ODE – OSOORO AND ILUTITUN – OSOORO IN ONDO STATE FROM 1900-1930
This research work investigates the history of Idoko people in Ondo kingdom. It was revealed that Idoko people are the among the people that migrated from Ile-ife. This study discovered that Idoko people are Ondo indingen they also have a strong traditional believe which helped them to overthrow Benin power over the Ondo. The socio-political and cultural environment of Idoko people play a great contribution to the development and upliftment of Ondo kingdom.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page No
Table of contents
Background of the Study
Objective of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Justification of the Study
Limitation of the Study
Organization of Chapters
The Idoko People
The Idoko Migration to Ondo Kingdom
The Political Life of Idoko People
The Victory of Idoko People Over Benin Overlord
The Socio-Economic Structure
The Market Structure of Idoko People
Idoko Cultural Influence on Ondo Kingdom
LAND OF PEOPLES
It is noteworthy that reliance on oral traditions for reconstruction into the past of African communities has been declining1. llutitun Osooro is one of the towns that make up ode Osooro or Osooro land as it is being called today.Moreover, Osooro is one of the town that make up Ikale Land2.
Historically, Osooro land is the melting point of Ikale tradition,being the home to one of the nine ikale groups which are Ikoya, Aye, Osooro, Irele, Idepe,Erinye, Iyansan, Igbodigbo and Igbinsin Olooto. Ilutitun Osooro despite migrating from Ode Osooro or Osooro land still shares common things with each other3.
- GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF OSOORO LAND
Osooro which consist of towns, villages and hamlets, namely; Ilutitun, Ijudo, Omo, Igbotako, Iju-oke, Ilado, Agbetu, Abusoro, Akinfosile, Omotosha among others is situated in Okitipupa local government area of Ondo State. The town is approximately 172 kilometers from Akure, the state capital, Osooro’s neighbours to the east are the Edos (Benin, Edo States) Osooro is surrounded by rolling hills and valleys with fresh springs and rivers that rises before employing into the lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Blessed with natural resources (Kaolin for paint and chalk, Bitumen for natural asphalt); palm plantains stretched across the land4.
Ilutitun, Osooro and Ode – osooroare two different communities which are not too far from each other. When coming from Okitipupa, Ilutitun – osooro is a five (5) minutes’ drive from Ode – osooro.Ilutitun – osooro is bounded by mountains on the southern part and Ayila on the western part. While on the Northern side, it shares the same boundary with Iju – odo as well as Ikoya and on the eastern frontier, it is bounded by the land of Gbinsio – olooto people5.
The weather of Ilutitun – osoorois typified by equatorial hot and wet condition with an average temperature of about 26-50, the vegetation is made up of fresh water, swamp forest which soon merges into ever green rain forest as one modern bore holes water supply, the town was blessed with a number of rivers could be obtained; these include Osooro, Omuo, Ohen, Lolifan, Erifunfun, Losooro, Jokore, Lagbudu, Aboisa, Sengen – senpen, Baseren and Eriheki6.
From what has been mentioned above, one can see that the availability of good water- supply must have accounted for the absence of the spread of guinea-worm infection during the period under study. In addition, the big river such as Ohen, Omiju, and Osooroni were important means of extending the range of human activities such as fishing, transportation of goods and services, improvement of people’s standard of living through the secure of raw materials and other people such as Ilaje’s, Ijebus and the Urhobos7.
- TRADITIONS OF ORIGINS OF ODE – OSOOROPEOPLE
There is conflicting argument about the origin of Ikale people,but it is now accepted that they are basically abranch of the Yoruba who speak a dialect that has a close affinity with the Edo language.Indeed this affinity is more pronounced in areas of Iyansan and Akotogbo on the west bank of river siluko. These two towns are far from the major boundary between Ikale land and Edo land in Ondo and Edo state respectively”.
