is still called Orun Oba Ado, the heaven of the kings of Benin. (3) The Binis normally take permission from the Ooni, to crown new kings. There is no recorded history that the Oonis took permission from the Binis before getting crowned (4) The official language in the court of the Oba of Benin until 1934 was Yoruba. There was no time that Bini language was spoken in Ife. The Portuguese and other Europeans who were in the Bini area for more than 500 years (from 1486 when they got to Benin till 1960.)had no knowledge of Oduduwa being a Bini man.

So, scientifically speaking, the Ife position seems more tenable than that of the Benin. Oral traditions can be fabricated. So, rigorous history of the 21st century must be purely scientific  even if we recourse to oral tradition, they must face scientific testing and not based on moribund oral tradition. Aspects such as linguistic analysis, archaeological discoveries, cultural practices etc, must come into the forefront when reconstructing the history of preliterate peoples like the Binis and the Ifes.

In one of their accounts, the Edos claim discent from God himself, who they say is the grand father of Iso (Sky) who in turn is the grand father of Idu, ancestor of the Binis. One of the brothers of Idu called. Olukumi (the Yorubas were first called Olukumi, today a tribe called olukumi, speaking a language very similar to Itsekiri-Yoruba, and the legends claim they all descended from Egypt, are to be found in parts of Edo and Delta States) lived with him in Uhe (Ife) before they left to found Benin. Michael Crowder: The story of Nigeria, Page 63.

The word Olukumi in Itsekiri, means a friend of mine. The word Olukumi, rather than Ore is still used in Ife is evident that Idu and his brothers left to Ile-Ife, after the southward migration of the Yorubas to Ode-Itsekiri and thence to Ile-ife. This is why the story of a watery terrain remains in the tradition of the Binis and the Ifes who are located very far from the Atlantic coast. The vast expanse of water, where the ancestors of the Binis and the find themselves is no other place than the Itsekiri territory of the Atlantic coast.

At a time, the powerful Bini kingdom was paying tax to the Olu of Warri when the yoke of imperialism crumbled the once great kingdom of the Guinea. Concerning this issue Michael Crowder says: With the decline of Ughoton
the Benin had to use the ports of the Benin river and thus, pay dues to the Olu of Warri in whose territory the ports was located.

In conclusion the Itsekiris introduced the following to Benin: salt, beads, and the worship of Umale Okun. The Itsekiri under Dore also helped the Binis to revive their monarchy.


‘ORUN RERE’: “Good heaven” This statement is made when it is determined that the recently deceased Yoruba has lived a good life, and will be honored as a deceased ancestor.

AIYE: The Yoruba term for the earth, the home of animals, humans and warlocks/witches (omoraiye) Originally it was only marshland.

ARA: The Yoruba term for one’s physical body.

ASE: This is the source of power for the gods and originates from   orun.


 BABALAWO:  (A  Yoruba term for ‘priest.’)    “Father of sacred things. “This is the shaman-like figure who does the ritual of divination, “Ifa.” They will provide medicines and charms. Candomble Brazilian combination of Portugese Catholicism and the Yoruba.

ELEGUN: They are people who have become possessed by spirits. They are not shamans; for anyone can become one, and does not require any instruction or apprenticeship. Their function is that of spontaneous mediators between the people and the gods.

EMI: This is the Yoruba term for breath/spirit, that which animates us. Olorun breathed his emi into us, thus animating us.

ESU: This god was the teacher of Orunmila. He can be understood as a mediator between the orisha and humanity and he observers our actions, especially the sacrifices and rituals for the orisa. He can be described as a trickster in that he will try to deceive humanity as a means of testing one’s faith. There is no specific acts of worship or places of worship for him because he is present at all the rituals and sacrifices for the other orisha.

IFA: This is the ritual of divination that uses 16 kola nuts, divining powder and a divining board. This ritual is conducted throughout one’s life.

ILE-IFE: This is the major city of the Yoruba and can be traced back to the 9th century B.C.E. According to Yoruba tradition, this is where the act of creation took place.

OBA: This is the ‘chief’ of a Yoruba town or urban center. by tradition and Obas trace their origins back to Ife. The Obas are the priests of their towns and villages.

ODUDUWA: This is the major god of the city of Ile-Ife. According to Ife, it was he who finished the job of creation, not his brother (or his wife – depending on which version of the myth) because Orisa-nla had become drunk on palm wine.

OGUN:   He started out as a human king, the first king of Ife. And, like Sango, he lost control of himself. In this case a good number of his subjects did not show him the proper respect as a king. For this insult, Sango began to kill his subjects. When he finally got control of himself, he killed himself. His body mysterious disappeared into the earth and he was transformed into the orisha of iron and by extension tool making. Thus for the Yoruba, the origins of tools and tool making is from the gods themselves. The axe is the one tool that is especially associated with him, who used it to carve a road. And since it is by tools that the Yoruba were able to carve out their own ‘world,’ so to speak, he is associated with both heaven and earth. But tools also include weapons and so he is also considered the orisha/god of war which is associated with humanity, again showing a split origin of tool-making between heaven (the orishas) and earth (humanity). he is also the god of law, justice and truth. he presides over the making of contracts and for traditional Yoruban who have to testify in court, they swear to tell the truth by kissing a piece of iron. His colors are green and black, and is associated with the forges of blacksmiths and is found wherever iron is being used such as forests and railroads, but also automobiles, in which you can find a small statue of him to safeguard against accidents.


In Yoruba belief, Ifa (otherwise) known as Orunmila) was one of the four hundred divinities who came  from Orun (heaven to Aye (Earth).

Olodumare, the Yoruba high God, charged each one of these with a particular function to be performed on earth. For example,

OGUN, was put in charge of all things related to war and hunting and the use of iron implements while,

OOSAANLA, was charged with the responsibility for moulding human beings with clay.

ESU, was the universal policeman and keeper of Ase,- the divine power with which Olodumare created the Universe and maintained its physical laws.

IFA, was put in charge of divination because of his great wisdom which he acquired as a result of his presence  by the side of OLODUMARE when the later created the universe. Hence, his praise-name ; Akerefinusugbon (the small one whose mind is full of wisdom).

The Yoruba believe that the four hundred and one divinities mentioned above descended the skies into the city of IFE. At that time, there were no creatures of any kind on the earth.

The divinities were therefore the first inhabitants of the earth, and IFE was the first place on earth inhabited by human species.

When the divinities arrived on earth, they found the planet was completely covered up with water, but before they left ORUN, (Heaven) OLODUMARE gave them a basketful of sand, a hen with five fingers and a Chameleon. Before the divinities landed, they sent the hen down to IFE with the parcel of sand. The hen scattered the earth  solid earth appeared.

The Chameleon then walked on it to find out how solid it was it. The divinities then descended upon the solid earth and pitched their camps in different parts of IFE.

The hen and the chameleon thus became the first creatures to live upon the molten primordial earth and the divinities were the first beings to live upon solid earth.

After the arrival of the divinities, human population developed at IFE in two two different ways.

The divinities married among themselves (there were males and well as females divinities), and gave birth to the lineage of men who later became the divine rulers of the Yoruba. Furthermore, Olodumare  with the help of Oosaanla created the human beings proper who became the subjects over whom the divinities and their descendants ruled.

Out of the descendants of the divinities, the children of Oduduwa became the most important politically, and they eventually formed the bulk of the ruling dynasty of the most powerful Yoruba kingdom.

The culminating point in the power of these divine rulers was achieved in the imperial organization of the old OYO empire.

ORUNMILA settled at IFE  at a place  known as Oke  Igeti, he lived there for many years. At first, he was childless, but later he had eight children.

