By Ganiyu Ayanniyi M.
The Yoruba ethnic group has proven to be a vast tribe with many brave historical achievements, culture and traditions, places, things of huge values which are well respected in the world. One of the things held in great esteem by the Yoruba tribe is its language. The Yoruba language has always been influential in different part of the world aside Nigeria, Benin republic, Togo. The language is well appreciated in Brazil, USA, Cuba and many other nations.
One of the important and famous daily used word by the speakers of the language is the word 'Ọjà' which means 'market', a place where day to day activities take place. Oja is a place where buying and selling occurs as well as the distribution of services in acquisition of funds or something lucrative in return.
It was gathered that native Yoruba tribe named a place that attracted people's attention. It was said that whenever there was a public fight or dispute especially during competitions, traders use the opportunity to sell their goods for long time till it gets to be constant. The name 'Ọjà' translates to 'It will fight or it fought'. Also, there is no authenticity of the story since the Yoruba history and other African's origin were orally passed at first place.
In the old, 'Ọjà' is a place where petty goods are mostly bought or sold such as peppers, yams, fishes, vegetables, Garri, Onions, tomatoes etc. and all these were done by barter (in exchange of something), later through spending of cowries as money. But now due to Europeans and other influences, different goods are sold in return of profit or something lucrative as well as different services are rendered. Goods to this effect include fridges, gas, TV, phones, computers, engines, clothes, shoes etc. without secluding food items too.
More so, it is good to recall that 'Ọjà' also means 'goods or commodity'. Some people also refer to 'Ọjà' as something 'illegal'. For example, Yoruba speakers say 'Awọn ọmọ ọlọja alẹ' which connotes 'Night workers'. The latter is mostly related to 'prostitutes or thieves' because thieves and prostitutes are believed to operate at the night. Speakers of Yoruba, especially the ones in the cities, say " Ọjà ti jẹ ẹ" meaning someone had been scammed by someone else or something.
Extendedly, the word 'Ọlọja' is an adjective that mainly qualifies all that relates with the word ''Ọjà''. It will be necessary to note that ''Òjá'' means ''wrapper'' (to tighten babies), 'Ò jáa' means 'He/She/It cut it' while 'Ó jà' means "He/She/It fought". It has been recorded also that the word 'Ọjà' can also be called ''Ibùsọ̀ / Ìsọ̀'' in Yoruba. For example, ''Ibùsọ̀ àwọn aláta'' meaning "the market-side of pepper sellers"