Ikale traditions claimed that there are nine original Ikale groups known as “Ikale Mehan”. However, recent research reveals that there are ten Ikale districts and all regards Okitipupa as its’ headquarters. The districts are Ukonya (now Ikoya) having seat of the Abodi of Ikale land, Isogboro (now Osooro), Urele (now Irele), Aye, Idepe, Igbinhen – ototo (now Igbinsin – oloto), Erinje, Igbodigbo and Iyanhan (now Iyansan). All the available sources on the origin of these people up till the present day are contradictory8.
The first source claims that the Ikale people are basically Yoruba speaking people who came originally from the ancient kingdom of Benin. The second source claims that Ikale people are descendant of Oranmiyan. He was said to have left Ile- ife for the Benin kingdom around the 14th century. The same source also indicates that it was the last ruler of Ikale land known as “ABODI JABADO”. It is important to note that since Esigie was from Oranmiyan lineage, therefore, Jabado was the great grandson of Oranmiyan. However, the third school of thought claims that Ikale people came from the Ile- ife but did not made mention of the name of their ancestors.
For these main sources, one can argue that the second source stand to be the most authentic, later, Esigie gave birth to two sons who were heirs apparent to the throne. It is noteworthy that, when such happens, traditions upholds that one of them should be killed.However, Esigie saw this as an insult not to his throne but also on the kingdom of Benin, therefore, Esigie directed that “JABADO” should go out of Benin and established a colony at Akotogbo on the bank of River Siluko. This was how “JABADO”got his title “Abo hi odi” however, as time went on, “Abo hi Odi” later changed to “ABODI” Having established his domain, Oba Jabado was said to have given all separate district to rule over as Oloja.These are Halujagbo of Aye, Jegun of Idepe, Olura of Igbinsin – olotoand Lumure of Ayeka. Jagbado later left Akotogbo for Ebute – Ireledue to impoverishment and infertility of the soil and continued outbreak of epidemics.
He reigned for over a century and was succeeded by his son “TUFEWA”.Oba Tufewa spent a number of unspecified years and left Ebute – Irelefor “obafunfun Gbekerewa”, near; Imokun” under Ondo kingdom, at this place, he was said to have paid a memorable visit to Ile- ife where he was initiated into Osugbo cult “IKUGBAYI GBE”. He was said to be the founder of the present day Ikoya. Indeed, what is known about those who ruled before Oba Ikugbayigbe in Ikale land especially the path of their journey is either from Ile- ife or from Benin remarkably fragmentary. The numerous accounts that appeared in oral sources are often contradictory having dealt with the origin of the Ikales generally, it is also important to trace the origin of the people of Osooro. The main available source which is the oral source maintains that Osooro people are the descendant of likoyi, a beautiful princess of Abodu Ikugbayigbe. She married three different husbands with a period of seven years.
First, she got married to lumure of Ayeka where she gave birth to a son called OJUGBULEGUN.After this, she married Oloja of Irele and gave birth to another male child called LEMECHAAT her old age, likoyi finally settled at Ayeka where Ojugbulegun was alleged to have had immoral dealings with her father’s wife.
Consequently, he fled from Ayeka and sought refuge at Ikoya.There he married a woman called Onoginloye who gave birth to a male child known as OMOJUWA. Meaning while, fire of discord continue to be rekindled at Ikoya due to the domestic animosity which began to rage between Ikoya people and the family of Omojuwa. As a result of this misunderstanding and disagreement, Omojuwa moved out of Ikoya to meet “Afujalura at Igbinsin-olooto. Omojuwa moved on to meet the Akoto people because he was not allowed to stay at Igbinsin-oloto. After a while, Afujualura sent emissaries to Omojuwa to come back and resettle with him but he sent words back to Afujalura saying “Ati rubo do” meaning, we have already seen a place to settle. However, as time went on “A ti rubo do” later changed to “Ode-Moribodo”. Thus Omojuwa became the first monarch of Osooro- land.
(C). THE SOCIO-POLITICAL ORGANISATION OF OSOORO LAND.