He later left IFE  for ADO where he spent the remainder of his life.  Hence, the saying : Ado ni ile IFA (Ado is the home of IFA).

While on earth, ORUNMILA employed his timeless wisdom to organize human society on an orderly basis.

He also taught his disciples the secrets  of divination, but like the other divinities, ORUNMILA returned to ORUN (Heaven) after he had accomplished his tasks on earth.

His return to Orun (Heaven)  was however caused by a quarrel which occurred between him and one of his children, OLOWO,  his last born.

According to the story, one day,

ORUNMILA invited his eight children to celebrate an important festival with him.

As each  one of them arrived, he bowed down and salute his father with the  word : Aboruboye bo sise (May the sacrifices be accepted and blessed).

As a sign of his respect and obedience to ORUNMILA.

But when  it came to the turn of OLOWO, he stood still an said nothing. A dialogue  then ensued between father and son during which ORUNMILA ordered OLOWO  to give the salute given by his brothers.

But OLOWO  refused to give the salute pointing out that as he was crown king as his father, it was degrading for him to bow down to anyone.

When ORUNMILA  heard this, de became annoyed and he decided to return to Oren (Heaven)

Immediately after the departure of ORUNMILA, the earth was thrown into chaos  and confusion. The  cycle of fertility and regeneration both in nature and human beings collapsed.

Human  society moved  dangerously close to anarchy  and disorder as everything was faced with imminent destruction.

The state of confusion and uncertainty on earth, after the departure of ORUNMILA was terrible!

When the earth no longer had peace, it was decided that the children of ORUNMILA should go to Orun (Heaven)  and persuade their father to return to the earth.

Accordingly, the eight children of ORUNMILA went to ORUN (Heaven) where they met  their father at the foot of ‘The much climbed palm tree’ which branched here and there and had sixteen nuts like heads.

They persuaded their father to return to the earth, but  their refused; instead, he gave each one of them sixteen  palm-nuts and said: When you reach home,

If you want to have money, that is the person  you should consult, If you want to have wives that, is the person you should consult.

When the of ORUNMILA returned to the earth, they started to use these sixteen palm-nuts as instruments of divination to find out the wishes of the divinities.

ORUNMILA replaced himself here on earth with the sixteen palm-nuts known as  (Ikin) and from that time, those sixteen sacred palm-nuts became the most important instrument of IFA divination.

IFA occupies a unique position among the countless divinities in Yoruba tradition religion, hence, he is referred to by IFA priest as OBAORISA (the king of the divinities)

The kingly position which IFA occupies among the Yoruba divinities is the result of several factors. In the first place,  IFA is the mouth-piece of the divination and ancestors.

It is through the IFA divination system that human beings would find it difficult to reach heavenly powers and tap their resources of  divine power in the hour of need.

Furthermore, Ifa represents a special branch of  Yoruba  religion because of its intellectual outlook and its stock of tradition academic men.

In this sense, Ifa is more than a branch of Yoruba religion. Ifa is the means through which Yoruba culture informs and regenerate itself and preserve all that is considered good and memorable in the society.

Ifa is Yoruba culture in the true dynamic and traditional sense.

Ifa is a means whereby a non-literate society  attempts to keep and disseminate its own philosophy and valves despite the lapses  and imperfections of human memory on which the system is based.

It is therefore not surprising that Ifa means so much to the Yoruba society, the life is dominated and regulated by Ifa. No man takes any important step without consulting  the god of wisdom.

All the important rites of passage such as naming ceremonies, installation of kings, and burial ceremonies., have to be sanctioned and authenticated by Ifa.

The voice of the divinities and the wisdom of the Ancestors.

This is the meaning of the following lines of poetry:

“Ifa is the master of today, Ifa is the master of tomorrow, Ifa is the master of the day after tomorrow.

