Thursday 26 January 2023


When Oduduwa was old and blind, his children were called together and ordered to go and found their own kingdoms and each was given a royal symbol. During this period, Ile-Ife was hit by a prolonged drought which lasted for many years, causing faming and diseases. Finally Agirilogbon, a babalawo of Oke-Itase in Ile-Ife, counseled emigration.

According to tradition, the children went northwards and southwards. Those who went south eastwards finally settled at Ado, Owo and Benin. In addition, some of the migrants had a change of rulers in their new homes. The date of this emigration is still a subject of academic controversy. However, it is clear that it was not later than 11th century A.D. It is also difficult to know how many kingdoms resulted from this exercise. As new kingdoms grew out of the old ones, descent from Oduduwa became the test of legitimacy among the old new kingdoms.

From this period of Oduduwa, migrations out of Ile-Ife became a permanent feature of the kingdom, Migrations also took place during the reign of Ooni Luwo who was a female ruler. Luwo was considered a disciplinarian and her rulership did not go down well with the people which led to migration. Also, the success of Lajamisan, a rich Ife bead trader to the Ooniship created political crisis which was some migrations. In addition, the deposition of Ogboru, a descendant of Lajamisan, who was barnish to Ife Odan for reigning too long but more probably for cruelty, led to emigration. Migrations southwards continued till the end of 19th century. These early southward migrant were the founders of Ife-Awori settlements in Lagos state.

Early migrations to the region of Lagos were political and economic in nature. For instance, Ogunfunminire the founder of Isheri and most other migrants from Ile-Ife were farmers. It was in the course of hunting expedition that some of them finally journeyed to Lagos. But the fact that some of the migrants were not alone but in groups, suggests political organizations which could be explained in terms of inland internal political crisis and population pressure. Before migrating to Isheri, Ogunfunminire consulted Ifa oracle which counseled migration.

One of the traditions suggests that Ogunfunminir and his friend Adeyemi Onikoyi left their homes on a hunting expedition and overstayed, thereby absenting themselves from the funeral of their father. Their relation thinking them dead, put their junior brother on the throne and this annoyed the two powerful princes, when they arrived. However, they were afraid of the great damage they might cause if they decided to fight, hence Olofin took the calabash which was willed to him by his late father. The tradition continued that he followed the movement of the ritual pot placed on water until it sank and they settled in the region.

The Awori are a tribe of the Yoruba people speaking a distinct dialect of the Yoruba language. Olofin and his followers left the palace of King Oduduwa in Ile-Ife and migrated southward along a river. Oduduwa had given Olofin a mud plate and instructed him to place it on the water and follow it until it sank into the river. The plate is said to have stopped at various locations and finally sank at Idumota in the present day Lagos State in Nigeria. As they were to settle wherever it sank, the people were filled with joy when this finally happened. The name AWORI, which translates as "The plate sank", became the name by which the clan is known till today.

Several days after leaving Ile-Ife, the plate suddenly stopped near Olokemeji near present day Abeokuta. After seventeen days, it began moving again, only to stop at Oke-Ata for another seventeen days. At the end of seventeen days, the plate began moving again, only to stop again on the southern outskirts of present day Abeokuta, where it stayed for another seventeen days. At this location, some of Olofin's followers decided to remain, led by a man named Osho Aro-bi-ologbo-egan.

The plate continued downriver, stopping again at Isheri, where it remained for a much longer period of time. Olofin began instructing his followers to begin setting up a permanent settlement, but after 289 days (17 x 17) the plate began moving again. Olofin and a few followers followed the plate, while the rest of the group stayed behind. After two days the plate stopped briefly at Iddo in Lagos. At Idumota in central Lagos, it whirled around in the water and sank to the bottom. When Olofin returned to his group at Iddo, they are said to have asked him where the plate was. He answered "Awo Ti Ri" meaning "The plate has sunk". This is how the name Awori is said to have come into being.

Wednesday 25 January 2023


Orí ò, orí ò, orí ò

Orí àtètèníran

Orí àtètè-gbeni-kù-fórìṣà

Orí, ọ̀rọ mi dọwọ́ rẹ̀

Kò sórìṣà tí í báni í jà

Bí kò sorí ẹni

Orí mi tètè gbé rere kò mí

Má bàá mi jà nígbà kankan

Orí mi kì í ṣe tàwọn itú 

Itú níí forí tirẹ̀ jàjààgbilà

Orí mi kì í ṣorí ẹlẹ́dẹ̀

Ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ ní í fi tirẹ̀ pàfọ̀ káàkiri 

Orí mi kò jọ tọgẹ̀dẹ̀

Ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀ ló pàǹtètè ọmọ tirẹ̀ sórí 

Ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀ wá ìdùnnú àgbẹ̀ 

Ó fi ọmọ ṣètanràn

Lọ́jọ́ ìrèkè bá ti yọrí sókè 

Ló ti dáràn abẹ́nilórí

Orí mi kì í ṣorí ààtàn

Ààtàn ní í tẹ́rí sílẹ̀ fọ́mọ aráyé pé kí wọ́n ó máa da ohun tí kò wúlò sí i.

Orí rere lèmi gbé wá sáyé

Tì mí lẹ́yìn, má tìmí lójú

Gbogbo àdáwọ́lé mi kí ó máa yọrí si rere.

Ìwé ìtọ́kasí: Akọ̀wé kọ wúrà àti àwọn ìjìnlẹ̀ àròfọ̀ mìíràn


In Loving Memory.


Just called him AROLE ORUNMILA, honestly you would have sounded being in Order. Because the greatness of a man is not only what he knows but how far he has been able to established an enduring legacy for coming generation to gain fully upon his wide knowledge.

Baba Idowu Odeyemi remained a very sound Emeritus Professor of Applied Geology. He has successfully build an great Empire within numerous younger generations to realizes Africa's Economic Potentials across black race. Surprisingly, the great Professor created this Empire with perfect embodiment of our cultural dignity and knowledge.

I have met quite number of Academic Personalities and Seasoned Scientists that not only full of appreciations for being their Academic Father but that he continuously revamping their spiritual consciousness of all students that must have passed through him. Without ambiguities those Personalities are mostly from Christianity and Islamic homes/backgrounds, whereas, they attested IFA Spiritual divinities was introduced to them when they were under his Academic tutelages!

How else, can you identify a man that full of our heritage spirit without contradiction? Honestly, my relationship with this Emeritus Professor confirmed all the perfect accolades from numerous past students that are now Professors, Research Fellows, Scientists and professionals, to describe a man full of Yoruba heritage honour, cultural vigour and dignity. 

May Orunmila crown him with that honour that he really deserves in this world by the grace of Eledua (Ase)

From Prince Obaloye Otuko


Idowu Boloofinde Odeyemi ,Professor of Geology: A Glorious End to a Sterling Academic Career

After 48 years in academics, and 37 years of meritorious service to the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, Professor Idowu Odeyemi formally bows out of active service on Monday, 27th July, 2020 on the attainment of statutory retirement age of 70.

...Profile of 


Professor Idowu Bolofinde Odeyemi, a renowned University Scholar, Consultant Geologist and a quintessential defender of African and Yoruba spirituality, was born on the 27th of July 1950. He attended St John's Primary School, Ilawe- Ekiti (1956- 1961) and Notre Dame College Usi-Ekiti (1963-1967). He taught briefly at the newly established Corpus Christi College, Ilawe- Ekiti in 1968 before proceeding to study for the Bachelor of Science degree in Geology at the prestigious University of Ibadan between 1968 and 1972, emerging top 6 in a Class of 54. He was invited back by the University to study for his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1973 which he completed in 1977 at a young age of 27 years. He commenced his decades-long academic career in October of the same year at the University of Ibadan. With the creation of seven new Federal Universities of Technology in 1982, Professor Odeyemi transferred his services to the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) on 1st January 1984 and was appointed as the pioneer Head of the Department of Applied Geology, where he rose through the ranks to become Professor of Applied Geology.

With his feet firmly rooted in Ilawe-Ekiti, Professor Odeyemi sojourned ceaselessly across the oceans, without for once losing sight of his modest place of birth. In 1979, he proceeded to the International Centre for Aerospace Science in the Netherlands for a Post-Doctoral Diploma in Geological Survey under a Dutch Technical Fellowship. Thereafter, he proceeded to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Space Facility in Flagstaff, Arizona for a Post-doctoral Certificate in Remote Sensing and Satellite Imagery in 1982 under a UNDP Fellowship. In 1987, Professor Odeyemi received a UNESCO/TWAS Fellowship for a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Remote Sensing and Resource Exploration at the ICTP, Trieste, Italy. There, the Third World Association for Remote Sensing (TWAS) was established and he was elected as the Pioneer Executive Secretary (1987-1994). In 1989, he organized the first International Conference of TWARS in Beijing, China.

Professor Odeyemi is not only a well known international figure but also a recognized and respected Scholar. He was Pioneer Head, Department of Geology; Pioneer Director, Centre for Research and Development (CERAD), FUTA; Member, International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) of UNESCO; Member Presidential Task force on Open University of Nigeria; Member, Bitumen Project Implementation Committee (BPIC); Fellow, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society; COMEG-registered Geoscientist. In 2009, the Federal Government appointed Proessor Odeyemi as the Pioneer Provost/CEO of the World Bank-funded Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences(NIMG) in Jos. As an Exploration Geologist, he discovered and/or mapped twelve marble deposits and one Gold deposit in Igarra area of Edo State, two gemstone deposits in Ijero- Ekiti area, two feldspar deposits in Ijero and Aramoko- Ekiti, and one Kaolin deposit at Isan- Ekiti.

Professor Odeyemi participated in numerous local and International Conferences, Workshops and Seminars, in the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Brazil, Canada, Spain, China, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, Ghana, Ivory Coast Burkina Faso and South Africa among others. Since 1977, he has supervised many Masters and PhD Theses, some of who have since become Professors on their own. He was the Dean, School of Earth and Mineral Sciences at the Federal University of Technology, Akure from 2014 to 2018.

He established the International Council for IFA Religion in 1999 and was its President for 15 years. He is currently the Founder of the International Institute for IFA Studies, dedicated towards the teaching and research into all aspects of IFA and Yoruba spirituality.

He was happily married to his life partner, Professor (Mrs) Olusola Olasumbo Odeyemi, who is also an internationally renowned academic.

Imbued with a shared passion to develop Ilawe-Ekiti and brighten its social landscape, Professor Odeyemi and his wife decided to establish Lakeview Resort, Ilawe-Ekiti on the 30th of July, 2016. The Resort now provides recreational and hospitality services to the people of Ilawe-Ekiti and neighbouring towns. They live by the maxim that “to whom much is given, much is also expected” and that having their historical and cultural roots fastened to the town, it is important to give something back to the land of their birth.



Named after the race of women warriors from Greek mythology, the Dahomey Amazons were an all-female military regiment in the Kingdom of Dahomey, now present-day Benin.

Reportedly assembled in the mid-to-late 1600s, the Amazons were known for their indifference to pain and fierceness in battle, as well as having great socio-political influence over their kingdom. To protect and enrich their own empire, there were periods when the Amazons cooperated with European colonialists, selling captured enemies from regional scuffles in exchange for weaponry and goods.

By the mid-1800s, they numbered between 1,000 to 6,000 women. When the French invaded Dahomey in 1892, the Amazons put up an aggressive resistance. Afterward, the French soldiers noted their “incredible courage and audacity” in combat, as cited by the African American Registry, an online consortium of Black history educators.

Fierce battling between the Amazons and Europeans continued, but the African female warriors were eventually outnumbered and outgunned and, within a few years, they were largely wiped-out.

While the Amazons were certainly powerful fighters, Leonard Wantchekon, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, argues it's important to look beyond the shock value of their female warrior status when considering the Amazons’ legacy in history.

“The most important feature of the Amazons was not that they could kill like men,” says Wantchekon, a Benin native. “They were also regular people with regular lives, as well as well-respected cultural and political leaders in their communities.”

There is a widespread misconception that gender equity is a western value, adds Wantchekon, when in fact, European colonization was a detriment to women’s rights in Benin, where the French disassembled the Amazons and banned female education and political leadership.

“When we push back against this misconception and embrace the culture of gender equality that was thriving in Benin and places like it before colonization,” Wantchekon adds, “it is a way to embrace the legacy of this exceptional group of African female leaders that European history tried so hard to erase.”

Saturday 21 January 2023

The list of all Olubadan of Ibadan from 1820 till now

Ibadan Omo Ajorosun

List of Olubadan till date!!!

Ba’ale Maye Okunade (1820-1830)

Ba’ale Oluyedun

Ba’ale Lakanle

Bashorun Oluyole 1850

Ba’ale Oderinlo 1850

Ba’ale Oyeshile Olugbode 1851-1864

Ba’ale Ibikunle 1864

Bashorun Ogunmola 1865-1867

Ba’ale Akere I 1867-1870

Ba’ale Orowusi 1870-1871

Are Ona Kakanfo Obadoke Latosa 1871-1885

Ba’ale Ajayi Osungbekun 1885-1893

Ba’ale Fijabi I 1893-1895

Ba’ale Oshuntoki 1895-1897

Ba’ale Fajinmi 1897-1902

Ba’ale Mosaderin 1902-1904

Ba’ale Dada Opadare 1904-1907

Ba’ale Sunmonu Apampa 1907-1910

Ba’ale Akintayo Awanibaku Elenpe 1910-1912

Ba’ale Irefin 1912-1914

Ba’ale Shittu Latosa (son of Are Latosa) 1914-1925

Ba’ale Oyewole Foko 1925-1929

Olubadan Okunola Abass 1930-1946

Olubadan Akere I 1946

Olubadan Oyetunde I 1946

Olubadan Akintunde Bioku 1947-1948

Olubadan Fijabi II 1948-1952

Olubadan Alli Iwo 1952

Olubadan Apete 1952-1955

Oba Isaac Babalola Akinyele 1955-1964

Oba Yesufu Kobiowu July 1964 - December 1964

Oba Salawu Akanni Aminu 1965-1971

Oba Shittu Akintola Oyetunde II 1971-1976

Oba Gbadamosi Akanbi Adebimpe 1976-1977

Oba Daniel ‘Tayo Akinbiyi 1977-1982

Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike I 1982-1994

Oba Emmanuel Adegboyega Operinde I (1994-1999)

Oba Yunusa Ogundipe Arapasowu I (1999-2007)

Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I (2007-2016)

Oba Saliu Adetunji (2016 -2022)

Oba Lekan Balogun (2022 till date)


“Perhaps the most important observation Bishop Phillips made in that short preface concerns the effect he believed publishing Ifá stories in book form would have on unbelievers:

Nígbà tí àwọn tí ó ńkọ́ Ifá sórí bá mọ̀ pé wọ́n lè ka Odù Ifá nínú ìwé, mo rò pé yóò ṣí wọn lórí láti kọ́ ìwé kíkà, àti láti fi ọ̀rọ̀ inú Bíbélì wé ti Odù Ifá. Wọn yóò sì rí èyí tí ó sàn jù fún ara wọn.

I believe that when rote learners of Ifá stories discover that they can read the Odù in a book, they will seek literacy eagerly, gain the capacity to compare the Bible to Ifá stories, and discover on their own the merit of the superior text. (ibid)

By casting Ifá stories in a comparatively permanent medium, Christian workers would be creating a self-reflection apparatus for the literate nonbeliever.

It would become a tool with which to critically examine thought spheres hitherto controlled by the guild of divination priests (the babalawo).

Taking divination stories to be Ifá’s main tool of mind control, Bishop Phillips recommended print dissemination of these narratives as a means of freeing up the critical faculty of non-Christians against the shroud of secrecy (awo), with which Ifá priests have deceived Yorùbá people through the ages.

Print technology, he thought, would separate awo from its curators (babalawo).

For Bishop Phillips, the deep secret of pre-Christian Yorùbá worship lay not in sculptured icons but in the reasoning that inspires divination stories.

The theological errors of Yorùbá religion could be easily pointed out if the stories are converted to portable packages comparable to the Bible, the only book authored by the true God. 

In a palpable, scripted shape indigenous religious thought could be quoted, disputed, and its false teaching exposed.”

“Writing” and “Reference” in Ifá by Adélékè Adéẹ̀kọ́

Tuesday 17 January 2023

What do you know about Òkè-Ọde?

Oke-ode is a big town in kwara state, Nigeria.

Òkè-Ọde indigenes are responsible, reliable, trusted, honest, truthful, hardworking and peaceful. The people living  there lives comfortable and in happiness. Hence the reason why many people relocated from their town to Òkè-Ọde town. The earlier Òkè-Ọde were called Òkè-ilé, during their forefathers lifetime, they move from one Place to another which means they move from oke-ile village to oke-ode town. 

Since then they started building houses in oke-ode and is well developed, even people's outside the oke-ode come to visit the town while some stayed in the town and sell their market most especially on their market days.

Their market is an urban market, because people comes from osun state, kogi state, Ogun state and all the neighboring towns around Kwara State usually comes to the market in order to trade their market simply because market is moving well in oke-ode township.

So all this made oke-ode more unique and powerful among the rest. You too can come and visit oke-ode for better understanding whether you're a civil servant or trader, you will see that by the special grace of god, you will make your profit, because that is why people "rush in" to the town that is, everything is going smoothly the citizens of oke-ode now travels all over the world and many of them lives outside of Nigeria.


When Nigerian literary giants are brought up in conversations and publications, it is usual for Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta and even Chimamanda Adichie’s names to come up more often.

One name that is often conspicuously missing in the all-time greats’ list is D.O. Fagunwa.

The man, Fagunwa

Chief Daniel Oròwọlé Olorunfẹmi Fágúnwà MBE, a native of Oke-Igbo in Ondo State who was relatively unknown until his first book, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, first hit the shelves in 1938, was a special breed.

He was born to the family of Joshua Akintunde Fagunwa and Rachel Osunyomi Fagunwa in 1903, and had his education at St. Luke’s School, Oke-Igbo, and St. Andrew’s College, Oyo. He would later become a teacher himself.

Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, which told the story of seven brave hunters in the deep forests occupied by evil spirits, immediately became a bestseller, gaining recognition across different continents.

In the book, Fagunwa wrote as if he had deep conversations with the gods and evil spirits in the thick forests of Yorubaland, and led many to believe in the powers of the forces that can’t be seen with the naked eye. This was despite his strict Christian background (his mother and father held high positions in the church).

In one of the chapters, he wrote about a demonic newborn child, Ajantala, who spoke on the day he was born and gave priests and guests that gathered at his christening the beating of their lives.

Fagunwa’s second book, Igbo Olodumare published in 1949, was even more well received across the world. The book has been translated in over 40 languages. His vivid but unusual storytelling style quickly earned him a moniker as ‘Nigeria’s Shakespeare’.

The books, which were the first to introduce Heinemann publishing company to the literary community in Nigeria, immediately became highly recommended in classrooms across all levels of western education, and were adapted for plays by numerous theatre groups.

By the time Fagunwa published his three other critically acclaimed books – Ireke Onibudo (1949), Irinkerindo ninu Igbo Elegbeje (1954), and Adiitu Olodumare (1961), he had become a spirit in the minds of his hometown locals and a section of the people that read him across the world.

Fagunwa’s mysterious death

It was why many locals found it hard to believe that he died under natural circumstances when he drowned in a river on December 7, 1963.

Surely, the gods and evil spirits must have had a hand in his death, they believed. Some even believed Fagunwa was swallowed by the snake with a human head he so gleefully wrote about in Igbo Olodumare.

But he had drowned while waiting to take the ferry on his way home from an assignment in the Northern part of the country, where he had gone to advertise Heinemann books to schools and also search for great writers like him.

His wife, Mrs Elizabeth Adebanke Fagunwa who died in 2018 at age 85, told Tribune in 2017, “James (Fagunwa’s driver) said the canoe turned upside down and covered him, he shouted for help and people came to rescue him but Fagunwa was nowhere to be found. While the people were still searching for Fagunwa in the river, a message was sent to Ibadan about the incident but I still had the belief that he would be brought home alive because he was a great swimmer but to my surprise, he never came home alive.”

On the third day after his disappearance, Fagunwa’s lifeless body was found floating at the exact spot where he drowned.

“What surprised us is that he had his shoes on, with his cloth intact as well as his cap and had his pair of glasses firmly in his hand. This was told by people who saw him at the river and people who saw his corpse when he was brought home,” Fagunwa’s widow, who was barely 31 at the time of his death but never remarried, said in the interview.

Fagunwa was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1959 and in 1965, two years after his death, was awarded the Margaret Wrong Prize. His tombstone remains at St. Luke’s Anglican Church cemetery, Oke Igbo, where he was buried on December 10, 1963.

When conversations about the greatest Nigerian writers are had, it is only right that D.O Fagunwa’s name appears at the very top of the list.


It is few years that the strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu went the way of all mortals. I had the privilege of observing his politics, first as a political reporter at the Nigerian Tribune and later, as a teacher of Political Science at the University of Ibadan when I encouraged and supervised  undergraduates to study his brand of politics. In later years, I was persuaded that his brand of politics deserved a closer and detailed study through a biography. His politics had many components that the public abhorred but offered an excellent understanding of Nigerian Government and Politics, including how we can prevent those components that are uncomplimentary.

On the 10th anniversary of his passage, I offer you snippets from his uncompleted biography.


It was1991. The government of General Ibrahim Babangida had fixed the governorship election between its Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Party (NRC). But it was worried that old politicians were derailing its vision of a political dispensation dominated by new breed politicians. It went after the old folks. Among them were Chief Bola Ige, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Olusola Saraki, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. Adedibu’s inclusion was curious because, at that time, he had not attained the prominence comparable to the other detainees.

They were taken to Kirikiri Maximum prison and Chief Bola Ige was worried about Adedibu. He protested vehemently that while the military government could complain that the political activities of these politicians threatened its agenda, Adedibu was unjustly included because his activities could in no way affect the transition programme. Alhaji Adedibu said he immediately thanked Chief Bola Ige but protested against being released.

 “Why will you protest being released when Chief Ige had made a case for your release?”, I asked him. “What will I be doing at home?”, He countered in Yoruba and continued: “In that detention camp were the First Eleven of Nigerian politics. If the newspapers are reporting that the most prominent politicians are detained, they will list my name among them. Will I gain such prominence if they release me and I go and sit at home?…” His visibility at the national level was enhanced by the detention.


The eminent politicians were initially detained at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos. When the crowd of sympathisers that thronged  the prison became unbearable to the military government, they were transferred to a detention camp at Epe, also in  Lagos State. Adedibu shared the same chalet with General Yar’Adua. They were not allowed visitors, as the government controlled their contact with the outside world so that they would not influence the impending governorship election. Their contact with the outside world was at the benevolence of the ubiquitous security operatives detailed to keep watch over the detention camp. Adedibu got a message out to one of his aides. One morning, the aide arrived at the detention camp in the overalls of a medical doctor, a stethoscope and a bag of drugs requesting to see Chief Adedibu. On enquiry, he introduced himself as Adedibu’s personal doctor. He was allowed in. Yar’Adua was surprised when the "visiting doctor" turned out to be Adedibu’s personal assistant. Adedibu had a good laugh. The aide gave Adedibu a detailed account of the political situation at home in Oyo State and received instructions on what should be done in preparation for the election. Adedibu also wrote letters to some politicians on what he wanted them to do. The envelopes were addressed to Adedibu’s wives. Thinking that an obstinate security operative could insist on reading it and knowing that they were not from the South West, he wrote the letters in Yoruba.

Yar’Adua expressed concern that he was cut off from political reports from home because he had no access to the radio, Adedibu’s aide then approached the security aides that Adedibu’s health was deteriorating and he urgently needed some drugs. He returned with a small transistor radio that fit into the package of a drug. From the detention, Yar’Adua and Adedibu monitored political activities across the country.


An associate of Adedibu had a running battle with his tenants. He approached the Rent Court which ordered the tenants to vacate the premises, but the obstinate tenants appealed the judgment. The court process became frustrating for Adedibu’s friend as the case was repeatedly adjourned at the behest of the tenants. Suspecting that the tenants were pulling some strings in the judiciary to frustrate the case, he approached his friend, Adedibu, to help him with his (Adedibu’s) own contacts in the judiciary. “Can you raise about N50, 000?", Adedibu asked him. His response was positive. Money at hand, Adedibu sent his aides to the market to buy a stove, cooking utensils and foodstuff. When they returned from the market, he asked them to prepare and take the food to the popular colony of beggars in Ibadan. They were to announce to the lepers among the beggars that the government had decided to offer them free accommodation and free food.  Some of the lepers volunteered, and Adedibu's aides drove them to the building occupied by the recalcitrant tenants. The tenants fled with their families. By evening, they were sending emissaries to Adedibu to allow them to pack their property from the house.


A businessman who doubled as a politician had a transaction with Alhaji Adedibu and held on to his (Adedibu's) money. After much pestering, he issued a cheque to Adedibu. 

Pronto, Adedibu went to the bank, and the cheque bounced. He was asked to re-present it. Using his network within the bank, he found out that the balance in the account was less than the amount on the cheque.

Adedibu headed for the residence of his friend, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola Alao, telling him that he got a business deal that would yield a profit within 24 hours. He then asked the billionaire to lend him the shortfall in the funds he needed for only 24 hours. Arisekola, a generous man by all standards, obliged. Adedibu got his men to deposit the amount in his debtor's account and after that presented the cheque again. The bank paid.

Days after, the businessman got to know of  the transaction and went to Adedibu to ask why he deposited money in his account to make up for the amount on the cheque. Adedibu retorted: "You forget that I am an Ibadan man. You cannot come from the village and play a smart one on an Ibadan man.


Adedibu never had it easy as a politician. While his most enduring epithet was “Strongman of Ibadan politics,” he had a serious challenge winning elections in his Ibadan South West Local Government, particularly in the Oke-Ado area where voters were mostly non-indigenes. For every election, he did his calculations to make projections of where his votes will come from and where the greatest challenge is. On this particular election, the major challenge was narrowed to a particular set of polling units in the premises of a school. His opponent was certain to record high votes to cancel out his advantage in other areas. Meanwhile, being a very generous man who gave alms to beggars and the needy, he had a very long list of disabled people who collected weekly monetary support from him. One of them was a mentally deranged man who curiously came to collect alms on a particular day of the week without fail. He had very bushy air, always  dressed in rags and looked violent. Adedibu asked him to come on Election Day. On arrival, he was given more money than he expected and had the tag of “party agent” hung on his neck. They took him to the polling unit where Adedibu feared he would lose the election with a huge margin and  was introduced  as the party agent. As word went round that a madman was a party agent at the unit, many voters stayed away. Adedibu successfully controlled the margin of his loss in the polling unit.


Arisekola was Adedibu’s closest ally in the politics of Oyo State. Adedibu was the politician, and Arisekola, the financier. In the 1990s, Arisekola built what became one of the biggest mansions in the ancient city of Ibadan. The mansion was to have a zoological garden as a novelty. Adedibu told his friend Arisekola that he had contacts in Senegal who could supply lions to the zoo. Arisekola released N10 Million for the lions. Week after week, there were no lions in sight. Arisekola was worried and became agitated. When Adedibu heard of his worries, he visited Arisekola one early morning. As he climbed the stairs to his presence he announced, “Are, awa ti na owo awon kiniun re o. Bo’ba ju awa na sinu cage k’awon ara Ibadan o ma wa wowa”. (“Are, we have spent the money you gave us to buy lions. You may wish to put us in the cage meant for the lions so that the people of Ibadan can come and gawk at us”.

Both men had a good laugh, and their friendship continued.


