It has been a devastating year in Ogbomoso in the New Year which is in its second month, as three royal fathers died in quick succession all in a spate of 8 days in January, reminiscent of the first month of the year 2018 when three secondary school principals and four other teachers died within the month engendering sorrow and lamentations among the people. Teachers hurriedly organized joint prayer sessions to ward off similar occurrences in the future; their prayers appear to have been answered though no prayer can ward off death permanently it can only be made to tarry. What God however has done in their situation is that multiple deaths among the constituency is no more recorded, may God continue to shield all men from untimely death.
However, the dreaded terminator of life has struck among the traditional ruler class in Ogbomoso zone in recent time with the transition of three prominent traditional rulers being announced throwing the populace into mourning mood with many wondering what is happening?
The news of the demise of Aare Alaasa of Ogbomosoland, Oba Jacob Olatunde Oyetunde filtered into town on January 6, 2021. The town was still recovering from the shock when news broke again on January 13 that another monarch had died on January 13. This time it was Iba Iya Oje in Surulere local government, Iba Joseph Oyetunji Oyesile II, who joined his ancestors. Then on the second day, January 14, news of the transition of Onisapa of Isapa in Ogbomoso South local government Oba Ibrahim Adewuni Amodu Akinsowon II also seeped in making it a trilogy of death.
Oba Oyetunde, the late Are Alaasa was said to have given up the ghost following a boot of malaria fever, which was said to have lasted only two days. He succeeded late Oba Abdulsalam Olatunde Sangolade II JP who died on May 30, 2012 and buried May 31, 2012. Born on June 15, 1945, he ascended to the stool of Are Alaasa on December 12, 2012.
According to the chairman of the family, Prince Samuel Aremu, the late Are Alaasa did his best to uplift the stool of Are Alaasa and would be fondly remembered for his accomplishments while he reigned.
Iba Iya Oje, Iba Oyesunle II according to the secretary of Aireke chieftaincy family where the Oba hailed from, Alhaji Abdulsemiu Abdulganiyu, suffered sickness for a year before he finally passed on on January 13.
Alhaji Abdulganiyu added that Iba Oyesunle II stabilized the royal family and contributed tremendously to the elevation of the throne of Iya Oje within a spate of 12 years.
Born in 1937 and a tailor and farmer by profession he was installed on April 4, 2008.
Late Onisapa Oba Amodu Akinsowon II was hale and hearty until January 13, 2021; in fact, he travelled to Ibadan on Monday, January 11 for an assignment.
“He went to Ibadan on Monday. Will someone who is sick travel to Ibadan? He was not sick. He returned on Tuesday.”
It was on Wednesday that he began to feel ill and he promptly went to the hospital, where he was treated and drugs administered on him. He was subsequently allowed to go home.
But on Thursday things turned awry, he was on his bed for most of the morning that day but at about 1pm, he breathed his last while still in his sleep.
The former primary school teacher was a man of valour, who did great things for his kingdom. He won the “war” to have Onisapa become a crown-wearing traditional ruler, and he led his people to take possession of large parcels of land it had disputed with others, after securing victory in series of court cases.
Born on June 15, 1930, he got on the stool of Isapa on September 15, 1989 following the departure of Oba Joseph Oyekunle Orebiyi, his predecessor, to the great beyond.
“We didn’t expect him to die now, but what can we do?” His nephew, Alhaji Raimi Amodu stated while speaking with The Insight.
Meanwhile, Oba Amodu, Onisapa had been committed to mother earth according to Islamic rites, the other two are yet to.
May their souls rest in peace!
Brief history of Isapa
Prince Alhaji Raheem Amodu is a nephew of HRM Oba (Dr) Alhaji Ibrahim Adewuni Amodu Akinsowon II (JP), the late Onisapa of Isapa in Ogbomoso; very close to the deceased monarch, Alhaji Raimi spoke with The Insight on the reign of Oba Amodu including his achievements on the throne, the progenitor of the Isapa people – Orisatolu, the past Onisapas, how Oba Amodu died and other sundry issues.
How does it feel to lose such a vibrant monarch?
His death is painful. It is as if a 25 year-old is dead, despite his age.
Did you think he would die at a time like this?
No one thought he would die in 20years time.
