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ILE-IFE THE SACRED HOME OF THE YORUBAS VIS - A – VIS OBASHIP IN YORUBALAND PART 5.

ILE-IFE THE SACRED HOME OF THE YORUBAS VIS - A – VIS OBASHIP IN YORUBALAND PART 5.  

 The 16 Yoruba King of Kings “Olori Alade” who are direct children of Oduduwa – who Odu Ifa referred to as “Alade Merindinlogun Ile Oodua. They are the most senior Obas in Yorubaland .
 
1. Ado Bini Ogiso / Oba of Benin - Oranmiyan dynasty - IMPERIAL MAJESTY
2. Oloyo / Alaafin of Oyo – Oranmiyan dynasty  - IMPERIAL MAJESTY
3. Ajibogun Owa Obokun Adimula Onida arara Ijesa
4. Fagbamila Ajagunla Orangun Ile-ila Igbomina
5. Alaaye Ita-Efon / Obanifon
6. Olugborgan (Ogboroganda) Awujale Ode Ijebu)
7. Akanbi Odara: Onipopo – Benin Republic
8. Onisabe  -  Benin Republic
9. Osemawe Ode Ondo ( Princess Awamaro )
10. Ajero Ita Ijero
11. Elekole
12. Olowu Ita Owu
13. Alaara
14. Alaketu - Benin Republic
15. Owore Otun
16. Olojudo

From which their generations established several other kingdoms of Yorubaland
Osogbo was established by Prince Gbadewolu Laraoye an Ijesa Obokun Prince and a brave hunter Timeyin from Ipole. Laraoye was the son of Owa Obokun Adimula Obarabara Olokun Esin 3rd in line of the Ijesa Obokun Adimula Royal dynasty
Akure was found during Owa Obokun Adimula Atakunmosa’s  “ pelupelu “ Royal journey to his brother Ado Bini / Oba of Benin when one of his wives who accompanied him on the trip and  previously pregnant gave birth to a baby boy who he dedicated some members of his royal entourage to settle therein and establish a kingdom after bequeathing a crown to his son “ Adejin “  which today is known  as Deji of Akure . Till date both monarchs ; Ataoja of Osogbo and Deji of Akure plays traditional roles at the Aafin Adimula , Ilesa as it relates to father and sons .
Ifewara also during the reign of Owa Obokun Adimula Atakunmosa Prince Ademiregun, a powerful magician and Prince from Ile-Ife was invited to Ijesaland to settle down with his followers as a means of settlement of the Royal rift as a result of dissatisfaction of contest to the seat of olufe today now known as Ooni by Owa Obokun Adimula Atakunmosa, Ademiregun settled down at Ifewara few kilometers to Iwara in Ijesaland and became the first Olufewara of Ifewara as against the title of Olufe of Ile-Ife today known as Ooni of Ile-Ife
Itsekiri A royal relation  of Oba of Benin known as Ajishegiri settled at a place named Warri by the portugese but traditionally known as “Iweri”
Ekitiland Bulk of the children of Olofin Aye Oduduwa named above: Ajero, Alaara, Elekole, Owore Otun, Olojudo, Alaaye efon and Ewi of Ado-Ekiti e.t.c and their generations formed the various kingdoms in Ekitiland under the Kelu-Kelu confederacy
Iwo Adekola Telu an Ile-Ife prince and son of Luwoo Gbagida, the only female Ile- Ife monarch who  married Obalaran established the city of Iwo
Iseri Olofin Ogun Funminire an hunter from Ile-Ife built Iseri Olofin beside the Ogun river of not too distant to Lagos, he settled there in 1699 and had inhabitants spread to Ota and neighbourhood of Ebutemeta till 1794 when Ogun Ajakaye hit many Yoruba settlement then ebutemeta brokeup and some of her Inhabitants moved to Ido Island and oto Awori from where they built Ijora southwest of Ido island.

