Owu Historical Facts and Myths

obatala oldman

The creating Obatala

The details below represent a brief synopsis, and an at-a-glance summary of facts and details that must have been represented several times on this website. They are compiled for your brief referencing!:


Ajibosin:

First grandson of Oduduwa. Son of Obatala (Odua’s high priest) and Iyunade (First Princess and daughter of Oduduwa). Ajibosin became the first Olowu after he was given a crown as an infant by his grandfather and thereafter was encouraged to leave Ile-Ife with his mother for his father’s homeland when old enough to rule because two Obas could not sojourn in the same kingdom.

Asunkungbade:

Nickname of Ajibosin meaning ‘He who cries to receive a crown’, the first Olowu. He is reported to have acquired his crown as an infant when he refused to stop crying while playing on the laps of Oduduwa, his grandfather, until the latter removed his crown and placed it on the head of the crying infant to appease him. Thereafter, he would resume crying furiously at every attempt his mother, Iyunade, made to remove the crown from his head in order to return it to Oduduwa. The patriarch thus decreed that he be allowed to retain the crown and automatically pronounced king to establish his own domain as soon as he was old enough to rule.

As two kings could not sojourn in the same kingdom, Iyunade was compelled to take the young king to his father, Obatala’s homeland among the Tapas in the Empe region where he was granted sojourn and land just below the Niger on his father’s cotton farmlands to set up his kingdom, thus earning him his 2nd alias, ‘Omo-Olowu’ (litt: Son of a cotton owner).

Obatala:

Husband of the first princess of Ile-Ife, Iyunade, and father of Ajibosin, the first Olowu. He was also the Ifa High Priest and Spiritual Consultant to Oduduwa among many other monarchs in the now the West African sub-region. Ifa divination ability was second nature to Obatala being reportedly the son and scholar of Agbonmiregun Setilu, the acclaimed Ifa progenitor from Nupeland. Obatala also had considerable farming interests as the owner of vast cotton plantations located adjacent to the River Niger in the Savannah region, presumably acquired from his vast earnings as an International Ifa Consultant – which earned him the appellation of ‘Olowu’ or cotton owner.

Obatala was larger than life and was no less prominent than Oduduwa, the acclaimed patriarch of the Yorubas. In fact, he has been deified as the head and oldest of the Orishas who created the physical world at the behest of Olodumare.
It is also claimed that Obatala had arrived Ile-Ife down a mythical chain long before Oduduwa arrived by similar means, and ruled the people before the latter came to stage a civil war which deposed Obatala as leader. The two were later reconciled and Obatala agreed to assist Oduduwa’s reign through his Ifa Divination. Oduduwa granted his first daughter, Iyunade, to the Ifa High Priest perhaps as part of their truce concessions.

As a roving Ifa consultant, Obatala became very wealthy and invested heavily in vast land holdings in the savannah region which he employed in cotton farming, an occupation that earned him the appellation of Baba-Olowu (cotton lord). Ajibosin was to inherit a large chunk of these which formed the bedrock of his original Owu Kingdom at the fringe of the Nupe country.

As an Orisha, Obatala has some of the largest followings and worshippers both at home and in the Diaspora, being matched perhaps only by Orisha Ogun and Sango adherents.

Omo-Olowu:

Ajibosin’s new nickname after he relocated accompanied by 6 Iwarefas to his father’s hometown among the Nupes in response to his being the son of Baba-Olowu, the cotton farmer.

There are logical speculations that the original Owu homestead which was established just below the River Niger may have bourn such a descriptive name like ‘Ago Omo-Olowu’.

The name has translated also into an ancient Owu annual festival that is observed coupled with the new yam festival among many Owu communities.

Iwarefa:

Six trusted high chiefs and first class awo counsellors from the court of Oduduwa, the Yoruba patriarch and progenitor who were hand-picked by him in faith to accompany his royal grandchild, AJIBOSIN Olawunmi into exile, and upon whom the newly established crown which was to translate to the crown of the Olowu was entrusted. They are constituted among the first original seven Owu citizens, the first being Ajibosin the child Oba himself!

