SALAKO Azeem Oladimeji.
The phenomenon “Awori” is beyond a language of a pseudo Yoruba ethnic group, it essentially denote a race and place of people whose progenitors (led by Prince Olofin Ogunfunminire) are believed to have embark on a purposive spiritual journey delineated by an instruction to settle where a particular “mud plate” sinks. It thus suffices to say that the “mud plate” convey a spiritual direction so that where he sinks expresses and marks the mystification, purification and fortification of the race settlement, their beginning and evolution.
The “mud plate” (Awo) simply define a means to an end and not an end in itself. It is this end, that is; where the plate finally sank that watershed the evolution of the Awori race which is incontrovertibly IDO, an Awori land domiciled in the present Lagos State.
Although, the trajectory of this scheduled spiritual journey made Oke-Ota, Isheri etc relevant as lay-overs, stop over, and in some cases camp sites. This was corroborated by a publication on the Guardian news paper;
“the plate stopped at various places and finally sank at the present day Idumota. It first stopped at Olokomeji, near present day Abeokuta and after 17 days and started moving until it stopped at Oke-Ata. The plate has not given up and some crowd followed Olofin Ogunfunminire until it stopped again at Isheri. And after 289 days it moved again until it finally sunk at Idumota and the Awori derived their name from “Awo ti ri”, meaning the plate has sunk” (Guardian; 11th May 2017).
In addition, the Olofin of Isheri Oba Nurudeen Adekambi in attempting a conceptualization of the evolution of Isheri attested that; the spiritual plate finally sunk at Ido; a place in the present Lagos State, and that the genealogy of Isheri will loosely mean; Isha Erin; that is- where the hunters Kills and share elephant. He explained further that Olofin was a hunter and that Isheri came to being because of the hunting exploitation by the Olofin to the Area. It suffices to logically put it that the compositioning of Isheri (outside being a lay-over) lacks any Awori nuances. However, what is commonsensically not a subject of dispute is that “Ido” is the cradle of Awori and whoever that enjoys the prescribed authority over the place is assumed to be the leader and paramount ruler of the entire Aworiland.
Whether Olofin Ogunfunminire established a “settlement” in Isheri must rest on what ‘settlement’ mean and defines. Whether there are other benchmarks that must define who should lead the Awori race in Ogun state is another point of discourse. Since ‘Ido’ is politically institutionalized as part of Lagos state; it becomes imperative for the Awori race in Ogun state like others such as Egbas, Ijebus, Yewas, and Remos to have a leader that can coordinate and foster the interest of the Awori tradition, culture and socio-economic development. It is this leadership tussle that has opened a theatre of cold war, contestations and battlefield among the Awori race in Ogun state, particularly; Ota, Isheri, and Ado/Odo.
The leadership tussle in my next article is a debate that I shall opened, analysed and discussed to a logical conclusion.