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THE YORUBA

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Most people who live in the South-West  are the Yoruba. Most people in the Northern part of Nigeria are the Hausa and most people in the Eastern part are the Ibo.

The Yoruba have a long history. When and where the story began, no one quite knows. In the old days, people could not write, so they left behind no written stories for us to read today. How then can we know about distant past? The best we can do is to listen to the stories which people handed down from generation to generation.

These stories or legends as we call them are still told today by parents to their children. They are not all true in every detail. In fact, there are often several different versions of the same story. But, if we take them all together, we can learn what really happened in the earliest days of the Yoruba.

Legends are not the only way we can learn about our past. Students of history or archaeology can also examine remains of ancient cities. They can look at ancient utensils and works of art or antiquities especially pottery. These relics from the past are usually found buried under the ground. After they have been found and cleaned, they are kept in museums.

FAMOUS YORUBA STORIES OF THE PAST

The first story:

ODUDUWA-According to this story, the creator of the world was Olodumare. Before the world was created, there was only  a watery, marshy waste. Olodumare lived in heaven. In order to create the earth, Olodumare sent his son Oduduwa down from heaven. First, Olodumare let his son down a chain carrying a handful l of earth, a cockerel and palm nut. From these things plants and animals grew. Oduduwa spread earth over the marshes, the cockerel scattered it and the palm tree grew up in it. Then Olodumare made a cradle for all mankind at Ile- Ife-a place from which all people came.

The second story:

Yoruba people first came to Nigeria from somewhere in the East. A story goes that Oduduwa was the son, not of Olodumare but of Lamurudu, a king in Mecca. Oduduwa broke away from Islam, the religion of his people, and worshipped idols. He tried to force others to join him. He converted the Muslim Mosque into a temple for worshipping idols. His priest and image maker was called Asara. The story says that the religion of Islam triumphed in the end. The priest Asara had a son called Braima, who was forced to sell idols even though he hated doing so. When selling his father’s idols, he used to cry out: ‘’who wants to purchase falsehood?’’ When Braima grew up, he found an opportunity to destroy the idols. He poured oil over some of them and set them ablaze. Others he battered to pieces with axe. He left the axe hanging round the neck of one of the idols-a huge figure in a human shape. When the damage was discovered, the people asked Braima what had happened. He replied: ‘’Ask that huge idol who did it?’’. The men replied-‘’Can he speak?’’ ‘’ Then, ‘’ said Braima, ‘’ why do you worship things which cannot speak?’’ Braima was put to death for his actions.

A war broke out between the Muslims and the idol worshippers. The Muslims party won. They killed Lamurudu and drove away his children-including Oduduwa-from the town. Oduduwa then travelled for about ninety days away from Mecca until he and his party came to Ile-Ife and settled there. It was there, too, that he met the founder of the Ifa religion, Agboniregun.

We will see here that these two stories about Oduduwa are different, but they do agree about two things. First, Yoruba people came to their present place from somewhere else. Secondly, the first centre of Yoruba life was at Ile-Ife.

By – Idowu  Tunde

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History

THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LADY P- ON OYOTUNJI VILLAGE ,SOUTH CAROLINA-USA

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THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LADY P- ON OYOTUNJI VILLAGE ,SOUTH CAROLINA-USA


Madam  Precious Olubunmi Agbabiaka, the CEO of the Infinity Oil &GasLtd,Lagos, Nigeria is a woman of many parts. A woman of indefatigable industry who left the shores of this country, Nigeria over 30 years ago for the USA to join her heartthrob ,late Engineer Agbabiaka.Popularly known as Lady P. The ebony black woman, is a woman with a passion. Passion for the youths, the homeless and passion for her  first  love , Nigeria with her rich culture and tradition.In this exclusive interview with ‘The Interviews ng.com’, you will journey along with her  on her co-incidental discovery of the Oyotunji Village ,inhabited by the Yoruba descendants of the old –time slaves ,in South Carolina,USA. Her philanthropic and charity  works , coupled with her humility, unassuming ,sagacity and doggedness in  making her dreams come  through without being perturbed , makes her to be regarded as a cosmopolitan woman of repute. She is currently the Yeyeoba(king’s mother) of Oyotunji Village in South Carolina ,USA. Excerpts:

Precisely, when did you leave Nigeria for USA and why?

I left Nigeria for US over 30 years ago .  I re-located to marry my husband and that is  where  I raised my family.

 

You were involved (still involved) in philanthropic and charity works in US. What really motivated you in these noble works?

