In the second part of this series we talked about the timeline of creation of the now famous cities in Ijebu Land such as Ijebu Ode, Imepe and so on. Heres the complete story;
PAST AWUJALES OF IJEBU
23. Ore-yeye (Female)
31. Ore-geje (Female)
37, Rubakoye (Female)
44. Gbelegbuwa – 1760
45. Fusengbuwa – 1790
46. Setejoye – 1819
47. Figbajoye Anikilaya – 1820
48. Ademuyewo Fidipote – 1852
49. Adesimbo Tunwase 1886 (Aboki)
50. Adeleke Ogbagba I – 1895
51. Adeona Fusigboye – 1906
’52. Ademolu Fesogbade – 1915
53. Adekoya Eleruja – 1916
*54. Ademotu Fesogbade – 1917
55. Adenuga Folagbade – 1925
56.. Ogunnaike Fibiwoga 1929
57. Dan. Adesanya Gbelegbuwa II – 1933-1959
58. Sikiru Adetona Ogbagba II – 1960
*(Nos 52 and 54 are the same person).
By the declaration made under section 4(2) of. the Chiefs Law 1957 of the Customary Law
regulating the selection of the Awujale of Ijebuland Chieftaincy, there are Four Ruling Houses and the identity of each Ruling House is:
(I) The Gbelegbuwa Ruling House
(ii) The Anikinaiya Ruling House
(iii) The Fusengbuwa Ruling House and
(iv) The Fidipote Ruling House.
The Declaration was approved 25th August, 1959 and registered on 1st September, 1959.
MEMBERS OF IJEBU TRADITIONAL COUNCIL
1. HRH Awujale of Ijebuland (President)
2. HRH Ajalorun of Ijebu-Ife
3. HRH Dagburewe of Idowa
4. HRH Akija of Ikija
5. HRH Olowu of Owu-Ijebu
6. HRH Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye
7. HRH Oloko of Ijebu-Imushin
8. HRH Alaiye of Odogbolu
9. HRH Owa of Okun-Owa
10. HRH Olomu of Omu-Ijebu
11. HRH Liken of lbefun
12. HRH Gbegande of Ososa
13. HRH Alaperu of Ilaporu
14. HRH Obiri of Aiyepe
15. HRH Saderiren of lsonyin
16. HRH Obelu of Esure
17. HRH Alakan of Aiyepe
18. HRH Elerunwon of Erunwon
19. HRH Kobowore of Jobore
20. HRH Alawunren of Okelawunren
21. HRH Alaiye Aba of Aiyepe2
22. HRH Oru of Imoru
23. HRH Oliworo of Iworo
24. HRH Maguesen of Itamarun
25. HRH Ijebu-Igbo
26. HRH Ibu-Arijan
27. HRH Elero of Itebu
28. HRH Olowu of Aiyepe
29. HRH Limeri of Awa
30. HRH Oloru of Oru
31. HRH. Moyeso of Itele
32. HRH Olowu-Iji of Odoluwu
33. HRH Akalako of Aiyepe
34. HRH Liken of Iwopin
35. HRH Onitasin of Itasin
36. HRH Elese of Ilese
37. HRH Oba Lenuwa of Ode-Omi
The Ijebus are equally noted for their sociability throughout the Yoruba kingdom; they work hard and celebrate well. They are known to go to the long haul to make their events memorable, borrowing in some instances if the need arises.
An index of the growth, prosperity and tranquility of nineteenth century Ijebuland was the systematic organization of age grade known as Regberegbes every three years with tiles reflecting significant events. They constitute a major instrument of social cohesion and mobilization in ijebuland. These groups always come together to help one another in the event of any serious need for concerted and joint efforts. With these groups, the society is further strengthened while community project and facilities are initiated and maintained. A few examples; Egbe Moradegun which was for all people born from 1813 to 1816 referred to the leisure the ijebu had for fashion in infinite variety “tasteful pleasing and popular.” Or Egbe Mafowoku “Never be in dearth of money “, the name assumed by all born from 1845 to 1848 because prosperity reached a peak.
