Monday, 29 February 2016

THE HISTORY OF ASO OKE

Aso-Oke is a short form of Aso Ilu Oke also known as Aso-Ofi meaning clothes from the up-country. It is the traditional wear of the Yoruba's
(the tribe of the southwest people in Nigeria, Africa). The Yoruba's are the second largest tribe in Nigeria after the Northerners. Aso-Oke is a cloth that is worn on special occasions by the Yoruba's usually for chieftancy, festivals, engagement, naming ceremony and other important events.
The beauty of Aso-Oke comes out more when it is taken as Aso-Ebi (group of people e.g. friends, families e.t.c). Cloth weaving (Aso-Oke) started centuries ago amongst the Yoruba's but predominantly amongst the Iseyin's (Oyo-State), Ede (Osun State) and Okene Kogi State. The fibres used for weaving are either locally sourced or brought from neighboring states (northern parts of the country).
PREPARATION AND MAKING OF ASO-OKE
PLANTING OF COTTONS :
The cotton is used in making the threads used in weaving Aso-Oke and it is mostly planted during the rainy season between the month of June and July. However the cottons would be ready for harvesting between November and February of the following year. Most cases after harvesting the cottons are kept in the bar for spinning.
SPINNING :
This is the process of separating the cotton seed from the wool. And in doing this a bow-like instrument called "Orun" in Yoruba language (Spindler). The weaver spread the wool and rolls it on the loom (the loom is a handmade wood used in weaving; this loom is usually made by local carpenters). The Spindler would be turned, and while it is being turned, it will start rotating thereby thinning the cotton. This is done on a continuos basis till all the wool has been spinned.
SORTING :
Cotton behaves like magnates thus easily attracting dirt; therefore the dirt's has to be separated from the wool in order to make the wool fit for use. This process is known as sorting and there are machines for these purposes but in the absence of non, it can be sorted out manually. This is very tedious and time consuming.
PARTERNING:
This is the process where designs and patterns are made on the Aso-Oke while the cloth is being woven. The material used in cloth pattering includes the following:
- Akata (propeller)
- Iye (long wheel)
- Akawo (shortwheel)
- Gowu and kikgun (rollers)
- Aasa (strikers)
- Omu (extender) this is used in holding the reels
- Sanrin (metallic peg)
During patterning, the cotton reels are hanged upon the hangers on the sets of the metallic pegs on the ground. The reason for this is to make the cotton into bundles.
WEAVING:
After the above has been put in place, the actual weaving starts. The rolled cotton will be neatly inserted into the striker through the extenders. The weaver will tie Iro (filler) on his seat. There are to or more holes on the staff in which a small peg is tagged. On the upper hand of the Omu (Extenders), there is Okeke (Wheel or Axle) for pulling the Omu up and down. There are two step pedals under the extenders (Omu) which the weaver presses down interchangeably during weaving. The pedal when pressed enables the cotton to open and the Reeler put through to one side while the Striker knocks the reel to and fro to another side. This Striker allows the reel to be finely set interchangeably. The weaver handles the Oko (Motor) throws it inside the open cotton to be received by his other hand, movement of the Motor continues and faster as if the weaver is not touching it at all. The reel inside the motor will start giving a peculiar sound.
Sakala - si - sakala - sa
Sakala - si - sakala - sa
As the weaver continues this way, the cloth is weaved and gradually extends forward. The weaver uses the drawer to pull the cloth towards himself and the carrier obeys the force and moves towards him while weaving continues. Aso-Oke is indeed a beautiful sight to behold and that's why it is such a wonder how, as cottons in few minutes become Aso-Oke., however the clothes goes by different names depending on the type, texture and quality.
*Culled from Heritage Aso-Oke Enterprises.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

10. New Yam Festivals

One festival that is celebrated around the country is the New Yam Festival; from the Leboku in Ugep, Cross River State to the Iriji-Mmanwu festival in Enugu State, the festival is celebrated in pomp and cultural display. Hundreds of masquerades, dancers in beautiful attires, acrobatic displays and fetish activities make it one festival that you should not miss.
So, with these colourful festivals in their full swings, it seems like a good time to pack your bags and visit Nigeria to experience some of these cultural festivals. Let us know what your favourite festivals are;

Culled from travelstrat.com

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

9. Argungu Fishing Festival

You may have experienced some fascinated water activities around the world but if you have not been to Argungu fishing festival, your list may not be complete. The alluring dynamics of the festival, the exciting spectators, and the anxious competitors who are ready to jump inside the river to begin their search for the biggest fish make this fishing festival extraordinary and beautiful.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

8. Ofala Festival

Photo Source: Eafrique.tv
The Ofala Festival is held in Anambra State where the Obi of Onitsha, Dr Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe and traditional rulers who are adorned in their red caps and royal regalia with their traditional staffs paint the whole place red with their parades and display of affluence and power.

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

7. Carniriv

For seven days, few weeks before Christmas in the city of Port Harcourt, The Port Harcourt Carnival which combines two carnivals; a contemporary Caribbean style carnival and a cultural carnival changes the 'Garden City to become very colourful. Carniriv is Rivers State's biggest tourism export.

Friday, 26 February 2016

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

6. Ojude Oba Festival

Ojude Oba festival is a cultural heritage that is woven from threads of diversity, history, legend and conquest. 'The King's front year' is the literal meaning of Ojuda Oba. The people of Ijebu Ode return en masse to pay their homage to the king, the Awujale of Ijebuland. This takes place on the third day of the Ileya Festival, (Eid-el-Kabir). This festival includes parades, traditional songs, equestrian skill display and lots more.

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

5. Sango Festival

Pretty much experience for anyone who has ever come to Sango Festival, this festival is in the honour of Sango the all powerful god in Yoruba land. This festival has facilitated an annual home-coming avenue for Yoruba descents in the Diaspora as a form of pilgrimage. It brings back the past history and celebrates the culture and tradition of the people, while creating wealth and employment for the people.

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

4. Osun Festival

We leave the comfort of the bustling city life to experience one of the most regarded cultural festivals in Nigeria. It usually takes place in the month of July and August every year. Off to the Sacred Forest of Osun, in a one week colourful festival to honour and reverence the river goddess, Oshun of Osun State, people come here to get their solutions to their problems.

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

3. Lagos Carnival

This is just so colourful. Like the Calabar Carnival but slightly different, Lagos Carnival is one of the most vibrant parties in Nigeria. You can feel the excitement in the air even before the carnival kicks off yearly. Revellers are seen travelling from different parts of the world to experience this carnival. You can join in the fun of the Carnival. Make new friends and share those memorable moments with family and friends.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

2. Festivals are an irresistible part of Cross River. They are a celebration of tradition and the ways of life of the many different communities.
Celebrations and dances are an integral part of our customs and traditions—
nowhere else in Nigeria will you find such rich diversity.
Every ritual and dance communicates and teaches something important. These festivals help to reinforce the values that keep our communities together and proudly celebrate their identity.

Calabar Festival
Held from the end of November to the end of December, the Calabar Festival is undisputedly the biggest and longest multi-dimensional, multi-faceted tourism leisure and entertainment programme in West Africa. Thirty-two days of exciting events, colourful activities and unprecedented. No festival can ever beat this Calabar Festival when it comes to amazing performances. This is the celebration of creativity and culture that blends with both the traditional and modern lifestyle of the people of Cross River State. The long feathered headdresses, the colourful costumes, the mesmerizing dancers and dance steps, the street parades and the bands attract thousands of people to it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

10 COLOURFUL FESTIVALS IN NIGERIA

There is no better way to explore and experience Nigeria's rich cultural heritage than joining in the colourful celebration at the cultural festivals. With a lot of inimitable cultural festivals for you to choose from; the Africa's biggest street party in Calabar, the worship of the goddess Oshun in the Sacred Forest of Osun, or witnessing the stunning white Eyo masquerades and lots more, we have selected 10 colourful cultural festivals in Nigeria that would blow off your mind; you can plan your next trip to Nigeria to revel at one of these colourful festivals.

1. Eyo Festival
Witness one of the most unique and fabulous celebrations in Nigeria. Some people called it the Adamu Orisha Play, a Yoruba festival that transforms the commercial Lagos Island to be stunning white. It attracts thousands of tourists from around the world who come to see costumed dancers or masquerades called 'Eyo' who perform during the festival. The processions are colourful and a lot of major roads are closed. It is strongly believed that Eyo Festival is a forerunner of the world biggest carnival in the world, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

