Returning to Aku (aka Ọmọ Oduduwa) Traditional Religion

Below is a an interview with an Aku (aka Omo Oduduwa) woman who returned to the Way, having been drawn to home to Ifa by Olodumare – a sample of the mass return to the Truth to happen in these times as prophesied in Deuteronomy 30; notice her apparel which is probably similar to Osara’s, Deborah’s, Moremi’s (Miriam/Mary), etc. The interview was first published in page 48 of The Guardian of May 5, 2012 but is no longer available on The Guardian website.

‘We Are All Traditionalists’

Saturday, 05 May 2012 00:00 By Yemi Olakitan Saturday Magazine Saturday Magazine

Ebun Osunnike a.k.a Iya Adunbuyinbo, is the President of International Congress of Orisa Congress, Lagos State Chapter, an umbrella organization for all the Orisa Worshippers in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. She had once been a Christian named Ruth, She had once been a Muslim, named  Falilat, but today Osunike is dedicated to the propagation of traditional religious worship. She fervently believes that a return to tradional religion will bring about a better society.  In this interview with Yemi Olakitan, she bares her mind on various issues affecting tradional religion in Nigeria and why she believes that traditional religion  is the best .  Excerpts.

MOST people have abandoned traditional religion for Christianity and Islam, Why have you remained in it?

The Christians and Muslims have not abandoned our traditional religion. They deceive themselves when they say that they have abandoned our traditional practices and I will tell you why. There are ways in which they still observe our traditional religion.  The Muslims still use what they call ‘‘Tira’’ which is a kind of charm if you look at it well. During the Salah celebrations, a good Muslim must slaughter his own ram and share such with the neighbors.

In the Christian Bible, Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of the world. The death of Christ was a sacrificial offering. In the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, God told them to make sacrificial offerings of bulls and rams. Therefore, it is all interwoven and related. Tradition is supreme and we are all involved in these practices in one form or the other. Each religion has its own rites and rituals. So, don’t tell me that they have abandon tradition. In actual fact, traditional religion is the first-born. Look at our Muslim and Christian brothers, particularly in Yorubaland, there are few names that do not have a connection with a Yoruba deity. Our names are either attached to Ogun the god of iron, Ifa the god of Divination, or Osun, the River goddess. These are deities that are attached to traditional religion, although these people may claim to be Christians or Muslims. The fact is that  traditional religion is the religion of our ancestors.  Look at Governor Fashola. He may claim to be a Muslim; his name is derived from Ifa. Traditional religion is the first. Islam and Christianity are foreign religions. Islam was imported from Saudi Arabia, while Christianity was imported from Europe. They are not our culture originally. We accepted these religions because we do not know the value of what we have. The white man knows what he has and he packages it well and he gave it to us and we accepted his own religion to the detriment of ours.  I had been a Christian before, my baptismal name was Ruth and I had been a Muslim as well, my Muslim name was Falilat. I have examined the two and I prefer Orisa Worship.

Don’t You feel odd Atimes, being a traditionalist among a sea of Muslims and Christians?

I grew up with traditional religion. My father was a staunch traditionalist and so was my mother.  I know the value of what we have. We have inherited a strong religion full of deep spirituality and strong philosophy of life. Honestly, there is nothing in Christianity or Islam that is not in Orisa Worship. My father’s name was Ogundeyi, my son’s name is Ogunshina and my other son’s name is Ifashola.

You see, traditional religion works if you practice it with truthfulness and right living. I believe in the Orisas. People have different problems. Christians, Muslims and even atheists all come to us for help including those who condemn us in public. I want to appeal to Christians to stop castigating us. They say, all we do is evil.  That is a lie!

People come to us with problems and we are able to help them. Some come with unemployment problems, some barrenness, some business problems. We consult the Orisas for the solution and the solutions are always there.

What is the position of traditional religion on life after death?

In Yoruba traditional religion, there is a strong belief in life after death.  Life does not end here on earth. If you do good, you will have your reward and if you do bad, you will also be rewarded. Everyone has spiritual groups in heaven (egbe orun). These groups depend on your character and the kind of life you live on earth while you were here. You see, birds of the same feather flock together. If you are a robber when you are alive, you will have spiritual affiliations with robbers in heaven and you will suffer with them. Let me give you a very classic example. A woman came to me in search of a child. She had been married for many years. I told her what she must do to cure her barrenness. She must offer sacrificial offerings to her spiritual group but she screamed “Jesus!”  She went away because she found it difficult to accept because of her religious background. She came back to me after two years ready to offer the offerings. Today, she is blessed with a bouncing baby girl because of her obedience. You see, there is no one without groups in heaven. However, you need to live right in order to enjoy their blessings.

Tell us about your work and your association

Well, I am the president of the Orisa Congress in the whole of Lagos State. I went to Abuja to establish it. I have established it in Minna, Sokoto, Benin Republic and every state of the Western Region. We are present in the United States of America. We are in Europe as well.  Professor Wande Abimbola in Ile Ife established Orisa Congress, when he was a Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University. He is the President of the Association, worldwide. Araba Awo of Oshogbo, Chief Yemi Elebun Ibon is the National President of the Congress of Orisa Worshipers. Traditional religion is the first-born and it is supreme.

