Why the Oba (Abba) does not number his children

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.


12 thoughts on “Why the Oba (Abba) does not number his children

  1. Yemi Tom,

    Another fascinating article. Keep up the good work!
    Tracing the origins of taboo using the biblical material is within the perimeters of biblical anthropology. It works in this case because the Yoruba can be traced back to the Nile region which is the area from which Abraham’s ancestors came.


  2. I’m speechless. You are definitely on to something… Keep going, you’re not alone. A lot of young people are also waking up and it feels great to know there are others out there.. God be praised. You just made my day. 🙂 PS. And you know Alice. C Linley personally? O.M.G! (Are you in Nig? How can one contact you pls?)


    • There’s a lot of useful info from the cultural practices along the slave coast / gulf of Guinea and all around us that can be compared with info as described in the Bible. We just need to seek HIS leadership in our lives and accept that we and our ancestors had done foolish things.
      Are you the musician with the initials LE?
      I don’t yet know Alice Linsley personally but would relish the opportunity.

      I’m in Lagos and can be reached at opefeyi at gmail dot com
      All the best!


  3. Yemi Tom,

    Among the Igbo and the Ashante there is a word anochi. Among the Ashante, the word ano kyi means “Ano Junior,” suggesting a line of succession. Is this true in other languages with which you might be familiar? I would be grateful for any information you might give me about this.

    God willing, we will meet one day!


  4. Anochie is an Igbo name but it seems to be rarely used. Ano can mean the number “four” as well. The “ch” is probably pronounced as in “chalk”. I’ll still investigate.


  5. Thanks so much. I have added a link to your blog in that piece on the etymology of the word Enoch.

    Also, I’m praying for you, that all your needs will be met out of the bounty of Jesus Christ. This means a new computer!


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