The Ọmọ Odùduwà relate till date relate accounts of their migration to their present location in West Africa in waves, the latest being led by Odùduwà himself. One of the most commonly known of these accounts is that of the Ijẹbu who say that leaders such as Sungbọ (biblical Sheba), Ọbanta, and so on led Ijẹbu batches. According to Ifá, the number of waves is three.
The first instance on earth
Each time the Ọmọ Odùduwà relocated to their new abode which is called Ifẹ̀ (the headquarters of Ifẹ̀ is Ile-Ifẹ̀) is to be established, they were led by the divinities. The first time was just after the creation of the earth, when Olódùmarè sent the divinities to make the planet (the Promised Land) habitable, and they arrived in batches. Ògún who is the divinity in charge of metals and physical strength was the first to arrive and he did so with other divinities like Òsóòsí and Ija. However, he could not accomplish the mission and thus returned to ọrún (the invisible realm above). Olódùmarè then sent Ọbàtálá, the divinity in charge of light, to carry out the mission. He arrived with other divinities like Alaanu, Oloore, Sungbemi, Magbemiti, Losootoro, Eroko and Larogbe. However, he also did not accomplish the mission and he returned likewise to ọrún. Olódùmarè then sent the Ọrúnmìlà, the divinity in charge of Ifá religion (priesthood, consultation) and the prophet of Ifá, to do the job. This time, he did something that the others did not before embarking on the mission. He had an Ifá dida (Ifá consultation) carried out and was thus advised about what to do in order to accomplish the task. He complied and was successful. Thereafter the earth was populated. It was upon the third attempt that the earth really started bubbling with biological life.
The most recent time is that of the arrival of the Ọmọ Odùduwà from the region of East Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsular to West Africa in waves which is well acknowledged by scholars. The Ijẹbu remember this place in the region of the Horn of Africa whose Ile-Ifẹ̀ was called Èṣùmarè – now occupied by those scavenging nomads (pastoralists) deceptively called Cushites. It is known that the first wave arrived sometime during the 5th century CE and that the last batch was led by Odùduwà who took over the existing political structure and became the reigning king.
The Ọmọ Odùduwà were not the only ones to arrive from that region as their neighbours also remember migrating therefrom as well. In fact, they remember that they arrived together. Among them are the Borgu (Bariba), Hausa, Kebbi, Jukun, Igala, Kanuri, Gobir and so on. The Kanuri say that a certain Arku was their king during the migration. Since the Ọmọ Odùduwà are also called Aku and they migrated with the Kanuri, it would not be farfetched to posit that Arku is actually Aku and they led the migration of different groups of people. Backing this is the assertion of the Ijẹbu that in the land of Èṣùmarè, Odùduwà (also known as Oluiwa) was the king whose power was so extensive that he appointed the rulers of other peoples in that region.
Additionally, the Ọmọ Odùduwà say that a certain Ọkanbi led the first wave to the present Ile-Ifẹ̀ which was then water-logged and populated with dense foliage. It was because of his skill with metals and his bravery that he was able to cut a path through the dense foliage and wade into the swamp ahead of the others to establish the new Ifẹ̀. Other versions have it that Ògún was the leader. This disparity is easily resolved by understanding that both are the same person.
Corroboration for this assertion that he led the first wave can be seen in the accounts of the Kebbi and Kanem–Bornu (Kanuri) peoples who say that the leader of the migration was named Ganbi, obviously a cognate of Ọkanbi. His skill was needed by the peoples to establish settlements in the virgin land which was named after him. The name Ògún is transliterated in the Catalan Atlas, a 1375 map from Spain, as Organa (and the entire domain is recorded therein as Rey de Organa or King of Organa) – the rulers allegedly bore the title Ogane/Ogene), in a c. 1554 map by Sebastian Münster as Orguenę, and in a 1787 map by JBL Clouet as Guin. The Europeans would further translate this name to Guinea.
Furthermore, Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, who is described as the greatest medieval Arab (oniwo koko) traveler, heard of this kingdom during his travels from 1325 to 1354 and noted it in his famous travel book called the Riḥlah where he transliterated the name Ifẹ̀ as Yoûfi. The Ọmọ Odùduwà also add that Ògún completed the task because he did not want to disappoint the one who sent him. This person must have been Ọbàtálá who was later challenged by Odùduwà when the latter arrived from the east. Odùduwà’s arrival had been foretold by Ọrúnmìlà.
This is just like in the beginning before the flood when Ògún led the first batch followed by Ọbàtálá, only that this time the third batch was led by Odùduwà instead of Ọrúnmìlà. It should however be noted that Ọrúnmìlà played an important role in the successful arrival of Odùduwà, just like the time when the whole earth was flooded.
After flooding the earth, Olódùmarè wanted to re-populate it with biological life and so sent Ọbàtálá to carry out the task. Odùduwà accomplished it instead and with the support of Ọrúnmìlà but had to make use of a chain forged Ògún to descend from heaven to earth. The 3-step pattern can be seen: Chain (Ògún) → Ọbàtálá → Ifá dida (Ifá consultation) by Ọrúnmìlà for Odùduwà.
Another time was about 4,000 years ago, sometime after the great flood. The Ọmọ Odùduwà had at that time been living in the land of Èṣùmarè (Sumer, biblical Shinar) and they were being troubled by various groups like the oyinbo (e.g. Jews, Indo-Europeans/Aryans, etc.) and the nomadic colonialists who live in in Africa today like the Fulani, Tuaregs, Habesha, etc. Olódùmarè let them know that it was time to move to another land, a new Ifẹ̀ known in the bible as the ‘Promised Land.’ Just as in the beginning, Ògún led the first batch, hence the land was named after him, although the oyinbo have transliterated and mutated this name to Canaan, just as they would later do for the Promised Land the called Guinea.
In the bible, it is mentioned that a patriarch called Abraham left Ur in the land of Shinar and met HaShem (the Europeans would later replace this with Lord in their bibles) who guided him to Canaan and appeared to him there. It is already known to Assyriologists and Sumerologists that the name Shinar is also Sumer. It is also known that Sumer is derived from Èṣùmarè, HaShem is Èṣùmarè, Ur is from Urfah (or Orfah) and thus derived from Ile-Ifẹ̀, and that Ọbàtálá and Èṣùmarè are different phases of the same person (the oyinbo would later transliterate the Ọbà stem to Baal and describe Ọbàtálá/Baal as evil, just as they do till this day by using their missionaries to encourage the Ọmọ Odùduwà to see their traditional rulers who bear the title Ọbà as idolaters to be disposed of and also blaspheme everyday against Èṣùmarè by calling him the Devil).
Since Odùduwà is the patriarch known to the Ọmọ Odùduwà, it is obvious that the name Abraham is a mischievous transliteration. Thus, it can be seen that Odùduwà left the land of Èṣùmarè and met Ọbàtálá in Canaan/Guinea which is named after Ògún who was the first to arrive there. The Canaanites who are the Ọmọ Odùduwà also expelled the troglodytes that had been infiltrating their land and trying to impersonate them.
Why is the third trial the successful one?
That the number three is re-occurs every time in the establishment of Ifẹ̀ suggests that it is not random but has deeper connotations. The earth which is the third planet from the Sun is the only one of its kind in this solar system that sustains biological life as we know it. Aye, the divinity to whom Olódùmarè handed over this solar system, chose this third planet. According to Ifá, three who are Ifá, the Iyami (witches) and Owo (money) run this planet. Why three? That’s a topic for another day.