I guess it is my caring attitude. I was trained  as  a Nurse in England and when I got married, I settled in US and started my agency called PRECIOUS CARING INSTITUTE, which is a Foster caring agency for the homeless children and adoption. I did this for over twenty years(20) in tandem with my husband who was a pillar to this charity institute. He built homes for the boys and  also for the girls called –Urban house and Backbone house. (Unfortunately, he went to meet the Lord last year-may his soul rest in perfect peace).We became advocate  for these children.

 

Can you lead us into some of these good works  you  did  in US pertaining to your institute?

We were advocate for foster children. We sat with the Governor, the Mayor; we went to the senate in session with senator James and Davenport; spoke for the homeless children and made recommendations to the Mayor on their plight .Apart from my own children, I adopted two kids when they were 2& 4 years old . One is now 28 years while the other is 30 years old. Interestingly, these adopted children  speak Yoruba  Language fluently  while my own child  of the same  age  2  could not.

 

Nigeria’s image had been dented in US and any other European countries. Crimes, drug addiction etc are some of the offences they are always accused of.  What  do  you  think  we can do to correct these negative attitude of some of these people in the diaspora?

This is  correct . Our image had been battered  over there. They ascribe anything  bad to Nigeria. Even to receive a grant from the government is like passing a camel through the eye of a needle.  Once they discover that you are a Nigerian, you may lose the opportunity and it goes to another country such as Ghana, South –Africa and Kenya to mention a few. We have  a collective responsibility. If I do my own part right and you do yours right, things will change for the better. In the past,  hoodlums were everywhere but that has changed now but the stigma is still there.The reception we had when I visited Nigeria not long ago with about 12 dignitaries with me was very interesting but an unfortunate incident still happened. We had a punctured tyre on our way to Victoria Island. As we got to Apongbon area , trying to fix the burst tyre, were attacked by some hoodlums known as ‘horizers’or’ area boys’. However , things are getting better. I have being in Nigeria for some time now and what I see on ground is quite different from the previous visit I mentioned. I see Nigerians now as hard working ; the young, the middle class and the old ones work tirelessly to make their living legitimately.

Now to go back to the question-what can we do to correct the negative attitude of some of these Nigerians in  diaspora. All hands must be on deck. If you do your beat right and I do my own well, the bad impression they have about Nigeria will be blotted out and they will start to treat us gentlemanly. Everybody must play his role well, to redeem Nigeria’s image abroad. It is a collective responsibility.

 

Your project is a very big one that a single person may not be able to handle in terms of mobility, finance and logistics etc. How are you going to handle this to make the project a reality?

To God be the glory. I’m privileged and honoured to be part of this village- The Oyotunji village, in South Carolina. And also to be invited to the White House on another level. So what we are doing now is a wrapping round thing. We have decided to do this to correct the bad impression about Nigeria. I am also doing this because of our children and the future generation. My children were born in the US but we also teach them the African culture, (Nigeria in particular) and heritage to be able to lift up their heads and be proud of being connected to the most populous country in Africa.

I nationalised myself to become an American citizen in 1993 and to show my passion for Nigeria, I brought about twelve personalities to Nigeria  during the political era of late Abiola, a presidential aspirant and acclaimed winner of that election. A similar scenario happened in Haiti at that time during President Clinton’s regime but the aspirant in question was assisted by the US govt under Clinton to install the aspirant to power. My children in the foster home then asked me why it was not possible for the same US govt to assist Abiola. I asked them to ask their President and they wrote to President Clinton who replied their letter saying that the US was passionate to help nations that are into democracy. These children (my adopted kids) were about 5 or 6 years old at that time. I am a Nigerian born, flesh and blood. My father was the“ Baba Oba“ ( king’s father),the   Alaperu of  Aperu in Ogun State. Wherever you are, home is the first. I was first a Nigerian before I became an American citizen in 1993 and I am proud to be a Nigerian even though I carry an American passport.

 

How did you discover these Yoruba people in Oyotunji village? Was there any sign being nostalgic of their origin?

The Late Oloyotunji of Oyotunji Village South Carolina USAThe New Oyotunji Village King

 

I woke up one evening, tuned on my TV to watch the news when I saw about 30 children washing cars to raise money to obtain tickets for a visit to Africa and I stayed glued to the TV. Eventually, about 10 of these children could make the trip and where they were taken to was the Oyotunji village that I am now promoting.