ALAAFIN GAVE THE IJEBUS THEIR FIRST CROWN TO AWUJALE IN 1665 By Otunba Ajiboye

THE historical greatness of Alaafin in the creation of the Yoruba dynasty can not be over emphasised nor under estimated. Everything about kingship and its ochestrated hierachy traces back to alafin. Particularly Orayan The founder of Oyo and alaafin SANGO in 1078AD.
.
REIGNS OF THE ALAAFINS OF OYO and SOME HISTORICAL MARKS
892 Oranyan – Oyo-Ile was found
1042 Ajaka Dada
1077 Tella Oko –known as Sango Afonja
1137 Ajaka
1177 Aganju Sola
1300 Kori – Osogbo and Ede were found
1357 Oluaso
1471 Portugal 1st contact with Yoruba cities
1472 Eko is named LAGOS by the Portuguese
1530 – 1542 Onigbogi
1512 Ofinran – Saki was found
1534 Egungun Oju – Igboho was found
Nupe occupied Oyo- Ile
1554 Orompoto
1562 Ajiboye
1570 Abipa – Oyo-Ile rebuilt
1588 Obalokun – salt (Sodium Cloride)
introduced in domestic use into Yoruba Land Alaafin set envoys to court in Portugal
1600 Aja
1658 Odarawu
1660 Karan
1665 Jayin – 1 st Awujale of Ijebu appointed
1676 Ayibi – Oyo spanned 150.00 km2
1690 Osiyago – 1728 Oyo stats invade Dahomey
1732 Gberu
1738 Amuniwaye
1742 Onisile - 1748 subjugating the Dahomey
1750 Labisi – spent in the throne only 15 days committed suicide because of Basorun Gaha
1750 Awonbioju – spent 130 days in the throne
1750 Agboluaje - 1754 stars decline in the Empire with intrigues of Basorun Gaha
1772 Majeogbe
1774-1789 Abiodun
1789-1796 Awole
1796-1797 Adebo
1797-1798 Maku
1801-1827 Majeotu – Fulani seized Ilorin + 1823 Dahomey revolt
1827-1834 Amodo
1834-1837 Oluewu - 1835 Empire collapse, razed by the Fulani Jihad
Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja , master of Illorin, invited a Fulani scholar of Islam called Alim al Salih into his ranks. He hoped to secure the support of Yoruba Muslims and volunteers from the Hausa-Fulani north in keeping Ilorin independent, but no succeed and Oyo collapse.
1838-1858 Atiba Atobatele– 1838 Ago d'Oyo - New Oyo founded
The center of Yoruba power moved to Ibadan , a Yoruba war camp settled by Oyo commanders in 1830.
1859-1875 Adelu agunloye – 1857 Britain abolish slavery
1864 Alaafin stopped Batedo War in the name of Sango between Ijebu + Egbas
1876-1905 Adeyemi I
1888 Oyo became a protectorate of Great Britain
1905-1911 Agogo Ija Amubieya Lawani
1911-1944 Ladigbolu

Monday, 22 February 2016

THE EYO FESTIVAL

Lagos is a very popular city that almost everybody hears about. The former capital city of Nigeria, and presently the commercial capital of Nigeria, is popularly called the "Centre of Excellence." The city, called Lagos is in Lagos State, South West Nigeria. Ikeja is the state capital.
Lagos city is divided or separated by a Lagoon. Thus, it is in to two parts: the Lagos Island and the Lagos Mainland. The indigenes of Lagos are mostly domiciled in Lagos Island, known also as, Isale Eko. It is these indigenes, who celebrate the Eyo festival, a cultural and traditional masquerade display, which emerges from the Iga (palace) of the Oba or any of his cabinet members.
The Eyo Festival
The Eyo is the masquerade that comes out only in Lagos Island. It is believed to represent the spirits of the ancestors. The Eyo festival may be held in honour of a chief or an elder of a ruling family or an Oba, who had died. It may also be held when a new head of an Iga (palace) or a new Oba is installed. With the advent of westernization and modernization, a governor or a political leader may also request that the festival be organized to add colour to an occasion for a fee. Eyo is usually held on a Saturday.
Each Eyo comes out of an Iga (palace) of a ruling family in the morning and heads for the shrine (Agodo). It is robed from head to toe in white flowing cloth. The white flowing costume consists of an 'agbada' (the top robe), and the 'aropale' (the bottom wrap around). No part of the person carrying the Eyo is expected to be seen. The Eyo also wears an 'Akete' a hat that bears the colours and shield of the Iga from which he comes. An Eyo may tie ribbons in his Iga's colours to the Opambata (palm branch) that he carries. An Iga's Eyo may have up to 50 to 100 or more members. Each person carrying a robe as Eyo must pay a fee for the privilege. This fee is paid to the Iga – ruling house, whose colours and Akete the Eyo wears.
Only adult males may robe as Eyo; but sometimes, there may be a child Eyo in a group. The sons and daughters and wives, as well as friends and neighbours of the Iga follow the Eyo on a parade from one end of Lagos Island to the other. The route of each Eyo goes from the Iga, where the Iga's Eyo leave en masse, and then on to the Agodo – the shrine of the Orisa Eyo. After this, the Eyo may go anywhere on Lagos Island their feet can carry them, all the way from Ebute Ero to Obalende, via Oke Popo, Campus, Lafiaji and all neighbourhoods the Eyo's whims may carry him. In fact, an Eyo may easily cover 20 to 30 kilometres on that day. The crowd of supporters following the Eyo does not wear white robes
Imagine the spectacle of thousands of white robed figures in colourful hats, flowing ribbons, men women and children milling about the streets singing and dancing. The Lagos Eyo gives good meaning to the words, festival and spectacle.
The only Eyo that is not part of a group is the most senior Eyo-Adimu Orisa. This Eyo's nose is forever running, hence, the name Adimu. Only a very old and spiritually advanced male can robe as the Adimu. It is the last Eyo to leave the "agodo."
The Eyo, when it encounters people, greets them with the phrase, "E sunrunkunrun, we ma jagbon die!" meaning, "Don't fear anything, have a taste of the palm tree," and taps the individual on the shoulders with the "opambata." When he is given money, he will pray for the person and recite the praise song of his Iga. The phrase, "e sunrunkunrun, we ma jagbon die!" is in the Ijebu dialect of Yoruba. It was rendered as a wedding present when the Oba of Lagos married an Ijebu princess.
It is however, a taboo to either wear the Eyo costume overnight or cross any body of water, such as the Lagoon, Rivers, and so on.
Relevance
The Eyo festival is organized under the auspices of the Yoruba tradition, as well as social organizations or clubs. It is an outlet used to showcase the culture of the Isale Eko people, since it can be organized for special occasions apart from the death of prominent chiefs, elders, or installation of a new Oba. It can be used to entertain at special state functions or occasions.
Titilayo Ogundiji
R & D Dept, NICO

Sunday, 21 February 2016

OONI ORANMIYAN THE FOUNDER, ILE-IFE THE SOURCE OF BENIN EMPIRE (Part 2)

With your permission, I want to quote Williams Moore , in his book titled: "Warri Kingdom" published in 1936, where he submitted that: "In this so-called civilized age, one is shocked to imagine what atrocities lie buried in the womb of nature and which may again hatch in the unknown future. All the same, the invincible truth is ever intact to conquer error, however formidable this may seem at first sight." Truth and facts stir the conscience, enriches the consciousness of man and ennobles the human soul to free itself from shackles of ignorance and selfishness. And now to ice my historical cake, let's borrow from the writing of Christopher Marlowe(1564 - 1593), who wrote thus: "I'm armed with more than complete steel, ...The justice of my quarrel."
Before I draw curtain on this important historical argument, I want to borrow some facts from the submission of my compatriot - Kunle I Sowunmi, a Yoruba man of Abeokuta origin, who had earlier run wrote from Dallas Texas, in the United States of America, in his writing titled: "Ile Ife - The Final Resting Place of History." And I quote, in extenso, "Ooni who is not a direct son or descendants of Oduduwa may not necessarily be considered viable in this discussion. Alafin of Oyo who is a descendant of the acceptable link between Yoruba and Edo must examine his place in history and that of his senior brother Orangun of Ila the first son who had disappeared into history because he never challenged Oranmiyan. The abdication of the throne is a loss of right for Oranmiyan to his son in Benin but if the son (Eweka) and his descendants according to history continue to respect tradition and be buried at Ife or received blessing before being crowned then we can conclude that Ife is superior to Benin and Edo's must have in fact originated from Ife?
The question is this: Can a son be greater than his father? No. Or can a river be greater than its source? No. Otherwise it will dry. The source of Yoruba from Benin although appeared to be authentic as presented by Oba Eredua than Saudi Arabia or Lamurudu, which cannot be traced, traced in Saudi Arabian history. But the fact of history of allegiance of Oba of Benin to Ile Ife the cradle of Yoruba race before being crowned and after death is an indication that Ife is the source of both the Yoruba's and Edo but the Yoruba's and historians must come up with a very scientific and foolproof history to support this argument. This is an area the Ooni and other Yoruba writers have not defended enough. The argument of Professor Ajayi was not detailed or courageous enough. The professor wrote as if he was afraid to offend both the Yoruba and the Edos as against the fact, which would have helped the issue unless the Professor has no answer to the problem.
Alternatively, can we write off Alafin of Oyo from this discussion because his descendant failed to head the throne at Ile Ife when Oranmiyan was called? No. Some will say since he was buried at Ife to symbolize his rights to the throne or why did all his brothers fail to challenge his right to the Ife throne if he indeed was the last born maybe, that part of history was right that Oranmiyan was the first born not the last as mentioned by Oba of Benin. They're so many unanswered questions of history. The answer is not if we will offend ourselves or change the place of Edo's or Yoruba in history but who we are and where we were coming from. It is often said that it is a taboo to bury a king in exile. Ile Ife from all indications and by having the nails and heads of all the late kings of Benin and that of Oranmiyan himself buried at Ile Ife to this writer is the source of Edos and Yoruba and this fact must not be distorted with sentiments."
Finally, I want to advise the historical novices to stop distorting or doctoring history. With due respect for elders and most especially, "the-heads-that-wear-beaded-crowns"( "awon ori dadedade" ), it is not the present person(s) who reign(s) now that will tell us the history that were on the ground before he was born. We know the truth and nobody should come and be playing with our collective psyche by making politically motivated statements. I found very distorting, disgusting and an historical fallacy, when some people say that, "Oduduwa was expelled or ran away from Benin to establish Ile-Ife!" Who told you that? It makes one incensed! What an historical heresy! It's one's native and natural privilege and right to keep records for posterity sake. It is good to call a spade a spade, no matter whose ox is gored. History remains the natural arbiter and God our historical umpire. Now I remember this: to celebrate the centenary of the Guardian newspapers of London and his 50th anniversary as editor, C.P. Scott wrote, 'A Hundred Years' in 1921. The essay's famous sentence: 'Comment is free, but facts are sacred.'
Only time will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But we must always establish the basic facts of history without any further distortion.
Culled from Mike Famiyesin's Blog

