Why Basorun Ogunmola Family Is Prominent In Ibadan

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In Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, the Ogunmola family is very popular and strong. And from generation to generation the family has kept their value and tradition. Their matriach Basorun Ogunmola”s story is a fascinating one. His life and time was ridled with lots interesting stories, from being an oracle diviner since age 10 and later to a warlord. He was one of the foremost warriors the ancient city of Ibadan has ever produced. He didn’t not only fought and won several wars but also went ahead to become Ibadan ruler between 1865-67.

In fact, Ogunmola’s story is a well known story to all and sundry. Different accounts of his life and time, alongside other prⁿominent warriors, has been captured by many writers or historians in the history of Yoruba. His bravery, involvement and exploits in many wars that ravaged the Yoruba land several centuries ago, has also been discussed on many occasions and on different mediums too.

It is also an established fact that Ogunmola led and won many wars which includes but not limited to, Kiriji, Ijebu, Egba, Ekiti para po etc and the most prominent of them all, the Ijaye war. How he led other Ibadan’s warriors to wage war against another Yoruba Generalissimo, Kurunmi, in solidarity for the then Alaafin of Oyo. How he ruled Ibadan land between 1865-1867 and all that.

As Ogunmola’s life has become part of Yoruba history and a case study for students, researchers and film makers, however, there are so many shocking things people don’t know about his family.

Not many people known that there some things that are taboos to the prominent Ogunmola family in Ibadan. Very few are also aware that Ogunmola’s tomb, shrine as well as war tools used by the late war general, are been preserved up till this moment, and has since turned to a tourist centre for those who may be interested in his history and all.

All these effects are not only being properly kept but still being worship as Ogunmola used to do in his time, including the god of iron (Ogun).

A visit to the family house, located at Beere area of Ibadan, near the popular Mapo Hall, by this reporter revealed that Ogunmola’s remains was buried right in the premises, near his shrine. It is also in the same place the family’s masquerades and other historical artefacts are kept. His children; Oshunsina, Ikori, Omosa, Omigire, Obabunmi Kongi and others, all of whom were warriors, were also buried within the compound. Even a gun, said to have been given to Ogunmola by a whiteman called Captain Ciron, to appease him to fighting wars, was still intact at the shrine.

It was also during the visit that the reporter learnt that there some things anybody born from the family must not do.

It was exclusively revealed that the Basorun Ogunmola family must not drink pap made of millet. That they must not also bath with hot water, no matter how cold is the whether. This was said to be as result of the fact that the family are descendants of Osun (the seagodess).

There is also this tradition a new born baby into the family must go through; it is called “Ifa Lomo”. It is a process whereby the new born is made to drink from seven calabashes, to ascertain whether he or she is the real child of the family or a bastard. Even if the child is born in the hospital, the rituals must be carried out after they would have been discharged from the hospital.

But who really was Basorun Ogunmola? How did he came about his power and all that?

Ogunmola, according to Sikiru Ogunmola, the man in charge of the shrine and who also doubles as the Agbaakin Oje of Ibadan land, was a great warrior and an Ifa priest. He started divining oracle since he was ten years old.

“Basorun Ogunmola was born in Iwo, at Ifeesu, Alawe Compound. He started Ifa divination at the age of 10. Whatever he says will happen would definitely come to pass. So powerful was Ogunmola that before the then Oluwo called his father, Orisagunna, he has seen it that he had to leave the town. Even without having a particular place in mind, he sets out. He later settled at a village called “Oyin”, it is close to Iwo,” he said.

His Journey To Ibadan

He started his life there but it got to a time again that it was revealed to him through Ifa, that he had to leave. He was made to understand that cotton wool will outgrown the place in the future. That is why they normally praise us as “a bi’besu, ara ilu Oyin, Omo owu laba ki, owu laba yin. Bi o ba si owu, onirunru idi laba ma ri, bi Koko, bi ewo”. He was thereafter directed to move to Ibadan by the oracle. It was called ‘Eba Odan” then.

On getting to Ibadan however, he met the likes of Iba Oluyole, Ibikunle, Oderinlo and others. He was later to meet with Iba Oluyole, to seek for a place where he could settle, only for him to be told to be living in the backyard (popularly nowadays as BQ). Ogunmola outright rejected the offer, as backyard was meant to be for slaves back then.

He went to Oderinlo too, the response was the same. He then looked up and saw a thick forest where Mapo Hall is today. He requested to be given permission to erect his tent there, but be was told that the place was dangerous. It was full of mysterious creatures and wild animals, else reason the area was abandoned. He was eventually allowed to move there and built his house with leaves, that was the normal practise then. Ogunmola was able to conquered all the wild animals, including the lion that used to kill people. Statue of the lion is what we have today at Mapo.

After a while, Ogunmola got another revelation that Mapo won’t be accomodating to them in the future. They moved aite bit downward and settled where the compound is located today.

The Genesis of Ijaye War

When Ogunmola had settled in Ibadan, he was going form there to wars and whenever there was no war, he result back to his job as Ifa priest. It was Ifa job that took him to Olosa Oko, a village along Moniya. And it was there and then he learnt that Kurunmi’s favourite wife was unable to conceive. Ogunmola therefore went to Ijaye and consulted oracle for her and told her what to do. She eventually hot pregnant. But she also went through difficulties in giving birth. She was said to have been in labour for six days before Ogunmola could find his way back to Ijaye.

Ogunmola came and performed some rituals again, which led to a successful delivery of the baby. But instead of Ogunmola to be compensated by Kurunmi, he was said to be tied and prepared to be sacrificed to god of iron (Ogun) in seven days to come. But the day before the 7th day, Kurunmi’s wife secretly unchained Ogunmola.

Ogunmola having regained his freedom had to disguised and went to Kurunmi’s Chief priest and narrated his ordeal, after they had both taken oath.

He was later to lead other Ibadan warriors to wage war against Kurunmi on request of the then Alaafin, who Kurunmi was said to have sinned against.

It was the war that consumed Kurunmi. He was said to have angrily disappeared at Ose river, having lost most of his children to the same war.

Only the wife that saved Ogunmola and child were spared. They were later to settle at place called “Oke Adu” in Ibadan.

Ogunmola’s last moments

According Mr. Sikiru Ogunmola, Basorun Ogunmola later died as a result of what could best be described as conspiracy. His bed was laced with measles (Igbona). But for the brave man that Ogunmola was, even when perpetrators of the evil act were identified and people wanted to appeal to them for the cure. Ogunmola rejected the offer and later died..………..See More

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