The Aku people call their kings OBA, which is the authentic rendition of Abba as mentioned in Mark 14:36. In Nigeria where there is one of the largest concentrations of Aku people, kings are generally referred to in the English language as royal fathers. This is an apt translation of Oba as the royal father is regarded as a father on a grander scale than the father of a family. Since a nation can be regarded as a family or a unit and the family head or husband who is a male accordingly regarded as the father, the Oba or royal father is the father of all the people (his subjects) – my limited understanding. It is not then surprising that the Aku people observe a taboo that regards an attempt to number the children of the family head and Oba especially as an abomination as his children are a blessing from OLODUMARE that are supposed to be too numerous to count. Hence the Aku saying,
A kii ka ọmọ fun ọlọmọ.
We do not count the children for the owner of the children.
Likewise, since Èṣú (Eshumare) the Son of Olodumare, calls OLODUMARE “Our Father”, “Father” and Oba which is transliterated in the bible as“Abba”, Oba might mean “Our Father”, “Father of Man” and “Father of All”. “Ba” represents expansive power or male energy. The earthly Oba is seen as OLODUMARE’S representative (Jeremiah 22:24; John 6:27).
The background of this taboo seems to have been forgotten among the Aku people just as those for many taboos have been noted in Africa with no tangible background. Nevertheless, to get more evidence of this particular Yoruba census taboo’s roots we could look at the biblical Israel. Thankfully, I received a hint in the form of a revelation on the Aiku (Aku for the evening of Saturday and day of Sunday; translated as day of longevity) or October 29 and 30 of Owara (Aku for October).
The taboo was as a result of the punishment they received for the national census that Daodu (re-lexified to David) carried out as recorded in 2 Samuel 24 and1 Chronicles 21 from which 70,000 men died. From this account it almost seems that Eshuogbo (re-lexified to Joab) was more righteous and fearful of Obatala (another phase of Eshumare) than Daodu in this matter. However, Eshuogbo’s stance seemed to have been borne out of gut instinct or listening to his Ori Inu (Inner Head or Guardian Force or Ego or the principal architect of our fortune both in heaven and on earth) as he was not able to provide reasons to convince Daodu that the planned national census was abominable – my speculation. The punishment meted out to Daodu was the beginning of the observance of the taboo in this stage of the existence of his people.
But what is wrong in carrying out a census? Other censuses of his people had been carried out before the one just mentioned. For example, censuses were mentioned in Numbers 1: 1-3 and 1 Samuel 15:4. Perhaps the taboo-resulting one opposed by Eshuogbo was at a time when his nation was mature, well-defined and settled. In Genesis 46: 26-27 we see the number of his people that migrated to Egypt where and when Ajose (re-lexified to Yosef and Joseph) was Vice-Gerent. Perhaps this migration can be thought of as the occurring during the infant stage, much like a sower knowing the number of seeds sown in a particular location but not knowing the number of seeds and/or fruits that are reaped upon maturity and harvest.
Sowing that is countable or in singles followed by reaping in multitudes is derived from Obatala’s promise to Oduduwa (re-lexified to Abraham; Genesis 12:3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:5-6; and 24:60), Ajaka (re-lexified to Isaac; Genesis 26:4) and Aku (Genesis 28:3,14 and 34:9-11) of descendants that are too numerous for man to count.
Understanding the heart of Obatala on this census taboo would necessitate the question,
Why does OBATALA/ESHUMARE want his people to be as numerous as the stars in the sky?
The answer is quite simple and is seen in the command Obatala gave to man when he created them (Genesis 1:28) and to Oluiwa (a.k.a. Oduduwa; transliterated to Noah) and his sons (Genesis 9:1, 7), that is, to be fruitful, multiply, and bring forth abundantly on earth. He is using his people to accomplish his will on earth.