The Igbos have to join the Yorubas in celebrating Moremi Ajesoro, the same way Germany joins Britain, France, The United States and Russia to commemorate World Wars 1 and 2, when those countries defeated Germany. History must be used to unite rather than divide. That is what the Western powers know, and that is what we in Nigeria should begin to practice.
The Ooni of the great Yoruba Kingdom of Ife has unveiled plans to really honour Moremi Ajasoro, the remarkable Yoruba and Igbo Queen of Ife. A beauty reagent is being inaugurated and a statue erected in her honour. Ooni Ogunwusi is no doubt an enlightened monarch for looking to history to insightfuly build up his people’s economy through promotion of cultural tourism.
Moremi saved the Yorubas from the Igbo after the Igbo had been dislodged from Ife due to the arrival of Oduduwa The Great.
According to History Of The Igbo World by Prince Charles Offokaja, in the 12th century AD, after the aboriginal Igbo of were disloged from Ife, they started seriuous guerilla warefare to retake Ife from the Yoruba conquerors. The Igbo were succeeding due to their clever tactics of using raffia cotumes that made them seem extremely fearsome to the Yoruba who thought they were spirits. Moremi successfully wormed her way into the heart of Obatala Oreluere, the King of the Igbo aborigins and leader of the resistance.
Obatala Oreluere’s other Igbo royal titles included Oba Igbo, Obi Osere Igbo, etc., etc. Moremi undoutedly a paragon of beauty, strategically allowed herself to be captured by the Igbo forces, and then the Igbo King Oreluere saw her and married her.
From Moremi’s strategic point as queen of the Igbo aborigins of Ife, she was able to discover the battle secret of the Igbo warriors, that they were not spirits but rather, they wore hideous masks made from raffia palm fronds that made them look like spirits ( Igbo sense tactics at play – Igbo people and palm tree products no be today). The intelligent Moremi also discovered that these raffia palms burnt easily when set on fire.
Having discovered the secret of the Igbo warriors, Moremi escaped and went back to her first husband, the Yoruba nobleman, and he welcomed her fully back into his household. Moremi then revealed the secret of the Igbo warriors to their Yoruba brothers. The next time the Igbo warriors attacked, the Yoruba warriors set fire to their higly combustible raffia costumes, winning an easy victory.
It is just like the way the US Army easily defeated the British Army during the American War of Independence due to the impressive but higly visible red uniforms of the British Army that made them stand out in the terrain, rather than blend in. As a result of the ingenuity of Moremi, the Igbos lost Ife permanently, and the Yorubas still rule and occupy it to this day. Moremi had proven that what a man can do a woman can do better.
So, why are Igbo people saying they will be comemorating Queen Moremi? first off, because the moment she said ‘I do’ to Oba Igbo Oreluere, she became Igbo by marriage. So, whether we like it or not, she is one of us also, and the Yorubas are our in-laws by dint of that.
Secondly, Moremi is a super character that continues to charm both the Igbos and Yorubas. Also, she teaches us valuable lessons on how a man should restrain himself with discipline. So, we will remember her.
According to http://moremi.oauife.edu.ng/history.php Moremi Ajasoro, Princess of the Yoruba, was a figure of high significance in the history of the Yoruba peoples. She was a member-by-marriage of the royal family of Emperor Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba people. She was the wife of King Oranmiyan of Ife (and later Oyo). A woman of tremendous beauty and a faithful and zealous supporter of her husband and the Kingdom of Ile Ife. Moremi Ajasoro, Princess of the Yoruba, was a figure of high significance in the history of the Yoruba peoples. At this time there were neighboring tribes called Igbo, who were regularly and successfully raiding the people at and around Ile Ife. enslaved by these people, and because of this they were generally regarded with disdain by the Yoruba city-states.
Moremi was a very brave and beautiful woman who, in order to deal with the problem facing her people, offered anything she had to give in sacrifice to the Spirit of the river Esimirin so that she could discover the strength of her nation’s enemies.
Moremi decided upon a strategy. She went to the nearby river Esinmirin, and vowed to deity that she would make the greatest sacrifice possible if they allowed her to discover the strength of her nation’s enemies. She then went to a place that was raided frequently, and when the raiders did come she allowed herself to be captured. Being very beautiful she was taken as booty to the Igbo King. She was very confident and skillful, and soon won the trust and affection of the King and people in Igbo land. She became familiar with their customs and tactics of warfare. She found that the Igbo, in preparation for battle, would cover themselves from head to toe with Ekan grass and bamboo fibers. She realized that if someone could pass amongst the Igbo warriors with a torch that they could be defeated.
Feeling that she had adequate knowledge, she escaped, to the great surprise of her Igbo captors. She returned to her first husband, King Oramiyan of Ife (and later Oyo), who immediately had her re-instated as his Princess Consort. Knowing the warfare secrets of the Igbo, the people of Ife were forever freed from the terrors of these previously invincible warriors.