It is too late for all kinds of novel origins of Lagos or Awori, the real owners of Lagos. It is sad and embarrassing that the Oba of Lagos did not know that he is a descendant of a father from Ilesha. Shame! Most historians know that Ashipa was the first Oba of Lagos as taught from old schools days. Ashipa title is still common throughout Yoruba and Bini land. The same is true of Ado as his son indicating special relationship between Yoruba and Bini origin of the OBA title.

In order to understand the controversies surrounding the origin of Oba of Bini, one has to understand that each time an Oba is crowned; he has to renew his palace lease from Ogiamien Ode. Ogiamien, the son of the soil leased his own land to Oba, the stranger. This treatment as an outsider made the children of Eweka crave acceptance in a strange land by a novel theory.

The real problem started because Eweka as Yoruba, became Oba only on a condition that he has to lease the land each time at coronation before ascending Bini throne. Ekaledera was used as novel theory to claim a relationship to an Ogiso father. The mischief-makers try to claim the father of Oranmiyan was the lost son of Ogiso in order to trivialize that rite of passage Ogiamen administered. If Oba were a son of Ekaledera he wouldn’t rent from Ogiamen. He no be we-we!

Yoruba artifacts are much older, Iwo Eleru dated far back to 10,000 B.C! Ile-Ife moved few times from the North of Bini before present location East of Bini: “according to Prof. Fela Sowande, Ile Ife is not the Ife to which Yoruba oral traditions refer. Also in the words of Professor Wande Abimbola, the seven sites of Ife mentioned by Ifa are Ife Oodaye, the first and possibly the original one, Ife Nleere, Ife Ooyelagbomoro, Ife Wara, Otu Ife, Ife Oore and Ife Oojo’.”

See Prof. Thurstan Shaw on radiocarbon dating. Carbon dating indicated Oba-Ogiso relationship at Ife burial ground went as far back as 560AD, that is even before arrival of Oranmiyan in Bini. It is undisputed that Ogiso fell from grace after a brutal order killed a pregnant woman. The people revolted against him with votes of no confidence. The people of Ogodimiogo knew and asked Ile-Ife for Oba as a well-known respected prominent seat of wisdom not by chance.

Going by the parallel history of the Bible, Koran and what we know today of Africa as the cradle of man and civilization; Oduduwa was not created, born or wandered into Yoruba birth land in the 12th century. Oduduwa was not the Orunmila, Olodumare or Obatala. Some even claimed he took over from Obatala. If Obatala was sent as the god of creation, it does not make sense that Oduduwa who succeeded him (Obatala) was alive in the 12th century.

Novel theory of Bini fell apart because Oduduwa existed not only in Bini but also by Olukumi in and outside Nigeria including Ijaw that called him Adumu or Adimu. Every community including the Ijaw that knew Oduduwas as Adumu or Adimu knew Oduduwa as their progenitor existed Before Christ. The son of Oduduwa does not mean direct son; it could mean descendant, great-great grandfather or even creator. It was the last born of Oduduwa, Oranmiyan descendants that transformed Benin into an Empire. African progenitors are older than Jesus or Mohamed.

Jacob Egharevba, the highly respected historian and son of Edo wrote A Short History of Benin that is irrefutable in the academic community. Yet those without credentials or anthropological facts have selectively disputed him with their novel theories propagated by Edo e-warriors. His account of the history was the irrefutable theory among respected academics that are not even Yoruba themselves, such as another respected Prof. Peter Ekeh of State University of New York.

Quoting Jacob Egharevba: “When Evian was stricken by old age he nominated his eldest son, Ogiemwen as his successor, but the people refused him. They said he was not the Ogiso and they could not accept his son as his successor, because as he himself knew, it had been arranged to set up a republican form of government. This he was now selfishly trying to alter.

While this was still in dispute the people indignantly sent an ambassador to the Ooni Oduduwa, the great and wisest ruler of Ife, asking him to send one of his sons to be their ruler, for things were getting from bad to worse and the people saw that there was need for a capable ruler.”

Oba title and Bini (Ile Ibinu) never existed in Bini until the arrival of Oranmiyan that overthrew Ogiso. Since then, the head of Oba of Bini had always been buried in Ile-Ife until recently. These are facts that can never be denied within the academic communities. Indeed, the lingua franka in the palace of the Oba was and still in Yoruba names.

