Who is Aku?

When the Amorites came to this region of West Africa and wanted to know the collective name of the people now known as Yoruba, they noted the Yoruba used to call themselves Aku but had forgotten the meaning. The conclusion was that the name was related to the ‘ ku‘ of their greeting but since their language is very specific concerning the tones, in this case ‘A‘ and ‘‘, I doubted this assumption.

There is actually someone in our history who was called Aku. A powerful shrine dedicated to him exists in Irefin, Ekiti State and is referred to in pages 382, 384 and 387 of “Persée : Notes on Orisha Cults in the Ekiti Yoruba Highlands. A Tribute to Pierre Verger“. It is very possible that there may be other sacred grounds dedicated to him in other parts of Yoruba land. Since the Yoruba used to call themselves by his name, he is one of their eponymous ancestors.

Interestingly, the name Aku is the proper rendition of Jacob and Yakub, both mischievous transliterations by the Amorites. A technique of re-lexification used by the Amorites, including the Jews and Hellenists, for the purpose of fitting the language of the Redeemer’s people to their tongue was to make nouns which end in vowel sounds to end with consonants, e.g. Edo  to Edom, Ijebu to Jebus, Adamu to Adam, and so on.

As mentioned in previous essays, Oranmiyan is the same person as Aku (Jacob), hence it would not be surprising if some Ifa verses featuring the name Aku have it replaced with Oranmiyan (very speculative on my part). The Yoruba people can get to know more about Aku along with other ancestors like AjakaAganjuKori etc by studying their respective oriki (praising the consciousness of …), and thus verify if this post is pure nonsense or not. They also need to find out how and why they forgot about him (perhaps Deuteronomy 4 and 8).


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