Saturday 18 June 2022


Yes, Ibadan is the headquarters of the Yoruba nation. She dethroned both Ife and Oyo Alaafin long time ago. Ibadan is about 128km to Lagos. Ibadan is so big that you will just see endless rusted corrugated iron sheets of roofs indefinitely to no end. Again you will see hills upon hills. I love Premier Hotel sitting down like a prince on a hill. See Cocoa House and be happy !!!

Ibadan is corrupted from Eba Odan, meaning the city at the edge of the savannah. Ibadan was formed by Lagelu who moved out of Ife with some warriors and many people just to go and establish another town. It can therefore be assumed that Lagelu founded Ibadan before  1500 AD, probably about the 12th Century. These are historical probabilities which are subject to further research. (A series of intra ethnic feuds were to further destabilize southern Yorubaland. This led to the mushrooming  of army camps of which Ibadan  became a beneficiary. The allied forces chose Ibadan an erstwhile Egba settlement as their camp between 1828 and 1829. Gradually, other soldiers from Ife, Ijebu and Oyo settled at IBADAN). Lagelu met some hard people in the area. Those people were mostly those that were running away from laws from their respective towns. He soon absorbed them into his army. He established law and order and the town started growing. Alaafin soon noticed Lagelu(Oro apata maja) and made him Jagun( Commander In Chief of Oyo Empire. And Jagun formed a formidable army with some best warriors from Oyo, Ogbomoso, and Ilesa to prevent attacks on Oyo Empire.

As Ibadan was growing, the first town was ordered destroyed by Alaafin because an Egungun was accidentally disrobed and derisively mocked by women and children in an open market place. It was an abomination bc egunguns were considered to be dead forefathers who returned to the world to bless their progeny.

Lagelu survived the destruction ordered by Alaafin and then ran to the top of the mountain with his warriors and the remnants. Their food soon got finished and they started eating the abundant snails found on the mountain forests hence the appellation: . . . Ibadan omo ajegbin je'karahun. . .   . = Ibadan that can eat the snail and its shell !!!!!!

Ibadan was destroyed but Lagelu and his cronies survived and rebuilt Ibadan the second time. It was more populous this time than it was before the destruction. No sooner Lagelu died than another misfortune befell Ibadan. The destruction was done this time by Yoruba war marauders led by Maye Okunade, an Ife chieftain and warrior.

After the fall of Owu capital city, Serious punishment was inflicted upon most Egba towns (Egba agbeyin, Gbagura, Okeona) and other Owu villages by Yoruba warriors for secretly befriending and supporting Owu. During this period, the Egbas were living in small villages scattered around the area between Ipara and Ibadan as Abeokuta was yet to be founded. All Egba  and Owu villages in this axis were overrun, burnt and deserted. Some of the villages destroyed during this period were Eruwon, Oba, Itoko, Itesi, Imo, Itoku, Ikereku, Iporo, Ooru, Ijaiye-maja, Ofa, Oje, Kosi-Kosi, Ora, Ikereku-iwere and Ibadan. All these towns were overrun, deserted and plundered in just one night.

But because one of the towns, Ojoho(Ojoo) could not be taken easily (for its stout resistance), these Yoruba war marauders decided to find a resting place and commence fight the following day. Of all the towns overrun and deserted the previous night, Ibadan alone they found not destroyed by fire. The war chiefs and their people hastily occupied it and took pocession of any compound they chose. This was how Ibadan was again re-peopled. Not by the original owners of the town but by a band of Yoruba war marauders. Maye Okunade, the Ife chieftain became the first Bale of Ibadan and Labosinde his fellow Ife warrior became his deputy.

Among those who occupied Ibadan after the second destruction were:


Maye, Derin-okun, Labosinde, Oginni, Aregbe, Degoke, Olufadi, Epo, Kugbayigbe,Oluyode and Kudayisi 


Oluyedun, Lakanle, Oluyole, Adelakun, Opeagbe, Abitiko, Yaamati, Koseiko, Oluoyo, Abidogun, Apasa, Osun, Laleitan, Bankole, Fadeyi-oganiija, Agbeni.


Osunlalu, Kalejaiye, Arowosanle, Oguade, Amoibo.


Lamodi was the leader of Egba warriors

During this period, Ife warriors were the strongest and they outnumbered any other group. This is why Maye, an Ife chieftain was made the generalissimo. Shortly after the occupation of Ibadan, the success of taking over a great town like Ibadan was mismanaged as most of these war lords were homeless refugees who have no idea of how a town should be governed. The Oyo group was the unluckiest group. They were treated like dogs and being looked down upon by other groups. They (the Oyos) most of the time complained of Maye’s highhanded leadership style and partiality. Later they were left with no option than to revolt against Maye, the Bale and his Ife goons.