Our Association is fully registered with the government. We are registered just like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). However, the government does not recognize us. They give attention to the Muslims and the Christians but not to us. We want to move close to the government, but our government is like a woman who gives birth to three children but abandons one. They have thrown traditional religion away.

But we are the true identity of the country. The others are foreign importations. In traditional religion, you cannot lie. If you do evil, evil will overtake you. Many people today cannot practice traditional religion because their works are evil; and the Orisa don’t condone evil. That that is why they hide under Christianity and Islam and yet many still come to us for deliverance. As an Osun Priestess for example, I cannot lie or cheat. It is what Osun asks for that I must ask for from the client. If Osun does not ask for money, I cannot ask for money. Yet, you will never lack. All the Orisas do not encourage wickedness. Therefore, it is wrong to associate traditional religion with evil. I also want to appeal to the Nollywood people who are making films to portray us in good light. They are castigating our collective cultural heritage. The images of Christianity and Islam are just products of good branding.  Let us portray our culture and tradition in positive light to the outside world.

True, there are some people that go about parading themselves as Orisa Worshipers. They are dressed in white and they sit in public places begging for money. These people are not part of us. It is not Yoruba Culture to beg for money. It is not even in the tenets of Orisa worship. It is completely unacceptable.  You don’t beg for money. You work with you hands. This is what the Orisas instruct us to do, although there is a certain deity that instructs his followers to go and ask for money and pray for those who give. However, this comes up at a particular season and when that season is past, you cannot continue to do it as if you are a beggar. It is totally against the religious inclination of Orisa Worship to turn oneself into a beggar and be begging in the name of religion. I have trained several priestesses. You cannot find them begging for money. Those who are doing that have deviated from tradition.

What other advice do you have for the Government?

The government should recognize us more. A father who has three children but throws away one is not a good father.  If the Christians can help in nation building, we can also help. The Boko Haram issue, for example. They are not spirits, they are human beings. The government should involve all of us in finding solutions to the problem of the nation.

Ebun Osunnike


Christians worship Zeus as their Christ with all their heart, soul and strength

In the year 168 BC, during a period when various nations sought to colonize and wipe out Ifẹ Oodaye (the biblical kingdom of Judah/Judaea), Antiochus IV Epiphanes who was then ruler of the Seleucid Empire (175 – 164 BCE) desecrated the Temple. He set up the abomination of desolation, a statue of the Greek chief god Jupiter/Zeus Olympius but with his (Antiochus) face on it and set up on top of Ọbàtálá’s altar, and ordered the Aku a.k.a. Ọmọ Oodua who are Ọbàtálá’s people to worship Zeus (2 Maccabees 6) – Ọbàtálá is Eshumare. These actions are similar to that of Lucifer as described in Isaiah 14 about his fatal attempt to be regarded as the Almighty, the attempt by Babylon to force Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to bow to Babylonian images (Daniel 3), and the introduction of Christianity with its images (e.g. using the portrait of Cesare Borgias for Jesus/Zeus) by the colonizers (white supremacist/European continuation of the Greco-Roman Hellenization) to Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua (nation of Ọmọ Oodua) in West Africa – the Vatican/Rome/Church will be destroyed for this in one day just like Pompeii was but worse (Jeremiah 51:61-64; Revelations 18).

Exactly three years later the Maccabees pulled down the abomination. However, the Romans finally destroyed the Temple in 70CE, in fulfillment of the Saviour’s (Ọbàtálá) prophecy of Matthew 24:2. They also afflicted the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua, selling some into captivity while slaughtering many. This fulfillment of another prophecy (Zechariah 13:7-9; Luke 21:20-24) marked a temporary end to the kingdom of Ifẹ who is with the Father (Luke 15:25-32). The ancient Romans, who together with the ancient Greeks and other Indo-Europeans are the Babylonians, set up a temple of Jupiter (Roman name for Zeus) in Ile-Ifẹ (biblical Jerusalem) allegedly sometime at the start of the 2nd century CE.

During these persecutions the Greco-Romans including Constantine plagiarized the Bible – e.g. with the Greek Septuagint – for the purpose of leading the world astray via deceit. They crafted and propagated a religion full of lies and blasphemy. It involved the preservation of Greco-Roman and Babylonian idolatry, twisting of several Scriptural teachings and words, and many others. These people and other Amorites like King James of the Bible version named after him removed the name of Ọlọrun the Almighty when preparing his version of the Bible, especially the New Testament, introduced words like Lord, and replaced the name Eshumare with Zeus/IeZeus/Jesus, a name that Eshumare never taught his people. Some researchers who have looked closely at the names IeZeus and Antiochus Epiphanes say that they correspond to the number 666.

The implication is that Christians do not call upon the names of the Father and Son but call upon the dragon and beast. Since the Eshumare is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and “anti-Christ” refers to the opposite, it follows that Christians are part of the anti-Christ in that they are lost, at one with lies and are dead, morose and deluded (Luke 9:60). Church buildings including cathedrals, shrines and the likes are temples dedicated to Zeus, likewise the food shared (Revelations 2:20) during festivities like Christmas, Easter and other holidays that Eshumare never taught his people (Deuteronomy 16; Zephaniah 3:18; Acts 7:42-43). They engage in fetish practices with their idolatry like crucifixes and other images (Ezekiel 18:12-13 and worship of unclean spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).

