Ajala of our time

Our new royal father enjoys travelling, I have no problem with that. People who finds joy within and outside of their palace seldom have time to dwell on little things or cause people in their community needless grief.

Having said that, there is high hope for what is expected of Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi at home, people have an endless list of disputes he is to resolve and I agree because b’íná kò tán l’órí ẹ̀jẹ̀ kìí tan léèkánná (it is not over, until it is truly over).

A 76 years old friend of mine (age matters here to show different eras of Ooni of Ife), said in a message the other day how he has not being able to see any value of Oba in the local community he represents. My friend, Baba was referring to Ooni’s travels while there are plenty of issues yet to be resolved at home – a case of hope deferred making the hear sick – Proverbs 13:12.

I understand where Baba was coming from, it is only those who are not directly affected by the last crisis that say people ought to count their loses and move on, but for many people the scar is still raw.

Coincidently a few weeks ago, there was another meeting by good people in town – the meeting was between Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and our very own Ogunsua of Modakeke, Oba Francis Adedoyin. The meeting was about finding amicable resolution to many outstanding issues – seized farmlands being the topmost.

It is pleasing to know that we have elders who are not relenting in being the voice for the voiceless farmers. Also, from that meeting I learnt that Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who is another prominent Yoruba Oba has not set his foot into Ile Ife in 50 years – that is a big plus for Oba Enitan Ogunwusi for being the force of unity.

Oba Lamidi Adeyemi not visiting Ile Ife in 50 years is not too surprising – Ooni  Okunade Sijuade and Oba Lamidi Adeyemi were the perfect ọmọ ìyá awùsá (cat and dog relationship).

Baba was happy to hear of the meeting between the three Obas and elders, Guardian Newspapers did an okay job with the story, the real reason of the meeting in the last three paragraphs – good to see it in prints. 

Resolving many of our many land dispute issues is not going to be easy but it can be done and it is only fair.

As I was thinking about Baba and a slight impatience that I sensed from the tone of his texts, then it occurred to me why Baba has a high hope of Ooni Ogunwusi.

Baba came to the UK in the 70’s to study, this was when naira was strong. He has seen three different eras of Ooni in his life time, the most painful one being one and only Ooni Sijuade.  Baba, like many people in diaspora of his age built his first home in Akarabata area of town with the hope of retiring there one day.

During the long drawn crisis of 1997, his house was razed to the ground, in it was his niece who has mental health problem – everyone left the neighbourhood but the lady refused to leave so she was burnt with the house.

Also, Baba’s village was Ògùdù, one of most hard hit during the crisis – all of Modakeke people in that village that were not killed, fled their homes. The only farm baba knew was Ògùdù. 

Baba is happy with his life now, his children all grown. He could move to Nigeria if he wanted and he will still be happy. Like many people from my area, he is well aware that he is privileged to have options but he is still concerned for those people who still live in limbo.

We are happy that almost two years into the reign of a new Oba, our towns have been in relative peace – I am still hopeful that the meeting between our Obas will yield positive outcome – if we are all omo Yoruba then it is only fair that those chased away from their farmlands get adequate compensation or be allowed to return to their farmland. The latter option is very thin given some part of the land is being used for projects.

We are still hopeful for a fair outcome.


 Ajala Moshood Adisa Olabisi was an international student in the States early 1970s, he was known for his love of adventure. He travels several miles within the States and around the world on his bike and vespa. 

Locally we call people who enjoys travelling Ajala


One way to enhance understanding of Yoruba language is by  listening to stories during events, also by paying attention to the usage of words – stories often have sayings/adages that lead listeners to a whole other stories – they work to shed lights to certain events that are similar.

At this year’s Drums Festival at Abeokuta, quite a lot of elders were in attendance.

Here’s is what I learned.

I found Alaafin Oyo, Oba Adeyemi’s speech quite entertaining and reflective. He was in a cheerful mood. Here he talks about many functions of talking drums in Yorubaland as a medium where messages are passed to the Oba or audience by drum beats without having to speak out the words.

As a wakeup call:

  • Olayiwola dide ko bo sokoto, a kii f’ise igbonse ran omo eni.

This is waking up the Oba early in the morning by reminding him of day break. (not Yoruba translation but that’s the message).

As a warning:

  • M’ọ̀sà, m’ọ̀jà, la fíi mọ akínkanjú l’ójú ogun, akínkanjú tó bá m’ọ̀jà, tí kò m’ọ̀sá, níí b’ógun elòmìí  lọ.

Rough translation – Knowing when to fight, and when to quit is the best way to spot a brave warrior. A warrior who knows how to fight but loses sight of when to stop, loses the war.

