By: Sulaiman Sulaiman
The Oluwo of Iwo land, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, Telu 1 has canvassed for unity and coexistence among all races in Nigeria; regardless of their ethnical alignment, political inclination or their religious believes.
He said this while hosting the Olota of Ota, His Esteemed Majesty, Oba Professor Adeyemi AbdulKabir Obalanlege and members of Olota in council in a recent visit to the palace of Oba Akanbi.
In his short address, Oba Adeyemi reiterated the need for Yoruba Obas to come together and see themselves as an entity.
“My coming to meet the Oluwo of Iwo is to ensure that there is unity amongst all Yoruba monarchs and to further boost cordial relationship between Iwo and Ota”. He said that superiority tussle is part of what is causing disintegration among all Yoruba Obas and race. He however, enjoined all Yoruba monarchs to come together as one so as to move the race to a greater position in the world.
While welcoming the Olota and his delegation, Oba AbdulRasheed said that Iwo land was the 3rd largest city in Nigeria as of 1939 after Ibadan, Kano and Ogbomosho.
“Iwo used to be the 3rd largest city in Nigeria as of 1939 after Ibadan, Kano and Ogbomosho. We were carved out of Oyo state, and as a result, we lost some territories to Ibadan. Moreso, some people encroached on our lands. Iwo is supposed to have had more than 16 Obas. Since the time of the first woman Oba in Yoruba land, who was the Luwo Gbagida.
Luwo Gbagida was the 16th Ooni of Ife. The only child she had, Adekola Telu was given a crown with a warning that he must not wear the crown or settle down until he finds where Odidere bird lives. It was a journey of no return because it is hard to find where Odidere bird lives.
Luwo left Ife in approximately, 9th century. When he left Ife, he first stayed at Ogundigbaro, he left there and went to Erun. He later left for Igbo Orita. He stayed there for a while till he died. He didn’t wear the crown throughout their elongated stay at Igbo Orita. His fifth descendants and other leaders that left Ife with him later decided to continue with the journey. They left Igbo Orita and decided to go Eastward which is where Iwo is presently situated. The palace of Oluwo was where they discovered the abode of Odidere bird. This is more reason why we have had just 16 Obas since the emergence of Iwo because some people would be marveling that why haven’t Iwo had more than 16 Obas if they had truly existed for so long”.
He urged monarchs and relevant stakeholders in Yoruba land to embrace modernization as such is needed against the erroneous believes that culture and tradition are archaic and are only practiced by yet to be civilized people.
“I want to implore you that you should help inform our people that our culture and traditional has to be given face lifts. Our culture and tradition, just like the academicians has to be upgraded if we want our children to show interest or participate in them. Look at me for instance, I don’t use thread to do embroiling on my clothes. The clothe am putting on was designed here in the palace. The type of crowns our fore fathers worn then can not be worn as of today. We now have modernized crowns and this will go a long way in interesting our children to participate in our norms, tradition and culture.
Our Obas have to show civility and modernization, else, their stool would soon be relegated.
We traditional leaders has to let our people know that we are representatives of Almighty God on earth. We are deputizing God and as such, our people should not be running to pastors and Imams for prayers. We should be able to intercede on their behalf because Obas have the direct backing of God to watch over His people on earth. The answers to their prayers which make them rush to clerics is with us the Obas”.
He advised ritualists to stop messing up major landmarks, such as roundabout with sacrifices. He instead, advised them to beautify them with edifices such as fountains, flowers and other forms of decorations and by consequence, they would be prayed for as against raining curses on them for messing up roads with sacrifices. He said that he is not calling for total abolishment of our idols and that the idols should be kept in the museum of the mind.
He added that Oba Professor Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege has further boosted the popularity of Ota with his personality and that a new history of Ota is just being written by the Olota which is very good for our culture.
Oba Abdulrasheed charged monarchs not to see themselves as reigning over only their own indigenes in that monarchs are lords over everyone who seeks sojourn on their land either as tenants or as indigenes. He justified the reason why he dressed as an Emir and he was called an Emir as being an Oba of Muslims and Northerners in Iwo land. He cited an instance that he would also be called an ‘Olota of Iwo land’ over Ota indigenes who resides in Iwo.
He explained why his wife wears a crown as a result of the research that was made by a Professor of History in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where an artifact was detected by the researcher and is till date kept in the museum of the University. He said Olokun was the first wife of Oduduwa and she wore her own crown. He further added that any Oba that is against the wives of Obas wearing crowns is not rooted in history.