Saturday, 20 February 2016

OONI ORANMIYAN THE FOUNDER, ILE-IFE THE SOURCE OF BENIN EMPIRE (Part 1)

Let us start our excursion to history with some indisputable records regarding the supremacy of Yoruba and by extension, Ile-Ife, over Benin Kingdom. I quote thus:
"In 1916, when Aguobasimi was installed as Oba of Benin in place of his father who died in Calabar while on exile, and the royal messengers of the then Ooni of Ife - Oba Ademiluyi(aka Lawarikan), went to him after a series of earnest requests, they delivered Ooni's message thus:
"YOUR FATHER GREETS YOU." (See Nigerian National Archives: Oyo Prof. 1, File 133, 24th May, 1916). And listen to this: "The place called "Orun-Oba-Ado Bini" is the site from where great Oranmiyan set out to found the Yoruba Dynasty in Benin, and it is to here that the heads of the Kings of Benin were brought for burial. The head and nail pairings of King Adolo, the 34th Oba of Benin, who reigned between 1848AD to 1888AD was brought from Benin to Ife in 1888 AD, during the reign of Ooni Derin Ologbenla (1880–1894) - the last occasion on which the tradition was kept." - (See "Ife: The Genesis of Yoruba" p240-1), by Late Dr.(Chief) M. A. Fabunmi." Note: Fabunmi was the Personal Secretary, for over 20 years or there about, to the Late Oba Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife, who reigned for 50 years from 1930 - 1980. The late Ooni was born in 1891 and he died in 1980.
And again, in 1982, when the present Oba of Benin paid an official visit to Ile-Ife. A speech of welcome presented by Ooni to the Oba was at that time prepared for the Ooni by Prof. (Sabiru) Biobaku, and I think that the man or people who knew this are still alive. He was a former Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos and a Professor of History (like Ade-Ajayi). Part of the speech read: "We welcome Your Royal Highness most heartily back to Ile-Ife, the cradle of our common culture, the origin of your dynasty and ours. Today is really a very good day for us in us and its environs because since you left in 891 AD, we have come to know that your dynasty has performed wonderfully well." Biobaku is not just an ordinary historian but one of the best Yoruba and African historians.
Oranmiyan - the famous and an unequaled Yoruba prince and warrior was the only Yoruba royal enigma to have ruled over Benin Kingdom, founded and became the very first Alaafin of Oyo and later came back to become the Ooni of Ife! He, it was who restructured Benin Kingdom, married in Benin, had two sons who later became Oba of Benin monarch. It is on record that Ogiso troubled dynasty was discarded and subsequent kings in Benin became known and addressed as "Oba" till date, based on the order established in Benin Kingdom by Oranmiyan. Even up to 1939, Yoruba language was the official palace language in Benin. No wonder then that many Benin families bear Yoruba names! And what about designs of the Benin palace after the renowned and historical Oduduwa palace in Ile-Ife? It is true then what Simeon Strunsky (1879 - 1949)
wrote in his book entitled: "No Mean City" that: "The years by themselves do not make a place historic. It is men who give the colour of history to a place by their deeds there or by merely having lived there."
And from Wikipedia comes this introduction: "The Ọọ̀ni of Ilé-Ifẹ̀ is the traditional ruler of Ile-Ife, whose dynasty goes back hundreds of years. Ife-Ifè is an ancient Yoruba people city in south-western Nigeria. Ọọ̀ni Lajamisan, who was the 8Th Ọọ̀ni of Ile Ife, was a Son of Ọọ̀ni Oranmiyan, (Ọọ̀ni Oranmiyan was also The first Oba of Benin, First Aláàfin of Oyo and the Father of Oṣile of Oke-Ona Egba). Ọọ̀ni Lajamisan the son of Ọọ̀ni Oranmiyan, was also the Father of Ọọ̀ni Lajodoogun, the 9th Ọọ̀ni of Ile Ife, through whom the genealogy of all succeeding Ọọ̀nis of Ile Ife until the reigning Ọọ̀ni Okunade Adele Sijuwade, Olubuse 11, Arole Oduduwa and the Head of the Yoruba Nation, is traced down to Ọọ̀ni Odùduwà, The Ancestral Father of the Yorubas Globally." From Oba (Dr) Adedapo Tejuoso's 212 page book, titled: "Oranmiyan: What's in a name?" , I quote: "In Yoruba parlance, a name is given to signify situation of birth in a home, posterity, sense of character and projection into the future. Oranmiyan was one of the seven sons of Okanbi, the only child of Oduduwa, and he reigned as the sixth Ooni of Ife. He was famed as a strong enigmatic leader, who led his people into a path of greatness that lasted several centuries, leaving a heritage that last till today. His Cenotaph, popularly known as Opa Oranmiyan, is in Ile Ife, and is a tourist destination. After several wars and conquests, and establishing the Benin and Oyo kingdoms, he was to later become the Ooni of Ife. The throne he held till he joined his ancestors." It is my salient advice that, we must not allow ourselves to be hypnotized by the hollow rhetoric and any distortions of facts of history. We must not let any overpowering effluvium envelop our sense of history.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Benin Kingdom in Edo is Yoruba territory - Ooni of Ife, (Concluding part)

"Our own traditional history says that the Ooni of Ife was a Benin Prince who wandered from here to Ife, settled there and became the ruler there. That is the position, if they don't know, they should send people here; we will teach them.
"We will show them landmarks. So this is unnecessary misrepresentation of history. Maybe the Alake wanted to mention a different place and not Benin.
"The monarchical rulership in this part of the world started from Benin during the era of the Ogisos. It was the son of the last Ogiso, Owodo, that wandered from here to Ife and he became a ruler there, carrying everything about the Benin monarchical system to that place. There is no basis for such classification.
"The Ooni of Ife, by historical facts, is a son of the Oba of Benin, so they are not in the same class. The Oba of Benin is the only one that answers Oba, the rest don't. But today, we hear Oba here and there, they are all recent adaptations. I am saying categorically that the word Oba is indigenous to Benin and not to Yoruba nation."
Premium Times

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Benin Kingdom in Edo is Yoruba territory - Ooni of Ife, (Part 1)

The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Tuesday said Benin Kingdom in Edo State remained part of the expansive Yoruba race, a pronouncement that may spark fresh rivalry and altercation between people of the two ancient kingdoms.
The monarch made the comment in reaction to a statement credited to the palace of the Oba of Benin challenging the claim by the Alake of Egbaland, Adedotun Gbadebo, that the Ooni of Ife remained the pre-eminent spiritual leader in Yorubaland and environs.
Oba Ogunwusi, via a statement by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Moses Olafare, made available to PREMIUM TIMES, said he was not interested in any supremacy battle with anyone but that he would continue to put the records straight and avoid distortion of history from any quarters.
The monarch said going by historical evidence detailing the Oduduwa lineage, Benin Kingdom remained part and parcel of Oduduwa House.
"We in Oduduwa land have always seen and regarded our people in Benin kingdom as part and parcel of Oduduwa House. They are our brothers and sisters, coupled with historical facts to back up this position," Ooni Ogunwusi said.
"The statement credited to the Alake of Egbaland, did not emanate from us but the reality is that as a highly experienced and well informed monarch, Kabiyesi Alake, who is a bonafide Oodua descendant is entitled to his opinion based on his knowledge and understanding of history," the Ooni said.
"Let me emphasize for the umpteenth time that Kabiyesi Ooni is less concerned over any supremacy hullabaloo. He is only interest for now in how the sacred throne of Oduduwa can explore measures through which the collective interest and genuine unity among Yoruba and other tribes within the larger House of Oduduwa can be enhanced.
"This informed his resolve to build bridges of harmony among Yourba Obas. I am resolutely committed to how Yoruba ethnic group can restore its glory and pride of position among other ethnic inclinations in Nigeria and don't want to be dragged into supremacy contest or join issues with anybody."
The traditional ruler said he recalled that about six years ago, attempt was made by some people to upturn history during the launch of a book titled: I REMAIN SIR, YOUR OBEDIENT SERVANT, which he said stood historical facts on its head.
Oba Ogunwusi stated that If the position espoused by the Oba of Benin Palace in the media "is aimed at distancing our people in Benin from the South West and Yoruba, so be it."
He however added, "We still identify with them as our kinsmen, regardless of the attempt to change the course of history."
The Alake had, while hosting the Oba Ogunwusi in his palace on February 7, rated the Ooni as the number one monarch in Yorubaland and other territories considered part of the Oduduwa House.
In his rating, Oba Gbadebo said Oba Ogunwusi was number one of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland, followed by the Alaafin of Oyo, then by the Oba of Benin (in third position), the Alake of Egbaland (fourth) and the Awujale of Ijebuland (fifth).
But in a swift reaction on Tuesday, the Esogban of Benin and Odionwere of the Kingdom, David Edebiri, rejected the ranking, saying the Ooni of Ife was a son of the Oba of Benin and that the Oba of Benin stool has no relationship with the Yoruba race.
The Esogban said, "We wanted to discard this report as something that was not necessary at all. We do not see how the Alake of Egbaland suddenly woke up to think that the Oba of Benin is also a Yoruba Oba.
"There is no basis for such classification; Oba of Benin has nothing to do with the Yoruba Obas. It is simply unnecessary, unless they simply want to stir up an unnecessary controversy.
"We are not in Yorubaland. To be frank, it is because many of them are not willing to come up with the truth, the word Oba is alien to Yoruba monarchy; it is not part of their title from time immemorial.
"For instance, the one they call the Oba of Lagos, these are recent adaptations. In the 50s, there was no Oba of Lagos, what we had was the Eleko of Eko. That is the title of the King there. In Ibadan, you have the Olu Ibadan. You come to Abeokuta, you have the Alake of Egba land. You come to Oyo, you have the Alaafin of Oyo. In Ilesha, you have the Owa-Obokun of IIesha. So no Yoruba monarch had as part of his titles the word Oba except the Oba of Benin.
"That word Oba is indigenous to Benin. It is only in recent times you find everybody bearing Oba. When the Western Regional conference of traditional rulers took place in Benin City in 1942, go and check the attendance, there was no other monarch in the whole of the Western Region then that bore the title of Oba, except the Oba of Benin.
"So it is an unnecessary excursion, an unnecessary attempt to turn history upside down by the Alake by classifying the Oba of Benin as third in the hierarchy of kings.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

ALAAFIN GAVE THE IJEBUS THEIR FIRST CROWN TO AWUJALE IN 1665.

