The Feud of Omo Onílè

In a village close to a border between Nigeria and the Benin Republic, there lived the families of Ìjalè and Ayélabówó. The two chief families were rich. There had been a land dispute between these two families and it had grown to a great height, and they were such enemies that even their followers and those that had bought a piece of land from them could not relate with themselves without exchanging blows.

Nínálowó was one of Ìjalè’s family. He had gathered a lot of money from the sale of the family land. One day, he invited all the beautiful ladies and honourable men from all walks of life to his fortieth birthday. But didn’t want to see anybody from Ayélabówó’s family.

At the birthday party, Aríkúyerí, a young man from Ayélabówó’s family was present. But he was afraid because it was dangerous for any member of Ayélabówó’s family to be seen within the vicinity of Ìjalè’s family. Àjàlá, a friend to Aríkúyerí, persuaded him to go in a mask so that he might not be seen by Nínálowó.

Aríkúyerí did not much believe in Àjàlá’s words, yet, because of Aríkúyerí’s arrogance,  he was persuaded to attend the birthday party. At the birthday party, Àjàlá could not sleep for thinking of what would happen to his friend if Nínálowó sighted him. Àjàlá showed his love by promising to provide him adequate security. 

At 7 p.m, Àjàlá and Aríkúyerí set out for the party. They got there at 8 p.m. To this birthday party of Nínálowó, therefore, Àjàlá and Aríkúyerí were there masked. They were welcomed by Nínálowó himself who ordered his servants to get them seats. After Àjàlá and Aríkúyerí were entertained, Nínálowó introduced some ladies to them, and each of them picked a lady of their choice to dance with.

 As they began dancing,  Nínálowó was struck by the voice coming out of the masked guest. While still observing the voice, his servant, Kájolà, also noticed the voice. Nínálowó stormed in anger and tried to strike Aríkúyerí dead. But his friend, Àjàlá, would not let him do any harm because he had already guaranteed his safety.

When the dancing was finished, Nínálowó went to Aríkúyerí and asked him to see him. Aríkúyerí refused to see him.

       ‘You don’t need to see me. I am not here for that, ‘ said Aríkúyerí. 

        ‘You need to see me in my sitting room for a talk,’ answered Nínálowó.

         ‘Haven’t you seen me and my family before?’ Said Aríkúyerí.

           ‘Yes,’ said Nínálowó.

‘O! you mean to kill me before just because of land dispute?’ said Aríkúyerí, 

‘you may mean to kill me, but I mean to celebrate you on your birthday.’

           When Nínálowó asked Aríkúyerí what they could do to settle the land dispute, he discovered that Àjàlá, Aríkúyerí’s friend, was around watching what was going on between the two of them. 

          ‘The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof,’ Aríkúyerí replied.

A month after Nínálowó’s birthday, the two families met on the land and there was a serious fight between them. Fifty people were declared dead while some were hospitalised. The land dispute, therefore, made the government take over the portion of the land and those members of the two families that were alive took to their heels to avoid arrest. 

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