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Owu Kingdom: Genesis, Prosperities and Extinction




Before you read Women of Òwu by Professor Fẹmi Osofisan, shouldn’t we know what Òwu Kingdom was all about? At least, the play was about what happened AFTER Òwu Kingdom fell. So, how did Òwu come to be, her position amongst Yorùbá, her people, work, how did the War that annihilated the Kingdom started?

And where are the Òwu people now?

And, I am blushing to tell you that Alungua – the Òwu deity mentioned in the book – is still worshipped in Ọsun State. Yes, in Kuta, Ayédire LG under Iwo every October.

According to Tribune Newspaper’s article titled, Anlugbua festival, communal rebirth for growth (Sep 19, 2019 5:07 AM) Akindele, popularly known as Anlugbua, a great warrior in his era is still being worshipped in Anlugbua forest, where the Olowu of Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama led his subjects to perform the traditional rites. Indeed, the rites were performed by the Chief Priest, who doubles as the Árábà Àwo of Kuta, Chief Fatunmise Ejibolu.

History and Historians agree that the first of Yorùbá seven Princes/Princces was a female, and she married a priest, and became the mother of the famous Olòwu, the ancestor of the Òwus.
The second child was also a Princess who became the mother of the Alaketu, the progenitor of the Ketu people.
As seen, both Alaketu and Olòwu’s fathers were commoners, and not a prince of the blood, and yet both became crowned heads. This could be explained thus: the Yorùbá princesses had (and still have) the liberty of choosing husbands according to their fancy from any rank in life. As evidenced: the King’s eldest daughter chose to marry her father’s priest, for whom she had the Olòwu.

One of the songs we were taught during childhood was:
Òwu làá kọ’dà ooo
[Òwu is the first Kingdom established (after Ilé Ìfẹ́ by any of Odùduwà descendants)]
Òwu làá kọ’dà ooo
[Òwu is the first Kingdom established (after Ilé Ìfẹ́ by any of Odùduwà descendants)]
Bẹẹ d’Òwu ẹ béèrè wo
[Make enquiries when you get to Òwu]

Sadly, Òwu has gone into extinction.

So, one day, this young prince was playing on his grandfather (Odùduwà) ‘s knees, and he pulled at the crown on his head ; the indulgent parent thereupon placed it on the child’s head, but like some spoiled children, he refused to give it up when required, and so it was left with him, the grandfather putting on another. The child had the crown on his head until he fell asleep in his mother’s arms, when she took it off and returned it to her father, but the latter told her to keep it for her son, as he seemed so anxious to have it. Hence the right of the Olòwu to wear the crown like his uncles. The same right was subsequently accorded to the Alaketu, i.e., the progenitor of the Ketu people.
The above incident was later passed into Oríkì of Òwu people: ‘Ọmọ asunkúngba’dé. Ọmọ af’ọ̀rọ̀ gb’òye ’ (literally, descendants of he who used tears to collect Crown. The one who used childish gibberish to get chieftainship).

Historically, Owu region in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is bounded in the south by Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State; in the east by Ife South Local Government Area; in the north by Gbongan – one of the prominent towns in Osun State and in the west by Irewole/Isokan Local Government Area. Ago-Owu in Abeokuta is where the Owus are mostly concentrated, however large Owu settlements are found throughout the Yoruba kingdom. The Yoruba kingdom extends beyond the boundaries of Nigeria into the Republic of Benin.
Thus, Òwu Kingdom was located beside Àpòmú, in Isọkan Local Government of Ọsun State today. It had the Ifẹ in the east and Ìjẹ̀bú in the South. Owú was to the south-west of the former and north west of the latter.

The Òwu (although now domiciled with the Egbas) are a family quite distinct from Ẹ̀gbá or Ọ̀yọ́.

Owu people (Orile-Owu or Owu-Ipole) are agriculturalist, ancient warriors and Yoruboid-speaking people that forms a sub-set of the larger Yoruba ethnic group of West Africa.
Histories said they were hardihood, stubbornness, immorality, and haughtiness are marked traits in their character, so much so that it has passed into a proverb “Á bí ọmọ I’Òwu, o ni akọ tàbí àbò ní, èwo ni jẹ se ọmọ nibẹ?” (a child is born at Òwu, and you ask its gender/male or female: which will be a proper child?). This is because either sex when roused by passion would sooner die than not take dire revenge. Their manners were totally different from those of the Ọ̀yọ́, but from the days of Àlàáfín Sango they have been very loyal to the Àlàáfín of Ọ̀yọ́.
Òwu were warriors; hardy, brave, and courageous, they had no guns, their weapons consisting of the Agedéngbe (a long heavy cutlass) with bows and arrows. Coming to close quarters with cutlass in hand was the mode of fighting characteristic of these brave people.

Orile-Owu in the past was an ancient forest kingdom which is believed to be the first settlement outside Ile-Ife, the popularly acclaimed traditional homeland of the Yoruba people. Several notions about this ancient kingdom regarding its status as the cradle of all other Owu communities have led to some generated heated controversies.
Among the various Yoruba sub-ethnic groups such as Oyo, Egba, Ife, Ijebu, Ijesha, Awori, Remo, Igbomina, Ondo, Ekiti and others, Owu people are very popular especially when one count the war years of the larger Oyo Kingdom. Within the said region of old Oyo, Owu was very prominent and even ruled the waves. Owu collected tribute from the Bariba, the Borgu and had ruled over old Oyo until the reign of Sango. All this happened because they (Owu) also settled within that very region. (See Johnson’s “History of the Yorubas” p.149). Their presence in that region was indisputably powerful. Owu fought side by side with Egba in the Makun and other wars against Ado Odo and Dahomey in 1842-45. Owu contingents fought and routed Awori at Itori, Yobo, Ifo, Atan, Ota and also occupied those places till today. In his address to Owu people during the 8th Owu Day celebrations in 2007, the Olowu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu maintained that “Owu people had fought wars, won battles and settled in very many places between the Niger river and the sea (Owus in Lagos State; Epe, etc.), yet their main stream had settled among the Egbas in Abeokuta BUT, THEY ARE NOT EGBAS, neither are they lJEBUS. (See Johnson’s “History of the Yorubas, p.18). Owu settlements in Ijebu and Abeokuta were not as a result of direct battles or victory over them, but mostly on friendly terms.”
One of the distinctive socio-political difference between Owus and other Yoruba sub-tribes is that the Owus do not have an Oluwo (Ogboni Head Chief) and do not hold Ogboni assemblies. On the contrary, the Owu palace has its own culture of open deliberation where any Owu person can participate. That is why people refer to the Owus as “Owu a gbooro gbimo” meaning “Owu the deliberative group”.
Owu settlements are found throughout the Yoruba Kingdom, all of which have historical and cultural affinity to the homeland – that is Orile-Owu.

According to written sources, the establishment or founding of Owu Ipole (as Orile-Owu was formerly referred to) was shortly after the settlement of Oduduwa in Ile – Ife, therefore they said “Owu Lakoda” meaning Owu was the first to be founded after Ile – Ife is a popular saying among the Yoruba (Mabogunje,1997). It is believed from oral tradition that the Owu occupied an area directly along and below Niger River in the present country of Nigeria. Orile-Owu later expanded and became a very popular and powerful Yoruba settlement, which eventually attained the status of a kingdom of great repute. It became a force to be reckoned with within Yoruba land, particularly between the late 18th and early 19th centuries

THE WAR 1821–26(?)

Now, what caused the war between Òwu, Ìjẹ̀bú and Ìfẹ́ that annihilate Òwu Kingdom?

In ‘Ilọya, Onibode Àpòmú’ we have already discussed how the Àlàáfín Abiọdun’s orders were sent from Ọ̀yọ́ to the Ọọ́ni of Ìfẹ́, and the Olòwu to prevent Ọ̀yọ́s being kidnapped and sold at Àpòmú, the great market town where the interior and the coast people met for trade.

Now, since the commencement of the Revolution, and the disorganized state of the kingdom, the practice was revived. That is, Òwu people continued tó sell fellow Yorùbá. This acts of rebellion has rendered the Central Authority (at Ọ̀yọ́) powerless, but there were still some men of considerable power and influence in the land, such as Adegun the Onikoyi who was the premier provincial king,
Toyeje of Ogbomoso and Edun of Gbógun (7th and 8th Ààrẹ Ọna Kakanfo of Yorùbá). These two latter mentioned men were both Ààrẹs at the same time.

A message similar to that sent by King Abiọdun was now sent by the Onikoyi and the Kakanfo conjointly to the Olòwu, and he in carrying out his orders had to chastise several towns; hence Ikòyi Igbó, Àpòmú, Ikire, Ìran, Ile Olupọmi, Itahakun, Isẹ́yìn Odo, Iwata, A kinbọtọ, Gbangan, Isọpẹ, Iwarọ and Jagun, were destroyed by war. All of these were in Ìfẹ́ territory.

The Ọọni of Ìfẹ́ was highly incensed at this and declared war against Òwu. It was led by Singunsin. The first encampment was at a place called Dariagbon, a farm village of one Oluponna, next at Sifirin at the
Confluence of the Ọsun and Ọba rivers.

The Ìfẹ́ thought they would make an easy conquest of Òwu for they themselves are a brave people, and hence this war song in their peculiar dialect :—

Ẹ máa ja a’gba – Let us cut ropes,
Ìgbèkùn là mú á dì – Our captives to bind.
Ifa Olòwu – the Olowu’s oracle.
Ẹwà là mú a sé With our corn we’ll cook.

The Òwu received the news that war was declared against them with great indignation. They considered themselves the power in these Southern regions, and what infatuation has led the Ìfẹ́s to this presumption? With one consent they immediately marched out to meet them at this great distance. The engagement was a hand to hand fight in which the Ìfẹ́s were completely routed; their army was all but totally defeated. Handful of them returned home to tell the tale.