According to tradition, two kings could not co-habitate in the same domain, so when Ajibosin was made an infant king, he had to go on exile from Ile-Ife, his grandfather’s domain, to pioneer his own kingdom.

The 6 Iwarefas were appointed to accompany him, guard him, guide and counsel him into adulthood and into becoming a worthy king. He was first sent to his father’s homeland amongst the Tapa/Nupe people which also correlates with the original homestead of many notable Lagosian aborigines!

These 6 Iwarefa were Akogun, Obamaja, Orunto, Osupori, Oyega and Molashin. They also double as the original traditional King makers of the kingdom called Afobaje.

It is suggested in some quarters that they may have been accompanied on that historical expedition by the Olosi who was Oduduwa’s resident ifa priest. However it is more accepted that Olosi although never an Iwarefa was included into the ranks of Afobaje (kingmakers) only in Abeokuta at the same time when Adegbenro instigated the inclusion of Balogun Owu, a title he was then holding, into those ranks.

Each of the Iwarefa have their individual and distinct functions in the core traditional culture and religious rites of the ancient kingdom.

Anlugbua:

An ancient Owu war hero venerated worldwide as the symbol of Owu courage and steadfastness, who is mythically reported to have disappeared into the ground with the promise to re-emerge in order to assist his people at anytime they were threatened by enemies and if he was alerted through a pull on the exposed end of a chain he was reported to have dragged with him underground.

An incident once occurred when in order to confirm this capability he was summoned when actually there was no war and any need to do so. Anlugbua reportedly rose from the ground to behead all within his reach only to recognize thereafter from their facial marks that he had slaughtered his own people. He sank back into the ground a saddened man with a resolve never to emerge again in the same manner.

It is pertinent to note that virtually all Owu settlements, big or small, lay claim to Anlugbua disappearing into the ground within their communities and likewise they build shrines for him and celebrate him in annual festivals. However indications exist that he may have been a native of Owu-Kuta called Akindele Onilu-Ogba, who may actually have done his underground disappearance act at nearby Owu-Ogbere which was at that time possibly the main Owu homestead situated beside Ibadan.

There are also some Owu communities who believe that Anlugbua was actually Ajibosin the Asunkungbade and first Olowu himself!

Epe:

A short war cutlass made of brass which is also the symbol of Owu authority and military might, used by their warriors, with which they are reputed to be battle daredevils and conquerors, who would defy all the odds of personal safety and charge at their enemies in a frenzied rage.

It was one of these Epes (still in safe custody within the Kingdom at Abeokuta) that triggered the Owu war which fused into the Yoruba wars of 100 years when it was accidentally used to fatally lacerate an Ijebu trader at the International Apomu market near Owu Ipole by the then Akogun Owu, Olugbabi Awalona, who was the market Marshall.

Keke Olowu:

Traditional facial mark of the Owus to distinguish them from other tribal groups, especially when on war expeditions. The Keke or Gombo consists of four or five perpendicular and horizontal lines placed angularly on each cheek ; they occupy the whole space between the auricle and the cheek bone ; three small perpendiculars are also placed on the horizontal lines on both cheeks The Keke-Olowu, an Owu variation of these is like the Keke or Gombo with the lines discrete or interrupted and links each ear with the side of the cheeks. It was common prior to the later adoption of the agbaja-olowu.

Abaja Olowu:

The Abaja are sets of three or four parallel and horizontal lines on each cheek ; they may be single or double, each line being from half-an-inch to one inch long.

The Abaja-Olowu in distinction from other abajas has 3 perpendicular etchings fitting neatly above 3 horizontal ones and are very thin and narrow in contradistinction from the very bold ones worn by other tribes. This is further accentuated with an additional 3 small horizontal etchings on the forehead called ‘keeta’.

Furthermore, members of the royal families would have an additional 6 markings on the forearm with a further 3 below the navel.