Taking it further, Christians dedicate themselves e.g. children and many activities like naming ceremonies, Christenings, song, dance, birthdays, employment, retirement, burials, baptisms, weddings, etc. to Zeus. Christians are under a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12) of the kind first described by Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18, led by false prophets (Micah 3:5-7), under a veil of deceit (Isaiah 25:7), and seek, ignorantly and otherwise, Zeus/IeZeus/Jesus to redeem them to the bottomless Pit to join him in eternal condemnation. Jesus/Zeus is the false prophet whose father is Satan. Thus the presence of a huge number of factions/denominations/churches in Christianity is not surprising as it is the broad way that leads to perdition. If they disagree they should explain:

  • how is it that almost all the names in the New Testament are different from those in the Old Testament?
  • how is it that the names in the Peshitta Bible versions are different from Roman/Vatican/English/Western versions?
  • how is it that the symbol of the cross (cross of Tammuz) which Constatine propagated, was not used by Saviour’s people, was never recorded in the Scriptures and is strange to the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua?
  • how is it that the biblical Israelites are blacks but the Christians have been led to believe that they have Amorite features?
  • what happened to all the dark-skinned of the Levant including the Egun (Aegean) people of Philistine, the Edo/Idu (Edomites/Idumeans), the Ijẹbu (Jebusites), and so on during the period of Greco-Roman persecution including the destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE if not that the Greco-Romans massacred them as prophesied in Ezekiel 37?
  • which spirit do Christians call on when the Saviour has mentioned clearly that he will gather back his scattered sheep and fill them with his spirit?
  • why apparitions/visions, from Caucasians, of heaven, hell, Mary and the likes, are racist in that dark-skinned and indigenous negro names are not featured? (don’t blacks also go to heaven?). No wonder TuPac sang ‘I wonder if heaven got a ghetto’ – note that the posthumous producers of the video heavily added Zeus/Christian/deceptive elements to it.
  • how is it that Christians accepted the lie that the progenitor of the biblical Israelites and his descendants are oyinbo (aka white)?
  • how is it that the spirits they hear from either during prophecy, prayer and otherwise have not told them, especially those who call themselves born again, what the Saviour’s true name is (John 18:37)?
  • how is it that the spirits they hear from either during prophecy, prayer and otherwise have not taught them, especially those who call themselves born again, to properly understand the Bible (John 12:40)?
  • since there are so many Christian denominations with so many interpretations of the Bible, can there be more than one Holy Spirit?
  • what happened to the Israelite tribe of Dan in Revelations 7:4-8?

One of the punishments Antiochus IV Epiphanes thus suffered for his abomination and megalomania was of worms that were feeding on his flesh until his death. This was a glimpse concerning those who receive the mark of the beast who would suffer from a similar punishment of never-dying worms (Isaiah 66:3-4; Mark 9:48).

Christianity is a slave religion as it has been used to promote white supremacy and worship of unclean spirits, and subdue the Black including the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua. It is one part of the tripod called the axis of evil, Christianity-Islam-Judaism, which the Gentiles have used to carve out the land of Canaan for themselves (Joel 3:2). Also, anyone who claims to see or have seen visions/apparitions of an Amorite-looking Jesus/Zeus/IeZeus should consider the following Bible passage:

2 Corinthians 11:13 For these are false Apostles and treacherous workers and they liken themselves to the Apostles of the Messiah.14 And not to wonder at this, for if he who is Satan resembles an Irunml,15 it is not a great matter if also his ministers imitate ministers of righteousness, those whose end will be like their works.

The Vatican, many other churches and scholars are well aware that Jesus and Zeus/IeZeus/JeZeus are cognates, but they deliberately come up with crafty but illogical arguments to deceive people. What then is his name?

According to those who have studied manuscripts of the Eshumare’s people and similar language manuscripts and Jews, the name is Yeshua – using English orthography.  Since the biblical Israelites are actually the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua (see also “The name is Dawodu (not David) – Part II“), there should be a word of the language of the Ọmọ Oodua that is a cognate of Yeshua, and using that information the accurate pronunciation can be determined. As expected it turns out that the Yoruba name of the Saviour is Èṣú (pronounced ÈŠÚ or Eshu; the ‘È’ sound is similar to that of ‘a’ in late) which is short for Èṣúmare. This may be difficult for many Ọmọ Oodua to accept as Bishop Ajayi Crowther (1809 – 1891 CE), an indoctrinated agent of the British Amorites who was the first person to translate the Bible from English to Aku, translated Satan as EṢU and many Ọmọ Oodua accepted while also being led to worship the idols of Jesus/Zeus as their saviour (Deuteronomy 28:64; 29:25-27; Psalm 81:8-12; 78:58; 135:15-18). Thankfully Èṣúmare has already prayed to Ọlọrun for mercy (Luke 23:34; a repeat of history), to forgive his people for this foolish act (Psalm 82:5; Isaiah 6:9-10; Acts 28:25-27). For more on EṢUMARE who is the Word that Ifa devotees venerate. Some of these liars deceive people into believing that the prophecies of the Old Testament have passed and are not to be taken literally but allegorically. Some tools used to deceive people into calling on Zeus include:

and many more.