THE historical greatness of Alaafin in the creation of the Yoruba dynasty can not be over emphasised nor under estimated. Everything about kingship and its ochestrated hierachy traces back to alafin. Particularly Orayan The founder of Oyo and alaafin SANGO in 1078AD.
The alaafin started the instituion of obaship in yoruba land. He is the only one that has an empire. The oyo empire. He supervised the crowning of all the obas in yoruba.....
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REIGNS OF THE ALAAFINS OF OYO and SOME HISTORICAL MARKS
892 Oranyan – Oyo-Ile was found
1042 Ajaka Dada
1077 Tella Oko –known as Sango Afonja
1137 Ajaka
1177 Aganju Sola
1300 Kori – Osogbo and Ede were found
1357 Oluaso
1471 Portugal 1st contact with Yoruba cities
1472 Eko is named LAGOS by the Portuguese
1530 – 1542 Onigbogi
1512 Ofinran – Saki was found
1534 Egungun Oju – Igboho was found
Nupe occupied Oyo- Ile
1554 Orompoto
1562 Ajiboye
1570 Abipa – Oyo-Ile rebuilt
1588 Obalokun – salt (Sodium Cloride)
introduced in domestic use into Yoruba Land Alaafin set envoys to court in Portugal
1600 Aja
1658 Odarawu
1660 Karan
1665 Jayin – 1 st Awujale of Ijebu appointed
1676 Ayibi – Oyo spanned 150.00 km2
1690 Osiyago – 1728 Oyo stats invade Dahomey
1732 Gberu
1738 Amuniwaye
1742 Onisile - 1748 subjugating the Dahomey
1750 Labisi – spent in the throne only 15 days committed suicide because of Basorun Gaha
1750 Awonbioju – spent 130 days in the throne
1750 Agboluaje - 1754 stars decline in the Empire with intrigues of Basorun Gaha
1772 Majeogbe
1774-1789 Abiodun
1789-1796 Awole
1796-1797 Adebo
1797-1798 Maku
1801-1827 Majeotu – Fulani seized Ilorin + 1823 Dahomey revolt
1827-1834 Amodo
1834-1837 Oluewu - 1835 Empire collapse, razed by the Fulani Jihad
Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja , master of Illorin, invited a Fulani scholar of Islam called Alim al Salih into his ranks. He hoped to secure the support of Yoruba Muslims and volunteers from the Hausa-Fulani north in keeping Ilorin independent, but no succeed and Oyo collapse.
1838-1858 Atiba Atobatele– 1838 Ago d'Oyo - New Oyo founded
The center of Yoruba power moved to Ibadan , a Yoruba war camp settled by Oyo commanders in 1830.
1859-1875 Adelu agunloye – 1857 Britain abolish slavery
1864 Alaafin stopped Batedo War in the name of Sango between Ijebu + Egbas
1876-1905 Adeyemi I
1888 Oyo became a protectorate of Great Britain
1905-1911 Agogo Ija Amubieya Lawani
1911-1944 Ladigbolu.

An Interview with Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III (CFR, JP LLD), The Alaafin of Oyo. (Concluding part)

The Alaafin represented the entire south in Lagos. I left the place and went home, wrote a strongly worded letter to General Jeremiah Useni and copied the late General Abacha. Abacha invited me and I told him that government is a continuum. He reasoned with me and corrected that. The Alake and the Awujale never fought their own cause but I fought mine.
When they asked us for a meeting in Abuja, they asked us to bring our aides for hotel accommodation. The emirs would bring about eight and they put them in suites while they reserved two rooms for me. I just packed to one of the presidential suites. They said but it was not reserved for me, and I said they didn't have to do that, I did it myself. You see, as the Alaafin, you cannot fear anything.

An Interview with Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III (CFR, JP LLD), The Alaafin of Oyo. (Part 1)

QUESTION: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER PROMINENT OBAS IN YORUBALAND?
ALAAFIN: Very very cordial. But there have been some controversies concerning supremacy. You see, the issue of who is supreme among the obas is a 20th Century phenomenon. No oba can say he is greater than the Alaafin. Up till now, there is no oba who has come out to make such claims; they only use surrogates. If any oba wants to attack the Alaafin, he uses a baale or another inconsequential element to do that, whereas the Alaafin has come out openly to say he is the head of the Yoruba obas and nobody has controverted that.
If you go to Sir Lugard's political memoranda in 1917, he detailed the hierarchy of all the traditional rulers in the north and the south. My father or my grandfather was not there to influence Lord Lugard to write it. If you say Johnson had bias for Oyo, go and see C. R. Neeving, who stated unequivocally and authoritatively that the Alaafin is the supreme oba in Yorubaland. Go to Johnson, see the treaty signed by the Alaafin in 1881, stating, I, Adeyemi I, Alaafin of Oyo, King of Yorubaland.'
In his letter to the British in 1881, during the internecine wars, he wrote, "I, king of the Yoruba" There is no dispute over that. I have challenged them to a debate, at least for 10 minutes, but they have run away because the facts are there. Somebody wrote recently that the first settlement was ruled by the first Alake. Do you believe that the first settlement of Yoruba was established by Alake who was established in 1830?
QUESTION: DO YOU BELIEVE THE HISTORY OF YORUBA STARTED IN 1830?
ALAAFIN: The first Alake in Abeokuta, Okukenu, was a Sagbua, a chief of the Alaafin. Go to the book, Egba and her neighbours, written by an eminent professor of history, Professor Saburi Biobaku, page 15, he wrote that the Egba forest laid within the remotest part of the Alaafin Empire, and how the Alaafin superimposed his authority over the Alake and all other Egba traditional chiefs is acknowledged.
Go to the salary scale of all the obas in 1938, the record of the pay-slips is in the Palace here. Oyo province was constituted on January 14, 1914 and Ife and Ijesa were all under Oyo Province. For purposes of effective administration, Oyo Province was broken down into three, namely Oyo Division of Oyo Province; Ibadan Division of Oyo Province and Ife/Ijesa Division of Oyo Province. And principal obas in these areas were designated district heads.
In Ibadan, the Olubadan was the district head of Ibadan, Ooni was the district head of Ife, Orangun was the district head of Ila and Owa was the district head of Igbomina. The Alaafin was the paramount head of the whole province, and in ranking, the Aremo, who was the crown prince of the Alaafin, was the district head of Oyo Province. Twenty district courts were opened for the 20 districts in the province, and the Alaafin never sat in any of the district courts, but at the court of appeal over the 20 district courts.
When there was a problem between Ife and Ijesa, Sir John Macpherson asked the Alaafin to intervene. The Alaafin sent Are Ilugbohun and Alapini and a number of Oyomesi to go and adjudicate. The boundary fixed by the Alaafin at Enuowa still subsists till today. Ditto the dispute between Ife and Ede, Alaafin's ruling still subsists till today. When Ibadan and Egba quarrelled over Bakasari, the Alaafin settled it and said Bakasari belonged to Ibadan, and he made all the parties to sign an undertaking.
TO BE SPECIFIC, THERE WERE INSINUATIONS THAT THE OLD OYO STATE HAD TO BE SPLIT INTO TWO; OYO AND OSUN, BECAUSE OF THE SUPREMACY FIGHT BETWEEN YOU AND THE OONI OF IFE.
ALAAFIN: I would not know the inner workings of government. But I want to tell you this: politics brought out the Ooni. There are so many things we cannot cover in the course of this interview. Like I told you, the question of whether the Alaafin is supreme is a 20th Century phenomenon, when Awolowo emerged the premier of the old Western Region. That was when the government propped up the Ooni. And the only way they could do it successfully then was to get rid of the Alaafin, which they did by deposing the Alaafin, and Ooni Adesoji Aderemi on August 8, 1960 was appointed the governor of the Western Region. The governorship thing was to give leverage to a man who never founded any empire.
When they organised the Traditional Rulers' Forum in Abuja, Yoruba obas were ridiculed. They put all the Emirs on the first row and put Yoruba Obas, including the Ooni on the second row. When I came in, I asked for my seat and they wanted me to go and sit at the back. I just removed one of the tags and sat beside the Sultan of Sokoto. Under the Clifford Constitution in 1922, two Obas represented the whole of Nigeria at the Legislative Council, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Alaafin of Oyo.

