The Last Owu Homestead

by Oladipo Yemitan.

Arguments have raged for a long time now over the location of the seat of the Olowu’s Kingdom at the outset of the 1821 -25 Owu War. The purpose of this article is to put these arguments to rest once and for all so as to allow us devote our precious time and energy to other issues capable of moving us forward.

Let me state categorically that Orile Owu in the present Ayidaade” Local Government Area of Osun State is definitely not the location of Owu homestead as at 1821. Where then was it?

The first record of the site of Owu’s last homestead can be gleaned from the pen of Rev. David Hinderer, the first whiteman to set foot on Ibadan soil and who, in his diary entry of 4June 1851, guided us thus:

‘This afternoon, I rode out to the place of old Owu which is only two miles from my lodging. Owu was an old very large town composed of the whole tribe of that name. It was destroyed about thirty years ago and is now converted into farms by the Ibadan people but main ruins still remain… To think of the awful and bloody scene such a large place must have witnessed at the time of this destruction makes one shudder (sic) and feel indignant…’ 1

Five years later, we were assisted with another account. Dr. E.C. Irving, ‘The Ijebu Country, Church Missionary Intelligencer, Vii {1856}, pp 66-71, enlightened us as follows:

‘To the north-east of and near to Ibadan are the extensive ruins of Owu. With this city originated the Civil war which reduced to ruins so many towns once large and prosperous. For some five years did a powerful army of the people of Ife, Ijebu, and Yoruba (i.e Oyo), lay siege to this town…’ 2

The above 2 accounts were written within 30 years of the Owu War when memories of the war were still fresh. Therefore, their revelation of the location of Owu homestead in 1821-25 can hardly be faulted. The site was undoubtedly in the vicinity of ­Ibadan. But there were other pointers to the location.

After the fall of Owu, the allied forces of the Ijebu, Ife and Oyo retired to camp at a place called Idi Ogungun (a spacious camping ground dominated by an Ogungun tree) because they had left their individual homes for over 5 years and now had nowhere to go. Here, they were faced with the decision on the new line of action open to them. Ikija was the first town that loomed large on their radar to attack. While the Owu war was on, these forces had sought to take advantage of the nearness of Ikija to pillage on their farms. But the Ikija had proved uncooperative and had refused them permission to steal their crops in self-interest and their revulsion against the attack on Owu. The allied forces therefore wreaked vengeance on Ikija by sacking the well­ defended town on the pretext that they aided the Owu in the war. The location of Ikija was in the area where the present NTC headquarters is situated at Iyaganku area in the present-day Ibadan. This is another proof of the 1820s location of Owu homestead.  3

Earlier, mention was made of Idi-Ogungun. Its location was in the area now occupied by Bishop Phillips Academy in the neigbourhood of Iwo Road Junction and on the way to Monatan at Ibadan, which Ieads us to the same conclusion that Owu homestead of that era could not have been in any other place than near Ibadan.

If a corpus mentions Ogbere as the priest to the Olowu and we are constantly reminded of an Owu Ogbere. The stream which flows by the Agodi Motor Part in Ibadan is the Ogbere Stream, named after that arch-priest of the Olowu whose Kingdom was then situated near Ibadan. Another name for Owu Ogbere is Owu Yingbin – to digress a little bit.

We may now go back to the skirmishes which followed the Apomu Market incident of 1821 when an argument over a few bunches of alligator peppers escalated to the Owu War. When the first wave of attackers rose against Owu in reprisals for the Apomu incident, the Owu forces drove them off, pursuing them as far as Oje and Ofa, right to the centre of Ibadan itself. At that time, Oje and Ofa were almost merging into one single town as evidenced by the saying, Ko si iyato ninu Ofa ati Oje (Ofa and Oje are conterminous) and ‘Ohun to wa Ieyin Ofa, O ju Oje Io’ (there are more places after Ofa beyond the nearby Oje). This saying has merely been misinterpreted today to mean there is more after 6 than the figure 7. Today, Oje Market in Ibadan reminds us of the location of the early 19th century Oje, juxtaposed to Ofa (Oke Ofa Babaasale, etc). The 2 towns, Oje and Ofa, formed the buffer between Owu Ogbere and Ibadan. The Ibadan of that time hovered around Oja-lba in the Mapo Hill area.

Then, there is the existence of the Anlugbua Chains (marking the Owu deity shrine) in the neighbourhood of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State premises at Orita Basorun (the precincts belonging to Basorun Olutole). Anlugbua shrine is a regular feature everywhere the Owu settled. Appropriately enough, Orita Basorun is at the backyard of Agodi where the last Owu homestead was situated. Anlugbua chains are invariably sited in the nearby grove to Owu. If Owu was not nearby, Anlugbua chains would never have been found at Orita Basorun. That area is still called Anlugbua till today.

The Ibadan people of over 100 centuries ago knew and farmed on the ruins of Owu City walls. The present-day Governor’s House at Agodi was even built across a stretch of the Owu walls.

Finally, let us re-visit old Abemo in our search for the location of the last Owu homestead. Abemo, now long destroyed, was a rival to Ijaye town in the neighbourhood of today’s Oyo. Ayo and Lahan, two war generals, lived at Abemo while Kurunmi, the Aare Ona-Kakanfo, ruled over the neighbouring Ijaye town. An intrigue was hatched by Kurunmi and Ayo to kill Lahan but he out-manoeuvred the plotters. Later, in an unsuspecting moment, Ayo succeeded in attacking Lahan’s quarters, set it on fire and humiliated Lahan very badly. Basorun Oluyole, the then Ibadan general, visited Abemo to console Lahan and to reconcile the 2 sides. During the reconciliation meeting, one Ogungbade stood up and raised his objection to the terms of settlement being proposed. He said:

‘I am an Owu man by birth, my parents came from the ancient Owu Ipole to the city Owu where I was born. The same fortune that smiled on my parents at Owu Ipole, smiled on them at the city of Owu. Here am I, fortune is smiling on me today though I was taken captive at the fall of the city of Owu. Let Abemo be destroyed today and let me lose alI I have and be taken captive, I shall still be a great man wherever I may be …’ 4

Ogungbade’s parents came from the Owu Ipole in today’s Ayedaade Local Government Area to the Owu Ogbere near Ibadan where he was born and taken prisoner in 1825.

The 8 grounds of proof above are sufficient for now. Additional evidence of the fact that the last Owu homestead was at Agodi in the present-day Ibadan is to be shared with interested readers and historians in my forthcoming book,  ‘A Comprehensive History of the Owu’.

Notes :

1. David Hinderer, ‘Account of a journey to Ibadan’, 4th June 1851 in C.M.S, CA 2/049.

Hinderer set out on this visit from his residence at Kudrti in Ibadan, out of sheer curiosity. Undoubtedly, the story of Owu War was current in Ibadan at that time.

2. Irving was the CSM Medical Officer. His account buttressed that of Hinderer.

3.      The late Mr. Adekanmi Oyedele, author of ‘lwo Ni’ and ‘Kini Mo Se’, as a boy knew the ruins of the walls of Ikija very well and walked over them on occasions. I interviewed him.

4.      Quoted in Samuel Johnson,’History of the Yoruba’, 1921.

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How Olowu of Orile-Owu, wife died in auto crash

As a continuation of the 1 year memorial anniversary of the Olowu of Orile-Owu, Oba Moses Adejobi, Afelele II, brings you another flashback of the circumstances surrounding his death in an effort to re-capture the mood and the somberness of the tragic occasion. May his soul and that of his Olori ascend in joyful peace to the abode of his Ancestors.

Article culled from The Nigerian of Sunday 20th March, 2011.

Accident scene of Olowu of Orile-Owu

Olowu of Orile-Owu, Oba Moses Olayioye Adedosu Adejobi, Afelele II, last Teusday could not make the council of traditional rulers’ meeting holding at Ode-Omu’s palace in Ayedade, Osun State. The 75-year-old monarch and his younger wife, Funmilayo, a princess of Gbongan, died in a fatal car accident at Gbongan junction. A commercial Hiace bus driver, while driving against the traffic in an attempt to avoid a bad portion of the Ife-Ibadan Express Way, crashed into his Peugeot 406 ash-colour car.