“O d’ifa fun Adesuyi nigba to fe jagun, won so fun wipe asiko ko tii to…”

Here Oba Adeyemi cited an example of one Adesuyi but he did not finish the story. The indication is that in history there was someone named Adesuyi who perhaps failed to recognise the signs around him.


  • Ikún kìí j’ẹun ẹni, kó pani, nínú ilé Ọ̀yọ́ kọ́ o.

The above ‘spoken’ by the drum is to remind the Oba not to eat outside of his home


Reminder of shared history

  • Ò̩rọ̀ pọ̀ n’íkùn, a kò r’ẹ́ni ‘re ba sọ́

The above means that people have quite a lot they would like to share but they don’t have trusted people to speak to. This drum beats is used to warn the Oba to be cautious of how much information he divulges with unfamiliar people.

As a prompt.

If an Oba is out at an event  and he his carried away  socialising with the host, the drummers instead of going to him interrupting the meeting, they use the drums to remind the Oba that his time was up to head home

  • Agbe gbe wa dele o, agbe. Alaafin kii rajo, ko ma bo, agbe.


Ọọni Ogunwusi’s  speech was on the same theme of encouraging Nigerians and Yoruba people to unite together for grater good. I wonder if Ooni could pull off Ife accent.

As a word of advice, Ọọni too dropped and adage.

  • Tiwa, ni tiwa, ti akisa ni ti aatan

Rough translation: Let us embrace what is ours.


Professor Wole Soyinka can be quite charming when he is in good mood (Nigeria situation can get under anyone’s skin). I enjoyed his speech particularly when he touched on how our people today somehow see everything about tradition to be diabolical/paganism. I agree with Prof on this, we tend to fear what we don’t know.

Prof. too dropped an adage:

As a reminder to acknowledge significant event/thing.

  • Àjànàkú kọjá mo rí nkan fìrí, t’ába r’érin, ká sọ pé a r’érin

Rough translation: An elephant is big enough that one can not confuse it for any other animal. In relevant to the Drums Festival, it is a big deal and this is the second year of such.




Slavery: the woke and the delusional

Internet is filled with lots of different opinions on every single subject. People choose the best angle they can relate to when talking about sensitive subject such as slavery/slave trade.

In general, we (Yorubas) are quite protective of our traditional rulers. Things are changing though as we have seen enough in the last 50 years to know when to call a spade its name. It is only through reading from different authors that I learned that our own people with shared heritage are also huge beneficiaries of slave trade.

Having said that, what is hard to swallow in today’s Yorubaland is having people, who due to family background assume the post of authority talking about slavery as if it is a thing of pride.

Small world:

A few days ago I came across an article titled ‘My Family’s Slave’ by Alex Tizon. The story is remarkable. The writing itself is brutally honest. The slave in the story was affectionately called ‘Lola’ from the Philippines, her real name is Eudocia Tomas Pulido. Lola was a family Help from a very young age of 12 and lived her life to serve two generations of one family. The debate around Lola’s life is what I found the most fascinating, many people are very upset with the author’s choice of focus in the narrative. The piece has generated lots of responses and suggestions of how the story should have been written.

I may not be able to understand fully the views of African-Americans on slavery, however I can see the mentality of entitled people we still have in Nigeria today. People who for some reasons are stuck in the dark ages and seem to think the world is still the same as it was.

Take for example the issue around Oba’s supremacy in Yorubaland. For the lack of a better word, I like to think many of our Obas are alawada (jokers). Many can read but easy to see they don’t. Many have access to the internet but their only concern is to compete in automobile with the Queen of England. Many are crowned as Obas in their communities but one can see their lifestyle with local communities is thousands of miles apart.

There was one of such jokes last week in Ibadan whereby an Oba claims to be the leader of all Yoruba. Reading through what was credited to the said Oba, I wanted to ask if he meant Yoruba in Yorubaland or in his very mini world he meant Yorubas all over the world.

I used to have a king like that next door, he had so much money but refused to pay attention to the changing times. Oh well.

Most of the statements credited to Olugbo of Ugbo make no sense at all.

For starters, when he proclaims himself as a leader of all Yoruba people, won’t a leader needs followers?  And when he says he was bestowed with special power to Yoruba blessings – who is holding him back from taking the land from misery?

And the punchline is when he says he is the real husband of Moremi Ajasoro – Oh well, now we are getting somewhere. Moremi is said to be a very attractive and courageous woman, I am not sure why associating with a beautiful woman is a big deal, all I can say is to count himself lucky to be one of the players.

Yoruba people were up in arms with Oba’s assertions, however the only statement that sums all up for me is this:

“Don’t mind my critics who use Facebook to abuse me. The truth is that many of them are children of slaves“. 


