I Am Not Yoruba, We Are Not Yoruba, See The Reasons Why

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Written by: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle (Jimson Jaat Taofik) The MAD Writer: Pen Priest)

Let’s start from the beginning: the word ‘Yorùbá’ means bastards. And it’s given by the Hausas. The full appelation being ‘Yarba ba’nsa’.

The word is used by the Hausa Jihadists to described peoples living at the other side of River Niger in 18 Century to the colonial masters.

Actually, not only the Yorùbá were named by Hausa Jihadists. They called the Igbo ‘Yinminrin’, Idoma were called ‘Apoto’ (Yorùbá: A-pọ̀tọ́), Tiv were called ‘Munji’. All these tribes refuted the names they were given.

On the other hand, not only the ‘Yorùbá’ accepted the Hausa-christened name: Kanje were Bandu before, Kogoro were Ad’rok (pronounced as ”Ha’d Rock”), Ja’ba were Ha’am….and Yorùbá were what?

Before we treat that, let’s talk: ‘Yorùbá’ do say ‘Orúkọ ọmọ ni ìjánu ọmọ’ (literally, one’s name is one’s kismet of fortune and doom). Check this, Abram and Jacob were renamed by God Himself as Abraham and Israel respectively. Remember, Belzebub, too?

To start with, ‘Yorùbá’ has no meaning in ‘Yorùbá’ language. Ask any Ìbàdàn resident/indigene what Ìbàdàn means and you will hear, it is “Ẹ̀bá Ọdan”, Ọ̀yọ́ will tell you Ọ̀yọ́ is derived from “Ilẹ̀ yọ..o yọ ọ”, Ẹ̀gbá will tell you Abẹ́òkúta (meaning, ‘under the rock’) is to immortalize how the rock salvage them during warfare. And Ilé Ìfẹ́ is derived from ‘Ilẹ̀ fẹ’ after Noah(?) Flood.

I ask, what is the meaning of the word Yorùbá?

In 1859, we had Nigeria First Newspaper called “Ìwé Ìròhìn Fún Àwọn Ará Ẹ̀gbá Àti Yorùbá (Newspaper for the Ẹ̀gbá and the Yorùbá). You might ask, why didnt the Ẹ̀gbá considered themselves as Yorùbá then – 160 years ago?

Did you know that great Bishop Àjàyí Crowther wrote Dictionary of Yoruba? Yes. He published it in1843. And there he translated the word ‘Yorùbá’ as above given. *Kalu C. Wakeman compiled it.

In David Olayemi’s Ewi: History of Yoruba (available on Youtube), he talked about receiption of Mr. Taiwo Ayanfolu’s letter as reply to his question what does the word Yorùbá means. Mr. Ayanfolu said the word ‘Yorùbá’ means “deceiptive person”, according to British Dictionary found in The Yorkshire Museum, in England. It was opened in 1830.

Also, Professor Ade Àjàyí, a veteran Yorùbá Historian endorsed it….

Truthfully, the name ‘Yorùbá’ was accepted by the Ọ̀yọ́. It looked…or seemed unified, consolidate, centralize the ‘scattered’, ‘nameless’ populaces of River Niger. Although, Èkìtì, Ìjẹ̀bú, Ìjẹ̀sà, etc refused the name, it was later enforced in two ways: first, the colonial masters wanted a name for these peoples, thus they held it as official name. Secondly, Ọ̀yọ́s are the largest tribe of the ‘Yorùbá’, hence name they adoptedly bear MUST made effects all over.

How are these people called before the Imperial christianing, you ask? They were called by tribes. Ìfẹ́, Ìjẹ̀sà, Ìjẹ̀bú, Ẹ̀gbá, Ọ̀yọ́, Ẹ̀gbádó, Òwu (gone into extinction), Ìgbómìnà, Ketu (now in Dahomey, Benin Kingdom. Read ‘King of Ketu’ by Antonio Olinto, translated by Richard Chappell. Rex Collins: London. 1987), etc.

On Ọ̀yọ́, in page 12 of Samuel Johnson’s History of Yoruba, he wrote: “Oranmiyan (progenitor of Ọ̀yọ́)’s descendants in process of time were divided into four distinct famihes, known by their distinctive dialects, and forming the four provinces of Yorùbá proper viz. the Ẹkùn Ọtun, Ẹkùn Osi, Ibọlọ and Epo provinces.

Ọ̀yọ́ has ‘sub-tribes’ called ancestries (Ìran): Irese (Ajíbógun), Ẹrinmoje, Olókùn Ẹṣin, Ologburo, Ogbin, Irẹsa, Ọlọfa, Iremogun, etc.

That was the formation of the ‘Yorùbá’ before the name given. Ataọjà of Osogbo is an Ìjẹ̀sà king, Ọlọ́yan of Ọ́yan is a prince of Ìfẹ́, Àpòmú is an Ìfẹ́ town…all of these were known and dues were paid.

N.B: This is one of the basics expected of a ‘Yorùbá’ historian. And they all know it. To reveal or not is a matter of personal judgement. I personally feel I should share this. If you ask me I will simply tell you I am an Ibọlọ man of Ọ̀yọ́ Empire. Lobatan…..Fínd Óut Móre

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