The flag of Oduduwa Republic

Get To Know Our Flag

THE DESIGN OF ASIA OODUA - THE FLAG OF ODUDUWA REPUBLIC

History

Sometime in 1998, Baba Omojola, a foremost Yoruba revolutionary and economist who passed away recently, mooted the idea of an authentic, widely acceptable Yoruba flag and gave the writer the assignment to develop.

The design of the flag that came off the drawing board of the writer was immediately accepted by a major cross section of Yoruba leadership, including Afenifere and Yoruba Council of Elders. Subsequently, many irredentist Yoruba groups and individuals subconsciously adopted the flag however with a lot of errors of interpretation and re-constructions and in-correct geometry.

This is the story of our flag, ‘Asia Oodua’, the Flag of Oduduwa Republic: History, Design Concept, Geometry and Forms.

Origin of Forms

1. ORI OLOKUN

Olokun is an Orisa in Yoruba religion, associated with the sea. In the Yoruba language, Orisa literally means “Eni ori sa da” or “Special one” or “Blessed one” or “Genius“. Olokun, in Yoruba mythology works closely with Oya (Deity of the Winds) and Egungun (Collective Ancestral Spirits) to herald the way for those that pass to ancestor ship, as it plays a critical role in Iku, Aye and the transition of human beings and spirits between these two existences.

The design of the flag that came off the drawing board of the writer was immediately accepted by a major cross section of Yoruba leadership, including Afenifere and Yoruba Council of Elders. Subsequently, many irredentist Yoruba groups and individuals subconsciously adopted the flag however with a lot of errors of interpretation and re-constructions and in-correct geometry.

Olokun also signifies unfathomable wisdom. That is, the instinct that there is something worth knowing, perhaps more than can ever be learned, especially the spiritual sciences that most people spend a lifetime pondering. It also governs material wealth, psychic abilities, dreaming, meditation, mental health and water–based healing. In female form among the Yoruba, Olokun is the wife of Olorun and, by him, the mother of Obatala and Odudua. Other relationships are numerous, especially when the gender of Olokun changes. Olokun is worshipped in Benin, Togo and among the Edo and Yoruba in Nigeria. In Yoruba diasporic religions, Olokun is sometimes considered the patron Orisa of the Yoruban diaspora, the descendants of those who were carried away during the Transatlantic Slave

Leo Frobenius (1873—1938), the German ethnologist, who made numerous expeditions to Africa, can lay claim to be the first European to spread the news of the existence of a high civilization in Nigeria, although he did not believe in its local origin. In November 1910, Frobenius arrived at Ile-Ife, the sacred city of the Yoruba, about which he had heard during his previous expeditions to West Africa. He was particularly interested to learn about the image of the Yoruba god of seas and wealth, Ori Olokun, the equivalent of the Greek Poseidon and the Roman Neptune. On arrival, he set the local people to excavate in the sacred groves and within a few weeks handsome collection of terracotta and stone sculptures was assembled, as well as the bronze Ori Olokun which he wanted
so much to see.

Frobenius was astounded by the quality of the Ife sculptures; he observed that they were: “eloquent of a symmetry, a vitality, a delicacy of form directly reminiscent of ancient Greece and proof that once upon a time, a race, far superior in strain to the Negro had settled here.”
There are two points worth noting here. First, the quality of Ife sculptures was, in Frobenius opinion, comparable to Greek work, the envy of the European Renaissance. Secondly, he believed that the works were not of local origin. To this second point, we can only recognise his disbelief of the qualities the Yoruba people are made of.

Frobenius made one important observation which will have a great bearing on our discussion of the dating of Ife art. He observed that the places where the sculptures were buried were known to Ife people and that there was a practice of “resurrecting” the sculptures for use during festivals. Subsequent researches have confirmed that this has sometimes been the case.
At almost the same time as Frobenius published his findings, the British Museum published, in 1911, a photograph of a plaster cast of a fragment of a terracotta head which is now in the Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A. It is still not known how the head left Nigeria.

In 1934, the then Oni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, had some of the sculptures removed from the groves to his palace for safety. These, in addition to those which were already in his keeping, wereeventually to form the nucleus of the Ife Museum. The need for a museum in Ife became more obvious when in 1938-39, at a short distance from the palace, in Wunmonije Compound, some exquisite bronze heads and a half figure, all similar in style to the Ori Olokun, were accidentally dug up. Although the site was not studied by an archaeologist, it appears that the hoard formed part of a royal altar not unlike the present ancestral altar of the Oba (king) of Benin where art pieces are concentrated. William Fagg thought in 1953 that Wunmonije Compound could have been the real traditional burial place of the kings of Ife. It is important to note that many of the sculptures in Ife Museum were brought in as stray finds recovered by local people during work
From Nigeria House Onlus

This image is adopted for two reasons:

  • The quality of and the dexterity of the art demonstrated the ingenuity of the Yoruba and put them above or at par with European Art of the same period.
  • The image is said to be a sculptured image bust of Oduduwa, the projenitor of the Yoruba race.

This is Forms.

This is Forms.

2. THE SEVEN STARS

The seven stars on the flag represent the seven sons of Okanbi, the only son of Oduduwa, Olofin Adimula, projenitor of the Yoruba, from whom all the other Yoruba subgroups grew. The seven are represented by Akaketu of Ketu, Onipopo of Popo, Orangun of Ila, Olowu of Owu, Onisabe of Sabe, Alafin of Oyo and Oba of Benin.

This is Forms.

3. THE THREE COLOURS

RED: This colour represents the blood of the martyrs shed in the various struggles of the Yoruba: wars from ancient history, through the Fulani invasions to the Operation Wetie, the Agbekoya revolt and the June 12 uprising, among others;

GREEN: This colour represents the fertile lands of Yorubaland, from the Niger River, north and east, to the Volta River and down to the Atlantic Ocean, which is blessed with all sorts of minerals and on which virtually any crop grows.

BLACK: This colour represents the colour of the black man’s skin. The Yoruba represent the largest collection of any tribe of the black race anywhere in the world. We are the shining beacon for all black people all over the world.

THE DESIGN GEOMETRY AND MEASUREMENTS

Geometry is the logic of space. The design of the flag is not arbitrary. There is a logic to the lines, forms and spaces. The shape is a rectangle of aspect ratio lengh:breadth 3:2, i.e for every length 900mm, there must be a corresponding breadth 600mm, 900/600, 1500/1000, 1800/1200, 6/4 etc. The breadth (height) is divided into 3 segments of 200mm each.

A diagonal construction line runs from the top left angle down to the bottom right angle (angle 34o to the horizontal) to intersect the horizontal and vertical dividing construction lines at the centre of the rectangle. This line offsets 80mm on either side of the diagonal to form the white diagonal band on the flag which represents the purity of our thoughts and the altruistic nature of our goal.

The big star in the middle, which represents Oodua, Olofin Adimula at the same time as one of the seven sons, is inscribed in an imaginary construction circle of radius 116mm.

Each of the remaining six stars is inscribed in an imaginary construction circle of radius 50mm separated one from the other by 25mm.

Now that you have the concept, geometry and dimensions, you may produce the flag at your own time and convenience, and distribute to the Yoruba public.

Keep the fire burning. A ju wa se o. Ase. George Akinola