The fact that this Oba mentions a social media outlet shows that he could read, but I wonder what he reads online. This is an example of crowned people who gives Yoruba bad names especially amongst other blacks due to their inferiority complex.

Slave trade/slavery is considered a tragedy, hence it was abolished. Many people across the world today are still working to come to term with effect.

So a supposed Yoruba leader not realising the act of owning a slave is something that is better left for courtyard banters but talks about it in an event is a reminder that at home, we have a long way to go.

It is okay to be born into a royal family but it is no longer excusable to remain ignorant about a very important event that shook the very foundation of black race.

Lastly, in a recent BBC documentary by Alice Morrison ‘Morocco to Timbuktu’. An eye opening documentary with Alice following the footsteps of earlier traders through the desert. I enjoyed this piece for so many reasons. Then in the second episode, modern-day slavery in Morocco was mentioned. Here the guide, Hafida H’douban shares her history of being born to a slave family in Morocco. Her great grand father was gifted a slave to marry, when the slave has a child, the child is seen as a slave and it goes on like that.

As pointed out in the documentary, estimated 13 million people from west Africa were taken through the desert as slaves to north Africa, same way they were taken through Trans-Atlantic routes. Many today are all over the places across the globe.

Hear Hafida here in 2 minutes from 7:15 to 9:15 in the video below.

Here we are, Yorubaland in 2017 with people who intentionally want to remain oblivious to history from their thought process to their choice of words – it is a shame, well only to themselves.



Between honour and wealth

In  Yoruba language one can pretty much make up any names one desires based on objects, beliefs or fantasies by combining words or letters, tonal marks on letters are to guide readers of the meaning.

This post is about Yoruba language translation of words into English.

do ( \ )

re (  )

mi ( / )

For example: ‘Ola’ on its own has no meaning without tonal marks (àmìn), by putting àmìn on top, it is a lot easier to understand.

Àmìn is important when writing Yoruba, the tone is important when speaking. These are the basics with Yoruba language that we all agree with.

When writing, with àmìn in places, we all tend to agree on the meaning easily.

So I am a bit taken back in this particular instance where with tonal marks, people tend to give different meanings.

What is Ọlá in English?

A few weeks ago I saw somewhere online whereby Ọlá was translated as wealth in a given name.

Abiola : a child that is/was born in wealth.

If Ọlá is translated as wealth, what is Ọrọ̀?

In Yoruba ọrọ̀, owó = affluence, material wealth, money hence ọrọ̀ is wealth.

In Yoruba, there are a few names associated with wealth and money

Olówóòkéré |  Owódùnní | Owósení | Kofoworola (does not buy honour)

Names associated with wealth or money are quite few in Yoruba.

However Ọlá within a name is a very popular one because being honourable is preferred. Traditionally, having plenty of money is not the same as being a person of honour.

Ọlá as far as I know is something that is bigger than wealth. Ọlá is used to describe integrity, prestige and honour.

This is why Ọlá, Iyì, Ẹ̀yẹ are used interchangeable to mean the same thing, honour.

Based on the traditional affiliation to Ọlá in names, here are a few examples;

Ọlálérè  | Ọlápade |  Wúràọlá |  Jọ́laolú  | Ọládélé |  Tóriọlá  |  Ọlánipẹ̀kun

All these names above have ‘ọlá’ in common. They are a few of older names to help understand the meaning of ọlá better. If we were to say ọlá = wealth, that would be a mistranslation because ọlá in Yoruba as we can see from older names is far deeper than wealth, because wealth is finite. Ọlá in Yoruba names tends to mean something that comes from family line or one that a family aspire to – bigger than material wealth.

Trying to get clarity on the best translation of ọlá to English, out of the five people I spoke with two in the first instance without any hint from me said ọlá = honour, (what a relief to know I am losing my mind) two people after we went through a few traditional names and values were convinced.

The last person likes the sound of wealth too much so adamant – who doesn’t like money?

Now checking online – incredible to see handful of people working hard on writing in Yoruba. Popular ones were names and their English translations, all that I checked out have ọlá to mean wealth. This is not too surprising because plagiarism is quite rife and it means people seldom check what they copy.

However, my efforts paid off when I found a Yoruba translation dictionary site. May Orunmila bless those behind that work.






This shows that I am not alone here thinking ọlá = honour. I don’t know the people behind this website, but a few other Yoruba words that I checked out are accurate.

Language and culture are intertwined. Like other languages, to understand Yoruba, there are many words with origin in what people hold dear, ọlá is one of those words. Not many people are wealthy or will be wealthy, whereas being noble, uprightness don’t always come with wealth and this is what tend to be common with older generation.

