Dialogue with the Olowu….

“My father was instrumental to Olowu Ajibola’s ascendance to the throne. He was favored but did not want to be king because of Christian beliefs, so he encouraged and supported Oba Ajibola in his bid. The Olowu told me this himself as he liked me very much and was want of telling me lots of stories. Ajibola was the 9th Olowu (in Abeokuta)”. “He (Ajibola) told me sometimes around 1955 about the Aboki masquerade seized at war with the Tapas. The masquerade song goes like this – Elempe, Adamu de! Elempe, Adamu de! – etc etc (Olowu singing). It was the habit of Owu warriors to not only capture their enemies at war; they would also seize their deities (orisha) and masquerades as well!” Owu’s policy was to seize the lands, wives, properties of their conquests, they would even take the children of those who fell to their wrath. Truly, our fore-fathers were really mean in their time, and that’s why they hardly had any friends among their neighbors. I must write a history book about their exploits sometime”.

“There was even a time when Olowu captured an ‘arole’ Alafin, tied him to a stake and fed him on ashes while he sent for his father, the Alafin of Oyo to come and secure his release. I think that Alafin was the great grandfather of the present one”. “In fact, the Etsu Nupe is still in constant touch with the palace up till now (pointing to a photograph on the wall, of the Etsu Nupe and himself with the Owu council members), and Othman danFodio during his jihad actually said that he thought at his first encounter that the Owus were Nupes. All these I had narrated in 1974 when I was doing a series on a German radio.” (Name mentioned but I cannot recollect it – Deutche…).
“Circumstantial evidence reveals that the first settlement of the Owu people is at L’empe, on a high hilltop not far from the Jebba bridge, and about 6km south of the Niger river from which the glistering river could be seen on the horizon”.

“In those days when I was a politician, I was in the entourage of Saraki when he pointed to a vast land on a hilltop in the Empe area, saying that was part of our (Owu) fore-fathers’ land and that he had acquired a sizeable portion of it. He gave me a plot right there and then, revealing that his mother was Owu from Abeokuta like me”. “While sited at Empe, the Olowu used to collect ‘Ishaponle’ (gratuities/taxation) from the Alafins until Sango staged a revolt to free them from the practice”. “Owu-Ipole erroneously tagged ‘Orile-owu’ could not have been the first settlement of the Owus. It was too far south into the forest from the savannah settlement of Old Oyo where the battle between Olowu and Sango took place” “Some modern historians are even postulating that the Yorubas as a whole were originally residing in the savannah area before Oduduwa came to lead them to Ile-Ife!”

“Ajaka was the first suitor of Osun before his junior brother married her. Ajaka would travel many a miles both on horseback or sometimes on feet to go and woo her (sings a song about Ajaka travelling to court Osun)”. “Recorded Yoruba history which can be found in the Diaspora took like 4 – 6 generations before they could be written down. This was because the slaves were forbidden from learning how to write, and in many cases, from even bearing children who they could pass the stories to”. “The ‘Alajalu’ festival was recently hosted by me at the palace (pointing to a miniature umbrella relic on the floor of his gallery-office, which was presented to him as host), and we are making arrangements to stage the next edition in Bahia (Brazil)”.

“Obatala was Olowu’s father. He was an enigmatic personality who was by no means inferior or subordinate to Odua (Oduduwa). In fact they were contemporaries or sometimes even rivals. Obatala has also been suggested to be the son of Sekilu. Now, Sekilu is the founder of the Ifa oracle. However I don’t think he was Sekilu’s son but may have been trained by him, thus he became a great Ifa priest and consultant who was apt to travel all over what is now West Africa as far away as Senegal and beyond, consulting for kingdoms and royalties. Obatala was also a farmer who planted cotton (thus ‘Olowu’). He was to meet Iyunade, the 1st born of Odua during one of his visits to the latter’s court where he married her and conceived their child, By the time Iyunade took her son to visit his father’s people, he had acquired his own crown from his grandfather from crying (thus ‘Asunkungbade)”.

“Of course it does not matter what method one uses in these matters. A crown is a crown. Afterall, the Owus were never defeated at Owu-Ipole (Orile-owu), they were besieged for 4 years and starved out of the town”.

“Ajibosin was called ‘omo baba olowu’ (cotton grower’s son) thus giving rise to his title of ‘Olowu’. He went with his crown to Empe accompanied by his palace compatriot and cousin-uncle, Oranmiyan who established his own dominion in a location nearby. It was here that Olowu found out that his father, Obatala, had been a wide and varied traveler journeying as far south as the ocean. Of course, the young Olowu who had never seen the ocean before was extremely fascinated, and promising to emulate his father’s exploit, but this time as a conquering warrior, set out to start attacking neighbors with the aim of annexing them and expand his empire as far south as the ocean!”

“Asunkungbade’s ambition to reach the ocean was invariably achieved by his successors who became one of the 2 ruling families in Lagos. The Oniru family who owned Victoria Island are Owu. In fact up to 75% of original Lagosians are Owu descendants!”

“On their southward conquests to reach the ocean, they advanced to the Old Ibadan. When the Baale of Ibadan got news of their impending coming, he sent a welcoming party to meet them and offered as much land as they cared to take, thus averting a major outrage. Areas in Abadan known as Anlugbua, Ogbere, Agodi, Orita-bashorun are all Owu lands donated by Ibadan. Mapo area was Remo-land which was captured by the Ibadans.”

“Olowu Ajibola told me that the Olowu who led the Owus into Ibadan was his ancestor”. (Contrary claims are that it was an Oba Akinjobi).

“The Baale of Ibadan also presented his daughter, Nkan, to the Olowu for marriage. Unfortunately however, ensuing events necessitated the sacrificing of Nkan for the safety of the Olowu’s entourage, and he embarked on a voluntary exile from Ibadan”.

“It is high time for people who write and research history in Owu-land to close ranks and harmonize their views and efforts so as to convincingly unearth the ancient history of owu for posterity”.

“There are 4 separate Owu settlements in Kwara state, and none of them is even remotely familiar with the events of Owu Ipole (orile-owu) which led to the Yoruba wars, suggesting that these occurred much much later”.

Source: owulakoda


Published by oloolutof

Urbanologist, Geographer, Traditionalist and Oral historian. ​I am a versatile, personable, computer literate and goal – driven achiever. I have good communication skill with ability to interact at different levels. I am self –motivated, can easily assimilate new ideals and quite adaptive to work in different environments. Studied in University of Jos, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Calabar.

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