Ede Is one of the most ancient Yoruba towns.The foundation of Ede is often attributed in different accounts, either to Alaafin Sango or to Alaafin Kori. By either account, it is certain that Ede had come to existence in the early phase of Old Oyo Empire.  In the Oyo Royal history compiled by the Revrend Samuel Johnson , Alaafin Sango was the fourth Alaafin of Oyo while Kori was the sixth. Johnson, in fact describes the first four Oyo rulers as “mythological kings and defied heroes” while he characterizes Alaafin Ajaganju and Kori- the 5 th and 6 th Alaafin respectively and their succesors- “as historical kings” Evident from the above fact that Ede was established by the Oyo authorities before the 16th century. According to Olunlade a prominent Ede traditional historian the pre-1800 Timi of Ede included Agbale Olofa Ina. Alapo Tiemi- tiemi, Oladokun, Lalemo, Lamodi, Alale, Oniyito Salade, Atagba and Oyefi. Others were Oke, Winjobi, Lasiyi, Oniyito II who was the last Timi of Ede-Ile.
Though Ede is an ancient Yoruba town , it is certainly not as old as Ile-Ife, Ile -Ila-Orangun, Oyo, Owu, Awo, Ara, Ojo, Iragberi, Apomu , Ibokun , Ipole , Ijebu- jesa and Ipole among others. However it is certainly older than Ilesa, Ogbomoso and Osogbo. We know, as a matter of historical fact, that by the time of Alaafin Sango or Kori, Ilesa had not yet been founded. Authentic traditions show that before the establishment of Ilesa town, there were several small ancient Ijesa towns- Ibokun, Ijebu jesa and Ipole. We also know that Ede is older than Ogbomoso given N.B. Oyerinde’s account that Ogbomoso was settled during the period of Alaafin Ajagbo who is believed to have reign between 1600 and 1650. It is also an Incontestable fact that Osogbo was established by the Ijesas Royalty .
 When Ede was established by  Alaafin Sango, it was with clear military mandate. The charge given to the founding father of Ede, Agbale Olofa Ina, was that of the defence of the territorial integrity of Oyo-Ile  against possible Ijesa incursions into the Oyo territory. From available traditions , the Oyo siege then included Awo, Ara and Ojo, among others.
 From existing historical evidence, the founding fathers of the frontier post of Ede also had a clear  economic agenda. Both Samuel Johnson and I.A Akinjogbin, submit that the Alaafin of Oyo established Ede as a military outpost to protect Apomu bound traders  who were being molested by such  groups of bandits on the trade route . This event took place in the pre Igboho phase of Oyo history i.e. before 1500 which brought the following questions into ones mind : -
Who was Timi Agbale Olofa Ina ?
 What qualifications did he possess to have been considered for the military assignment ?
 Again, both Oyo and Ede traditions agree that Agbale was one of the 70 principal Oyo war-chiefs, the Eso. Saburi Biobaku describes Eso as the “praetorian guard” but R.C.C. Law suggests that they served rather as the officers of the main field army
 As an Eso the founding father of Ede was a valiant warrior and leader of men. As an Eso. He had the culture of an all conquering ruler who should never be defeated in battle or war. If he was defeated, he was never to return to the capital alive. This is expressed thus in the Eso praise chant – Oriki :

                           “Ohun meji l’o ye EsoEso ja o le ogun
                             Eso ja oku s; ogun”

  Translated as: Two things are befitting to the Eso
                             The Eso must fight and conquer
                             The Eso must conquer or perish in war.