Naturally, in a society in which the Awujale mirrored the state of the commonwealth, most of the names of the age grades centered around the paramount rulers. For instances, Egbe Bobajolu “Help the King maintain unity among the town people” for those born from 1849 to 1853, or Egbe Gbobaniyi, “Raise the king in honor” for those born from 1855 to 1860; or Egbe Arobayo, “Those who see the King and rejoice” for those born from 1873 to 1876.
The Regberegbes have always been the lynchpin of the traditional ijebu democratic forum of government. The present Awujale, Oba Adetona has revived the Regberegbe for the continuous rapid development of Ijebu. This strategy has been yielding fruitful results and the Regberegbe are in healthy rivalry for contribution to ijebu upliftment. Oba Adetona’s resuscitation of the system is a positive move to blend the ancient and the modern to enable Ijebu progress.
The Regberegbe form part of the organizing body for the annual Obanta Day Celebration through their membership in social clubs. They are also actively involved in the annual Ojude-oba celebration which comes up on the third day of the Muslim Eld-el-Kabir festival. The different age groups of the Regberegbe go to the Awujale Palace to pay homage to the paramount Ruler of Ijebus in their attractive fashionable costumes.
The political structures of the Ijebu people consist of the Awujale at the top of the chain and he is supported by the community-based groups/societies which make up the constellation of the Ijebu Sovereignty. There were no political parties as in modern democracy but the ancient administrative setup which ruled Ijebu in those days was democratic in nature and principle. There were political groups/societies which had functions each in the administration of the town. The administration pattern in Ijebu-Ode was the same all in other towns under the sovereignty of the Awujale, but with slight variations in some cases. The groups were:
The Pampa – The People
The Osugbo – The Executives
The Ilamurens – The High chiefs
The Odis – The Palace Assistance (Officials) and servants
The Parakoyi – The equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce
The Peoples parliament, the Pampa was the mother and springboard of the other groups although it is the lowest in ranks. The Pampa was the people to whom we refer to as the electorate in a modern democracy and from whom the others derive authority. Without the Pampa, the Osugbo and the Ilamuren and even the Oba did not exist. The Pampa was the voice of the common people which must be headed in the administration of the town. Titles in the Pampa society were as follows:
The Agbon, The Kakanfo, The Lapo-Ekun, The Jagun, and The Likotun. Other chiefs lower in ranks to the Jagun and Likotun were the Ashipas. Their functions were to be the medium of information between the mass of people the “Womparis” and the higher chiefs.
This is a cult a fraternity of Chiefs and Elders which was also the Executive Authority of the town. It has also a religious character. Two brass images known as EDAN was the centre of worship in the Osugbo cult. It was the highest group and cult and commanded the respect and obedience of all. Women were admitted into it by initiation but such women must have passed bearing age. Titles in Osugbo in order of precedence were:
They had different functions in the Osugbo, the Apena being the Chief Steward in the society. There was an inner circle known as the Iwarefa consisting of only six members as the name implied including the Apena and the Odele Olurin. The Oliwo and the Akonaran were not in the Iwarefa circle. The Osugbo was the Legal Executive. They enforced the law and execute judgments in capital crimes. They were also members of the Kings court.
The Ilamuren is the class of high chiefs under the headship of the Olisa. Other chiefs in the class are the Ogbeni-Oja, Egbo, Olotufore, Apebi, and other chiefs that may have been initiated into the class having fulfilled all the conditions of initiation and provided “Eran Iboje”, (a feast of ram or goat).
The seat of the Ilamurens is ILISA, But when it comes to the Afin Palace of the Awujale, the Ogbeni-Oja takes precedence over any chief. The Oja in the Ogbeni-Oja title is not the market (its common meaning) but the PALACE (AFIN AWUJALE).
The Ogbeni-Oja title had remained vacant for a long time in Ijebu history. Not much was known about its relevance and importance until Chief T.A Odutola became the Ogbeni-Oja. The position of the Ogbeni Oja in the society became clearer and recognized during the reign of Awujale Gbelegbuwa II. The highest title (not Hereditary) a free-born Ijebu can aspire is that of Ogbeni-Oja. This was attested to by Prof. E.A. Ayandele in his book, “The Ijebu of Yorubaland 1850-1950; Politics, Economy and Society. Pg.117” Final reconciliation was effected when Odutola was able to purchase the highest title available to a commoner that of the Ogbeni-Oja, a position that put him defacto next rank only to the Awujale”.
