History of Osogbo

CONCEPTS ABOUT THE EARLY HISTORY

The influences that can affect the history of a people are said to be of two kinds, which can be called internal or external, the former resulting from the character and pursuits of the people, the latter from the historical contacts and the political or religious movements and fashions that have come from outside.

The early history of Osogbo is essentially the legendary account of the spirit-world; it is the history of the early people whom we call the spirits and fairies. This is in line with Yoruba traditions, which use mythical stories to explain the origins of the ruling families of an early Yoruba state.

Research into our traditions which is becoming increasingly known in scholarly circles reveals that Osogbo had been founded as early as Oduduwa period. Oso-igbo, the goddess of Osun River, was the Queen and original founder of Osogbo. She was credited with many important achievements, which helped to establish the State. She lived in a beautiful surrounding and possessed magical powers, which inspired her people and frightened their enemies. Traditions acclaim her the goddess of fertility, protection and blessings. She possessed the ability to give children (through birth) to barren women and power to heal the sick and the afflicted by means of her medicinal water from the river.


The ATUPA OLOJUMERINDINLOGUN is a pointer to the beautiful surrounding. It was a sixteen-point lamp which was allegedly kept burning from dusk to dawn to maintain the glory of the place at night. This can be likened to the modern day electrification of a community area. Today the Queen and her descendants and admirers are referred to in praise as: -

“OMO ATUPA MERINDINLOGUN TI I TAN L' OROKI ILE.

B' O BA TAN F' OBA, A TAN F' OSUN.

A TUN TAN FUN IRUNMALE, A TAN F' ENYAN.”

Another eulogy about the beautiful surrounding says: -

“OSOGBO WU MI I DE, KI N LO D' AGBALA OSUN,

NI `BI TI WON TI N RE `RO TI WON TUN N GUN `DO IDE.”


Other characters who assisted Oso-igbo in her administration include:

LAKOKAN: This was second in rank in the organization and the first character to be seen and appeased before the Osun goddess could be approached.

IYAMAPO: The Queen (Oso-igbo) and the people were convinced that the grove was their soul and the source of their strength and, as such, guarded it at all costs. The Iyamapo was the sentry spirit charged with the duty of guarding the entrance to the grove.

OSANYIN: Was the spirit or character with the duty of protecting the grove from outside attack. Hence the praise-song: -

“A FI IBU `SANYIN SE ANPATA (2ce)

OGUN KO JA, K'OGUN K'OROKI

A FI IBU `SANYIN SE ANPATA” which literally translates: -

“We hold Ibu `sanyin as our shield (2ce)

No ravaging war ever devastated Oroki

We hold Ibu `sanyin as our shield.

AJE: Was generally in charge of the indigenous industry (dyeing) and finance.

OMENIYANMERIN was mainly in charge of internal security and was a character believed to possess the power to literally “swallow” enemies. Hence the name, “O MI ENIYAN, MI ERIN” (he who swallows, even men and elephants).

(f) AJIGUN was the giver of children to barren women through the use of medicinal waters from the river.

(g) IGBO AWOWO was the abyss where condemned criminals were thrown alive to meet their waterloo. It was a system of justice.

Listen to a typical local folklore song of Osogbo people...
(Song rendered in Yoruba language.  Windows Media Player / Real audio required to play this file)


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