After he has been chased out of Ibadan by the Oyos, Maye and his group went and raised a large army against the occupants of Ibadan. The Egbas volunteered to fight with Maye as they see it as an opportunity to avenge on these new occupants of Ibadan and take their village back from them. The Owus on their own side were part of Maye’s expedition to annihilate those Oyo marauders who were the principal agents in the destruction of their capital city, Owu town. An alliance was also formed with Ife towns of Ikire, Apomu, Ipetumodu and other towns in the neighbourhood.

The battle was named GBANAMU (Grasping fire). People with swords will rush upon their fire arm assailants and grasp the barrel of their guns. It was a hand to hand fight as swordsmen proved themselves a match for those with fire arm. Ibadan (The Oyos) met this overwhelming force with courage and determination, but the odds were against them. They lost ground at every battle until they were able to bring in Kurumi and his Ijaye warfare (mercenary). With the combination of Ibadan and Ijaye, Maye group were completely routed. He (Maye) and several leaders of Egba, Owu and Ife were made prisoners and put to death. 

Immediately after Gbanamu war, it was resolved among Ibadan warriors that as they now intend to make Ibadan their home rather than war camp, they should arrange for a settled government and take tittles. Oluyedun as the son of the late Afonja of Ilorin was honoured with the position of Bale but preferred to adopt his father’s title of Are-Ona-Kankanfo. This position was given to him not for his valour but for his age and dignity.  Lakanle, the bravest of them all took the position of Otun kankanfo while Oluyole was the Osi kankanfo. Labosinde, the only Ife man among them who also had Oyo blood in his vein through his mother was made the Babasale because of his gentleness and good nature (He remained neutral during the Gbanamu war).  

1. Oluyedun – Are ona kankanfo

2. Lakanle – Otun kankanfo

3. Oluyole – Osi kankanfo

4. Adelakun –Ekerin kankanfo

5. Oluwaiye – Akarun kankanfo

6. Abitiko – Ekefa kankanfo

7. Keji – Aare abese

8. Osun – Sarumi

9. Labosinde - Babasale

Oluyole became Bale (Basorun) of Ibadan after the death of Oluyedun. He was never part of those who chased the Egbas out of Ibadan with Maye neither did he take part in the destruction of other Egba and Owu villages. He was one of the Oyo group who later seek refuge in Ibadan camp after been chased out of Oyo-Ile by the Fulanis. He was from a prominent family. His father was from the great family of Basorun in Oyo-Ile while his mother was a direct daughter of Alaafin Abiodun. With this influence, he was able to cunningly win other Ibadan chiefs to his side and edged out Lakanle who was the next man in line after Oluyedun. As the town was expanding, the succession plan was modified into the  Civilian line and Military line. So,  elderly man will always become an Olubadan!!!! The current Olubadan,  Aje Oguguluso is of Oyo Alaafin Group.

JP CLARK described Ibadan in the following lines:


Running splash of rust

And gold-flung and scattered 

Among seven hills like broken 

China in the sun.

The last 7 Olubadans:

Oba Gbadamosi Akanbi Adebimpe of  Odinjo 1976 - 1977 First to wear crown bead.

Oba Daniel Akintayo Akinbiyi of Elekuro  1977 - 1982

Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike  of Idi Oro 1983 - 1993, extremely popular. Speaking only Yoruba with wise sayings and wise cracks, serious jokes and would never laugh.

Oba Emmanuel Adeyemo of Isale Ijebu 1994 - 1999. Highly educated.

Oba Dr Yunusa Ogundipe Arapasowu of Oranyan 1999 - 2007 . Highly educated.

Oba Dr Samuel Odulana of Aremo 2007 - 2016. Highly educated.

Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Oguguluso of Popoyemoja 2016 - 2022 Music promoter of K1, Epo Akara, Lefty Salami Balogun, Tatalo Alamu etc.

NB: Did you notice that Yorubas from time in memorial, have always code named their military operations eg Gbanamu, Kiriji, Jalumi etc. So the current code names by the Nigerian military is not new to SW. The current code Names like Python Dance, Crocodile Smile, Scorpions Must Sting etc is no big deal to us, unlike the Core East that resent it.


Source: African History Archive

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