Again Foluso Longe in his 1981 book, “A Rare Breed”: the story of Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola pg 13 wrote:
Little is known in the country about Adeola Odutolas political activities yet he dominated the politics of Ijebuland from about 1945 to the present time wherein his position as Ogbeni-Oja he is in his own chieftaincy line next to in rank to the Awujale as his Prime Minister and moving force in Ijebuland.
Ogbeni-Oja Odutola enjoyed a very high and dominant position in the Royal Court of the Awujale. When Awujale Gbelegbuwa II acceded to the request of the Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo and granted him permission to wear a beaded coronet in 1950, it was Ogbeni-Oja chief Odutola who, as representative of the Awujale presided over the ceremony in Ijebu-Igbo and presented the beaded crown to Orimolusi Jewel Adeboye. When Oba Adesanya, Gbelegbuwa II joined his ancestors in Jan 1959, it was Ogbeni-Oja chief Odutola who became the chairman of the Regency council and presided over the affairs of Ijebu-ode during the interregnum.
The Western Region Government also accorded the office of the Ogbeni-Oja deserved recognition in the official letter to the Local Government Adviser announcing the appointment of the new Awujale Adetona on 4th January 1960, (Ref.C1341/333), The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government directed, I am to request that chief Odutola, the Ogbeni-Oja be informed that for the same reason the Minister regrets that he was unable to notify him of the appointment before the publication of the press release. Chief Odutola presented the new Awujale, young Oba S.K Adetona to the Ijebu people at Itoro, Ijebu-Ode on 14th January 1960. The historian must however note the consolidation and modernization which have been effected in the hierarchy of the High-chiefs of Ijebu-Ode in recent years and during the reign of the present Awujale. By 1995 Oba Adetona had evolved and established an orderly and traditional system of succession among this class of high chiefs.
THE ODI SOCIETY
This was composed of the Obas attendants. Their descendants also come into this rank. They employed as messengers of the Oba. The first styled Agunrins and later became Odis by promotion. Another category in this class is the refugees (asaforiji) who sought refuge under the Oba because of one reason or other from their homes and or countries. From this Odi rank, some were promoted and could then leave the Obas palace and occupy land allotted to them by the Oba on which they lived with their family. They farmed on the Obas land for their living, but we’re always at the Oba’s services whenever he needed them. But the land will never pass to them.
This is society which was more commercial in nature than political. It was the equivalent of Chamber of Commerce. Members looked into anything pertaining to trades and market disputes. They have the Olori Parakoyi (head) and his Ashipas in running the organization.
THE ANCIENT TOWN COUNCIL
What could be described as the town council in those days was the Council for the Olorituns known as “Oloritun Medogbon” that is the twenty-five Quarter heads”. In Ijebu Ode for example, there were twenty-five quarters and each has its own Quarter head called “Oloritun” whom the people respected and was recognized by the Awujale
The people of the Quarter met regularly in his house and dealt with petty matters amongst themselves. There, other matters of general public interest were discussed. All these Quarters heads also met to discuss all matters affecting the common interest of the town. Each Oloritun represented the people of his quarter. This organization formed the link between the people and the governing authority.
The Awujale and Paramount ruler of the Ijebuland represents the totality of the worthy ancestral heritage of a people that have carved a niche for themselves, not only among the renowned Yoruba people, but also across the length and breadth of the nation. Today, the Ijebu people have ever growing reverence for their monarch, which has become an insignia of an enviable past. Fortified with a very robust political structure, the Ijebu people otherwise known as Omo Obanta voluntarily look unto the royalty with adequate loyalty and allegiance. Inclusive of these systems are the economic structure, social organization, community relation, justice administration, infrastructure development among others. They are the people to be with.
The territory of the ijebu people is in the South-central of Yorubaland; bounded in the North by Ibadan, in the East by Ondo, Okitipupa and the west by Egbaland. The Southern fringe is opened to the sea with the coastlines of Epe, Ejinrin and Ikorodu and despite the political division which has placed these three towns in Lagos State while the main part of Ijebuland is in Ogun State, people have always regarded themselves as one entity even when the migration legends which have often been cited point in different direction.
This piece is on Page 52, Prince Toyin Akingbade Gcfr Gcfr ‘s book Titled Yoruba Kingdom and Lineages