Africa

US, France owes Yorubas an apology for stolen Statue of Liberty By Adewale Adenrele

Moremi statue and its replica

The Statue of Liberty represents many things, among them friendship and freedom from oppression which was initiated in the 12th century by the powerful MOREMI AJASORO

In the 18th century , According to wikipedia: The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States.

The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States,
was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel.
The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886

Do we call this nonsense an historical backgroud of our statue of liberty  from wikipedia, NO!!!

To Americans and French people …What is the name of replica image on the statue of liberty in New York ,USA and what is the histroical background of the statue, how has the lady liberated people from oppression and imprisonment in USA or France???

The Two countries owe the Yorubas an unreserved apology and the statue in New York should be adopted and renamed as Moremi Replica Statue. We can fight it , we can claim it , its belong to us , they stole it .

The Historical Background of Statue of Liberty

The Olori Moremi lived in the 12th century, hailed from Offa, married to the then king of Ile Ife, a kingdom that is said to have been at war with an adjoining tribe who were known to them as the Forest people ( Ugbo people) a community in the ilaje  .

Scores of Ife citizens were being enslaved by these people, and because of this they were generally regarded with disdain by the Yoruba city-states.

Moremi was a very brave damsel, she had ewele set of teeth that she was sometimes revered as an Ijesa princess. Her beauty was compelling. She was also elegant in the field of war, having had her military training at Ofa where she was born as a princess.

Her origin was not in doubt. What is disputed by some people is her role in the defence of human freedom. Moremi did not defend Ife. She only defended humanity because the root of creation her generation had traced to Ile-Ife. Her role was to protect the spring from hence great rivers sprout. She had only one son, Ela. Her only son was also referred to as Oluorogbo.

At this ancient period, when Moremi was the wife of the King of Ife, probably Oranmiyan, Ife was under constant raid by Ugbo people. The world “Ugbo”, referring to the Ilaje of present day Ondo State should not be confused with the world Igbo, representing the Igbo people of the South East.

The raids were carried out mostly in the night; children and women were seized and taken away by the Ugbo. Perhaps, this was a revenge attack by the Ugbo having been at Ile-Ife in the primordial times. The raids did not target Ife alone, but all Yoruba people on pilgrimage to Ife of old and some of these people came from afar.

Now, the raiders became a huge embarrassment to Ile-Ife.

The Oba contacted the gods. Yet, there was no solution. Moremi was downcast, because her husband, the Oba was troubled. It was a disgrace in that era for an Oba to fail in his responsibility of providing the common good for the greatest number.

She knelt at the bank of River Esinmirin and vowed that if the gods could reveal to her the secret of the invaders, she would sacrifice her first and only son, following the god’s demand for her most precious asset. She was quoted to have said. “I will save Ife.

But If I perish, I perish”, the height of a sacrificial mission a woman could volunteer. She positioned herself strategically on the day of another raid and made herself easy prey. She was taken to Ugboland to the warriors delighted that the Queen had been captured, only comparable to the capture of the Oba’s inner soul. Moremi became the wife of the Olugbo and portrayed herself as having a divine love for the Olugbo. She lived among the Ugbo for years.

She learnt their tricks, the secrets of their powers, the routes they usually take, the content and form of their war antics and above all, how to capture the invaders. The Olugbo told her the warriors usually clad in Ekan grass and bamboo fibres. To defeat them would involve using Oguso. Olugbo told her new found Queen: “If your people know how to make a torch, and have the courage to rush amongst them with lighted torches, they cannot stand that.” (Rev Johnson).

We heard that Moremi also lodged complaints about the gross human right violations especially the maltreatment of women and children in the Ugbo country at the time, in her personal dissertations shared with her new found lover, the then Olugbo.

She was also the first woman to have participated in military infantry training under the Ugbo army. In the thickset of the night, Moremi escaped all alone to Ile Ife, trekking for more than 100 kilometres. She was said to have encountered wild animals in the midst of ferocious pursuit by the Ugbo warriors all of which she subdued. Arriving at Ile-Ife, she offered to the god goats, yams and others, but the god refused instead demanded for her first and only son.

We were told Oluorogbo had the privilege to have escaped to Ofa, the town of her mother. He was advised by palace guards to so escape. He refused, seeing a greater wisdom in sacrificing his life as demanded by her mother on behalf of the god.

There is however an account that on the day he was to be sacrificed, he was half dead, but rose from his death and made a robe from which he ascended to heaven. In what is similar to the biblical accounts of creation, many Ife people of the time believed he would one day return to Ife. Not only to Ife alone, for the Yoruba, Moremi sacrificed her living and gave her only son to atone the difficulty and anguish of his people, the Yoruba as exemplified by Ile-Ife, the cradle.

It is then difficult to classify her bravery as trachery as the Olugbo wants to make us to understand. She stood against war crimes, she fought against child trafficking, she resisted killing and maiming of children, rape of women and the massacre of innocent souls. This she did not do for Ile-Ife alone, but for humanity. It is our duty to look at what the raiders stood for and what they professed: Indignity, Rape, Child Trafficking, Killings, Genocide and inhumanity to man. Moremi stood against these crimes against humanity, she gave herself up. She could have been killed.

The Edi Festival is said to have then been started as a means of celebrating the sacrifice the princess made for the people of Yorubaland..

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi recently unveiled Africa’s third tallest statue in Ile-Ife. The 42-feet statue is situated at the exact spot where Moremi lived in Ile-Ife thousands of years ago. The statue has 30 risers and was 100 percent locally constructed by Nigerian engineers and youths sourced with solely Nigerian materials.

The powerful lady Moremi Ajasoro

Moremi Ajasoro statue of Liberty in Ile- Ife, Nigeria at 42 feet is now the third tallest in Africa.

It follows the African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal, which is the tallest statue in Africa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt, the second tallest statue which is 66 feet.

Ramesses II in Egypt at 30 feet, is the fourth tallest. Nelson Mandela Union Building in South Africa has a 28 feet statue and is the fifth tallest in the continent and Jesus Satue in Owerri Nigeria the fifth as well.

 

 

 

 

Info credit: Adewale Adeoye

Photo credit: DeprimeCultureTourism

 

About the author

Adewale Adenrele Muhideen

Journalist ,PR, Researcher, Investigative , Culture and Tourism promoter, Business Development Consultant.

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