HISTORY OF OGBOMOSO
Ogbomoso (also pronounced Ogbomosho) is one of the major cities in Nigeria. A Yoruba land located in South-Western Nigeria, the city was founded around the mid-1600s.
Ogbomoso people predominantly belong to the Yoruba ethnic group According to the 2006 census the population was approximately 645,000 but in recent times the population has climbed to more than one million people.
According to a pioneer Baptist Missionary who recorded his travel in The Romance of Missions in Nigeria; Rev. S. G. Pinnock described the town in these words: “Ogbomosho in 1891 was a walled city, the gates of which were closely watched by day and securely closed by night. There was little or no communication between it and Oyo and Ilorin which were only thirty miles to the north and south.
The town, picturesque and well-watered was isolated from the rest of the Yoruba towns. Political relations were maintained with Ibadan, for the country depended on its security on the warriors of Ogbomosho and Ikirun. The strength of Ogbomosho lay in the wall and moat surrounding the town, and the warriors made full use of it by sitting close and tight”
Farming, agriculture and general commerce form the backbone of Ogbomoso’s economy. Agricultural products include yams, cassava, maize, and tobacco remain notable agricultural products of the region. The main street in Ogbomoso is the Oyo-Ilorin road.
One of the prominent landmarks is the central mosque, which towers over the traditional walled compounds of private houses and the parts if the old wall that remains. Ogbomosho has other mosques, several churches and is the headquarters of the American Baptist Church of Nigeria and its theological seminary.
The closest airport to Ogbomoso is Ilorin Airport which is approximately 42 miles away. There are two radio stations namely Parrot FM and Ajilete FM. It has a television station, NTA Ogbomoso.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON HOW OGBOMOSO WAS FOUNDED
Ogunlola was of Ibariba descent. He came to the area now known as Ogbomoso in pursuit of his hunting profession. He stayed under ajagbon tree (still by the side of the palace) and used the branches for hanging gears.
The whole place was at this time (around the middle of the seventeenth century), a dense jungle. He Ogunlola was an expert archer and brave hunter. Later he and his wife, Esuu, built their hut by the side of the ajagbon tree.
Ogunlola noticed smoke oozing from some nearby locations. He took courage and approached these places and discovered other hunters.
The first one named Aale was a Nupe elephant hunter who had his camp in a place known today in Ogbomoso as Oke-Elerin (Elephant Hill),
Second called Onsile at the site now known as Ijeru quarters was an Otta Prince who left his place because of chieftaincy dispute. His descendants became Baales of Ijeru,
The third Orisatolu a hunter who had camped at Isapa quarters. and the fourth rarely mentioned in history is Akande of Akande quarters. The descendants of the first three of these hunters are still today the Bales of Oke-elerin, Ijeru and Isapa quarters respectively. There is no more Bale Akandie.
He later went to invite them to his camp. Ogunlola established his supremacy over these hunters because his wife was very good at preparing tobacco snuff and corn-wine which always attracted the tree hunters to his camp. Apart from that, disputes were always settled in Soun Ogunlola’s camp as the settlement became bigger.
Ogunlola was a very fierce man. Esuu feared what might be her fate whenever she offended her husband; particularly when there was no one near their hut to act as a check on him. She, therefore, designed a mound near the hut and by consensus, they decided that whenever
Ogunlola wanted to beat up Esuola, if she could escape and embrace the mound, whatever the nature of the offence, he must spare her. This mound is named Lorungbekun (Olorun-gbo-Ekun) meaning God listened to cries in English and is still within the Abata enclosure in the palace. Esuola became known as Esuola Lorungbekun because of this mound.
After the discovery of these hunters, Ogunlola took the initiative to invite them to form Egbe Alongo (The Alongo Society). The primary objectives of the society were:
- Defence against Sunmoni (slave prowler) raids
- Group hunting of wild animals, and
- Mutual assistance.
