Wednesday, December 12, 2007


A friend came round last night and in passing told a story of someone he knows who is playing the Moremi strategy at the moment. For those not familiar with the story of the heroine of Ile Ife who saved the Yorubas from repeated incursion by the Igbos due East by allowing herself to be captured, marrying their leader and learning their battle secrets, then escaping back to Ife, click on the link above. A statue of Moremi to this day can be found in the courtyard of the Ooni's palace.

It got me thinking however about the old adage about history being written by the victors. Is there another oral history of Moremi that survives to this day among the Igbos, or has it been conveniently forgotten?

It also made me think that as another Boudica-type figure along with Queen Amina of Zaria, Moremi should be celebrated beyond the Yoruba as part of the national heritage of powerful Nigerian women in history.

As for strategy, the Moremi approach can work at any level - business, existential, spiritual: go out among the foreigners and learn their ways. There will be sacrifices, but the rewards will be heavenly and last throughout time..


Sandrine 4:37 pm  

It is a good strategy but don't you end up losing your soul in the process, pretending to be somebody you're not,like Lorenzacio?

Chili Pepa 5:44 pm  

Really, Jeremy, isn't there a name -and a consequence- for that sort of thing? I think modern-day folk refer to it as 'Espionage'.

Great blog

Fred 9:48 pm  

This is the sort of thing I would love to write a screenplay about! Pity, I'm not there so research is a bitch. One day...

Anonymous,  3:24 am  

I first got thinking about Moremi when I noticed that she had halls named after her in Unilag and Great Ife.

Her strategy goes beyond infiltration and assimilation, it extends to self-sacrifice of the Jesus-type where she actually martyrs herself in the river to reverse the town's dwindling fortunes. (This is the version of the legend preferred by my dad)

My Pen My Paper 2:59 pm  

the Moremi story is somehow....
- she wanted to put an end to the fierce raids of the Igbos on the Yorubas, so she thought out her own plan, I suppose - independently.
- after the victory was won, she now went to the stream to offer sacrifices, "but the god of the stream was not satisfied and demanded the life of her son. Sorrowing, Moremi was forced to consent, and sacrificed the handsome boy Ela. The Ifes wept to see this sad spectacle"

my question is:
- was it the god of the stream that helped Moremi? if not, where was the 'god of the stream' when Moremi sat down to think through her plan?
- where was this 'god of the stream' when she was captured and made queen in a strange Land

If he wasn't in the picture, I suppose this god had no right to demand for Moremi's son. He should have just accepted the sacrifices and continued in 'absentia'.

The majority of what man believes do not exist.

Anonymous,  3:25 pm  

I hate to knock the wind out of your sailes, but Moremi saved Yorubas from repeated incursions from the Ugbo, not the Igbos.

Check your facts.

Bitchy 10:38 am  

Who was it that said about Nigerians that WE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO CELEBRATE OUR HEROES?

I guess the genuine problem would be though that Moremi is a Yoruba hero and an Igbo foe. Perhaps that is why her legend has become somewhat stale?

Sigh... yet another problem stemming from this thing the British called "amalgamation".

Uzo 2:45 pm  

The Moremi story is very fascinating. Its actually one of the plays in the Theatre at Terra series. I believe its on December 31st and Wole Oguntokun directs...

Pathologe 9:04 pm  

Off Topic: Nice blog. Currently I am also In Nigeria. Abuja. Used my blog to write about my experiences in German language.
I found this one when searching for an expatriate site, but now I'll go through this one also.

Fred 5:43 pm  

uzo, you wouldn't know how I can get a script of the Moremi play, would you? Anyone?

Anonymous,  2:19 am  

Actually, the enemies of Ile-Ife at the time were the Igbohos (from Dahomey), and not Igbos of Nigeria. I wonder how everything got translated from Igboho to Igbo.

Ewarawon olusoji,  9:31 am  

If u must know my dear brother igbos reffered too here are not igbos from d east,but fellow brodas of ifes themselve dat were was neither anything like igboho or wateva dat my bro called it rather it was the ugbos sons of d ugbomikuns now known as the ilajes in ondo was just a mispell of whoever was writin d story.history say dis people were d first inhabitants of okeigbo were dey invade ife from,it was afta der defeat they moved to der present location.orunmaken was d first oba of ugbo ppl and got married to moremi after d raid of ife and was betrayed also by d same woman.pls check stories on ilaje history and connections

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