Anyone still arguing for the name Jesus loves lies (John 3:18-21; 12:42-48) and will not enter Ọlọrun’s kingdom (Psalm 73:27; John 3:18-21; Revelations 21:27; 22:15). Rather, those who love the name Èṣú shall dwell in it (Psalm 69:36)!


Could the Egun people be the descendants of the Aegean people of Philistine?

The Philistines are a people that for a while troubled biblical Israel their neighbour. They allegedly descended from Mizraim which is Egypt (Genesis 10:13-14; Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4), and were reputed for their metalworking abilities. Also, they are known as one of the Aegean peoples of the Aegean civilization that used to live around the Aegean sea until tsunamis, a volcanic eruption, and Greek expansion (c. 1200 – 1000 BCE) resulted in their migration to a part of the coastal plain of the Levant from Joppa to the Gaza Strip. This movement may have also occurred during and after the time they almost destroyed Anatolia, Cyprus and Syria. They also attempted same on Egypt during the 8th year of Ramses III (c. 1190 BCE) but were forced to retreat to the aforementioned part of the Levant which today is called Palestine. This area is described as a Pentapolis, having been partitioned into five divisions including Ekron, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath and Gaza.

It was this same people that captured Samson, that troubled the Ọmọ Oodua (biblical Israel) during the time of the Judges, kings Saul (Shaul/Shọla?) and Daodu (David), and worshipped Baalzebub as during the reign of king Ahaziah of Israel (2 Kings 1). Later, they were conquered by Pharaoh Shishak, also known as Sheshonk I (c. 918 BCE) and by the Hausa-Fulani (“Hausa” re-lexified to “Assyria”) during the reigns of Esarhaddon and his son Ashurbanipal (7thcentury BCE). Perhaps they were also deported just as the Ọmọ Oodua (732 – 722 BCE); the Babylonians who thereafter overthrew the Fulani (612 – 605 BCE) controlled Palestine.

Thereafter there is little mention of the Philistines which is in line with the declarations of Eshumare by the mouth of His prophets about their slaughter and decline and subsequent habitation of a part of their land by a mixed race (Zechariah 9:6) for their idolatry and attacks on the Ọmọ Oodua. However, He did say that a remnant would survive, be for Him and like one of His people (Zechariah 9:5-8). A very specific example of how this would happen is mentioned in Zechariah 9:7 where He said that the people of Ekron, one of the five Philistine divisions, would be like a Jebusite.

The Jebusites are the Ijebu people who live among the Ọmọ Oodua as one of them, and not all Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua (nation of Ọmọ Oodua) were originally of one nation but migrated as a mixed multitude with the children of Israel from the Levant to the Horn of Africa and then to the region of West Africa sort of like a repeat of history. Upon settling in West Africa Ifa showed each of them which part of the land to settle. This is how the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua and the mixed multitude settled in their allocated portions, a glimpse of the perfect one to come and a repeat of the exodus out of Egypt (Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4) and the settlement in the Horn of Africa (Ezekiel 47:22-23).

Among the mixed multitude that spread out from Ile-Ifẹ are the Egun people who settled in southern Benin Republic (formerly Dahomey) and southwest of Ile-Ifẹ in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun, just as the relative locations of Biblical Israel and Philistine/Palestine. Thereafter the Babylonians who are the West/Rome/Amorites carried away the Egun and Ọmọ Oodua as slaves to the Americas just as the Biblical Philistines and Israelites were similarly enslaved by the same Babylonians (Jeremiah 25:8-29) over 2,500 years ago. In Nigeria they are of the kingdom of Badagry, a notorious Trans-Atlantic slave port that is part of Ifẹ Owodaye (biblical Judah; cf. Zechariah 9:8). Their Ọba (royal father, a title perhaps borrowed from the Ọmọ Oodua) is known as the Akran. The name Ekron (one of the 5 Philistine divisions) is extremely similar to Akran. Since the Philistines descended from Mizraim (Egypt) there should be some continuity between both traditions which can be used in linking Akran to Ekron.

It turns out that the title Pharaoh which allegedly means “great house”, which is the title/epithet of the Egyptian king, is symbolic of the royal palace and by extension the kingdom of Egypt. Hence it is possible that the epithet Akran symbolizes the people of Ekron/Akran. Furthermore, the word Egun is phonetically similar to Aegean, and historians have acknowledged that the Philistines are of the Aegean civilization that once lived around the Aegean Sea.

If all these are true, that the Egun people are the same Philistines of the Aegean civilization, then the people are living proof of the anti-Truth of Christianity-Islam-Judaism, of white supremacy, and of the iniquity of the Amorites (Genesis 15:16).