An Eso was also a man of immense courage, bravery and gut. He must never exhibit any act of cowardice. This is clearly epitomized in the following Oriki:-
                             “Eso ki gbo’ fa lehin
                              A fi bi o ba gbogbe niwaju gangan”
    Translated as: An Eso must never be shot in the back
                              His wounds must always be right in front
 Ede was an important, provincial town within the context of Imperial Oyo. The Timi of Ede as a provincial ruler was also entitled to wear the Akoro crown ( Coronet made from Tiger or Leopard skin and it is only the Timi of Ede that the Yoruba culture and tradition gives the single privilege , honour and right to wear ‘ade akoro’  as established by the Iku Baba Yeye Alaafin of Oyo till date ). He was originally invested with power from Oyo. According to the Revrend Samuel Johnson , Imperial Oyo had four major provinces : The Ekun Osi / metropolitan province had the Onikoyi of Ikoyi, Olugbon of Igbon, Aresa of Iresa, the Onpetu of Ijera and Olofa of Ofa. In the Ekun Otun province were the Okere of Saki, Aseyin of Iseyin. Eleruwa of Eruwa, among others. The third province was Ibolo province were Ede was  a prominent member. Other provincial rulers in this province were the Akirun of Ikurun. Olubo of Ilobu, Ataoja of Osogbo and Adimula of Ife Odan. The fourth province was the Epo province which had the Oluwo of Iwo and Ondese as prominent members.
Of all Oyo provincial kings, we have it on the good authority of Samuel Johnson that the Timi of Ede, the Onikoyi, The Olugbon and the Aresa were “the most ancient”. (P. 76). In the pre imperial Oyo, the Onikoyi was the commander of the provincial army. However a new command structure came into existence during the imperial period when the title of the Aare - Ona- Kakanfo was introduced and established by Alaafin Ajagbo . The title was akin to Field Marshal . It was conferred upon the “greatest soldier and tactician of the day”. Because of the immense power  the Aare - Ona Kakanfo, the holder of the title was not supposed to reside in the capital but in one of the provincial towns. He was appointed as the ruler of a semi- Independent “Palatinate” in a frontier area where enemy pressure  was especially great . Thus, the first two holders of the title, Kokoro Gangan and Oyatope reside in Iwoye, north-west Ede.
As a military frontier, Ede had a shared post with Igbaja and Ada in the sense that they were all border towns. Igbaja was, In fact, founded as a military outpost to protect Oyo threatened frontiers with Nupe. Ada was also an Oyo border town but with a unique feature in the sense that both the Alaafin and the Owa Obokun Adimula had rights to the ruling houses of  Ada Ile and Ada Owode ( who are of Oyo and Ijesa descent and they took turn to provide the Alada ) .
 Ede started as an army with a state rather than the conventional pattern a state with army. In the early period of its existence, particularly from the era of Alaafin Sango to the suicide of Alaafin Aole in 1876, Ede discharged creditably the military mandate conferred on her. First, she successfully checkmated  incursionist   from entering into Oyo territory and, in fact, gave military protection to all important market of Apomu- a market of immense significance to the Oyo, Ijesa, Owu and Egba traders between the 16th and 18th centuries, the imperial Oyo was under sporadic raids  from the Nupe and Bariba. To the extent that capital of Oyo-Ile had to be evacuated during the reign of Alaafin Onigbogi to Igboho. In fact, Nupe traditions credited the sack of Oyo- Ile to certain Etsu Jiga who said according to M.D. Mason to have lived before the time Edegi. Etsu himself is credited with raid against the Yagba and Bunu in the two north eastern Yoruba frontier .  The fortune of Ede was greatly affected by the process of Nupe expansionist incursion into Yoruba territory in the 16th century as evidenced by the Nupe threat to Oyo. Alaafin  Abipa , Ajiboyede’s successor, was able probably in the 17th century to re-occupy the capital at Oyo-Ile without opposition. Ede was a great asset in the victory. Indeed, Ikoyi, the second largest town in Oyo kingdom was probably established as a counterpoise to the Nupe invasion of the 16th century.
There are  evidence that right from the inception of Ede , her rulers greatly pride in her military traditions and values. History, Ede defended her territorial integrity against Nupe and Ibariba invasions . Ede consistently kept her territory safe and intact from external aggression even from her foundation . Warding off  incursions into the Oyo territory was the focal point of her establishment by Oyo. It is also clear from evidence that Ede was unabashedly loyal to imperial Oyo. The military significance in Ede in the aftermath of Fulani destruction of Oyo towns in 1820’s and early 1830’s is best summarized in the words of the renowned historian R.C.C. Law:

                                   …by C. 1833 the Ilorin had either destroyed
                                     Or subjected almost all important
                                     Oyo towns. Ofa, Ikoyi, Gbogan, Saki and Iganna
                                     and new towns of Akese and Ago Oja.
                                      Had all fallen or submitted while the Oyo
                                      Capital itself was tributary to Ilorin. Of the
                                      Other major provincial towns. We hear nothing
                                      at this period of Ogbomoso but probably it
                                      had  its submission to Ilorin. Only Ede
                                      in the Ibolo province. Which was shielded from
                                      direct attack by the River Osun, apparently
                                      preserved its independence. Apart from Ede
                                      the independent Oyo powers were the newly
                                      established states in the south : Ijaye,
                                      Under kurunmi, Abemo, under Oyo and
                                      Ibadan where after the death of Oluyedun, a
                                      Man called Oluyole eventually emerged as the
                                      Leading chief.