To Ifa belongs all the four days created by the divinities on earth”

SHANGO. – The Story:


When Oranmiyan died, his elder son , Ajuan , became king. But he was a weak king and could not  keep all his chiefs in order. So he was removed from the throne and his his younger brother, Shango became king.

Shango was was a brave and warlike hero and and it was said that when he spoke, fire came out of his mouth, and smoke from his nostrils.

He soon  gained control over the chiefs and ruled them, strictly and it is said – cruelly.     Shango ruled for seven years, but his life came to a sad end. One day, he was trying to use his charms to attract lightning from the sky,  and his house was struck by lightning, and his wives  and children were.


Quando Oranmiyan morì, il suo primogenito Ajuan divenne re, ma era un re debole e non riusciva a tenere in pugno tutti i suoi Consiglieri. Quindi fu rimosso dal trono e divenne re suo fratello minore, Shango.
Shango èra un re coraggioso e guerriero e si diceva che, quando parlava, dalla sua bocca e dalle sue narici uscivano il fuoco e il fumo.
Immediatamente ebbe il controllo dei suoi consiglieri, governandoli con rigore e crudeltà.
Shango governò per sette anni, ma la sua vita terminò in maniera molto triste: un giorno, mentre cercava di attirare i fulmini dal cielo, la sua casa fu colpita da un fulmine e le sue mogli ed i suoi bambini rimasero uccisi. Molti dei suoi amici cercarono di consolarlo, ma senza successo; così decise di tornare al Nupe, il paese di sua madre. I più fedeli lo pregarono invano di non partire. Lungo il cammino i suoi amici cominciarono ad abbandonarlo ad uno ad uno e alla fine solo pochissime persone rimasero con lui.
Shango si vergognava di proseguire con così poca gente e preferì non tornare a Oyo, ma si impiccò su un albero di burro di shea.
Alcuni amici rimasti con lui, compresa la moglie Oya, morirono nello stesso modo.
Successivamente, la gente fece di lui un dio e fu venerato come il dio del tuono e del fulmine in varie parti del paese.


– by professor Bolaji Idowu Ph.D.

ILE-IFE    “Our Ancenstral Home”- The first of the creation here below; the original home of all things; the place from which the day dawns; the enchanted, holy city;  the home of divinities and mysterious spirits! That was the multifarious picture of Ile-Ife which use to form part of our childhood knowledge. Even today, in spite of several years of Western sophistication, the city still has a certain enchantment for the Yoruba people, if only because it is the heart which sets the religious blood coursing through their national veins.

Until comparatively recently, when easy communication has made it possible to travel almost all over the country safely and quickly, Ile-Ife used to be the sacred loadstone which filled the Yoruba people everywhere with a deep yearning for pilgrimage. There was ever in evidence something nostalgic in  everyone, always a community of interest everywhere, about the city.

Our elders used to have (they still have) many stories – entertaining, enchanting, or hair-raising – to tell about its manifold mysteries.  They told of places and things of great interest, of things permissible to the young to see, of things which not even an elder, and none at all except the initiated, might see on pain of grievous perils.

For example, there was the grove of Olofefura; he was a divinity reputed to have the habit of hailing and welcoming visitors even from the distance with laughter and spontaneous joy as one does an old , long-missed, beloved friend. If, however, any visitor responded correspondingly, his facial features would remain permanently fixed in the contortion of mirthless laughter.

How could a young, unwary, person visit such a perilously tantalising place without endangering his face! Or the shrine of the “ Moon”. There the “Moon” lay in the shape of a flat slab of stone. The visitor took a small piece of stone and rubbed hard on its surface. As he rubbed, he was sure, within a short time, to observe the movements of certain shadows: these were shades of people who  had  departed from this earth, among whom he was sure to recognise someone! He must not be startled or frightened, however, or his life would be in great danger. Therefore , that was another place out of bounds for the young and the nervous.

The “moon rubbing”  might not be undertaken by anyone at all during the  appearance of the moon in the sky as it was then unconditionally dangerous to do so.

