Lanlate is one of the oldest, most noble and popular town in Oyo State dating back to the era of The old Oyo Empire” (Oyo-Ile).
Of the seven Ibarapas (Ibarapa mejeje), Lanlate cannot be ignored. For centuries, Lanlate has been a central of power and also a significant custodian of ancient cultural heritage.
THE OLD OYO EMPIRE
From the 12th to the Late 18th century, the Oyo Empire grew to become one of the largest West African states. It rose through the outstanding organizational and administrative skills of the Yoruba people, wealth gained from trade and its powerful cavalry.
The Old Oyo Empire held sway not only over most of the other kingdoms in Yorubaland, but also over nearby African states, notably the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey in the modern Republic of Benin to the west.
However, Oyo-Ile which served as the capital for Oyo empire was razed by the Fulani Empire in 1835 and the Oyo Empire collapsed in 1836. After the destruction of Oyo-Ile, the capital was moved further south, to Ago d’Oyo. Oba Atiba sought to preserve what remained of Oyo by placing on Ibadan the duty of protecting the capital from the Ilorin in the north and northeast. He also attempted to get the Ijaye to protect Oyo from the west against the Dahomeans. The center of Yoruba power moved further south to Ibadan, a Yoruba war camp settled by Oyo commanders in 1830.
Alaafin Atiba’s gambit failed, and Oyo never regained its prominence in the region. The Oba, otherwise called Atiba Atobatele, died in 1859; His son Adeyemi I, the third Alaafin to rule in the present Oyo, died in 1905. The Yoruba continue to be the most urbanized African ethnic group today. Prominent contemporary cities include Ibadan, Osogbo, and Ogbomoso, which are some of the major cities that flourished after old Oyo’s collapse.
Although, the region where Lanlate is today has been in existence during the era of old Oyo empire, when the Alaafin was the supreme emperor of the whole region, it was not yet densely populated or named Lanlate. It’s believed that aborigines used to move around looking for a vast area of land to settle and farm.
Most of the said aborigines just settled in the area for a while and after a while, due to the distance to major cities, abandoned the area and look for a densely populated settlement until Bioku and his family settled there permanently and name the settlement Ile-Bioku
AN ABODE NAMED LANLATE
Lanlate is a modern town located between Iseyin and Eruwa. Lanlate was co-founded by two friends, Bioku and Labebe; Bioku being the Chief. The settlement was surrounded by four major hills namely; Onidan, Ota-epo, Olofin and Araye. The Anthem and Panegyrics/Eulogies (Oriki) of Lanlate is based on these four hills. The four hills afforded the new town and protection from hostile attacks and consequently, the settlement became populated by people looking for a shield shelter and soon became a prosperous town.
The complex wars that ravaged Yoruba kingdom between 1821 and 1892 gave birth to several Yoruba settlements. Some of these settlements faded out by further intra-tribal conflicts while others sustained such conflicts and still exist up till today. Ile Bioku happened to be one of those that survived those intra-tribal conflicts to emerge as Lanlate today.
In Ile-Bioku now Lanlate, there were several people of notes besides the founders e.g Oguntayi, who was the Aareago under Bioku; Odunmbaku who was the Ikolaba; Aremu who was the Jagun and so on.
BIOKU AND LABEBE
Lanlate was co-founded by two friends, Bioku and Labebe; Bioku being the Chief. It was said that Bioku and his family were the first to settle in a region now known as Lanlate. Very few families also joined Bioku and because Bioku was the first to settle in the area, it was then referred to as Ile-Bioku.
Labebe, Bioku’s friend moved with his family from Popo-Ilala to Ile-Bioku.
It was said that Bioku that Labebe formed a well organized settlement with Bioku as the Baale. “Ilala” was then taken from “Popo-Ilala” where Labebe was based and joined with “tedo” which means “to settle in a town” to form Ilala-tedo, hence the name: “Lanlate”
Bioku was the descendant of Alaafin Amodo. His mother Olohun-Eji was Oludosumu’s daughter, the Alapinni of Oyo during Alaafin Amodo’s time in old Oyo Empire. Bioku happened to grow up in Alapinni’s compound due to some problems in Amodo’s palace.