They had already covered about thirty kilometres from Orile-Owu, approaching Gbongan junction and leaving nearly twenty kilometers to Ode-Omu, their destination, when the accident occurred. An eye witness said that the driver tried to drive across the road from the junction joining Orile-Owu and Gbongan. After watching from the left side and with the assurance that he could move across the road before an approaching articulated vehicle, the monarch’s driver negotiated the junction. But he was wrong in his judgement as he was late in seeing the Hiace bus driver, who was already overtaking the slow moving trailer. The bus crashed into the Olowu’s car with much more impact on the rear side where the monarch and his wife were sitting. The 406 somersaulted and the couple were thrown out of the car, leaving the driver who had severe injuries and the Personal Assistant who miraculously escaped unhurt…

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Oba Afelel II of Orile-Owu Remembered


It has been a year since Oba Moses Olayioye Adedosu Adejobi, Afelele II, the Olowu of Owu-Ipole, generally known as Orile-Owu transcended to honour a date with his ancestors in a rather unfortunate manner. joins its kiths and kins at Orile-Owu in the remembrance of their beloved late monarch by trying to recreate the mood of those moments through this article culled from The Sun, a Nigerian newspaper soon after the incident :

Owu people mourn beloved monarch From AKEEB ALARAPE, Osogbo Saturday, March 26, 2011 .

The road linking Apomu to Orile-Owu was desolate on this day.

Apart from few bad portions that dot the road, the road could still be considered a good one. But apparently identifying with the mood of the moment, life was non-existent on the road. The 15-minute drive from Apomu to Orile-Owu was devoid of the usual busy movement of vehicles. At least, from the Owu end, motorists seemed to have stayed off the road for the day. Occasionally, some exotic vehicles, apparently not belonging to that environment, zoomed past.

At the entry point to Orile-Owu, a social gathering could be noticed but it lacked the usual fanfare. A naming ceremony but without fun! No music, no dancing. The one lane road that passes through the sleepy town was completely deserted. A group of young boys gathered in front of a building wearing not so exciting looks. At the other side of the road, a group of housewives clustered in a hushed tone discussion. All eyes focused on the on-coming car. One can easily discern the message on their faces. “Our beloved king is dead’, they all seemed to be saying…

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Ajibola Family – An Owu Abeokuta Royal Lineage

I have been inundated with numerous requests for the family history of the Ajibolas, a ruling family in the Owu Abeokuta quarters for quite a while that I have now decided to put the matter to rest by addressing it once and for all, thanks to the discovery of an ongoing project on the very same matter.

In a nutshell, here goes:

The Ajibola family is directly descended from Oba Akijala of Orile-Owu (Owu-Ipole) who was the second to the last Olowu of the community before the 1825 war which destroyed the city-state.

However, the family is also indirectly related to Oba Akinjobi, the very last Olowu of Owu-Ipole through some fraternal ancestry.

Latinlu, a son of Oba Akijala and the direct linear ancestor of the Ajibolas was a half brother of Olugbade, both being sons of the Oba but of different mothers.

Ogboja, a princess of Oyo and mother of Olugbade was later betrothed to Oba Akinjobi who succeeded Oba Akijala upon the latter’sA ascension to his ancestors, to whom she bore Ewuola, Olugbade’s half brother who may thus also be regarded as the quasi-half brother of Latinlu. This system of intra-marriages was very predominant among the early Owu people such that there was hardly a family which did not have blood ties with virtually all other Owu families, with the high risk of incest occurring.

Latinlu gave birth to Ileyilaagba (the man who established the Ileyilaagba compound now called Alebiosu compound in Abeokuta), who was to marry…

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Apomu – The Early Settlers

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-The Early Settlers, (culled from ‘ANCESTORAL QUEST – The Osanyinjobi Story‘, by Olufemi F. Osanyinjobi, which was launched by The Olowu of Owu, Oba Adisa Odeleye on 24th November 2001 @ Apomu Village).

…the pioneer settler of that region, a man named Sangojimi who was a rather ruthless hunter, warrior and slave dealer. Sangojimi’s reputation was fearsome among the Aworis of Otta who used to shiver and seek for protective shelter at the mere mention of his name.

Sangojimi is also reputed to have influenced the settlement of Arigbajo village by granting his friend and fellow hunter, Gbajo lease of his land so that the latter who came after him could also settle near him.

It is told that when Sangojimi embarked on one of his lengthy slave raiding expedition of the Aworis, Gbajo who was now settled with him started granting land lease to new pilgrims without due authorization. On arrival from his expedition, Sangojimi was disturbed by the undue advantage taken of him by his bossom friend. He was now faced with the unfavorable choices of either continuing to live with Gbajo in a strained relationship or staging a confrontation against him, but in the true tradition of a honorable warrior, he resisted both challenges and moved on, sent himself on a permanent exile, turning his back on the incidence while swearing never to return again!