 The present Ede is not the one founded by the famous Timi Agbale Olofa-Ina, Ede culture-hero, like Ibadan, the present Ede was established in the opening decades of the 19th century. In fact, Ede- Ile, the military outpost established in the 6th century by the Oyo authorities, had to be shifted to the other side of Osun river around 1817-1818. This change of settlement was largely in response to the breakdown of Oyo central authority in 1976: Hitherto, the military might of Oyo had provided security and political stability for most of the Yoruba country. As a sequel to this breakdown of normal government authority. Yorubaland was thrown into confusion and anarchy as powerful individuals started molesting and harassing innocent citizens. Leading Oyo provincial chiefs such as Adegun, the Onikoyi, the Opele of Gbogun and others who had the might started carving out small empires for themselves. A body of bandits, the Ogo were also terrorized the people in the present day Osun area. In this confused atmosphere Kakanfo Afonja also succeeded in declearing Ilorin independent of Oyo and from where he organized raids into Ede-Ile, Osogbo, Ilobu, Ejigbo and other towns in the Epo district. In fact, with the Fulani conquest of Nupe land in 1817 the security of Ede and her neighbours became precarious. It was these developments that led to the evacuation of Ede-Ile and the establishment of “new” Ede. There is no doubt  that if Ede was to be safe from Fulani attack. It needed a natural barrier to shield her (among other military considerations). The man who had this political foresight was Kubolaje Agbonran.
IWO: Luwo gbagida, a female Ooni of Ife married to Chief Obaloran, got her son, Adekola Telu, escorted out of Ile-Ife City to found Iwo town of which he became the first Oluwo.
Ibadan: Ibadan, its first foundation was laid by an Ife man, Lagelu, nicknamed Oroo, Apatamaja
Egbado / Yewa: The earliest people of Egbado in Ilaro,Isheri,Ijanna,Iboro,Ajilete,Oke Odan e.t.c. were all Ifes who migrated from Ido clan of Ife in More ward
KABBA: two brothers founded kabba an igbira were also from Ile-Ife. On reaching a mountain side, the elder brother told his younger brother that he would climb up a certain granary, meaning ‘Oke Aba’, later contracted to ‘Kabba’ as we know it today. The younger brother said that he would go to the place of Ira tree (Ibi-Ara), contracted again to ‘Igbira’.
Ikale: The Ikale people had their Original hometown at Itajamo in Ile-Ife before they took their exit therefrom during the annual festival of Oduduwa whwn drumming is forbidden for seven consecutive days. ‘Kale’ means to prohibit drumming and ‘Ikale means’ the prohibition of drumming In Ife dialect, settling down in their new destination, these Ife emigrants adopted the name of a people who left their original homestead during the ‘Ikale’ period.
Iragbiji: Was founded by an hunter who went from Chief Obaijo’s compound in Moore ward of Ife city. His name is Agba and Apasa family. At first he was living in a cave on a hill but at last came down from the top of the hill and erected a hut under one Ira tree which eventually grew up to be huge. Hence the name ‘Iragbiji’ which signifies that Ira tree has become a very mighty one.
Ikirun: was founded by an hunter called Obasentan who hailed from Ila Orangun. And Oba-ara son of Akinorun came from a town called Ilari to settle down with him. After some time , Oba-ara son of Akinorun was elected as the Oba of the town which thenceforth received the name of ‘Ilu-Akinorun’ eventually contracted to Ikirun.
Odeomu:  Odeomu was founded by the people of Modakeke when they were evacuated from the latter place in 1909. It was called Odeomu because the stream there sed to be empty of water for the hunter to drink during dry season
Apomu: A prince from the royal family of Gbegbaaje, an Ooni of Ife, founded Apomu
Oke Igbo: Oke Igbo was founded by Prince Aderin Ologbenla , a powerful warrior who sent to Ondo a warning expedition by Ooni Adegunle Abewela who reigned from 1839-1849. Aderin Ologbenla eventually became an Ooni-Elect in 1880 but never came to be crowned at Ile-Ife until he died at Oke-Igbo in 1894.
Ifetedo- Ifetedo was founded in 1931 by a splinter group from Oke-Igbo.
Eko- also named by the Portuguese Lagos :- There is a lot of traditional history at both Benin and Lagos ends relating to the origin of what is now Lagos, its ruler and it's connection with Benin. But perhaps to avoid inadequacies and controversy which the academics claim surrounds traditional history, we may like to hear what some modern historians have to say on this subject. Robert S. Smith, in his book of some principal Yoruba owns, especially in and around Oyo, and the westward expansion in the 17th century of Benin Kingdom with it's number of subject towns on or near to the coast, which included Lagos, went on to say this about Lagos in particular:

"It's name reflect it's past to the Yoruba it's Eko, deriving probably from the farm (Oko) of the earliest settlers, though alternatively-or additionally-it may be the Benin word (Eko) for a war-camp...We say Eko is a Benin word that means camp"

After describing the activities of the armies of Benin under H.I.M Oba Orhogbua, culminating in his arrival at what is now Lagos, Smith went on to add:

