EMERGENCE OF ODUDUWA AS THE SUPREME HIGH PRIEST IN ELU

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In about the late ninth ‎century, there were majorly thirteen established settlements in “Elu” now known as Ile-Ife and its origin dates back to the palaeolithic period when religion had a dominating influence on the life of our ancient ancestors. These settlements which were big and small in sizes include among others the following:

1. Ideta ruled by Obatala, presently found along Mokuro road

2. Parakin ruled by Obalufe

3. Imojubi ruled by Apata. Along Ondo-Ife road

4. Odin ruled by Olokore Obameri. Along Ifewara road

5. ‎Oke Oja ruled by Obajio. Present day Modakeke

6. Iloran ruled by Obaloran

7. Oke Awo ruled by Owa Fegun

8. Omologun ruled by Obadio, the present site of OAU

9. Ijugbe ruled by Obalejugbe. Present day Modakeke

10. Iraye ruled by Obalaye. Present day Modakeke

11. Iddo ruled by Onipetu

12. Iloromu ruled by Obaluru. Along Ife‎-Ilesa road

13. Iwinrin ruled by Obawirin. Present Koiwo and Oronna quarters.

There were other settlements that emerged a little after the major settlements. these settlements are;

1. Ita yemoo

2. Orun Oba Ado

3. Idio

These settlements are all unique and substantial in their own rights with each having a high priest as the ruler. Each settlement has its own separate market while a general one that serves the whole settlements was known as “Oja Igbomoko” which was surrounded by vast farmlands. So also, all the inhabitants of “Elu” at that point in history were reffered to as “Igbo”.

The growth and expansion of these settlements increased the quest for more farmlands and other activities. These and more made the smaller settlements like Iloromu where Oduduwa was born to seek for more farmlands and also share from the emerging prosperity. The growth, expansion and the subsequent population growth tilted the existing trado-political arrangements

This necessitated series of alliances across the settlements leadership and it brought about the emergence of ORANFE the high priest of Ora as the first head of the settlements alliance. He presided over the spiritual and political affairs of the alliance. However, it was of note that the chairmanship of the alliance becomes rotational in case of death.

Oranfe emergence as the head of the alliance was plagued with a lot of internal strife and agitations leading to major unrest but he was able to supress it all. Obatala the high priest of Ideta succeeded Oranfe after his death as the head of the alliance. However, Obatalas reign as the head of the alliance was the last in the alliance and it was marked with lot of wars. Oduduwa led a revolution against Obatala because of his elitist nature of governance. Over time, a lot of the settlements left the alliance and pitched their tent with Oduduwa while Obatala excessive claim to leadership and his uncontrollable appetite for drink also alienated many from him.

Obameri the high priest of Odin and the war general of Obatala left the alliance to join the revolution on the side of Oduduwa. A major attack led by Oduduwa and Obameri forced Obatala and Obawirin to abandon Ideta and Iwinrin settlements respectively and they established a new camp at Ideta-Oko beyond the esinmirin stream. After a long period of time, a peace agreement was brokered between the warring parties by one of the respected elders of the alliance named Ojomu from Iloran settlement. The peace agreement allowed for the return of both Obatala and Obawinrin to the ruins of Ideta and Iwinrin settlements under the new leadership of Oduduwa in a newly unified settlement now renamed “Ile-Ife”(the land of love). Obatala had no choice other than to return after he had conceded both power and leadership to Oduduwa the new supreme high priest of ile-ife.

Obawinrin now known as “Olu Igbo later Olugbo” refused to come back to ile-ife with Obatala because he felt unsecured and embittered and he decided to relocate to a far place known as “Igbo-Igbo” now the present day Oke-Igbo. Obawinrin continued to harass and attack Ile-Ife people under the guise of masquerade until it was stopped through the deft intervention of Moremi. Igbo-Igbo was eventually sacked by the forces of Ile-Ife and Obawinrin and his people finally relocated down south in the riverine area.

The spiritual and political affairs of ile-ife were handed over to Oduduwa and he did it with all fairness. He exhibited the traits of a statesman even at a very young age. He also directed the spiritual affairs of ile-ife very well to the admiration of all. He got the title “Onirisha (eni orisha|one with the trait of the deities) ” from his conduct and proper coordination of the spiritual affairs of the settlements while he brought order and peace. The “Itapa” festival has since been celebrated to commemorate the defeat and reunion of Obatala (Orishanla) and Obawinrin (Olugbo) till date.

REFERENCE; OLUREMI OBATERU

           OMOTOSHO ELUYEMI

           ADEBANJI AKINTOYE

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