We have heard many historians and scholars speak of Queen Moremi a beautiful Yoruba woman from Offa, and how she used her beauty to win the heart of Obatala Oreluere, the King of the aborigines of Ile Ife who was forced into exile when The Great Oduduwa led the Yorubas to dislodge the Ife Aborigines of Ife and create the present civilization of Ile Ife.
But the interesting thing these days is the great efforts being made by some to hide the Igbo identity of the aborigines of Ile Ife. When you point out to them that the aborigines were Igbo they tell you, they are ‘not the same Igbo with the present day Igbo’. One is forced to smile and ask how they know they are not the same Igbo.
Apart from the fact that the Igbo aborigines share the same name with the people called Igbo today, here are a few pointers that the Igbos of today and the aborigines of Ile Ife (today’s Oluyare, Igare, Anioma and Olukwumi people) are one and the same people.
- Obatala’s title of Oba Igbo: One of the titles of the aboriginal King of the Igbo in Ile Ife (Obatala) was Oba Igbo, which means King of the Igbos. Many don’t know that Oba is an Igbo word for king. For instance, the title of the traditional ruler of Ogba in Rivers State (not the Ogba in Lagos o) is Oba.
Interestingly, in a visit to Cuba, Professor Catherine Acholonu discovered a statue of Obatala erected by the Lucumi (Olukwumi) people that had the inscription, ‘Obatala, King of the Igbo Nation’. The Lucumi people know. What nation are they talking about? Not the Igbo kingdom of Nri- from where the Obatala’s originally came from.
They were talking about the aboriginal kingdom of Ile Ife, which was Igbo, were the Obatala’s went to for an Ilu (journey) after a problem with the king of Nri, an Igbo priest-king who was their relative.
- Obatala’s title of Obi Osere Igbo: Another title of the King of the aborigines of Ile Ife was Obi Osere Igbo. Note the three words that make up the title: Obi (another Igbo title for king); Osere, a traditional title for the traditional priests in Oguta in today’s Igbo state of Imo; and Igbo (the name of an ethnic group).
From this, we can deduce that the Olukwumi (the subclan of the Igbo aborigines of Ile Ife) called the Obatalas Priest-King of the Igbos. So the title Obi Osere Igbo simply means Priest-King of the Igbos.
Today many kingdoms in Igbo land still use the title Obi. For instance, the Obi of Onicha Ugbo. Yes you read right, Onicha Ugbo. Orisha Ugbo- Onistha Ugbo. Are you thinking what we are thinking?
- Ugbo Towns In Igbo Land: If you look at Igbo Land, you will see several kingdoms that have the name Ugbo. For instance, Onicha Ugbo. Let’s take another example the town of Ugbo-Obi, whose name means Ugbo of the King. Or should we take another? Ani Ugbo, which means Land of Ugbo, or Land of the Ugbo People.
In today’s Yoruba land, you also have a kingdom called Ugbo. Now the question is: is this town an ancient kingdom that existed even in the period of the great exploits of Oduduwa, Obatala, Moremi, and Eze Chima (first king of Onitsha and a Prince of Ife and Benin)?
In other words, did it exist during the time of the aborigines of Ile Ife, or is the town a more recent creation?
I would prefer to think that the town is an ancient civilization that existed in that great era when one great empire fell and another great empire took its place. If that be the case, then it is the same people that named that town Ugbo, that also named the three Igbo towns of Ugbo that I have mentioned, namely Onicha Ugbo, Ugbo-Obi and Ani-Ugbo.
4. Ugbokko Araba And Idi Araba ‘Coincidence’: Do you know that deep in the Igbo part of Delta State, there is a forest area called Ugbokko Araba? Yes. Now compare the names Ugbokko Araba in Anioma part of Delta State and Idi Araba in Lagos State in Yoruba Land and the truth will spark somewhere in your mind that Igbos were the aborigines in the Ile Ife area.
Otherwise, why the 2 similar names, if not that some ancient people who stepped on Idi Araba also stepped on Ugbokko Araba? And don’t mention coincidence, because if you take all the factoids we have placed up here -that are easily verifyable- you just cannot tell us that they are a result of a confluence of coincidences.