Tuesday 11 October 2022

BRIEF HISTORY OF AKURE KINGDOM

Oral tradition states that Akure was founded by a prince named Omoremi, son of Ekun and grandson of Oduduwa Omoluabi, the royal progenitor of the Yoruba tribe. The Prince left Ile-Ife, his grandfather's kingdom, in search of a place to settle after passing a strict test administered by Oduduwa himself. This test wherein he was kept in solitude for about nine (9) days is still annually commemorated in Akure today by the reigning king of the town during a ceremony known as 'Oba wo ilesunta'. 

At the point where the prince and his party arrived at the exact location of the modern city, the string holding the heavy royal beads on his neck is said to have snapped, thus causing the people to exclaim "Àkún rę" (or The beads have snapped), this later becoming the name of the settlement they established on the site. Over time, the phrase was whittled down through its constant use to become Akure. [citation needed]

Omoremi is said to have hunted with his entourage while on his way from Ile Ife. He arrived in Akure and was proclaimed the Person who hunted and arrived with royalty, i.e., Asodeboyede. Originally, the kings of Akure that were born of him were referred to as Ajapada. The title Deji of Akure started with Oba Arakale, whose father took the daughter of Oba Atakumosa, the Owa of Ijeshaland as one of his wives while the latter was on his way to Benin. By the time Oba Atakumosa was returning to Ilesha from the pilgrimage, his daughter (Owawejokun) had given birth to a son. 

While other dignitaries gave the little baby common gifts, Oba Atakumosa was said to have presented his grandson with a small diadem. Owafadeji i.e., Owa gave him a diadem or royal crown became the nickname of the young boy, and by the time he reached his adulthood it had become his de facto name. When Owafa'Deji became Oba, the appellation assumed a titular importance and because of his prominence as an Oba, subsequent Obas or kings assumed the title while the advent of the modern era has formally made Deji the official title of the Obas of Akure. However, the original title of Ajapada has remained a significant part of the Deji's ceremonial style till the present day.

The Oba's Palace in the centre of the town was built in 1150 AD.[5] During its long history, the city-state of Akure was at times independent, at times subject to other states. There is a sizable population of Bini origin. Akure was the main base for Benin's trade in the area, and at times seems to have been considered within the western frontier of Benin. The Benin historian Egharevba refers to suppression of resistance by "rebellious Akure" during the reign of Oba Ewuare of Benin (1440–1473), although the king was allowed to remain as nominal ruler. Another rebellion is recorded a century later during the reign of Oba Ehengbuda of Benin.

Akure had regained independence by the early 19th century, but around 1818 it was recaptured by Benin forces and the Deji was executed.After 1854, Akure and other Ekiti towns came under the rule of Ibadan, which lasted until a rebellion in 1876 followed by a prolonged war between the Yoruba states.

Towards the end of the 19th century the British based on their Lagos Colony had established a protectorate over the area, although they ruled through "native" administrations. The British sought to combine the Ekiti kingdoms of the region into a single administrative unit, against resistance by the Ekiti people who preferred local autonomy. In 1899 Ekiti and Ilesha formed the northeastern division of the protectorate. In 1915, Ekiti, Owo and Ondo were combined to form the Ondo Province with headquarters at Akure. Ondo Province later became part of Western State. In 1976 the old Ondo State was formed, and in 1996 Ekiti State was split off from the modern Ondo State, which has Akure as its capital.

Akure indigenes are fondly called “Omo Akure Oloyemekun a mu ida s’ile m’ogun enu pani” (meaning sons and daughters that sheathed the sword and kill with mouth). It is also a common knowledge for an Akure indigene to regard himself as Omo Ekun (son of a tiger).

1 comment:

  1. Good article an excellent way to articulate. Keep it up

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...