Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Origins of Ife, Odùduwà and Sungbo's Eredo

There are several schools of thought on the origins of Ife, the ancient Yoruba Kingdom in Osun state, southwestern Nigeria and on Odùduwà, the assumed first Oni of Ife. But the studies of German archaeologist Leo Frobenius (29 June 1873 – 9 August 1938) in 1910 and later from the excavations at the Wunmonije compound (1938–39) and at nearby Ita Yemoo (1957) showed that there was a flourishing ancient Yoruba civilization in Ife centuries before the arrival of Odùduwà.

From archeology, anthropology and ethnology of the Art and Culture of Ife, the origins have been traced to Around 350 BC and that date is centuries before Odùduwà, the son of the last Ogiso (one of the Sky Kings dynasty of Benin) ran away from Benin kingdom for the fear of his life as the only son of his father the king. His Edo name was Izoduwa meaning "I have chosen the path of prosperity", corrupted by the Yoruba's as Odùduwà). He later sent Oranyan (also known as Oranmiyan), one of his sons by the Yoruba princess Okanbi to Benin Kingdom around 1170 AD.
Oranmiyan later became the first Alafin of Oyo.

From the above chronological analysis, you can see that Odùduwà is not the father of the Yorubas, because the cradle of Yoruba civilization is Ife and not Benin. And Ife Art history is centuries older than when Odùduwà arrived from Benin Kingdom in the 10th century.

"The art of Ife and Benin is so important because one gives birth to the other. The Ife art was the most ancient in the forest region of Nigeria, simply because the Ife civilisation goes as far back as 300 - 500 BC. Therefore, it had developed a lot of artefacts, which marks the history of Ife.

Ife later gave birth not only to Benin, but also to the art of Igbo, the Onitsha art, even going as far as to the hinterland of the Igbo, Igbo Ukwu."
~ Dr. Omotoso Eluyemi, director of National Museums and Monuments.

Odùduwà did not descend from any Sky on a ladder of chain. What Odùduwà said was he was a descendant of the Ogisos, the Sky Kings dynasty of Benin. But oral mythology now turned it into descending from the sky (heaven).

Even if Odùduwà was a fugitive from Mecca, then he must have come after Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: ابو القاسم محمد ابن عبد الله ابن عبد المطلب ابن هاشم‎; c. 570 – c. 8 June 632), popularly called Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.
From ethnology, there is nothing Arabian or Arabic about Odùduwà, so he did not come from Mecca, but Benin.

The Sungbo's Eredo Walls discovered in the south-west of the Yoruba town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state is more than 160 kilometres (99 mi).
The height difference between the bottom of the ditch and the upper rim of the bank on the inner side can reach 20 metres (66 ft). And as a construction project, it required more earth to be moved than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Eredo was built in 800–1000 AD.

Eredo sounds more like Benin to me than Yoruba, and similar to the awesome "Iya", the Great Walls of Benin, the largest man-made structure lengthwise on earth and also the largest earthwork in the world, made up of moats and ramparts, larger than Sungbo's Eredo and longer than the famous Great Wall of China.

Before Odùduwà, there was Ifa.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka Orikinla Osinachi, prize winning Nigerian writer since age 13, author of Children of Heaven, Sleepless Night, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye, Bye Mugabe (now being revised with the new title of Bye, Bye Zimbabwe), In the House of Dogs, Diary of the Memory Keeper, The Prophet Lied, 

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