Hello avid readers, welcome to this week’s edition of History Wednsday. Today we would be telling you about Odinjo. Odinjo is one of the popular places in Ibadan located around Muslim.
Some years back, there was a man whose name was As̩àdó Adébímpé, an Ifá priest. He instigated an action that led to the naming of Odíńjó. He was a native of Ọ̀ọ̀rìn in Kwárà State. He came from Ọ̀ọ̀rìn to Aṣ̩ípa’s compound in Ọ̀yọ́ town where he first settled down with his family at that time. But when a war ensued in Ọ̀yọ́ town, which almost consumed it, he and his family left Ọ̀yọ́ town for Afọbajẹ’s compound at Ọjà’ba in Ìbàdàn.
An important event occurred during As̩àdó’s stay in Ibadan. This event prompted the Baálè of the town to summon all Ifá priests. As̩àdó was selected because of his powerful and competent characteristics. Only As̩àdó’s divination came to pass. This made other Ifá priests accord him great respect.
After a while, As̩àdó and his family left Ọjà’ba for another place called Odò Òkun. There, they had much water problem. As an Ifá priest, As̩àdó consulted the Ifá oracle for the best location to reside at. Ifá oracle advised that he should go to a hilly place to settle there. He obeyed and they moved from Odò Òkun to a hilly place.
Àbíkú ‘a child who comes back after death’ plagued As̩àdó. All his wives usually gave birth to àbíkú. Since there is a saying in Yoruba that ‘fìtílà kan kìí ń rína ríìdí ara rẹ̀’ which literally means that ‘a lamp does not usually sees itself’, he decided to seek the help of other Ifá priests who consulted Ifá oracle on his behalf in order to find solution to his predicament. The proffered solution was that whenever any of his wives gave birth, he should allow one of his slaves who is deaf to back the baby to prevent the baby’s death. As̩àdó accepted the divination.
Years later, one of his wives gave birth. He allowed one of the deaf slaves back the child and the tradition started.
One day, As̩àdó was celebrating Ifá festival alongside other Ifá priests. The festival was accompanied with drumming and dancing. Present at this festival was As̩àdó’s deaf slave who was backing the baby. The slave, though deaf but not blind, joined in the dancing on seeing others dancing. He copied what the people were doing. His dancing attracted the people’s attention at the Ifá festival and this initiated praise songs for the deaf slave. The people started spraying him with money with the baby on his back. People started saying ‘odi ń jó’ meaning ‘the deaf is dancing’.
After the Ifá festival, it became a norm for people to describe As̩àdó’s place with the event that happened. Hence, whenever people wanted to go to the place, instead of saying they were going to ‘ibi tí òké wà’ ‘where there is a hill’, they would rather say they were going to ‘ibi tí odi ti ń jó níjọ́sí’ meaning ‘the place where the deaf was dancing the other day’. Gradually, the name of the place changed from its former name ‘ibi tí òké wà’ to ‘ibi tí odi ti ń jó níjọ́sí’ during the Ifá festival.
Later, it was shortened to ‘Odíńjo’ as the place is called till today.
Olatunji Muibat Opeyemi is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Department of Linguistics and African Languages.