It is not hard to see how this mistranslation came about. Yoruba writing for decades have been pushed aside, also looking at the society today speaks volume.

Here I am with my ọlá = honour

Different point of view on English translation for ọlá? I would love to read what you think.

No longer isolated world

It is only in Nigeria that people would proclaim to love their ancestral land and at the same time are ever ready to turn the whole place into battle ground over simple disagreement. The thought of lives that will be negatively affected don’t cross their minds, their goal is to provide  flimsy reasons so people can find more reasons to loathe one another. When all is done and dusted, they are out of the town to their homes where their families and properties are safe and secure.

Anyone who thinks a fight between three adults is enough to justify so much loss of lives can not be taken seriously.

I am glad that Ooni Ogunwusi was in London when Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood happened. How swiftly it was dealt with, and how investigation was focussed on the attacker and his likely reasoning behind his action – that is how to deal with terror if one truly loves their land.

If we insist on protecting local nuisance, we sure are going to remain in that darkness for a very long time to come.

Yesterday, the Afenifere group met with Ooni Ogunwusi, I love Kabiesi’s speech, my favourite part is the part where he was talking to the youths. This is very important for Ife and towns around, we have lost so many young people in recent years. I can not see any reason good enough to make anyone wanting to kill another person (even if they were from Jupiter), it is just not worth it.

He says “They (youths) should be careful and not allow this issue to be politicised. We should remember that most of these politicians don’t come to Sabo to render assistance until the misfortune that happened.” The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.

In the whole of Yorubaland, there is no other town that has been through continuous unrest for a solid 35 years, now peace is slowly and steadily returning and the next thing they wanted is to start Yoruba Deliverance from the same town, why? Can’t people see there is more to life than trouble?

Another sentence that was credited to Ooni Ogunwusi was that often we can see the beginning of a war, but on one knows how far it will go and how it will end.

Actually, I know one possible way tribal war in our area likely to end. Plenty of lives will be wasted, properties will be ruined. We will hide identities of the victims. People travelling from Ibadan to Ilesa or Ekiti will avoid Ife at all cost, they will take the long back road – I don’t blame them. When enough youths are down, local people will be left to pick the pieces. Weapons used would change hands, and before you know it, that cute choir boy would become a local monster and for the next few years, same weapons will be used to terrorise their own people.

And the politicians claiming ancestral home? Well, they are back in their city offices writing about how unfortunate Ife people are, they will pity you with their keyboards but will never contribute a kobo to help you out.

We have been there, that is the pattern.

Big thank you to Ooni Ogunwusi for reminding those who care to listen.

One of the  things that Governor Aregbesola did that I am super glad for is the fact that he did not take any chances and insists schools close to the area be shut. To me, this is what any leader should do. At least enough kids were spared from potential physical or emotional harm.

My 7 year old nephew narrated the reason he was off school for a week and half. I know he will remember this for a long time, the hope is that we will continue to have sensible leaders who can be brave enough to protect people including minimising children’s exposure to event such as this.

We no longer live in an isolated world, if people want to pursue politics, that is all well and good, but we can’t live in a world where just about anything is turned into politics with regards to people whose lives are sure to be most affected.

I am also glad that an investigative panel has been set up to get to the root cause and to get all those that worked behind the scene. Ultimately, the point of arresting a group of people is to calm the area in the first instance, and to determine appropriate punishment for each offender. And if there are more in town roaming about, please get them so people can continue to go about their business in peace.

Taming aggression

Trigger happy people are nightmare to anyone around them as they are always ready kill, loot and burn.


Naturally, Wednesday fight in Ife caught my attention after all we are the closest pals.

From all different variations of the story that led to the killing of over two dozen people, I do not find one that is strong enough to justify the loss of lives and properties.

In all of the versions I heard/read, the fight started between a woman and a man. The husband involved to fight his wife’s corner.

So the version that sounds reasonable to me goes thus. A lady was mistaken for an olosho (working girl) in Sabo, Ile Ife. The said lady was assaulted when she responds to the guy who was trying to get her attention angrily. The lady left the scene to report the unfair treatment to her husband. The husband took offence, went to meet the guy who had laid hand on his wife, he carried along with him his work mates (NURTW).


Sabo area in Ile Ife being in the heart of the city, has a buzzing evening market for suya, roast corn etc. The fight started at this market on Tuesday evening.

Logically one would ask, how on earth do we end up on another killing spree to resolve an issue like this ? It does not add up.

