Monday, November 15, 2010

Origin, Migration and Settlement in Sagamu

Makun Community of Sagamu is a combination of urban and rural settlements. It is an important area in the present Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State. It has boundaries with Ofin in the township and in the rural areas. It has boundary with Epe in the urban area. It has boundary with Sonyindo in the urban and the rural areas. It has boundary with Ibido and Igbepa both in the urban and rural areas. It has boundary with Ijagba both in the urban and the rural areas. The last boundary mates are the Egbas of Owode in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Areas of Ogun State, and this is in the rural areas.

Makun is one of the thirty-three Remo traditional towns that made up Remo Division, the smallest and the most vibrant division in the old Southern Provinces of Nigeria. Makun is one of the thirteen traditional towns that federated and gave birth to the present SAGAMU in 1865.

There are two separate historical assertions about the origin, migration and settlement of the Makun people. The two assertions are not conflicting in nature. The first one merged with the second one, hence, there is a merger and there is little or no difference in the two schools of thought.

The first assertion stated that Makun originated from the ancient city of Ile Ife. They were from the Iremo quarters of Ile Ife. The general assertion of the whole of the communities in Remo is that each one of them moved out from the Iremo quarters of Ile Ife. There is the consanguinity traits among all the Remo towns. Remo is applied to bring the whole batch of them together in this division. Remo is coined out from Iremo in Ile Ife.

It is stated that there were two brothers, Arapetu and Liworu. Arapetu was the elder brother whilst Liworu was the younger brother. They were siblings. Their mother's name was Ewusi. They were not direct sons of Ooni of Ile Ife, but they were of the Royal blood of Ile Ife. The two brothers decided to migrate out of the ancient city of Ile Ife to settle on their own. The assertion stated that they left Ile Ife with Royal paraphernallia such as a crown, the Oro, Eluku, Pakoko, Agemo, Ferewa (Olire), Ogun and blacksmithing. They migrated southwards with their mother, wives, children and other relatives. How many they were at their take-off point were not known or mentioned. The routes of migration and partial settlements during the migration were already forgotten and lost in history. The assertion made it abundantly clear that they came to the present Ijebu Ode settlement and they were received with open-arms by the Awujale of Ijebu Ode into the Ijebu Ode Royal household. The implication of the settlement into the Royal household was that there was blood relationship with the Awujale. History had it that some other Remo towns passed through Ijebu Ode and they were not entertained or received into the Royal household of the Awujale, but they settled in the sub-quarters of Ijebu Ode before they moved out again to continue their migration.
The second assertion of the history of Makun pointed out that Makun people are part of Ijebu Ode. It says that Makun was the son of the tenth Awujale of Ijebu Ode, the Obaruwa. Obaruwa reigned after Alayeluwa Ofinran and Alayeluwa Obanganju reigned after him. The first Awujale with an accurate recorded date was Gbelegbuwa I who reigned from 1760 to 1789. Awujale Gbelegbuwa I was the forty-fourth Awujale of Ijebu Ode on the throne.

At the Ijebu Ode settlement, it was said that Makun people were first headed by one Oso, after Oso's death, there was another leader in the name of Osoribiya. The two historical assertions of Makun cannot be thrown overboard. The belief that they came from Iremo quarters of the ancient city of Ile Ife is still admissible. The belief that they are the children of Obaruwa, the tenth Olu of Ijebu Ode cannot be jettisoned either.
Makun however, left Ijebu Ode under the leadership of Osoribiya and they migrated towards the river-rine area of Ijebu land. They settled down as a community. The date and duration are not known. The community founded then is the present Makun Omi. The Makun people again left the new settlement and moved southwestwards. They left a remnant of their people at Makun Omi, hence, the continuous existence of that community up till today. They trekked towards Oko Mayan river, a place very close to Okun Owa. After a short stay at Oko Mayan side, they moved again, passed Okun Owa and trekked towards the fringes of the present Owode Egba. How long it took them on the journey was not known. They settled close to Owuru River. The Makun people and the Egba people inter-married because of their proximity. Makun Community and the Egba people by the virtue of the intermarriages have close relationship with each other.

