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Monday, October 28, 2019

Yoruba leaders disagree over origin, meaning of their name

Vanguard Nigeria. Saturday, October 26, 2019
By Dayo Johnson, Ola Ajayi, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Shina Abubakar

…'Yoruba' is derived from derogatory word, 'Yariba'-Fani-Kayode
…Why earliest Hausa/Fulani called our forefathers 'Yariba'- Prof Ajala
…It was accepted, adopted out of ignorance -Rt Hon Jumoke Akindele
…It's an untrue, unreliable history-Chief Erubami
…O'dua citizens must rise up now -Yoruba Council of Elders
…Yoruba doesn't exist in Ifa - Elebuibon

Yoruba is one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria.They are concentrated in the Southwestern part of Nigeria.

The people constitute about 40 million in the West African region and 35 per cent of Nigeria's population making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa according to CIA World Factbook.

The people of this ethnic group were regarded as descendants of a hero called Odua or Oduduwa and they are generally called Yoruba and have Yoruba as their common language though they have several dialects. But do the people who are called by that name really know the origin and the meaning of the word 'Yoruba'? How did the word 'Yoruba' come about?

A member of the race and former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has traced the history behind the name. His discovery stung him. He has therefore rejected to be called 'Yoruba', which he discovered to be insulting and derogatory and called on all the descendants of Oduduwa to renounce the name given to them by their historical adversaries.

According to Chief Fani-Kayode in his official Tweeter handle, the Hausa/Fulani gave the people of the South West region the name 'Yariba', from which Yoruba was derived, which means "shady and unreliable".
He said "I reject that strange name and label. I am not a 'Yariba' or 'Yoruba' but an 'Omo karo jire or an 'Oduduwan' and my language is not 'Yoruba' but 'Anago'. We are what we call ourselves. We are not "shady and unreliable"(Yariba) and we must not accept names given to us by our historical adversaries.

"Any Omo Karo jire or Oduduwan that continues to call himself a 'Yoruba' is lost and does not know the implications of what he is doing to his own people. He is simply affirming and confirming an insulting label which has deep sinister, mystical and spiritual connotations.

"The word 'Yoruba' did not even exist until the 18th century and even then, most of the tribes of the South West, including the Oyo people rejected it due to its origin and meaning. The word 'Yoruba' is alien to our culture and not known in the Anago language. Oduduwans please take note", he said

Many leaders in the South West region agreed with his submissions but argued that the name has become entrenched and it would be a mere academic exercise to try to change it. Some questioned the source and veracity of his claim and rejected it outright, wondering why he just woke up at this time in our political era to say something like this.

To them, his claims cannot be divorced from his political sentiments. To some, however, it is time Yoruba paid attention to it and did the needful.
The claim is mere academic exercise-Chief Sola Ebiseni

In his reaction, a prominent member of the Pan Yoruba Socio- political group, Afenifere and former commissioner in Ondo state, Chief Sola Ebiseni said "it is an interesting statement which is certainly not unlike the former Minister as an undoubtedly Yoruba compatriot.

While some of his assertions have historical veracity, they have really become a mere academic exercise because Yoruba has become so entrenched worldwide as both a national and linguistic identity, especially that the name does no harm to the race with which it is identified. It is true that Yoruba may be relatively new since it is indecipherable from Odu ifa.

Even in many parts of Ondo State today, people still refer to themselves as Ondo, Idanre, Ilaje or Ikale but refer to their brethren from Oyo, Osun and Kwara as Yoruba while Lagos and the riverine Yoruba refer to other Yoruba people as Ara-Oke, that is, people of the upland.

To the best of my knowledge, the Anago tribe and dialect which he recommended is not of general application. In fact, Anago is a tribe territorially stretching from the Yewa area of Ogun state to the Ketu Yoruba of the Republic of Benin.

As widely accepted as the father-figure status of Oduduwa is, you still find a good number of Yoruba groups who claim different origins from the Oduduwa narratives. As for the claim that the name had its origin from Hausa traders, we are not hearing that for the first time and not new in historical relationships.

