Past events are not meant to be all sweet and glamorous, they are behind us. Our fore fathers make decisions based on their perception of the world around them, not all of these decisions are worth copying, some belonged in the past, they are horrible histories. Thank goodness, some are fantastic so no reason not to rejoice in the wisdom of the old ones before us and build on their hard work.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adegunle Abeweela was one of the kings in Ile-Ife, 1839 – 1849. Before his reigns, Modakeke were referred to as Oyo given my people were descendant of Oyo Ile. At the time Modakeke lived in the midst of Ife, in the same neighbourhood.
Oba Abeweela was another king of Ife that was warm and accommodating to the Oyos perhaps because his mother was from Oyo or he was just very smart Oba with a big heart.
In Ile Ife, kingship is rotated among many compounds/families and it is possible to have a king from the same family more than once, this is certainly the case for the sitting Oba Sijuade as his father was once a king. However, this is not the same for Oba Abeweela, when he died the senior chief in Ife colluded that never will anyone from Abeweela’s family be the king and it has not since 1849.
The sins of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adegunle Abeweela:
Oba Abeweela reasoned differently, he could not see any sense in the hostility towards the Oyos given the they were at Ife due to the displacement caused by the raging war in Oyo Empire at the time – lots of people were displaced and settled in different parts of the land.
There was an internal coup plan in Ife, they wanted to get rid of Oba Abeweela as he has shown he would not be part of enforcing slave status on the neighbours. Oba Abeweela was told of the coup plan by the Oyos.
It was awful day in the history of any king in Yorubaland. The plan was to kill the king at Igbo Itapa during the ritual. Oosa Itapa is a very special ritual in Ile Ife as it only involves the senior chiefs and the king. All of the chiefs that knew about the plan did not return from Igbo Itapa (Itapa forest), those that were not present were hunted down in town.
Ooni Abeweela after this incidence knew Oyo people living in the same town were not safe and did not want war being a sensible king noting what was happenning at Oyo Ile. With agreement of his senior chiefs pointed down the road to a thick forest where Oyos were told to clear to build their own little community separate from the Ifes, there they formed and named Modakeke.
Yoruba has many rituals to perform following the passing of a king, Ooni Abeweela was the only one in the history (that I know of) that did not receive any form of rituals because by the time of his death, the closest people to him were the Modakekes, he has passed on (waja) three months before Ife people knew, by which time his corpse were nowhere to be found, the location till today is not known to the Ifes.
We have horrible histories but what is more horrible is to continue to wallow in the past so as to chase unachievable goals that have no place in the twenty-first century.
May your soul continue to rest in peace Oba Abeweela. I am glad your corpse was saved for butchered.
I am sorry brothers and sisters of Ife that you can’t point to where one of your kings was buried, but you see – we are much better getting along in peace.