Home News Why Ewes Are Pure Yorubas — Ladigbolu

Why Ewes Are Pure Yorubas — Ladigbolu

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Chairman, Yoruba Unity Forum, Archbishop Emeritus Ayo Ladigbolu, has affirmed the Yoruba roots of the Ewe people, which could be traced back to the Old Oyo Empire and the ancient City of Ile-Ife.

Ladigbolu affirmed this while delivering an address at the first Ewe National Cultural Day Celebration, held on Friday, at the coastal village of Atisese, Olomometa, in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

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Ladigbolu, who was the guest speaker at the event, also urged the Ewe people to work towards transforming their traditional occupations of fishing and coconut cultivation to meet current and future global economic challenges.

Highlighting the Yoruba historical roots of the Ewe people, Ladigbolu said, “The story of the Ewes is one of great historical significance, as they trace their roots back to the Old Oyo empire and the ancient City of Ile-Ife. It was under the leadership of Alaketu, a grandson of Oduduwa, that the Ewes embarked on a remarkable journey, migrating from Ile Ife during the twelfth century.

“The Ewe ethnic group of Nigeria stands as the descendants of those who journeyed from Ile Ife to various parts of modern West Africa before returning to establish their presence in Badagry and the coastal villages of Lagos State well before 1914. Their rich history and cultural contributions are a testament to their enduring legacy, as documented in the BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EWES OF NIGERIA submitted to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, in 2004.

“In addressing misconceptions, it is vital to recognize that the Ewe ethnic group is distinct from the ‘Agayin’ (Gἓnyi), both in historical and linguistic terms. The acculturation resulting from the Accra, Ada versus Akwamu war led to the settlement of a group of war refugees from Accra in Glidzi (Togo) with the assistance of the Anlo Ewes. The distinction between the Gᾱ and Ewe speakers, now colloquially referred to as ‘Aganyi,’ has been a point of misunderstanding, which we aim to clarify today.

“The Ewe communities on the coast line of Lagos State have always been indigenes of Badagry Kingdom in Lagos State and bonafide citizens of Nigeria (See Memo from His Majesty the Akran of Badagry to the Nigeria Comptroller-General of Immigration of 30/07/2004). The communities along the beach stretch from Seme border through Takwa Bay to Epe beaches. They have been involved in traditional and modern fishing occupation and the planting of coconut trees for centuries. It is on record that the oldest coconut tree in Nigeria may have been planted by the Ewe-speaking Nigerians.

“Yoruba language was the lingua franca of the Ajah and Ewe. “They also wholeheartedly embraced the Yoruba traditional religion and its practices are warmly embraced by all their communities in spite of the existence of, and their adherence to Islam and Christianity. “Yoruba traditional names such as Fagbeji, Amosu, Akapo, Agboade, Abiodun, Famuyiwa still remain Ewe names till date as inerasable symbols of their historical and cultural affinity to the Yoruba race.”

Speaking further, he advised the Ewes to device innovative means of repackaging coconut and its attendant contents for export and for the manufacturing industry.

He challenged them to move beyond fishing merely for local consumption to becoming a key player in the global fishing industry through value addition.

He further admonished them to participate actively in the politics by contesting political offices.

Ladigbolu said, “While we know for a fact that the authenticity of the Ewes historical and cultural connections with Oyo/Ile-Ife/Badagry is never in doubt, and their invaluable contributions to the growth and development of Lagos State and Nigeria is known to all, it can be assumed that the Ewes are prepared for the challenges of the future as true and patriotic Nigerians.

“Some basic questions to ask are:

“How are we impacting our immediate communities? How are we responding to intimidation, marginalization, and stigmatization/ discrimination?

“Are we making ourselves available to vote and be voted for?

“How are we transforming our traditional occupations to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow?

“Apart from local consumption, how are we re-packaging coconut and its attendant contents for export and for the manufacturing industry?

“What values are we adding to the fishing industry?

“How important is a Central Ruling Authority to the seamless coordination and greater unity of the Ewe Community?”

Other highlights of the event included goodwill messages by head of the delegation of Conference of Ewes of North America, Dr Tsatsu Nyam, and leader of representatives of Ewes in Republic of Benin, Ghana and Togo, Mr Torgbui Agbelorm.

A welcome address was delivered by President of Ewe Indigenes of Nigeria, Mr Herbert Ayeiadun.

The event also featured various displays of Ewe culture and Ewe traditional dances.

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