Esuu, the wife of Ogunlola introduced the worship of Orisapopo to Ogbomoso. This object of worship is the same as Orisala and is worshipped in different towns under different names. The worshippers are distinguished by white beads worn around their necks and wearing only white dresses. Drinking of palm wine is forbidden to them.
The name orisapopo was probably derived from the fact that Ogunlola’s hut was on the north-south route, therefore, the Orisala being worshipped in the hut was name “Orisapopo” (idol by the highway).
The importance and influence of ‘Orisapopo’ among the citizens of Ogbomoso is immense. It can be described as the patron “Orisa” of Ogbomoso.
HOW OGUNLOLA BECAME THE FIRST SOUN OF OGBOMOSOLAND
Ogunlola Ogundiran was lucky to have a wife like Lorungbekun Esuola. Lorungbekun Esuola, the wife of Ogunlola Ogundiran, was equally found not only to be enterprising in terms of preparing good meals or food and drink (of Sekete wine) prepared from sorghum or millet or guinea corn but was also very accommodating to those who visited her husband.
One is not sure but it is likely that because Ogunlola provided some Leadership quality, the Alongo society and indeed other later arrivals began to recognize his leadership style and suzerainty, or was there a consensus agreement to make him assume a leadership role?
At any rate, what became obvious and certain was that he was recognized as their leader and probably because he married Aresa daughter and giving birth to a baby, Aresa sent his emissary to Igbo-Igbale, his son-in-law’s place with the message: “Ile gbogbo, Ile Owo ni, awa o ma sehin, ki eyin ma se ohun” literarily meaning: “You take care or to take charge of that place and we shall take care of this place.”
To an extent, this was the beginning of the turning point of favourable development to favour Soun. Thus from this onset of Soun’s arrival, historical development began to turn to his side. It is instructive to note that Ogunlola’s little settlement; “Se ohun” was even at this time still relatively unknown, but the settlement became known somehow.
That was the prevailing situation when Ogunlola Ogundiran was accused of murder. There are two versions of the stories to the murder case on Ogunlola. One version of the story was that passers-by on trade mission via his hut had a quarrel and in what followed, Ogunlola took side with one of the parties and killed an Ijesa man on the other side of the divide.
The other story was that Ogunlola’s wife, Lorungbekun Esuola was indebted to an Ijesa itinerant trader and was unable to pay off her debt. Trouble ensued between Ijesa Itinerary creditor and Ogunlola Ogundiran, the husband of Lorungbekun Esuola who subsequently killed baba Ijesa.
The Incident was reported to Olugbon as it was the practice, who in turn sent Ogunlola, the offender to Oyo-Ile to face the music since murder cases were decided by Alaafin but as will be seen turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It was while Ogunlola was serving his prison punishment that he heard of the notorious, dreaded Elemoso who was tormenting, terrorizing and interrupted the free flow of trade in the Oyo empire. Ogunlola promised if allowed to face Elemoso at Ogbooro war, he would eliminate him, the feat which he eventually achieved.
It was said that this was around 1680. Thus the indomitable Bariba Elemoso who had become a thorn in the flesh of Oyo traders and Oyo military men, having carefully studied his tactics, positioned himself, shot and beheaded Elemoso through the use of his poisoned arrow. This prowess amazed Alaafin Ajagbo who pardoned Ogunlola Ogundiran of his offence when he vanquished the troublesome Elemoso.
It is said that he asked Ogunlola to stay in Oyo but he declined and returned to his settlement. In compensation, Alaafin ordered Soun Ogunlola to control his former abode, Soun’s request to stay yonder was granted, thus, “Ido eniti o gbe Ori Elemoso” literarily meaning: “the abode of one who carried Elemoso’s head” later contracted to “Ogbori Elemoso” now Ògbómòsó.
Recent research stories recall that Alaafin Ajagbo gave Soun Ogunlola clothes, beads and a staff of office or sword of victory and made him Baale. It is not out of place to say that the sword of victory over Elemoso at Ogbooro war recognized by Alaafin of Oyo was a mark of absolute independence of Ògbómòsó and indeed a mark of equality with any ancient town under metropolis if the Old Oyo Empire.