Nigeria newspapers reported this incidence as Yoruba vs Hausa so many people decided to see this as We vs Them issue. Nigeria newspapers say death toll on both sides is 10 people. Locally people say victims were more than 2 dozen people.

In addition, a church and a mosques in Sabo area were torched – just because this is what we do.  This action is always interesting to me because we claim to be highly religious but anytime there is any disagreement between two groups, religious buildings always (unfailingly) get burned. The irony.

Burning down town

I know that Ooni Ogunwusi has intervened and working closely with the state government to keep the streets safe hence the curfew 6pm to 7am from Wednesday until Monday. They have increased police presence in the area. All very commendable.

We can not always prevent every little disagreement with neighbours or workers, actually it will continue to happen but we must change our attitude to the way we react during conflict. This is 2017, looting and destroying properties regardless of whose properties they are should be condemned, we all know how hard it is to accumulate wealth, to see one’s own properties being looted and homes razed to the ground should never be accepted way to revenge.

We have been through this so many times and it is shameful that perpetrators still get away with this.


Given the location of this area, damage to the area will be visible to many travellers passing through town for many months to come (except if miracle happens) So tell me who is going to be ‘giddy up’ happy to invest in a town with long history of vandalism that we are all trying to repair and forget (still there) and now this one.

As we say, Who is doing whom? 

I know that Ooni Ogunwusi is working hard to unite the area. It is a massive work, I wish him wisdom and strength.

It is never a good time to have public disturbance. Ooni Ogunwusi is due to start his 12 day visit to London tomorrow for his global outreach program meeting with people, preaching peace and reminding us of home. And this happened a few days a go.

If I were Ooni Ogunwusi, I will cancel this trip and delegate my chief,  Obalufe to attend all meetings on my behalf. No buts or ifs. I will stay put until the curfew is lifted to re assure people and to reiterate the message of peaceful coexistence.


Royal stool

Nationally, Nigeria is one big house of drama. One thing that I have realised lately is that while there is no shortage of outbursts from citizens on issues that we are not happy with, a lot is going on regionally that are being swept under the carpet. When regional leaders are left to their devices, they later become our national representatives by which time they are completely deaf to citizens outcry – maybe it is to our advantage to pay a bit of attention locally.

Take for example the case of Oluwo of Iwo – the drama going on with Oluwo of Iwo and his neighbour, Iwo Oke. Theirs is not the first time royal families would throw words to one another due to power tussle. However, this particular case is different, I believe it is one that new king of Iwo owes us explanation.

The gist of the story – allegedly, Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi of Iwo, prior to being crowned as the new king in 2015 has served time in prison in both USA and Canada for advance fee fraud. Oba Iwo Oke accused Oba Akanbi on the ground that people with such questionable character should not be allowed for such a prestigious position in Yorubaland.

One wonders why simple background checks was not done on Oba Akanbi before he was selected to be the king.

Osun state magistrate in turn ordered that Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi to appear in court to clear his name. Long story short, he did not honour the court order.

So a few days ago I read that former president Obasanjo and governor Aregbesola worked together to ensure the case against Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi is withdrawn from court – no explanation given.

I don’t have anything to say about Baba Obasanjo – he is one of those elders who continue to meddle with issues just to stay relevant, he is most of the time on the other side of anything that benefits the public. When, they think children of nowadays have no respect for elders – why would we respect an elder who assume their opinion is better than millions of us?

Now why did Aregbesola join OBJ on this? I don’t know Oba Akanbi, but the allegation against him is quite serious, wouldn’t it be good if the state supports the effort of the court to get Oba to clear his name?

Not clearing his name with substantial evidence simply means forever, Oba Akanbi’s name will be ‘Yahoo, yahoo Oba’ and Aregbesola being the sitting governor who authorised the coronation will be forever remembered for the cover up.

I had actually thought Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi would do us all the favour of appearing in court to tell us his own version of the story.

Oba Akanbi being a returnee from Canada should know better, if there’s one thing that Nigerians are labelled for around the world is the advance fee fraud, many people only get to know the country due to numerous emails of a supposed wealthy politician who was killed in a plane crash and his only son Prince and of course the offer of a cut of the wealth if their victim allows the prince to launder money through their account – I can’t even believe any serious person would not dash to the court to clear their name being associated  with such offence.

As Nigeria stands today, traditional Obas are still influential locally, they are often quite heavily involved with politics, people tend to trust the Obas as there are assumptions that they have their best interest at heart.

Being a king is honourable, however one of the reasons respect for royal families dwindles by the day is the assumption that we are still back in dark ages, today a lot more is expected. Respect should be reciprocal, a leader who desires royal lifestyle should at least earn the trust of the people.

