The Descendants of Ife

The Descendants of Ife 

Ife’s descendant can be traced back to a single warrior and leader who is famously known among the Yorubas as Oduduwa.

The Oduduwa is the first man to lead and rule Ife, but not only did he rule Ife, but he also fought and won over many other kingdoms within the Yorba land.

In many years, it is believed that Oduduwa was able to compete and defeat not less than 13 indigenous villages led by Obatala, and brought all the towns into a single community known as Ife. 

 Among his clan, he was also called as Olofin Adimula, Olofin Aye, and Olufe.

The three glorifying names are meant to praise his magnificence as a leader who brought unity among people.

The Descendants of Ife 

Other times, instead of Oduduwa, he is also referred to as Ooduwa or Oodua by other kingdoms within the Yoruba Empire. 

After his death, he was immortalized as a god, who they subsequently approached for divinity consultation.     

Based on a report from some early-day historians, they believed that Oduduwa was an émigré from another nation, who came to settle in the south of Nigeria at one time in the 12th century CE. 

He is believed to have brought the traditional Yoruba religion with him. 

Some found that his belief was part of his movement from his previous location. However, this prior location of Oduduwa remained a controversial issue as about four different reports gave different earlier places of Oduduwa in history. 

One report has it that Oduduwa immigrated to Nigeria from Mecca, where he was a prince. 

His emigration was believed to occur as a result of the persecution of the notable Muslims in Mecca. As a result, Oduduwa and his followers left Mecca to seek for a new settlement. 

The second report claims that Oduduwa came down from Egypt, and not from the Arabs. 

During his reigning period, it is believed that much of his inventions can be traced back to the ways of feudal Egypt. 

Thirdly, another report is a claim from the Indigene of Benin city – Edo’s people – who claimed that Oduduwa was their prince as he left Benin due to the Royal conflict. 

And for this reason, one of the descendants of Oduduwa was allowed to take back the leadership of the Kingdom of Benin. 

Finally, it is the tradition of Ife about Oduduwa, which states that Oduduwa was a warrior who hailed from Oke-Ora – an eastern part of Ife towards the Ijesa people – and that, he descended from the hills with a chain.

Consequently, they praise him as Atewonro, which translates to one who descends on a chain. As a warrior, he is always said to wear iron as an armor. After his arrival, he fought and conquered about 13 communities and overthrow Obatala.

Hence, he brought all the communities together as one, and eventually, he was referred to as the first Ooni of Ife. The bearer of the rightful kings of the entire Yoruba as his sons overtook the mantle of leadership in the other Yoruba land.

In essence, Oduduwa is an immigrant who was received by the aborigines of Ife. 

History has it that Oduduwa had about seven children. The first of which is called Okanbi Iyunade, who married Obatala and gave birth to Owu, who also became a king known as the Olowu. 

He was believed to have gained his crown when he was still an infant, precisely while crying on his grandfather’s lap. Omonide – who was Oduduwa’s most cherished wife – gave birth to Sopasan.

 Sopasan was the first of Oduduwa’s children to leave Ife, and he also gave birth to crowned kings of Ketu. 

He was believed to have settled in two different areas; Oke – Oyan and Aro. Ajagunla Fagbamila Orangun was the first legitimate son of Oduduwa, and he was crowned as the king of Ila. 

He married Adetinrin Anasin, who gave birth to Ifagbamila. 

Other children of Odudwa includes the Onisabe of Sabe, Onipopo of Popo, Orunto, and Oranmiyan. Orunto was born by one of Oduduwa’s maid, and his predecessor holds the Obalufe title – a royal title which is second in rank to the Ooni of Ife – in Ife till the present day.

 Oranmiyan, who was the last born of Oduduwa was the most adventurous of them all as he migrated to Oyo and became the first Alaafin of Oyo, Benin, and became the first Oba of Benin, and finally became the sixth Ooni of Ife. 

Obalufon II Alayemore was on the throne of Ife when Oranmiyan came back from his journey, and he claimed his rightful royal seat from Alayemore again. 

Oranymiyan gave birth to Lajamisan, the progenitor of all Ooni of Ife, who reigns in Ife. 

Ile-Ife is presently part of Osun State and has an estimated population of about half-a-million people. 

It is home to one of Nigeria’s most prestigious universities, Obafemi Awolowo University, as well as the Natural History Museum of Nigeria.

 Ife is also a prominent regional agricultural center for a surrounding area that produces vegetables, grain cacao, tobacco, and cotton.


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