When I made the trip to the village in 1993, I recollect that Oprah interviewed the people of Oyotunji village and the King was  coronated by the present Ooni of Ile- Ife- Oba Okunade Sijuwade. I became a friend to the Oba’s wife- Iya Ori-ite.

After 20 years, I was watching another documentary on this Oyotunji village. The old King did not feature in the program and that arose my curiosity. On inquiry, I was informed that-‘oba ti waja’- literarily means the old King had passed on to his ancestors (dead) and a new one installed. That would show you the depth of these people in Yoruba culture and tradition.

As I was watching, i saw these children in ‘the little Africa’- Oyotunji village. They were educating them about our culture, tradition and way of life. After 7 days in this village in South Carolina, I was flabbergasted that they were taken to Ghana instead of Nigeria! These are people that speak Yoruba language fluently and even with Yoruba tribal marks- the replica of Oyo tribal marks, the type worn by the Alaafin of Oyo-Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. The king there is called Oloyotunji. This shows how they uphold Nigerian culture. Our heritage is being passed to other nations. I believe that any economic and social benefit that may come from this village should go to Nigeria and not other places. That is to say, ‘your culture is being taken away from you, your tourism potential is denied’. What these people do in Oyotunji village are Yoruba ways of doing things. They wear agbada, iro & buba, sing Yoruba songs and answer to Yoruba names. As we have China towns  all around in other countries, I  will love the town to be known  as  Nigerian town in future with much benefits.

 

What were these people reaction to you when you first met with them in their village?

I booked an appointment with them and was surprised of the rousy welcome I received. They dressed in Yoruba attire and with Yoruba talking drums & shekere, singing praises of me and the King welcomed me in Yoruba Language. They are the descendants of slaves carried to America during the outlawed slave trade in West Africa. They hold on to their culture and traditions. When they saw my work, and the tenacity with which I hold the Yoruba culture and tradition, they gave me the highly esteemed title- Yeye-Oba Oloyotunji. Then I said to myself,’ if you bestowed on me Yeyeoba title, I must take you all to Africa, our Nigeria, your origin.’ Then, there was a festival coming up and I told them that we must pay a visit to the White House. They were surprised but I said yes, we would pay a visit to the White House. They were not aware that I had a pet project on hand at that time tagged ‘your brain is your gun’. This is a program for the youth aged 16-24. We taught them good morals/etiquette from their tender age to adulthood  when  they could stand on their own as responsible citizens. We wanted them to be responsible children who can raise their shoulders high among people of other nations.

To your question-how will I handle this project to fruition? Instead of me to go back alone to the White House on behalf of the Oyotunji’s village, I have come to take some of our dignitaries from Nigeria to go with me to the US to visit President Obama. We shall adorn  Obama in Nigeria attire. We need about 12-20 dignitaries from Nigeria. We want to show case our hospitality, ; how prosperous and progressive we are and how friendly we are as a people to negate the bad impression about us , Nigerians in the diaspora and also back home in Nigeria. They need to see us in another perspective. We also want to start exchange programme for these children whereby  we would bring  them to Nigeria  during Summer period.

 

Are other Nationals in US not involved in Crimes or other misdemeanour ? Why is Nigeria  always in the bad news all the time?

It’s not only Nigerians that are in US but the problem with us is that  the previous stigma is there and nobody tries to wipe it off. Nigeria don’t clean her image. Other  countries believe in accountability and corrective action plan to clean their image but Nigeria chases after money to the detriment of her image both locally and internationally. We don’t think seriously on the implication of our actions and what foreigners say or their opinion about us . We are not our brother’s keeper. Our image had been soiled to the extent that a serious warning was  posted on walls at the airports-‘’GO TO NIGERIA AT YOUR OWN  RISK’’.

 

Are these people in Oyotunji Village  being discriminated against in US?

They are not discriminated against. What we are planning, God’s willing , is to have Oyetunji Village as ‘’Nigeria Town’’ just as they have ‘’China Town’’ or whatever in other places whereby they can go  about their businesses, be economically viable and spiritually sound. This can be supported by the US government in form of grants. This is part of the blue- print we mapped out on this project.

 

Was there any feeling of missing their origin and is it possible for them to be able to retrace their roots in Nigeria?

I t is not impossible for them trace their roots in Nigeria with the current technological development  all over the world. Their language can be swapped and this will reveal their place of origin if necessary. These settlers are more passionate of their origin than what we feel for them. In fact , there is none I have met in the US that is not willing to come to Nigeria. When they ask me , I always tell them that there is always  a way. They have the sense of belonging. I always give them the courage that ‘’we would request for grants and the US  government will help them.

