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Nigeria Historical Facts: Who Are The Egbas?? - Culture - Nairaland

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Nigeria Historical Facts: Who Are The Egbas?? by Ajorosun: 8:04am On Jan 08, 2016
Nigeria Historical Facts
Who Are The Egbas??
.
The story of Abeokuta, the abode of the Egbas (and Owus),
started with their liberation from the sovereignty of the
Alaafin of Oyo Empire, to which the Egbas had belonged.
The Liberation took place between 1775 and 1780, under the
leadership of Lisabi, a resident of Igbehin who was born in
Itoku. He organized an insurgent movement disguised under
the name of Egbe Aaro Tradition Mutual Aid Society.
Lisabi later used the society to free the Egba by organizing
the simultaneous killing of the Ajeles or Ilaris in all Egba
settlements in 1780, starting from Igbehin. In all, more than
600 llaris or Ajeles were wiped out in one day. Ilaris were
the representatives of the Alaafin of Oyo and collectors of
the tributes paid to the Alaafin from all territories under the
dominion of Oyo Empire.
The Ajeles or Ilaris generally behaved like an Army of
Occupation in the places they administered. Their tyrannical
rules marked them out as instruments for the oppression
and suppression of the people. It was this authoritarian rule
of the Alafin and reckless lifestyle of the Ilaris in Egbaland
that resolved Lisabi and his peers to bring an end to the evil.
The adoption of the universally popular Aaro system of
cooperative by the Egbe Ologun (Arms Bearers Club) of
Lisabi was the strategy he used to plot against the Ilaris in
his Igbehin town. All the other Egba towns rose and killed
the Ilaris in their midst in an almost simultaneous
coordination!
As soon as the news reached metropolitan Oyo the Alaafin
wasted no time in dispatching an Army to crush the Egba
rebellion. This was already anticipated in the Lisabi plan and
the Oyo army of vengeance was routed and the freedom of
the Egbas established. This episode occurred between 1775
and 1780 in the Egba forest.
This unity and cooperation among the numerous Egba
forest settlements was very short lived, their lack of
cooperation and unified direction later resulting in their
being completely routed at the advent of the Yoruba Wars
triggered at Apomu market near Orile Owu.
Much later around 1829, Lamodi of Igbehin and Balogun of
the Egbas living in Maye’s camp in Ibadan, decided that the
Egbas should escape from Maye’s bondage. The Egbas had
heard about Abeokuta in their quest for a place to settle in.
They sent Chief Sobookun, the Baamokun of Ilugun, and
others to bring a handful of earth from there for divination,
and the result was propitious.
The first batch to arrive in Abeokuta consisted of Egba
Alake, Oke Ona, and Gbagura, in that order. Later, Olufakun
led Owu to Abeokuta, while others soon followed.
(NOTE: It is known that an Owu-Apomu warrior by the name
of Sangojimi Gudugba and his group were also at the head
of that pioneering refugee team from Ibadan led by Sodeke).
Lamodi lost his life in battle at a river crossing while trying
to prevent his first son, Osota, from being captured by
Maye’s army, who were pursuing the Egba. Sodeke, the
Seriki of the Egbas succeeded him and in 1830 led the Egba
Alake into Abeokuta. Balogun Olunloye, the Balogun Ilugun
led Ogba Oke-Ona while Oluwole Agbo, Balogun Ojo
Gbagura led the Gbagura to Abeokuta.
An Itoko chief named Idowu Liperu had earlier been living at
the settlement. He had crossed the Ogun River and settled
on a farmland where three hunters by name Jibulu, Ose and
Olunle joined him. Unlike, Liperu who erected a house with
the assistance of the then Olubara Lafa the three hunters
lodged in caves under the Olumo Rock. They had earlier
assisted Sobookun to retrieve the soil samples from around
the Olumo Rock.
Later, Adagba and others moved to the rock to join Liperu
and the three hunters, who had settled there. Adagba was a
brave man who had his farmland located very close to the
rock. The settlement was called Oko Adagba, the initial
name of Abeokuta. Olumo means ‘built by the Lord’ – its
naturally furnished apartments being its caves! Another
interpretation of Olumo is ‘Oluwa Fimo’ meaning God puts
an end to the hostility against the Egbas. Abeokuta is also
known as ‘Abe Olumo’ – a settlement under the rock.
Between 1830 and the turn of the century, the settlers in
Abeokuta were forced to fight several wars mostly for the
survival of the emerging settlement. In 1832, the Ijebu Remo
people provoked the new settlers into taking arms against
several Ijebu Remo towns in the Owiwi war. In 1834, an
attempted Ibadan invasion also challenged them into a war
which resulted in the heavy defeat of the Ibadan army at the
Battle of Arakanga which manifested the potency and
indispensability of the warriors of the Owu settlers who had
only recently been convinced by Sodeke to settle with them
in order to boost the new settlement’s defences!
In 1842, the settlers took the offensive against the Ota
people in order to ensure free movement through Ota
territory on their route to Lagos for firearms. This led to
another war in 1844 when they attacked Ado under the Owu
war general, Gbalefa, for assisting the Ota people two years
earlier. The same year, the Dahomeans, under King Gezo,
invaded Abeokuta but were repulsed. The Dahomey army
repeated the invasion in 1851 and suffered the devastating
defeat of their largely female ‘Amazon’ warriors who were
pursued all the way to the outskirts of their kingdom!
In 1849, Abeokuta attacked Ibarapa for waylaying the Egba
in their territory. Among other wars fought by Abeokuta
were the Ijebu-Ere War in 1851, and the Ijaye War of
1860-1862, and the Makun War of 1862-1864, as well as a
few others. In most of these encounters, they emerged
victorious – although they suffered their own reverses in
some as well.
After the demise of Sodeke, Abeokuta had no leader for
quite a number of years. The administration of the town was
left in the hands of chiefs like Ogunbona the Balogun of
Ikija, Okukenu the Sagbua of Ake, Somoye the Seriki, who
later became Bashorun in succeeding Apati, Bada of Kemta,
and others.
The Egbas in an effort to reunite from this leadership
fractionalization elected to install an Oba, and the lot fell on
Okukenu, the Sabua of Ake and head of Egba Ogboni cult.
An industrious woodcarver, he was installed the Alake of
Ake on August 8, 1854.
A few months later in 1855, the first Olowu in Abeokuta, Oba
Adeyanju Pawu from the Otileta Royal lineage was also
crowned!
Ps: The above was culled, refined, and edited from articles
posted on historical sites.[/b][b]

1 Like

Re: Nigeria Historical Facts: Who Are The Egbas?? by Pheals(f): 8:07am On Jan 08, 2016
Lisabi was born in Abeokuta... Its was sodeke that lead them #fact
Re: Nigeria Historical Facts: Who Are The Egbas?? by teetee123: 11:12pm On Jan 09, 2016
Pheals:
Lisabi was born in Abeokuta... Its was sodeke that lead them #fact

You are wrong. Lisabi was born ?1700s in the Egba homestead long before relocation to Abeokuta in 1830. Egbas were formerly the original occupants of the present Ibadan. Egbas were not living together as it is in Abeokuta but separately as different towns. Most of the Egba towns had their own kings or leaders. The Egbas that survived the journey to Abeokuta decided to stay together as a single group and fought their enemies. They were later joined by the Owus and others who were also looking for a place of refuge.
Re: Nigeria Historical Facts: Who Are The Egbas?? by itstpia8: 11:31pm On Jan 09, 2016
cant remember the specific detail of all these, will have to look them up.

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