Queen Moremi Ajasoro was a figure of high significance in the history of the Yoruba peoples of West Africa. Moremi was a courageous queen whose courage contributed to the victory of the Yoruba tribe over a neighbouring tribe.
ong>The history of the Yoruba queen Moremi
The Oloori Moremi lived in the 12th century, hailed from Offa, and was married Oranmiyan, the heir to the King of Ife and Founding Father of the Yoruba tribe, Oduduwa.
At a time in ancient Yoruba land, the people of Ile-Ife people were enslaved by a neighbouring tribe called the Ìgbò (forest) people. These Ìgbò were considered to be as powerful as demi-gods because they conducted regular raids on the people of Ife.
This made the people of Ife seek out help and offer sacrifices to their gods in order to prevail, but all unsuccessfully.
Queen Moremi Ajasoro was the wife of Oranmiyan, the heir to the King of Ife and Founding Father of the Yoruba tribe, Oduduwa.
Upon devising a strategy, Moremi visited the Spirit of the river Esimirin and vowed to make the greatest sacrifice possible if she could discover the strength of the Forest people and save her kinsmen.
She went to a place that was raided frequently, and allowed herself to be captured. Eventually, her beauty attracted the Ìgbò ruler who made her his anointed queen.
She was also very confident and skillful so it was not long before she won the trust and affection of the King and people in Ìgbò land.
This gave her the access she needed to familiarise herself with the secrets of their army — in preparation for battle, the Ìgbò would cover themselves from head to toe with Ekan grass and bamboo fibers.
If someone were to pass amongst the Ìgbò warriors with a torch, they would be defeated.
After she discovered their secrets, she escaped to Ile-Ife to reveal them to the Yoruba army. The Yoruba people used Moremi’s privileged information to finally defeat the Ìgbò people in battle.
The Edi festival
Queen Moremi is recognised by the Yoruba people because of this bravery and celebrate her selflessness with the Edi Festival because she gave up her son, Olurogbo, to the Esimirin deity in order to fulfil her end of the bargain.
To this day, the Yoruba people mourn with her and hold her in the highest esteem of any women in the Kingdom.
Legacy and recognition
Queen Moremi has been immortalized in several ways with books about her, public places named after her duch as the female residence halls at the University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University and a statue of her erected in 2016 by Oba Ogunwusi in the Ife palace.
In 2017, Oba Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ile Ife, Osun State, erected a statue of Moremi in his palace. The 42 feet statue, popularly known as the “Queen Moremi Statue of Liberty,” is the tallest statue in Nigeria, and the fourth tallest in Africa.