Sunday, October 14, 2007

Origins II

The first Oba of Benin was a scion of a Yoruba prince, that is a fact of history that will come to be accepted in due time, but there is no dispute as to the first Ooni of Ife (and the founder of the Yorubas as they are known today in historical analysis and study) who was a Bini prince. The history of these two nations located in the western coast of Africa are as related as siblings from the same womb.

Selfishly, claimants of ethno/tribal nationalities propose sentimentalities as to the origins of these two nations who asserted themselves creditably at a time where contact with the west was nonexistent or at most minimal. The Binis and Yorubas were companions in the same migratory journey from the north of the continent and as some scholars of history would conclude settled in the region they now find themselves at almost the same time in history.

It is significant to point out here the similarities that they share in their mythology and legends, moreso as they believe in similar spiritual beliefs of a coterie of deities with one supreme being at the head.

Prior to the advent of the Obaship, the Ogisos were saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the governance of the peoples and like all civilisations would evolve to a system of unitary leadership. This was to occur soon after the yearning of the people saw to the ascendency of the primogeniture system of monarchy with the Oba at the head. However, while the Ogisos were thriving, the people further west were at a stage where political organisation was at it's infancy which led to the need for a central authority that conveniently provided itself with the coming of the hitherto Bini prince condemned to die but divinely let free by his executors to fulfill a long expected prophecy of the Yorubas.

It is this first Ooni of Ife that sent his son from a Yoruba woman to commence the monarchy in Benin, and this monarchy has lasted till the present day.

There is an ethno/tribal struggle for supremacy amongst contemporary scholars of these two nations albeit misdirected, up to the point that the Yorubas claim ancestry with the Itsekiris of the delta denying the bond that ties them with Benin. It is worthy of note however that rational thinking contemporary scholars with no room for bias have begun a process for the study of what binds these two peoples together and not the divisive elements which tend to create differentiation. This is a study that should throw more light on the origins of these two peoples.

It is this hope that should see the strenghtening of ties between these two great African civilisations instead of the constant bickerings that have been fuelled by historical accounts originating from European historians, thus unduly influencing the approach to the study of these peoples by generations of indigenous history and anthropology scholars.

Edo Maiden

Sweet Edo maiden
Clean of mind pure of soul
Let your morality fill all bowls
Alas! Your pride enlivens

Fair Edo maiden
Let loose your heart of gold
Sing for thy children, clear and bold
Sing for joy is waiting

Oh Edo maiden
A flower that blooms at noon
Hearken, your brave heart comes soon
Let down thus your heavy laden

Great Edo maiden
Diligence becomes your legacy
Amiability bestowed and industry
From mother earth and heaven