Orile-Owu:

An Owu homestead of the 18th to 19th century where the people rose to military and commercial prominence among the southern Yoruba states. The city at its peak was reported to possess two huge circuits of defensive walls of up to 12 feet in height and about 2 meters width at its bases. The outer and more prominent wall which also enclosed the royal farms had a very wide ditch lying over 12 feet deep and strewn with thorns, spikes and other dangerous things spanning all around the city circumference at the outer periphery of the walls, which may have totalled up to 20 miles in length.

Stories emerging from Owu-Ile near present day Oyo and Awe claim that one of the Princes from their community named Akinfala actually founded Owu Ipole after eloping due to a royal tussle for the crown. Consequently the settlement is better known to them as Owu-Akinfala. Another of their princes by the name Akindele was said to have founded Owu Ogbere at about the same time.

Orile Owu, previously known as Owu Ipole at its time of prominence is also reputed to be the site of the great Owu War triggered from the Apomu International market which fanned the 100 years long pan-Yoruba wars of the 18th and 19th centurlies. Owu Ipole was resettled some 80 years after its destruction as Ago-Owu before experiencing a further name transformation to Orile-Owu.

While Orile-Owu (Owu-Ipole) enjoys the reputation of being the largest and most prominent homestead of the Owu people in the 19th century, there is suggestive evidence that it may actually have shared that prominence with its neighbouring Owu-Ogbere for a while until the latter was sacked perhaps about a decade earlier sending out a flood of Owu refugees to further boost Owu Ipole in population and prominence.

Owu Ogbere:

Now defunct, Owu Ogbere developed from the vast expanse of land given to an Olowu at the fringe of Remo-land by the Baale of Ibadan when the former haven been expelled from the sub-Savannah region, presumably the settlement of Ahoro (Owu Ile), was going to pass through the Baale’s domain. In order to forestall any misunderstanding or confrontation with the much feared Owu who were erstwhile the most powerful force in the whole of Yorubaland, the Baale sent emissaries to the approaching Olowu to acquire as much land as he would desire near the borders of his own territory. Ibadan was then an Egba Gbagura settlement of the statute of a large village or small township.

The resulting Owu-Ogbere probably grew to great prominence in the 18th and 19th century and was only sacked in the aftermath of the unfortunate ‘Nkan’ saga when combined military forces attacked it to enact revenge on the Olowu, an alliance which sent Owu Ogbere packing from the Baale of Ibadan’s land mostly to nearby Owu-Ipole, Owu-Kuta, Erunmu etc.
It too had featured an outer and an inner ring of defensive walls in a similar manner to Owu-Ipole.

Chronological details suggest that Owu Ogbere may have existed side by side with its more prominent cousin Owu Ipole and perhaps even came into existence prior to the latter, and may have been sacked approximately only some 10 years before Owu Ipole which is now known as Orile Owu.

The Nkan incident :

Nkanlola was the name of the very beautiful daughter of the Baale of Ibadan who was given in wedlock to the Olowu when the latter came to settle near them at Owu-Ogbere. As the tale goes, the Olowu who was either an Oba Akinjobi or Ayoloye went on a war expedition and was greeted by a devastating storm which threatened to seal off his path at a river crossing. On consultation with his Ifa Priest, he was told that he would have to sacrifice something to the gods as thanksgiving if he were allowed to accomplish his expedition successfully.

On his return journey to the river after his initial successful crossing, he proceeded to offer his thanksgiving sacrifice, but all his offerings were rejected only to be informed through Ifa divination that he had to sacrifice his wife as originally promised. Perplexed that he never made such a bargain, he was reminded that the name of his wife was Nkan (‘Something’), and that he had agreed to offer something (nkan) to the gods if his plea was granted.

With extreme sadness and reluctance as he seemed to have been conned by the gods due to his misunderstanding of their expectation, he had to succumb to the sacrifice, which infuriated the Baale of Ibadan, Nkan’s father, when he heard that his daughter had been sacrificed. He proceeded to assemble aid from some combined regional forces to expel the Owus from Ogbere. The inhabitants of Ogbere were thus displaced to such settlements as Owu-Kuta, Erunmu, Apomu etc with the majority however probably going to further fortify Owu-Ipole (Orile-Owu) with their population.

The Sango event:

Sango was the junior brother of Ajaka, the son of Oranmiyan who succeeded that first Alaafin and founder of Oyo.

He was summoned by the Oyomesi (Oyo Senate and Supreme Council) from his mother’s land in the Nupe territory to succeed his brother Ajaka who had been deposed by them presumably because he was seen as too weak to respond to the Olowu’s demands in those days when Owu was then the foremost military force of the region, and by extension the whole of Yorubaland.

When Sango assumed office as the Alaafin (logicaly the 3rd in the series) he defied the Olowu and was able to repel his attack, perhaps aided by Elempe of the Nupes who were also under the sovereignity of Owu, and instilled strong fear in the latter by use of fire breathing antics!

Thus liberated from Owu’s persistent domination, the Oyos embarked on a heavy program of militarization, purchasing war horses in huge numbers from their Bariba and Nupe neighbours in order to sustain their independence and expand their territory.
Sango’s military focus was to be his undoing as he perhaps neglected the common welfare of his subjects and became unbearable such that the Oyomesi who had initially brought him in also had to ease him out especially after an unfortunate lightening accident instigated by Sango himself where he virtually lost his entire household, wives and children.

The Oyomesi thus recalled his exiled brother Ajaka to resume his monarchy.
Sango was however glorified after his suicide at Koso followed by that of Oya, his favourite wife, and was deified as the god of lightening presumably in memory of his fire breathing antics that rescued Oyo from Owu, and perhaps also as consolation for the self inflicted tragedy while practising his control over the elemental forces of lightening.

The Apomu Market incident:

When Owu Ipole (now Orile-Owu) was at the height of its prominence as a city state in the 19th century, its most important satellite town was Apomu situated some 20km away from its walls with a market which was the most prominent south of the River Niger, competing commercially with the likes of the Kano and Timbuktu markets in the desert region of Africa. Located in Ife territory and originally governed by the former, the Apomu market was the commercial nerve centre of the Owu City-state of Owu-Ipole (Orile-Owu), which must have derived much of its commercial wealth and funds for its military expeditions and defense from its trading revenues as the Owus were not noted for slave trading, but in converse were even engaged by the Alaafin of Oyo to help prevent the menace and protect its citizens who were among the many who would flock regularly to trade their wares and crafts at the famed Apomu market. For its commercial strategic placement, Apomu was secretly or openly desired by many of the powers at play in the Yoruba nation, including Ife, Oyo, Ijebu, Ikoyi, Ilesha and Ibadan. This is the origin of the popular Apomu cliché that goes “Apomu suru, oko ilu banti banti” (ie. Tiny Apomu which lords it over all the high and mighty communities)!

On this fateful occasion, a dispute involving the sale of alligator pepper occurred between an Owu farmer/trader and an Ijebu woman which resulted in the infliction of fatal wounds on the woman. The market erupted into riot and things happened in quick succession which resulted in the declaration of a full scale war on Owu by the Awujale of Ijebu assisted by Ife and war mercenaries from Oyo and Ibadan.

The Pioneering of Abeokuta:

The city of Abeokuta which now holds the enviable position of the largest concentration center of Owu indigenes on earth is reportedly pioneered by the Egbas led by Sodeke, their leader. This is true indeed, but represents only the half truth!

The complete truth is that Oko Alagba now named Abeokuta was jointly pioneered by the Egba contingent led by Sodeke, the Egba Seriki after Lamodi lost his life resulting in the exodus from Ibadan, and a warrior/hunter named Sangojimi Gudugba at the head of an Apomu-Owu contingent. They came together, slept together, fought together and camped together up to Osiele which was their original settlement in Abeokuta. The scarcity of water however drove them on and at Adatan they split up with Sangojimi and his Apomu contingent opting to go forward to encamp at Oke Saje, while Sodeke opted for going left to Isale Ake to pitch camp near a major stream.
All this while, Orile-Owu was still under the siege of the combined forces of the Ijebus, Ibadans, Ifes, and Oyos – which lasted all of 7 years.