Despite the marital relationship with the Egbas, the Egbas were very hostile to Makun people. This was due to the territorial ambition of the Egbas. Land proclivity, booty and slaves were choiced material of the Egbas, hence, the Makun people who were then their close neighbours were not at rest. They were exceedingly hostile to Makun people, therefore, there were several wars between the Egbas and the Makun people.
Makun was forced out of their settlement on the Owuru river. Owuru river is the first river towards Lagos after leaving the present Gateway Paradise City. Some of the landed property on the right towards Owuru which the Egbas occupy today are Makun land. Makun moved to another spot to settle in order to avoid further confrontation with the Egbas. The new settlement was named Agege, not Agege of Lagos. They were not left alone again at Agege, they moved away from Agege and settled at Badore because of the Egba hostilities. Badore is the present junction of Likosi-Simawa-Okerala joint road, a few metres to the present Simawa settlement. The villages around, Simawa, Ewu Eleku, Ewu Losi, Likosi, Okerala, Igbowaju. Araromi, etc had once built a market at this particular place. The market had long defunct. Simawa is now extending very rapidly to the site of Badore. Hopefully, Badore will be taking over its past glory of township in the very near future. The Egbas attacked Makun at Badore on March 3, 1851 and destroyed the Makun settlement. Makun survivals took refuge at Ikorodu. Balogun Jayesinmi was the head of Makun warriors then. The Egbas took occupation of Badore. At Ikorodu, Balogun Jayesinmi died and another Balogun was appointed. Ewusi Inanuwa I was the Ewusi of Makun then. The new Balogun was Olumeru. Balogun Olumeru was not happy that the Egbas drove them out of their settlement, hence, he reorganised his forces and marched them to Badore. He attacked the Egbas in a do or die affairs. The Egbas were defeated in the battle. This was in 1852.

After the defeat of the Egbas at Badore, Makun shifted their base and they trekked to Agbele and settled down. They came to Agbele in 1852 under Ewusi Inanuwa I. The Ibido and Igbepa communities were met at close distance from each other. The two communities became close associates of the Makun community. Therefore, the three communities-Makun, Ibido and Igbepa had since been regarded as one family. The Egba hostilities did not abate after Makun's settlement at Agbele. They waged several wars against Makun.
The tocin of war was resounding in Yorubaland. There were welters of poverty and want in Yorubaland. It affected everybody and every clan. There were the following wars to mention a few.
The Makun war of 1782
The Owu war of 1817- 1824
The Owiwi war of 1833
The Egba - Dahomey war from March 3, 1851
There was the Ijaye war from April 10, 1860 - March 17, 1862
The Kiriji war of 1877 to 1893.

Makun was not exempted from some of these wars. Makun even had its own problems with the Egbas and the Awujale through their invasions. There was the special Makun war, the immediate course was the Elepe's crown. Makun was destroyed many times. The second Egba-Dahomey war started on June 19,1862. They pitched their camp against Makun at Agbele. Makun was in such a very serious precarious situation that they retreated to Ikorodu on March 23, 1865. The Egba-Dahomey soldiers took occupation of the Agbele Makun settlement. Balogun Olumeru was very unhappy about the situation and their running away from their adversaries, therefore, he mustered up the courage of his men of arms and told them in bold terms that they had to go back to Agbele and face the Egbas and their allies. They fought very gallantly and Balogun Olumeru lost his life and some of his men during the battle. Another Balogun was appointed during the war. This was Sosimi. He was tall, handsome and very powerful. He had under him military officers or generals such as Kayin-ogun, Agaga, Ogunsile, Lajiga Osinuga (Alias Lajiga Oogun). They fought very gallantly and dismantled the Egba-Dahomey forces. The Egba-Dahomey warriors fled before the Makun forces and they were pursued up to Doogo village.

The idea of coming together and settle in one place had been mooted among the Remo Traditional Communities because of the devastating social evils of the internecine wars. The meeting was held under the leadership of the Akarigbo of Ofen, Oba Oduname Igimisoje. The idea was accepted by all the Traditional Rulers of Remo then. The motive behind the joint settlement was to collectively ward off the invasion of any aggressor. After the defeat of the Egba-Dahomey soldiers in 1865, Makun did not bother to repair its damaged settlement by the Egbas, but moved out of Agbele under the Ewusi Soleghe Olukokun I. They came to the present site of SAGAMU. Makun came to the new settlement before any of the other twelve communities. Makun performed all the necessary rites and rituals to make the new settlement worth living. She named the new settlement after the rivulet found which looked magical in nature. The name of the settlement came out from “Orisa gun amu ewa” and abridged to SAGAMU.

