Where and when did the Yorubas acquire their unique Yoruba language? We must note that â€śLanguage is one of those things that separate man from the animals. No animal is capable of achieving anything like the human speech, and all attempts to teach chimpanzees to talk have failed. Evolutionists have no explanation for the human languageâ€ť (See: The Mystery of Human Language, Morris icr.org, In: Top Evidences For Creation, www.bestbiblescience.org/top.htm).
There is no established link other than the recourse to the words of the Holy Bible. In Genesis, we learnt that all men (not gender sensitive) were all speaking one language until they united in their desire to build a tower that would reach unto the heaven. To make the dream impossible, it was reported that God confound them in their language such that they were unable to understand themselves. Consequently, they scattered all over the earth.
Assuming this story to be true, the Yorubas would probably have come from the land of Shinar in old Israel where the tower of Babel was to be built (For further details, see: Genesis 9, 10, 11:1-9). The Yoruba language would then be their gift from the Creator God as they dispersed from the land of Shinar. And whosoever did not join them at this very period of their early migration must be those who could not understand them. Consequently, such late arrivals would be treated as strangers who must either settle down in their midst or at the outskirt and gradually learn the Yoruba language with time.
The second possibility is to look at creation and review its various components. In Creation, the book of Genesis chapter 1, reported that God created man (i.e. male and female, See: Genesis 1:27) so that they would have â€śdominionâ€ť over all the earth. God in his previous works did not create just one grass, one ocean, one river, one tree, one animal, one bird, etc but these were created in multiples. The possibility that God created many men (male and female) in different environments with each set making efforts to dominate their place of abode cannot be ruled out. Otherwise, why would Cain who killed his brother Abel be afraid of being killed in a foreign land where nobody else lived (See: Genesis 4: 14)?
Cainâ€™s fear showed that there were some other human beings living in other places on earth. The possibility that the Yoruba race existed in a different garden other than the Garden of Eden referenced in the Holy Bible is high. Therefore the Ifa mythology that the progenitor of the Yorubas, here known as Oduduwa (we assume that the name is correct now) instead of Israelâ€™s Adam, descended from heaven could not be ruled out as outright falsehood. There has been no established report of how Adam left from heaven, the abode of God the Creator, to our earth. Did he descend from heaven with a rope or chain (like our Oduduwa), descended like a bird (e.g. dove, as with the baptism of Jesus Christ), or dropped like a stone or comet? The answer to this question remains vague.
All authorities on the origin of the Yorubas agreed that Oduduwa (assuming the name was correct) was the first known king in Ile-Ife. But he met some people on arrival at the ancient town before becoming a ruler over them (See also: Oduduwa, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oduduwa); Naiwu Osahon: Press Release â€“ Oduduwaâ€™s Controversy, www.edofolks.com/html/osahon_oduduwa_controversy.htm). At this stage, it does not matter then whether Oduduwa came down from heaven or migrated from the East or West. What matters is the understanding and identification of the people he met before becoming a king. The people he met were the Yorubas, the creation of God the Almighty Father.
In my opinion, Oduduwa was not a Yoruba man but a migrant, whether from heaven, Mecca, Uganda, Sudan or Egypt. The people he met on the ground were the real Yorubas.
By all the descriptions so far available, the Yorubas were peace loving people with close ties. Hence they were and still are gregarious and highly sociable. They were and still are not warriors, even though they were and still are no afraid to go to war. They did and still do not engage in wars unless provoked. They never colonized or captured any nation. They probably lived close to nature before the invaders came to subjugate them.
Among the invaders were Oduduwa who became their king, the Benin kingdom, the Fulani caliphate, the British empire, Egyptian migrants, Sudanese migrants (Ijebus), etc. The Benin invaded from the east charging towards Sobe, Ifon, Akoko, etc enroute to Owo and Akure, and possibly Ile-ife. With the connivance of King Kosoko, they also gained ground from the south through the Atlantic Ocean and the adjoining lagoons and maze of estuaries. The British and Portuguese slave masters masterminded the invasion of Egba land and Oyo Empire by the Aworis from Badagry as well as the Edo slave merchants from Benin Kingdom.
The Fulanis invaded from the North with the connivance of the Ilorins in an attempt to weaker the authority of the all powerful Alafin of Oyo. Yet, within the Yoruba nation as it existed then, there were intra-tribal agitations for supremacy and distinctiveness. Among such was the pulling out of the Egbas and Ijebus from the old Oyo empire. The same occurred with the exit of the Ekitis through the Ekiti Parapo war from the subjugation and dominance of the Alafin of Oyo. It was the various invasions of the Yoruba nation from various axes and her intra-tribal conflicts that crippled her history, growth and development but not her resolve to possess the land. A much more comprehensive detail of a few of these and other destabilizing occurrences will be given in the concluding part of this write up. But it must be noted that in spite of all the invasions and intra-tribal wars, the Yorubas retained and still retain their God-given land area. The meek shall inherit the land, the Bible says.
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