"Sometime later the Oba appointed a ruler for Lagos to represent the interest of Benin and to forward tribute there. The man chosen is named in both Lagos and Benin Tradition as Ashipa"

Smith says that by Lagos account this Ashipa was an Isheri Chief, while the Benin account says Ashipa was a grandson of the Oba of Benin. We shall come to this later. Smith was, however, satisfied that Benin had established it's ascendency in Lagos and had founded a dynasty there at some period before 1700.The dyansty's dependence on Benin, Smith found, was emphasized by the appointment of another Chief, the Eletu Odibo, who alone had the right to crown the Oba and who in early times probably maintained close connection with Benin,.(Eletu Odibo is a corruption of the Edo equivalent Olotu Odibo)

"G.T. Stride and C. Ifeka, in their book titled Peoples and empires of West Africa have this to say on the same subject:

Oba Orhogbua was clearly a strong warrior for he enforced tribute payments from all parts of the empire and in the middle 1550s conquered all the coastal lands up to Lagos where he left a permanent garrison. Tradition in Lagos says that their first Oba, the Eleko of Eko, was a son of the Oba Orhogbua of Benin"

It will be seen, therefore, that even if we were to disregard traditional history there is enough material from modern historians to confirm the fact that what is now Lagos was founded by an Oba of Benin who also gave it it's first ruler. But we really cannot disregard traditional history. In Benin tradition, and we believe the same of Yoruba and other ethnic groups in this country, one way to establish that an event in traditional history did occur is by the type of anecdote or adage that evolves from that event . Thus, for instance, We Edo people say that "Orhogbua gb'Olague,ona y'ukpe abekpen z'umwen rie Edo, meaning that Oba Orhogbua defeated Olague and used sword to bring his salt to Benin, This is in allusion of to the exploits of Oba Orhogbua while in his camp (Eko) from where he over-ran the place known as Mahin with it's ruler whom the Benin People nicknamed Olague. There Orhogbua discovered the common rock salt and brought it to Benin who thereby tasted it for the first time.

Now the name "Ashipa has featured quite prominently (and rightly too) in the history of Lagos. After the Oba Orhogbua returned to Benin from Eko, he appointed a commander or an administrator, who was called Aisikpa to look after the skeleton troop left in the camp(Eko) until he returned again from Benin. He could no longer return having seen the situation at home. The name "Aisikpahienvoborre" which means "people do not desert their home-land. "This is how Aisikpa, whom the Yoruba now call Ashipa, came into the Lagos (Eko) history. Eko is still there as the traditional Benin name for Lagos; Ashipa has been retained as a senior traditional chieftaincy title while his descendants now retain the modern name of Oba of Lagos. The interaction of Edo people with others in distant lands must have inevitably resulted in cultural exchanges.

( Excerpts From a Lecture on the Evolution of Traditional
rulership in Nigeria given under the auspices of the University of
Ibadan, Institute of African studies on 11th September,1984 by Omo
N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Erediauwa ).

 Past Obas (Kings)
Oba of Lagos
Ashipa (1600–1630) died on the way back to Benin
Oba Ado (1630–1669) first King of Lagos
Oba Gabaro (1669–1704)
Oba Akinsemoyin (1704–1749)
Oba Eletu Kekere (1749)
Oba Ologun Kutere (1749–1775)
Oba Adele Ajosun (1775-1780 & 1832-1834)
Oba Eshilokun (1780–1819)
Oba Idewu Ojulari (1819–1832)
Oba Oluwole (1836–1841)
Oba Akintoye (1841-1845 & 1851-1853)
Oba Kosoko (1845–1851)
Oba Dosumu  ( Docemo ) (1853–1885)
Oba Oyekan I (1885–1900)
Oba Eshugbayi Eleko (1901-1925 & 1932)
Oba Ibikunle Akitoye (1925–1928)
Oba Sanusi Olusi (1928–1931)
Oba Falolu Dosumu (1932–1949)
Oba Adeniji Adele (1949–1964)
Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II (1965–2003)
Oba Rilwan Babatunde Aremu Osuolale Akiolu I (2003– till date)

And other great kingdoms in the Ekiti Kelukelu Confederacy, Abeokuta , Owu Egba , Orile- Owu , Owo , Ile – Oluji , Akoko , Akoko Edo , Ilaje , Oke Ogun : Saki , Eruwa ,Lanlate , Tede , Igbeti,  Onko etc


NOTE: Oni of ife is not included because he is their father.
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