A renowned traditionalist and the Araba of Osogbo, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, said prior to contact with the Hausa/Fulani, the race was known as the people of Ife, saying it was unfortunate that the people failed to coin a word to call the race before coming into contact with the Hausas.
According to him, the race was usually referred to as ‘aku’ in the very early stages because of the way the people greeted each other. He agreed that the race was given the name Yariba, from which it became Yoruba, saying the earliest leaders of the race failed to have a collective name.
Elebuibon added that the race ought to be called the people of Ife, as that was how Ifa referred to the race.
He said, “we are people of Ife; it is rather unfortunate that we didn’t have one word to call all Yoruba before Fulani or Hausa gave us Yariba to become Yoruba. ‘Aku’ is the word they used for us in the beginning because we used to greet each other by saying ‘aku owuro’ (good morning), ‘Aku asaale’ (Good evening), it is ‘aku’ people or ‘anago’ that other Africans referred to us”. He argued that since the people originated from Ile-Ife, the race ought to be known as the people of Ife . “Actually, since the origin of Yoruba was Ile Ife, ‘Eni ‘fe, abi ara Ile Ife loye k’a ma je’, (we ought to be called the people of Ile Ife”), he added.
Various available accounts credit the Fulani/Hausa as the copyright owner of the word, which later got fine-tuned to what it is today.
All constituent tribes of the Yoruba race (they call them dialects now) really never bothered about a collective name, after their individual identities.
Ifa, the Oracle is the repository of the Yoruba and has never before now been reported to have mentioned the name, Yoruba.