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04.08.2022 Feature Article

University of Ilésà: What is in a Name?

University of Ils: What is in a Name?
04.08.2022 LISTEN

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names." - Proverb

"Your name is the most important thing you own. Don't ever do anything to disgrace or cheapen it." - Ben Hogan

There was a mild controversy about the name being given to our dear University. Some of our patriots want it to bear an insignia of Ìjèsà land. The reason, they posit, is that it would give every Ìjèsà son and daughter a sense of belonging. It would command the loyalty and commitment of all Ìjèsà sons and daughters to contributing to its development.

At a time, when we are all working hard to ensure unity among all Ìjèsà, these are very germane reasons that we should all pay attention to. Our unity is of great essence, and whatever we need to do to engender and foster it, should be of serious consideration.

Our leaders have worked so hard to bring us together. We must sustain this unity. It goes without saying that this has made us stronger and more formidable as we strive for the development of our land as well as extending the horizon of our people's progress.

However, naming the University after ILÉSA, the political, economic, and social capital of Ìjèsà land, would not be out of line. Ilésa belongs to all Ìjèsà. No particular section of Ìjèsà could claim that Ilésà exclusively belongs to it.

In fact, and indeed, any Ìjèsà son or daughter, who claims that he or she is from Ilésà, would belong to what our fathers characterize as *"Omo Ológbôn gbooro,"* stratum of our society. Every authentic Ìjèsà son and daughter must know what this means and the implications.

If I am correct, there are about one hundred and sixty (160) towns and villages in Ìjèsà kingdom. They all have equal rights to Ilésà. A true Ìjèsà son and daughter must be able to trace his or her source to one of those 160 towns and villages.

I am sure that we are all aware that for any Owa Obòkun Adimula to be installed, he must come from one of those 160 towns and villages. I don't have any record, that any Owa has been installed in our history that is not from one of these towns and villages. Or that claimed Ilésà as his origin. Even, Owari, the first Owa to rule in Ilesa, came from Ìlówá. If I am wrong, some of my Ègbóns could correct me. I would be glad to be specifically educated.

I remember that Ilésà Grammar School was previously called Ìjèsà High School. Renaming it has not deprived any Ìjèsà son and daughter the opportunity to receive education there. Many have come from far and wide to study there. The school has been the pride of all Ìjèsà, and would remain so till kingdom come.

So, if this is the case, there would be no reason for us to fuss about the name, UNIVERSITY OF ILÉSÀ. This name is good for many reasons. The university would participate fully in commercial ventures at the right time. Having a name that is beautiful as Ilésà would aid and abet its reception at local and international levels.

The name Ilésà in three syllables, is more attractive than Ìjèsà land. And if we limit it to, Ìjèsà, which in itself is a beautiful word, the poetic beauty or if you like, the phonaesthetic resonation of Ilésà is more alluring, dazzling and pulsating.

We all could identify with Ilésà. This is because we are Ìjèsà. During my discussions with Professor J.D. Y. Peel at University of London few years back, he had marveled at the patriotic fervour of the Ìjèsà. He underscored that despite the competitive nature of Ìjèsà among ourselves, we had always rallied when we felt the need to do. Professor, Peel is the author of that fantastic book, *"Ijeshas and Nigerians: The Incorporation of a Yorùbá Kingdom, 1890s -1970s"*

This is another opportunity for us to rally. Another opportunity to come together. Another opportunity to unite and be stronger. This is a great opportunity to make ourselves the proverbial broom, and thus be unbreakable. We should not allow ourselves to be divided by anything. We should, and we must always look at the bigger picture.

Moreso, the University would be multi-campus. Every part of Ìjèsà land would be touched by its impact. Its presence would be felt all over. One way or the other, we all would have something to point to, that would give us that sense of belonging that we so crave. That sense of ownership that would imbue our psyche with that innate pride that is congenital to us all.

Please, let that name be - UNIVERSITY OF ILÉSÀ. reading the name silently is satiating and satisfying. It is like sipping a four hundred year old wine. It turns up your belly in a riotous wave of joy. It seeps through your blood on its way to your marrows, to endow you with a sort of biological renewal.

Reading it out loud, is poetic. It is candescent. It is coruscant. Effulgent. It illuminates the essentials of the Ìjèsàness in you. It luxuriates the pride in you. You feel beautiful. You feel happy. You feel wonderful.

UNIVERSITY OF ILÉSÀ, please, let it be.

"Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language." - Dale Carnegie

©Rèmí Oyèyemí

Omo Owá, Omo Ekùn.

August 4, 2022.

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