His Royal Majesty, Oba(Prof.) Akinola John Akintola, the Alapa of Okin-Apa is an energetic, humble, free and approachable king, he graciously hosted Hannah Akanbi, Adigun Oluwaseyi and I in his residence in Ogbomoso. He told us the history of Okin-Apa and answered all questions we asked him. We were excited when Kabiyesi decided to carry us along with him to Okin-Apa kingdom so as to see for ourselves.
The Alapas are direct descendants of Oduduwa in Ile-Ife. Obalufon, the first son of Olofin was in turn the son of Oduduwa. The time of Obalufon dates back to around the 11th century. Obalufon gave birth to Oganagbodo Akereyaso and like many of his peer princes left Ile-Ife to establish his own domain of authority within the Yoruba community.
In a valedictory meeting Obalufon had with his sons at Ita-Agemo, he bequeathed each prince with a share of the royal heritage. Oganagbodo was given a bronze crown (Ade Ide), a staff of office (Opa opagun), and a cow tail with embroidered bead handle (Irukere); after which the prince departed and found his own territory.
The princes who purportedly left Ile-Ife about the same time as Oganagbodo Akereyaso include the royalties who later assume the titles Akangbo of Ijebu Remo (Ogun State), Osile of Oke-Ona (Ogun State), Deji of Akure (Ondo State), Olujumu of Ijumuland (Kogi State), Owa Obokun of Ijesa Land (Osun State), Orangun of Ila (Osun State), Elekole of Ikole Ekiti (Ekiti State).
Accompanied by Masa-Apayi Yogun, Oganagbodo Akereyaso left Ile-Ife, carrying the Obalufon shrine, ogbo, his pathfinder and inherited crown, irukere, akun and opa opagun. Oganagbodo Akereyaso, Masa Apayi Yogun and their retinue made many stops. Some were for a brief period and others were for a considerable long period of time in places like Erimo, Igbajo, Iba, Ejigbo, among others. While on this journey, Oganagbodo Akereyaso had many sons. Some of his sons who survived the hurdles of his travels with him were Awurela, Olubowa, Oyedun, and Akesin.
The title Alapa, was derived from ‘Apa’ the distinct stool Oganagbodo Akereyaso used as his seat of throne during the sojourn. The subjects of Oganagbodo Akereyaso were calling him “oni pa”, later shortened to Alapa which means “the owner of ‘apa’ throne”.
Consequent to frequent deaths of members of the entourage, Oganagbodo Akereyaso settled temporarily in Odo-Owa. It was at Odo-Owa that the Ifa Oracle was consulted. The Ifa Oracle decreed that the descendants of Obalufon would be known in different corners of Yoruba Land. The Ifa Oracle then decreed that sons of Oganagbodo Akereyaso went in separate ways.
Today, the children of Alapa can be found in several towns some of which include: His Royal Majesty Oba J.S. Tejumola Iranloye (Alapa of Agbonda of Eku-Apa Land), His Royal Majesty Oba John Adegboyega Adeyemi (Alapa of Omido), His Royal Majesty Oba Samuel Oladoye Idowu (The Akesin of Ora-Igomina), His Royal Majesty Oba Oyekan Ajose Adekanmbi JP. (Alapa of Egun Awori-Apa, Apa Kingdom, Lagos State), Onigosun of Igosun, etc.
Each of the sons of Oganagbodo Akereyaso assumed the title of their father ‘Alapa’ in any domain they found themselves. Alapa Olubowa together with his own family and subjects after settling down temporarily around the southern part of the river Niger at a place he named Apa consulted Ifa Oracle. The oracle decreed that they should settle down on any virgin land they found the “Okin” birds, (Peacock birds). The virgin land was thereafter named “Okin” after the Peacock birds. Another virgin land in the same area was named “Igbo-Apa” that is, Apa Forest. When Alapa Olubowa settled down and established his authority over the areas surrounding Igbo-Apa and Okin, he called them Alapa land. After His death, his three sons: Makudeola, Okeola, and Ojo Kilanko, and other Baales around his domain agreed to move to a place which is called till date Ogbomoso. They agreed to stand together with the then inhabitants of Ogbomoso and fight the Fulani invasion in the land and the other kingdoms surrounding it, of which Okin-Apa was among. Meanwhile a reasonable number of people were left behind to hold the fort.
