SANGO AND HIS 3 WIVES; OBA, OSUN AND OYA
Oranmiyan founded Oyo-Ile around 892 AD, his son Alaafin Ajuan popularly known as Ajaka Ekun ascended the throne around 1042. Sango, a great leader won the heart of everyone with his bravery and valour after freeing Alaafin Ajuan from the captivity of Olowu of Owu. He was made the Alaafin of Oyo and the incumbent Alaafin Ajuan was exiled.
Asides the fact that he was posthumously deified, Sango was also famed and fierce king was said to be bestowed with spiritual power by his Mother’s people in Nupe. His grandfather gifted him thunderbolt stones which he used in summoning thunder from the sky when needed. The power he had was so intense that to the extent that whenever he got angry, fire came out of his mouth. After reigning Oyo for 7 years, he was deified as the God of fire and thunder.
SANGO AND HIS FIRST WIFE; OBA
When it was time for Sango to get his wife, his mother advised him to pay attention to every beautiful and virtuous lady that comes his way.
As his hobby, Sango loved dancing and could dance very well. One day, a young, and beautiful lady won his heart while dancing during a cultural event.
Without second thought, Sango fell in love instantly with the excellent dancer, named Oba. With his mother’s advice in his mind, Sango was convinced that Oba would make a suitable wife, so they got married.
Unfortunately for Oba and Sango, Oba couldn’t get pregnant and Sango desperately wanted an heir. With Oba’s permission, Sango decided to get another wife.
SANGO AND HIS SECOND WIFE; OSUN
It was said that Sango loved and recognized a well prepared meal. One afternoon, he was coming from his friend’s house when he passed a hut. Osun, an expert in preparing sumptuous local delicacies was cooking inside the hut.
On perceiving the irresistible aroma from the hut, Sango wasted no time in knocking on the door of Osun’s hut. Osun, a friendly and beautiful lady opened the door and that was the beginning of a relationship between him and Osun.
He took his new wife, Osun home. She was well received by her “Iyale” (senior wife). Oba and Osun got along and they didn’t have issues until Sango declared that Osun would be the only one cooking his meal.
Oba felt jealous and insecure. After Sango married Osun, Oba was able to conceive. Both of them gave birth to children for Sango but Oba started seeing Osun as a threat to her children and herself. She concluded that since Osun was Sango’s favorite, her children might not be the heir.
SANGO AND HIS THIRD WIFE; OYA
One day, Sango went to buy yam on a market day and there, he saw the most beautiful lady he had ever seen in his life. He was fascinated by Oya’s beauty and he couldn’t resist silently following and tracing Oya despite the congestion in the market. He was awed and totally captivated by her beauty.
Silently, Sango followed Oya to the entrance of Ira town and to his surprise, he watched in rapt astonishment as Oya put on her fur and transformed into an Antelope (Agbonrin) after which she ran off. This made Sango visit Orunmila to make divinations about the beautiful and mysterious lady.
After narrating what he saw to Orunmila, the Ifa Oracle was consulted. The Ifa Oracle made it known to Sango that Oya, the Antelope-Lady is very powerful and blessed with great aura; “She has the power to control the wind and earth”, Orunmila said. Sango was stunned at the same time fascinated with the thought of having a wife that is as powerful as he was.
“I want her as a wife. How can I get her?” Sango asked
Orunmila sighed and responded, “get her fur that she used in transforming and she’ll be yours. But please, make sure she never get angry. Her rage is terrible.”
On the next market day, Sango hid behind a big rock, waiting for Oya. An Antelope approached sooner, looked around before turning to a woman. She hid her fur inside the bush before entering the market. Sango came out of his hiding and grabbed the fur. He ran home with the fur to hide it in his sacred room. When Oya back to the bush, she couldn’t find her fur. She knew it was impossible for her to enter without her fur. She began to cry. Sango came at the right time and consoled her. Eventually, he took her home.
Yoruba people believe Oya was Sango’s third wife even though he didn’t pay her dowry. The other wives hated her deeply.
SANGO’S ASCENSION TO THE THRONE AS ALAAFIN OF OYO
At the time Alaafin Ajuan popularly know as Ajaka Ekun (The second Alaafin of Oyo and Son of Oranmiyan) was ruling as Alaafin, the Oyo empire was besieged by war from Owu. The Olowu who was the cousin of Alaafin Ajuan (Ajaka Ekun) in his bid to conquer and claim Oyo sent warriors to capture Alaafin Ajuan.
Over time, Sango became a famed powerful warlord by this time, so the Oyomesi sent for Sango to rescue Alaafin Ajuan (Ajaka Ekun). Sango rescued Alaafin Ajuan and won the heart of everyone as a powerful and strong man. With this admiration and respect of the masses, Sango was crowned the third Alaafin of Oyo while Alaafin Ajuan (Ajaka Ekun) was exiled.
As a king warrior, Sango had two powerful generals: Timi Agbale Olofa-ina (the founder of Ede, now in Osun state) who could shoot arrows of fire and Gbonka who was equally powerful.
