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Part 5: On consistency; honesty, openness, plain speaking, reliability


Gba-n-gba là ńṣe gbàǹgbà; bẹ́ṣín bá kú, ìta gbangba là ńsin í sí.
One performs one's great feats in the open; if a horse dies, one buries it in a wide open space.
(One should not attempt to keep weighty matters under wraps.)

Gba-n-gba làṣá ńta.
The hawk always spreads its wings to the fullest.
(Whatever one has in mind, one should lay it out fully in the open.)

Gba-n-gba lÒgèdèm̀gbé ńṣawo.
Ògèdèm̀gbé always performs his rituals in the open.
(A great person need not hesitate to do whatever he or she has a mind to do.) [17]

Gbogbo wa la fòkété san ọgọ́fà; ìgbà tí òkété ó fi di ogóje, ojú-u gbogbo wa ni yó ṣe.
We all agreed on a hundred and twenty cowries as the value of the bush rat; when the value changes to a hundred and forty, we must all know about it.
(No sub-group has the right to alter in secret decisions the whole group has arrived at.) [18]


17. Ògèdèm̀gb;e was the late nineteenth-century Ìjèṣà warrior during the internecine Yoruba wars of the period.  [Back to text]


18. Cowries were the means of exchange before the arrival of the Europeans. The amounts stated were considerable before the English colonizers imposed their currency and also a conversion rate that drastically devalued people's wealth.  [Back to text]