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Ugbos, not Igbos, are original owners of Ife —Olugbo-in-Council

THE Olugbo-in-Council has declared again that the “Ugbos” are the original owners of Ile-Ife.

In a statement signed by five high chiefs of Ugbo Kingdom, reacting to the Ooni of Ife, in an interview in the Nigerian Tribune, said the claim by the Ooni that Igbos (Ibos) and not Ugbos from Ilaje, Ondo State, took the people captive was a grave error.

The Olugbo-in-council said it found such assertion disturbing, especially coming from a custodian of history.

The Ugbo chiefs said the Ooni should not have referred to us as Igbo (Ibo) and in error ascribe the origin of Yorubaland to the Igbos of eastern Nigeria.”

Recalling history, the Ugbo chiefs said “we hereby state categorically that we are Ugbos, the aboriginal settlers and owners of lle-lfe.

“Our forefathers descended from heaven, that is why we are called Ugbo Atorunwo. We are not lbos (Igbos) who are from the south-eastern part of Nigeria and who have their own clearly researched and defined ancestry.

“To set history straight, Moremi, to us, remains a traitor. She was a slave captured by the Ugbo warriors during one of their many raids on lIe-lfe. She later became the wife of Osangangan Obamakin, the son of Oranfe, who was the paramount ruler over 13 aboriginal communities of ancient Ugbomokun, which later came to be called Ile-Ife.

“Oduduwa came to Ugbomokun as a stranger and was welcomed in lIero, the aboriginal palace of Osangangan Obamakin, which is still in existence in present day Iremo, in Ile-Ife.

“During the dynastic struggles, Osangangan Obamakin was directed by the oracles (Ifa and Osanyin) to relocate from Ile-Ife, his own kingdom. Moremi betrayed the trust her husband had in her when she exposed the secret of the Ugbo warriors’ valiantry. Ugbos are the original owners of lIe-Ife,” the statement read.

The high chiefs said the Ooni should answer some questions to set the record straight.

“At this juncture, the Olugbo-in-Council would like to ask the Ooni some pertinent questions and state few remarks which include:

“Confirmation of the ancestry of the Ooni: Popular history states that Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Ooni, migrated from the East/Mecca. In another account by the Oba of Benin, recently, the monarch stated that Oduduwa left from Benin. We ask that the Ooni should confirm his ancestral roots.

“It is has been confirmed that present day Ugbo language has a strong resemblance to ancient Ife language now preserved in Ikedu, and it took Oduduwa, as a stranger, several years to learn and speak the language sparingly.”