The History of Arigbajo – Owu Kingdom


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Arigbajo town is situated near Ifo town, adjourning Apomu in the Ewekoro Local Government Area, and on the Lagos-Abeokuta Road axis.

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After the alligator pepper war in the 1820s, the Owus in a large number departed for Abeokuta and settled at Oke Ata, Oke Ago Owu, Totoro etc in Abeokuta.

Some later left Abeokuta again towards Lagos Road which is part of their land under conquest. As they were leaving in batches, OSUNJOBI, one of their group leaders and an elder brother to MAMOOLO as he was fondly called (abbreviation for MAMOWOLO) opted for a bush near WASIMI, now along the Lagos/Abeokuta Express way. There he settled and named ARIGBAJO.

He named the place to symbolize his calabash drumming and dancing profession (Igba & Ijo). There OSUNJOBI stayed with MAMOOLO his younger brother who was a powerful warrior/hunter and petty farmer.

After some time, MAMOOLO left for his usual hunting and along the line he discovered a bush where he hunted and made profits as a result, he continued until he got to a village not too far from the bush where he hunted called ISOFIN where he stayed with a man, and from there he would go to cultivate his farmland and hunt.

One day he discovered a small stream in the bush and drank from it, and discovered that the water was good. He named the stream OUN S’OFUN TERE (Good for the throat), which became the SOFUNTERE river that we have till date in Arigbajo.

While at the river bank, a female deity who introduced herself as OLOOKE met him and demanded to know what he wanted there. He was said to have introduced himself as OLOOKE and explained how he had found the place during his hunting expedition and decided to settle around there.
OLOOKE then promised her support to see that MALOOMO never lacked animals by the day as a hunter, and that any woman who settled with him would bear children and not be barren, a belief that is still relevant till date to many of the inhabitants.
Hence the song that has now become the anthem of ARIGBAJO:

Eba n’gbomo oke… lanti lanti (3ce)
Omo oke dun bi
Baba loni arin lola
Eba n’gbomo oke… lanti lanti

There he made an ILEBA, a bush house where he began to stay and was taking his hunting preys to Abeokuta for sale (always trekking).
After staying alone for a while he went back to ARIGBAJO and invited his relatives like OGUDU, LAGOSIN, a female trader called AINA and other close associates to come with him. At this time, he was calling the place OKO OKE ISOFIN. There he continued his hunting. As OGUDU and LAGOSIN were farming, AINA was taking MAMOOLO’s hunting preys to Abeokuta for sale.

Not quite long after, OSUNJOBI, MAMOOLO’s elder brother had a serious misunderstanding with those settling with him at Arigbajo near Wasinmi, and MAMOOLO went there immediately he heard the information. He intermediated between his brother and other co-settlers to see that peace reigned as the saying “ARA OWU KII RANRO, AWI IMENU KU O N’TOWU”.

MAMOOLO was successful in the mediation and persuaded OSUNJOBI his brother to follow him to his newly discovered location. On getting there, OSUNJOBI discovered that the place was more comfortable and decided to stay with MAMOOLO where he continued his farming and musical carrier. The people around were always inviting him to perform at their ceremonies, while all this time he was still staying at his younger brother’s ILEBI as his abode. Other friends like BARAMOKUN, OSOMOJI and ARIGBANLA WONWO later joined them. MAMOOLO reflected Owu’s love for others by apportioning land to his friends to farm and to control while he retained the ILEBA area for himself. He also went round, hunted and came back to the area he called AMORIWAKO.

It is however a matter of common knowledge that before one settles finally anywhere, they must have been visiting the place before, either on expedition or sightseeing. It was also reported that when he was new at the place he was fond of visiting GUDUGBA and ISOFIN to see his friends who were co-warriors. He also visited Papa Olaito (now PAPALANTO), where he usually bought akara (fried beans) from a woman at Papa junction.

When MAMOOLO had finally made up his mind to settle at his ILEBA, he asked OSUNJOBI about his opinion about retaining the name OKO OKE ISOFIN for the settlement, to which the former suggested the re-using of ARIGBAJO, the name of their previous settlement, while that former settlement could then be referred to ARIGBAJO-EHIN (previous Arigbajo).

OSUNJOBI’s fame continued to rise and he was popularly referred to as ‘ARIGBAJO, ARAGBE JO’, meaning the calabash and gourd player/dancer. His fame was such that people started thinking that he founded the settlement!

In the beginning, MAMOOLO was the OLORI OKO. He was followed by 2 other Oloriokos before the Baaleship title was adopted. The Baaleship is rotated between the 4 quarters of the town as follows; AMORIWAKO, BARAMOKUN, OSOMOJI, and ARIGBANLA up till date. There had been 12 Baales before the emergence of the Coronet Obaship which led to the crowning of Oluwagbemileke Alade Babajide (SP rtd) by Oba Dr, Olusanya Adegboyega Dosunmu CON, FTA on the 31st of March 2006 alongside other Owu Obas to reign over Owu settlements.

ARIGBAJO is surrounded by Owu settlements like EJIO, ABESE, and APOMU and they are cordially co-existing till date. Other non-Owu villages and towns in the neighbourhood include AROGUN, ABULE OKO, SODERU, ELEBUTE, ALAGUTAN, IBOKURU and others.

Written by :
Oluwagbemileke Alade Babajide (SP rtd)
(Omo Arogundade)
Alaigbajo of Arigbajo Land
Owu Kingdom.

10 comments on “The History of Arigbajo – Owu Kingdom

  1. Good day sir I am really happy about this piece on Arigbajo indeed I am now well informed about my town. Please sir where did Oshomoji hail from to join Osunjobi thank you. Dr Olusegun Oshomoji

  2. Good day to you sir, this history will live long for the unborn generation to read and understand…., i’ve been going to Arigbajo since my childhood is now i understand better the full meaning of Arigbajo.
    Sir i want to know what cause the Alligator Pepper War and between which family in Egbaland?
    Thanks for your effort and more Happy to read more everyday.

    • The alligator pepper war stareted as a result of a certain incident in Apomu market Osu state. There was an allegation levelled against the woman selling the alligator pepper that the number of allegator peppers paid for weren’t the same delivered. When an Owu chieftain that was sent to mediate between the warring parties was said to have beaten a little boy who fell and died at the instance.

  3. Lovely to read about my home town, but what about ‘ari igba *aso* jo’ that was the history my dad told me. this is indeed an archive, I’m sure my sons would love to read this when I start having my children. Omo Oloke!

  4. pls can someone drop the complete list of the past olowus from asukungbade to the present. The only one I see is those who reigned in abeokuta. Thanks.

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