Title: Ede Mapo Arogun: A Celebration of a City, its
History, Monarchy and People & Ede Icons and the
Making of Modern Nigeria
Editor: Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, FHSN, FNAL
Reviewer: Prof. Olutayo C. Adesina
It is my honour and pleasure to review the two books produced under the excellent editorship of a distinguished historian, Prof Siyan Oyeweso, FHSN, FNAL. The efforts that went into the production of the two history books by the best culture historian that we have in this country today must be highly commended. These two books deal with the periods of Ede history from the earliest times to the present and they represent the amalgamation of both historical methods and empiricism.
The first of the books is entitled Ede Mapo Arogun: A Celebration of a City, its History, Monarchy and People while the second is Ede Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria.
The books are vintage Oyeweso and constitute materials that can be used by scholars and the general reader to understand distinctive aspects of the history and civilization of the Yoruba race.
The Yoruba have the most advanced and iconic civilizations in West Africa and these two books have gone to confirm the unmistakable nature of that civilization.
We are the possessors of a great heritage that must be celebrated as Prof. Oyeweso has done here. These two books have in very profound and professional ways examined previous relations between different parts of Yorubaland and Ede. These have allowed us to know Ede more intimately.
In the first of the books, Ede Mapo Arogun: A Celebration of a City, its History, Monarchy and People the authors have used a great deal of excellent materials to accomplish the work of understanding the founding, growth, and development of Ede. Section One of the book begins with ‘Ede: Sources of History.’ This section gives an account of the rise and development of the social formation. T
he second section looks at the Archaeology of Ede, while the third section is on ‘Ede and its contemporary monarchs.’ Section four entitled, ‘We all Remember Differently: History and Politics of the Choice of the Timi of Ede’, while the fifth section is on ‘The Change Makers.’ Section Six on ‘Ede: The Home of Culture, Music and Entertainment’ carried out a significant study of Ede as the home of culture.
The seventh section on ‘Religion’ is extremely significant when one tries to understand ecumenism and religious tolerance in a Yoruba town. The last section dwells on ‘Case Studies in Philanthropism’, a phenomenon that seems to be second nature to Ede sons and daughters.
The first book gives a more extensive background of the history of Ede as a great Yoruba town, its founding and relationship with Oyo Empire, and those who were responsible for the birthing of the town. It begins by discussing the story of Ede, which had been handed down through many generations.
The first chapter surfaced as the first attempt to put oral traditions into writing. Entitled ‘The Story of Ede’, that opening chapter has relied not only on the traditions of the people but also on oral sources to ensure a deeply fascinating rendition of how Ede came into existence.
Other chapters have also focused on the ruling houses, royalty, intergroup relations and the role and relevance of the Alaafin in the growth and development of the town. The authors see the relationship of Ede to the land and her neighbours as the defining characteristic of the frontier period in Ede history.
The volume ends with the copious attention paid to the activities of philanthropists.
Philanthropists have not only led a movement capable of bringing much succour to the world but have continued to play a crucial role in advancing human progress. Ede sons and daughters have played significant roles in this respect. I exhort you to read more on those who have made our lives more comfortable in the absence of resources and opportunities.
May God continue to bless them all.
The editor was alert to details and accomplished the editorial process without wasting words.
The authors of the various chapters have utilized previously unused or little-used archives and a wide variety of materials including oral traditions, oral sources, memoirs, family history, newspaper articles and ethnographical accounts to examine the history, culture, and peoples of Ede.
The purpose is to reveal the rich and diverse history of this town. The work has provided us with a rich, carefully researched work on one of the most influential social formations in Africa, south of the Sahara. This book represents a clear and concise understanding of the contexts and contours of the historical development of Ede.
The second book, Ede Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria is a compendium of icons who have contributed to the growth of not only Ede but Nigeria as a whole. This was done through a biographical approach
A biography reports on a life. With distinctive focuses on retired and serving military officers, principals and community leaders, police officers, customs officers and shipping magnates, traditional leadership, academics, permanent secretaries, professionals, transporters, labour activists, women leaders, Christian and Musexlim leaders, thespians and musical icons, legal icons, members of the judiciary, medical doctors, oil and gas magnates, community leaders, local government chairmen, Legislators, and Baba kekeres. In addition, the volume also documented the growth and development of schools, higher institutions of learning, hometown associations, most especially the Federal Council of Ede Descendants Union.
Oyeweso’s purpose is to reveal the extent and nature of Ede’s contributions to human civilization. The editor’s treatment and arrangement of the abundant materials in the book is both scholastic and fascinating, resulting in an impressive volume that is quite accessible to scholars and the general reader.
At this juncture, it is important to say that both volumes produced by Professor Siyan Oyeweso, FHSN, FNAL, deal extensively with the cultural, political, philosophical, economic, social, and structural development of Ede and its people- and both do so with sensitivity and insight.
Yorubaland is in the throes of an acute crisis.
While the generation born from now will ask and answer new questions about what is going on now, it is our sacred duty to answer questions about what happened before now and how the Yoruba had developed a strong civilization that must be defended with our blood. Prof. Oyeweso has done this admirably.
We must thank the editor and the contributors to the two volumes for this great opportunity to read all about the wonderful events and personalities in Ede history, society, and culture. I commend these two books to all men and women of goodwill.