Right from the earliest times, the Osooro tradition claims that the “REBUJA”institutions was a divine one and equally preserved in all the outward attributes of a sacred monarchy. He ate in seclusions, he appeared ceremonially before gaze on very rare occasions,Traditionally, the monarchical position “Pgebuja” as a ruler is charged with the responsibility of both the religious leader and political leader of his subjects. More so, the “Behuja” is also given a high degree of power in all spheres of political administration of Osooro land.
However, in the modern times, there have been a lot of remarkable changes especially after the final settlement at Ilutitun-osooro. These changes are observed most especially as the king could no longer talk or eat in seclusion,in addition, the “Rebuja” could seat openly at the balcony of his palace to cheer people when they are coming back from home from their various day’s job. Furthermore, the “Rebuja” since 1900 has become a constitutional ruler who heads and direct the ambitions of his counselors (The council of elders known as the IJAMAS) next in rank to the Rebuja was the high chief “The Lisa” is also a principal king maker as well as the ceremonial president of the Ijamas. In his position as the Lisa, age is necessarily taken into consideration. In most cases an old man among the Ijamas is usually appointed as the Lisa9.
From the earliest times, the Ijamas had the rights to disposed any erring king. But it should be noted that from the era of Oba Adeoye onwards. The depositions of the Rebuja by the Ijamas assembly was not an easy task. Indeed, the exact amount of influence exercised on the government of Osooro land by individual Rebuja depends on the strength of his charismatic leadership, diplomacy and high sense of direction not only on his councilors but also on the general masses of his subjects. Another arms of the Osooro government is the “Omojas” which served in giving necessary information to the Rebuja at the center of authority. The major occupation of the Omojas is to give the Rebuja information either real or not. The essence of this is to avoid unhealthy rivalry in the communities that make up the entire ikare land.
The family heads settled minor cases and reported to the “Baale”. The Baale in turn reported to the Lisa who was the Vice president of the Native court. The Rebuja could only listen to appeal from the Vice president of the Native court on any criminal offences.But the power to execute criminals had been removed from the ruler. This was the reason why such a case must be passed on the British Colonial Administrators at Ondo10.
After the migration of Ilutitun-osooro from Ode-osoooro, the political system still maintained the same status quo. Meanwhile, the only noticeable change can be seen in the little of the various King. The Royal tittle of the king of Osooro is known as “THE REBUJA” of Osooro land” while the Royal tittle of the King of ilutitun-osooro is known as the “MAJUWA” of Ilutitun-osooro.
- ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
The weather condition in Osooro land is favourable for farming.There is adequate rainfall and the soil is richly and equally well watered.This therefore encourages the practice of farming while other economic activities were made possible.Subsistence crops like yams, cocoyam, maize, plantains, bananas, tomatoes and vegetable were planted. Similarly, principal export crops such as palm produces, i.e. oil palm and palm kernel, timber, rubber and kolanut were also planted. Apart from farming, the other economic activities such as brewing of local gin,which is simply referred to as “Ogogoro”. The people were said to have been Gin brewers even in the pre- colonial days, before the discovery of mineral oil in Nigeria.Oil palm product were virtually the largest source of export earnings for the country.
From the above, one can submit that this must have been one of the reason why palm produce processing flourishes. It is important to note that defunct western region government established the Ilutitun oil palm estate in 1968 for greater production in palm produce. The available evidence from the Okitipupa oil palm company gave the data below to show the extent of production drive.
|Years||Oil palm Estate||Hectares||Acres||Tons of palm oil||Tons of kernel||Value of money|
With regards to the above data, therefore, one can easily conclude that the town is making a progressive effort in the production of palm oil and palm kernels. It has also helped to boost the economy of the country. Besides, this could be equally considered a foreign exchange earner for Nigeria either by eliminating the necessity of importing palm oil or exporting the surplus, after satisfying domestic consumption. It should be noted that one of the characteristics of the rain forest is the abundant supply of a good number of luxuriant trees that are remarkable fall and also with wide girths- some of these economic trees include Obeche, Triplocation, Mahogany, Iroko while Afra, Silk Cotton, Abura, Oma, Opepe etc.