  • What is to be believed about the history (his-story) of that civilization as propagated by Hellenists (Greeks) and their supporters/imitators?
  • Since Amorites say that Ham was a Negro, Egypt/Mizraim was one of his sons, and the Philistines descended from Egypt, how come historians failed (deliberately?) to acknowledge that (1) the Philistines are Negro, and (2) the people of Palestine plagiarized history?

The Egun people of Badagry should not take these assumptions, if accurate, in anger as a direct implication is that then are one with the Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Oodua and the present people in Palestine are terrible impostors. They have been grafted (Genesis 18:18; 22:18) and presently live amicably and side-by-side with the Ọmọ Oodua, perhaps the ongoing fulfillment of the pact between Oduduwa (biblical Abraham) and Abimelech as recorded in Genesis 21.


Identifying Israel via the colocation of Jebus, Ekron, and Edom as markers

On Modupe Oduyoye’s Review Of Genesis

[This review was first published in THE GUARDIAN of Saturday June 18, 2005 (pages 22-23). I could not find an online copy so I typed it out unedited and scanned the pictures. Apology: I had earlier posted it as “A 2005 Review of “The Sons of Gods and the Daughters of Men” but the title was not accurate]

The Man Who Rewrote Genesis

Septuagenarian Modupe Oduyoye is an exegete, language expert, polyglot etc., all rolled into one. In this piece, Yemi Ogunsola examines how this international scholar explores many African and Semitic languages to shed new light on the Book of Genesis and many difficult Yoruba words.

Modupe Oduyoye When in 1972, Modupe Oduyoye, language expert and exegete, unleashed his book “The Vocabulary of Yoruba Religious Discourse” on the public, it sent shock waves throughout the linguistic community. Exegetes are experts who undertake critical study of texts, especially the Bible.

Oduyoye’s theories were bold, daring. He seemed to harbor no reverence for any hallowed folk etymology, but what his phonological tools told him. He challenged and often discreditedmany conventional etymological conclusions of the time.

However, his arguments were difficult to fault. They were intellectually water-tight and many times air-tight.

For one, they demolished once and for all, all notions that a ‘monolingual” approach is sufficient to find the root meanings (etymology) of difficult words in Yoruba – or any language for that matter. In many of his explanations of Yoruba words, Oduyoye drew from languages from outside Yoruba.

Secondly, Oduyoye demonstrated most vividly, the relationship, already acknowledged by language experts, between Semitic languages like Hebrew, Akkadian, Aramaic, Ugaritic, and many African languages like Hausa, Tiv. Efik, Yoruba, Ibibio, Igbo, Fon, Twi etc.

Oduyoye’s book was actually in response to the publication in 1969 of the report of the first consultation of African theologians held in Ibadan in 1966 with the title: “Biblical Revelations and African Beliefs.”

The report was subsequently recommended for the General Assembly of the All African Congress of Churches in September 1969. Oduyoye read and reviewed the publication.

Contributors to the conference included eminent scholars like the late Professor Bolaji idowu; Rev. E.A.A. Adegbola and Monsignor (Ezeanya. Oduyoye wasn’t very satisfied with many of the conclusions.Now he joined the “fray” armed to the teeth.

Oduyoye had studied Hebrew at Yale in 1964, Comparative Semitic Linguistics at the Linguistics Institute of the Linguistics Society of America on a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies in 1965, Arabic at Yale from 1965 to 1966 and Middle Egyptian in London from 1969 to1970. Added to this was his intimate knowledge of the traditions of his people, the Yoruba, a considerable knowledge of many Nigerian and African languages and a passionate curiosity about words and their origins. So Oduyoye undertook a review of the theological conference with the best tools.

While the scholars who contributed papers at the conference put up commendable efforts, Oduyoye could see that they were sorely limited by their, mostly monolingual tools.Oduyoye’s tool was different. It was comparative theology at its keenest. With profuse references to linguistic authorities in Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) languages, Oduyoye sliced through hitherto impregnable words with the cold objectivity of an intellectual guillotine.

Who, for instance, would fault Oduyoye when he pointed out that Igbo “dibia” (medicine man) is cognate (has the same origin) with Arabic “tibia” (Physicnan, doctor)? Or that Yoruba ajo is cognate with Hebrew Haj and Arabic Hajj? And that “Alhaji” is cognate with Yoruba Alejo?

You see, in philology, (the scientific study of the nature and growth of words and languages) consonants like k, l, s, t, etc are the tell-tale that give away the relationships between words. These consonants are to words what bones are to fossils. Though vowels (the flesh) may decay or change as words travel over time and space, the consonants (bones) remain. It is these consonants (consonantal roots) that philologists use to track words to find their meanings or genealogy.

But then, some consonants are “liquid”, that is, change form from language to language.Thus, when the English word “guava” gets to Yoruba-speaking peoples, the consonant “v”, being absent Yoruba pronounciation becomes “b” or “f””. So guava becomes “goba” or “gofa”. Similarly “l” often becomes “r”, “s” becomes”sh” (e.g. among Ibadan indigenes) or “th” or even “z”.Philologists look out for these consonantal changes (liquidity) in the “detective work of tracking words.

