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Editorial

History Of Ọffà, A Scientific Touch

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Ọffà as a town was established around 1350, when Prince Olulakun Ọlálọmi, also known as Ọlọ́fagangan, a grandson of Oranmiyan, the founder of Ọ̀yọ́, left Ọ̀yọ́ due to a succession dispute.

There is also possibility that he left on a game expedition. Prince Ọlálọmi Ọlọ́fagàǹgàn likely learned the art of game hunting from his grandfather, Ọ̀ranmiyan.

His first established community at the bank of a river known as Maika, on the way to Ìra town, in present-day Oyun Local Government of Kwara State. He left Maika because of its unsuitability and relocated to *Ilọfa.

He deserted Ilọfa for Ọffà Ora, in the land of Nupe, and later headed for Ọffà Irẹ̀sa near Ìgbàjá in the present-day Ìfẹ́lodun Local Government of Kwara state. The impact of Tapa (Nupe War) forced him to Offa Ikose, near the present town of Ilemọna. From here, his next destination was Offa Eesun, near the now Naval School in Ọffà.

It was at Ọffà Eéṣún that Ọlálọmi Ọlọ́fagangan died in 1448, as the first ruler of Ọffà (Ọlọ́fa), after he had successfully established a virile Ọffà Community.

After his demise, Ọlálọmi Ọlọ́fagangan was succeeded by his eldest son, Olutide, who ruled from 1448-1491. Olutide’s reign was characterized by a period of peace, joy and prosperity. This peaceful period was however short-lived as the Nupe War resurfaced. This necessitated their move from Ọffà Eéṣún to Ọffà Igbolotu. Oluwọle became the Ọlọ́fa at Igbolotu, after Nupe War ceased in 1526.

Ọba Oluwọle later went back to Ọffà Eéṣún to bury his father, Oba Olugẹsinde (1491-1526), who ruled after Ọba Olutide. He gradually returned the Ọffà people to Eéṣún.
Unfortunately, soon after their return, they were confronted with another problem – an invasion by mysterious giant rats. This made them relocate to Ọffà Igbolotu for the second time.
While in Ọffà Igbolotu, Okunmolu (1567-1624) was installed as Ọlọ́fa after Ọba Oluwọle’s demise.

It was during Okunmolu’s reign that the people of Ọffà cultivated farms at a place known as Ọffà Igbo-Oro, close to the present-day Ọlọ́fa’s Palace. The farms at Igbo-Oro were ravaged by wild animals. This prompted the people to protect their farms with Oro, a sort of fetish guard. It is from this special guard that the place derived its name (Igbo-Oro: forest/farms protected by fetish guard).

It is presently located behind the palace of the Ọlọ́fa of Ọffà, close to the stream of Odo-Ayaba.

Before people could peacefully settle at Igbo-Oro, the menace of giant rats resurfaced. The rats terrified and bit aged people while asleep. They absconded with small infants, whenever their mothers were out of sight. These rats forced people to shifted a little further to a place known as Ọffà Arinlolu.

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This is the present-day Ọffà.

The first set of people to move to Ọffà Arinlolu from Ọffà Eéṣún are known and the compound they established is called Asalọfà (they who run from Ọffà). The full appellation is A sá l’Ọffà Eéṣún (those who run from Ọffà Eéṣún {to Ọffà Arinlolu}).

It was after they migrated to this site (Ọffà Arinlolu) that Ọba Okunmolu died. The year was 1624…..

According to Samuel Johnson, Oranmiyan’s descendants were divided into four (4) distinct families by their dialects. These formed the four provinces of Yorubaland: Ẹkùn Ọtun, Ẹkùn Osi, Epo and Ibọlọ provinces.

The Ibọlọ, to which Ọffà belongs, lies to the South-East of Ẹkùn Osi towns. Prominent towns in this province were: Irẹsa, Ọffà, Ọyan, Okuku, Ikirun, Osogbo, Ido Osun, Ilobu, Ejigbo and Ẹdẹ́. Among these, Irẹsa was the chief town. Irẹsa, however, relinquish its primacy to Ọffà after the Fulani Jihadists from Ilọrin destroyed it.

WHY ‘IYẸRU ỌKIN’?

The simply means ‘Ìyẹ Ní Irú Ọkin’. It came from the fact that Olulakun Ọlálọmi Ọlọ́fagangan did decorate his both his crown and arrow with pecock’s feathers, for beautification.
This was very distinct in those days and thus, his neighbour towns’ dwellers gave add it to his cognomen. Ìyẹ Ní Irú Ọkin (Olúlakun) Ọlọ́fa…..

“Everything Is Wrong With History, Nothing Is Wrong In History” – Jaat, 2019

SOURCES

  1. Reverend Samuel Johnson (1997), The History of the Yoruba, C.S.S Bookshops Limited, Lagos
  2. History of Offa, by J.B Olafimihan
  3. Raheem A. Lateef (2009), Olofamojo: A Socio-Cultural Political History of the People of Offa, NNI Publishers LTD, Kwara state.
  4. Faseke Modupeolu (2002), New History of Nigeria For Certificate Classes, JES Publishers, Lagos.
  5. A.B.O.O (2013), Augustus Bandele Oyediran: A Life Lived for Others, BookBuilders, Editions Africa, Ibadan
  6. Offa Grammar School 70th Anniversary programme paphlet.
  7. Moshood Raji Adeniyi (2016), Elegance Dreamers (Aji la’la Oso): A Handbook on Ede, Associate Publications, Ibadan

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