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HISTORY OF EDE ~ Nationnewslead


Ede is a town in Osun State, southwestern Nigeria. It lies along the Osun River at a point on the railroad from Lagos, 112 miles (180 km) southwest, and at the intersection of roads from Oshogbo, Ogbomosho, and Ife. Ede is one of the older towns of the Yoruba people. It is traditionally said to have been founded about 1500 by Timi Agbale, a hunter and warlord sent by Alaafin (King) Kori of Old Oyo (Katunga), capital of the Oyo empire, to establish a settlement to protect the Oyo caravan route to Benin (127 miles [204 km] to the southeast), a purpose similar to that of other Nigerian towns. Nearby towns include Awo, Iragberi and Oshogbo.


Its traditional ruler is known as the Timi Agbale, popularly referred to as Timi Agbale Olofa-Ina. According to myth, he is the man whose arrows bring out fire.

The present Ede was established by Timi Kubolaje Agbonran around 1817 along with his siblings: Oyefi, Ajenju, Arohanran and Oduniyi, all being the descendants of Lalemo. The former Ede is known as Ede-Ile.

The founder and historical head of Ede, Timi Agbale Olofa Ina, was one of the great lords leading the Yoruba Army at that time of both internal and external aggression around Yoruba land. He was in the Upper Cadre of the military chiefs. The first Ede settlement, established as a military outpost in the sixteenth century by the Oyo authorities had to be shifted to the other side of the Osun River round 1818-1819. One account of the movement had it that when the Afonja, the Aare Onakakanfo, based in Ilorin who betrayed the Alaafin as he joined hands with the Fulani Jihadists to declare Ilorin independent of Oyo control and went further to organize invasion of Yoruba towns like Osogbo, Ede, Ejigbo, Ilobu etc, all in the Province. The old Ede settlement had to be shifted for strategic reasons. It was this account of incessant invasion that made the security of the town precarious that forced the people to relocate to the present site of Ede. There is no doubt that if Ede was to be safe from Fulani attack it needed a neutral barrier to shield her. The man who had this political foresight was Timi Kubolaje Agbaran.

However, another account said Timi Agbale had two sons, Lanodi. After the death of Timi Agbale, the monopoly of the throne by Lamadu and his descendants forced Lalemo’s decendants to move away from Ede Ile to their own town which is the present Ede.

After leaving Ede Ile for the Omo Lamodis, they consulted Ifa oracle, who told them to continue their exodus until they crossed a big river-the Osun river. On crossing the Osun River, the Ifa oracle asked them to proceed until they finally settled at a point a little across the Osun river.

By the time they settled in the new Ede, the eldest brother (Oyefi) was said to be too old and died. So, the next most senior son, Agbonran became the first Timi of the present Ede. The other brothers: Ajeniju and Arohanran, took their turns to ascend the Timi stool. By the time it got to the turn of Oduniyi, the old man had died and his younger son, Abibu langunju, ascended the throne. It is on record that despite his many travail, he remained the longest serving Timi, having reigned for 60 years before he died at a ripe age of 90 years.

But there was no controversy that during his reign, Timi Agbale Olofa Ina rose to the Head of Yoruba Army in Ibolo Province of the Oyo Empire, saddling him with the responsibility of warding off any from external invasion, especially the Fulani Jihadists.

History recorded Timi Agbale Olofa Ina as a very powerful warlord who was described in Samuel Johnson’s History of the Yoruba from the Earliest time of the Beginning of the British Protectorate, as “an archer, noted for his deadly arrow who more than justified his appointment as Aare Onakanfo by the Alaafin”. At the peak of his reign, it was almost a sacrilege to address Timi Agbale without the appellation “Olofa Ina”.

Between 1824 and 1840, Ede was involved in the various wars of resistance fought to repel the Fulani’s invasion into the Yoruba territory. Among the notable wars fought were: Ogele and Mugba Mugba wars; the Ede-Ogbomoso war’ among others. And not until 1835 when Alaafin Oluewu appealed to all Yoruba leaders/Chiefs to sink their differences and come together as a people from the same origin that peace began to reign in the land. He essentially warned them to be curious of the danger in any disunity in their ranks because of the rampaging Fulani Jihadists who had established a strong foothold in Ilorin and were ready to expand more into the cost region of the west.

At the time, the reigning Timi was Bamgbaiye Ajeniju who was reputed as the richest Timi that ever reigned in Ede. Timi Bamgbaiye Ajeniji was said to have such a large number of goats and sheep in his garden that he lost count of their figure. The animals were said to be so many that they ate up all the green grass in the large garden. He was in the saddle during those turbulent period in Yorubaland.

In essence, what one is trying to draw out is the strategic position of Ede and Its rulers in the scheme of things in Yoruba land. When loyalty was failing, in this face of personal and individual ambition, the loyalty of the founding fathers of Ede never failed the Yoruba Nation. This was amplified by the resolve of Timi Bamgbaiye Ajeniju who promptly responded to a seized-fire in the intra- Yoruba.

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