The King of Iwo, in whose territory this disaster took place did not admit the survivors into his town for fear of incurring the displeasure of his formidable neighbours the Òwus, whom he dreaded and of whom he was jealous, but he so far sympathized with the Ìfẹ́ and advised that they should not undergo the humiliation of returning home, and he allowed them to rendezvous
In a place called Adunbiẹiyẹ for the purpose of recruiting their army and to try another chance, secretly hoping that fortune may favour them next time, and being ill at ease with such a formidable neighbour as the Òwus.

This small army remained in this place for about 5 years. They couldn’t return home from shame, and yet could not obtain re-inforcement adequate for the great enterprise.

While they laid in wait, the Òwu and Ìjẹ̀bú Owus had a serious complication at the Àpòmú market. The dispute arose from the sale of alligator pepper, and it resulted in the rash expedition against Àpòmú by the haughty Òwus; the town was destroyed, and many Ìjẹ̀bú traders and residents lost their lives or their all.
The king of Ìwo thereupon advised the Ìfẹ́s to form an alliance with the Ìjẹ̀bús, who, like them, have now a grievance against Òwu. When this was done, the lies at home were now willing to re-inforce their wrecked army for a conjoint attack upon Òwu.

The Ìjẹ̀bús now declared war against Òwu, and crossed the Ọsun river. The Ìjẹ̀bús were better armed than either their allies or their foes, and indeed, than any of the interior tribes, for, being nearest to the coast, they had the advantage of obtaining guns and gun- powder from Europeans in exchange for slaves. They were remarkable marksmen. The older men with their cloths tied round their waists, and the ends left flowing behind, constituted the regular fighting column : being too old pr too heavy to run away, they were obhged to be courageous.

The Òwu were mad with rage at the receipt of the news that anyone, such as the Ìjẹ̀bús, had presumed to declare war against them who (as they considered themselves) were the first power in these parts (southern Yorùbá). They rushed out to check the progress of the Ìjẹ̀bús as they did that of the Ìfẹ́s, and attacked them furiously cutlass in hand. But they were compelled to fall back from the steady fire of the Ìjẹ̀bús which did great havoc amongst them. Summoning courage, the Òwu offered
Another obstinate battle, but they were again repulsed with a heavy slaughter, having lost in the first and second engagements about 40 of their leaders.

This was the first check to their pride.

They rallied, however, and retreated to a short distance, and then again ventured upon another attack, the Ìjẹ̀bús advancing as they were retreating : they finally met, and once more fortune was against the Òwus, and they fled precipitately to fortify their city against the expected siege.

The Ìjẹ̀bús with their allies the Ifẹs encamped to the west of the City of Òwu, under a large tree called the Ogùngun, east of the town of Òjé.

We may here remark that although the Ẹ̀gbá towns of Ọfà and Òjé were about a mile and two miles respectively from Òwu, yet so bitter was the animosity between them that not only did these towns refuse their aid to Òwu, but rather rejoiced at its misfortunes!

The Òwus fought with their accustomed bravery, and in one furious assault, routed the allies, and pursued them to Òjé, Ọfà, and Ìbàdàn. The first two places were deserted in the general confusion and panic, and all sought refuge at Ìbàdàn. Here the Allies received reinforcements from the Ẹ̀gbás, and from the Ọ̀yọ́ refugees from the North whose homes had been devastated by the Fulanis and who were now scattered about the provinces.

Homeless and without occupation. Glad to find some occupation in arms, these refugees flocked to the standard of the allies in numbers ; and thus strengthened, the war was renewed. The siege lasted about 5 years (usually reckoned as 7). The city was obstinately defended by the brave inhabitants from the walls, and from the forts built on the walls of the city. One man was an expert sharp shooter who was never known to miss his aim ; he contributed much to the defence of the town. But he was at the same time a good-natured man, kind and merciful to his enemies.

Whenever he saw a young man hazarding his life too close to the forts in order to show valour, pitying his youth, he used to hail at him from the fort, and warn him as follows : — “ I give you your life for today, but do not venture here tomorrow or you shall die.” And he was always as good as his word. Thus he defended the city heroically and killed many a valiant warrior.

At last, the allies held a council of war, and were determined to get rid of him on the next day. The Ìjẹ̀bús, who had guns were the foremost, and the whole army directed their fire and showers of darts at the fort where he was fighting, all kept shooting at that one spot, until they saw him fall, suspending from the fort !

Òwu was now deprived of her bravest defender, and famine also began its fatal work within its walls. It was at this time the Òwu began for the first time to eat those large beans called Popondo (or awuje) hitherto considered unfit for food ; hence the taunting songs of the allies: —

Popondo I’ará Òwu njẹ [the Òwus now live on Popondo]
Ajẹ f’àjàgà bọ’run. [that done, their necks for the yoke]

Unto this day, whoever would hum this ditty within the hearing of an Òwu man, must look out for an accident to his own person.