Professor Peter Ekeh an Urhobo quoted from another non-Yoruba scholar Okpewho: consider the appearances of the Ogisos in Benin and Urhobo folktales - In Isidore Okpewho's (1998) comprehensive and scholarly study of Benin folklore, there is a Benin folktale concerning the Ogiso, which ends as follows:

Ogiso goes back on his word. Whereupon heaven and earth threaten to convulse the nation, forcing the Ogiso to capitulate. [His rival] became the Oba, and the Ogiso became his sword bearer. (p. 67)

Nevertheless, the glory and power of Bini Empire cannot be contested because it lasted past many African Empires including Oyo that was destroyed by civil wars. Once Oredo, that is Bini the land of Edo came under Oba, they became venturous outside, unlike Ogiso that was oppressive inside. It was the reason the Urhobo and others deserted Ogomigodo. Bini power was felt as far East as Onitsha where Oba of Bini and his Yoruba descendants are still present until today with their Yoruba dialect. Actually, Zik embraced his Bini descendants.

The present Oba of Bini made the relationship clear that Oranmiyan is the First Oba Bini. Ogiso children cannot be easily won over. They know the difference between the invader (actually the invitee Oba from the land of wisdom they knew and respected) they lease the land to; and the son of the soil as the owner of their land! There was one lost son of Oba Bini who founded the Olukumi. He established in Asaba and Onitsha where they still speak, bear Yoruba, Edo and Igbo names. Those looking for Ekalederah would find his kin and descendants there, not in Ile-Ife.

The names and gods served by Benin and other Yoruba cousins revealed a relationship one should be proud of not to cause disenchantments. There is no Ogun River near Bini that they worship like the Yoruba. They interpreted EWEKA as Yoruba’s Owo Mi Ka and are yet to dispute the reason they differed to the wisdom of Ile-Ife on choice of ruler, burying their Oba and Ogiso symbols in the Holy Land of Yoruba. Yet, e-warriors claim Yoruba language is their broken Edo!

It is not in doubt that Yoruba Oba Benin had his emissaries sneaked into Lagos. The battle was fought to a standstill only to compromise on Ashipa as the First King. Ogunfunminire was the father of Omo-Onile: Olumegbon, Aromire, Oloto, Oluwa, Oniru, Onisiwo, Onitoolo, Elegushi, Ojora and Onikoyi. Nobody disputes Omo-Onile as the children of Awori Ogunfuminire that had established in Isheri while his children spread beyond into the Island. Aromire own Lagos Island.

Oba of Bini emissaries were not the first or the last Aromire and his brothers had to fight off their land. There were Ijebu, Egba, British, Portuguese, Arabs etc. that were attracted because of Lagos proximity to the Ocean for all types of trade. Indeed, it was not the first time Yoruba fought within themselves or even disowned one another. You must have read about Awujale of Ijebu Ode denying Oduduwa was his father or even being Yoruba. He claimed Waddai.

However, most Yoruba had similar claim. The difference with Oba of Bini’s emissaries sneaking into Lagos and fighting to a standstill while other Yoruba did not get involve was the fact that Bini itself had Yoruba Oba from 12th century and not Ogiso. They sneaked in temporarily as visitors, camped at Iddo unaware. The story could have been different if they came as warriors.

Do we really have to prove over and over again, the relationship between Nigerians when each of the 250 ethnics want suzerainty and autonomy as separate people dividing themselves into clans and hamlets of prehistoric days? Compare that to the call for separations into Arewa, Igbo and Yoruba nations when they claim One NORTH ONE PEOPLE despite variety of ethnic groups. Better still, they are ready to unite the whole South against North. Maybe Igbo nation and Yoruba nation dividing the south into two!

Oh, they have forgotten that there are more minorities in the North and South than just the three behemoths that want to go their separate ways. We have not been able to separate Awori and Egun in Dahomey from Nigeria yet. Or separate Igbo and Hausa cousins that still cross at will from Cameroon. Well, just leave minorities out of all your nations.

There was a great deal of noise about how Lagos was going to lose its glory after the capital moved to Abuja. It is the exact opposite; people cannot get enough of Lagos. Every day, people troop into Lagos without relief. After establishing themselves with the generosity of Lagosians, each ethnic group starts claiming ownership of Lagos. Where else? Lagosians must be proud because it shows nothing can change the attractive culture of the indigenous people of Lagos.

Nothing can change the Yoruba origin of Lagos and Bini, even when Nigeria breaks into pieces!

E-warriors kotikwu jor. Just park make I see road.

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Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa