Moremi the conqueror of Ugbo

Moremi ‘s Patriotism and the Survival of the Nation Upon the death of Oduduwa, there was a dispersal of his children from Ife to found other kingdoms. These original founders of the Yoruba nation included Olowu of Owu (son of Oduduwa’s daughter), Alaketu of Ketu (son of a princess), Oragun of Ila, Onisabe of Sabe, Olupopo of Popo and Oranmiyan of Oyo. Each of them made a mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of Yoruba confederacy of kingdoms, with each kingdom tracing its origin to Ile-Ife.

After the dispersal, the aborigines, the Ugbo (in Ondo state) became difficult and constituted a serious threat to the survival of Ife. This was done in protest of Oduduwa occupation of Ife. Thought to be survivors of the old occupants of the land before the arrival of Oduduwa, these people now turned themselves into marauders. They would come to town in costumes made of raffia with terrible and fearsome appearances, and the Ife people would flee. Then the Ugbo would burn down houses and loot the markets. Then came Moremi on the scene. When no man could dare the Igbos, Moremi asked the Esinminrin river for help and promised to give offerings if she could save her people. The river goddess told her to allow herself to be captured and to understudy the Igbo people. She did, and discovered that these were not spirits; only people with raffia for dress. She escaped, and taught her people the trick. The next time that Ugbo people came, they were roundly defeated. Moremi then had to go back to Esinminrin to thank the gods. Every offering she offered was refused. On divination, she was told she had to give Oluorogbo, her only son which she did. The lesson of Moremi is the lesson of patriotism and selflessness. The reward may not be reaped in one’s life time.

Following the war she returned to her first husband Oranmiyan of Ife (and later Oyo), who immediately had her re-instated as his Princess Consort. In order to fulfil the pledge she made to Esimirin before embarking on her mission, her son Olurogbo was given in sacrifice to the Spirit because this is what it asked her for when she returned to its shrine. The Edi Festival is said to have then been started as a means of celebrating the sacrifice the princess made for the people of Yorubaland. Moremi passed on and became a member of the Yoruba pantheon .

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