For all the famine within, the besiegers could neither scale the walls, nor force the gates open, until Akinjobi the Olowu opened a gate, and escaped to Erunmu, one of the principal towns in his territory. The chief of this place was one Oluroko who was nearly related to the Ọọni of Ìfẹ́. Oluroko protected his overlord. The allies pursued the Olòwu to this place, but Oluroko when called upon to answer for his conduct, submitted himself, and asked for pardon, showing that he could not have acted otherwise and be blameless. The allies saw with him, and pardon was accordingly granted him.

Ikija was the only Egba town which befriended the city of Òwu in her straits hence after the fall of the latter town, the combined armies went to punish her for supplying Òwu with provisions during the siege. Being a much smaller town, they soon made short work of it. After the destruction of Ikija, the allies returned to their former camp at Idi Ogungun (under the Ogiingun tree) .


Owu was thenceforth placed under an interdict, never to be rebuilt ; and it was resolved that in future, however great might be the population of Òjé — the nearest town to it — the town walls should not extend as far as the Ogungun tree, where the camp was
Pitched. Consequently to this day, although the land may be cultivated yet no one is allowed to build a house on it.

In the year 1873, Akinyemi one of the sons of one Bolude of Ìbàdàn happened to build a substantial farm house at Òwu. Latoosa of Ibadan (12th Ààrẹ Ọna Kakanfo) ordered it to be pulled down immediately, and Akinyẹmi was fined besides.

After the fall of Owu and Ikija, the army was not disbanded, but the commanders of the Ifẹ and of the Ìjẹ̀bú armies returned home to give an account of the war to their respective masters, but the remnants still in the camp were continually swelled by
Recruits from Ọ̀yọ́ refugees whom the Fulanis had rendered homeless.

After a time the Ìjẹ̀bús in the camp invited the allies home to their country as friends ; then they broke up the camp at Ìdí Ogungun and withdrew to Ipara in the south.

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It should be noted that the Òwu war marked a definite period in Yorùbá history. It was here for the first time gunpowder was used in war in this country, and it was followed by the devastation of the Ẹ̀gbá townships and the foundation of modern Abẹ́òkúta and Ìbàdàn.

In Ògún Gbà’námu when Erumu was taken. The Oluroko (or king) of Erumu and the king of Idomapa were caught and slain. Also the Olòwu, who escaped after the city of Òwu was destroyed, was caught.

Now, he was a provincial King of great importance, a real crowned head, and his case caused the victors some embarrassment. No pure Yoruba would venture to lay hands on a king even if worthy of death ; in such an event the king would simply be told that he was rejected and, noblesse
Oblige, he would commit suicide by poison.

The Olòwu, although now a prisoner of war, was regarded with so much reverence that none of the chiefs would dare order his execution, and yet they could not keep him nor would they let him go. His death was compassed in a diplomatic manner.

The conquerors pretended to be sending him to the Ọọni of Ìfẹ́, who alone may be regarded as his peers in this part of the country, and he was to be accompanied by one of his own slaves as a personal attendant and by some messengers to the Ọọni as his escort. But the slave, who was supplied with a loaded gun as his master’s bodyguard, had been privately instructed that at a given signal from the escort he was to shoot his master dead, and that he would be granted his freedom and loaded with riches as well. Thus they proceeded on their way until they came to the bank of the river Ọsun when the signal was given and the slave shot his master dead on the spot!

These “messengers” now set up a hue and cry of horror and surprise: “What ! You slave! How dare you kill your royal master? Death is even too good for you.” And in order to exonerate themselves of all complicity in the
Matter, they set upon the poor slave attacking him on all sides and clubbed him to death saying “The murder of the king must be avenged.” They then dammed up the river in its course and dug the king’s grave deep in the bed of it, and there they buried the corpse whilst uttering this disclaimer : — “ O King, we have no hands in your cruel murder. The onus
Of it rests with your slave and we have avenged you by putting him to death, and he is to be your attendant in the other world.”

They then allowed the river to flow on in its channel over the grave. Burying the king in the bed of the river was regarded as an expiation made for his murder, because they were conscious of guilt although they attributed the act to the slave. With such reverence
And sanctity was the person of a king regarded. The divine right of kings is an article of belief among the Yorubas.

Such was the end of the last king of the famous city of Òwu.

The title is continued by a representative of the family at Abẹ́òkúta. And there are places named after the ancient city all over Yorùbá lands.

