Among the Ijebu people in Yoruba land, the most common title of the king is 'Awujale'. Currently Sikiru Kayode Adetona, who was born on May 10, 1934 is the Awujale (king) of the Ijebu Kingdom, having reigned since 1960.
Why though is he called Awujale and what does it mean?
A website which discusses Yoruba history, Abiyamo.com has put forth a reason as to why.
Below is the story:
During the time of Alaafin Jayin of Oyo Empire, there was a devastating border dispute between two important towns Owu Ipole and Iseyin Odo. The people in these communities were fighting over land and the conflict lingered on for years.
Not even interventions and efforts from the Olowu of Owu and the Ooni of Ife (both of whom were interested parties in the land dispute) brought any solution.
The bloody fights continued and messengers had to be sent to the Alaafin (King) at Oyo. Alaafin Jayin swung into action; he deployed his special ambassador called the Ilari and a massive entourage to the conflict zone.
Because of the Ilari’s status as a personality who is never to be dishonoured, he was able to swiftly reach a peaceful resolution with the two warring parties.
The dispute ended and the Ilari was hailed as the ‘Agbeja Ile’ or ‘Alaja Ile’ meaning ‘he who is an arbiter of landed dispute’ or ‘he who resolved tussle over land’.
This titled was later modified and softened to AWUJALE. The Ilari settled in the formerly disputed region and became the very first Awujale, becoming the lord of his own kingdom. This happened gradually.
After the Ilari settled the dispute, he was accorded royal honours as a special emissary of the Alaafin and later he remained permanently in the area ruling over the Ijebus who populated the area.
READ ALSO: Obasanjo blasts Awujale of Ijebuland
That time, the Ijebus did not have a ‘tribal’ king of their own and were somewhat isolated (a decision they took on their own) from their neighbours. Later the Ilari (now Awujale) moved to Ode (now called Ijebu Ode) which remains the seat of the Awujale of Ijebuland till this very moment.
Ijebu Ode is the largest city inhabited by the Ijebus. And that was how we came about the title ‘AWUJALE’.
PAY ATTENTION: Watch NAIJ.com tv for interesting videos
Meanwhile, most of the Yoruba words used are gotten from other languages. Below are some words in the Yoruba language which have their route in Arabic.
NAIJ.com recently put together a list of some very good examples as gotten from a book titled 'On Arabic Loans in Yoruba'.
Watch a video of Yoruba monarch, the Ooni of Ife below: