My Visit To Oranmiyan Staff… The Story Of The Great Yoruba Warlord

Before starting this story I would like to state that I got this narration from the guard called Baba Ogba at the groove in Ile Ife. I also made some research on the story to compare with the narration I got from him without leaving out the originality of his own words.  Hope you enjoy!!.

With Baba Ogba…

Oranmiyan was a great warrior of the Yoruba kingdom with so much power and might. He was not just a warrior in his hometown Ile-Ife but also a great warrior around different kingdoms as he fought and conquered lot of territories across different towns and cities. He was the grandson of Oduduwa the progenitor of the Yoruba race. His father’s name was Okanbi who was the only child of Oduduwa. Okanbi had seven children and Oranmiyan was his last child. Oranmiyan came to the world being born as a special and strange child in two body skin, red and black and remarkably also a giant. He was given the name Oramiyan as in ‘’oro ni omo yi yan’’ meaning this child has chosen evil.

At the Entrance…

Oranmiyan fought wars in places such as in Edo state where he got married to a native woman of the land who had a son for him called Eweaka from the Yoruba word “owo mi ka” meaning I’m capable of handling this and who is believed to be the first Oba of the Benin kingdom. He also won wars and conquered the great Oyo kingdom to create the Oyo empire where he made his son king before leaving. It is believed that Oranmiyan consulted the oracle before going to Oyo and the oracle assured him of his victory and gave him a sign that wherever his horse slips he should stop there and fight that he would be victorious. Across other places too such as the Tappa people of Bida in Niger state and also Badagry. One interesting thing about Oranmiyan was that he got married and had a son in all the kingdoms he conquered.

The old man behind me… Lol
Full length of the staff.

The staff located at Mopa Arubidi area of Ile-Ife stands at 5.5m tall and about 1.2m in circumference at the foot and is believed to have been his staff while he was alive i.e his walking stick. Interesting 🙂. The staff also served as his shield when he goes to war as he used it to wade off arrows and bullets from attackers. The staff has different markings engraved by the side from the top to the bottom with bullets holes and arrows gotten during battle. To this day before any Ooni in Ife emerges he must pay homage to the Oranmiyan staff with series and procedures of different sacrifices to carry out and also the traditional Oloja festival that takes place in September must be done yearly in honour of Oranmiyan by the Ooni.

Relaxation centre at the groove
A hall at the site

After several battles Oranmiyan finally came back to Ife to become king and sent the reigning king into exile, being a great warrior the reigning king gave room for him to be king . After a while of reigning as king he called his warriors together and informed them he was going on a journey to visit his sons scattered across different kingdoms but he would be going alone as he was not going on a war mission this time around . The warriors were confused and terrified of being left alone, they showed their grievance and poured out their fears. They said

‘’ what if you leave and a great war starts? We will all be killed “

Then he called his wife and told her to stay back with them and whenever they sense a war his wife should call on him with a distinct language he taught her now known in Ife as the ‘Gbajure’ language which is still spoken till date.

An office used by the guards

Days turned into weeks, weeks to months and then years passed and the great warrior Oranmiyan was not back. His warriors became worried and they inquired of the wife what has happened to their King, they lamented ;

‘’woman call your husband to come back as it seems we have been deserted and abandoned by him’’      The wife obliged to their cries of woes and called on Oranmiyan who did not appear before those who had evoked him but appeared at the entrance of the village. Upon his appearance, he went about beheading everyone that was in his way. He had appeared with the mindset that there was war in the land. The whole town was turned into chaos as men ran with fright into the bush , women with their babies wrapped to their chest ran helter skelter screaming on top of their voices and cursing.
The warriors and his wife sensing something was wrong rushed to the market square to find out what has caused the unrest in town. The wife on seeing Oranmiyan screamed out;

‘’My king, what is this that you have done ? Truly there was no war and I was only asked to call on you because your warriors were having doubts you would ever come back. These people you have killed are your own people, your own kinsmen.’’

Suddenly he stopped and buried his weapon named ‘’Asa’’ to the ground. The place where he left the weapon is called Ile Alasa and still exist in Ile-Ife today with a Chief that lives in the house.

Beautiful garden at the groove

Infuriated that he has been called for no good cause he walked into the place where the groove is located present day and struck his staff to the ground. It is believed the staff was wooden but Oranmiyan spoke some incantations to it to make it become concrete-like. Scientific research dates the staff to be around 1300 centuries. The people of Ile-Ife still believe to this day that Oranmiyan can and still fight their battles and also protect their lands from enemies.  Prayers are offered at the foot of the staff but no form of sacrifice allowed not even by traditionalist.

At the foot of the staff…
Bottles of strong Gin used for prayers at the groove

Interesting place I must say. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful story and the natural feeling of cool breeze and rustles by the trees.   The guard was patient and also a good orator. Would you like to visit? Let me know… Cheers!!🙂

About the author

Damilola Oludemi

Hello there. My name is Damilola Oludemi. I'm fondly called "Damidemi". I love to travel and write about places, people, culture, food and lifestyle. I admire the beauty of Art and nature. I bring life to travels, images, dialogues through captivating stories . Have a good stay here. **cheers**

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