How did he die? Was he sick?
He went to Ibadan on Monday (four days before his demise). Will someone who is sick travel to Ibadan? He was not sick. He returned on Tuesday and on Wednesday, he had a little discomfort, we asked him to go to the hospital, he said he was okay but he hearkened and he was attended to and was given drugs. If it were some ailment that was serious he should have been hospitalized but he was just given drugs.
At what time did he die on Thursday (January 14, 2021)?
At about 1pm.
Were you by his side when he had his last breath?
I visited his residence at about 11am – 12pm, but he was asleep. I didn’t want to wake him up, so I made to leave but I couldn’t and so I went inside again and then went out of the room yet again. I felt his body, I might not return in time as I had something to attend to, and so, found it hard to depart but as i touched his body he stirred from his sleep demanding, “Alhaji Raimi, do you want to discuss an issue with me?” I said “no, just to ask after your health.” “Hope there is no problem?” He further asked, and I said “no” and urged him to continue to sleep. About five minutes later, he started up again, “Should I stand? “He asked. I said no, that I was just staying by his side. At the third time when he repeated the action I left him so that he would be allowed to rest, but I was hesitant to leave. I left¸ but not up to 1 hour I received a call that I should come back quickly. I asked “what is the matter?” The caller told me I should just return. Before I made it back, he had passed on.
Did he show any premonition of death?
Hmmm, yes he did though he tried to be discreet. Towards the time he died he started revealing some secrets though he kept assuring us he was not about to die, he would stress, “Do not be afraid, I am not going to die now. But I need to disclose to you those things I need to tell you. It is not that I am about to transit.” Perhaps he didn’t want to frighten us excessively.
How old was he?
He was a little over 91 years old. He was born 15th June, 1930.
When was he installed as Baale Isapa?
He was installed in 1989, September 15.
Who was his immediate predecessor?
He was Joseph Oyekunle Orebiyi.
Were you close to him as you were close to Oba Buraimoh Amodu?
No, because I was younger then though I knew him well.
How many royal houses do you have?
There are three families that occupy Onisapa chieftaincy in rotation. These are Omopennu, Oniseokun and Efonsola.
The deceased Onisapa was from which of the families?
It is which family’s turn now?
It is Oniseokun’s.
Can you recall some of Oba Amodu’s achievements?
If we start now, we will still be on it for a week.
Just tell us some.
In regard of chieftaincy he met the throne at an unenviable position, even though Onisapa was one of the five founders of Ogbomoso. They were Aale Okelerin, Ohunsile Ijeru, Orisatolu of Isapa, Ogunlola and Akandie (though Akandie is now extinct because he didn’t have a male child).
I heard your forefathers cultivated isapa (roselle) in the past hence the name Isapa.
It is true, our ancestors when they arrived from Dahomey, you know Dahomey used to be part of Oyo Empire and if we traced history, Orisatolu our great progenitor was related to Alaafin. He was from Dahomey and grew up in Parakou, he was an Ifa priest who treated the sick but had a problem when one of his patients from an influential family took his prescriptions wrongly and died in the process. Apart being an Ifa priest, Orisatolu was also a hunter and a farmer. The patient in question, a pregnant woman, who earlier got pregnant through the efforts of Orisatolu was given two concoctions to use, she was to drink one and use the other to bath, But she drank the mixture she was supposed to use to bath and so she died. When her family demanded for the life of Orisatolu he left Parakou and arrived with some of his followers at what became Ogbomoso today. He first settled in an area now known as Paku in Ogbomoso, the name was derived from Parakou, as people used to say, “Baba Parakou” (the man that came from Parakou). He continued his Ifa divination and people consulted him all the way from Parakou, being a very powerful Ifa priest.
So, how did he come to settle at your present location?
