Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Ibadan, popularly called the brown roof city is the largest city in West Africa and is the third-largest in Africa. It is located in the South-Western part of Nigeria. The history of Ibadan can be traced to the 18th century and the old Oyo empire (Oyo-Ile).

Aerial view of Ibadan

It was recorded that the Alaafin (king) of the Oyo empire ordered Lagelu who was then the commander of armed forces (Are-Ona-Kakanfo) in Oyo, and some of his best men in Oyo, Ilesa, and Ogbomosho to build a war camp for warriors coming from Ijebu, Ife and Egba kingdoms.

Jagun Lagelu and his men settled in Àwótán, in Apete (presently in the Ido local government area) and founded a settlement which they called Eba Odan. A few years later, Eba-Odan was invaded and ransacked by Oyo armies in order of Alaafin Sango, for violating the customs of Yorubaland.

History has it that the people of Eba Odan humiliated an egungun (masquerade) at the marketplace. The egungun was accidentally disrobed which earned him unpleasant mockeries from Eba Odan women and children.

When the news of the incident reached the Alaafin of Oyo, he ordered his men to reduce Eba Odan to rubble for committing such disrespectful and abominable offenses.

Those who survived the attack, including Lagelu who had become old and weak, ran to a nearby hill for safety. While on the hill, there was no food except for the Oro fruit and roasted snails which they fed on.

After a long period, normalcy returned and the people founded another settlement; this was about 1829. Shortly afterward, Lagelu died leaving behind swarms of strong and politically oriented people.

The history of Ibadan has it in its profile that Ibadan was later attacked three different times but survived them all. These attacks are known in history as the 1840 Osogbo war, the Ibadan-Ijaye war of 1861-62, and the Kiriji war of 1877-93.

After the destruction of Oyo-Ile by the Fulani raiders in 1835/1836, refugees from several Yoruba towns and villages fled down to Ibadan, Ijaye, and the new Oyo-Atiba, but Ibadan received the highest number of refugees who later settled permanently in the city.

Aerial view of Ibadan

Ibadan grew extensively into a popular hub of trade and commerce. Ibadan also dominated the political and military scene of Yorubaland, filling the vacuum created by the fallen Oyo empire. People displaced by war then saw Ibadan as a sanctuary because of its location, economy, and military power.

In 1840, the marauding Fulani people tried to expand their caliphate deeper into the southern part of Yoruba land but were defeated by the strong armies of the Yoruba kingdom led by Ibadan. This war was later known as the 1840 Osogbo war.

By the end of 1850, the population of Ibadan had grown to over 265,000 making Ibadan the largest town in Yorubaland.

Later in the year 1893 (immediately after the Kiriji war), Ibadan became a British protectorate after the Baale of Ibadan, Fijabi, signed a treaty with George C. Denton, the British acting Governor of Lagos, on the 15th of August that same year.

Also known to be a relatively peaceful city. Indigenes of Ibadan are known to be hardworking and fun-loving with a vibrant nightlife. Due to the rich heritage of Ibadan, the city has its own Oríkì, which in English is called praise poetry. Oríkì is a cultural phenomenon common amongst Yoruba speakers of West Africa. In the Ibadan Eulogy, you will mostly find the theme of war and victory. Names such as Oluyole and Ogunmola will come up. Oluyole was a distinguished army commander from Oyo who contributed immensely to the military and economic development of Ibadan when the city was established.

Below is the oriki of Ibadan and its translation.

Oriki Ibadan

Ibadan mesi Ogo, nile Oluyole.

Ilu Ogunmola, olodogbo keri loju ogun.

Ilu Ibikunle alagbala jaya-jaya.

Ilu Ajayi, o gbori Efon se filafila.

Ilu Latosa, Aare-ona kakanfo.

Ibadan Omo ajoro sun,

Omo a je Igbin yoo, fi ikarahun fo ri mu.

Ibadan maja-maja bii tojo kin-in-ni,

eyi too ja aladuugbo gbogbo logun,

Ibadan ki ba ni s’ore ai mu ni lo s’ogun.

Ibadan Kure! Ibadan beere ki o too wo o,

Ni bi olè gbe n jare olohun.

B’Ibadan ti n gbonile bee lo n gba Ajoji;

Eleyele lomi ti teru-tomo ‘Layipo n mu,

Asejire lomi abumu-buwe nile Ibadan.

A ki waye ka maa larun kan lara,

Ija igboro larun Ibadan.

English Version.

Ibadan is the glory, in the house of Oluyole.

The town of Ogunmola, Olodogbo Keri in battle.

The city of Ibikunle, Alagbala Jaya-Jaya.

In the town of Ajayi, he heard the mosquito wearing a cap.

Latosa city, the president of the country.

Ibadan the son of Ajoro sleep.

The child will eat a snail, and use the shell to wash it.

Ibadan Maja-Maja like the day before.

The one that fights all neighbors in war.

Ibadan is not a friend who doesn’t take him to war.

A lot of worship! Ibadan asks before you watch it.

Where the thief lives, he is fighting for God.

As Ibadan is getting smart, that is how it gets strangers.

It’s the pigeon that has been caught by the child Layipo.

Asejire is the water of Abumu-Buwe in Ibadan.

No one is born without weakness

Street fights are the weakness of Ibadan.

Reference: Old Naija, Nigerian Finder

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