In 1855, the Owus crowned OBA Pawu as the first king Olowu of Owu of the Owus at Oke Ago-Owu, Abeokuta. Notably, there was a 21 year interregnum between the settlement of the Owu sojourners in Abeokuta and the crowning of Pawu as the first Olowu in Abeokuta. See past and present Olowu of Owu in Abeokuta. He reigned for 12 years.
The reason for the interregnum may be attributed to the deterioration of the socio-cultural bond that became evident during the journey between Orile Owu and Abeokuta. Hardship had made these Owu families insensitive to each other’s welfare. The worst affected were the people of Erunmu because they were fewer. As a result of their minority status they were marginalized by other Owu indigenes. Oni the keeper of the Crown was convinced that if he revealed the Crown to a people who had grown insensitive to the needs of their brothers, he would allow despotic rule to hold sway over the townships of Owu, Erunmu and Apomu (the Owu kingdom in Abeokuta). Over the years, Akogun (the highly ranked soldier) arrived in Abeokuta, but he could neither locate Ijaola nor Ijaola’s stepbrother, Oni. Also, unknown to the Olowu and Oluroko, Ijaola returned to Erunmu but had to hide on a farm settlement to escape capture. He later settled in Iwo town where there was a community of Owu refugees and began to trade in commodities and prisoners of wars. It was in the course of this trade that he re-connected with his stepbrother through another itinerant Owu merchant who was based in Abeokuta. Eventually, all arrangements were made for Ijaola to migrate to Abeokuta where he re-settled the people of Erunmu in Ita Erunmu (now called Totoro, after a tree). After Ijaola, Akogun and Oni consulted with each other, revealed the crown of Oduduwa 21 years after the Owu people first settled in Abeokuta.

Since the destruction of the City of Òwu and the unification of the Ẹgbà villages, the Òwu have domiciled
amongst them. Hence the so-called Four United Kings of the Ẹgbà:
– Olubaara
– Àgùra
– Ọsinlẹ
– Olòwu Oduuru
– Aláké
Although Òwu is not Ẹ̀gbà. The Òwu are a family quite distinct from Ẹ̀gbás or Ọ̀yọ́s.

(1) Pawu April 1855 -1867
(2) Adefowote 1867 -1872
(3) Aderinoye 1873 -1890
(4) Adepegba 1893 -1905
(5) Owokokade 1906 -1918
(6) DosunmuI 1918 -1924
(7) Adesina 1924 -1936
(8) Gbogboade 1938 -1946
(9) Ajibola 1949 -1972
(10) Oyegbade 1975 -1980
(11) Oyelekan 1987 -1987
(12) Odeleye 1993 -2003
(13) DosunmuII 2005


