Obanikoro counters Ex-Minister Okunnu, say his family not from Benin

Former junior minister of Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro
Former junior minister of Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro

A former Nigerian Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has refuted claims that his progenitor, Obanikoro of Lagos, was from Benin Kingdom, Edo State.

The former minister, who made this claim on Thursday, argued that the legendary Obanikoro was an Awori from Idiluwo-Ile in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state.

Mr. Obanikoro was reacting to claims by a former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Femi Okunnu, who said Obanikoro was from Benin.

Mr. Okunnu, while tracing the history of the Oba of Lagos in a recent interview with The Nation newspaper, had said that Obanikoro was a medicine-man from Benin.

“Iga Idunganran itself was a gift to Oba Ado by Oloye Aromire, a white cap chief,” Mr. Okunnu had said in the interview.

“He owned the land that the palace occupies till today. That is why till today, we have sections of Isale-Eko with Bini connections. When you hear of Idumota, Idunsagbe, Idunmaigbo, Idun-tafa; the word idun had bini origin. And then we had some chiefs who came with King Ado. That is another wide area.

“But suffice to say that Obanikoro was a medicine chief who came with King Ado; so is Ashogbon. In Bini, it is Asogbon. There is also Bajulaye, who originally was Bazuaye. So the Bini connection is very deep. As a matter of fact, the corpses of all the obas, from King Ado through to Oba Adele I, who died at about 1834, were all taken to Benin for burial.”

But Mr. Obanikoro, a former gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos, said the account was false.

He said while he personally had a link with Benin City through his paternal great grand mother, who was from Eletu-Odibo family, the first Obanikoro was not from Benin.

The former Nigerian ambassador to Ghana noted that the descendants of Chief Obanikoro, including Ajayi-Bembe, Ogunlana Arewa, Abisawo Otun, Osadeko, Aregbe and Oyerokun, were conscious of their Awori root.

“Chief Okunnu said Obanikoro was from Benin, we are not from Benin,” he said.

“We are from Aworiland. We are from Idiluwo-Ile in Ojo local government. Personally, I have Bini blood. My paternal great grand mother was from Eletu-Odibo family. Eletu-Odibo came with the Oba of Benin to Lagos.

“She was the daughter of Ogabi Eletu-Odibo. But, Obanikoro was not a Bini man. He was an Awori,” Mr. Obanikoro added.


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  • Common sense

    Benin some how is the origin of most Yorubas. Even the first Deji of Akure, Oba Asodeboyede is from Benin. Even Oduduwa of Ile Ife has connection to Benin. So also is Obi of Onitsha

    Benin dynasty and early civilization span Centuries. Even the Europeans acknowledged that Benin was well advanced technologically and cultural when London, England was still a village centuries ago.

    Endless and selfish wars, slave trades and colonization essentially set the kingdom back and destroyed most of its technological advancements.

    Most people in Yoruba land and sorrounding Kingdoms/ethnic nations are somehow interrated. So we should stop this “nonsense talks” about place of origin.

    Personally, through stories from my parents and grands parents, I have Ijesha, Ekiti, Senegales, Mendel and Ashate bloods runing in me. Can you imagine myself tracing my roots back to Senegal or someone calling me Senegalese when I have lived in Ilesha throughout my adult life.

    Let us focus on how we can improve Nigeria and stop this diversionary tactics.

    • obiora

      That is it Europeans turned our History upside down. Any explanation that did not connect (GANA Empire) is not correct. It is the destruction of (Gana Empire) By Europe that is the Origin of all these Tribes. Benin and Yoruba came to west Afrika with (Hanibal the King of KATAGO). Todays Libya is where the Capital of Katago was. So Yoruba and Benin are Slave to King Hanibal. Fulani´s even are bodyguards in Arabia they are not Originaly in Afrika.

  • Aare

    Thank you my brother. Everybody now has their own version of history that paints them as what they imagine themselves to be, regardless of whether their story makes sense or has any historical or factual evidence.

    Imagine someone calling himself “Common Sense” and saying “Benin is somehow the origin of Yorubas”, conveniently forgetting that NONE of the over 200 different Yoruba tribes that trace their origin to Oduduwa in Ile- Ife have any such link between Oduduwa and Benin in their recollection or history!

    Even the Binis themselves that started the “wandering prince from Benin story” did not have any recollection of this aspect of their history when they related same to the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries.
    To the contrary, their earliest records and accounts do not state anywhere that either Oduduwa came from Benin, or that the bloodline that was introduced to the Bini throne by Oranmiyan at the end of the Ogiso era and beginning of the Bini Obaship was a Bini one! Even the “Ekiokpagha Treaty” clearly indicates that the post- Ogiso Oba of Bini bloodline is from Ile- Ife and not of native Bini origin through some long lost Bini prince, so why all this distortion of history?

    • Kingsley Nosakhare

      Reading through all you’ve said so far shows you are also one of those ignorance fellow that is still shocked at the historical truth that is finally unveiling itself. You the Yoruba people were the first that wrote the whole history to suit your pride, and we, the binis did not answer none fight over it because truth will always come out at the end, no matter how much you want it covered. Now, it’s still the same you people (the Yorubas) the oba of Lagos for that matter, that is now confessing the truth, now you all are running around like a headless chicken and talking rubbish.

      • Aare

        Another ignorant rant by another ignorant Benin youth. You are so ignorant that you don’t know the difference between the words “ignorant” and “ignorance”, yet you feel the need to talk.

        I don’t think I’ll dignify your rant with an answer. Go and call your uncles or your father to champion your cause, I don’t have time to waste on you.

      • Abe Lawrence

        My brother, the first question for any reasonable person to ask himself
        about the question of origin is why is it that in Ese Odu Ifa Orunmila, Ifa
        Divination and Mysticism which is absolutely accepted by the elders of Bini, Ile Ife is seen as the center of origin of
        mankind, meaning the first starting point where many Southern tribes
        migrated from. For instance Oru the ancestor of the Izon (Ijaws)
        migrated out of Ile-Ife

        • obiora

          That as you Yorubas said. but is that true. Yoruba tribe came to west Afrika with Hanibal the king of Katago. Ile Ife is not origin of Mankind but freedom and new beginning for Yoruba who are before Slave to Hanibal king of Katago. And Oru is another group too then they have nothing with Ile Ife only that all Lived together in Gana Empire.So Fulai and Yoruba tribes are Oiriginally Slave to the ARABS.

          • Julius

            And what are you to the congolese ! History said that you are directly from the eastern part of Congo which is know for cannibalism. You brought that with you to your land in Nigeria. You are unashamedly true and true cannibals. Ojukwu even tried to stop it during the civil war. Na lie ?

      • Julius

        Tell us your own history, abeg .

    • Julius

      Bro, you know it’s like writing a novel where the writer is looking to sell books and in some instances looking for attention. I really don’t take all these modern day historians seriously.

  • Julius

    lolz.

    • naija man

      lie

      • Julius

        True.

  • pettersons

    Am loving Nigeria history more, I just wanted those Benin story didn’t add up but who are I to say to the contrary when we have people who had PHD in History from Ekiti and they aren’t saying anything!!!!!!! But I felt most guys that made comments about the supremacy of the Benin Kingdom are Mostly trying to be mischievous.

    • Abe Lawrence

      My brother, the first question for any reasonable person to ask himself about the question of origin is why is it that in Ese Odu Ifa, Ifa Divination and Mysticism, Ile Ife is seen as the center of origin of mankind, meaning the first starting point where many Southern tribes migrated from. For instance Oru the ancestor of the Izon (Ijaws) migrated out of Ile-Ife