However the first group of Owu escapees from the Orile Owu siege who were to join Sangojimi at his new location at Ago Owu came exactly 6 years and 7 months after the Apomu contingent arrived at Oke Saje while the main body of Owu refugees came not long after and were first detected at Arakanga where the news of their approach brought jitters and apprehension among the Egba settlers who were not yet sure of their mission and intentions. Later when news of their encampment at Oke-Ata nearby at the other side of the Ogun River was brought to them, Sangojimi was to confer with Sodeke, and Agbo (the Gbagura leader who had hosted the first small group of Owus before their transfer to Sangojimi) that their best option was to invite the Owu contingent to join the emerging settlement as equal stake-holders in its defense and development, thereby any possible confrontation with the unpredictable Owus would be averted, while at the same time they would have won the strongest military allies they could ever hope for as partners who would help in boosting the defense of the then extremely fragile new settlement called Abeokuta.

Owu prominence past and present:

1st Yoruba Super-power tribe – Owu (then in the Savannah region) was the oldest organized Yoruba settlement with a crowned King after Ile-Ife. It was a regional power wielding authority even over Oyo which became a powerful empire only after Sango was able to free it from the control of the Olowu through his fire-breathing antics.

Madam Tinubu – The first Iyalode of Egbaland of Gbagura and Owu extraction with the courage of many men who engineered the deposition of Oba Kosoko, and the return of Oba Akintoye both in Lagos, and organised the defence of Abeokuta from invading forces among numerous other remarkable feats.

Baale Olugbode – The Owu Kuta warrior who became Baale of Ibadan, only a few decades after Orile Owu was vanquished by the same Ibadan led allied forces.

G.W. Johnson – The Owu and Ijesha returnee (from Sierra Leone) who in 1865 conceived the Egba Unites Board of Management, which regulated government in Abeokuta appreciably enough for the British Colonial Government to grant the city its independence in 1893, some 67 years before Nigeria as a nation enjoyed the same priviledge.

Alake Ademola 1 – The son of an Owu man from the Ademola compound Oke Ago Owu who was also the Jagunna of Owu in 1862 became the 2nd Alake of Abeokuta. His grandson was also installed Alake Oba Ademola ll.

Balogun Akin-Olugbade – Owu political and industrial icon who was the chief whip of Action Group, & succeeded Awolowo as the leader of the opposition in Nigeria’s first Parliament. He built a hospital & social center for the people of Abeokuta and was the Aare-Ona Kakanfo before his elevation to Balogun of Owu.

Olusegun Obasanjo – Retired Army General who hails from the Olusanmi compound in Sokori, Owu Abeokuta is the only 3 term and longest in office Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He revamped the Owu National Movement now called RUOP which was originally founded by Balogun Akin Olugbade, his predecessor in the office of Balogun Owu Abeokuta. A one time leader of the Eminent Personalities group and contender for the post of Secretary General of the United Nations. He is the current Balogun Owu.

Gbenga Daniel – Former Governor of Ogun State and Aare Ajibosin of Owu Kingdom. His mother was Owu from Omu Ijebu.

Ibikunle Amosun – Former Senator, and current Governor of Ogun State. Hails from Molasin compound in Owu Abeokuta. His great grandfather wathe 4th Molashin Iwarefa-Afobaje (Kingmaker) in Abeokuta.

Wale Babalakin – Lawyer (Senior Advocate) and business tycoon of Owu Gbongan extraction. Son of Justice Babalakin.

Taiwo Akinkunmi– An Owu indigene who designed the Nigerian National flag…and it is still flying high!