Are the people at Oyotunji Village well behaved  and law abiding?

They are well behaved and law abiding. Their human relation is highly commendable. For example , a particular woman in that village called Iya  Ebun, a Mulato was the one taking us round as the tour guide when we went there . People bring their dead relations to Oyotunji Village  fromNew York City  and other places for burial. When I inquired how long Iya Ebun has been in Oyotunji Village, she said it was 40years as at that time but has never been to  Nigeria but understand so much history about Nigeria. She is very light skin. I said to her’’ You too has  tribal marks.?’’ She  said yes. Initially the  tribal marks did not show well , so she asked them to re-do it for it to show very well. This is to show how passionate they are about the culture and heritage of the Yoruba.

 

Women are taking their rightful positions all over the world now and Nigeria should not be left behind. Nigeria needs a woman President. If you are called to contest in future for Presidency, would you oblige or not?

It’s a tall order. But if it’s the will of the Lord, I will surely not hesitate. I am a servant of the Lord. All that I will say is ‘’here I am send me’’ Thanks for your dedication in interviewing me. God bless Nigeria and USA.

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Education

WEIRD BUT TRUE

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In the Holy Bible-Galatians 6:7says,”Be not deceived. God is not mocked;for whatever a man sows,that shall he also reap”.

Find below men and women who in the past used words to despise God and the repercussions:

1.JOHN LENNON(Singer) many years ago,during an interview with an American Magazine,said”Christianity will end ,it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. Iam certain. Jesus was OK,but his subjects were too simple,today we are more famous than Him”(1966).Lennon,after saying that the”Beatles” were more famous than Jesus Christ,was shot six times.

2.CHRISTINE HEWITT-(Jamaican Journalist and Entertainer) said,”The Bible,word of God was the worst book ever written”.In June 2006, she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor car.

3. In Campinas, Brazil,a group of friends, drunk,went to pick a friend ………The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and said to the daughter,holding her hand who was already seated in the car:”My daughter,Go with God  and may He protect you”. She responded, ”only if He (GOD)  travels in the Trunk, cause inside here…..it’s already full”.Hours later, news came in that they were involved  in a fatal accident  and everyone in the car died and the car could not be recognized.However, surprisingly,the Trunk was intact. Inside the trunk of the car was a crate of eggs,none was broken!

4. TANCREDO NEVES(Ex-President of Brazil),during the presidential campaign,said,”if he got 500,000 votes from his party,not even God would remove him from Presidency”. Truly, he got the votes,but he fell sick a day before being sworn in as President,he later died.

5.CAZUZA(Bi-sexual Composer,Singer and Poet)- During a show in Canecio(RIO deJANEIRO),while smoking his cigarette,puffed out some smoke into the air and said:”God, that’s for you’. He died at the age of 32 of Lung Cancer in a horrible manner.

6.MARILYN MONROE(Actress)- Billy Graham visited Marilyn Monroe during one of her presentations of a show. He said”the spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the preacher had to say,she said:’I don’t need your Jesus”. A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.

7. BON SCOTT(Singer) The ex-vocalist of the AD/DC.sang in one of his:songs:”I’m going down all the way,down the highway to hell”. On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead;he had been choked by his own vomit.

8. The man who built the TITANIC(a ship) after the construction of the Titanic ship,a reporter asked him  how safe the Titanic would be? In an ironic and emphatic tone he said:”Not even God can sink it”. The truth is that the TITANIC set on sail but sank that same day.

Make a reflection on the above and bridle your tongue.

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Business

WHY PAST AGRICULTURAL PROJECTS FAILED IN NIGERIA

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Farming is an age old profession. The genesis of farming could be traced to the garden of Eden(in the Bible)where God put the first people on earth-Adam and Eve.It has been practised by past  generations and will continue to be by generations yet unborn. It is the most rewarding but highly neglected occupation in Nigeria.

At independence,farming was a hereditary career handed over to the son by the father.. A child followed his father to the farm and watched him did the job and learnt the rudiments of farming in the process. That was only for subsistence in nature and farming was done with crude implements -hoes and cutlasses.

INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC FARMING

Today,civilization or education has brought a lot of changes to agriculture. Science and technology have introduced mechanized farming and instead of hoes and cutlasses,mechanized devices such as tractors,mowers,and other machines  are employed to weed,cultivate and harvest farm produce. However,majority of our farmers in Nigeria still depends on the obsolete implements which are are wearisome and frustrating. Full mechanized farming is mostly practised by the elite farmers who have access to the corridor of powers and use their political leanings to monopolise the machines.

