Scholars throughout the world that have studied the Yoruba Culture and Religion have been intrigued by the ancient history of YORUBA of West Africa. German explorer Leo Frobenius came across some sculpted bronze heads and terracotta figures in Ile-Ife, convinced he had discovered remains of the mythical lost city of Atlantis. Beyond the way Yoruba accommodate other religions and cultures without giving up their own, they have surprised other scholars, so much that doctoral students must be careful how they present dissertations for approval. You may see within the same family a Reverend father, a respectable Imam and a prominent Babalawo. This is a volatile mixture in most cultures.
The disappearing glory of Yoruba civilization, culture and esteemed blood in a country deluged with money but only abject poverty to show for it must be reversed. This must be through intensive workshops by Think-tank reorientation groups at home and Diaspora; not by political moneybags. These Yoruba speaking groups, though massively located in Western Nigeria, are all over West Africa, Brazil, Cuba in Central and Southern America. They can be identified by their religion, language, Santeria and ORIKI. Some Yoruba artifacts unveiled at Iwo Eleru near their historical home of Ile-Ife, dated as far back às 10,000 B.C.
Oyo, Yoruba old Empire practiced the world’s oldest form of Cabinet Government system. It was where the system of Check and Balance sent the Head, Alafia packing by opening the Calabash when the people had lost confidence. Oba Koso! The loss of check and balance in the world culture and governments as the Yoruba became sucked into the Federal Government of Nigeria of the day has bankrupted their Regional Government and Culture. The same Culture that served Yoruba efficiently with meager Cocoa income thrusted Western Region of Nigeria into First In Africa, wealthier than many European countries.
The success of those Yoruba leaders in Nigeria Regional Governments boosted Industrial and Housing Estates. Free Education and Hospitals attracted Africans and the world sought employment as skilled workers: teachers, doctors, engineers employed, were able to send money home to their families in Asia, Europe and Americas. It became the melting pot where world citizens got along inside United Yoruba Nation recuperate from the sordid past of Slave Trade. Dedicated people with skills and talents find solutions to local problems boosting the economic engine of their country. Unlike the Yoruba children running out today while soldiers of fortune are running in to snatch the ripe glory at the top and call it their own.
In retrospect, Western Region was nothing short of an Economic Miracle! The Culture, Skilful managers and their policies covered every inch of Western Nigeria from Ilorin to Lagos, from old Midwest to Dahomey now Benin Republic because the Industrial Estates and Free Education attracted those beyond. Judicious management of talents, natural and human resources were not by luck or accident. It was the culture of accountability passed on from the old Oyo Cabinet system. Community Esusu and Cooperative practice from the top to the grassroots ensured success where it took a village to raise every child in Africa.
The Miracle that extended to Eko, now popularly called Lagos had also been blessed by the natural location near the sea where the Aromire (sea friendly) and the Oloko (ship owners) dwell. Putting the scenario into perspective today, we have to go back in history of how Yoruba skillfully changed Eko over the centuries to this Lagos, fighting off soldiers of fortune. Natural beauty of land and people attracted so called explorers, Muslim and Christian religious missionaries that paved the way for Slave Trade in West Africa.
The fight for Eko later called Lagos started in 1452 when Pope Nicholas V issued a Papal Bull called Dum Diversas that granted Portugal and Spain ‘full and free permission to invade, search out, capture and subjugate slaves in West Africa. So in the 15th Century the Pope, by that edict, blessed the capture of slaves along the West African coast. When some people claimed the Portuguese named Eko with a similar name in Portugal as Lagos; the Yoruba named Eko as a similar name in Ekiti. Just as you have New England, New Britain, Sudbury or Windsor in the Americas. Europeans even named sugarcane plantations in Africa and Americas after themselves as Saints: St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. John etc to be worshiped during slavery!
Put into proper perspective, some centuries later the Europeans “discovered” River Niger, Nile all the way down to the Bight of Biafra. The British system sneaked in as Private companies or Protectorates but whenever they met resistance or defeat, the Royal Navy was ready as Backup. Indeed, some of the resistance and defeat they met in Africa were at the hands of formidable powers of the Shaka Zulu, the Ashanti, Ethiopian, Jaja of Opobo, the Ijebu, the Kanuri and the Oba of Bini. The British Royal Navy and soldiers of fortune did not divide and conquer Africans alone. They also used African Armies. Britannica.com/list/more fascinating battle of African colonial era
Therefore, the fight for Eko by proxy, gunboat diplomacy, religions and other means did not start in the 20th Century. If anything, Eko has managed to survive since the 15th Century after centuries of assaults by different powers. Eko survived each of these assaults out of the resilience that characterized formidable Africans even when sold into slavery in the Diaspora. While the Yoruba share most of these good traits like other Africans, their local Culture that also survived in the Diaspora gave them an edge. Tijani Oluwas of Lagos precedent case of Lagos ownership at the Privy Council, the British highest Court finally and legally settled it.
After the 1900s Slave Trade, the Yoruba found their way back home mostly in Eko popularly known as Lagos and started all over. Those that were resettled outside of Western Nigeria could trace their cities, towns and villages back by ORIKI, another cultural heritage that distinguished Yoruba. While it is obvious many of the returned slaves took Christian or Muslim names of their Slave owners, others were baptized with Christian and Muslim names as practiced worldwide. The free born Yoruba and the returned freed slaves continue to build Western Nigeria as they did from the first invasion of the Portuguese after the Papal Edict of the 15th Century.
The First In Africa accomplishments in Western Nigeria was built on the unique Culture of the Yoruba, live and let others live OMOLUABI, the resilience of African power that has survived the test of times throughout the world beyond the imagination of those that plunged African civilization into the Dark Continent. No where are the contrasts better demonstrated than in the hands of those who managed Cocoa compared to Oil incomes. We must not give up in face of the last Election where 3 soiled characters were presented as Presidential candidates. Omoluabi rejected one of them in both his home and adopted states. Talikawa also woke up. Only one ethnic group voted for no other but their own.
Unfortunately, the advent of Oil Income into Nigeria in trillions of Dollars and Pounds by various estimates of local and international organizations like OXFAM only plunged Nigeria into abject poverty. It was mercilessly plundered by the same Nigerians, aided and abetted by their foreign partners in crime. The fact that meager Cocoa earnings turned Western Nigeria into First In Africa and trillions of dollars turned Nigeria into the abject poverty capital of the world is enough!