Did you know there are at least 20 million Yoruba people in the 21st century? This community is ranked among the largest ethnic groups in contemporary Nigeria. The traditional Yoruba community believed in various gods, including Oduduwa, Obatala, and Shango. The history of Oduduwa, in particular, is quite interesting.
The history of Oduduwa is quite fascinating. It tells the story of how the Yoruba ethnic group came to be. Oduduwa is remembered as the father and leader of the Yoruba community.
The history of Oduduwa in Yoruba land
Yoruba people are predominant in the southwestern part of Nigeria. They can also be found in Togo and Benin.
Due to rural-urban migration, people from this community are also found in different parts of the country and the world. This ethnic group believed in various gods and goddesses in the traditional set-up.
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The belief in these gods may have changed due to the introduction of other religions during the colonial period. A retrospective look at the community's history shows that Oduduwa was an instrumental figure. Learn more about Oduduwa's history below.
Who is Oduduwa?
He was an emissary from a community called Oke-Ora in the 12th century. Once he got to the city of Ife, commonly called Ile-Ife, he found a new home where he settled and started the community. He is a source of cultural identity and kingship in Yorubaland.
What is Oduduwa the god of?
He is the chief god of the Yoruba community. He created it. As a result, he symbolises the earth on which his people live.
What is the origin of Oduduwa?
There are various stories about the deity's origin. These versions of the story are explored below.
Version 1: Man from Oke-Ora
Some believe the god originated from Oke-Ora and came to earth via a mythical chain. He set out on a special mission from this community in the 12th century.
He settled in Ile-Ife. As a result, Ile-Ife is considered the spiritual heart of Yorubaland and the centre of the world.
It is alleged that he was a warrior who wore iron armour. Many people also believe this god was responsible for the creation of the earth. They regard him as one of the deities that made earth what it is today.
Version 2: Sent by Olodumare
According to another story of Oduduwa from some people, the deity was sent to earth by Olodumare, the Lord of the Skies. He was sent on a mission to fulfil what his brother Obatala, the King of White Clothes, was unable to complete.
Obatala was sent on earth to create land. Instead of doing as ordered by Olodumare, he partook in palm wine. As a result, he got too drunk to complete the mission. Oduduwa completed the mission when he settled in Ile-Ife. He became the first king in Yorubaland.
Version 3: Prince Lamurudu escapes his homeland
Another view suggests he was the son of prince Lamurudu/ Lamerudu, the son of King Kisra. Lamurudu's family was from the east. Lamurudu worshipped idols instead of Allah. People from his community of origin did not like his religious stand.
As a result, they threatened his life. He decided to flee from his homeland with his family. However, he died along the way, and his son Oduduwa continued the journey. He settled in Ile-Ife, where he founded the Yoruba dynasty and empire.
Significance of Oduduwa
As the creator of the Yoruba people, this deity is seen as a symbol of life or the power of the womb. He also represents omnipotence and the reservoir of manners and culture in the community.
It is alleged the deity had only one biological son named Aknbi. Aknbi gave birth to seven children.
Their names in order of birth are Olowu of Owu, Onisbe of Sabe, Onipopo of Popo, Oba of Benin, Orangun of Ila, Alaketu of Ketu, and Alafin of Oyo. This means that the seven sons of Oduduwa did not exist. Instead, he had one son and seven grandkids.
How did Oduduwa come to earth?
Some people believed the deity came to earth from the skies after receiving orders from Olodumare, the Lord of the Skies. Others believe he was the son of Lamurudu, while others say he was sent on a mission from Oke-Ora.
Who gave birth to Oduduwa?
The deity's parents are not known in one school of thought because he was sent on earth by Olodumare, the Lord of the Skies. Other people believe he was the son of Lamurudu.
Who was the first king in Yorubaland?
Oduduwa was the first divine king of the Yoruba people. It is said these people believe that their civilisation began at Ile-Ife, where the gods descended to earth.
How many children did Oduduwa give birth to?
The deity welcomed one child. His child was blessed with seven children, meaning he has seven grandkids.
Who are the seven sons of Oduduwa?
The deity has only one child, not seven. He was blessed with seven grandchildren, namely Olowu of Owu, Onisbe of Sabe, Onipopo of Popo, Oba of Benin, Orangun of Ila, Alaketu of Ketu, and Alafin of Oyo.
The story of Oduduwa is quite interesting because there are different versions. Although each storyline is different, all versions agree that he is the creator of the Yoruba people.
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