If we think our judicial system must be better nationally, locally we need to allow them to do their job too. Osun magistrate had threatened strike if they were prevented to get Oba Akanbi to stand in court to clear his name, fingers crossed for them.

Courageous woman

Moremi Ajasoro is one of the handful of Yoruba women whose story has been passed down as a courageous and beautiful woman of her time. She was married into the royal family and helped fight invaders off Ile Ife.

What was significant about Moremi Ajasoro was that she allowed herself to be taking away by the invaders, and was married to their king. During her time with the *Ugbo king, she was skilful and lived by their rules, yet worked towards her primary goal of gathering intelligence about the people who constantly terrorise her town.

When the invaders came, we learnt that Ife people at the time often take to their heels as they thought they were being raided by Iwin/Anjonu (aliens) impossible to defeat with physical weapons because of their costumes.

Moremi eventually learnt that it was indeed humans beneath the costumes and that the costumes were made of dried grass.

Moremi Ajasoro was not only courageous, she was a loyal woman who kept her promise of returning to her people once she knew how to defeat the enemy.

Moremi eventually escaped back to Ife, briefed her people and gave tips to prepare materials for making quick fire to burn the highly inflammable dried grass the attackers wore to disguise.

Apparently, before Moremi embarked on her mission, she pledged to sacrifice her only son Oluorogbo to Esimirin, a river goddess if she was successful in her quest – and she did. At that time human sacrifice was quite common and for one to let go of their only child for the sake of her people was seen as the greatest selfless act.

Given our history is largely oral, sometimes it is hard to separate myths, legends and true stories, however, Moremi’s story and its core message has always been consistent over the years as a courageous, beautiful and loyal woman.

Ooni Ogunwusi recently unveiled a giant 42ft high statue to honour Moremi Ajasoro on the same spot the princess lived at centuries ago. The statue looks quite impressive. I do hope that there is a plaque and perhaps booklet detailing more accurate information on the courageous woman with dates.

Thank you to Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and his team for walking the talk.

Just a little thought though, looking at this statue, I am a bit disappointed that if a photo of it was taken and shown to me, I wouldn’t have guessed she was a Yoruba woman let alone Moremi Ajasoro – we are at different time now, accurate representation of an important historical figure such as Moremi deserves better than a cheap replica of Statue of Liberty – it is a bad taste, sorry Oba.

I would have preferred to see Moremi Ajasoro to be in a Iro and buba with Oja strapped to her waist because that is what she was likely wearing at the time and the same style is what most of our women wear today.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with copying a piece of artwork that one admires, calling it Moremi Statue of Liberty is what makes this one a bit tasteless.

Again, sorry Oba.

Overall, this project is a much appreciated one.


*Ugbo is located in Ondo state 

Awon t’emi

Awon t’emi = My people.

I know that one day my people who are at the receiving end of social injustice will learn to speak up when their voices were required the most.

This BattaBox video clip is well done, not for the reason they intended but for highlighting important social issues in our rural areas.

This short video of Wanikin Grammar School is a mirror image of most government schools in our rural areas. This is because maintenance of public properties is not one thing that we do.

The message here was that people, general public should come to the aid of this school to help with windows, roofs, and all the general repairs that the school obviously needed.

Wanikin is a village that I am familiar with, only a few kilometres from Ife and Modakeke. I have visited a few times and know a bit about why the village is in this state today.

The the old man in 2:57 was being honest in his second point. He said they once had a heavy windstorm that ripped the school rood. As I said earlier, Nigeria don’t repair public property.

The other reason is in 4:54 – this gentleman was being truthful too. As can be read from the subtitles the ‘Omo Onile’ he is referring to are the Ifes, they may be living in the village but their children do not attend this school so no incentives to put pressure on the representatives (local and state) to spend allocation as intended.

My people are becoming like our very ‘close pal’ from the north (forgive me Aboki Yas), we are begging for generosity of outsiders for the things we refuse to do ourselves? Maybe all we need to do is drink a little potion of Self Awareness.

Baba Agba in 2:45 said this problem of the deserted and ruined school was as a result of Modakeke/Ife crisis. Well, this is like saying UK is losing their European doctors after Brexit.

I wondered what would have happened if Tìmì & Alágbára’s families were not ripped apart. People left when their homes were burnt and livelihoods handed from generation taken away from them. 19 years later, poor kids suffer the aftermaths.

I am glad that the youths in the village are talking. Many of these students were not here 19 years ago, what they should be asking their parents was that if a group of them have to attend this school because their parents could not afford private education – what is the need for a crown king four years ago in a village with such an eyesore public school? The state government could have declined Ooni Okunade Sijuade’s requests for obvious reasons.