LACK OF CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES

In all Geo-political zones in Nigeria,there are suitable form of one agricultural products or the other. Now that oil has failed us,each of the state of the federation is involving and diverting attention to agriculture.Perhaps, one of the major constrains of Nigeria’s development apart from corruption in the polity can be attributed to lack of continuity of development policies on the part of the government and its indigenous development agencies..As such, numerous development programmes have suffered  still-birth owing to abandonment by successive administrations.Some of the development programmes that are now relics of history include:OFN,GREEN REVOLUTION,DFRRI,FSP,FEAP,PAP etc.

In 1970s, General Gowon’s National  Accelerated  Food Production Programme and General Obasanjo OFN both concentrated on extending cultivable areas through large scale mechanized farms which were run inefficiently. The productivity problems of Nigeria’s peasants who accounted for over 90% of total agricultural output were ignored. The Shagari administration continued this agriculture  programme but with a different tag-Green Revolution tailored towards agricultural development. What happened to it after Shagari’s era?  Total neglect for quick to get oil glut.

As mentioned above, in Nigeria,successive governments have been known to have advocated a mass return to the land on the part of the youths of this country. They have posited that the destiny of this country is with the youths going back to the farms,hence the slogan”Back to land”.  A critical examination of this reveals that the whole exercise is nothing short of delusion because it was not properly handled. No amount of television agriculture propaganda or campaign to score cheap political points will make the youths go back to the land  unless the governments take pragmatic approach  to bring  a change to the use of obsolete agricultural implements used on farms. Farming should be made as attractive  as pushing a pen. Most of the agriculture graduates are complaining of lack of patronage or discouragement in taking farming  as their professions. Only few ones are lucky to be trained by governmente lucky to be trained by governments.  Loans are difficult to come by and they still use crude implements and made to employ labourers on the farms with huge wages paid to them leaving them with little or no profits.

BENEFITS TO EXPECT FROM FARMING

There are numerous advantages in farming. Farmers get a lot of food from the farms freely which in turn will save a lot of money  that could have been spent to buy them  in the markets. Such money saved,may be used for other domestic purposes. As a professional or government, there is the opportunity to be involved in large scale farming. Produce from cash crops or arable farming can be utilized  in the country and also export to foreign countries.This will earn us foreign exchange and positively affects our GDP There will be food in abundance at affordable prices both for the rich and the poor.

SUGGESTIONS

—Efforts should be made by governments to provide enough tractors for rentage at rock bottom fees  and provide adequate seedlings for the established  and would-be farmers.

— Loans should be made available to young and willing graduate farmers who want to be involved in farming

—Farmers should not be heavily taxed as it has been the practice in the past to encourage them on the farms.

—Governments at the Federal and local levels must create a monitoring team who will see to the genuine distribution of farming implements,seedlings and even loans to the ready farmers and youths.

—-There  should be price  incentives and guaranteed profitable producer backed up by well run countrywide buying organisations for farmers who  choose to engage with them.

—-Wide Silos and other storage  facilities should be developed.

—-There should be a reduction in waste and inefficiency by governments handling the distribution of local and imported fertilizer to private organisations.

—-Some of the governments reserved lands could be leased out to farmers and young graduates .These lands are usually used for low cost housing estates which mostly are not affordable by the middle-level workers meant for because of the high prize tag on them
—-Also , the rubber plantation in the East,groundnut pyramid  in the North and Cocoa plantation in the South-West should be REVIVED.to boost our local consumption and foreign reserves.
CONCLUSION
The government should stop playing politics with farming. Farmers in Nigeria  are still poor and regarded as voiceless in the scheme of things,be it business, politics and what have you. This is not so  in advanced countries such as Ceylon,USA,India, China etc.These countries are prosperous because they take farming and farmers seriously.
The country, Nigeria is suffering in the midst of plenty because of past governments  lip service or lackadaisical attitude towards it because  of  cheap oil glut that has now back pedaled and snowballed us to square one.Nigeria should be  able to achieve self sufficiency in such produce  as: :yam,maize,cassava,beans,rice etc and even export surpluses within a reasonable period of time if some of these suggestions are taken seriously for implementation.

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The interviews’ is an on-line development communication outfit,established for the coverage of positive developments in our local communities,cities and towns. Its pre-occupation is to showcase inventors and professionals at the grassroots-people who are poised to bringing technical, economic ,social political,religious and cultural developments to the fore.

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