Olòwu Oduuru
(Oh, Descendants of Òwu Oduuru)
Nlẹ ọmọ olómi tútù ẹsẹ̀ òkè
(Greetings, owners of cold water that sprang sprackly from below mountains)
Bàbá taani kò bá r’ọ́mi tútù ti o mu?
(Who would see cold water and refuse to drink?)
Bàbá taani kò bá r’ọ́mi tútù ti o bù w’ẹsẹ
(Or, not use for bathing legs)
Bàbá taani I bá tun r’ọ́mi tútù ti o fi b’ọmo l’ojú
(Or, use to wipe face?)
L’Òwu lọ ń lọ, jẹ ki n r’ojú kí n bá ọ lọ
(You going to Òwu, let me lothly follow you)
Ṣáákí ó r’òkè, èrò tí ń lọ s’Òwu ẹ pá ilu da
(Populance going to Òwu should change tune)
Èyí tí ń rìn wónku, èyí tí ń rìn wonda;
(Even inbalance in walk)
Èmi ó r’ẹni tó bù rẹwà l’Òwu
(I see no one displeasing to the eye, unsightly in Òwu)
Ọmọ Adágún a dé ó oooo
(Descendants of Ádágùn Adé)
Nlẹ, ọmọ Elégún ààre, tó l’Òwu Oduuru
(Greetings to you, you owners of recreational mosquerade in Òwu Kingdom)
Ọmọ a gbooro gbimo
(Owu the deliberative group)
Ọmọ a mon l’ẹsẹ bí àlàárí
(You are as clean as expensive Yorùbá native cloth)
Àlàárí mon l’ẹsẹ ọmọ baálẹ arọ̀
(The cloth in turn is clean beneath, like legs)
Ọmọ àbí ewiri kọ bí óje
(You are expert users of Blacksmiths Wheels, that glitters as liquid Iron)
Bí ẹ ti mon lẹ ṣe ẹsọ, bí baba yín tí lowo lẹ ṣe oge mon
(You do fashion as your affluence permitted)
Ọmọ èwe y’èwe ọmọ egbò y’egbo ọmọ kaayan igi
(Descendants of each leaf is distinguishable)
Ẹ̀fọ̀ kan wọn ò jọ yanrin
(For no vegetable looks like another)
Ogunmon kan ó jọ Tẹtẹ
(No other plant looks like Tẹtẹ vegetable)
Atẹ́wọ́ ni mo bá ìlà mí ó mon ẹni to kọ’mi
(I only met some marks in my palms I know not the Circumscriber)
Ńbá mon ilé Oloola mi ò bá mú owó abẹ ránsẹ/má dúpẹ́ owó abẹ
(If I know I would have sent sent money as appreciation fee to the Circumscriber)
Wọn kii gb’owó ìlà lọ́wọ́ Òwu
(No Circumscriber did collect service fee from Òwu)
Ọkọ̀la kan, ọkọ́là kan tó fẹ́ gbowó ìlà lọ́wọ́ Òwu
(An ancient Circumscriber did try it)
Pẹrẹgẹdẹ ni abẹ bẹ ọwọ rẹ.
(his circumscribing knife ended up cut his hand)
Nlẹ, Oduuru, ọmọ gbooro gbimo
(Greetings, Òwu the deliberative group)
Ọmọ Otonporo, tí nbẹ lóde Oduuru,
(Descendants of Otonporo recreational mosquerade once in Òwu)
Ọmọ Ayeeye
(Descendants of Ayeeye, another recreational mosquerade)
Otonporo kò r’ojú ẹni fàá, ẹni fà ó r’ojú Otonporo.
(Both Otonporo and the one who pulled robes tied at his waist amongst his entourage knew not themselves)
Ẹni tó fà kò ní fi ojú ire lọ
(The puller wasn’t languishly pulling)
Ṣubú, ṣubú laa lu Ìlù Otonporo,
(Otonporo drummers drummed hard, as if Otonporo should fall while dancing)
Otonporo kò ní lọ òde ai ni ṣubú
(Yet, Otonporo never fell while dancing)
Ọmọ asunkúngba’dé
(Descendants of he who used tears to collect Crown)
Ọmọ af’ọ̀rọ̀ gb’òye
(The one who used childish gibberish to get chieftainship)
Atẹ́wọ́ mẹ́wẹwàá ni wọn fi ń gba Oyè l’Òwu
(Chieftainship is wholeheartedly collected in Òwu)
Ọmọ larọwon, Ọmọ Ajibọsin.
Ọmọ epe ó ja. Epe koja bí ẹnikan ko rọ̀ ọ́
(Curse never goes lax on its victims)
Ọmọ ‘Lagun-a-re nílé Òwu
(Progeny of Lagun-a-re in Òwu)
Ọmọ Ẹ̀funrojọ èpò
(Offsprings of Ẹ̀funrojọ èpò)+
Òwu Mọja èlé t’Oyerokun tí gbensọ, tí pako pii, tí bàbá Afọkọlaja
(Òwu are money bags, having expertise in interests)+
Ẹnì kò là nílé wọn, Ógùn ẹrú ló ni
(Poorest person in Òwu had twenty slaves)
Ẹni kò là ní ẹlẹ́keji, eleyin ni ògoji ìwọfà,
(Seconded by the owner of fourty serfs)
Wọn ń pè eléyìí ó ní ńkankan
(They said the two had nothing)
Ẹni tó jẹ́ bí tálákà tí ó lowo lọ́wọ́ rárá
(Someone who was regarded as poor)
Eleyinní l’o l’ẹgbẹ́ta àyà
(Had 600 wives)
A bá sọ oko ìjà sílè wọn, kò balẹ
(Whenever fight ensued)
Kò bá ogún ẹrú
(It neither affected the twenty slaves)
Kò bá b’ójì ọmọ
(Nor forty Òwu children)
Ọmọ dúdú
(Either dark complexioned)
Ọmọ ọdẹdẹ
(Light complexioned)
Ọmọ ọgẹgẹ
(Or, fragile ones)
Ọmọ ónìrókò, ọmọ Àbíyámo
(Progeny of Ìrókò, of motherly traits)
Ọmọ Adelangba abẹgbẹ yọyọyọ
(Progeny of Adelangba, with obvious sparerib)
Bàbá Olòwu ṣe là-ńlájù
(Òwu’s ancestral fathers are civilized)
Ó k’ẹni mẹ́fà re iboosa
(He took six persons as [sacrificial lambs] to the groove)+
Ó d’irọ̀lẹ dẹ́dẹ́
(When it’s dusk)
Ó mú ìkan ṣoṣo bọ wálé
(He brought only one home)
Wọn là wọn ò mon òun Lagbami Iregún fi márùn-ún ẹ ṣe +
(They said they didn’t know what my father, Lagbami did with the other five)
Èmi mon òun ti bàbà wọn fi márùn-ún:
(I know what he did with the five:)
Bàbá wọn pá kíkí
(He killed the thick/fat)
Ó pá àìkíi
(He killed the slim)
Ó pá ṣíṣe
(He killed the willing)
Ó pá aisẹ
(He killed the unwilling)
Ó pá onílù
(He killed the drummer)
Ó pá’ Arinjo
(Also the dancer)
Ó bù’rìn bù’rìn
(On top of it all)
Ó tún s’òníbàtá ‘ẹ kànnànbusẹ lójú àgbò
(He also thrust fingers into his bàtà drummer’s eyes)
Ọmọ ‘Lagun-a-re, ọmọ abẹbẹj’òye +
(Progeny of ‘Lagun-a-re, those who begged for chieftainship)
‘Torí Ẹgbà l’Aké
(Because of Ẹgbà reside in Aké)
Ẹgbà l’Òwu +
(Ẹgbà are Òwu)
Ẹgbà l’ará Ọwẹ Mọjalà
(Ẹgbà are people of Ọwẹ Mọjalà)
Ẹgbà l’ará Ọwẹ Imọdu
(Ẹgbà are people of Ọwẹ Imọdu)
Ẹgbà l’ará Itokun ọmọ Asekọlagbeni
(Ẹgbà are Itokun people, progeny of Asekọlagbeni)
Èniyàn ó d’ẹhìn Igbẹti, kò fẹ́ ọmọ olè ku
(One couldn’t go in want of thieves at Igbẹti)
B’o ó b’ọmọdé won
(If it’s not their infants, yet to reach adulthood, caught)
Wọn a bá àgbà wọn
(It would be their elderly persons)
Wọn a sá kẹkẹ wẹnẹnẹnẹnẹnẹẹnẹ +
(They – the elderly – with their scarified Kẹkẹ̀ marks)
Ọmọ Atẹnigboye +
(Progeny of Atẹnigboye)
Ọmọ Ab’ọrọgboye +
(Child of those who share chieftainship with tree gnome)
Ọmọ Arọwọmẹwẹwa gb’òye L’Òwu +
(Those who completely accepted chieftainship)
Ọmọ Aṣọlàgbọrẹ̀
Progeny of Aṣọlàgbọrẹ̀)
Ọmọ Olusẹ-ndẹ-ki Ajíri, ọmọ P’oòye
(Progeny Olusẹ-ndẹ-ki Ajíri, son of P’oòye)
Ọmọ Alabi, ọmọ ajinláyà, ajinl’ọrùn +
(Progeny of Alabi, the lean)
Ọmọ Àlàájin t’o jìn dùndùndùn, tíì gbé abikù re igbó Ibara, re igbó ọ̀pá. +
(One who convey stillborn to Ibara sacred forest)
A kii gbowó odò nílé Ọsun Akẹsan +
(No tollkeeper/paddler dared demand sea tollfares from the in initiated)
Taàní yíò wá gbowó odò lọ́wọ́ Òwu?
(Who would dare collect it from Òwu?)
Otukọ tó bá l’òun yíò gbà gbowó odo lọ́wọ́ Òwu, Oluwẹri a gb’olùwà rẹ lọ +
(Any who dared, mermaid shall use swell of the sea to cart away such individual)
Ọmọ ewúrẹ wọlé apọn ju irú féféféfé
(Goat entered a bachelor’s house and waved tail in indignation)
Kí l’apọn rí jẹ tẹ́lẹ̀ tí yíò kú de ọmọ ẹranko?
(What was a bachelor feast on before that he would leave it over for animals?)
Ọmọ olójú gbagadá, àgbààgbàtán +
(Progeny of one with large backyard that could contain all)
Ní’jọ ń bá kú, ẹ rú mi l’Òwu.
(When I die, take my corpse to Òwu)
Ẹ sìn mí lójú gbàràgada
(Bury me at the King’s backyard)
Ọmọ Ajibodigun,
(Progeny of Ajíbódigun)
Ọmọ agbodọsin
(Progeny of white eagle)
Ọmọ Alagbo-kan–gìrìsa-t’o-gbo-gbo-gbo t’o d’ọkà d’ère nílé Isẹrimole +
(Descendants of he who bathed in herbs, grew overaged that he eventually become python, i.e Aláàpá Descendency)
Ọmọ Larọwon, Ọmọ Ajibọsin, Ọmọ epe ó ja.
(Descendants of Larọwon, of Ajibọsin, curse never goes linient on its victims)
Ọmọ Adeyẹye
(Descendants of Adeyẹye)
Ọmọ Adeyẹmi
(Of Adeyẹmi)
Ọmọ Adegoroye
(Of Adegoroye)
Ọmọ Adegoritẹ́, ọmọ èjìgbàrà ilẹkẹ
(Of Adegoritẹ́, who had multitude of beads)
Ọmọ ọgan-an, ọmọ ehìn erin
(Progeny of tusk, elephant’s teeth)
Ọmọ owó ilé ó jẹ a béèrè owó ẹfun
(One’s offsprings dare not ask money for chalk)
Ọmọ k’ẹfun a ń sọ
(One’s child applied chalk, they grumbled)
Tí a bá p’ọmọ Ajibọsin, Ọmọ Ibọwọ
(So we call offsprings of Ajibọsin, Ibọwọ)
Ọmọ Lagun-a-re ni Òwu, ọmọ Ẹ̀funrojọ èpò
(Lagun-a-re in Òwu, of surplus of chalk that poured as rain)
Ọmọ at’ẹni gboyè, ọmọ Abọrọgboye
(He who spread mats to appeal for chieftaincy title, one who used shared title with tree gnome)
Ọmọ ar’atẹ́wọ́ mẹ́wẹwàá gboyè l’Òwu
(Offspring of those who use the ten fingers to collect title, i.e Crown)
Atóti mantí, ọmọ ẹsẹ bíi ègbé ilẹkẹ
(He who over-aged, as significant as ègbé among beads)
Òkúta wẹ́wẹ́ laa fi ṣe adé Ìbàdàn
(Gravels were used in foundation of Ìbàdàn)
Ṣé ọkọ́ túntún làá fi s’adé Òwu?
(Is it new hoe we use to make Crown in Òwu?)
Ọmọ ọlọkọ-túntún-àdá-óòsá-rèbéte +
(New hoe with portable cutlasses used in warfare)
Ọmọ ọlọkọ-túntún-óòṣe de mọrẹrẹ
(New hoe that mustnt be overlooked)
Mọsa ló l’ọpá, mowé ó m’ẹsẹ̀
(To slaves belong staff, strangers didn’t know the way)
Bí wọ́n bá ń lọ ilé Oreere Òwu
(When traveling to Òwu)
Àgbàdayi kò jẹ a da ọmọ Òwu mon
(Long tribal, scarified marks made one not to recognise Òwu indigene)
Á bí ọmọ I’Òwu, o ni akọ tàbí àbò ní, èwo ni jẹ se ọmọ nibẹ?
(A child is born at Òwu, and you ask its gender/male or female: which will be a proper child?)
Ẹnu laa wù pé owó,
(Mouth forms as if swell while pronouncing Owó, money in Yorùbá)
Ẹnu laa wù pé Òwu
(By same we call Òwu)
Ẹnu laa wù p’Odeerekoko nílé Òwu
(Same is mouth formation while calling Odeerekoko, a kind of bird in Òwu)
Nílé Lábérinjo, ọmọ Lámolu, ọmọ abẹbẹjoyè…..
(In Laberinjo’s land, those who begged for titles)