He was childless. God is wondrous, someone delivering the barren from childlessness unable to have children of his own. He tried frantically but to no avail, So, one day, he made a divination in respect of his situation and Ifa instructed him to depart his settlement and westward if he so desired to father children even though others would continue to become parents through his divinations. He was consequently told to proceed towards the west and he hearkened. He departed with his wives, leaving some other people behind. Ifa told him they would find a strange tree, that it is where they should settle. When he arrived at the place he found the little tree, an inch taller than himself. What struck them was the unusual cleanliness under the tree as if it was being swept. Such clean ground under a tree! So, he brought out his oracle for divination and he got informed that was the place he should settle. Orisatolu instructed the place be made habitable, so they made huts. They then looked for a water source, Ifa told him to look further north and so he found a stream which he named Ifa-Osun. Ifa-Osun stream is now the boundary between Ogbomoso North and South. And it is now being called Laka stream, the name evolved from the description, ‘let’s make Ifa-Osun the boundary’ – Ala ti o yi wa ka. So, to the south of Ifa-Osun are Isapa and Ijeru, while to the north are Baale Okelerin, Soun Ogunlola and Akandie. This boundary remains the boundary till today. Orisatolu has found his new home, by this mysterious tree! They were still confounded in the evening, when along with his entourage, he heard the sound of yam pounding. And this further reinforced the mysteriousness of the tree; they in addition heard conversations yet no being was seen. This was the occurrence every night. That Ose tree, under which he settled remains till today, in front of Isapa palace and is over 600 years old, though the gnomes in the tree have left due to increase in population with attendant smoke from cigarettes, vehicle and so on.
Did his three wives give birth to each of the sons that constituted Isapa royal houses today?
No! Two of the wives had only female children; only one wife had a son named Adeola. Adeola had three wives in turn who each had a son – Omope-nnu, Onise-okun and Efonsola.
Do you still have association with the gnomes?
No, we have become deeply religious.
Now, let’s continue with the achievements recorded by late Oba Buraimoh Amodu.
Isapa traditional stool was nothing to write home about when he came on the throne; he was the one who worked tirelessly to get it elevated, we are now a crown wearing king. In addition, Oba Amodu facilitated our chieftaincy declaration’s document, so not anyone can vie for our throne. He tried a lot, he was still on some things before he transited. His successor will continue from where he stopped.
Oba Amodu used to attend any occasion he was invited to…
He was humble, he had regards for everybody irrespective of age, he would honour your invitations even if it were from a young person, if we wanted to dissuade him from going, he would say ‘No, the person must have a reason for inviting me, he knew I am old and he saw his age mates yet he invited me.’ He would go and stand by him. He was so humble that you wouldn’t know he was an Oba. He related with all including brother traditional rulers, he only abhorred lying.
What was he doing before becoming Oba?
He was a primary school teacher, but he voluntarily retired.
Can you mention all the past Onisapas?
Orisatolu, Adeola, Omope-nnu, Onise-okun, Efonsola, Modupeola, Akinsowon, Kufu Oluwusi, Ajala, Adeoye, Omojooro, Olasoyero, Adeoye, Orobiyi, Oyekan, Lawani Fasina, Bello Ishola, Joseph Oyekunle Orebiyi and Oba Buraimoh Adewuni Amodu (the 19th one).
Your ancestors were warriors?
We were Ifa diviners; we used it to heal people. We established the leper’s colony at Ago, treating people there. The missionaries only took over to modernize it.
Do your people still engage in Ifa divination?
Hmmm, no, but we still retain the powers of our forefathers.
Brief history of Iya Oje
Alhaji Abdulsemiu Abdulganiyu, the secretary of Aireke chieftaincy family, where late Oba Joseph Oyetunji Oyesile II, Iba Iya Oje in Surulere local government, who transited on January 13, 2021, hailed from, told The Insight about the origin of Iya-Oje as well as the efforts of the late monarch to uplift the throne of Iba Iya Oje.
Accept our condolence over the demise of Oba Joseph Oyetunji Oyesile II, Iba Iya Oje
Was he sick?
Yes. He fell sick in January 2020 and never fully recovered till he died on January 13 this year.
How old was he and when was he installed?
He was born in 1937 and was installed as Iba Iya Oje on April 4, 2008. He was a farmer and a tailor.
Can you mention some of his achievements?
