“… no one questioning” bits of this post title come from Rev. Samuel Johnson The History of the Yorubas: From the earliest times to the beginning of the British Protectorate. Pg 525.
The above book is arguably the most thorough book ever written on Yoruba history. First published in 1921, it was at one point a recommended book in western Nigeria schools.
Rev. Samuel Johnson, an Anglican Vicar, whose thirst for documenting Yoruba history arose during his many travels to Europe from seeing how Europeans have preserved theirs through written texts.
I was gladly surprised that his book, though last reprinted in 1960, is available on Amazon – credit to amazing people working behind the scene to make sure all Yoruba history is preserved.
Rev. Johnson’s work details Modakeke-Ife crisis. It comprises of dates, names and Yoruba royals and elders’ involvement in settling tiring disputes.
Going back to “… no one questioning” This is what Rev. Johnson had to say when he was recounting what he thought was Ife’s act of animosity towards their neighbours.
What I read to that three words was “How could we as a collective turned blind eye to the crisis in same region and pretended all was well?”
History matters for many reasons, for one, to shed lights on recurring events that are not so obvious to current generation. Hopefully, they’ll learn and change tactics if different outcome is expected.
The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade was said to have many honorary and academic qualifications, so in a way I believe he must have at one point come across Rev. Johnson’s book on the history of the towns’ difficult relationship.
And if Oba Okunade Sijuade did read this book, I wonder what his reactions were after reading vivid reports of page 526 that stated 12,700 people from Ife were captured and how they were subsequently released and elders’ involvement in reconciliation.
Here is what I found astonishing in the attitude of the late Ooni Okunade Sijuade; prior to 1854 when Ife was rebuilt due to self-inflicted ruins, lots of women who were captured by the Modakekes during the crisis got into relationships that produced children.
Over hundred years later in 1980, one can easily assume that except for *some royal compounds and chiefs, most people in both in Modakeke and Ife are practically cousins.
So we had a king who was supposedly was educated but refused apply lessons from history? He spent the whole 35 years threading on the same path as his own father with no consideration to many changing factors around him. Below is page 648 of the same book.
On Panama papers, newspaper from last week listed this same late Ooni, Oba Sijuade as one of Nigerians who kept accounts offshore to evade taxes.
While Tax evasion for big corporations is fashionable in Nigeria. It is not too surprising that the poor Nigerians are the ones paying most taxes. We have 110 of them in total – from politicians, to royal father and even a miracle pastor made the list.
However a royal father evading tax is something that just show to prove once again the type of person that late Oba Okunade Sijuade was.
Now, are people going to still refer the late Ooni Okunade as the Custodian of culture and tradition?
“… no one questioning” Rev. Johnson first wrote this in 1920 (or thereabout), it is now 96 years later, yet no one questioning if this man even in death has ever for once represented Yoruba in a good light.
It wouldn’t kill us to be truthful even if for once.
*Ooni Aderemi married a Modakeke from Modakeke.