We know where our shoes hurt the most, this is where our solution lies fine bara (begging for alms) don’t last for ever.


PP: I saw a new clip on Battabox that shows an update on this Wanikin school. A local lady (presumably from the area given her name) took on the project and renovated the school. This I love and appreciate.



In the middle of all many Nigeria wahala; plenty of them: President Buhari disappointing people with approving lower naira to dollar exchange rate for Mecca pilgrims, this in a country where beggars are at record high even in our southern towns.

So I came across an article about one year anniversary of the late king of Ife, Ooni Okunade Sijuade, with him also going straight to be seated in the right hand of the Nigerian God.

Can it get any messier with Nigeria and the weird way God is portrayed?

All of the quotes attributed to the late king in this article were laughable and blatant lies – why do we do this, I will never understand. When our lives are all lies, then we turn around to complain youths of nowadays don’t respect royal family, elders, and the new addition, clergy – well, maybe because people are tired of people with no moral at all?

This particular bad bits is laughable:

“…late Sijuwade lived well and died well. He was a follower of Christ. I had personal relationship with him when he was alive.  “He was a follower of Christ. He will remove his crown, kneel down and direct all his courtiers out of the vicinity before praying to God.” Former Bishop of Ife Anglican Diocese, Rev. Oluranti Odubogun.

When a statement such as this is altered, the idea is to believe that the deceased is in a safe place somewhere above resting in everlasting peace.

I beg to differ.

With Nigeria christians, the idea is that if one is lucky enough to be born in Nigeria, it means you get away with all your ‘sins’ as Jesus has washed them all away with His blood.

Well the monarch was first of all a Yorubaman, and a king to his people so I am holding on to my belief of Yoruba Afterlife – that is a lot easier to swallow and sweet to imagine.

So if I were to follow comments from Punch Online after the news of Ooni Sijuade’s departure, then I would not say that the king’s life on earth is a life I wish on anyone. Within 24 hours or so 359 comments that were recorded say a lot about what the public thoughts were – the fact that the article with its many colourful comments were deleted says volume – late king’s family can never rest until they erase any hints of truths regarding the late Ooni – shame.

I didn’t read all of the messages at the time but I read enough to be glad the universe is in perfect alignment.

Nigeria christian God forgives easily that is why we are here today, I will just leave the clergy’s remarks where it is.

So I am going to stick with Yoruba belief of Afterlife. The idea is that those that spent their years on earth following their selfish plans with no thoughts of how their actions affected others will be treated with a taste of their own medicine when they reached afterlife.

How did Yoruba ancestors know Nigeria will grow to be land where justice is scarce today? They indeed have foresights.

There is a likelihood of Oba Sijuade sitting next to MKO Abiola (that should be so fun) and thousands of Ife and Modakeke people who were unjustly killed, now it feels good to imagine how these folks in afterlife reacted to the king’s arrival last year.

According to Yoruba belief of Afterlife, Ooni Sijuade will not come back to life given his records of the last 35 years. That’s a relief.

Well, am I ever going to stop talking about Ooni Sijuade and his negative impacts on our communities? Never. Because our people don’t read enough so we keep falling into the same pit over and over again.

How else are we going to appreciate the work of the new Ooni Ogunwusi in pulling the two communities together if we forget that less than two years ago, people still get killed on their way to villages?

Our stories matter. Maybe we’ve had great kings in history, that is fantastic, the one we witnessed between 1980 and 2015 is not one of them and we will not forget.


Fairness is justice

Beyond the obvious cash remittance to Nigeria is the diaspora’s contribution to enlightening and encouraging families and friends back home. This, I believe is not because being in diaspora automatically gives anyone smart pills, rather because many have seeing how doing things differently can benefit us all so we share ‘recipe’ to improve.

Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi’s visit to the USA with several meetings with diaspora is something that I have pondered on. His visit was largely on cultural ground, presenting himself as the new mouthpiece of Yoruba culture and tradition – tried to encourage diaspora to get more involved with home affairs.

Reaching out to others and mending fractured relationships amongst the Obas within the country is important, no doubt. However, interesting is the way people especially Yorubas see the role of Ooni Ogunwusi as the custodian of tradition and culture – the role that essentially undermines his primary role of being an Ife king.

One of the reasons the late Ooni Sijuade was humiliated both alive and in death was because he failed miserably in his primary role. During all (on and off) of Modakeke and Ife crisis from 1981 to 2000, Ooni Sijuade was a frequent flyer around the globe, more to the United Kingdom where he had a house – one would ask, what did diaspora do to stop Ooni Sijuade raising funds for the purpose of evicting his neighbours? Whatever that was did not hit the right note and as he got away with it all.

