The Alaafin of Oyo and the Permanent Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, has appealed to the Yoruba who by accident of history are separated from their kinsmen in Nigeria not to forget their roots.
He made the appeal when 57-year-old Onigana Igana of Benin Republic ((Sa-Majeste Roi D’Igana), Oba Abdulfatai Okpeicha OIadunni Gbadebowale, who was born in the French colony, visited him recently.
Speaking during a ceremony held in honour of the Yoruba king in the diaspora, Onigana said attempts had been made in the Republic of Benin to make them jettison their customs and beliefs, but rather than being discouraged, they had remained resolute.
In his response, Alaafin said: "Yoruba and indeed Oyo tradition is enduring. We hold our customs, traditions, language, dressing, character, humility, respect and all virtues in high esteem. It is high time we regained all those things which foreign customs, tradition and religion have taken away from us,"
He added: "Those of you sojourning in foreign lands should not forget your ancestral homes and tradition. Don’t lose your culture, customs and tradition to foreign influence."
For the past 15 years that the Onigana of Benin Republic has been on the throne, he has been finding means of linking up with his roots in Nigeria. Providence just made it possible that he recently got linked with his brother in Iganna, the Sabiganna of Iganna, Oba Saliu Oyemonla Azeez, who led him to the Alaafin’s palace.
Expressing his delight over the reception, the Onigana Igana of Benin Republic said: "We are happy to be re-united with our people. We are your children living in Benin Republic, who were separated by strife. We have been enslaved by the people over there, who call us anago (slaves). They do not want us to even wear our Yoruba clothes anymore despite that we occupy two large local governments (Iganna and Towe). We do not want to forget our roots; this is why we are still wearing our traditional clothes. I am happy to have at last found my ancestral home left by our forefathers. I will ensure many more members of our tribe come home to know their roots."
"Be proud of your culture and ancestral home, because there is no place like home," Alaafin advised Yoruba in the diaspora.
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