LISABI FESTIVAL- A CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ABEOKUTA (Concluding part)

INSIDE THE MAIN FOREST
Alake and his entourage's arrival at the main forest was heralded by several deafening gunshots that scared every living organism in the forest, whose trees wore healthy green leaves, while the forest spirits seemed to welcome the monarch as the leaves gently gyrated to the tunes dictated by the unpolluted breeze that bathed everyone, and the violent vibration generated by the gunshots.
After the successful entry, Egba anthem "Lori oke ati petele, ibe la gbe bi mi o..." meaning "on the top of hills and in the valley, there I was born..."was proudly sung by everyone present, including the monarch. After this, the Alake and his chiefs took their seats, while the Oluwos (chief priests) of Itoku, Igbein and Oba townships, paid homage to him, informing him that they had earlier offered sacrifices to the spirit of the legendary Lisabi Agbongbo-Akala and that the spirit accepted the sacrifices.
This information gladdened the hearts of Alake and his chiefs, who nodded with satisfaction, after which other priests, warriors, oro cult members etc. took their respective turns to pay homage to the Alake.
To round off the visitation to the forest, Alake offered a long prayer for all Egba children at home and in diaspora for success in their respective endeavours. He also prayed for the unity of Egbaland and peace in Nigeria. After the prayer, the monarch and his people descended from the sacred forest and walked back to their cars which were parked at the entrance of the forest for the journey back to Abeokuta city.

AT ALAKE'S PALACE
The appearance of the monarch at the palace prompted the singing of the Egba anthem, "Lori Oke..."again.
Several traditional institutions like the Oluwos (traditional priests) Oloroguns (traditional soldiers) parakoyis (the traditional market controllers) among others, as well as the worshippers of traditional deities like Olomolus, kori worshippers, Igunnuko masquerade worshippers, Osun worshippers and others took turns to pay homage to the Alake, blessing him and receiving blessings from him.
Alake rounded off the festival with another round of long prayer for the Egba people and the nation. After this, Egba anthem was once again sung. With the retreat of Alake and his chiefs to the inner chambers of the palace, the colourful Lisabi festival came to a memorable end.
*Culled fromTravelscope Magazine.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

LISABI FESTIVAL- A CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ABEOKUTA (Part 1)

Lisabi festival is usually held annually by the Egba people in remembrance of Lisabi Agbongbo Akala. Lisabi, an Egba warrior, is venerated for his heroic exploits during those turbulent days of inter-tribal wars and he is thus identified by all Egba people as the strength of their togetherness.
According to the history of Abeokuta, Lisabi forest houses the remains of the legendary farmer turned warrior.

LISABI'S EXPLOITS
Lisabi, a native of Itoku in the ancient town of Abeokuta, lived at Igbein area of the city, and because of his prowess in warfare, the people of Igbein, till date, have the exclusive right to the war title of Balogun of Egbaland.
According to history, when the other Egba leaders had resigned to fate under the unbearable servitude they were consigned to by the Oloyo, Lisabi was preoccupied with the thought of how his land of birth would be freed from the shackles of slavery. Towards uniting the people for an onslaught against Oloyo's formidable force which was an amalgam of many towns and villages which were similarly consigned to servitude, Lisabi reportedly formed a cooperative society which had able-bodied men who were farmers as members.
Abeokuta's history points to the fact that Lisabi proved to be an energetic leader as he
worked harder than others whenever they went to work on a member's farm, so much that every member promised to do his best when it was time to work on Lisabi's farm.
When his (Lisabi's) time came, instead of asking members to work on his farm, he declared war on Oyo. His cooperative society members were amazed and afraid, but accepted to go to war because they did not want to disappoint him by reneging on their promises.
With supreme war tactics, Lisabi's army, whose numerical strength was far less than that of the Oloyo, won the battle, consequently obtaining freedom for the Egbas.

JOURNEY TO LISABI FOREST
Egba sons and daughters who were decked out in white attires, boarded their respective vehicles, and in a long convoy, headed for the sacred Lisabi forest, travelling on a dusty road that changed the colours of their vehicles.
At the entrance to the forest were a set of canopies and white plastic chairs neatly arranged to accommodate womenfolk as, according to the Nigerian Tribune's findings, they are traditionally forbidden to enter the main Lisabi forest because of the presence of Oro cultists, since it is forbidden for women to witness the Oro cult activities as this could lead to death.
Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, who is the paramount ruler of Egbaland, and his high chiefs were seated with the womenfolk for about half an hour before proceeding to the main forest.
*Culled from Travelscope Magazine

Monday, 15 February 2016

A HISTORY OF ABEOKUTA FROM THE EGBA FOREST (Concluding part)

The same year, the Dahomeans, under King Gezo, invaded Abeokuta but were repulsed. The Dahomey army repeated the invasion in 1851 and suffered the devastating defeat of their largely female 'Amazon' warriors who were pursued all the way to the outskirts of their kingdom!
In 1849, Abeokuta attacked Ibarapa for waylaying the Egba in their territory. Among other wars fought by Abeokuta were the Ijebu-Ere War in 1851, and the Ijaye War of 1860-1862, and the Makun War of 1862-1864, as well as a few others. In most of these encounters, they emerged victorious – although they suffered their own reverses in some as well.
After the demise of Sodeke, Abeokuta had no leader for quite a number of years. The administration of the town was left in the hands of chiefs like Ogunbona the Balogun of Ikija, Okukenu the Sagbua of Ake, Somoye the Seriki, who later became Bashorun in succeeding Apati, Bada of Kemta, and others.
The Egbas in an effort to reunite from this leadership fractionalization elected to install an Oba, and the lot fell on Okukenu, the Sabua of Ake and head of Egba Ogboni cult. An industrious woodcarver, he was installed the Alake of Ake on August 8, 1854.
A few months later in 1855, the first Olowu in Abeokuta, Oba Adeyanju Pawu from the Otileta Royal lineage was also crowned!
*Culled from owulakoda.wordpress.com

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A HISTORY OF ABEOKUTA FROM THE EGBA FOREST (Part 1)

The story of Abeokuta, the abode of the Egbas (and Owus), started with their liberation from the sovereignty of the Alafin of Oyo Empire, to which the Egbas had belonged.
The Liberation took place between 1775 and 1780, under the leadership of Lisabi, a resident of Igbehin who was born in Itoku. He organized an insurgent movement disguised under the name of Egbe Aaro Tradition Mutual Aid Society.
Lisabi later used the society to free the Egba by organizing the simultaneous killing of the Ajeles or Ilaris in all Egba settlements in 1780, starting from Igbehin. In all, more than 600 llaris or Ajeles were wiped out in one day. Ilaris were the representatives of the Alafin of Oyo and collectors of the tributes paid to the Alafin from all territories under the dominion of Oyo Empire.
The Ajeles or Ilaris generally behaved like an Army of Occupation in the places they administered. Their tyrannical rules marked them out as instruments for the oppression and suppression of the people. It was this authoritarian rule of the Alafin and reckless lifestyle of the Ilaris in Egbaland that resolved Lisabi and his peers to bring an end to the evil.
The adoption of the universally popular Aaro system of cooperative by the Egbe Ologun (Arms Bearers Club) of Lisabi was the strategy he used to plot against the Ilaris in his Igbehin town. All the other Egba towns rose and killed the Ilaris in their midst in an almost simultaneous coordination!
As soon as the news reached metropolitan Oyo the Alaafin wasted no time in dispatching an Army to crush the Egba rebellion. This was already anticipated in the Lisabi plan and the Oyo army of vengeance was routed and the freedom of the Egbas established. This episode occurred between 1775 and 1780 in the Egba forest.
This unity and cooperation among the numerous Egba forest settlements was very short lived, their lack of cooperation and unified direction later resulting in their being completely routed at the advent of the Yoruba Wars triggered at Apomu market near Orile Owu.
Much later around 1829, Lamodi of Igbehin and Balogun of the Egbas living in Maye's camp in Ibadan, decided that the Egbas should escape from Maye's bondage. The Egbas had heard about Abeokuta in their quest for a place to settle in. They sent Chief Sobookun, the Baamokun of Ilugun, and others to bring a handful of earth from there for divination, and the result was propitious.
The first batch to arrive in Abeokuta consisted of Egba Alake, Oke Ona, and Gbagura, in that order. Later, Olufakun led Owu to Abeokuta, while others soon followed.
(NOTE: It is known that an Owu-Apomu warrior by the name of Sangojimi Gudugba and his group were also at the head of that pioneering refugee team from Ibadan led by Sodeke).
Lamodi lost his life in battle at a river crossing while trying to prevent his first son, Osota, from being captured by Maye's army, who were pursuing the Egba. Sodeke, the Seriki of the Egbas succeeded him and in 1830 led the Egba Alake into Abeokuta. Balogun Olunloye, the Balogun Ilugun led Ogba Oke-Ona while Oluwole Agbo, Balogun Ojo Gbagura led the Gbagura to Abeokuta.
An Itoko chief named Idowu Liperu had earlier been living at the settlement. He had crossed the Ogun River and settled on a farmland where three hunters by name Jibulu, Ose and Olunle joined him. Unlike, Liperu who erected a house with the assistance of the then Olubara Lafa the three hunters lodged in caves under the Olumo Rock. They had earlier assisted Sobookun to retrieve the soil samples from around the Olumo Rock.
Later, Adagba and others moved to the rock to join Liperu and the three hunters, who had settled there. Adagba was a brave man who had his farmland located very close to the rock. The settlement was called Oko Adagba, the initial name of Abeokuta. Olumo means 'built by the Lord' – its naturally furnished apartments being its caves! Another interpretation of Olumo is 'Oluwa Fimo' meaning God puts an end to the hostility against the Egbas. Abeokuta is also known as 'Abe Olumo' – a settlement under the rock.
Between 1830 and the turn of the century, the settlers in Abeokuta were forced to fight several wars mostly for the survival of the emerging settlement. In 1832, the Ijebu Remo people provoked the new settlers into taking arms against several Ijebu Remo towns in the Owiwi war. In 1834, an attempted Ibadan invasion also challenged them into a war which resulted in the heavy defeat of the Ibadan army at the Battle of Arakanga which manifested the potency and indispensability of the warriors of the Owu settlers who had only recently been convinced by Sodeke to settle with them in order to boost the new settlement's defences!
In 1842, the settlers took the offensive against the Ota people in order to ensure free movement through Ota territory on their route to Lagos for firearms. This led to another war in 1844 when they attacked Ado under the Owu war general, Gbalefa, for assisting the Ota people two years earlier.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

MOLES: CLUES TO OUR DESTINY (Concluding part)

Armpit:
A mole in the right armpit represents desire for wealth. A mole in the left armpit represents desire for ladies.