From the early settlement, Makun Community used the Orisagamu rivulet as their source of drinking water. No other river is available to them except the Orisagamu water. Sonyindo relied on the Ubu river. Epe and Oko also relied on the Ubu river but approached at different locations. Batoro and Ado relied on the Egudu water. Ofen relied on both the Egudu and the Ubu river. Ijoku, Latawa, Ijagba relied on the Eruwuru river at different locations. These rivers and the Egudu water source were the sources of the drinking water for the separate Sagamu Communities after settlement in Sagamu till 1958 when Sagamu was given pipe-borne water. There was no confrontational attitude among the separate communities. Each of the rivers those days had their ALASE. An ALASE oversees the rites and rituals for the separate river sources of the communities. The Alase of the rivers then were women. The goddess of the river is regarded as a woman, hence, the ALASE of the rivers then were women. The Alase in Makun for the Orisagamu river was a woman. As one Alase dies, another woman was appointed to replace her. Some years back, for political reasons, the position of the Alase of the Orisagamu river was taken away from Makun. Land ownership removed the position of the Alase from Makun after a century in office. The present Alase of the Orisagamu river is now a man as against a woman. He was appointed by Ofin and acts on behalf of Ofin.
The Vision and Mission of Makun on the new settlement for peaceful co-existence and social development became realistic. No single war attacked the new settlement since its formation. The community continues to extend right, left and beyond ever since. Makun put in place the first ever market in Remoland and it was called Obu Makun. Obu Makun means Makun Market. For political reasons, the Obu Makun had for many years now been called FALAWO.

The other Remo towns in the South- Ibido, Igbepa, Sonyindo, Epe, Ado, Oko, Ipoji, Batoro, Ijoku, Latawa, Ijagba and Ofen-moved into the new settlement from the last quarter of 1865 one after the other. The first set of Ofen people to come from their homestead to the new settlement came in 1869. The final batch of the Ofen people came in 1872. The Northern Remo towns did not comply with the joint decision. They jettisoned the idea on the advice of the then Alaperu. The non-compliance of the joint decision had created a division, Remo North and Remo South. Despite the separation into Remo North and Remo South, oneness has not eluded the Division and Sagamu has since then been the Headquarters of the Division. The Akarigbo remains the Paramount Ruler.

The first Ewusi at the Agbele settlement was Ewusi Inanuwa I. He passed on at Agbele in 1852. The next Ewusi was Ajayi Afolu I. He died in 1862.
After the demise of Ajayi Afolu I, Soleghe Olukokun Ogberegedeloba I became the Ewusi in 1862. He was the Ewusi who led the Makun people to the present site of Sagamu in 1865.
Makun has four ruling houses. They are:-

(a)        Osoribiya/Abara
(b)        Inanuwa
(c)        Muleoruwa/Orungba
(d)       Eerikokunsa/Olukokun/Agunloye.

The four ruling houses rotate the kingship of the Ewusi.
When an Ewusi departs to join his ancestors, it is the tradition of Makun to perform all the traditional rites and rituals. The next ruling house knows itself. It is their duty to present the candidate for the vacant stool. The family can present one or more candidates to the kingmakers in Makun. The kingmakers in Makun are ten in number. They are the following through their titles. Only those who are holding these titles as at the time a new king is to be appointed are the kingmakers. They are as follows.

1.         The      Lisa
2.         “          Losi
3.         “          Aro
4.         “          Odofin
5.         “          Oliwo
6.         “          Apena
7.         “          Balogun
8.         “          Ogbeni odi (Asoju Oba)
9.         “          Olotu Omoba.
10.       “          Akoje.

