As Family Celebrates 167 Years Of Basorun OLUYOLE’s Death
Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State back in the days, is known to be camp of notable war soldiers mostly from Egba, Ife,Oyo and some other parts of Yorubaland.
One of these warlords whose name must be mentioned whenever creation and survival of the city is being discussed however is Ibasorun Oluyole. After Lagelu’s first and second Eba Odan, as it used to be called, being an abandoned settlement, was discarded by raging wars across the Yoruba land back in the 16th century, Iba Oluyole ruled over what is today referred to as Ibadan land. In fact, he was said to have commanded enormous respect among warlords back then. Having been born into the house of a warrior; his grandfather, Yamba Bi Ekun, was Basorun in Oyo during the reign of Alaafin Ojigi. His father’s name was Olukuoye Ajala.
His mother, Agbonrin was the daughter of Alaafin Abiodun 1. Though Oluyole’s age couldn’t be ascertained, he was said to be born around 1740-1750A.D. At the initial stage, Oluyole learned the trade of Blacksmith and thereafter specialised in modeling weapons of war. But he was later to become a fearless warrior. Probably because of his background, as grandchild of Basorun, Oluyole was said to be very vast in charms. The source or logic behind this his diabolical powers nobody knew.
It was also recorded that Oluyole, alongside Alaafin Atiba, Kunrunmi and other warriors fought galantly to protect Oyo and indeed Yoruba kingdom from being captured by Fulani, in what was tagged Eleduwe war.
After this particular war, Aladeleye Atiba was installed the Alaafin in Ago Market and he made Oluyole his second in command (Basorun) and Kunrunmi as Aare Ona Kakanfo.
During Ota war, Oluyole was said to have fought to beach where he met Eleko of Eko and a Portuguese who liked his war skills and later presented him with a brass rod which he always held.
Oluyole was later to be installed as the first Baale of Ibadan land after the demise of Aare Oluyedun who ruled for less than a year. As Baale, Oluyole’s influence was phenomenon; he lived like great war commander that he was. He was said to have married over 30 wives out which 25 bore him children. His bravery, achievements and immense contributions towards stability, development of Ibadan land can’t be over emphasised as it was well documented and have been historically confirmed by many writers.
He founded what is today refered to as Oja Iba at Beere area of Ibadan, where his statue is stylishly placed and Oja Bode at Molete area. He died in 1850 and January 28 2017 marked 167 years that the great warrior passed away.
In his remembrance however, the Ile Iba clan of Oja Iba led by the family head, Alhaji Nureni Akanbi packaged a program, which had several important personalities like the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi, former Governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Chief Akin Fagbemi (Mogaji of Agunleyinju Compound), prominent chiefs of Ibadan land and a whole lot of others in attendance. At the program, a book on Iba Oluyole was launched and there was commissioning of the reconstructed ancient Iba Oluyole Rest House.
All the aboved mentioned of the Iba Oluyole expolits and many more the reason his family is still very prominent up till today. They own the largest portion of land in Ibadan hence the popular say, Iba owns the land (Iba lo ni le).
These claims and several other issues formed part of the questions City People’s DARE ADENIRAN threw at Iba Oluyole Family Head, Alhaji Nureni Adebayo Akanbi (JP) when he recently paid him visit at their Oja Iba palace. It was short but quite revealing interview session.
Let’s also quickly add that the Alaafin of Oyo HIM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, in his brief Foreword on the book that was launched in honour Iba Oluyole, described the great warrior as an illustrious patriach, a distinguished warrior and quintessential military tactician of early 19th century who ruled Ibadan for fourteen years. Read the details.
You recently celebrated 167 years remembrance of Iba Oluyole, tell us about him and his role in Ibadan while he was alive?.
Iba Oluyole died in 1850. This year makes it 167 years of his demise and we remembered him in a grand style, with prayers and book launch. The book chronicled his life and time as a warrior based on the historical facts.
What is the significance of Iba Oluyole to Ibadan land.
The present Ibadan we are is the third Ibadan to have come to existence and that was made possible by galant efforts of Iba Oluyole alongside other warriors. The first Ibadan was discarded, the second one went the same line. It wasn’t called Ibadan then, it was called Eba Odan. So the Ibadan that Iba Oluyole ruled over is the one we are now.
There is noting like Oja-Oba in Ibadan, the market we have here is Oja Iba, which was formed by Iba Oluyole. The Oja-Obas in Ibadan are Oba Aleshinloye and Oba Akinbiyi. Though there used to be a market called ‘Labosinde’ beside Oja Iba. Their family is the one occupying the post of Oluwo Afobaje of Ibadan land now.
Tell us about your experience as Mogaji of Iba Family?.
Well, according to what we heard and based on Iba Oluyole’s efforts, being a very accommodating person. All the foreign religious in the land first came here; Islamic Religion, Christian Religion first came to Oja Iba. That is why you find that we practise all religious around here. But the most significant thing is that we the great grand children, this compound is on 10 acres of land and all the occupants of the houses on it are direct descendants of Iba Oluyole. Oja Iba is on two acres of land and it is own by Iba Oluyole. And in this part of Ibadan that we are, we only share border with Ijebu and Egba, up to Ogunmakin and Mamu. There are other warriors who have lands in Ibadan around Oje, Gate, Mokola and so on. But here, about seven local government are presently on Iba Oluyole’s land. Ibadan South-West, which has now been divided into two; part of Ido Local Government; Ona-Ara; Egbeda and others are some of these local government.