Ribs:
A mole on the right ribs represents a person with a lot of inner fear. He lies easily. A mole on the left ribs represents a person whose earning will be average.

Stomach:
A mole on the right side of the stomach indicates good earnings and weakness of ladies. A mole on the left side of the stomach represents a jealous person who likes to earn easy money. He will possess some agriculture lands. A mole nearer to navel cavity represents luxurious life. Such a person is loud-mouthed.

Hands:
A mole on the right hand indicates a person who completes any task by tenacity and intelligent. A mole on the left hand indicates a person who wants to become rich but stays at average level.
A mole on the left or right elbow represents wealth and success. The native likes fine arts. He helps others and gets help from others. A mole on the wrist represents childhood in poverty. He becomes a writer or painter. He will be devotional. His income increases when he becomes aged.

Palms:
Moles on any part of the inner palm are not good. They represent various obstacles.

Fingers:
Moles on any part of the fingers are not good. They represent various obstacles.

Back:
A mole any where nearer to the backbone represents name and fame. Such a person becomes a leader or minister.
A mole on the right side of the back represents good health and courage. A mole on the left side of the back represents completing the tasks by diplomacy.

Buttocks:
Moles on the right buttock represent wisdom and creativity. The person will become an artist. Moles on the left buttock represent poverty. The person leads a deprived life.

Genitals:
Moles any where on the genitals represent excessive desire for sex. Such persons generally will have a paramour.

Thighs:
Moles on the right thigh represent valor. The person will have an opportunity to go abroad. He will be profited from a lady, either from his wife or from other woman. Moles on the left thigh make the person skilled in some art. He becomes lazy and will have fewer friends.

Legs:
A mole on the right calf represents success in all ventures. There will be benefits from ladies. The native may involve into politics. A mole on the left calf represents journeys due to job or business. There will be many friends.
A mole on the right ankle represents foresightedness. The native will be endowed with gift of gab. The person will have a lot of belief in God. A mole on the left ankle represents devotion towards God. He talks less. At some point of life, the person faces legal problems.

Feet:
A mole on the right foot represents a good spouse and family life. He will have devotion to God. A mole on the left foot represents creates problems with spouse. The person faces financial problems and wrath of others. Moles on the bottom of the feet represent journeys, enemies and licentious nature. The person will be a lover of fine arts.

*Culled from askastrologer.com

Friday, 12 February 2016

MOLES: CLUES TO OUR DESTINY (Part two)

Eyes:
A mole in the right eye gives easy – money. Even if the person doesn't work, he will become rich suddenly out of sheer luck. A mole in the left eye represents an arrogant person who would be after ladies. He will have a secret and illegal connection with ladies.
Moles at the eye socket (corner towards the ear) represent a generous and peaceful person. But there is possibility of sudden death. Moles at the eye socket (corner towards the nose bridge) represent death of one of the children and grief for the native.

Ears:
A mole any where on the ear represents good earnings and luxurious life. Expenditure will be uncontrollable. There may be danger of drowning. A mole at the backside of the ear represents a person who follows customs. He will get his wife from a higher family.

Nose:
A mole on the tip of the nose represents quick thinking and quick temper. Such a person will have high self-respect and generally win on others.
A mole at right side of the nose represents more money with fewer efforts. A mole at the left side of the nose gives bad results. The native involves into prostitution.
A mole on the bridge between nostrils represents obstacles in getting the job and loss of money. A mole below the nose represents good sexual drive. The native possesses a large family and many children.

Chin:
A mole which is located exactly in the middle of the chin represents a lofty person who receives laurels from others.
Moles on the right side of the chin represent logical thinking and diplomatic nature. They can convince others with their speech. Their earnings will be very good and they get name and fame easily. Moles on the left side of the chin represent a person who talks straight forward and hence people do not like him. He becomes quarrelsome. Expenditure will be uncontrollable.

Lips:
A mole on the upper lip represents a person who does good to every one. There will be weakness of ladies and luxurious items. A mole on the lower lip represents a person who loves good food. He will have interest in acting and theatre arts.
A mole on the inner side of the upper lip represents a person skilled in mantras and mystic forces. A mole on the inner side of the lower lip represents a person who becomes a drunkard and losses money on speculation.

Cheek:
Moles on the right cheek represent a sensitive person who gives a lot of respect to his parents. He loves his wife and relatives. He enjoys wealth and health and lives long. Moles on the left cheek represent a person who is introvert and an arrogant person. He would face troubles in the life. But he will be happy in the old age because of his children.

Tongue:
A mole on the middle of the tongue indicates obstacles in the education. The native may not be able to talk fluently and there will be health problems.
A mole on the tip (outer edge) of the tongue represents a person who can convince others with his speech. He is intelligent and diplomatic. He loves good food and his children will have good future.

Neck:
A mole on the back side of the neck represents angry and aggressive person. Generally such a person involves into anti-social activities. A mole on the front side of the neck represents an artistic person with sweet voice. His life will settle well after his marriage.

Shoulders:
Moles on right shoulder represent brave and courageous person who will not sleep until finishing any project. Moles on the left shoulder represent a person who involves into quarrels with others.

Chest:
A mole on the right side of the chest indicates more female progeny. Financial problems trouble him. But he receives due respect from others. A mole on the left side of the chest represents a person who is clever and who does not maintain good relation with his relations and friends. Financial problems are common for him. A mole exactly in the middle of the chest represents heavy financial problems. Such person involves into heavy debts. But he will have devotion to God.

*Culled from askastrologer.com

Thursday, 11 February 2016

MOLES: CLUES TO OUR DESTINY

Moles are marks which can be found on different parts of the body. In Indian and Chinese Astrology, moles are interpreted as representing the destiny of the person. The influence of the planets on the person would start at the time of fetus formation in the mother's womb. Some planets influence the fetus more and some less. These influences result into mole formation when focused at the surface of the body. In the horoscope, the Ascendant and its lord, 6th house lord, Moon, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Rahu and Kethu will form moles on the human body. For example, if the Ascendant lord Saturn is posited in Aries, will produce a black mole (Saturn for black) on the head part (Aries for head) of the native.
If the sign and planet influencing the fetus are masculine then the mole will be formed at the right side of the body. If the sign and planet are feminine then the mole will be formed at the left side of the body. For example, a combination of Mars (Male planet) and Venus (Female planet) in Scorpio (female sign representing genitals) forms a mole on the genitals. If Mars is strong, then the mole will be at the right side on the genitals. If Venus is strong, then the mole will be formed at left side. The colors of the moles can be decided by the colors of the planets. For example, Saturn and Rahu give black moles and Mars gives red moles.
Moles should be interpreted according to their color, shape and size, and the place where they are located on the body. Moles in red color or honey color or green color will generally bring good fortune. Moles in black color give bad results. Small moles which are not so visible, will not give any results. Only big moles will produce results. Long moles give good results. Moles which are in square shape will give bad results in the starting, but they produce good results by the end. Moles in the form of a triangle will produce mixed results, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Moles in zigzag shapes will produce bad results. Now, let us discuss the effects of moles according to their placement on human body.

The following points are given for gents. But they are equally applicable to ladies also.

Head:
The moles on the top (crown) of the head are visible only if the head is shaven. If a mole is found on the right side of the head, the person will excel in politics. If the mole is in red or green color, then he will become minister. He can also be a president leading a society or business organization. He will have social status and success in every walk of life.
If the mole is at the left side of the head, then the native will not have enough money. Generally, he will not marry and spends his life in roaming. He will lead a spiritual life and gives spiritual discourses. There would be an interest in literature also. Moles at the back side of the head represent weakness of ladies. Such a person will be attached to his wife. He earns more money but he will not have a good name in the society.

Forehead:
If the forehead is wide and there is a mole on the right side of the forehead, then it denotes wealth. The native becomes wealthy and receives good name and fame in the society. He will help others and will have devotion to God. If the mole on the forehead is located at left side and the forehead is narrow, then the person will be selfish and does not help any one. Others will not give him any respect.

Temples:
If the mole is on the right side temple, it denotes early marriage and beautiful wife. There is a possibility of sudden and unexpected arrival of money. If the mole is at the left temple, it also denotes sudden marriage and sudden wealth. There will be losses in the business. People do not like them for any reason.

Eye brows:
If there is a mole in the middle of the eyebrows, it denotes leadership qualities, wealth, name and fame. Such a native likes luxuries and women. If the mole is found on the right eyebrow, there will be early marriage with a good lady. The native becomes lucky after marriage. It is better if he invests in his wife's name. If the mole is on the left eyebrow, the person will be unlucky. He cannot utilize the money properly and faces troubles in the job or business.

Eye lids:
A mole on the right eyelid brings wealth. The native becomes rich slowly. He will have inner pride and feels that he is great. Expenditure will be more. He will spend money for God either by constructing temples or for performing pujas. A mole on the left eyelid represents a general life. The person earns meager amount of money. He is prone to jealousy from others.
A mole in the inner part of top eyelids represents a lucky and wealthy person. On the other hand, mole in the inner part of lower eyelids represents domestic troubles and lack of luck.