They were numerous. God used him to reorganize the family accordingly. Previously, we did not have a specific place (or Oba) for our installation, Soun used to install us, but later Soun relinquished the responsibility and instructed us to perform the role ourselves. Our progenitor was a younger brother to Olugbon Olugbode. Oba Oyesunle II liaised with Chief Akala when he was governor and he received the instrument of office, as a crown-wearing Oba in 2010. So, Oba Oyesunle II was responsible for elevating our throne. Also, he worked tremendously to secure our boundaries. He went to Abuja to retrieve many judgment sheets on land disputes, which set our boundaries, and this has helped us in establishing our exact boundaries especially against trespassers. We have boundaries with Oluwofin at Baba Ode, with Iresaadu at Kojomonu /Balogun area, with Alasa, at our place here, we have boundaries with Igbon at Iyelu, with Pakoyi at Idi-Oro area here. Baba made strenuous efforts to obtain the original documents to forestall a situation in which our tenants will later claim ownership of our lands. That is the second achievement. The third one is that he made sure we came up with our chieftaincy declaration to further entrench our chieftaincy.
How many royal houses does Iya Oje have?
There are four royal families – Aireke at Ijeru, Iba Onisile (Elegbodo) at Laka, Iba Akinsidin at Ode Ajaawa and Iba Ojo at Orita Merin at Idi Isin. It is now the turn of Iba Ojo, then Oba Akinsidin then Onisile. Our chieftaincy declaration affirms this.
You mentioned that you were brothers with Olugbon, that he is your older brother.
Yes, Olugbon is the older while Iba Iya Oje is the younger brother. Our progenitor was a warrior, Olugbon was an Ifa priest. At a time, there was a particular elephant terrorizing them at Oyo, this elephant could not be vanquished, so the Alaafin sent to Olugbon to ask that his younger brother, Laribikun, a brave and skilled hunter, be sent, to assist in getting rid of the marauding beast. Olugbon Olugbode summoned his younger brother Laribikun (who became the first Iba Iya Oje) and told him about the mission at Oyo to assist the Alaafin. When he arrived at Oyo, he also met Timi of Ede who came for the same purpose. They went to face off with the wild elephant, Laribikun displayed uncommon gallantry just as Timi did. The elephant was eventually mowed down. Who killed the beast was the question asked by the Alaafin when he arrived at the “battleground” and beheld the mammoth carcass of the animal. The two of them claimed the feat. The Alaafin thus lamented, how would I know the actual killer, so Laribikun stepped forward and said, “You this elephant, if I am truly the one that killed you, stir forth from the ground.’ And he struck its carcass with his palm. The elephant sprang up and went on rampage yet again. Alaafin was exasperated, and then Laribikun stepped on the elephant’s footprint and so it fell again. That proved the claim of Laribikun. As a reward Alaafin gave him a specter of ruler-ship as a traditional ruler. Before he departed Oyo, he told Alaafin to cut the elephant’s body into small pieces and to ensure its liver is given to the queen and all consorts of the Alaafin. Hence, our cognomen, “Omo Aperin kari Ayaba.”
Laribikun returned to Igbon, actually the Olugbon had dispatched him to Oyo hoping he would meet with death as they did not have a cordial relationship. And so he told him to leave Igbon to establish his own kingdom. They were actually step brothers, of different mothers but same father.
Iya Oje, how did the name evolve?
It was from the refrain “A yo bi oje pa erin”(one who stealthily moves to kill elephant). Oje is the weapon he used. His strategy and his gallantry gave rise to the cognomen.
Then why are you Iba and not Oba?
Iba is superior to Oba! There are only three Ibas in Oyo state – Iba Abogunde, Iba Kisi and Iba Iya Oje.
Does this place belong to Oba Joseph Oyetunji or is it Iya Oje palace?
We are about to build a modern palace, this place was built by Baba.
Do you have a cordial relationship with Olugbon today?
Not really, but we remain brothers. The late Olugbon, Oba Adegbiyega Osunbade used to cross his bounds by installing chiefs in villages under our suzerainty, which should not have been. So, we had two Baales in such places.
Do you attend each other’s festivals?
Yes, when late Olugbon Osunbade was on the throne, may he continue to sleep well, he used to enter the forest with our late father during the Igbon festival, in fact he wouldn’t enter into the forest until our father came. We are also entitled to occupy the throne of Olugbon. But since they shared their properties, we don’t aspire to the position of Olugbon again. We have 47 villages under Baya Oje. We worship masquerades but Ogun iya Oje is more popular.