What are your responsibilities as Mogaji?.
Mogaji is an Hausa language, Am the family Head (Arole) and I’m the 11th Family Head for Iba Oluyole. My role is see to the family affairs and properties and make peace within the family. We have so many properties that we are taking care of and we are not selling. Though many of these properties have gone into other peoples’ hands but thank God that the remaining ones are blessed. There is no way you will have so much properties and some will not go to other peoples’ hands.
So how have you been able to manage the large family without crisis?.
No one is perfect. If you mediate between two fighters, the one you pronounce wright will see you as a good person while the one you feel is wrong might hold grudges against you. That is life for you. It is only God that is perfect, we can only try our best and be fair to all no matter what.
People see Iba Oluyole Family Head as a powerful man and among who dictate who gets what in politics. Some even say any politician who wants to contest must reckon with you. What do you think is responsible for that sir?.
It depends on what you mean by being powerful. Am not the first family Head of Ile’ba. Maybe because of the love that people have displayed for us. We are close to people and we can talk to them and whoever wants to play politics must be close to people. Not only that, the person must be familiar with his environment and be part of them. That is signs of a good politician. And the fact that we don’t play politics of hatred, we accommodate all irrespective of their political parties. Not only in Ibadan alone but across the South-West that we have family, relatives and friends and that is also an advantage in politics.
What is your experience like while growing up?.
Am well exposed. There is no town in Yoruba land I have not touched. I’ve been to the North, East and even abroad.
Have you held any political office before sir?.
I’ve served as Councillor and local government chairman before. I was an Adviser to Oyo State Government, I had served as member of many boards. I was Chairman, Water Corporation between 2006 and 2011. I was a member of Chad River Basin Development Authority in 2013. I was Chairman, Ibadan Municipal Government (IMG) in 1991.
Tell us about your educational background?.
I went to Islamic Primary School, Goodwill and City College Lagos. I schooled abroad as well.
What is the difference between politics while you were playing active politics and now?
There was self-control in politics then, there is noting like that now. Then there were leaders and now we don’t have leaders anymore. Anyone that is in a political post is now leader in his or her community. Back then if you become Councillor, Governor or even President, you must have leaders in the party. That has been abolished too and that is what is causing so many crisis in political parties now.
I doubt if your parents had access to education what motivated you in life to have recorded these achievements?.
My father would have had access to education but you know children from wealthy background were over pampered. And also noticed that they don’t help each other back then. So all that really motivated to be the best I could be in life and that has been guiding me right from the childhood up till this moment. It also shaped my reasoning while I was in politics. I didn’t go into politics to make money. I didn’t buy land or house while serving local government Chairman. I believe the best you can do is to give your children sound education and instill discipline in them. Because if you have 50 houses, 80 cars they are all vanity. I rather help people than acquiring wealth. There no where I have worked that I have not helped people; I love to help people with all I have. I awarded several scholarships silently, I helped many small business owners to develop. I found peace and blessing in doing that and maybe that is the grace one is still enjoying up till today.
What has life taught you?.
To be good and be truthful. To live and let live and help people to achieve their set goals positively. And that is what religion is teaching us. There is no bad religion but misconception of us the people. Love your labour as yourself. Be guided that all things will come to an end no matter wealth you must have acquired. It is not only your family you should help, no. You should help unconditionally and that is perhaps what is responsible for why many people come to this place. It is because we help ourselves, it is not as if am giving them food or money. How much money do I even have that I can give them? But if there is any area we can help we”ll always do our best.
There has been Family Heads of Iba Oluyole clan before you, what are the things you are doing differently that attracts people to you and what can you point to as your achievements since you came on board?.
We have the largest portion of land in Ibadan and those who came before me didn’t sell our lands. Though some of them in-between were compelled to sell due to some circumstances beyond their power based on court cases and sort. Which cause some confusion because we are many. Iba Oluyole had over 30 wives but only 25 had children for him. And that is the 25 branches we have in the family and they are all represented. We don’t sell our properties but put them on lease while the money realised is being shared among the family. We use part of it to maintain the family affairs. We renovate dilapidated buildings and construct shopping complexes and markets that they will be collecting rent for life. To help those who needs help and those whose businesses needed to be given loans. We have reconstructed the shops into a modern ones, we have revisited agreement on our properties. That is the legacy we plan to lay for our unborn generation.
How does Family Head emerge in Ile Iba family?.
Whenever there is vacancy, heads of the twenty five branches, which must be direct descendants of Iba Oluyole and be eighteen years of age and above, whether male or female as the case maybe, will seat down to choose the next Family Head. Part of the criteria they look at is the antecedents of the proposed candidates. They interview them to know their plans for the development of the family. They choose the best among them and sometimes put it into voting when the candidate are more than three. The chosen name will then be forwarded to Olubadan for confirmation.
So how long have you been serving as Family Head of Ile Iba?.
This is my 10th year. I was inaugurated on March 12, 2007.
What do you think is the difference between the positions you have held in the past and this present one?.
Being a Family Head is quite different from holding public office because there is time limit to how long you can hold a public office but this one is until you are dead. This position is also more sensitive than what is obtains in politics, you must not tarnish your family name and all. You must be fair in your judgements and posterity will judge you in whatever steps you take. Many people are also looking at you as an example, so you must set good example.