The victory of Soun over Elemoso created Soun dynasty. This feat as demonstrated by Soun Ogunlola was the turning point and without any doubt of ambiguity helped him to ascend to the throne as Baale (Mayor) or Oba and accelerated the influx of new Yorùbá migrants on a trade mission to Ògbómòsó.
HOW ÒGBÓMÒSÓ DERIVED HER NAME
The most popular and most acceptable explanation centres around the decapitation by Soun Ogunlola Ogundiran Of Elemoso which has been explained already. It is equally backed by the writing of Professor Emmanuel A. Ayandele, the learned Professor of History, who is also a son of the soil.
Thus, Soun Ogunlola, the recalcitrant youth place of abode was nicknamed “O gbe Ori-Elemoso” (one who carries Elemoso’s head), with the passage of time, it was shortened to Ogbomoso.
The point, therefore, is that the coming back of Soun, the great archer and conqueror from the sword of death in Oyo with his celebrated victory over Elemoso was a landmark not only in the history of Oyo but that a new town was firmly established and firmly consolidated as an autonomous town.
By the turn of 17th century, and the time of Soun Ogunlola’s death, all clans and settlement in the vicinity of Ògbómòsó; Alapa of Okin-Apa, Onikoyi of Ikoyi, Olugbon of Orile-Igbon and Aresa of Iresa the father of his mother because of his military skill and ingenuity already discussed and noted, all were either trying to woo him but most importantly began to recognize his suzerainty.
They could no longer claim superiority. In fact, Soun Ogunlola’s fame had spread far and beyond to towns places like Ajagusi, Aolu of Ajase Ipo and Olufon of Ifon. Most of the early settlers who came from these places were to produce the first set of warlords like Aareago and Jagun and most importantly, because the early arrivals – Aale, Ohunsile, Orisatolu and Akandie together with all their offsprings either lost out or completely failed to exercise their authority in all forms at this time in question.
Before the death of Soun Ogunlola, his wife, Lorungbekun Esuola was said to have established the worship of a deity known as “Orisa Popo”. The first Soun gave birth to many children that included Lakale, Kekere Esuo, Eiye Agannaganna, Arapasopo and Jogioro but was actually survived by his first Male child, Lakale.
Soun Ogunlola Ogundiran also had a daughter called Saderin.
THE OGBOMOSO ANTHEM / OGBOMOSO SONG (YORUBA)
Composed by: Late Mr. D. Oladele Ajao
Former Senior Tutor, Baptist College, Iwo
(Harmony done by Rev A. B. Adeleke)
Ogbomoso Folk song
ORIKI OGBOMOSO / THE PANEGYRIC OR EULOGY OF OGBOMOSO
READ ALSO: THE HISTORY OF OGBOMOSO
READ ALSO: OGBOMOSO IS OUR OWN JERUSALEM
DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO (MP3 VERSION) OF THE OGBOMOSO ANTHEM (LYRICS INCLUDED)
READ ALSO: EULOGICAL FACTS ABOUT OGBOMOSO
READ ALSO: PROF N.D OYERINDE: THE OGBOMOSO MAN THAT WAS THE FIRST NIGERIAN PROFESSOR
READ ALSO: THE HISTORY OF OKIN-APA
- Iwe Itan Ogbomoso (Ogbomoso History) by Late Professor N.D. Oyerinde
- Pa Ogunleye
- Ogbomoso – The Home of the Brave [www.ogbomoso-city.org]
- Chief Oyebisi Okewuyi; Ogbomoso in the Early Times, Modern Era and in Today’s Contemporary World; Johnny Printing Works; 2013
- The history of the Yorubas: from the earliest times to the beginning of the British Protectorate; Johnson, Samuel, d. 1901; Johnson, O. (Obadiah)
- Chernow, Barbara A; George A. Vallas, eds. (1993). “Ogbomosho” . Columbia Encyclopedia (5th ed.). Columbia University Press; 1997.
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