Friday 8 July 2022

History of Abẹokuta by E. Olympus O. Moore. Ajiṣafẹ, Ajayi Kọlawọlẹ (1916)

"In March, 1863, the King of Dahomey ventured an attack on Abeokuta. His camp extended for two miles in length on a rising ground called  Oke Àtà ( Àtà Hill ) on the Meko road. From the 7th to the 23rd March was a time of great anxiety. Somoye the Başorun was in town, and not at Iperu at this time. He therefore gathered together as many warriors as were available to defend the town.

Madam Tinubu, the Ìyálóde of the Ẹgba  people, played a commendable part. She dressed like a warrior and encamped at Owu gate, having her men slaves and several persons as her followers. She was wont to drive back the Ẹgba  soldiers who ventured to return to town on the pretence of obtaining provisions and ammunition, which she freely supplied to them. She also determined to fight if needed. But on the 23rd March the Dahomians retreated without attacking Abeokuta.

On January 29, 1877, a great fire broke out, destroying Kemta church and several houses. The fire spread so rapidly that not all the inmates were able to escape. Twenty-one persons were suffocated. Jamolu the Agura died in 1877, and Ijaade succeeded him the following year. 

After the death of Ademola, Oyekan, his uncle and rival, who survived him, again claimed the throne.  The Ẹgba  Chiefs at first refused to have him as a king because of the unsuitable character and of the unhappy reign of his father Jibodu, and more especially because Oyekan was too poor and could not give presents to the Chiefs.

Prince Oyekan was a favourite of Madam Tinubu the Iyalode, who helped him liberally by giving presents to the Chiefs, and thus won their favour for him.  Thereby he was made Alake on January 18, 1879. 

Madam Tinubu the Iyalode died in 1889 (December 3). Her death was lamented by all the inhabitants, and she was given [a] grand burial, although she left no issue.

*Female Students Performing at Abeokuta Grammar School 1951 - photographer Lorenzo Dow Turner, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution ACMA LDT-N-R41-1355.

By Kehinde Thompson

1 comment:

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