Armed with these basic rules of comparative philology, Oduyoye tracked the irun-prefix in Yoruba Irunmale

(divinities) hitherto thought to be “400” to the Arabic” word harem and Hebrew herem both of which convey the idea of “sacred” or “holy”. The r-m-consonantal roots are clear, but the “h” is missing in Yoruba, Oduyoye says, because “Yoruba nouns generally do not begin with an /h/ or any h-type sound.”

From Ijebu “Lisa” (chief of first rank) to Igbo “Olise” (“God” as in Olisemeka) to “Lesa” among the Ambo of Malawi, the Barotse, the Bemba, the Kaonde, Lala, Lamba, Oduyoye, tracks the “l-s” consonantal root (which liquid forms are r-s” “l-z” “r-th” which all convey the idea of “head” “chief” first”) to Hebrew “rosh” (first) to Arabic “ras,” Aramaic “resh” and Akkadian “rishu”. And to Yoruba “Orisha”. In fact Hebrew “Harison-iym” is translated “Ancestors” in Psalm 79.8 of the Jerusalem Bibe Oduyoye says, the “-iym” being a mere plural suffix in Hebrew

Oduyoye also laces Yoruba Religious Discourse, with interesting “linguistic gossips in the foot notes like generous crumbs of stock-fish in an already delicious Osiki soup.

However, Oduyoye’s glaring success did not get into his head. He acknowledged the pioneering efforts of eminent scholars like Archdeacon Olumide Lucas (who was teacher to his father) with whom he actually corresponded while writing the book: ‘The thoughtful restudy of past scholarship is not criticism for the sake of criticism, but an attempt to elucidate the principles involved in the discovery of truth… in doing this, however, it is right that we express our gratitude and respect to those whose work is being used and restudied, and, without whose pioneering zeal and daring,the present evaluation will not have been attempted.” Oduyoye wrote, quoting yet another authority.

So when seven years later, in August 1979, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Odogbolu, (now in Ogun State) the Rt. Rev. I.B.O. Akintemi, invited Oduyoye to lead a series of Bible studies at the diocese’s clergy schools, it was an opportunity to take apart Genesis 1 – 11 with the scalpel of Hamito-semitic (Afro Asiatic) philology.

Puzzles usually glossed over by other interpreters came under Oduyoye’s scrutiny. “Why” Oduyoye asks, “does the Hebrew language have a world with a plural suffix (-iym) as its word for “God” when Hebrew religion is anti-polytheistic?”

“Who,” Oduyoye asks “are the sons of the Gods of Genesis 6:1?”

Traditional interpretation will say “angels” or “Israelites”, but Oduyoye says “no” to both.

Hear Oduyoye “And thus I dug up the questions those obvious in the English version and those patent only to one who reads from the Hebrews text. The true nature of the literary corpus we were studying thus becomes clear, and the need for interpretation could not be questioned…” The result, expectedly, was extraordinary. And for the , it was fascinating, if a mite disturbing.  What would these unusual interpretation do to the faith of Christians? One of them wondered aloud.

Oduyoye’s response was simple: “Christian preaching certainly needs a stronger pillar to lean upon than a basis of obscurantism.”

Oduyoye himself was and remains an eminent member of the Church having served in many capacities, including being the literature secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria.

Oduyoye had first informed his cleric students that. Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament texts and other Semitic languages like Aramaic, Akkadian, MEgyptian, Ugarithic etc all belong to the same Afro-Asiatic (Hamito Semitic) language group as many Africa languages like Hausa, Efik, Ibiobio, Yoruba, Igbo Fulfide, Twi, Fon etc. Thus, in seeking explanations to passages of Genesis 1- 11, Oduyoye drew from these languages.

Having equipped himself with considerable acquaintance with many African languages, Oduyoye stood, as it were, at a vantage point where he has an unusually panoramic view of the innards of these languages. The substance of this Bible studies, Oduyoye later compiled in a book with the title: “The Sons of the Gods and the Daughters of Men.”

On the whole, the 132- page book, published in 1984 by Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, impresses upon the reader that Genesis 1 – 11 contains a lot of folk or popular etymology as “tall stories for popular consumption” which are told not for their basis in fact but by way of the lay man’s attempt to explain things that are obscure to him.

Oduyoye had dealt at length with the problem of folk etymology in Yoruba Religious Discourse. In it, he cited the drum signal used then to reproduce the intonation pattern of the English statement: “This is the Nigerian Broadcasting Service.” Which some Yoruba folk erroneously interprete as

“Ninu Ikoko dudu la ti n se’be. It is inside a black pot that we cook stew”

He then cites such popular etymology in the Book of Genesis:

“that Eve was so named because she was the mother of all life; that Isaac was so named because he grabbed his twin brother by the heels while they were still in the womb; that Cain was so named because the mother said at birth” I have acquired a man with the help of God”… that Marah was so named because there Israelites found the water bitter”

“Babel” for instance, which according to the Bible, was derived from the fact that it is where God confused the tongue of men..

First, Oduyoye dismissed the claim that the whole world had one language by reminding us that earlier in Gen 10 we had been told that the son of Yaphet, Ham and Shem had been classified according to their different tongues.