On getting to Ogbomoso, a section of the group, headed by Ojo Kinlanko settled at the present Alapa’s Compound at Isale-Ora, another section of the group under the leadership of Okeola settled at the present Alapa’s compound at Saja area while the last group headed by Makudeola – the most senior of them, settled at the present Alapa’s compound at Oke Taraa. After the wars, some people returned to their homestead while many stayed in Ogbomoso because of the fear of subsequent wars. It is pertinent to mention here that the Alapa royal family still up till today rules as Oba in their homestead, Okin and have their royal title as Alapa of Okin-Apa.
Makudeola, being the eldest of the Alapa three sons was the first Alapa that reigned. After his death, Okeola ruled and subsequently, Ojo Kinlanko became Alapa. Since then, Alapa throne has been in rotational succession order among the three royal houses. In the history of Okin-Apa, there has been moments when the Alapa is being succeeded directly by his son.
ALAPA OF OKIN-APA AND SOUN OF OGBOMOSO
Soun Ogunlola was the first king in Ogbomoso. The Alaafin of Oyo of that time made him the king of Ogbomoso after killing Elemoso, a villain that was terrorizing Oyo-Ile that time. The name Ogbomoso, that is “Ogbori Elemoso” means he who carries Elemoso’s head, was named after Soun Ogunlola conquered Elemoso. At the time Soun Ogunlola came back to Ogbomoso, a wild animal was disturbing the people of Okin-Apa. Alapa sent for Soun Ogunlola as he was known to be a very powerful man. Lorun-ngbekun, the wife of Soun Ogunlola went to Okin-Apa with her husband. Soun Ogunlola killed the wild animal, and Alapa was very excited, he asked Soun Ogunlola to ask for anything as compensation for slaying the wild animal. Lorun-ngbekun answered that if Alapa wants to see them in Okin-Apa often, he should betroth his daughter to her husband. Alapa gave his daughter’s hand in marriage to Soun Ogunlola.
Unfortunately for Lorun-ngbekun, none of her sons survived, it was Jogioro the first son of Alapa’s daughter that succeeded Soun Ogunlola.
Whenever there is a new king, he must drop a sacrificial animal for sacrifice in Igbo Okin (Okin Forest). This was a culture for them as at that time. Also another strong cultural belief for them was to bury the dead with yards of cloth (a-ku-fi-aso-sin). It was believed that the dead will need cloths when they get to their afterlife. The quantity of cloths sent by friends and family was a display of splendour and how important the dead person is. Because Alapa’s grandchild, Jogioro became the king of Ogbomoso, Alapa was buried with more than enough yards of cloth as sent from different corners of Yoruba land. This made the Alapa title very popular and more noble. Kings are also greeted with the panegyric (Oriki) of their mother. Souns (Kings) of Ogbomoso bear the Panegyric of “Okin” up till this day.
ALAPA FAMILY AND SNAKES
Alapa was a very powerful man. He had two different pots of concoction, whenever he wanted to hunt, he’ll immerse himself in one of the pots of concoction, and transform to a big python. It was in form of this big python that he would go hunting in the forest. One day, his smallest wife broke the pots of concoction and when Alapa came back, there was no way of transforming back to his human form. The wife regretted her action to the extent that she committed suicide. It then became a taboo to the descendants of Alapa to kill or eat snake as snake symbolized their patriarch. This belief still holds till today.
As His Royal Majesty, Oba Professor Akinola John Akintola was telling us this, Hannah Akanbi asked what will happen if any descendant of Alapa should eat snake. Kabiyesi replied was that such descendant will never ascend the throne even if he is the next rightful heir. Other repercussions include premature death, extinction of the person’s lineage, sickness, skin transformation to that of a snake, chickenpox and smallpox. He further said that all the above repercussions happened in history up till recently. Snakes do not bite the descendants of Alapa, in fact they usually find snake in their abode all the time. They believe in it as a good omen, as Alapa himself paying them visit.
