The disagreement over the history of Yoruba among Obas deepened during the week, as the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan took a swipe at a comment by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi that Igbo people started commerce in Yoruba land.
Olugbo, who described Ooni’s comment as not only a distortion of historical facts, said the monarch’s comment might also cause inter-ethnic crisis in the country.
He urged other Yoruba Obas to call Ooni to order and stop him from relegating the Yoruba race in his “futile efforts at re-writing history.”
At an interview during the celebration of Aje (Commerce) Festival in Ile Ife, the Ooni ascribed the origin of wealth and prosperity of Yoruba people to the ingenuity of Igbo people of the Southeast.
According to Oba Ogunwusi in a video recording that has been trending in the social media, “Aje Festival means festival of wealth and prosperity, everything in this world that we stand for, everybody is looking for in one way or the other, is improvement in their social cultural status.
“But to God’s glory, a particular race discovered commerce first. And truth be told, the race that discovered it first and really nurtured it is the Igbo. The Igbos, through their ancestral background – the lineage of Obatala – first discovered prosperity and wealth in terms of the divinity world. And that is why, today, the Igbo race is very peculiar and has very good expertise when it comes to commerce. Igbos are very distinct all over the world. There is no place in the world you won’t find an Igbo man.”
But Oba Akinruntan, who said he has been inundated with calls for clarification, said Ooni erred because there was no historical link between Yoruba and Igbos, and that the monarch deliberately substituted Ugbo for Igbo to cover the truth that Ugbo are the aborigines of Ile-Ife.
He said: “the fact remains that the present day Ile-Ife was called Ugbomokun, while the ancient market was called Oja-Ugbo or Ugbomokun Akira. The ancient markets are Oja Ayegbaju, founded by Oranfe and Oja Ife, founded by Osangangan Obamakin.
“It is important to note that Aje deity was instituted by Oranfe and Osangangan Obamakin and up till today, the descendants of Osangangan Obamakin, the Olugbo kith and kin are the custodian of the Aje deity and not the Igbos or Ibos of the South Eastern Nigeria.
“According to Igbo historians and scholars, they are Jews who migrated to the Southeastern Nigerian. There is no link that identifies the Igbo people as founders of Aje deity, talk less of being the founder of Ugbomokun…
“To claim that Igbos are the founders of Aje deity is a slap on all sons and daughters of Yorubaland and a direct assault on our forefathers.”