Why Africans need to write their own history — Ooni

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has said it it time for Africans to begin to write the history of their race and people to correct some erroneous impressions created about them, as well as the distortion of historical facts by some foreign writers.

According the monarch, the step has also become necessary to put an end to the activities of persons deliberately turning the facts upside down regarding the history of the black race.

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He spoke in Lagos on Tuesday at the launch of a book, “Ile-Ife: Cradle of the world,” written by Dr Maureen Tamuno, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Jamaica and Belize.

The monarch said: “The idea to write the book is not mine, it is that of Dr Maureen Tamuno and I only gave my blessing and support.

“Works like this one are necessary to correct many errors being peddled about the black race. For instance, some people who have only got one dynasty are claiming to be older than Ile-Ife, which has three dynasties and is thousands of years old.

“I am fulfilled and thankful to God for this project and book written by an Okrika princess who understands and values the importance of Ife to the black race and the world in general.

“She is dogged and a goal-getter and went about to get a number of scholars and academics to commit to the project. Efforts like this one are to make our society better.”

Also speaking, the Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Esmond Reid, opined that only the black people were in the position to tell their stories better.

“Black people, wherever they are, know that Africa is home. Nigeria and Jamaica have many things in common and efforts are being made to further connect the black people in the Diaspora with the Motherland.

“We should also rise up to stop those giving false narratives about our history by writing our history ourselves,” he said.

On what prompted her to write the book, Tamuno said, “Upon my appointment as an Ambassador, I did some research and found some linkages between Ile-Ife and the Caribbean and black people in the Diaspora.

“I had to go to Ife to meet the Ooni and I was warmly welcomed. It was like I have been there before and as an Okrika princess, I am not a stranger to royalty.

“I resumed at my duty post at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic and some Jamaicans came to me saying they wanted to learn the Yoruba Language.

“I couldn’t speak it myself but I was lucky to get a volunteer who taught them for about 180 days.

“I thought that was all until I saw people trooping in from Dominican Republic, Haiti and other places saying they have traced their roots and found out that they came from Yorubaland.

“I have had pleasant experiences from people from Cuba, Brasil, Trinidad and Tobago affirming that Ife is the cradle of civilization.”

The reviewer of the book, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, said the book was the first coffee book on a city in the Southwest of Nigeria and challenged others to write theirs too.

He stated that the importance of Ile-Ife to Yoruba culture cannot be overemphasised, adding that an international conference on the ancient town has been scheduled for October this year.

Dignitaries from within and outside the country graced the occasion including envoys from India, Taiwan, Jamaica and the Asiwaju of Ife, Dr. Alex Duduyemi and other prominent Ife sons and daughters.


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