+ kẹkẹ wẹnẹnẹnẹnẹnẹẹnẹ = Kẹkẹ is a kind of tribal mark. “wẹnẹnẹnẹnẹnẹẹnẹ” is obviously an overstate. Bard will find it enjoyable.
+ Lagbami = this, I think means a distress call to father to come to one’s aid.
+ Ọmọ Arọwọmẹwẹwa gb’òye L’Òwu = this ordinarily means, ‘descendants of those who used the ten fingers to collect chieftancy in Òwu.’ By using the ten fingers, Yorùbá means you accept it wholeheartedly, completely, entirely. This is obviously a reference to how the Oríkì ‘asunkúngba’dé’ come to be.
+ Atẹnigboye = He who spread mats to collect chieftancy. Same as ‘asunkúngba’dé’
+ Ọmọ Abẹbẹj’òye = He who begged for title. Same as ‘asunkúngba’dé’ and ‘Atẹnigboye’ though in ‘Atẹnigboye’ and ‘Abẹbẹj’òye’ we should notice that corruption and misinterpretation of the historical occurrence has taken place.
+ Ab’ọrọgboye = Ọrọ Igi refers to the spirits living in trees. And here we have ‘he who share title with Ọrọ’. Absurd!
+ Iboosa = Ibọ Oosa, Òrìṣà where deity is worship. A sacristy; could be a secular place or a forest.
+ Ọmọ Alabi, ọmọ Ajinláyà…Ajinl’ọrùn = ‘progeny of Alabi, with lean chest’ ‘Ajinláyà’ is used for someone who is lean. Ajinlojú for those whose eyes sockets have gone inside. Ajinl’ọrùn for neck. They are also said to have “well in the neck”
+ Abiku = A mysterious child born and reborn. Ogbanje. Read ‘Abiku’ by Wọlé Soyinka.
+ Ọsun = short of ‘Osugbo’, initiated.
+ Pako pii = sharp person
+ Ègbé Ilẹkẹ = Ègbé Ilẹkẹ refers to a distinguishable beads. For example, one, two or more white beads as ègbé Ilẹkẹ can be put amongst red beads in a roll. To beautify, for distinct. Such white beads is called Ègbé Ilẹkẹ.
+ Gbagadá =
+ Alagbo-kan–gìrìsa-t’o-gbo-gbo-gbo t’o d’ọkà d’ère nílé Isẹrimole: Descendants of he who bathed in herbs, grew overaged that he eventually become python, i.e Aláàpá Descendency.
This is very much related to the story of the founder Aláàpá ancestor. And because of whom his descendants refuse to eat snakes, thus it become forbidden. Just as matured rat is to Oníkòyí, Yanrin is to Ọlọ́fa…
+ Ọmọ ọlọkọ-túntún-àdá-óòsá-rèbéte = new hoe with portable cutlasses used in warfare. This has been explained to be the weapon for which Òwu were distinguished in all Yorùbá land.
+ Mọsa = ọmọ oosa = ẹrú
+ Mowe = ọmọ òwe = àlejò
+ Àgbàdayi – ìlà gbọ́ọrọ̀gbọ bí iwájú orí. This is a kind of mark that’s drawn from forehead to nose, with chalk probably.

Complied by: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle
(Jimson Jaat Taofik)
The MAD Writer: Pen Priest
Facebook: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle
Twitter: @jimsonjaat01
Phone: 08144510532



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