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THE MOLASHINS OF ABEOKUTA
(Culled from ‘ÁNCESTORAL QUEST’, the Osanyinjobi story by Olufemi F. Osanyinjobi – launched by Olowu, Oba Adisa Odeleye in Nov. 2001)
Origin of the Molashins
Omolashin’ in ancient Owu lingua means ‘Precious Child’.
The name was coined for an Owu prince, son of the first daughter of the then Olowu when as legend says, the Obalufon deity appeared unannounced to the Olowu in the presence of the little prince and his mother the princess. The Owu princess escaped out of fright abandoning her child to his grandfather the Olowu. The child clung embracingly, both terrified and bewildered to the Olowu. Obalufon was moved by the affection radiating between child and grandfather and nicknamed the child ‘Omolashin’, thus initiating the foremost ancestor of an important Owu royal clan.
It is claimed that the Omolashin’s paternal ancestry is of Ijeshaland, his Ijesha father haven married into the royal family of Owuland.
Up till the present day, the Molashin clan is a ruling family at Orile-Owu, the present Olowu of Orile-Owu, Oba Afelele ll, being acclaimed to possess a Molashin ancestry.
The Migration to Abeokuta
ith the destruction of Orile-Owu in 1834, the first refugees from the ancient city started to arrive in Abeokuta.
It is told that the first band of refugees were initially camped on Oke-Ata in preparation for their onward trip to Badagry where they intended to resettle. Sodeke, the leader of the newly resettled Egba people in Abeokuta approached them to stay and form a union with him for the strong defense of the new settlement against threatening invading forces from Ibadan, Dahomey Oyo and the Ijebus.
The Owus ceded to this demand and were relocated across the Ogun river to Oke-Ago-Owu, which commanded a strategic defense outpost to the west and south of the emerging city of Abeokuta.
It is unlikely that there was any Molashin clansman among these original settlers of Oke Ago-Owu, since it is reported that the first Molashins to arrive in Abeokuta were only 5 in number and were offered living quarters at Idi-Ose on Oke Ago-Owu among those that were already residing there. These first Molashins were said to have arrived with the ‘Ege’ or symbol of office of their ancestral authority from Orile-Owu.
Later as more Molashin clansmen trickled into Abeokuta from their various transit camps when news of the emerging new city filtered to them, the Idi-Ose quarters got too congested, prompting their relocation to Totoro and the allotment of their own homestead or family compound. Here, they were later able to separate into their present distinctions of Molashin-Oke and Molashin-Isale based on their ancestral lineage – A separation that may indicate things were not all that well within the clan.
The early settlers of Oke Ago-Owu used to go as far as Idi-Ori, Akinale, and Arigbajo at Wasinmi to farm.
The Molashins in Abeokuta.
hen political order was fully restored among the Owus in 1855 with the coronation of Oba Pawu as the first Olowu in Abeokuta, the best that the Molashin clan could secure for themselves in form of administrative honour was the position of the last of the 6 Iwarefas or kingmakers, a tremendous demotion from the crown-bearing royalty status and origin they brought from Orile-Owu. That in itself raises a big question mark on the royalty status that the Molashins were allegedly accorded in Orile-Owu in relation to the true status and disposition of their original representatives in Abeokuta.
Other Iwarefas of Owuland are 1) Akogun, 2) Oshupori, 3) Obamaja, 4) Oyega, and 5) Orunto, the Molashin being the 6th. Recently, the Balogun and Oloshi were incorporated as kingmakers by Olowu Odeleye in 1992 to make the number eight.
Since the official installation of the 1st Molashin Kingmaker about 1855, the clan has produced 9 kingmakers in Abeokuta, although there was a period of vacuum between the installation of the 8th and the 9th (the present title bearer), due to royal feuds and the absence of an Olowu for 13 years.
Also during this period, an extra clan title had been created (which however does not appear to have palace recognition). The title of ‘Omorigi’ was created around 1920 as a result of the dispute over the selection of the 6th Molashin. The aggrieved contender was bestowed with the Omorigi title, a honour nobody else has held since then.
ntowo, born around 1700AD in Orile-Owu, is the earliest known ancestor of the clan (according to the current available family data). Among his children were Okunrin his first son, and Adejokun. Both were half brothers (born circa 1730).
Okunrin, the father of Jalaga and Ajasa is believed to be the ancestor of the Molashin-Oke* clan, while Adejokun’s lineage led to the Molashin-Isale* clan (according to deductions from available data).
Adeworan, a descendant of Adejokun was to become the first ‘Molashin’ chieftain at Abeokuta. He was also reputed to have brought the clan scepter (ege) to the new settlement. (Contrary narrations that accorded these attributes to Yetu are not supported by fundamental facts and logic). Adeworan was the father of Ayorinde and Adesioye.
Ayorinde gave birth to Olanloye and Atinugbon (alias Iya Otta) thru his wife who was an Obatala priestess in the Olowu palace. Adesioye whose children were all girls was the father of Tinuola, the first settler at Akinsinde village.
Jalaga (born circa 1770) was the father of Yetu, (2nd Molashin title holder in Abeokuta) the stepbrother of Olufakun and Efunsetan. Mojeku was Yetu’s mother, while Mobile was the mother of Olufakun and Efunsetan.
Yetu (circa 1795) was the father of Ojuolape who gave birth to 1) Olagunju, 2) Ibikunle, 3) Olajumoke, 4) Olaleye, 5) Jaiyeola, 6) Adeigbe, 7) Tinuade and 8) Adesumbo.
Olufakun gave birth to Olonde,
Efunsetan (circa 1800) was the mother of Osanyinjobi who gave birth to 1) Babalola, 2) Akinrinlewo, 3) Ishafunlola, 4) Olamide, 5) Orishadiya and 6) Adekunle.