Confused in Hebrew is “balal”. But the Genesis writers are saying that “Babel” (b-b-l) is derived from Balal (b-l-l).

Oduyoye says “no”. “The (writer of Genesis)  is basing etymology on a single leg of sound similarity without any consideration for the other leg of meaning similarity. Hebrew “balal” means “mingle” mix, confuse, confound cognate therefore with Chichewa ideophone “balala-balala” scatter, disperse.

“Here, etymology has two legs to stand upon. Phonology and semantics. But what does Babel” mean? “Babel is Hebrew. It is the name of the Babylonian capital whose only gate was memorably designed with religious motiffs. It came to be known by the Babylonians as baab ilu the gate of God.’ Babel could therefore not be so called because Yahweh balal the speech of all the earth.” Oduyoye then goes blunt: “The etymology of Genesis 1-11 are based on fancy, not fact. They serve the purpose of mythology, not that of linguistics or philology. As far as the Genesis writers were concerned, a word in a strange language must connote something similar in a similar- sounding word in Hebrew. The semantic tour de force produces a good story, and in mythology, the story is the end.”

Oduyoye also drew attention to how Genesis writers borrowed generously form polytheistic mythology, but then superimposed their own brand of “monotheistic theology” on it. Genesis 2:4 for instance talks of the towledot (genealogy) of the heavens and the earth.

A genealogy gives the list of children just like in the genealogy Shem. But the Genesis writers, Oduyoye says, don’t want to hear talk of “sons and daughters” born of heaven and earth, which inevitably implies procreation . Instead they introduced YHWH (Yahweh/Jehovah) as a solo creator. “To introduce YHWH ‘eloh-iym into an ancient mythology in which the male heaven and the female earth were procreative agents—- persons or spirit or gods—- is to turn mythology into (Hebrew) theology,”Oduyoye comments.

Other glimpses of mythology shows  in statements like that in Gen 6: that ‘the sons of the gods (heaven) married the daughters of men (earth) and gave birth to gibbor-iym (powerful ones).

In essence, what Genesis writers did is to rewrite mythology to suit their own religious (theological) purpose—- which is to push Yahweh as the sole creator who moulds (forms).

Another major record in the Bible which gives away this doctoring of ancient mythology is the very first sentence in the Bible. In the original Hebrew Bible, it reads:

“In the beginning eloh-iym (the gods) created the heavens and the earth. “Why,” Oduyoye asks does the Hebrew language have a word with a plural suffix (-iym) as its word for ‘God’ When Hebrew religion is anti-polytheistic?”

In repainting the existing picture of the polytheistic mythology of the time the Genesis writers left many patches of the old paint. And in several cases, the old paint shows from underneath the new.

Later translators of the Hebrew into Greek had to grapple with this tell-tale ambiguities. And in their efforts, they messed up many translations.

For instance, though Hebrews/Judaists insist that Yahweh is the only God, they left words like ­Ben-ey ha-eloh-iym (sons of the gods) in places like Genesis 6. Where do these fit in Hebrew theology? Who are the gods and who are their sons?

Oduyoye however tells us that such “sons of the gods” are not unknown in African tradition. He quotes Joshua N. Kudajie. Aspects of Religion and Morality in Ghanaian Traditional Society with particular reference to the Ga Adangme.”:

“The sons and daughters of Naa Nyamo (Ga “Father God”) are known to us as jemawoji ‘the gods of the world’. They are powerful and intelligent beings who walk about the world, but they have their own abodes in the seas, Lagoons, mountains and other natural objects. Having been delegated by Naa nyamo to be his vicegerents, they are in active contact with the world of nature in man.”

Oduyoye now compares this extract with Job 1:6:

“Now there was a day when ben-ey ha elo-iym (sons of the lords) came to present themselves before YHWH and Satan also came among them…..”

Oduyoye then draws the inference that ben-ey ha eloh-iym are” divine beings like Satan (Ngas go sot ‘the people of knowledge and power’) “We can not escape the answer that ben-ey ha eloh-iym in Gen 6 refers so to the same divine beings whom the Ga of Ghana know as jemawoji, whom the Akan of Ghana know as abosom….”

Then he adds: “The two examples of divine beings named in genesis and Job (Nimrod and Satan) are reflected in West Africa.

  1. as Yoruba Lamurudu, a legendary hero and
  2. as Ngas go sot “persons of knowledge and power.” In Yoruba these would be the Orisa.

So, how do translators of Hebrew Genesis to Greek cope with these mythological beings?

Badly: They gave different translations to the same words.

Hear oduyoye “The Septuagint (bible) renders ben-ey ha eloh-iym into Greek as hoi angeloitou theou “messengers of God” in Job 1:6 but as hoi huioi tou theou “the sons of God” in Gen. 6:2….”

A freak word which never existed in English was also introduced: “angel”.

“Those who know the ordinary meaning of Greek angeloi know that it means only “messe

ngers” just as Hebrew male’ak-iym means ‘messengers” ordinarily.

