Wednesday 3 August 2022

Brief History of Ìjèbú-Jèsà land in Yorubaland

Ijebu Jesa which hitherto before now was known and called Ijebu Egboro is the ancient historic town in the east of Osun State, Nigeria occupies a strategic position in Ijesaland. In Ijesa division, it is the next most important town politically and in terms of history. Her Oba is the next to the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland. The town is situated eight kilometers north of Ilesa and about 128 kilometers east of Ibadan. It lies approximately on latitude 7.45 degrees north within the rain forest belt and so offers opportunity for farming on a large scale. The people are the core of Ijesas and are noted for their dogged industry.

Ijebu jesa was founded by Oba Agigiri Egboroganlada (first Onijebu Egboro) – a son of Oodua Olofin Aiye who was also an elder brother of Owa Obokun Ajibogun. Agigiri means “the battle or war waves hot (A de k’ogun gbona girigiri)”. Ajibogun is interpreted as one who meets war (Ade ba ogun). Both Agigiri and Ajibogun were brought up by their grandmother known as Ijasin at Ilode in Ile Ife as twin brothers.

In about early 12th century, Agigiri and Ajibogun together left Ile Ife after procuring the sea water with which Oodua’s partial blindness was cured to found a kingdom of their own like other sons of Olofin. Before leaving Ile Ife, Oodua gave Owa Obokun a sword of conquest (Ida Ajasegun) and a bigger crown as the original procurer of the sea water. Oodua gave Onijebu – Egboro another crown for accompanying Owa to procure the sea water. He also gave Elegboro a calabash of mysterious juju objects in terms of spoken words of blessing or curse (Igba Ase), hence the Oriki – “Onijebu Egboro, Omo awure fase banu.” The two sons of Olofin later journeyed through the vast jungles conquering numerous settlers and subjecting the conquered territories under their control.

In the course of this, they conquered Igbadae, Ilowa, Ilemure and other smaller communities like Ijaregbe, Eesun, Oke ogun or Oke Aganun, Agbegan, Ijiku, Odo etc. They were at Ilowa when Oodua died. It was only Agigiri and Ajibogun out of all the children of their father who went back to Ile Ife to perform the burial of Oodua.

Both Owa and Elegboro Onijebu have a common boundary domain at Yaragbo till today. Because of their close birth relationship, they usually visited each other and they formally meet at Yaragbo (a sacred and restricted area) for consultation of “Akokodaifa – Ogbomuyegeyege Orunto Oodua” for directives, guidance and to carry out sacrifice of safety, Unity and Progress for Owa and Onijebu-Elegboro and other Obas in Ijesaland. The “Akokodaifa Ogbomuyegeyege Orunto Oodua was the first Ifa Oracle that must be consulted by Oodua before doing anything at all in those days.

When the creator of that Ifa (Oracle) priest (Asedaifa) who was the first consultant recommended seawater for curing of Oodua eyes, Oodua used the seawater with other concotion as recommended by the Ifa Priest and his eyes were restored. In a loud voice, Oodua acclaimed “Akoda – Asedaifa – Oba Adifawi ose.” “Loni ni mo de o l’Ade Ifa Oba Adifa gidi”. Oodua then crown him with a spiritual Ifa crown as “Oba Adifa wi se”, hence the special greetings of “Iba Akoda Iba Asedaifa” by other Ifa (oracle) Priest and consultants in Yorubaland and diaspora. Oodua later instructed the Royal Priest and consultant to follow Owa and Elegboro-Onijebu to be their royal Priest and Spiritual Adviser as he, Oodua was very old and in appreciation of the procuring of seawater.

Oodua then gave “Ewodi Oodua” later known as “Ewodi Oodua Obokun” to the consultant and the royal Priest as a weapon of setting quarrels between the two royal Obas (Owa and Elegboro) whenever such quarrels occur. The Ewodi was to be used in reminding them about their birthcord relationships-paternally and maternally. When Agigiri who lived for 183 years and who was usually referred to as “Oba-Agba” by Owa became very old to walk about, and because of his power and love in spiritualism he moved the Royal Priest consultant and the Ifa Oracle from Yaragbo to the consultant family House at Atiba near Obaloye in Ijebu-jesa. Since the Palace of the consultant and Royal Priest was moved to Ijebu-jesa by Agigiri, all royal Obas who were descendants of Oodua in Yorubaland, mostly especially in Ijesaland must come to Ijebu-jesa to consult the Ifa Oracle for directives and consultation before doing anything at their kingdoms. Even the Owa Obokun, the supreme King in Ijesaland can not do anything or pronounce or execute death penalty at Ilesa without coming to Ijebu Jesa for confirmation and sanction through the Ifa oracle, hence the Oriki “Owa ki da ni pa ki Ijebu-Jesa ma mo.”

There are other lesser chiefs who are representatives of their quarters and see to the day to day administration of the areas with directives from the Oba through the most senior chiefs. These set of chiefs are called Looguns. There are four Looguns in Ijebu Jesa representing the four most distinct areas in the town. Each Loogun has twenty one supporting chiefs under their authority. At the head of the Looguns however, is the Lomode Ijebu Jesa. The current occupier of that position is Chief Komolafe, resident at Okenisa. He occupies the position not by age but by traditional seniority.

The four Looguns and their areas of jurisdiction are:

1. Loogun Odo oja 2. Loogun Ogbon Iloro 3. Loogun OdoEse 4. Loogun Otaforijeja The Odofin of Odogo also joins these set of chiefs in their meeting.

There are five ruling houses in Ijebu Jesa from which an Oba is selected. They are:

1. Aiyapaki-Ekun 2. Ide-Ekun 3. Lagunna 4. Nibaayo 5. Ajigiteri

Source: Gossip House

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