By Hubert Ogunde
English Translation by Adedara Oduguwa
Once upon a time, during the primordial age, there lived a king in Yoruba land named Fiwajoye. This king was so powerful and popular that the people of his kingdom loved him so much. During his time as king, the Yorubas had wealth and riches. There was money, pedigree, jobs for all and sundry. Crops bear good fruits for harvest and plants’ leafs were green. Pets like goat, ships, hen were in surplus .Traders were making profit. Wealth and power were so much for the Yorubas to the extent that they almost forget God.
There was a Staff in the primordial period called Opa-Ase (Staff of Authority or Staff of Oduduwa). This Staff was a thing of utmost secrecy to the extent that no eyes can see it except Iya-Agba, Yeye-Oloye and few elders. This staff is the secret of power of the Yorubas. Because, it is often used to pray for the king and his subjects (the masses) in Yoruba kingdom for promotion, riches, prosperity, honour and power. Indeed. It was truly a Staff of Authority.
Mass of the people loved Oba Fiwajoye to the extent that Yeye-Oloye brought the Staff of Authority to him so that he can always pray with it.
Then, there was a Chief in the land, who is next in command to Oba Fiwajoye. He is popularly referred to as ‘Ekeji-Oye’ (Second in Command). This Chief was not happy with the peaceful state of affairs enjoyed by the Yorubas. He wants the king to be dethroned and be made his replacement.
According to him “You called me Second in Command! You called me with empty mouth. If they bring yam, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring Corn, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring money, it’s the king they will give it to. The king is getting fatter, I am getting thinner! I am not contented with this. I will go and dominate over other land.”
And so, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) became an enemy of the Yorubas. He lied and deceived the Yorubas and he succeeded by changing their minds against Oba Fiwajoye. The kingdom turned into disarray and the land was in deep chaos. Not long from this period, Ekeji-Oye trickily took the Staff of Oduduwa from the palace where it was kept.
During the same period, there lived a Queen in a kingdom not far from Yoruba Kingdom. Her name was Yeye-Iloba. This Yeye-Iloba happened to be one of the greatest enemies of the Yorubas. She was so fearless and powerful. She was not happy with the development going on in Yoruba kingdom. Because in Iloba, there was no money, no jobs, no peace and sicknesses and diseases almost reduced the kingdom to nothing.
Yeye-Iloba was looking for means to fight the Yorubas in order to take them captives. But she doesn’t have hint as several efforts were in futility.
Ekeji-Oye went to the kingdom of Yeye-Iloba and told the Queen that if she can give him a huge amount of money, he is going to sell the Yorubas and delivers them to her. This was a great news and deal for Yeye-Iloba.
Consequently, this was how Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) collected a huge amount of money from her and delivered the Staff of Authority or literarily puts ‘ Staff of Oduduwa’ to Yeye-Iloba, so that she can be using it to pray for her kingdom. Thereby selling the Yorubas into the hands of their enemies. If there is no river behind fish, it’s only a river. Without the Staff of Authority, there is no Yoruba Kingdom.
However, not long from this period, Yeye-Iloba waged war against Yoruba people and she gallantly won them since they have previously lost the Staff of Authority to her.
Oba Fiwajoye and a few of his people were whisked off Yoruba land under captive of Yeye-Iloba. They were used, maltreated and beaten as slaves. They were turned into messengers and gardeners in the palace of Yeye-Iloba. They were handcuffed and ruthlessly dealt with. House chores like sweeping, washing and cleaning of the palace was a daily routine for the Yorubas under their new foreman (Oba Fiwajoye) in the palace of Yeye-Iloba.
Oba Fiwajoye and his people were engulfed with sadness and humiliation. It was so shameful, disgraceful and slave-like that the people of Iloba monger their mockery like hawking pepper.
More so, since the king was taken into captive, the land was in disarray and almost completely destroyed. There was no money, no jobs and the once green leafs were now gray and dark. Corn refused to germinates, traders became debtors and the Yorubas were absolutely in a melancholy state while their prosperity diminishes.
The Yorubas were in the state of sadness and hopelessness. They were on the verge of repentance. They called upon themselves in a united front. They became so united to the extent that they forced Yeye-Iloba to free their king and the other captives. This was successfully achieved. Oba Fiwajoye returned to his stool and things changed completely for good as the Staff of Authority was recouped.
Consequently, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) was arrested and banished for the act of betrayal. Yorubas also returned to their joyous and peaceful life. Just like what was experienced in the past. Corn starts to grow, traders start to make profit. Wealth, prosperity and power returned to the land and Oba Fiwajoye became wealthier than before.