To be continued.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

IWORI PAIRING WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES

In today lessons, we are treating the last four corpuses of Ifa with which Iwori is pairing, and they are namely Otura, Irete, Ose and Ofun. As it is a norm since the beginning of this lesson, it is important for an Ifa priest to divine and bring messages forth before reading the poetic verses from such corpuses.
When Iwori is paired with a corpus of Ifa called Otura, the two are referred to as Iwori Otura while when Iwori is paired with another corpus called Irete, the two will be referred to as Iwori Irete. When Iwori is paired with Ose, they are both referred to as Iwori Ose while lastly when Iwori is paired with Ofun, the two will be called Iwori Ofun.
This is how we are concluding the pairing of Iwori with other corpuses of Ifa. Next time, we shall pick another corpus as a subject matter and show us how to pair with other corpuses in our subsequent lessons. I end today's teaching with a verse from corpuses of Ifa called Irete meji. And it goes thus:
Ifa dun un ko;
Eniyan atata dun un mo;
A ki meniyan atata,
Ka ma a lowo lowo;
Owo pitipiti ko,
la fi n meniyan atata;
O difa fun won ni Irete Alaje;
To jekun owo,
Ekun omo ni won nsun;
Ifa je n la la la,
Bi ara Irete alaje;
Ifa je n lowo lowo,
Bi ara Irete alaje;
Ifa je n bimo lemo,
Bi ara Irete alaje.
TRANSLATION
It is good to learn Ifa;
It is good to meet prominent people;
You cannot know prominent people and still remain poor;
And it doesn't take a lot of money to know prominent people;
Like Ifa tells them at Irete Alaje;
When they ere crying for no money, no progress and no children;
The people eventually have money;
They have progress and children;
Because they know prominent people;
Everything becomes alright;
And they are thanking Ifa Oracle.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

PAIRING IWORI WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES

Today, in continuation of our lesson, Iwori is pairing with Ogunda, Osa, Eka and Oturupon. When Iwori is paired with Ogunda, the joint becomes Iwori Ogunda while if Iwori is paired with Osa, they are pronounced together as Iwori Osa. Likewise, when Iwori is paired with Eka, the two are referred to as Iwori Eka and lastly if Iwori is paired with Oturupon, the two are called Iwori Oturupon.
Just like i have said in the previous teaching, the Ifa priest or Babalawo brings the above mentioned corpuses to the fore through his divining chains or Opele. Consultation must have been done by his client with money before he divines. All the corpuses are praised with oral Ifa poetry when divination is going on by the Babalawo. Necessary item of things recommended through the corpuses will be done to appease the oracle for the client. In the next lesson, we shall look into the remaining four corpuses that Iwori is pairing with. While the lesson is going on, we should have observed that there is a particular point where any corpus as the subject matter pairs with itself. This is possible in Ifa as any corpus that is made to pair with other corpuses can also get to pair with itself. And the corpus in question will not only be pronounced two times, it will also be written two times.

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Monday, 8 February 2016

IWORI PAIRING WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES By Olalekan Oduntan

In continuation of our lessons of pairing a corpus with the other ones, i will show us four more corpuses today pairing with the subject matter Iwori. And the corpuses are the following: Irosun, Oworin, Obara and Okanran.
Just like the norm from our previous lesson, if any corpus is used as a dominant and is made to pair with another corpus, the former be pronounced first before the latter. And in reference to our subject matter, if Iwori is paired with Irosun, they are addressed as Iwori Irosun while if Iwori is paired with Owonrin, the two are pronounced Iwori Owonrin.
When we pair Iwori with Obara, the two will be addressed as Iwori Obara while when Iwori is again paired with Okanran, they are both addressed as Iwori Okanran. All these informations are brought to the fore by Babalawo or an Ifa priest priest that is vast in the knowledge of Ifa with his divining chains called Opele.
In conclusion, each of the corpuses of Ifa treated today has its own oral poetic recitation belonging to Ifa attached to it. And the oral poetry rendition and recitation are usually done when the Ifa priest or Babalawo is divining. Next time, we shall look again into our subject matter Iwori pairing with another four sets of Ifa corpuses in our lesson.

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

IWORI PAIRING WITH OTHER IFA CORPUSES By Olalekan Oduntan

Today, in our lesson, we are learning about a corpus known as Iwori. This corpus is all about going nowhere but sitting down at home in expectancy of goodies from home and abroad. Just like in our previous lesson, we are pairing Iwori with other Ifa corpuses to bring different sounds and meanings. We are looking at four corpuses pairing with Iwori in our lessons and they are Ogbe, Oyeku, Iwori and Odi.
If Iwori is paired with Ogbe, the two will be called Iwori Ogbe. But when Iwori is paired with Oyeku, the two will be referred to as Iwori Oyeku. When Iwori and another Iwori are joined together, they will be referred to as Iwori meji. Lastly for today, if Iwori and Odi are joined together, the two will be pronounced as Iwori Odi.
It should be noted that it is only an Ifa priest that is in the position to use his divining chains to bring the messages from those corpuses to the fore. Necessary things to be done after divination are also put in place by priest for his client. Knowledge of Ifa is known by heart and whoever wants to become an apprentice of the priest must be ready to learn and identify these corpuses by heart too. Poetry recitation of Ifa takes a while to master for a new person just learning and studing Ifa.
We shall delve into other eight remaining corpuses of Ifa in our next lessons. In conclusion, Ifa is a wonderful knowledge given to Orunmila, let us all cherish it together because it is not only our own but it is also a way of life.

©2016 All Rights reserved.

Friday, 5 February 2016

NATURAL HABITAT OF PEACOCK

Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird's total body length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird's back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.
The term "peacock" is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.
Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In fact, wild peafowl often roost in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.
Peacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.
Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues. They can be testy and do not mix well with other domestic birds.

NATURAL HABITAT OF KILLER WHALE

Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches (ten centimeters) long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.
Though they often frequent cold, coastal waters, orcas can be found from the polar regions to the Equator.
Killer whales hunt in deadly pods, family groups of up to 40 individuals. There appear to be both resident and transient pod populations of killer whales. These different groups may prey on different animals and use different techniques to catch them. Resident pods tend to prefer fish, while transient pods target marine mammals. All pods use effective, cooperative hunting techniques that some liken to the behavior of wolf packs.
Whales make a wide variety of communicative sounds, and each pod has distinctive noises that its members will recognize even at a distance. They use echolocation to communicate and hunt, making sounds that travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back, revealing their location, size, and shape.
Killer whales are protective of their young, and other adolescent females often assist the mother in caring for them. Mothers give birth every three to ten years, after a 17-month pregnancy.
Orcas are immediately recognizable by their distinctive black-and-white coloring and are the intelligent, trainable stars of many aquarium shows. Killer whales have never been extensively hunted by humans.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

NATURAL HABITAT OF TIGERS

An animal's habitat is the area in which it would naturally choose to live. Generally, each species will have a fairly specific habitat that displays certain characteristics and boasts particular features that cater to that animal's needs.
Tigers can live in a wide range of habitats, and are commonly found in:
•Evergreen forests
•Mangrove swamps
•Tropical rainforests
•Savannahs
•Grasslands
•Rocky mountains
The ideal habitat needs to fulfil three main requirements for the animal. There needs to be 1) shelter, 2) food and 3) water. Tigers require shelter to remain concealed from potential prey as they stalk their victim and threats (which are, usually, from human sources), as well as for protection when the female has cubs. Food comes in the form of prey, for which the tiger spends much of its life hunting. When there is interference with the population numbers of the prey, the tigers' lives are in serious danger. In terms of water, there needs to be enough to sustain the tigers themselves as well as their prey. They are also susceptible to high temperatures and enjoy cooling down in refreshing water. They are excellent swimmers and can pursue their prey into relatively deep water.
These requirements are fulfilled in various areas around the world. However, Asia is certainly the most abundant home of these endangered creatures. The most prolific areas in which to find the various subspecies of tigers are the whole of India, the lower parts of the Himalayan mountain range, the mangrove swamps of West Bengal and the dense vegetation of the various forests of the Far East.
In more general terms, tigers are most commonly found in China, Korea, Russia and Southeast Asia. Sumatra is the only island inhabited by tigers today. The wide variety of different habitats that tigers occupy is testimony to their adaptability to various conditions.
Today, the main threat to the survival of tigers is the loss of their natural habitats. Forests, grasslands and swamps are being developed into cities, towns, farming regions and industrial areas. Tigers are solitary animals and require space in which to hunt. In a similar vein, the less of their natural habitat that is available to them, the fewer species of prey they have from which to choose. Since the beginning of the year 2000, the natural habitat of the tiger has shrunk by an astounding 93%.
Africa, Europe and America are not the natural habitats for tigers. However, tigers survive remarkably well in captivity. This is not optimal, as tigers love to roam vast plains or jungles.
Still, parks and nature reserves actually protect and conserve their numbers, and need to be supported. Countries like Africa, Europe and America, therefore, have parks and reserves in which tigers live. This gives people in these lands a chance to see these magnificent animals and to be educated about their preservation.

CARPENTER ANTS: FACTS, IDENTIFICATION & CONTROL

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States, ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm long. The most common color is black, but some species have reddish or yellowish coloration. Workers have large mandibles.

BEHAVIOUR, DIET & HABITS
Carpenter ants reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut galleries into the wood grain to form their nests and provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. This activity produces wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants which provides clues to nesting locations.
Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they will feed on a variety of food people eat—particularly sweets and meats. They will also feed on other insects.

REPRODUCTION
Queen lays 9 to 16 eggs the first year and may live up to 25 years. Eggs complete their life cycle in about 6 to 12 weeks.

SIGNS OF A CARPENTER ANT INFESTATION
Carpenter ant workers and swarmers (winged ants) are the most likely sign homeowners observe. The workers may be observed foraging for food. Swarmers usually are produced when a colony matures and is ready to form new colonies. These winged individuals often indicate a well-established colony. An additional sign of carpenter ant activity is the debris they produce from tunneling in the wood. Rough wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants from the colony indicate carpenter ant nesting activity. A final sign may be the "rustling" sound sometimes heard as the ants go about their activity in the home's wood.