Owu l’a koda:
A phrase popularly used by Owu people to denote that Ajibosin (alias ‘Asunkungbade’), the first Olowu was also the first among the offsprings of Oduduwa to receive a crown from the great progenitor of the Yoruba race, and his Kingdom of Owu was the most ancient and most powerful in the whole of Yorubaland outside Ile-Ife!
Detractors however sometimes like to slant the pronunciation of the phrase to mean ‘Owu is the paint carrier’, an assertion that makes no sense whatever, whichever way you may look at it.
Another meaning which could be derived from a pronunciation slant of the phrase means “Owu the sword-bearer”. Sword-bearers (Akoda, also known as Tetu and Jagun) were the Royal guards and king’s executioners in the days of old…a qualification that is utter nonsense in the light of the first royal statute awarded to Olowu ahead of the rest of Yorubaland. My argument to such in this guise is that it is impossible for Owu to have ever been Akoda since they got their crown at childhood ahead of every other oba in Yorubaland. Children and royalties are never known to be akodas. If there is any cause at all to consider servitude as Akoda, it could only have come from the realms of the detractors themselves since Owu got its crown ahead of others – and royalties do not serve commoners! Perhaps they had even been Akodas to Owu itself generations earlier when Owu was the regional power before Oyo (through whom the Egbas for instance came to being)!

The Internet is also a host of this phrase in the form of Owulakoda.com and Owulakoda.me, the names of the authority website of the Owu people hosted with the following Internet domain addresses or URLs; http://owulakoda.com, http://owulakoda.me . The website is a compendium of Owu and Yoruba history, culture and interactive discussions about the Owu heritage.

History of Abeokuta

Experience a well rounded rendition of the History of Abeokuta, beautifully summarized under the mesmerism of  a patriotic indigenous background music from no other Abeokuta’s musical icon than The Chief Commander Evangelist Ebeneezer Obey himself.

The historical sketch itself is the summary of a joint effort by two of Abeokuta’s  foremost history authorities,  Chief Dr. LATEEF BIOBAKU (may his soul rest in perfect peace) and PA OLADIPO YEMITAN.

I loved every second of the experience when i visited the site reading and re-reading the contents over again under the intoxication of Obey’s magic! You must experience it yourself too at the website of Egba Progressive Association, Inc.

I recommend that you should afterwards go to The Yoruba Forum where the accounts are also reproduced, to make your comments and start discussions on the topic in order to unearth further details…

Apomu Pioneered Abeokuta!

The Owu people have been displaced from their homelands quite a number of times in the course of their history, starting from their original homestead in the Savannah region below the River Niger discovered by their progenitor, Ajibosun a.k.a. Asunkungbade, first grandson of Oduduwa, up to their last known major habitat at Owu-Ipole now known as Orile-Owu, where their most recent displacement triggered by the Owu Wars took place. The new city of Abeokuta later became the major recipient of the troupes of Owu refugees searching for new homes after the Pan-Yoruba invasion forces that sacked their city of Owu-Ipole swore that it would never be rebuilt again.

By 1824, the ancient market town of Apomu was already invaded and destroyed by this alliance of troops principally from Ijebu, Oyo and Ife. Sangojimi Gudugba, one of the valiant warrior/hunters of Orile Apomu had escaped to Ibadan with a large contingent of Apomu citizens while the capital city of the Owu people was being besieged by the invaders, a siege which lasted over 6 years.

At Ibadan, Sangojimi had met with the acquaintance of the town’s Baale and won his favor well enough to be given a beautiful bride and an appointment as one of the Baale’s military counselors.
A further meeting with fellow warrior/hunter,Sodeke, who was then the deputy leader of the Egba refugees in the town…

(Click here for full story)

THE MOLASHIN CLAN OF ABEOKUTA

click Owulakoda.wordpress.com homepage for the Homepage…and owulakoda.com for Owulakoda.com


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. afro artObalufon 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

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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.

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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.

Molashin Ancestors

O

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.

Molashin Kingmakers

T

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:-

  • Amose,
  • Alatare,
  • Lanloye,
  • Apomu,
  • Ibogun,
  • Olaogun,
  • Akinsinde,
  • Omolaku,
  • Omolashin,
  • Akoore,
  • Asha.

NOTE:

* 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.