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History of Iwo, Osun State



The 21st Ọọ́ni of Ilé-Ifẹ̀, Lúwóò Gbàgìdà was a female monarch. She named her first born Adekọla Télu. Télu left Ifẹ̀ to found Iwo because of his spirit of adventure. He first settled at the presentday Áṣéjìrẹ dam (formerly called “Ogúndigbàro”); which is the confluence of rivers Ọṣùn and Ọba.

Télu reportedly spent unspecified number of years here with his followers, but was forced to evacuate for two reasons; outbreak of smallpox and the swampy nature of the place which made it unsuitable for extensive Agriculture.

Télu was instructed by Ifá to move northward, to a new place. It’s eventually named Igbo-Órítà (forest near the cross road). Igbo-Órítà is at the Southern part of the presentday Iwo, near the site of Approved School.

Adekọla Télu died and was buried at Igbo-Órítà.

Jíkanmú succeeded Télu as king and leader of the migrants. Igbo-Órítà also witnessed outbreak of smallpox. Jíkanmú consulted Ifá and was instructed to move to a place where he would find Igi Òṣè (Baobao Tree), biologically known as Adamsonia Digitata on which parrot congregate.

He dispatched some of his chiefs and willing brave men to go search for this tree. They subsequently found the said tree and reported to the king. Jíkanmú ordered exodus from Igbo-Órítà, but didn’t reach the said place for he died at the bank of a stream formerly called Yànyànun. The stream was named Ọba dákẹ (short: ‘Adéekẹ’) – “king breathed his last.” afterwards.

It’s two kilometers from the presentday Iwo.

The eldest son of Jíkanmú, Páárìn Olúmadé become the king and leader of the migrants. It should be note that his succeesion was accidental, for Olúwo chieftancy was not from father to son (primogeniture).

He was the first king at the presentday Iwo and the first house built for him is now called Ọlọ́ya compound.

One version said the name ‘Iwo’ was derived from Páárìn’s words, after Jíkanmú’s demise. He was reportedly said “Ẹ jẹ ki a lọ wò” – let’s go and see the new place. Another version attributed the statement to Jíkanmú himself. The third said the name ‘Iwo’ is a corruption of the statement “Ẹ jẹ ki a má wò” – let’s wait and see whether or not we shall survive in this place or not.

Whichever is correct, the name Iwo has been used for the town since its inception.

The ruler of the kingdom is titled Olúwo of Iwo. He is the traditional ruler and Chairman Coucil of Ọbas in Iwo Zone, which include Olúpona, Télèmu, Kuta, Ile-Igbo, Ọgbàgba, Ìlà-Ilẹ̀mowu, etc. There are about 81 compilation of villages and towns headed by Baálẹ with his chiefs, all of which are appointed by the Olúwo.


Ìwo was formerly part of Ọ̀yọ́ Empire. But later seperated (being a royal city), but eventually served as refuge to Ọ̀yọ́ migrants when Old Ọ̀yọ́ fell. The first set were led by one prince Akintan, who left Ọ̀yọ́ because of chieftancy disputes. He and his followers were settled at a place which today is known as Asapẹ, the name was the title-name bestowed on him at Ikoyi, his mother side.

Other settlers were Ẹyinadé (Gbọnka compound), the duo warriors fro Ọ̀yọ́, Òjó Àgùnbanbaru and Aládé Ábínùpagun (Aroworeki compound). They were invited by Òkunmadé Ali who had settled there.

Another impact of the Empire is seen in its chieftancies; Asapẹ, Bashọrun and Jagun.

ÁSAPẸ: the first to hold this title was the aforediscussed Akintan, who was said to be grandson of an Aláàfin. He left Ọ̀yọ́ after his father, Adélanwa demise for Ikoyi, his maternal home. As the Ikoyi people are known as for war, he eventually found himself in Iwo during one of these campaigns.

BASHỌRUN: This title is next to Aláàfin himself. And only one person assume the position. But, this changed when Ọ̀yọ́ fell. Ogúnmọla forcefully made himself Bashọrun (of Ìbàdàn) while that of Ọ̀yọ́ was alive. Well, he was exclusively allow this priviledge, not to be continued by his lineage.
Bashọrun Gaa lost all but one of his sons, Ojo Àgùnbanbaru survived the massacre and fled to Iwo. His descendants answered the appelation, “Ọmọ Bashọrun” (descendants of Bashọrun). It’s the immediate past Oluwo, Ọba Asiru Ọlatunbọsun Tadese who set the record straight by confer Bashọrun Gaa descent group with the title.

