May 4, 2023

Why Africans must write their history — Ooni, Jamaican envoy

Why Africans must write their history — Ooni, Jamaican envoy

By Adesina Wahab, LAGOS
Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has said it is time for Africans to write the history of their race and people to correct some erroneous impressions created about them, as well as the distortion of historical facts by some foreign writers.

According to the monarch, the step has also become necessary to put an end to the activities of persons deliberately turning the facts upside down, regarding the history of the Black Race.
He spoke in Lagos at the launch of a book: ‘Ile-Ife: Cradle of the world’, written by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Jamaica and Belize, Dr. Maureen Tamuno.

The monarch said: “The idea to write the book is not mine, it is that of Dr Maureen Tamuno and I only gave my blessing and support. Works like this are necessary to correct errors being peddled about the Black race.

“I am fulfilled and thankful to God for this project and book written by an Okrika princess who understands and values the importance of Ife to the Black race and the world in general. She is dogged and a goal-getter and went about to get several scholars and academics to commit to the project. Efforts like this one are to make our society better.”

Also speaking, the Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, Esmond Reid, pointed out that only Black people are in a position to tell their stories better.

Reid said: “Black people, wherever they are, know that Africa is home. Nigeria and Jamaica have many things in common and efforts are being made to further connect the Black people in the Diaspora with the Motherland. We should also rise to stop those giving false narratives about our history by writing our history ourselves.”

In her remarks, Tanumo explained what prompted her to write the book.

She said: “Upon my appointment as an Ambassador, I did some research and found some linkages between Ile-Ife and the Caribbean and Black people in the Diaspora. I had to go to Ife to meet the Ooni and I was warmly welcomed. It was like I have been there before and as an Okrika princess; I am not a stranger to royalty.

“I resumed my duty post at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and some Jamaicans came to me saying they wanted to learn the Yoruba Language. I couldn’t speak it myself but I was lucky to get a volunteer who taught them for about 180 days.

“I thought that was all until I saw people trooping in from Dominican Republic, Haiti and other places saying they have traced their roots and found out that they came from Yorubaland. I have had pleasant experiences from people from Cuba, Brasil, Trinidad and Tobago affirming that Ife is the cradle of civilization.”