A young person who was luck enough in those days to be taken by his parents to Ile-Ife would approach the city with feelings which  baffled analysis. He was bound  to assailed on entering the city with successive waves of emotion. He would be almost afraid top look; for at every turn might be walking or lurking, for all he  knew, some divinities or ghosts!

He would be shown several places and things, however. A very impressive one would be Opa Oranmiyan –“The staff of Oranmiyan”. Oranmiyan, as the oral traditions have it, was a powerful hero, a warrior son of the great Oduduwa, the royal, deified progenitor of the Yoruba. When he became very old, he  withdrew himself from the abode of men and lived in seclusion in a grove.

From there , he exercised a quasi-divine supervision over the affairs of his  children, the Ife. In the  case of an invasion, he went to their aid and,  single-handed, defeated their enemies. The Ife were forbidden to panic, fire   a single shot, or try to defend themselves in any way in such a crisis. They should rather sing and dance, after they had given out the shout,  Oranmiyan, Ogun ma de o!- “Oranmiyan. We are being attacked!”  Oranmiyan  would the go forth on a charger and put the invading army to rout with  much slaughter.

One day, however, during a great festival, when the city was thronged  with people all celebrating and rejoicing, in consequence of which wine  had flowed very freely, some frivolous Ife became inspired with alcohol,  and without knowing the harm they were causing shouted, “O Oranmiyan, we are being  attacked!” Immediately, the fierce warrior, blinded with the  passion for carnage, came out on his charger, sword unsheathed, and began the  ghastly work of wholesale massacre.

Oranmiyan, Ogun ma de o!- “Oranmiyan. We are being attacked!” Oranmiyan  would the go forth on a charger and put the invading army to rout with  much slaughter. One day, however, during a great festival, when the city was thronged  with people all celebrating and rejoicing, in consequence of which wine had flowed very freely, some frivolous Ife became inspired with alcohol,  and without knowing the harm they were causing shouted, “O Oranmiyan, we are being  attacked!” Immediately, the fierce warrior, blinded with the  passion for carnage, came out on his charger, sword unsheathed, and began  the ghastly work of wholesale massacre.

SHANGO  : (divinity of thunder and lightning)


Once upon a time in the Yoruba kingdom, there was a powerful king called Shango, and as time went on, some of his army generals and counsellors became so powerful in the land that they constrained him to abduct.

The mutiny was so great and few loyal friends, counsellors and army wanted to fight to maintain him in power, but Shango knew that will blow into a bloody civil war, so he decided to step down. He was sent into exile by the new ruling council, so he took his loyal people with him and left the reign.  As they journeyed on, many other men left him one by one and returned to Oyo city. When he had only few of them left, for sadness, anguish and fear to continue alone the journey by himself, went aside from them, and decided to terminate the agony.

While they were sleeping, he comitted suicide by hanging. In those days it was a shame for anyone to hang himself, how much more if that person was a king.  When in the morning his men found out that he had passed away, they secretly buried him, and  all sworn an oath to keep the secret of Shango’s hanging, but for one reason or the other, the secret leaked to the public, and people in the kingdom began to make joke of their late king.

Shango’s loyal men did all they could to deny the news: many argued that he died a natural death, while others proclaimed that he was still alive in a northern country.   When many people still continued to mock the memory of Shango, his friends decided to punish all those that maintained that the king hanged himself.

When it rained, these friends will go and set fire on the houses, and burn down the huts of the people that continuedto  ridicule  the memory of Shango.   Since then, Shango who had become a powerful deity of justice, striking with lightning and thunder all those that lie, and didn’t tell the truth!



  • Dekodealz
    Posted March 27, 2019 1:26 pm

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!


    • OduTv
      Posted April 21, 2019 2:23 am

      You have to fogive us, Yorubaworld and the whole website is a big project and we’re workin on them, have patience. work in rogress.

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