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Iwo, Iwo ti Odidẹrẹ o le pé tán.
(Parrots couldn’t finish pronounciation of Iwo)
Iwo o ni ilẹkun, wọn o si ni kọ́kọ́rọ́
(Iwo had neither door nor key)
Ẹrú wẹ́wẹ́ ni won fi n sọlè
(They rather used slaves as guards)
On’Iwo ọmọ odò Ọba
(Iwo, custodians of Ọba river)
Iwo ti Odidẹrẹ pe ti ẹnu rẹ fi kákò
(Iwo that Parrots called repeatedly till their peaks curved)
Odidẹrẹ o jẹ ka mon ibi Iwo gbe gba lọ
(Parrot didn’t let us know which way Iwo went)
Iwo, ọmọ Àkàwo s’owo
(Iwo indigenes are cash-hands)
Iwo, a ka’bí sọ̀rọ̀
(They used kolanut as [source of] wealth)
Olùgbọ́n Àgbè, Ọmọ Ọbayamu
(Home of Scarifier Àgbè, son of Ọbayamu)
Àgbè, Ọmọ Oloola tii sa Kẹkẹ
(Àgbè was a scarifier who scarified faces with Kẹkẹ – a kind of tribal mark)
Àgbè, Ọmọ Oloola tii ba Àbájá.
(He also scarified faces with Àbájá – another kimd of tribal mark)
Àgbè, Ọmọ Oloola tii kọ̀ abẹ,
(Àgbè, the blade welder)
Akọ se ẹnu abẹ jẹẹjẹ
Sheath makes blade mouths/tips go lofty)
Ọmọ Oloola tii bu fẹtí mon
(Child of circumscribers that cut deep and wide)
Ero j’ẹni Agbe, bi ẹ de Odo Ọba kẹẹ duro
(Travelers going to Àgbè’s home, tarry when you get to Ọba river’s bank)
Oju oro, ko jẹ ki ẹsẹ pẹpẹiyẹ t’omi n’ile yin
( Seaweeds don’t let ducks’ feet to touch the river in your fathers-land)
Iru Ọkẹẹrẹ ko jẹki omi Ọba ko tooro,
(Tails of squarrels do not let Ọba river to settle)
Omi Ọba ii ba tooro, kinni nba mubọ (Odo) Ọba, mubọ (Odo) Ọsun,
(Had Oba river settle, what would I use to sacrifice to Oba and Osun rivers,)
Ma ri nmu bọ Ajagun?
(And Jagun too? )
Jagbanigba niyin, ọmọ ole l’oosi
(Crocky ones they were and petty thieves)
Ọmọ Areèlú abẹ.
(Descendants of falling blades)
Iwo ti o se Òníkọla yóò si ma tan ẹran.
(Iwo indigenes are either scarifiers or meat sellers)
Ọlọ́tan Onikoyi ni yín, Ọmọ ẹrú Ọffà.
(They share relations with with Ikoyi ancestry, slaves of arrows)
Àgbè won kii gba owó Ila lọ́wọ́ ẹyin,
(Descendants of Àgbè, nobody dare collected fees for scarification from you)
Ẹni ba gbowó Ila lọ́wọ́ ẹyin,
(Whoever dared)
Pẹrẹgẹdẹ ni abẹ n bẹ ọwọ won.
(Would have his hands tore with blade)
Ẹyin lọmọ Oloola tii fi ẹ̀jẹ̀ wẹ.
(You are descendants of Àgbè, the scarifier that bathed with blood)
Ọmọ oosha mejeeje Iwo;
(Child of the seven deities in Iwo-land);
Won kii jẹ iyan, won kii jẹ ẹkọ,
(That neither eat pounded yam nor corn meal),
Bi alẹ balẹ, ogun ni won tọrọ lọwọ ọba
(When night falls, they seek permission from the king to go to war)
Ọba kọ ko sìgún,
(The king didn’t give permission)
Óòsá kọ wọn o pẹ yìn da.
(The deities refused to leave)
Èrò Ìjẹ̀ni Àgbè, se ki n ki yin ni kiikí ìyanu ni?
(Do you want me to praise you in wonderful ways?)
Ma ni, Àgbè ọmọ dákò-dákò
(I would say, you are descendants of Àgbè, that scarified penises)
Àgbè, Ọmọ dábò-dábò,
(You are descendants of Àgbè, that scarified virginal)
Àgbè, Ọmọ dadọ-dadọ….

Fully Compiled, Arranged, Translated by:
Jimoh Taofik Adekunle
(Jimson Jaat Taofik)
The MAD Writer: Pen Priest
Facebook: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle
Twitter: @jimsonjaat01
Phone: 08144510532

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