…Igbo first settlers in Ile-Ife ?
Just when you think it’s time for some Southern Nigeria unity, this type of statement comes along. The man Ezeife’s (rather basic) reasoning is because Igbo sounds like Ugbo – one of the aboriginal groups settled around Ile Ife in Oduduwa times! He’s forgotten (or chosen to forget)  that all over West Africa we have words from different groups that are spelt the same or similar, may even sound alike but mean and refer to completely different things. 
Hear him,

“Achebe said the Igbo society existed beyond what Achebe recorded in his books, disclosing that a recent history book has ascribed to the Igbo as the original settlers in Ile-Ife and whom Oduduwa met, other than the present contest between the Ife and …”

Ridiculous! As far as one can tell, so-called “recent history books” are popping up all over the Internet,mostly full of conjecture and wishful thinking, tracing this particular  West African people’s origins to anywhere but West Africa. So this is a new spin, somewhat flattering I suppose when we consider the other nations some Igbo scholars have claimed to originate from. This time the claim is Ile Ife. Who nor like better thing? Loll…




Not everyone was tickled though.One irritated commenter said about the claim –

“Why can’t Ibo just paddle their own canoe? Why must they always try to drag others after them? Meanwhile, as one is talking about his abiku ‘people’s assembly’, another is talking totally crazy shit about how Yoruba met Ibo in Ile-Ife. Ibo people – as a collective – seem to be genetically incapable of associating with others in a sensible manner. Here they are at a conference where one of the main speakers brings up the subject of building a consensus that can be used to mobilise a common front and a man’s contribution is to insult one of the main groups that his people would expect to build this consensus with. Thus showing once more how the main platform that Ibo political stupidity is built upon is this weird self-image of themselves as ones who are so far above non-Ibo peoples that these will take putdowns by Ibo as justifiable ‘facts’. Then when people react to their insulting irrational assumptions, they start whining about ‘treachery’ and how the ‘south’ has been let down.

Ibo ‘scholars’ shouldn’t just investigate if Ibo were in Ife before Yoruba, they should also investigate if Ikenne is originally Ibo since it sounds like Ekene. And they should not forget Igbosere, Ijebu Igbo as well as Oyingbo. All could be Ibo property. And when they are done, they should turn their ‘scholarly’ gaze to Apia in Samoa, sounds like Abia so it could be Ibo, as well as Harare in Zimbabwe which sounds very much like Ariara. There is a lot of work to be done to claim back the global Ibo patrimony!”

Steaming  Yoruba sarcasm!! Be ni ti e ri…. V funny. 
Photos below of Igbo from South Eastern Nigeria , taken early 20th century. Not to be confused with the Ugbo people of Yorubaland, (even if the two names sound alike)



4 thoughts on “…Igbo first settlers in Ile-Ife?

  1. So, I came across an article that discussed this topic a few years ago. I remember tweeting it and my mentions blowing up and I didn’t (and still don’t) get why people are/were so offended. The legend says that when Oduduwa came to Ile-Ife, he met people there. Who were those people?

    Yoruba people can be very sensitive when Oduduwa is mentioned but as a history nerd, I want to know what Ile Ife was like before Oduduwa came there. I believe we’re missing out on potentially wholesome discussions on this regardless of whether the people there were Igbo or not

  2. Hi Cosmic Yoruba 🙂 It is a very emotive topic these days because of mischievous attempts by other Nigerian groups to insert themselves at the apex of Yoruba history on very flimsy bases, and with the desire to attribute aspects of Yoruba historical achievements even landmarks to themselves. For scholarly investigations , Stephen Adebanji Akintoye’s book (A History of the Yoruba People) seems to me quite thorough. He’s a historian and wrote his book on decades of research and new findings from the Pre Oduduwa era of Ile Ife. Yes, there were people in and around what he refers to as “the Ife Bowl” , many communities living autonomously around themselves, with just loose agreements. These groups were unified under Oduduwa’s new authority , Oduduwa himself was from one of them, and formed the first Ile Ife dynasty we all come to know.
    The Mecca , Arabian connection is said to have arisen out of Samuel Johnson’s Christian desire to tie Yoruba origins in with the Abrahamic creation story beliefs that all human life was from Middle East.

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