On his outward journey back in the direction of Abeokuta, he encountered Madam Lanto, a popular and influential food seller to travelers who was located at the site of the present Papa-Lanto (named after her). The food-seller who had always been fascinated by the exploits of Sangojimi, a favourite client of hers, persuaded the warrior not to journey far and led him to a piece of virgin fertile land nourished by a pure flowing stream called Gudugba where Sangojimi agreed to pitch camp and once again settle as the pioneer.

In this context, it is not improper to accredit pioneering status to Sangojimi for the villages of Apomu, Arigbajo and Gudugba, all within the same geographical environ.

After the arrival of Sangojimi in Apomu came his junior brother, who later departed for Ekundayo village to resettle after selling all his land to the newly wealthy and influential Osanyin High Priest, Osanyinjobi.

The third settler to arrive Apomu was Ajayi Oreigbe of the Ejemu family. Sangojimi gave his junior sister to this new settler for his second bride. She then gave birth to Akinleye, Adebodun and Akintobi. Lesi was the first child of Oreigbe born of his first wife. (It is noteworthy that the Ejemu family make claim to Ajayi Oreigbe, their ancestor as the first settler of Apomu village)

In the claims and counter claims of pioneering status between Sangojimi and Oreigbe, certain pointers are worthy of mention, namely;

  1. All early settlers have their allotted farms adjoining the Elueri stream.
  2. Sangojimi,s farm has the singular exception of having the Elueri Shrine built within its perimeters.
  3. His pioneering activities are well acknowledged in the adjourning Arigbajo and Gudugba.
  4. Sangojimi’s farm also marks the boundary of the landed properties of Apomu and Arigbajo villagers: – His farm shares a common boundary with that of Aina of Arigbajo.

After Ajayi Oreigbe, came Abu (4th settler), and Odewuyi (5th settler). Next came Osanyinjobi as the 6th settler to Apomu village.

It is also worthy of mention here that all the previous settlers to Apomu village had their roots and origin from the Apomu Township of present Oyo State, situated about 20 kilometers from the ancient Kingdom of Orile-Owu, thus forming the basis for the name of the new village settlement. Osanyinjobi was the first exception owing his own origin and ancestory to the royalty of the old mighty kingdom itself!

Probably as a result of his influence in the new Apomu settlement, the next settler and the 7th to this village was Osanyinjobi’s kith and kin, Biobaku, also of Molashin ancestory (Molashin Isale). He represents the last of the early settlers that had the distinction of having their farms situated adjoining the Elueri stream.

PS. – Sangojimi Gudugba is reported to be the first Balogun of Apomu-Owu in Abeokuta (1834), and hails from the Jilafin Compound of Ago-Apomu.

Apomu-Owu Township adjourns Oke Ago Owu in Abeokuta. This historical account is about the rural settlement of Apomuland (Apomu village) where many of the early settlers from the ancient city-market of Apomu, near Orile-Owu proceeded to due to space constraints at Ago-Apomu in Abeokuta.

Traditional Administration of Apomu -:

Council of Chiefs (Apomu-Owu):

Chief Simeon O. Oshunbiyi                       > Balogun-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Ezekiel O.A. Keyede                         > Otun-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Folorunso O. Babs Fakeye             > Osi-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Victor Olusegun Adebodun         > Olori Parakoyi-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Olufemi F. Osanyinjobi                   > Asiwaju-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Hussein Taiwo Lawal                       > Seriki-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief Abidemi J. Oshunbiyi                     > AareAgo-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Chief (Mrs) Grace Titilade Wilkey         > Otun Iyalode-Apomu of Owu  Kingdom

Chief (Mrs) Remi Opere                             > Osi Iyalode-Apomu of Owu Kingdom

Council of Chiefs – Apomuland (Rural Apomu):

Chief Julius Durojaiye Osanyinjobi          > Baale of Apomuland

Chief Faniyi Fatusi                                          > Balogun-Baale Apomuland

Chief Oladimeji Gbadamosi                         > Otun-Baale Apomuland

Chief S.O. Oyebade                                         > Osi-Baale Apomuland

Chief Olusanjo Akinremi                               > Ekerin-Baale Apomuland

Chief Tajudeen Adejoju                                > Asiwaju-Baale Apomuland

Chief Femi Adeosun                                       > Seriki-Baale Apomuland

Chief Lamina Towobola                                > Aare-Baale Apomuland