You never can tell how the word Hausa emerged. The same Hausa themselves became a Fulani colony which is in an unprecedented assimilation process which has become part of their existence. Bini is said to be a name given by Oranmiyan which is said, literally, to mean anger. Yet Benin waxed stronger as a dominant sovereign.

Whatever meaning is said to be associated with Yoruba in Hausa language, I am enamored with the beautiful meanings ascribed to it by the Yoruba themselves. I prefer the meaning given Yoruba by Hubert Ogunde in one of his powerful songs: Yoruba yoyo, (shining like light in the night); Yoruba rururu ( roaring like sea waves); Yoruba, baba ni baba nse (Yoruba, leader without blemish).

The earliest people accepted it out of ignorance --Rt Hon Jumoke Akindele

The first Female Speaker in the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Jumoke Akindele said, "the origin of the Yoruba word is too recent to be lost. It is unfortunate that our children have not been given the benefit of history as a compulsory course in our schools.

As recently as the 18th Century, there was no word called "Yoruba". We, as a people were loosely held together by our common source. We identified with each other as brothers and cousins, as children of the same progenitor. We did not have a common name.

It came to be for the first tine in a treaty signed by the then Oyo Kingdom and the Songhai ruling dynasty when they met a brick wall in their conquest campaigns towards the Atlantic. They found us to be smart which they considered as being devious and they also knew that we essentially shared the same source with them, though to them we were no longer of pure blood, hence had become bastards. This wrong perception bred the word "Yariba" (from which the word Yoruba was coined) which of course was largely derogatory.

The earliest people with whom they met might have accepted this because they had not mastered the language of the foreigners at the time. But those who were further south rejected the appellation for a long time and it is on records that the Egbas, Egbados, Ekitis and Ijeshas rejected the appellation vehemently up until as recently as the second half of the 19th Century apparently because the meaning of the word was understood by then. The word Yariba actually meant "shady and unreliable bastards" and to that extent, I wish to align myself with the position of Femi Fani-Kayode to the extent that we must sit down as a people to review what we are called.

It's high time we rediscovered ourselves--Dr Olajide, Scribe, Yoruba Council of Elders

The Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide said, he has also been feeling uncomfortable about the coinage of the word, Yoruba. According to him, "for a long time I have not been comfortable with the word "Yoruba" because the nomenclature is not self explanatory. Nobody has been able to tell me the meaning of Yoruba. I may not be able to confirm Femi Fani-Kayode's theory about those who coined the word to describe us but our linguists in the South West must immediately set about finding a new self explanatory word in Omoluabi style to call the descendants of Oduduwa. It is high time we rediscovered ourselves.

For too long, we have continued to live under the shadow of the colonialists. We ought to have in fact changed the name Nigeria, an entirely foreign name which was the creation of Flora Shaw (Lord Lugard's girlfriend). Until we have the required courage to shed this foreign toga, it is then we can make progress. Unfortunately the Military Constitution with the dysfunctional system of Government we are operating keeps producing mediocre, incompetent leadership class in Nigeria having wrong people in right places.

Fani-Kayode should be commended for waking us up from our deep slumber. Nigeria remains in the doldrums because we have lacked the courage to get out of the web of conspiracy by the colonialists and their collaborators. Odua citizens must rise up and commence actions to lead Nigeria out of this unfortunate quagmire. Time is running out", he said.

Why the earliest Hausa/Fulani coined the name --Aderemi Ajala, Professor of Anthropology

Professor Aderemi Ajala, in his own contribution disclosed that as odd as Fani-Kayode's position is, it is a fact. He said the term Yoruba has no place in the race lexicon, adding that even Ifa does not make any reference to the race as Yoruba. Ajala added that none of the 256 ifa odus ever mentioned the word yoruba. He however agreed that the term was derived from the word Yariba, which the early Hausa/Fulani that had contact with the people used to describe the race.