The contest for the Oyo South Senatorial seat in 1992 pitched Chief Rasidi Ladoja against Chief  David Abinusawa, a former Head of Service in Oyo State. Adedibu supported Ladoja who was just making his first attempt at an election but his ally, Arisekola wanted Chief Abinusawa for the seat. Adedibu played hide and seek with Arisekola. On the eve of the election when it became apparent that there could be a clash between them on Election Day, Adedibu went to Arisekola’s house. Clutching a bale of Abinusawa’s campaign posters, he dumped the posters at the feet of Arisekola complaining loudly and bitterly, “I don’t like it when I work for someone, and the person messes up my efforts.” Arisekola was alarmed. He asked what the problem was. ”Look at these posters, why is he not laughing in the posters. No one will vote for a candidate who is not friendly in his poster”. Arisekola rushed to his telephone stand and called Abinusawa. He complained about the picture in the poster and advised him to quickly take new ones for another set of posters. When he got back to Adedibu and told him what he had done, Adedibu resumed his complaint, saying it was too late. “I accept that I have lost this election due to the bad pictures. Maybe we try our luck some other time,” he said as he took his leave of Arisekola. His preferred candidate, Ladoja, was elected the following day.


The greatest criticism of Adedibu was the violence of his brand of politics. He was described as the GOC of Oyo State politics because he was an enforcer. But he had a different view. He said politics is a serious game and a loss in the power game comes at a significant loss. He recalled that when Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Akintola, and others fought for political independence, they would not have succeeded if everything was limited to constitutional provisions. ”One day Chief Awolowo and others came to Ibadan to address the people on the move for independence. When they got to Mapo Hall, the colonial government had shut all the doors and placed a notice that such meetings were outlawed. Awolowo, being a lawyer and constitutionalist, led the others to a side room and made efforts to get lawyers to approach the court for an order to allow them to use the hall”. Adedibu said he felt that would be too late for the meeting. He called his boys and gave them hammers to pull down the doors. He recalled that the crowd that had waited impatiently outside rushed into the hall as the doors were pulled down. Awolowo, he said, was surprised at this, but addressed the gathering nevertheless. “Awolowo did not call me a thug for doing that. He said I was a party faithful”.


Adedibu was the toast of traditional musicians, and there was hardly any of the eminent musicians of the Fuji, Apala, Were and Sakara genres of old that did not compose songs in his praise. Perhaps the most enduring of the lot was that by the wordsmith from Ilorin, Odolaiye Aremu, who sang in his album entitled "Olowe Mowe":

Adedibu lo soja o m’ adiye wale

Kora, kogbe, beni won o si bun…

(Adedibu went to the market and returned with a chicken

He didn’t buy it. It was not a gift. And he did not steal it.)

This is probably the best description of the intriguing life of Alhaji Adedibu whom Odolaiye also described as “a half of Ibadan mistaken for one person.”

Adedibu and the hunchback witness:    

This has been our longest running democratic experience. Nineteen years. Despite the odds, we are trudging on. It is a day of exhortations and congratulatory messages. And of lamentations. I wish to bring some good cheer into the day by sharing two anecdotes from a book I'm working on -  The hilarious book of Nigerian politics. It is a book about the funny or sunny side of Nigerian politics. They are records of episodes that brighten the political landscape otherwise filled with lies, deceit, violence, brigandage and the like.

Today I serve you two episodes involving the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Akanji Adedibu.  I met him as a reporter at the Nigerian Tribune, and as a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Ibadan, I encouraged my students to study his politics. The findings were intriguing. As researchers, we kept open minds about Adedibu as a subject, and the findings are essential for the development of politics in Nigeria, including how to prevent some of the vices he was known for. Please read and enjoy.


There had just been an election in which Adedibu's candidate was declared the winner. The opponent challenged the victory at the tribunal. His trump card was the evidence of a hunchback who had witnessed the massive falsification of election results at a beer parlour. The manipulators had dismissed his presence because he was considered an invalid.

As the case progressed, it became increasingly apparent that the evidence of the hunchback would make all the difference. Adedibu devised a ploy to prevent such damaging evidence.

One day,  he arrived at the Tribunal and chose to sit beside the hunchback. When proceedings started, he beckoned at one of his aides. He pretended to speak in low tones, but audible enough for the hunchback to hear. " How far have you gone with the ritual they asked us to perform on this case? he asked. "Everything is ready, but we have not found a hunchback to complete the ingredients," the aide replied. " You are always careless about taking advantage of your opportunities," he said as he threw a glance in the direction of the hunchback. "You must not miss him today," he said as he waved the aide away.

The hunchback looked the other way, pretending not to hear the conversation. As Adedibu pretended to resume concentration on the court proceedings, the hunchback tiptoed his way out of the courtroom. Barely out of the courtroom, he removed his shoes and took to his heels.

He did not turn up in court the following day. When the petitioner who relied on his Evidence-in-Chief went to his residence to get him to appear, his neighbours said he had relocated with his entire family and did not leave a forwarding address! 

Adedibu won the case:

When I worked on his biography in his twilight years, I asked him why he devised such an intriguing plot; Adedibu, lively and ever jovial- with his infectious laughter- replied; "Opolo oloselu gbodo ma sise ni gbogbo 'gba"( a politician must be at the top of his game at all times).

How Adedibu bought an airline ticket for Ghana Must Go Bags:                                                                       

As the nation warms up for the 2019 elections, one man missing in action is Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the late strongman of Ibadan politics who passed on in June 2008.

I bring a story from his yet unpublished biography. It was in 2003, and the setting was Abuja. The then ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) held its national convention to elect a candidate for the 2003 presidential election.

It was a keenly contested election in which the two foremost candidates, President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Dr  Alex Ekwueme deployed enormous resources to curry the favour of the delegates.

Adedibu led the delegates from Oyo State and was the pointsman in the resources directed at delegates from the state. Adedibu was also rising in the estimation of the PDP leadership in the South West. He had the added responsibility of enlisting other delegates from the South West to vote for either of the candidates. Although he was publicly identified with the Obasanjo/ Atiku candidacy, this did not stop other presidential candidates from approaching him for his support. It was such a bountiful harvest.

Election over and it was time to return home. Adedibu instructed his aides to buy two airline tickets. He refused all entreaties to check in his two Ghana must go bags as luggage. When it was time to board, He went in with the two hefty  bags and fastened them to the seat beside him. The air hostess worriedly approached him and gestured to remove the bags.  "NO, NO, NO!!! Won ni tiketi ti an," (You can't do that. They have their own ticket!) Adedibu bellowed as he fetched the other ticket he had purchased for the bags to show to the hostess. The air hostess was beside herself with laughter as she realised what the old man was saying. Adedibu refused all entreaties to remove the bags. The pilot had to be called in. 

Adedibu insisted that he could not trust any arrangement that would take the bags out of his sight. He agreed only after the pilot gave an undertaking to return any shortfall in the money in the bags as he took responsibility for their safety to Ibadan.

Of course, Adedibu arrived home safely with the returns from the convention! Laughing later at the stunt,he said that was the only guarantee that his money could get home intact.

Adedibu and Arisekola's Zoo:

There is a more hilarious story of Adedibu and Arisekola’s  Zoo. Arisekola  had decided to set up a zoo in his new palatial residence at Oluwa Nla. Adedibu volunteered to get the lions from Senegal. When after a long wait and several entreaties it appeared no lion was going to be delivered, Arisekola became agitated. Informed of Arisekola’s worries, Adedibu walked into Arisekola’s residence and volunteered; “Aare, ati na owo awon kiniun re o, bo ba ju awa na sinu zoo k’awon ara Ibadan o ma wa wowa mbe” (Aare, we have spent the money you gave us to buy lions from Senegal. You may wish to throw us into the cage so that the people of Ibadan can come to watch us as they would have come to watch the lions). Both old men had a very hearty laughter. Their friendship continued.

Adedibu's Hilarious Encounter with a Pastor and an Imam:

Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu was the Balogun Musulumi of Oyo State. He had a big mosque in his expansive Molete residence in Ibadan which was hardly free of activity on any given day. Adedibu's engagements in the mosques were complemented by prayer sessions observed by visitors and political associates who thronged the residence daily. 

Yet, there was hardly a day itinerant pastors and evangelists did not visit the residence to offer prayers for the politician and his family. Adelabu was comfortable with the two dominant religions so much that each time he succeeded in installing the governor of the state, among the offices he craved to fill were the Chairmen of the Muslim Pilgrims Welfare  Board and the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.He leveraged on his network with Christian and Islamic leaders and groups for political advantage.

It was therefore not strange when in the early hours of this fateful day, a pastor came to the residence to pray for the Balogun Musulumi. Adedibu was comfortable enough with the pastors that many of them had access to his private quarters. Adedibu knelt before the pastor as he offered the prayers.

A prominent  Imam in Oyo State  walked in during the prayer session. Without missing a beat, Adedibu cracked open one eye and in his Ibadan dialect told the old Imam who had only been turbanned few days before, " Baba, onise ara ni Olorun. Tori yin ni ase n se adua. Pastor loji mi laaro yi, won ni awon ota fe gba emi Lemomu wa ti a sese je. Mo ni yo mo pe ti a ba ranse si yin. E dakun, ekunle ka pari adura fun yin ( Baba, our Almighty Allah works in mysterious ways. We are holding this prayer session for you. The pastor woke me up this morning with a troubling prophetic vision he had that some evil people are working hard to kill our newly turbanned Imam and that we need urgent prayers to stop them. I felt it might be too late if I sent for you before we hold the all-important prayer. Please kneel for prayers so that we can ward off the evil plan.

The Imam promptly knelt, and the prayer session continued. The pastor and Imam took their leave afterwards. They were hardly out of earshot when Adedibu's aides in unison queried the claims of their leader: "Baba, the pastor never said what you told the imam".  Adedibu  then replied; "Omode ni n seyin. Lemomu ba wa lori'kunle niwaju pastor. Awa ni o  fi s e 'wasu ni Mosalasi Jimoh. Yo'pe "Lahilah illah lau, e wa ma wo Balogun Musulumi ti nkunle niwaju pasito... Iyun ni gbogbo Janmmah o mo so kiri. A mo bayi,ofin to mu eegun, ti mu eleha!" (All of you are reasoning like children. The Imam met us kneeling down before a pastor. On Friday he will begin his sermon with, "Laillah...! can you imagine a whole Balogun Musulumi kneeling before a pastor for prayers and everyone will take that to town. But now that we have both knelt before the pastor, he dare not mention the encounter on Friday or any other day. The law that indicts the masquerade has also indicted the woman in purdah. They are both covering their faces and bodies!".

Adedibu on Election Postponement

The last 24 hours before an election are always busy for politicians. It is the crucial time funds are released to pay party agents and all logistics that will get out the votes. Many elections are determined by how solvent candidates are in these hours. Candidates who struggle for funds hold their breath until the very minute that voting commences. When elections are postponed, it technically knocks out candidates who struggled till the last minute before the postponement. This is because the funds disbursed to party agents and for transporting, feeding and entertainment of voters go down the drain with the delay. The candidate has to provide new funds for the logistics on the rescheduled election day.

Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the late strongman of Ibadan politics,taught the Yar'adua political family this political lesson in 1992 during the staggered presidential primaries of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The night before the primaries, Chief Sunday Afolabi, coordinator of the Yar'adua campaign in the South West took the funds for  "logistics" of the primaries in Oyo State to the Molete home of Chief Adedibu. Pleasantries exchanged, they both went through the list, calculating the expenses. Chief Afolabi handed over the cash to Chief Adelabu and left for his residence at Oremeji, Mokola area, in Ibadan - a distance of about 15 minutes. His family welcomed him with the breaking news on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) that the election had been postponed. Afolabi immediately rushed back to Adedibu's house in Molete, to demand a return of the funds pending the new date for the election. " Owo ewo? Which money?, Adedibu asked in his impeccable Ibadan dialect and continued: "E je a lo tunra mu o. Eyii tilo, ibo tin bo lona ni e je a mura fun o". E ti dele tiyin ti gbogbo awon eyan wa lati Saki, Igboho, Iseyin, Ogbomosho ti wa gbowo won... ( Which money? It is better we start preparing for the new date. You could not have reached your house when our agents from far places like Saki, Igboho, Iseyin, Ogbomosho and Oyo came to collect the money for logistics in their areas. Let us begin to prepare the money for the new election date because it is practically impossible to call them back to return the money!

How Adedibu bought an airline ticket for Ghana Must Go Bags:                                                                      

As the nation warms up for the 2019 elections, one man missing in action is Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the late strongman of Ibadan politics who passed on in June 2008.

I bring a story from his yet unpublished biography. It was in 2003, and the setting was Abuja. The then ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) held its national convention to elect a candidate for the 2003 presidential election.

It was a keenly contested election in which the two foremost candidates, President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Dr  Alex Ekwueme deployed enormous resources to curry the favour of the delegates.

Adedibu led the delegates from Oyo State and was the pointsman in the resources directed at delegates from the state. Adedibu was also rising in the estimation of the PDP leadership in the South West. He had the added responsibility of enlisting other delegates from the South West to vote for either of the candidates. Although he was publicly identified with the Obasanjo/ Atiku candidacy, this did not stop other presidential candidates from approaching him for his support. It was such a bountiful harvest.

Election over and it was time to return home. Adedibu instructed his aides to buy two airline tickets. He refused all entreaties to check in his two Ghana must go bags as luggage. When it was time to board, He went in with the two hefty  bags and fastened them to the seat beside him. The air hostess worriedly approached him and gestured to remove the bags.  "NO, NO, NO!!! Won ni tiketi ti an," (You can't do that. They have their own ticket!) Adedibu bellowed as he fetched the other ticket he had purchased for the bags to show to the hostess. The air hostess was beside herself with laughter as she realised what the old man was saying. Adedibu refused all entreaties to remove the bags. The pilot had to be called in.

Adedibu insisted that he could not trust any arrangement that would take the bags out of his sight. He agreed only after the pilot gave an undertaking to return any shortfall in the money in the bags as he took responsibility for their safety to Ibadan.

Of course, Adedibu arrived home safely with the returns from the convention! Laughing later at the stunt,he said that was the only guarantee that his money could get home intact.

By Adeolu Akande

Sunday 15 January 2023

6 Six Most Powerful/Brave Tribes In Nigeria

1. Yoruba:

The Yoruba people (Yoruba: Àwọn ọmọ Yorùbá) are an ethnic group of Southwestern and North central Nigeria as well as Southern and Central Benin known as the Yorubaland cultural region of West Africa. The Yoruba constitute over 50 million people in total; the majority of this population is from Nigeria and make up 21% of its population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language, which is tonal, and is the Niger-Congo language with the largest number of native speakers.

We have not forgotten so soon that when Nigeria had a misadventure of a civil war the heroes of that war were Benjamin Adekunle, Olusegun Obasanjo, Alani Akinrinade, Alabi Isama and others from Yoruba land. At the same time, some of their compatriots from Arewa land led troops which perished in the rivers as they had no war plan but followed the instructions of marabouts.

2. Igala:

Igala, also spelled Igara, a largely Muslim people of Nigeria, living on the left bank of the Niger River below its junction with the Benue River. Their language belongs to the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family. Their ruler, the ata, traditionally also governed two other groups, the Bassa Nge and the Bass Nkome, who live between the Igala and the Benue River.

Traditional Igala society was politically organized as a kingdom. Kings were divine and were surrounded by numerous taboos; they held elaborate courts attended by a host of officials and servants, many of them slaves and eunuchs. All divine kingdoms in Africa had customs that acted as checks on the power of the king. This included a custom in which the queen mother could chastise the king; she was the only individual who was able to do so under the taboo system.

The Igala have been primarily an agricultural people, growing a wide range of crops typical of the area, including yams, taro, pumpkins, squash, corn (maize), manioc, and peanuts (groundnuts). Palm oil and kernels have become significant as cash crops.

3. Fulani:

Fulani, also called Peul or Fulbe, a primarily Muslim people scattered throughout many parts of West Africa, from Lake Chad, in the east, to the Atlantic coast. They are concentrated principally in Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, and Niger. The Fulani language, known as Fula, is classified within the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family.

4. Igbo:

Igbo, also called Ibo, people living chiefly in southeastern Nigeria who speak Igbo, a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. The Igbo may be grouped into the following main cultural divisions: northern, southern, western, eastern or Cross River, and northeastern. Before European colonization, the Igbo were not united as a single people but lived in autonomous local communities. By the mid-20th century, however, a sense of ethnic identity was strongly developed, and the Igbo-dominated Eastern region of Nigeria tried to unilaterally secede from Nigeria in 1967 as the independent nation of Biafra. By the turn of the 21st century, the Igbo numbered some 20 million.

5. Bini:

Edo, also called Bini, people of southern Nigeria who speak a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. The Edo numbered about 3.8 million at the turn of the 21st century. Their territory is west of the Niger River and extends from hilly country in the north to swamps in the Niger Delta. Edo is also the vernacular name for Benin City, the centre of the Benin kingdom, which flourished from the 14th to the 17th century.

6. Kanuri:

Kanuri, African people, the dominant element of the population of Bornu state in northeastern Nigeria and also found in large numbers in southeastern Niger. The Kanuri language is classified as belonging to the Saharan branch of the Nilo-Saharan family.

Flora Nkiru Nwapa

Flora Nkiru Nwapa was Nigeria’s first female novelist and the first female novelist in all of black Africa to be published internationally, in the English language. She was also Africa’s first female to publish a novel. She’s regarded as the Mother of Modern African Literature. She was born on 13th January, 1931, in Ugwuta, Imo State. She was the 1st daughter out of six children.

Flora was born into two prominent Nigerian families—Nwapa Nduka and the Onumonu Uzaru. Her parents were an early influence, especially her mother, Martha Onyenma Nwapa who was one of the most prominent women in Oguta. Martha was the first woman to obtain the “customary standard six examinations” from St. Monica’s, a missionary school in the town. A studious woman, she went on to teach schools in Oguta & encouraged all her children to develop a love for reading. Flora’s father, Christopher Ijoma Nwapa, was an important land owner & managing director of one of Britain’s largest exporting companies; his primary business was the foreign sale of palm oil, a major commodity used by the British.

At an early age, Flora attended the C.M.S. Central School Ugwuta, Imo state and the Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, PortHarcourt, RiversState. In 1950, she took post secondary courses at Queens College, Lagos. After completing her studies, Nwapa taught briefly at Priscilla Memorial Grammar School in Oguta, a school founded by her uncle, Chief Richard Nzimiro, the first mayor of Port Harcourt, and her illustrious aunt Mary Nzimiro. Nwapa was soon in pursuit of another diploma at Edinburgh University in Scotland. She received her Diploma in Education in 1958 and then traveled Europe, observing the various cultures.

From 1953 to 1957, Nwapa studied English, History and Geography from the University of Ibadan. While she was there, she became the president of the Queen’s Hall. And in 1956, she met with the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip during their official visit to Nigeria. In 1958, Nwapa graduated with a Diploma in Education from the University of Edinburgh. She returned from Scotland to Calabar and became an Education Officer. Later, she taught Geography and English in Queen’s School Enugu in 1959. She also became Assistant Registrar of the University of Lagos, from 1962 to 1967.

Flora was married to Chief Gogo Nwakuche and had 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. She was the Minister of Health and Social Welfare of East Central State, from 1970 to 1971, shortly after the Nigerian civil war. In this position, she found a home for some 2,000 war orphans. She was also commissioner for Land, Census and Urban Development from 1971 to 1974.

Flora made entrance into the literary career with the novel Efuru. It is based on an old folktale about a woman chosen by the goddess of the sea to be her worshipper. Efuru was published in 1966. The first English novel to be written by a Nigerian woman.

Flora Nkiru Nwapa, Nigeria’s foremost novelist, was given a national honour OON (Officer of the Order of the Niger), by President Shehu Usman Shagari in 1983. She was a member of Africa’s Writers Series. In 1992, she was member of Commonwealth Prize Committee. On 16th October, 1993, she died of Pneumonia in University Teaching Hospital Enugu. She was buried in her home town, Ugwuta in Imo State. She was given the highest chieftaincy title in her community in Ugwuta, known as ‘Ogbuefi’. She encouraged other African women to go beyond being just housewives, but becoming more.

Over the course of 27 years, Nwapa wrote six novels, nine Children’s books, six plays, two collection of short stories, a book of poems and countless essays. Her last novel, The Lake Goddess, was posthumously published in 1995. Ugwuta or Oguta is not just home to Flora Nwapa, but is also the home of Dr. Alban (Alban Uzoma Nwapa), his cousin, Charlie Boy (Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa) and Senator Arthur Nzeribe.

We have come to the end of this History lesson.

Gone but not forgotten!


In 1992, the Legendary Nigerian  FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI and the Legendary Jamaican SHABA RANKS had a Weed Smoking Contest at the Kalakuta Shrine.

Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon; 17 January 1966) is a Jamaican dancehall musician. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was one of the most popular Jamaican musicians in the world.

Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti; 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also known as Abami Eda, was a Nigerian musician, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist.

He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat.

In 1992, Jamaica’s Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, a.k.a. Shabba Ranks came to Nigeria to perform at a concert but decided to visit Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at his Kalakuta Shrine early in the day.

Of course he was very blunt about the purpose of his visit. Out of youthful exuberance, he promptly told Abami Eda that he’d heard about his smoking legacy and that he’d come to collect his bragging right of being the guy who out smoked Fela.

Well, there is a saying that “It is not wise to go on a drinking or smoking challenge  with another man if you do not understand your own system”. Baba 70 as he’s also known, accepted the challenge and the Ganja Kings drew and puffed their smokes away while exchanging banters.

Turns out each successive wraps of blunt got bigger and bigger until Shaba Ranks passed out and fell asleep. It seems he was beaten black and blue because when he woke up he was informed he has missed his concert last night.

Credits: Eyedentity

The Story Of The King Of Land Grabbers : JIMOH ISHOLA aka EJI GBADERO

As you go from Iyana Ipaja to Egbeda in Alimosho, Lagos State, Raji Oba Street is to your left. It is one of the most popular streets in the area. It is the street that hosts the imposing complex of Bishop David Oyedepo’s Winner Chapel. There is a branch of Diamond Bank close to Moshalasi Bus Stop that leads to the street. It is a street that you can’t miss. Ha! You know the street? I told you it’s a street you can’t miss.

However in the 1970s when this true-life story began, there was no Raji Oba Street. There was no Winner Chapel building. There was no Diamond Bank. In fact, almost all of what is now one of the most densely populated areas in Lagos State was a forest. Except for some rural settlements scattered here and there, the entire Alimosho was a village.

So who was Raji Oba? Why was the street named after him? Is there a story behind the naming of the street after him? What happened that fateful night in 1975? You know you cannot make eba without garri? To tell you the story of Raji Oba, I must tell you the story of Ejigbadero.

Raji Oba's story is Ejigbadero's story. Ejigbade's story is Raji Oba's story. It was a story that shook the entire Lagos State to its foundation. My uncle who was then a young surveyor  told me that for years, some people were scared of going to the area once it was nightfall. Today, Onigegewura brings you the story of  Kiniun Baba Moradewun! Lion of Mushin! Jimoh  Ishola Adeyemi!  Ejigbadero! Gbadero! The Chairman!

Jimoh Ishola was arguably one of the famous people in Lagos of 1960s and 1970s. He was rich. He was streetwise. He was known. He was connected. He was the darling of musicians of the day. One of the surest ways to launch a musical career then was to sing about Ejigbadero. Yusuf Olatunji (Baba Legba) devoted substantial part of his Volume 19 to sing his praises. Baba Commander, Ebenezer Obey and his Inter Reformers Band, celebrated him in his 1974 album. If Nigeria was not under military rule in 1970s, Jimoh Ishola could have contested and won an elective political position. He was that famous.

Though Ejigbadero was not born in Lagos, he became the unofficial Lord Mayor of Lagos metropolis. Jimoh hailed from Oja-Oba Quarters in Ibadan, Oyo State. He came with his uncle to Lagos as a young man to learn a vocation. On his arrival Lagos, he quickly graduated from an apprentice to a company owner.

When he incorporated his company, Jimsol Nigeria Limited, he was not satisfied with just being called the Managing Director. Everybody in Lagos was MD. Gbadero must be different. He styled himself the Chairman and Chief Executive of the nail manufacturing company. His  office and factory were at Matori in Mushin Lagos. Yusuf Olatunji was the musician invited to the company’s opening. With his sákárà and móló vibrating in the background, Baba Legba praised Gbadero to the high heavens. Overnight, Olatunji’s throaty “Gbadero Ishola di Chairman! Omo Adeyemi!” became the national anthem. Ejigbadero was the Chairman.

Nail manufacturing was however not Ishola’s only vocation. Over the years, Kiniun Baba Moradewun had acquired reputation as a dealer in landed properties. He bought land. He sold houses. If you needed someone to protect your landed interests, Ejigbadero was your man. If someone forcefully took over your land, Abibatu’s husband was your best bet. If your own interest was to take over someone’s land, Baba Gani was the person you needed to see.

Ejigbadero was known to the police. He was familiar to the judges as a perennial litigant. And one curious thing about his court appearances is that he was never a plaintiff. He was always the defendant. He was popular with lawyers. At a point, he was reputed to know the criminal code more than some lawyers. He used to ‘advise’ his lawyer to cite section 45 subsection 3 instead of section 33 subsection 1 that the lawyer wanted to cite.  He had done enough cases to make him a Senior Advocate if he was called to the Bar.

In 1975, Ejigbadero went with his boys to clear his land in Alimosho Village. The land was full of cocoa and kolanut trees. Remember I told you that Alimosho was a village in 1970s. The land we are talking about is not one plot or two plots. It was a vast area of land. When the villagers saw their economic trees going down, they challenged Jimoh Ishola and his boys. The Lord Mayor informed the villagers that he had purchased the land in 1970s. Purchased? Which Land? From whom? For how much? Who witnessed the transaction? Who collected the money? These and more were the questions the villagers were throwing at Ejigbadero who was calmly leaning on his walking stick.

The villagers refused to allow Eji and his boys to continue to work on the land. The Boys looked at their Boss. They were waiting for the signal. The walking stick was the signal. This was not the first time they would be challenged over a parcel of land and they knew it wouldn’t be the last. They knew that once Ejigbadero stepped on any land, the land must become his. Eji was like a snail. Ìgbín tenu mo igi o gun! Any tree a snail touches must be climbed. Eji smiled at the crowd. It was not a friendly smile.  The Boys looked expectant. Instead of Eji to raise the walking stick, he turned back. The Boys followed him, their disappointment was apparent.

The villagers shouted after the retreating figures. “We don win! We don win. You think you can just take our land like that. Never! Never!” Some of them were however not shouting. They knew that the retreat of Ejigbadero was not a surrender. They knew that he would be back. The Chairman was not the one to run away from a fight. The Boss was a vulture, a patient bird.

They remember what happened to Okuwobi in 1962. Ejigbadero had informed his boys that he was looking for a buyer for one of his properties. He promised them generous commission. The boys went to town. Okuwobi indicated interest in the building. It was a building under construction. Okuwobi paid part of the agreed purchase price. It was agreed that the balance would be paid upon completion.

Okuwobi collected receipt and began to dream of becoming a landlord in Lagos. He was considering whether to paint the house blue or grey. Or green, or cream. He finally decided on white. He had heard that the official residence of the American president was White House.  It was then that a friend told him that the house, his house, had been sold to someone else. Okuwobi didn’t know whether he walked or flew to Mushin. He shouted. He threatened. Ejigbadero was unmoved. Okuwobi reported to the police. He was advised to go to court. He spent more than 10 years in court.

The villagers knew that they must act fast if they didn’t want to spend 10 years in court. At the time, the nearest police post was at Agege. They went to Agege Police Station to make a report of malicious damages to property against Ejigbadero. As they were writing their statements, the Chairman himself appeared with his boys. He had come to lodge a report of trespass against the villagers who entered his property without his permission. The police officers were confused. They attempted to broker a peaceful settlement. No way. Ejigbadero wanted his land. The villagers wanted their land. Who then was the owner of the land?

Police assured the warring parties that the case would be investigated. They were asked to go and maintain peace.

Raji Oba was one of the villagers. He was as brave as he was vocal. He was not afraid of Ejigbadero and he told him to his face. Even when Ejigbadero threatened to kill him, the threat was met with a sneer. “Igbá ni won n pa, enikan kii pa àwo” was his retort. He was confident that only calabash could be smashed with foot, no one would dare drop a plate.

Police investigation or no police investigation, Ejigbadero was not the one to keep away from the land. Raji Oba had finished work on the farm for the day. He was almost at home when he was informed that the Chairman was around with his thugs who he usually described as his workers. Raji turned back. Ma fi oko mi se ona, ojo kan ni a n dekun re. Raji was determined that he was going to stop the land grabber that day. He was followed by some of the villagers who had also heard the news.

They met Ejigbadero on the land. His boys were cutting cocoa trees with ruthless determination. Kolanut trees were not being spared either. Raji Oba flared up. A big fight erupted. Ejigbadero stood like a rock. He was commanding his boys to give it to the villagers like an army general. In the free-for-all that followed, Ejigbadero saw his chance as Raji Oba moved close to him. In a moment he had stabbed him. Raji didn’t see the dagger, but he felt the blood flowing from his eyebrow. It was clear that Jimoh Ishola was aiming for his eye. “Mo ku o!” The villagers heard the agony in the voice of their leader and rushed to his aid.

They took him to the hospital and from there to the police station. They made a report of criminal assault and attempted murder against Ishola. Police promised diligent investigation. But it appeared to the villagers that the police at Agege belonged to the Lion of Mushin.

Back at his base in Mushin, Ejigbadero was not happy. He had expected the villagers to put up the usual feeble resistance. He had planned how to subdue them.  After all, ‘ibeji kii se akopa aje’. Killing twins is not a new thing to a witch. But he had not expected the stiff opposition he met in Alimosho. He knew the cause of the problem. It was Raji Oba. What type of Oba was he that he would stop Ejigbadero, Kiniun Baba Moradewun?

“Baba Fatai, your food is ready.” Ejigbadero looked up. It was his youngest wife, Ramota. Though he was not particularly hungry, he didn’t want to displease the pregnant woman. He told her to bring the food. At the sight of the expectant mother, an idea started to form in his mind. He smiled. Ramota thought her husband was enjoying the meal. She was pleased.

It was in the month of August 1975 that Lagos social circle heard the news it had been waiting. Ramota, Ejigbadero’s wife had put to bed. Socialites knew what to expect. It was going to be a grand occasion. It was going to be an assemblage of Lagos who’s who. It was going to be the party of the century. And it was a Friday! TGIF!

True to expectation, Ejigbadero didn’t spare any expenses for the naming ceremony.  Food was in excess. Wines replaced water. Musicians were competing with themselves on the bandstand. The blind requested to be led to the occasion. The lame crawled. Ejigbadero and his four wives were dressed in a manner befitting a king and his Oloris. They were a spectacle to behold.

Sabitu Oba was Raji Oba’s wife. She was coming back from the market when she saw Ejigbadero and his boys.  A woman was in their midst. She was shocked to see the Chairman. They had heard in the village that his wife had delivered a baby and that the day was the naming ceremony. She was wondering what type of man would leave his baby’s naming ceremony to come to the village. Well, that’s his business, she thought.

Sabitu quickened her pace. She needed to warn her husband of the presence of the chairman in the village. It was already dusk but the moon had appeared. It wouldn’t be nice for Raji to be roaming the village at such a time when Ejigbadero was around. She met her husband reclining in front of their house. She heaved a sigh of relief.

She informed her husband that Ejigbadero was in the village. Raji Oba was also surprised. He had heard that Ejigbadero was holding a lavish party that day in Mushin. So what was he doing in the village? And why did he choose to come to the village at dusk. “I hope he has not come to bury charms on the land!” His wife suggested.

She had hardly finished speaking when she heard an explosion. GBOAH! Raji Oba fell from his seat with a thud! Sabitu jumped in alarm! Raji had been shot in the head. The wounded man began to groan in pain. Blood was oozing from the wound.

Sabitu turned to the direction where the sound of the explosion had come from. Smoke from gunpowder was drifting up to the clear moonlight sky. She saw seven people running away towards a nearby bush. She distinctly recognized Ejigbadero. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt and trousers. He was holding a gun. He was at the rear of the fleeing people. Her temporary shock over, Sabitu shouted at the retreating figures: “Ejigbadero mo ri e o! Ara Abule! Ejigbadero ti pa mi loko o!”

Back in Mushin, the naming party was in full swing! Ejigbadero was moving from table to table, exchanging banters with his friends and well-wishers. Remember I told you that Ejigbadero was well connected in the society. His guests that night included magistrates, lawyers, police officers and leading journalists of the day. Camera bulbs were flashing as Ejigbadero posed for photographs with his guests. It was a party that Mushin would remember for a long time.

Police officers in Agege were already familiar with Alimosho villagers. There was hardly a week that they would not come to the station to report one incident or another. On the evening of August 22, 1975, the police officers on duty heard the crowd from a distance. Alimosho people have come again! What has happened again? The officers wondered.

“Ejigbadero ti pa Raji o!

The officers knew that Yoruba language was full of hyperbolic expressions. A mere tap on the cheek could lead to a shout of ‘Mo ku o! O ti pa mi o!” They were however shocked when they realized that Raji had actually been killed. This was not a case of Mo gbe! Mo ku! Mo daran! The villagers were unanimous that it was Ejigbadero that killed Raji.

Ejigbadero was in company of late party guests in his house when the police came. He was informed that his attention was needed at their station. He was wanted in connection with the murder of Raji Oba. Ejigbadero’s visitors did not allow him to speak before they jumped to his defence! “When? Where? Ejigbadero who did not step out of  this Mushin throughout yesterday!”

The Lion of Mushin was confident of himself. His defence was as solid as a rock. His alibi was incontrovertible. He had judges, lawyers, police officers and journalists as his witnesses. What more could he want? He retained Chief Sobo Sowemimo, a highly experienced advocate, as his counsel. His case was good. He knew. On the other side was the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Omotunde Ilori.

As the prosecution began its case, Ejigbadero was becoming rather impatient. He knew the trial was going to be a waste of his time. Mr. Ilori called Sabitu Oba to the witness box. She narrated the event of the day. Ishola was smiling throughout her testimony. Who would believe the testimony of a village woman?

Mr. Ilori then called Nimota Kelani, Sabitu’s neighbour. Nimota’s evidence was straightforward. She informed the court that on hearing the alarm raised by Sabitu to the effect that Ejigbadero had killed Raji Oba, she dashed out of her house. She also saw Ejigbadero running away towards the bush. She saw him clearly in the moonlight. She also called on the accused telling him that she saw him and reminded him that he had kept his promise to kill Raji.

Rafiu Latifu was another witness called by the learned DPP. Latifu testified that on the evening of August 22, he was returning to the village when he saw a white Peugot 504 station wagon parked by the side of a mosque a distance of two minutes to the house of Raji Oba. He also saw Ejigbadero and six other persons, one of whom was a woman, run out of a nearby bush towards the parked car.

On arrival at the premises of Raji Oba he met people who told him that Ejigbadero had killed the deceased, who was still lying on the ground and bleeding from the head. Latifu then told the people that he had seen Ejigbadero and six other persons running out of the bush but did not know at the time that he had already killed Raji.

It was at this point that Ejigbadero began to doubt his defence. Awodi oke ko mo pe ara ile n wo ohun. Like the hawk he had assumed that he was invisible to the people below. If he had known how diligent the DPP, Mr. Omotunde Ilori was, perhaps he would not have been too confident with his alibi. Ha! You don’t know ‘alibi’? It’s a Latin word. It means ‘elsewhere’. It is a piece of evidence that one was elsewhere when an act, typically a criminal one, is alleged to have taken place. I hope you are following me.

There was a policeman who was riding a bike that night who also recognized him. Remember I told you that Ejigbadero was as popular as Iya Agba’s aso onisuga. Aso onisuga was very common in the 60s and 70s. The design on it was in the shape of a cube. Just like a cube of sugar, hence the name. Ilori found the police officer. Ilori also found two women who saw Ejigbadero when they were coming from the farm with firewood on their head. Immediately they saw him, they ran into the bush.

Ejigbadero’s defence was straightforward. He was in Mushin on August 22. He didn’t step out of his house. He had witnesses who were eminent people in the society.  He called Bashiru Ajape, a police officer; Jacob Oyelakin, a Manager with Leventis Motors; and Emmanuel George, a lawyer. They all testified that they were with Baba Gani at his baby's naming ceremony that day. The court considered the evidence of these eminent personalities and found each of them to be 'miserably untruthful in the evidence they gave'.

Tried as much as he could, Gbadero could not disprove the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The best cross-examination failed to crack the witnesses. They were all adamant. It was Ejigbadero that they saw that night. It was Ejigbadero that killed Raji Oba.