TRADITIONAL SOVEREIGNTY OF ALAPA OVER HIS DOMAIN
Alapa is one of the prominent crowned Oba in Surulere Local government. Oba Alapa is duly recognized by the Oyo State Government and was upgraded to a part II Oba via the Oyo state government Gazette No 24, Vol 26, Page 79 of 16th July 2001. The certificate of recognition and staff of office were presented to the Late Alapa – His Royal Highness Oba David Akinola Akintola by Governor Lamidi Adesina at Okin on May 2003.
All Alapa royal family land are under the authority of the reigning Alapa but Alapa cannot dispose any land without the full consent of the family elders from the three royal families and no family member can tamper with the family property without Alapa’s consent or authority. After the demise of the reigning Alapa, the selection of new Alapa will go to the next ruling house section. If that session fails or cannot produce any candidate, a subsequent selection will be called upon in that particular house. If all the session in that house cannot produce a candidate, then the next house should be invited.
Traditionally, the under listed villages and their Baales are under the prescribed authority of Alapa. The said villages (since time immemorial) recognize Alapa as their overlord. The villages are:
- Jagilegbo Village
- Alaagun Village
- Itawo Village
- Igbo-Okin Village
- Akatapa Village
- Ajakore Village
- Agboroode Village
- Iyalode Village
- Onipaanu Village
- Temidire Village
- Igboole Village
- Abule Alaso Village
- Olodo Village
- Igbo-Apa Village
Most of these villagers plant perennial trees like: Cocoa, Palm trees, cashew and kola nut trees etc.
OKIN-APA KINGDOM AS OF TODAY
A prince can directly succeed his father and become an Alapa, this has happened before in the history of Alapa; His Royal Highness, Oba Onaduntan was installed as Alapa, he ruled Okin-Apa for three years after which his first son prince Oderinlo succeeded him directly. His Royal Highness, Oba Oderinlo ruled Okin-Apa for fifty-two years. There is no law stating that it must be a rotational succession among the three royal families. The most eligible prince from a royal family can be selected as the Alapa.
His Royal Highness, Oba Professor Akinola John Akintola was installed as Fagbodun Olumomi (III), after his late dad His Royal Highness, Akinola John Akintola was installed as Fagbodun Olumomi (III), in the year 2015.
The chieftaincy of Okin-Apa currently has no declaration, Oba Professor Akinola John Akintola is working on it with the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs, Oyo State.
While interviewing the king in his residence in Ogbomoso, Hannah Akanbi asked why he as a learned Professor of Entomology concurs to being a traditional Ruler. Oba (Prof) Akinola John Akintola replied that it is a call to serve and a call to service, he said even before he became a king, it has been his hobby to help the less privilege. He said there is no word that can really explain to us his reasons for accepting to become a traditional ruler. He said we will understand better when we get to Okin-Apa. When we got to Okin-Apa, these are some of the new developments we saw.
- A new modern day Palace
- Network Mast: Kabiyesi told us how much he detested the way his people were climbing trees just to make phone call which made him facilitate the Network mast erected in Okin
- Electricity: Kabiyesi facilitated electricity and paid the bills for months till the villagers adapted to the new development and started paying their own bills.
- Okin High School: Kabiyesi built a secondary school for the kingdom of Okin-Apa. The school is already functioning well and has been approved by the Government. He said he already transfer the school to the government to continue managing it.
- A central Mosque for the Muslims
- Stalls for traders on market days
- Shopping malls – “Alapa Royal Family Shopping Complex”
- Clean Water supply: As he drove pass the villages, we saw the bore holes he drilled for the villagers in their villages
- Civil Defense Office
- A Police Station (Under Construction)
- Well-Equipped Health Centre
- Recreation: DSTV, Big Generator and two big Plasma Television for the youths to watch Football Match, other sports, news and other events across the world.
- International School for the Physically Challenged (The only one in West Africa). Kabiyesi allocated hectares of land for the construction of this school. We saw pictures of himself, Dangote’s MD, South African Minister of Social Development et al. The school is still under construction
- Okin University: Initial Approval has already been granted by NUC. The school is still under construction..