He said, "Femi is correct. Up till now, the term Yoruba is not found in Yoruba lexicon. It has no meaning and Ifa does not make reference to it at all in all its odus. Ifa refers to people in a particular geographical area as Eniyan Oyo, (people of Oyo); Eniyan Ife,(People of Ife); Eniyan Egba, (People of Egba); etc. Yoruba came from the term Yariba which the earliest Hausa/Fulani that had contact with Oyo people called the Oyos. Then, they saw Oyo people as very cunning and not straightforward. In Awde's dictionary of Hausa, Yariba means cunning and deceitful. I stated this clearly in my book published in 2013 titled: "Yoruba Nationalism: Culture, politics and violence in southwestern Nigeria", 1900- 2013. It was published by Rudigger Koepel, Cologne (Germany)".

Having been adopted, the name remains-- Chief Akin Fasae

The Chairman Afenifere Ekiti state Chapter, Chief Akin Fasae however said the name has been adopted long ago and will remain so.

According to Fasae, "Yoruba is a name that has been adopted long ago by the Yoruba'. That is how we met it and we adopted it as the name of our tribe. Fani-Kayode can pick any name if he wants something contrary. He can go and research and come out with his own name". Chief Fasae said that the Yoruba' have other important issues begging for attention rather than dwelling on trivial issue. "The Yoruba people have more important national issues to discuss as a people. That is not our problem", he said

Fani-Kayode's assertion is political, unacceptable--Col Dansaaki

Also reacting, a former President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Col S.A Dansaaki Agbede(retd), faulted Chief Fani-Kayode in his assertion which he described as political and therefore unacceptable. He said, "I don't know where he got this from. But, I know that Yoruba had been existing before the coming of Usman Dan Fodiyo. May be he doesn't know the word Yoruba is in the Bible. I will send the portion of the Bible where you can find this later. To be using political connotation in an issue like this is wrong and unacceptable. I admire him for being exuberant on issues, but as for this subject matter, no."

This is an unnecessary diversion-Yemi Farombi

Also speaking, Chief Yemi Farounbi, a prominent Yoruba leader, expressed skepticism about the genuineness of the claims saying he felt rather uncomfortable with the claims of Femi Fani-Kayode.

He said, "what I gathered from a write-up by Professor Adebanji Akintoye implied that the claims that it was the Fulani that coined "Yoruba" might not be correct and we will be building on a very faulty foundation". According to Chief Farounbi "It is an unnecessary argument. What we should be trying to achieve is good governance, jobs for our unemployed youths, good education and development. I see it as an unnecessary diversion which we don't need at this time".

It is untrue, unreliable history-Chief Mashood Erubami

In his own comments, Comrade Mashood Erubami, the Convener of Voters Assembly and a human right activist, said with the narrative, we are "bringing him to limelight again. He is somebody who should be on sabbatical. He is just being given undue recognition. He is just bringing it up as part of his agenda. He is bringing back untrue and unreliable history. This is not the kind of people that Yoruba want now. We want people who will bring meaningful progress to Yoruba land".

Yoruba doesn't exist in Ifa – Elebuibon

A renown traditionalist and the Araba of Osogbo, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon said prior to contact with the Hausa/Fulani, the race was known as the people of Ife, saying it was unfortunate that the people failed to coin a word to call the race before coming into contact with the Hausas.

According to him, the race was usually referred to as 'aku' in the very early stage because of the way the people greeted each other. He agreed that the race was given the name Yariba from which it became Yoruba, saying the earliest leaders of the race failed to have a collective name.

Elebuibon added that the race ought to be called the people of Ife, as that was how Ifa referred to the race.

He said, "we are people of Ife, it is rather unfortunate that we didn't have one word to call all Yoruba before Fulani or Hausa gave us Yariba to become Yoruba. 'Aku' is the word they used for us in the beginning because we used to greet each other by saying 'aku owuro' (good morning), 'Aku asaale' (Good evening), it is 'aku' people or 'anago' that other Africans referred to us". He argued that since the people originated from Ile-Ife, the race ought to be known as the people of Ife . "Actually, since the origin of Yoruba was Ile Ife, 'Eni 'fe, abi ara Ile Ife loye k'a ma je', (we ought to be called the people of Ile Ife"), he added.

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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