Labebe was the descendant of Alaafin Sango in old Oyo Empire and he first settled in Popo Ilala before he decided to join his friend, Bioku at Ile-Bioku now Lanlate.
Bioku lived to a good old age and the town prospered under him. At his death, he was succeeded by his friend and the co-founder. Oyedokun, the son of Bioku became the head of Bioku ruling house.
It was said that Labebe did not outlive Bioku for long, he also died and was succeeded by Oyedokun, son of Bioku as the Baale. Ajadi the son of Labebe became the head of Labebe ruling house.
CULTURE OF LANLATE PEOPLE
Lanlate people share culture with Oyo Alafin and all Yoruba traditions are found in Lanlate. Following the movement of Ile-Bioku to present Lanlate, Bioku brought Onidan and Labebe brought Sango. The two shrines are conspicuously located inside Onidan market.
Lanlate people observe Egungun, Oro, Sango, Ogun, Obatala festival up till today.
Although, majority of Lanlate indigenes are now practicing Christianity and Islam with lots of mosques and churches of different denominations in Lanlate.
THE SEVEN IBARAPA TOWNS (IBARAPA MEJEJE)
Today, Lanlate is one of the towns that constituted the Ibarapa Towns (Ibarapa Mejeje) with Eruwa being the headquarters.
The seven towns that made Ibarapa Province came under the protection of Ibadan after the destruction of Ijaye. Lanlate, although one of the seven principal towns, Lanlate is distinct and does not share common history with any of the remaining six communities of Eruwa, Igboora, Idere, Ayete, Tapa, and Igangan.
As there are seven communities in Ibarapa, there are also seven prescribed authorities over each community. The Onilala of Lanlate is the prescribed authority over Lanlate and its environs and ditto for heads of remaining six communities.
Lanlate is a peace loving community and this is the more reason why it has cordial relationship with other sister towns of Ibarapa Land. Lanlate is also a Land of great opportunities waiting for Oyo State Government to tap.
ECONOMIC LIFE OF LANLATE
Majority of Lanlate people came from the background of peasant farming with a few combining agriculture with other economic ventures such as hunting and fishing. For those that are into fishing, Ogun river and Opeki river serves as the major rivers in the area that provides fishing ground for the fishermen in Lanlate.
Agriculture is boosted by vast area of land that Lanlate is endowed with. Presently, mechanized farming is fast replacing the old peasant farming, Lanlate has in the past few years became host to few mechanized farmers namely Zartech, UAC, Obasanjo Farms amongst others.
Maya market, located in Lanlate too became an economic nerve centre and major revenue generating market for Ibarapa East Local Government. Maya market attracts agricultural produce buyers from far and near including Lagos, Ogun, Kwara States apart other notable towns in Oyo State.
Presently, Lanlate has twenty-six public primary schools and four public secondary schools. A lot of private and secondary schools are also springing up. Also, Lanlate is blessed with a tertiary institution campus; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education. Lanlate people are looking forward to the upgrade of the campus to an autonomous one.
A general Hospital, health centres are situated in Lanlate combined with other private clinics taking care of people’s health.
Lanlate is blessed with potential tourist attraction centres like Eekun Iyawo, Ekiti/Esin Araye, Olofin Rock and Ibu Yeye to mention a few.
Was chanced to visit Lanlate, most of the tourist centres in Lanlate and non of the tourist attraction centres is well monetized or organised modernly. All these tourist attraction centres could be effectively tapped for revenue generation by Oyo State Government. Indeed, the land is really blessed.
Lanlate is blessed with Recreation centres, Petrol stations, sawmills, and Artisan jobs. Individual engage in fish and poultry farming businesses. Fulani cattle rearers abound around Lanlate vast of land supplying cows to butchers in Lanlate and there had been harmonious co-existence with no life-threatening conflict whatsoever.
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SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- Chief Falola Adigun Okunade; Asoju awo of Lanlate.
- Chief Adesokan; The Asipa of Lanlate.
- His Royal Majesty, Oba Alhaji Abdul-Lateef Olawuyi Olagoke, Arowooje II, Onilala of Lanlate.
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Written by Johnson Okunade
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