Good number of these trees fell and sawn locally by chain-saw men in the saw-mills at Osooro, Omotosho and Okitipupa, move over, higher quantity of the logs was towed to Lagos and Sapele for export.
The people of Osooro were actively engaged in trade and commerce. They took path in both local and distant trade. Since the only means of transportationwas by trekking, people relied solely on human portage to get their products transported to other part where they were needed.Inspite of this, a fractional part of the people made use of canoes and vehicles to substitute for human portage. The medium of exchange in all commercial activities was first by cowry shells called “Eyogho” and later costly terracotta beads “Akon” generally called “Iyan” was introduced and later the use of money was introduced11.
From all that has being said, it is clear that the people engaged in commercial activities in one form or the other before the colonial period. Apart from this, the people of Osooro still developed interest not only for economic activities like farming, hunting, fishing, kernel, gathering which was known as “Arigboko” but also for social activities such as naming ceremonies, traditional marriage, traditional festivals like the Erun festival, Iwo festival and some other traditional festivals.
(E) MIGRATION FROM ODE-OSORO TO ILUTITUN OSOORO
This is the history of Osooro people continued to spread around in the early 19th century.it was also this time that Ode-Moribodo was renamed Ode-Osooro. Osooro tradition claims that Ode-osooro became larger in term of population.This made some groups of people to move but for the purpose of farming in the villages. The first group which consist of ILUTITUN-OSOORO, Agiritan, Zrekiti, Iju-odo, Iju-oke, Igbinsin-oloto, Sogbon later migrated and only came back during important festival such as “Iwo”and Erun . It should be noted that the first group which consisted of communities such as Igbotako, Ayede, Ayila never came back to Ode-osooro but came back when they wanted to invade the land12.
In 1918, all Ijamas and others important chiefs met to inform the Acting District Officer at Okitipupa, Abodi and the Governor General in Lagos of their desire to establish a new town. The reason they cited for their desire to establish a new town are briefly summarized here.
In the first place, there was devastation wrought by the periodic invasion of Ayede, Ayila, and some part of Iju-oke communities and Ode-osooro by Negwo, a tyrant Baale of Igbatako at the period of time. He was alleged to have led wandering cannibal hordes of uncertain origin which destroy and burnt Ode-osooro in 1917.
Their major motive was to fight or wage war against the people Ode-osooro and also move the communities to their area.However, the Ode-osooro rejected this and it eventually led to an open conflict. Another reason why the people of Ilutitun-osooro sought to move out of Ode– osooro was the deportation of the ruler at Ode-osooro was sent away on exile to Onitsha due to improper conduct. This however ushered the people of Ode-osooro into long period of anarchy when they remain without having a ruler13.
The king was said to have sexual intercourse with one of the chiefs’ wife. This was not only the reason why the king was deported, he was also reported to have forcefully involved the people of Ode-osooro in slavery. That is, he sold people that were not willing to be slaves to the white slave merchant. More so, the king involve himself in all sort of things that were not expected of a king is not expected to go to farm, A king is not expected to open his head uncovered that is, a king is expected to always cover his head with a cap.All these were some the evils the king of Ode-osooro perpetrated which warranted his deportation to Onitsha.
The Ijamas and chiefs later met and reached a conclusion that the king be sent packing.According to Yoruba tradition a calabash would be sent to the king. And the king on seeing the calabash, was expected either to commit suicide or go on exile. But the king rather than committing suicide went into exile in Onitsha. This left and threw Ode-osooro into total anarchy and they remained without a king for a long time.
Seeing all these things in Ode-osooro, some chiefs who were settlers of Igo-Aduwo, Ira, Iwada etc. met to inform the acting district officers in Okitipupa about their intention to establish a new town. Their prayers were granted in 1930 when Neil Weir, the District Commissioner came from Ondo to the foundation of the town and remarked thus “the settler of Ilutitun-osooro go as follows: Agirifan, Igo-Aduwo, Iju-odo, Ilasorra, Iwadu, Eleron, Okerisin, Ekekiti, Egure, Sogbon, Irowa, Igbinsin and some part of Iju-oke which did not move to the Igbotako anxis and from 1930,Ilutitun-osooro began to exist as a full and has the title of her king as “Majuwa” of Ilutitun-osooro. Moribodo kingdom. It also has the above name and Street such as Agirifan, Igo-Aduro, sogbon etc. these area and streets combined together to make up Ilutitun-osooro14.