MORE INFORMATION
Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as carpenter ants because they prefer to establish their colonies in galleries excavated from damp or damaged wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but instead remove wood and deposit the debris outside of their nests in small piles.
Carpenter ants clean their nesting sites, and their galleries are not lined with mud or moist soil as termite galleries typically are. Carpenter ant workers keep their galleries as smooth as sandpapered wood.
Carpenter ants vary in size, ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm in length. One carpenter ant colony can contain different sizes of ants, depending on caste and responsibility. The color of carpenter ants also varies among species, ranging from jet-black to dark brown, red, black, yellow, orange, yellowish tan or light brown. They are most commonly black, but some carpenter ants exhibit both red and black coloration. They are common in many parts of the world.
Identification of carpenter ant species can be made only through careful observation of specific physical characteristics.
In natural environments, carpenter ants dwell in both dead and living trees, stumps and rotting logs. However, they may also establish their nests inside of homes and buildings where wood is found. Carpenter ants prefer to establish nests in areas where wood has been exposed to severe moisture.
Carpenter ants build two types of nests: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen, her brood and workers. Satellite colonies consist of workers, older larvae and pupae. Workers create satellite colonies when the parent colony lacks sufficient space or when there is a suitable supply of food or water. There may be several satellite colonies associated with a parent colony.

CARPENTER ANT TREATMENT
In controlling an infestation of carpenter ants, it is necessary to first find the nest. Once found, it can be removed or treated chemically. All moisture conditions that the ants found conducive must be corrected.
If treated early, carpenter ants are seldom responsible for serious structural damage to houses and buildings. However, these ants could cause extreme damage if they continue undiscovered for an extended period. Thus, it is best to contact a pest control professional in the event of an infestation. It is advisable to seek professional help in containing carpenter ant infestations, as incorrect procedures may allow the colony to rebound when surviving members resume their burrowing and foraging.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

CANARIES & THEIR HABITAT BY ANN COMPTON

Cheerful little birds, canaries originated from the finch family in the wilds of Canaries, Azores and Madeiras off the coast of Africa. They make excellent pet birds and will fill your house with their melodious song. Domestic canaries thrive if you replicate their natural habitat in your home.

NATURAL HABITAT

In their island homes , canaries nest in small spaces such as bushes and low trees. They fly and hop from branch to branch, and prefer to move horizontally rather than up and down. Provide a pet canary with a cage that offers lots of room to move back and forth, at least 17 inches wide. A canary cage should be wider than it is tall. Canaries don't do well in round or vertical cages. Their shape restricts the bird from moving in his natural direction, side to side.

PERCHING SPACE

When it comes to housing a canary, bigger is better. The more room you give a pet canary, the happier he will be. Your bird needs room to fly, so he doesn't need a plethora of perches scattered throughout the cage. A few well-placed perches on both sides of the cage will allow him to do what comes naturally -- flying back and forth.

CAGE AMENITIES

Provide perches for a canary that replicate his natural environment. Different widths, lengths and textures help exercise his feet and keep his nails trim. Use perches shaped like branches for exercise, and rope-textured perches for relaxation. Give a canary toys to entertain him, but avoid toys with mirrors if you want your bird to sing.
Offer a canary the opportunity to bathe regularly. Canaries love to take baths, and prefer birdbaths that hook onto the cage door rather than those that sit on the cage floor. Use cold water. Warm water strips the oil from their skin and feathers. Be sure the room is warm and the cage free from drafts. There's no need to dry your canary. He will preen and dry himself.

SNACK TIME

Offer your canary fruits and vegetables along with a high-quality seed or pellet diet. These can make up to 25 percent of your bird's diet. Your canary will enjoy vegetables such as kale, carrots, spinach and peas. Apples and grapes are good fruit snacks for canaries. Cut these snacks into small pieces, and serve them in a separate dish from your bird's seed or pellets.

*Culled from Demand Media, Inc.

CHIMPANZEE By Paul Janssen

Noisy and curious, intelligent and social, the chimpanzee is the mammal most like a human. Chimpanzees fascinate humans and are favorites both in zoos and the wild.
Three subspecies of common chimpanzees are distributed across the forest zone of Africa from Guinea to western Tanzania and Uganda. Another species of chimpanzees, the bonobo (Pan paniscus), is found exclusively in central Democratic Republic of Congo. In East Africa the chimpanzee is found in the wild in Tanzania and Uganda, but only in captivity in Kenya. Gombe National Park in Tanzania is the first park in Africa specifically created for chimpanzees.

Physical Characteristics
The chimpanzee has a thickset body with long arms, short legs and no tail. Much of the body is covered with long black hair, but the face, ears, fingers and toes are bare. They have hands that can grip firmly, allowing them to pick up objects. The discovery that they used "tools" for certain purposes surprised the world.

Habitat
Chimps are mainly found in rain forests and wet savannas. While they spend equal time on land and in trees, they do most of their feeding and sleeping in trees.

Behaviour
Chimps live in groups called troops, of some 30 to 80 individuals. These large groups are made up of smaller, very flexible groups of just a few animals, perhaps all females, all males or a mixed group.
Chimps sometimes chew leaves to make them absorbent and then use them as a sponge, dipping them in water and sucking out the moisture. They also use grass stems or twigs as tools, poking them into termite or ant nests and eating the insects that cling to them. They are able to wedge nuts between the roots of a tree and break the shells open with a stone.
Chimps are both arboreal and terrestrial, spending much of their daytime hours on the ground. They are quadrupedal, walking quickly on all fours with the fingers half-flexed to support the weight of the forequarters on the knuckles. They occasionally walk erect for short distances.
Chimps are agile climbers, building nests high up in trees to rest in during midday and sleep in at night. They construct new nests in minutes by bending branches, intertwining them to form a platform and lining the edges with twigs. In some areas chimps make nests on the ground.

Diet
Chimps are diurnal (but often active on moonlit nights) and begin their activities at dawn. After descending from their night nests they hungrily feed on fruits, their principal diet, and on leaves, buds and blossoms. After a while their feeding becomes more selective, and they will choose only the ripest fruit. They usually pick fruit with their hands, but they eat berries and seeds directly off the stem with their lips. Their diet consists of up to 80 different plant foods.

Caring for the Young
The female chimp has an estrus cycle of about 34 to 35 days. While in heat, the bare skin on her bottom becomes pink and swollen, and she may mate with several males. She normally gives birth to just one baby, which clings tightly to her breast and, like a human baby, develops rather slowly. An infant can sit up at 5 months and stand with support at 6 months. It is still suckled and sleeps with its mother until about 3 years of age, finally becoming independent and separating from her at about 4 years. Sexual maturity is reached between 8 and 10 years.
Chimps are among the noisiest of all wild animals and use a complicated system of sounds to communicate with each other. A loud "wraaa" call, which can be heard more than a mile away, warns of something unusual or disturbing. They hoot "hoo-hoo-hoo," scream, grunt and drum on hollow trees with the flat of their hands, sometimes for hours.
Chimps touch each other a great deal and may kiss when they meet. They also hold hands and groom each other. An adult chimp often has a special "friend" or companion with which it spends a lot of time. Female chimps give their young a great deal of attention and help each other with babysitting chores. Older chimps in the group are usually quite patient with energetic youngsters.

Predators
The number of chimps in the wild is steadily decreasing. The wilderness areas necessary to their survival are disappearing at an alarming rate as more forests are cut down for farming and other activities. As the human's closest relative the chimp is vulnerable to many of the same diseases, and their capture for medical research contributes to their decline, especially in West Africa. as more forests are cut down for farm activities. In addition, recent outbreaks of the incurable disease Ebola hemorrhagic fever, threaten to decimate important chimpanzee populations in the Republic of Congo and Gabon.

Did you know?
Chimpanzees use large sticks and branches as clubs or throw them at enemies like leopards and humans.
Chimps supplement their diets with meat, such as young antelopes or goats. Their most frequent victims, however, are other primates such as young baboons, colobus monkeys and blue monkeys.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

NATURAL GIFTS OF MOLE

There are around 20 different species of mole found in their natural, earthy environments. Some species of mole are also aquatic or at least semi-aquatic which means that these mole species spend at least some of their time in the water.
Many of the different species of mole are very similar in appearance and range in size from just 2 cm to 2 cm. The oddest exception to this is the star-nosed mole that inhabits parts of Canada and the northeast of the USA. The star-nosed mole can be easily identified by the distinctive star shaped ending to the star-nosed moles snout.
Moles are omnivores that primarily feed and hunt earthworms. The saliva in the mouth of the mole contains a toxin that can paralyze small animals such as earthworms meaning that the mole is able to eat its catch successfully but the mole is also able to store food to eat later. Moles are known to construct special underground larders in which the mole can store its food. Some of the larger species of mole have also been known to eat small mice. The mole does this by catching the mouse at the entrance to its burrow.
The eyes and ears of the mole are very small and usually covered in fur. The small eyes of the mole are thought to have become like this due to the mole not using its eyes and through natural selection. The most powerful sense of smell a mole has is its sense of smell, and some species of mole (such as the star-nosed mole) are able to detect, catch and eat their prey in less than a second!
Moles breed in early spring with the female moles gestation period lasting about a month. The female mole then gives birth to between 2 and 6 mole babies. The baby moles are usually completely independent within a month after birth. The average lifespan of a mole is about 4 years but some species of mole have been known to live until they are 6 or 7 years old.
Due to their small size, moles are preyed about by mammals , birds and reptiles when the moles are above ground. When moles are in their burrows they are relatively safe from harm, with most moles being killed whilst in their burrows from gardeners and their spades.

*Culled from A-Z Animals.

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