The Ile Ife historical edition of Makun and the Ijebu Ode school of thought as earlier expressed cannot be set aside. Both of them wedged into a single history of Makun. There are four PATRIARCHS of the Makun community. They are  ARAPETU, LIWORU, OBARUWA and OSORIBIYA. The first two are from the Ile Ife assertion and the last two are from the Ijebu Ode assertion. The descendants of Arapetu are the people of Ojutun Makun Sagamu. The Osis (the ancestral gods and goddesses) of Makun are mostly in the custody of the OJUTUN people. The Agbala is basically in their charge, Agemo, Olire (Ferewa) Eluku, Pakoko, Oro and blacksmithing. The position of the elder brother was considered and respected. Liworu, the younger brother was the PATRIARCH of the AGBOWA people. They had their share of the ancestral clan property as Oro, and Pakoko. Ojutun and Agbowa are the main quarters of Makun. Other quarters were created by those who left the main quarters. OBARUWA is still held in an esteemed position in Makun. The climax of this esteemed position is the Obaruwa Festival which comes up in February annually. The last of the PATRIARCHS is OSORIBIYA. He featured at the Ijebu Ode settlement. History said he led the Makun people to Makun Omi settlement. Those who are very familiar with Makun greet them as MAKUN OSORIBIYA. MAKUN is cognate with OSORIBIYA.

The Patriarchs of Makun as detailed in the above paragraph are Arapetu, Liworu, Obaruwa and Osoribiya. History does not detail out all the kings that had reigned in Makun in their different settlements. The oral historical facts known took off as follows:

1.         Ewusi Osoribiya - Atobatele I
2.         Ewusi Agunloye - Agunloye I
3.         Ewusi Eerikokunsa - Eerikokunsa I
4.         Ewusi Orungba - Orungba I
5.         Ewusi Inanuwa - Inanuwa I
6.         Ewusi Ajayi Afolu - Afolu I
7.         Ewusi Soleghe Olukokun - Olukokun I
8.         Ewusi Soyombo Agunloye - Agunloye II
9.         Ewusi Sotinwa Atobatele - Atobatele II
10.       Ewusi Theo. Oremade - Olukokun II
11.       Ewusi Michael Ashaye - Eerikokunsa II
12.       Ewusi Henry Adetunji Ayeola - Afolu II
13.       Ewusi Olutayo Efuwape Ogunsowo - Inanuwa II
14.       Ewusi Timothy Oyesola Akinsanya - Orungba II

There are two main quarters in Makun, Ojutun and Agbowa. These two main quarters are traditionally associated with all the clan cults of Makun. With the coming of Christianity and Islam, the traditional clan cults are still maintained by their custodians. There are other major quarters and sub-quarters that emanated from the two main quarters. The quarters, either major or sub-quarter are the following.

1.         Itun Alara
2.         Itun Imode
3.         Itun Ejina
4.         Itun Abara
5.         Itun Emuko
6.         Itun Ojutun
7.         Itun Isote
8.         Itun Yenugho
9.         Itun Ode
10.       Itun Kuna
11.       Itun Regun
12.       Itun Agbon    
13.       Itun Liwo
14.       Itun Ladugba
15.       Itun Oje
16.       Itun Solomade

In the early settlement of the Makun people, there were quarters as explained above. There were also compounds named after the clan- heads. The quarters and compounds were close clan or family oriented. Today, this has changed, any person from anywhere or any clan buys his land and builds his house. The issue of family relationship does not arise. The inter-relationship of  the people and the individual commitment of the early period does not exist any more. The early people, the Makun people, believed in the inter-relationship of the people in the early period and took it as a custom, hence, there were many compounds. Some of them are listed here as sample:

1.         Onayemi Compound
2.         Liworu Compound
3.         Odumala Compound
4.         Otunba Kogu Compound
5.         Agaga Compound
6.         Salu Compound
7.         Oliwo Adumadueyin Compound
8.         Desan Compound
9.         Oduguwa Compound
10.       Odugboro Compound
11.       Ojabelo Compound
12.       Onileowo Compound
13.       Agbonmagbe Compound
14.       Orenuga Compound

Many of these compounds are still existing. If you want to admire the ancient art of our old fathers, go to Odumala compound at Isale Agbowa and also Otunba Kogu Awolesi in Ojutun and see the doors of the enterance, doors of over one hundred years old, still existing at the enterance of the compounds. There is no foreign hand in the construction of the doors.
Makun had settled down since 1865. The peace envisaged has not eluded her. The vision and mission of the Makun community for the federated towns have been accomplished. Sagamu is the Headquarters of Remo  Divison. Sagamu is the seat of the Remo Paramount Ruler, the Akarigbo. Sagamu is one of the most important towns in Ogun State. Sagamu became a commercial center since the second decade of the twentieth Century. Sagamu is bouncing in beauty, rapid development and she admits all types of tribes to itself and these co-exist with her people peacefully.