“But when mythical thinking enters into it, Greek angeloi and Hebrew male’alk-iym are rendered into English as angels… the Jews who translated the Hebrew Bible (old Testament) into Greek in Alexandria avoided the mythology of ben-ey ha eloh-iym in Gen.6:1 and Job 1:6 but gave us another myth —- that of angels…”

Perhaps some of Oduyoye’s most sensitive remarks are on what he calls “anti-Hamitism” — hatred for the descendants of Ham and Canaanites in the Genesis accounts. Why rain curses on Canaan when it was Ham who by accident saw his drunken father’s (Noah) nakedness? Oduyoye asks.

Many Bible readers will gloss over this anomaly or rationalize it. But not Oduyoye. It is a ploy to justify the annihilation of theCanaanites, he says:

“The truth is that the story is one of many told by the Hebrews to ridicule nations against whom they harbor a grudge.”

Four of such nations, he says are

*Egypt because of what one of its Pharaohs did to the ancestors of the Jews:

*Canaan who the Jews considered “Idolaters” and therefore could be annihilated in the name of Yahweh

*Moab whom the Hebrews say were born from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his two daughters;

*Babel whom the Jews considered too ambitious and therefore sees the ruins of its imposing ziggurats as punishment from Heaven.

Earlier, Odoyoye had also dealt with another personalty whom he said the Hebrew writers tried to run down because of his greatness: Nimrod, a blackman (Kushite) whom, quoting Genesis, oduyoye described as one of the gibbor-iym (Yoruba al-agbara) cited in Genesis as the ‘first on Earth to be a mighty man.”

Nimrod, according to Oduyoye is actually Yoruba Lamurudu (N-m-d / l-m-d) and he was the first empire builder whose kingdom spread from Babylon ot Nineveh.

“Given this anterior greatness of the Kushite Nimrod, the first gibbor, the writers of Genesis did with Nimrod what they did with Nebuchadnezzar: For no reason other than his greatness, they stated that Nimrod’s greatness was offensive to God (Yahweh).”

Then he adds; “The fact is that the jews had never been great (except during the empire of David and Solomon). On the contrary, they had suffered from great nations many of these included in the kingdom/empire of Nimrod. Babylonians… Assyrians”

Oduyoye return again and again to this issue of racism shown by the Jews in their records. On page 100, he declares: “It is the business of blacks to expose the inherent anti-Hamitism, which resulted in the paradigmatic extermination of the Canaanites by those who,when the tide is turned, have been complaining of anti-Semitism.”

Then Oduyoye zeroes in on the Nigerian situation: “We are asked not to believe that the Abore have any relationship with the ‘iber-iym, and yet what the Iber-iym did to the Canaanites in the name of Yahweh the Abore have done to the sons of Kush from Sokoto to Ilorin in the name of Allah.”

Citing the –b-r consonantal root among other evidence, Oduyoye had told us in the opening of Chapter 7 (page 63) that the Hebrew and Fulani (Bororo) have a common origin: “Eber is the name of the ancestors of the ben-ey Eber “sons of Eber.” These were, in the Bible, the ‘iber-iym ‘the Hebrews.

“Eber, the name of their ancestor is comparable to the name by which the wandering Fulani of West Africa are known: Abore in Nigeria (Borno) and in Chad, Bororo in Nigeria (Adamawa… Their language is called ful-ful-de in Nigeria.”

The ‘b-r root in the name ‘Eber and in the name ‘iber-iym (Hebrews), Oduyoye says occur in Hebrew ‘abar ‘(cross over, trespass, pass on, past by); twi boro (to trespass); Yoruba afara (bridge); Ibara (ford); Ibara-mu (Across the nose); eburu [Shortcut (across an area)].

Oduyoye then declares: “the ‘iber-iym, (Hebrews)go that name because being nomads, they were always passing by the cities of the Canaanites and never settling among them ‘-b-r means “pass on, pass by in judges 19: 12b, 18 and in Ruth 4:1

The sons of the Gods and The daughters of Men is a many-layered work which value continues to be uncovered with repeated reading.

Many more fascinating information are enclosed in its pages: like the link between Adamu Orisa (of the Awori Eyo masquerade in Lagos State) and Hebrew r’ison Adam, the link between Qayin (Cain) and Ogun the Yoruba Patron Saint of Smiths.

The latter link is particularly interesting in its detective nature. On the latter, Oduyoye notes that Hebrew Qayin is cognate with the Arabic word for smith(s) qayn/quyun.

Reminding us of the q/g/k consonantal liquidity, Oduyoye says the words are cognate with the Yoruba Ogun and Fon Gun both meaning “patron saint of smiths.” Other cognates include Hamn kuno (Investor of iron smelting) and Ebira Egene (the caste of Smiths)

He reminds us too tat the name Akin (valiant man) is most prevalent in Ondo which shares the n-d  consonantal root with the land of Nod to which Qayn  headed after leaving Eden. And is there a link between the city of Hanok (Enoch) and the Nok culture of Jos Plateau in Nigeria? And can the name Yoruba be a distant relation of Europa?

While the book’s appendix gives further detail on some words already tackled in the body-proper and summarises the main pillars of Oduyoye’s arguments, the index is a mini Afro-Anglo-Semitic dictionary.