The trial judge took his time to review the case for the prosecution as well as the case for the defence. A life was at stake and mistake must not be made. The judge found the evidence of a security guard in the employment of Ejigbadero helpful. Kehinde Yekinni was the security guard employed to guard Ishola's factory. He testified that Ejigbadero came to the factory in the evening and later left for Alimosho with Modina, Osadebey, Isiaka, Bakare, Wahab Oduntan, and Lukman. The group later returned to meet him at the factory around 9pm. On their return, Ejigbadero drew out a gun from underneath his trousers and told Kehinde that he (Ishola) had killed the man that Kehinde refused to kill.

In the end, the judge found that Mr. Ilori had proved the case for prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. Jimoh Ishola was found guilty on the two counts: conspiracy to murder and murder.

He was sentenced to death. As the trial judge, My Lord Justice Ishola Oluwa, pronounced the sentence of death on him, Ejigbadero turned to his counsel and in his Ibadan accent asked, turning his nose to indicate His Lordship: “Emi ni n wi?” What was the Judge saying?

Jimoh Ishola appealed the judgment to the then Federal Court of Appeal. My Lords: Mamman Nasir, Adetunji Ogunkeye and Ijoma Aseme considered his appeal. His appeal in respect of Count One (conspiracy to murder) was allowed, meaning he was not guilty of that charge. His appeal in respect of the second count failed and the appellate court affirmed his conviction.

This time around, Ejigbadero did not bother to ask his counsel what their Lordships were saying. He had spent enough time in court to know the meaning of ‘Appeal is hereby dismissed.’

Off to the Supreme Court. His case was the 7th case filed in the Supreme Court in 1977. On Thursday, October 26, 1978, a panel of the Supreme Court comprising My Lords: Alexander, Fatai-Williams, Irikefe, Bello and Idigbe  affirmed his conviction and dismissed his appeal.

In 1979, four years after the gruesome murder of Raji Oba, Jimoh Ishola, alias Ejigbadero, alias the Chairman,  alias Kininun Baba Moradewun paid the supreme price.

What a price to pay for a piece of land!

I thank you for your time.

Reference Onigegewura

History of Aare Ona Kakanfo

According to history, the creation of the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo was the direct consequence of the ideas of a former ruler of Old Oyo Empire, Alaafin Ajagbo, who reigned in the 1600s. His predecessors, from Ajaka, who succeeded Sango (the god of thunder), to Aganju, Kori, Oluaso, Onigbogi, Eguguojo, and Orompoto to Abipa and Obalokun, all suffered incessant attacks by neighbouring states.

Aare-Ona-Kakanfo Ajagbo we gathered had a twin brother, Ajampati, and like the Biblical Jacob and Esau, Ajagbo was an outdoorsman, while Ajampati preferred the comforts of the royal court. As a result, Ajagbo, as a prince was part of many military expeditions to fend off invaders, and grew up a warrior, all the while nurturing ideas on how best to deal with military aggression against his kingdom-state. One of the direct results of his ideas when he became Alaafin was the creation of the office and title of Aare Ona Kakanfo, meaning Field Marshal, or Generalissimo of the Yoruba armies.

After creating the Kakanfo title, he invested the holder the command of all his forces, outside Oyo town. For the defence of the Alaafin and Yoruba land, Ajagbo is said to have created a metropolitan force which he placed under the command of the Bashorun.

The installation rites of the Aare Ona Kakanfo are tedious and frightening. The procedures and conventions instituted by Ajagbo and nurtured by succeeding Alaafins were said to be partly responsible for the mystiques surrounding the office and title.

We learnt that during installation, the major rite that must be performed is the administering of two hundred and one (201) incisions on the Kakanfo-designate. The incision is called gbere, in Yoruba, chiefly tiny cuts made with a razor, from the forehead backwards to the waist. Each of the 201 incisions is rubbed with 201 different herbal preparations expected to take the courage and bravery of the Kakanfo to super-human levels. After the incisions, the Kakanfo is “crowned” with a specially-made head-dress, that only him wears as a King of Worriors. It is, in Yoruba, called the Ojijiko. After installation, the Kakanfo leaves Oyo, the Alaafin’s city for his own domain; it is forbidden that the Kakanfo and the Alaafin live together in the same town. It's a taboo for Aare Ona Kakanfo to prostrate for any obas.

A check list of the past holders of the title are- 1. Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye 2. Oyapote of Iwoye 3. Oyabi of Ajase 4. Adeta of Jabata 5. Oku of Jabata 6. Afonja of Ilorin 7. Toyeje of Ogbomoso 8. Edun of Gbogun 9. Amepo of Abemo 10. Kurunmi of Ijaye 11.Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomoso 12. Obadoke Latoosa of Ibadan 13.Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso 14. Moshood Abiola of Abeokuta.

The Myth About Are Kakanfo

Indeed, the title of the Aare Kakanfo has been engulfed in the age long Myth that holders end up being consumed by the office most times in mysterious ways. Of the 14 holders of the title previously before Gani Adams, the first 12, from Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye to Momodu Obadoke Latoosa of Ibadan, were reportedly military commanders. Of these, three had waged wars in the interest of the Yoruba people . These were Kurunmi of Ijaye, Afonja of Ilorin, and Obadoke Latoosa of Ibadan. The succeeding two, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola were civilians.

Whereas the 12 died during war, Akintola was assassinated in a coup in 1966, while Abiola died in mysterious circumstance in the course of his June 12 mandate struggle.

However, with the installation of Adams as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo, the people are already setting agenda for him. Archbishop Emeritus Ayo Ladigbolu wants Adams to tackle the issues of peaceful co-existence among diverse etnic nationalities, religious tolerance, national re-orientation, South-West re-orientation and the re-invigoration of the pride of place of Yoruba language and culture.

He stressed that the modern day Kakanfo does not need bows and arrows, guns and daggers, but requires courage, boldness, bravery, focus, application of native intelligence to national and international issues and the brilliance and adaptability to respond to the myriad challenges facing the nation and the world currently.

Let's respect our tradition. Aare Ona Kakanfo is not a chief but King on his own. His crown name called Ojijiko with Staff of office.


In 1579, a tall African man now known by the name of Yasuke arrived in Japan.

His height was roughly 6 feet, 2 inches and he had skin like charcoal historians said. The average height of a Japanese man in 1900 was 5 feet 2, so Yasuke would have towered over most Japanese people in the 16th century.

In 1579, his arrival in Kyoto, the capital at the time, caused such a sensation that people climbed over one another to get a glimpse of him with some being crushed to death, according to historian Lawrence Winkler.

In 1581, the Bantu man alongside Alessandro Valignano set foot in Japan’s capital and booming metropolis, also serving as headquarters of the then daimiyo, Oda Nobunaga. It was here that accounts describe multitudes of people from far and wide coming to witness the tall, strong dark-skinned man.

So strange was this man, that natives likened him to a deity and once broke down the gates of a missionary church to catch a glimpse of him. Oda Nobunaga upon seeing this wonder of a man himself ordered that he strip down and wash off the dark ink from his skin convinced that he might have been a missionary playing a joke. Much to his surprise, no ink came off nor did the skin tone change in the slightest.

Genuinely intrigued by this enigma of a man, Nobunaga quickly took an appreciation for his integrity, but of more significance perhaps, his physical prowess even openly stating that he possessed the strength of ten men! It was with this royal decree that he entered into Nobunaga’s service effectively becoming a samurai. The mysterious Bantu man was even accorded a name, Yasuke!

Other than a piece of land and a house upon it, Yasuke like other samurai was afforded two blades. A long sword- (katana) and another short ceremonial sword. In addition to this, logic dictated that Yasuke learnt how to not only fight but carry himself honourably and diligently as thousands of samurai did before him.

Through the ranks, he rose quickly and soon enough, Yasuke was Oda Nobunaga’s closest companion. He even had the rare privilege of dining with the warlord, a fete even native allies were yet to achieve.

It is recorded, Yasuke rode with Oda Nobunaga into battle and unleashed his ferocity and raw strength, laying waste to all who stood up to the tower of a man relative to the native’s short build. More to this, it was customary for Yasuke to ride alongside his master Oda Nobunaga as he surveyed newly conquered lands. A position of envy to many of Oda’s subordinates. Worse still, occupied by a foreigner. This was not going to last long, however.

In 1582, on their way back from conquest, Nobunaga famously split his army and sent them forward to scour the area for new lands to conquer while he rested in a temple nearby. A surprise attack was launched and Nobunaga’s remaining forces were quickly overpowered. To avoid capture, Nobunaga was forced to commit ritualistic suicide (sepeku).

In the midst of the chaos, Yasuke saw the futility of the fight and rode ahead to secure Nobunaga’s heir, Oda Nobutada. Despite waging a defence fit for the history books and Yaskue’s best efforts, the young prince’s armies were overwhelmed and he too was forced to commit sepeku.

In the same breath, Yasuke was captured and was quickly banished owing to him not being native Japanese. He was sent back to the Jesuit Missionary Church where he was met with his former master Alessandro Valignano who sang and rejoiced upon his safe return.

Much about him remains a mystery: it’s unconfirmed which country in Africa he hailed from, and there is no verifiable record of his life after 1582. But Yasuke was a real-life Black samurai who served under Oda Nobunaga, one of the most important feudal lords in Japanese history and a unifier of the country. Yasuke is now the subject of two films and a Netflix Anime series.

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