Last week, I discussed the sacredness of the office and person of the Oba in pre-colonial times as well as the titles of traditional monarchs in Yorubaland and how they were derived. If you didn’t read part 1, click here
to read it before you read this. Today, I will mention three more titles of traditional monarchs in Yorubaland and discuss the circumstances that explain them.
1. ṢỌUN OF OGBOMỌSỌ
Ẹlẹmọsọ (a contraction of “Olori Awọn Ẹsọ) was a warrior and the chief guard who became rebellious to the Alaafin of Oyo and was eventually dismissed. Ọyọ was always thrown into pandemonium any day Ẹlẹmọsọ struck, especially on market days, with the victims being usually women and children. On one occasion, he attacked Oyo-Ile and laid total siege on it causing famine and hardship among the people. Ẹlẹmọsọ was so skillful at not being caught and often he would vanish into thin air so that a lot of people believed he turned into a tiger and pounced on his prey. Furious, the Alaafin asked famous hunters to hunt him down but none was able to capture him. Ogunlọla, a hunter who was originally from Ibariba but had settled in a place not far from Oyo-Ile, told the Alaafin that he would kill Elemoso. Alaafin doubted his ability to help with the situation, but reluctantly, he agreed to let him fight Ẹlẹmọsọ. Ogunlọla killed Ẹlẹmọsọ and brought his head to the king’s palace.
Alaafin was so impressed by Ogunlọla’s prowess that he offered him a permanent residency in the capital, Oyo-Ile instead of returning to his settlement. Ogunlọla politely declined saying “E jeki a ma se ọhun” meaning “let me stay yonder”. His majesty, the Alaafin, granted Ogunlọla’s wish to return to his settlement. Later, travelers passing to and fro started referring to the settlement as “The camp of he who beheaded Ẹlẹmọsọ” which tranlates to “ido eni ti o gb’ori Ẹlẹmọsọ”. This was later contracted to Ogbomọsọ. Eventually, the authority of Ogunlọla became greater and more respected. He was consequently made the head of the settlement under the title of ‘Ṣọun’
to reflect his request from the Alaafin, ‘let me stay yonder’.
However, the title of the Baale of Ogbomọsọ was still in use until it was formally changed to Ṣọun of Ogbomọsọ in 1952 and later Ṣọun of Ogbomọsọland in 1992.
2. TIMI OF EDE
Ede is one of the older towns of the Yoruba people. It is presently located in Osun state, South-Western Nigeria. The King’s royal title is also traced to the man who founded the town around the year 1500. Timi Agbale was a hunter and warlord sent by Alaafin (King) Kori of Old Oyo (Katunga), capital of the Oyo Empire, to establish a settlement to protect the Oyo caravan route to Benin. Timi was popularly referred to as Timi Agbale Olofa-Ina. According to history, he was the only hunter and warrior whose arrows brought out fire. The subsequent Obas embraced the title of “Timi”.
3. ATTA OF AIYEDE EKITI
Aiyede-Ekiti is situated in Ekiti State, Nigeria and is currently located between Isan and Itaji-Ekiti in Oye Local Government of Ekiti State. Aiyede which literally means “GLOBE HAS LANDED” was founded around 1845 AD by a powerful warrior, a generalissimo of Iye-Ekiti and a mercenary of Ibadan kingdom named ESUBIYI. According to historical facts, Aiyede-Ekiti was a military regiment and a battalion barracks for Yoruba Kingdom during Alimi and Afonja of Ilorin’s revolution against the central government in Oyo. At that time, Esubiyi was the checkmate against the Fulani Jihadists alongside his able war friend and colleague, ATTA N GARA, a warlord and Emperor of the ancient Gara of Nupe empire. Esubiyi derived his other name “ATTA” from his warlord friend and was then known everywhere as ATTA ESUBIYI. He later became the founder and the premier king of Aiyede-Ekiti. Subsequent kings have used the royal title “ATTA” but some write it as “ATTAH”.
About the Writer
: Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at www.chrisbamidele.wordpress.com and tweets @Chrisbamidele
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This article was first published on 16th March 2015
Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at www.chrisbamidele.wordpress.com and tweets @Chrisbamidele.
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