Another tradition claims that Ilutitun-osooro migrated from Ode-osooro because its leaders and chiefs felt Ilutitun– osooro was matured enough to stand as a community on its own. This was backed by the fact Igbotako, a community which has earlier on migrated from Osooro land was not as big as Ilutitun-osooro. And more so, Igbotako, during its invasion of Ode-osooro had conquered and took along with it some area and part of Ilutitun-osooro.
For instance, some parts of Iju-oke were conquered while the other part was left Ilutiutn-osooro. The elders of Ilutitun-osooro were not comfortable with this because they feared that if the Igbatako should come to invade Osooro land again they might succeed in conquering another area which belongs to Ilutitun-osooro. However, so as to prevent another conquest of their people, the elders and chiefs of Ilutitun-osooro sought a way of migrating legally. This they did when they consulted the acting District Officer in Okitipupa, and in 1930, Neil Weir, the District Commissioner laid the foundation of the town.
Ilutitun-osooro has successfully migrated before Oba Ikuyinminu came from exile in Onitsha. Oba Ikuyinminu came back in 1921. His coming back also marked the reunification of the people of Osooro after a long time of conflict and disagreement.With these, Osooro land still existed as a big community and also had a king who was the head of all the communities in osooro land. The communities under Osooro kingdom had traditional ruler who are called “Baale”. However as time went on these Baale’s began to change their tittles that of a king. And presently they are regarded as king in their various communities. These are reason why Ilutitun-osooro had to migrate from Ode- osooro15.
ENDS NOTE AND REFERENCES
- Ila Charity Clubs, Ila Oragun.The Principal City of Igbomina People Osogbo; Osun State. Swift Print Nigeria Limited, 2000. P. i Ibid, p. iii.
- Interview with Mrs. Theresa Oluwatoyin, Ondo State. Business Woman,Age 45 years 18/12/2015.
- Interview with Mr. Elijah Ilesanmi, Ondo State, Civil Servant, Age 50, 5/11/2015.
- Interview with Chief Pelumi Akinyemi, Ilutitun-osooro, Titled: Man and Former Public Servant. Ondo State. Age 53, 10/12/2015
- Interview with Elder Felix, Adesogba, Ilutitun Osooro, Titled Man Age 72, 11/12/2015.
- Interview with Mr. Ade Iomuwagagun, Ilutitun-Osooro Age 54, Civil Servant. 11/12/2015
- Akintimehin, The Social Cause of the Conflict Between Igbotako and Ilutitun Osooro (Lagos University Publisher 1981) pp, 4-5.
- Interview with Chief Julius Olawole Adetan, Ilutitun Osooro. Man Age 73, 13/12/2015
- B. Faromoju, Iwo festival and Poetry, (Ibadan. University Press, 1977), p.5
- National Archives Ibadan, Ondo. Prof. 11, 20 Annual Report of Ondo Province on Okitipupa Division. 1945 by Bevel Jones. P.23.
- Interview with Mr. Gabriel Adeow Adetan, Ilutitun Osooro, Business man Age 65, 2/12/2015
- Interview with Mr. Rufus Oladele, Ilutitun-Osooro, Civil Servant, Age 45, 4/12/2015
- Interview with Mrs. Christiana Oluwaseun Falade, Ilutitun Osooro, Civil Servant, Age 44, 4/12/2015
- National Archives Ibadan, Ondo. Prof. 19/1, Okitipupa, Division OK, 19/1 Ilutitun Affairs 19/06/1962 by Captain Royce
- Nelson, The Political and Economy Background of Nigeria (London; Oxford University Press, 1960), Pg.64.
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