Sango was so happy, he felt Oya was his good luck charm. He slept more in her room to the dismay of the other wives.
OBA AND OSUN AGAINST OYA
Out jealousy, Oba and Osun pestered Sango about Oya. They wanted to know about her. After a while, he was convinced to tell them the full details. After Oba and Osun got the secret about Oya’s supernatural identity, they started taunting her and singing every time to mock her:
She eats and drinks like human
but she is an animal
and her fur
is in the sacred room
She didn’t understand the meaning of the song at first until One quiet morning, she was lazy on the bed when the music played in her head. She sneaked to the sacred room and found her fur. She became so angry.
OYA FELT BETRAYED
Sango was coming back when an Antelope ran very fast passed him. He suspected it was Oya so he ran inside to check the fur and found out it was missing. He ran to Orunmila’s house and explained what happened.
Oya ran to Ira kingdom to meet her parents. They were pleased to see her again. After eating, she told them all that happened and her new husband. They got angry because Sango didn’t pay her dowry. It led to an heated argument and the matter was taken to the king. The king told her it was an abomination in the land to marry without dowry. Oya insisted the deed was already done which infuriated him. He banned her from kingdom. She looked at her parents face and the tears got her angry. She stormed out and became a tornado headed towards Sango’s house seeking revenge.
Fortunately, Sango met Orunmila in his shrine, he narrated what happened to him. He implored him to go home immediately to make beans cake which he would use to appease her. He then warned him to be careful of the other wives. He quickly rushed home to make the food. His other wives watched in fear as he did. Immediately he finished, he went outside and saw the tornado coming towards his house. The roofs of the houses she passed got blown, trees got uprooted from their root.
That was the first time Sango got very scared.
As soon as she saw him, she turned to a Buffalo and charged towards him. He quickly offered her the beans cake. The aroma softened her heart and she broke her horns and gave to him. Then she ate the beans cake. They both apologized to each other and went inside. She instructed him to hit the horns together whenever he needed her help.
OSUN TRICKED OBA
King Sango and his wives were feared all over the land. He built different houses for his wives in the palace and slept in their houses as he pleased.
Oba noticed that Sango still preferred Osun’s cooking and it was obvious she was her favorite so she approached her to tell her how to get the love of their husband. Osun tricked Oba, she told her she used to cook his favorite soup by cutting and adding pieces of her ear to the soup. She fell for it and convinced Sango to allow her cook for me. She thought if he could love her with parts of her ear, he would love her more by preparing his soup with her full ear. She chopped her left ear and made soup with it.
On the soup, Sango saw the ear floating on the soup and thought she wanted to poison him. He chased her out of the palace. She ran off and rested on a tree stomp. She cried till she became a river goddess (goddess of matrimony). She is presently known as River Oba in Osun State, Nigeria.
Eventually, Sango found out about Osun’s mischief and chased her too from the palace with so much rage. She ran till she fell and became a river goddess (goddess of fertility) in Osun State, Nigeria.
SANGO AND GBONKA
Oya became the only wife of Sango and eventually gave birth to twins. The naming ceremony was the biggest ever in Yoruba land. Kings came from east, west, north and south to celebrate him. The night of the naming, Oya pressed his husband to reveal his source of power to him. He was in a very good mood and he told her about the thunderbolt stones. She hid them for a while before she eventually opened up to him but they were still in her custody.
During his seventh year as the king, he appointed two generals. Timi Agbala (a master in shooting arrows with fire) and Gbonka. They were equally as powerful as Sango. Oya was scared.
She told Sango to get rid of them. He ordered them to guard the two border towns. Later on, he planned to kill both of them so he set them up. Gbonka killed Timi before he realized they were set up by Sango so he challenged him for the throne.
To prepare. Sango called his wife to collect the thunderbolt stones. He found out they were moist with her period which is a taboo in Yoruba land. He climbed on a nearby rock to test the potency of the stones, thunder struck and burnt down the palace killing his children and some of his guards.
The people of Oyo were angry with Sango so they chased him from the kingdom. He took Oya and some of his trusted chiefs with him and headed towards Nupe.
DEIFICATION OF OYA AND SANGO
They had to pass through Oya’s hometown, Ira so they could get to Nupe before dawn. When they got there, she felt reluctant to pass through and not see his parents so he took excuse.
After Ira, they got to Koso land, Gbonka was already there to challenge Sango. The fight was so brutal, they both disappeared inside thin air with Gbonka having the upper hand. Some of the chiefs ran back home to inform them about the demise of Sango. Meanwhile, Sango killed Gbonka with thunder and burnt him to ashes.
Oya heard of the demise of his husband and committed suicide. As she fell to the ground, she became a river goddess called odo-oya (river Oya). Sango went back to find his wife and heard about her death.
He was so sad and angry. He wanted to burn down the whole Yoruba land with fire and thunder. The ancestors saw this and knew it would be the end of the race. The earth opened up and swallowed him. That was the end of Sango and his 3 wives.
Till today, they are deities and have worshippers around the world. River Oba, Osun and Oya still exist.
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