Are diaspora always work in the best interest of the people back home?

Giving my online experience, I would say not all the time partly due to misinformation and self-importance.

Around this time last year, I had a long conversation with a few guys who are from Ife. What was clear from the conversation was that though these guys have lived and worked in other people’s land: South Africa, USA and UK respectively, they are still adamant that Modakeke people do not deserve to be allowed back to the land their great grand parents farmed on because the land belonged to the Ifes – this is the case for those evicted from Ogudu and surrounding villages today.

Transaction is as old as humankind, there must have been an agreement in the beginning before they consent to working on the land, and if that relationships broke down, this generation that inherited the ‘mess’ can and should do better than chasing innocent people out of the land they only knew as source of livelihood.

Now imagine this, that tomorrow the Her Majesty showed up at one of these guy’s door to say she decided to change the term of the property he rightly owned and pays mortgage on from ‘Freehold’ to ‘Leasehold’ and before he could think, the Queen demanded he leaves the property just because she was mad at all Nigerian corrupt leaders…

That will be outrageous, right? And you’ll probably see it all over the news the next day with question demanding for explanation because we all know how it is to start our lives from scratch in new land.

Now, think about the folks in Ogudu, who inherited the land of Ogudu and surrounding farms from parents – they were chased out during the brutal crisis in 1997/98. Still not allowed to go back to the farm.

We recently hear of federal government project of cashew farming plans for these areas. I am presuming this is the effort to drown the ‘little voices’ once and for all. Knowing the way things are in Nigeria, this is likely to be ‘hush, hush’ until systematically all hopes on ever returning to the farms fades out.

While the rest of the Yoruba pick on Ooni Ogunwusi’s choice of religion and his very important role in Yorubaland, I know for sure that his defining efforts will be based on resolving this land dispute once and for all since Nigeria is still in denial about dealing with this at the federal level.

Which reminds me, now that we have a vice president who is a Yoruba man, a lawyer and someone who seems quite smart. I wondered what Professor Yemi Osinbajo thinks about this cashew farm as federal project?

If we were going to take peoples’ land in the name of ‘federal project’, at least they deserve another land (not flimsy cash) compensation so they too have a fair shot at life and something to cater for their family – it is only fair. Land is what we have plenty, all it needed is opening up so people can use.


Here is a poem by Portia Nelson that might help us see that if we ever want this to end we must do things differently not merely shutting little people up.

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost….I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in….it’s a habit…but my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down a different street.

Sense of belonging

Late last year there was a picture of Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi on his knee at a local church praying, for some reason this did not settle in well with many young Yorubas, especially those who have different views of a befitting religion for traditional rulers.

Ogunwusi in church

Just as that was settling down, another young king, Olowu of Owu-Ile, Oba Muhammad Raji Quazeem Ilufemiloye  appeared in public in February, this was slightly different as the young king has two wives wearing full burka beside him. It received quite a lot of criticisms both for being Muslim as well as for his wives covering face. One wonders if they didn’t know his religion before being appointed.

I learnt from my fellow self-appointed ‘foot soldiers’ that our Obas need to stick to traditional religion.

The latest is Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi again singing a Christian song and proclaiming his love for his ‘father’ Jesus.

My people were still not happy with Prince Charming – lots of people want the young Ooni to stop mixing his very important role with foreign religion.

The way I see it: I am not sure which rule book says what religion anyone or a king must follow, as far as I am aware most of our traditional kings are either Christian or Muslim.

As it turned out people in general don’t even care, I for one can not see why anyone is sweating over the choice of a king’s religion – he is a person that deserves freedom of religion just as anyone of us.

And who says Christianity isn’t compatible with appreciation of our traditional beliefs? What I learnt as a kid is that Obas are always neutral when it comes to religion so they tend to support all religious events. However, over the years, most people for one reason or the other have turned to cling to the one they feel most comfortable with.

Each to their own I say.

I suppose having lived with Ooni Ogunwusi’s predecessor, the king who ruled for 35 years and managed to set his town and next door neighbours back several decades – I am happy to see a different king who since his coronation has worked so hard to unite the elders, reiterates that all he wanted was peace as destruction of lives and properties benefit no one.

In one of the numerous meetings that Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi had in his recent visit to the USA, he talked about us all as alajobi (same blood), he also talked about the importance of working together for the common good.

What I see Ooni Ogunwusi offering to people both home and in diaspora is sense of belonging – to feel connected in order to fight for common good – isn’t that good enough?

For this and his wisdom of dealing with one of the most difficult and long-standing crisis ever in Yorubaland, I think him.