Jalaga’s junior brother from the same mother, Ajasa, was the father of Aina who became the 3rd ‘Molashin’. Aina gave birth to Ajala.
he following are the Molashin clansmen, in order of succession, that had been appointed to represent the clan as kingmakers since the re-establishment of the royal institution at Abeokuta.
1. Adeworan, a descendant of the Adejokun lineage otherwise called Molashin-Isale was reputed to have brought the ege into Abeokuta from Orile-Owu. He was quartered at Idi-Ose on arrival with the rest of his five-man retinue before transferring to the clan homestead in Totoro. The homestead was originally called Adeworan Compound before being renamed more appropriately as the Molashin Compound. (This fact plus the location of Adeworan’s house as the first to be encountered in the compound attest to his being the person who led the movement to the Totoro site and most probably to Abeokuta). Adeworan was officially appointed the first Molashin by Olowu Pawu in 1855.
2. Yetu, the first born of Jalaga was at the head of a retinue of refugees from Orile-Owu who however from all indications may have arrived much later in Abeokuta haven set up a transit camp in some yet unidentified village location. His arrival in Abeokuta may have been after the 1855 appointment of the first Molashin kingmaker. However his superior claim to the title is noteworthy as evidenced by the choice of his cousin as his successor, and his kith and kin from the Molashin-Oke as the next to follow after that. Yetu was appointed the 2nd Molashin kingmaker around 1868 after Adeworan. He held the title until his death 6 years later.
3. The next Molashin, Aina, a first cousin of Yetu was appointed as the 3rd in the series around 1874.
4. Amosun, Sanusi’s father from the Molashin-Oke clan became the 4th Molashin around 1887.
5. Awape Adediran, the 5th Molashin was probably the most forceful and vibrant Molashin of all. His tenure in office coincided with the period of many notable and critical events in the history of Abeokuta. Emerging from the Molashin-Isale section, he was appointed around 1903 breaking the continuity of the Molashin-Oke section who had provided the previous three successive Molashin kingmakers.
It was Awape who was jailed for 6 months in 1918 by the British Colonial Administrator for haven been an active instigator of the Adubi Wars. In fact, the Molashin as he was fondly referred to was probably the underground second in command to Baale Ige Adubi of Elere, gathering critical information for the struggle under his privilege position as an Owu Primary Chief and government functionary. It was during the period that the Egba United Government was established, making Abeokuta a sovereign state, that Awape became Molashin. This was later dissolved and replaced with the Egba Native Administration in 1914. He was among the kingmakers who installed Olowu Owookade in 1903, and selected the Olowu-elect, Asipa Dosunmu in 1918.
It was also during Molashin Awape’s tenure that the Native Councils were established. This led to the deprivation of the income of certain traditional chiefs who sourced their livelihood from adjudicating local disputes. They were then compensated with farmlands since many of them did not previously engage in farming. (The current Oko-Alapa land dispute could be approached from this front to arrive at a resolution).
Awape (circa1830) was the father of Ayoade who gave birth to Atanda and Taiwo (alias Iya Eleha). Taiwo is the mother of Aderinade and Ogunmuyiwa.
6. Olajumoke, a grandson of Yetu of the Molashin-Oke faction succeeded Awape as the 6th Molashin haven relocated from Molashin village the previous year. He was appointed by Olowu Dosunmu in 1920, the same year Alake Ademola ascended the Egba throne. Ironically they were both to die also in the same year, 1962. Olajumoke’s ascention to the Molashin title was marked with controversy as he was strongly challenged by Oyewusi. After the resolution of the conflict, Oyewusi who lived in Apomu village and whose mother was from Oke-Isaje was compensated with the Omorigi title. This episode also marked the initiation of the alternate rotation of the Molashin title between the Oke and Isale factions.
7. Akintoye Oyewusi, grandson of the Omorigi succeeded Olajumoke as the 7th Molashin in 1962. This act probably completed the compensation of the Omorigi for haven been denied the title 42 years earlier.
8. Moses Adeigbe, another grandson of Yetu succeeded Oyewusi as the 8th Molashin kingmaker. His death in the 1980s coincided with the period when the Olowu throne was vacant for 13 years, so a successor could not be appointed until 1992 after the coronation of Olowu Adisa Odeleye.
9. Sunday Olufemi Ogunlolu, the current Molashin from the Isale faction was appointed in 1992 as the 9th Molashin kingmaker in Abeokuta.
His ancestor, Oyelakin gave birth to Ogunlolu who died in 1920. An only child, Ogunlolu had two wives one of who was the mother of Ekowede, Salako, Ekodare, and Ekokanyin. Salako was the father of the current Molashin.
The next and 10th Molashin is to be selected by rotation from the Oke* faction.
Among the villages inhabited by Molashin clansmen are:-
* The Molashin-Isale and Molashin-Oke designations seem to have no bearing to the direct lineages of Adejokun and Jalaga respectively as recent studies seem to indicate.
According to recent findings, the main factor responsible for this distinction or division was a footpath that seperated the Molashin homestead into two, settlers at the uphill section of the footpath becoming the Molashi-Oke while those on the downhill were designated as Molashin-Isale.
The acclaimed footpath was the track used by the man who introduced them to the grounds as the daily route to his farm.
A resolution of the Molashin clansmen recently sometimes in 2009 was adopted to oust the separation of the clan along the divide of Molashin-Oke and Molashin-Isale. Thus the position now is that there is officially only one Molashin clan…and no more rotation (zoning) of titles or anything else between the two expunged artificial distinctions.