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University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

(By Olaniyi Victoria)

Dogs a type of four-legged animal whether local, foreign or a crossbreed are ubiquitous creatures sighted in almost every part of the global community, with different features that often add to their aesthetics and general outlook. In a traditional rural African community, it is not unusual to find dogs, being reared as pets or used by local hunters for games in the forest. It will interest you to know that in a particular historical community, Ara located in Osun state dogs are highly prohibited, you wont even see a dog straying on the streets or compound like other animal. The ancient community in Egbedore local government area of Osun is sited on a plateau circled by rivers with fascinating scenery, particularly when you approach it, off the deplorable Osogbo _ Iwo highway. Ara which is sandwiched between Ede and Ejigbo twins, with a growing population of over 300,000 peoples inhabited predominantly by farmers, hunters, and quite a number of artisans, struggling to make a living through their socioeconomic struggles amidst visible traits of excruciating poverty.

Although there are various versions of the taboo because it wasn’t documented but has been passed from generation orally, hence there might be some reduction and addiction in the main story. The one shared seems to be the original. The issue was that Ara was a big city in those days and Alaafin Sango was on the throne and he was a friend to Alara of Ara, Oba Oyelami the one that sank into the ground. And whenever there was any crisis in Oyo, Alaafin Sango would invite Alara to settle it and it was when Sango’s problem became unsolvable and the Oyomesi refused him and asked him to abdicate. Then, Alara could not stomach it because he was the counselor or trusted friend to Alaafin Sango. When Sango saw that the end had come, he decided to hang him self. But, the story of the dog had preceded this. Alaafin’s son was very sick to the point of death and they were looking for a big rat to make a sacrifice so that he could be healed and it was Alara who made the big rat available. At that time, it was great jubilation at Oyo because the prince recovered. Also, there was jubilation at Ara. In the process of jubilating, they forgot the dog that brought the rat and the dog rose out of the debris of local pap leaves and talked like a human being in yoruba language, saying Alara “what is it that you have done? I have provided the animal that was used to save the prince at Oyo and you are eating, forgetting me the dog said “you and your people are throwing scrap on my head”. When they heard the dog talking and lamenting the neglect it had suffered, they were surprised, shocked and alarmed that a dog could speak human language. So, they pursued it with the hope to capture it. We don’t really know whether they wanted to capture it or kill it. While pursuing the dog, the dog was able to get to a place where a farmer and his wife were coming with local basket on the head and they begged the duo by saying ‘help us cover the dog witg the basket’. They promptly covered the dog with load. But instead of seeing the dog and the farm produce, they found a rockor a big stone, which is being regarded as a sacred point in Ara till date, the place is called “MOBO” meaning “I covered it” those were the words of the woman when she covered the dog. Rearing of dogs in this community is a great taboo anybody caught doing so will be duly punished and of course the dog will be killed immediately. If a dog strays into Ara from a neighbouring community, it must be killed by all means, the youths and farmers won’t sleep till they kill it.

Source: Nigerian Tribune, Wikipedia and Abebanbi global.

Post Author: Ridhwan Adetutu Abdullahi

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