THE FOUNDING OF OYAN

THE FOUNDING OF OYAN

The town now called Oyan was founded by one of the princess of Oduduwa, the founder of Yoruba race and king of Ile Ife, the cradle of Yoruba race. His name was Epe (pronounced Ae-pay)

The Great Ife Dispersal. In his book, Mr. E.A.Alademomi claimed that Oduduwa, the father of Epe lost his sight and Ifa Oracle divined that only sea water could help restore his sight. One of his sons named Ajibogun Obokun volunteered to get the sea water at all cost. He departed Ile Ife with blessings from Oduduwa but did not return to Ile-Ife in time and he was presumed dead. During Ajibogun long absence, three promising sons of Oduduwa also died one after the other. As result, Oduduwa was forced to advise some of his other sons to leave Ile-Ife and found their own Kingdoms. During the dispersal ceremony, Oduduwa precisely designated Oranmiyan as his successor and then dispersed the first set of seven princesses eighteen princes among them were the Owa of Igbajo, the Owa of Otan Aiyegbaju. Oduduwa prayed for them and gave each of them essential royal paraphernalia as an Ife. They all departed Ile-Ife accompanied by their respective sibling and well wishers. Epe was in the retinue of Owa of Igbajo being his sibling

Ajibogun finally returned with the sea water which restored the sight of Oduduwa. He was then told that most of his brothers had left in search of their own kingdoms and that all the essential princely legacies had been distributed to them and nothing was left except a sword called “Ida Ase”. So Oduduwa gave him this sword and permitted him to go after his brothers in order to retrieve some of the royal paraphernalia with strict instruction not to kill any one of them. He caught up with them and attacked their convoy. Sighting the sword of victory with their attackers, the princes did not fight but ran in different directions leaving a sizeable part of the paraphernalia. Ajibogun gathered the loot and returned to Ile-Ife. When the princes realized that it was Ajibogun that attacked him, they regrouped and camped in a place now known as Igbajo about a hundred Kilometers from Ile-Ife. Igbajo means ‘regrouping’. Ifa oracle divined that Owa of Igbajo must remain in this spot while the others dispersed again to continue the search for their individual kingdoms.

Epe’s Departure. Epe was of the last princes to leave Igbajo because of his relatively young age. Owa for some reasons tried to persuade Epe not to leave. Owa then invited Epe to talk about his planned departure but Epe dodged the meeting on the pretence that he was hungry. Owa then remarked that Epe was an Oyanu, a nickname given Epe during their initial journey from Ile-Ife because of his huge appetite and constant compliant of hunger due to his tender age. Oyannu means ‘prone to hunger’. Finally Epe and his fellow migrants left Igbajo and headed to Igbo-Ajagun-nla, the present day Ila Orangun which is the kingdom of Fagbamila Oranmigun, an older Ife prince who had earlier left Ile-Ife in the first Ife dispersal. It is believed that Fagbamila Oranmigun, Aresi, the founder of Iresi, another sister town that shares boundary with Ila Orangun, and Epe were of the same mother,

Another oral version had it that when Fagbamila was leaving Ile Ife around 1200A.D, he left with some of his brothers among whom were Onigbajo, Epe, Aresi and their sister named Eri. Since Fagbamila was leaving with many of his princely brothers, Oduduwa in his wisdom gave a lot of paraphernalia to be shared between him and his brothers. Epe and Aresi lived with Fagbamila until they were old enough to found their own kingdoms. When they were leaving Igbo-Ajagun-nla, Fagbamila advised Epe to head westward and Aresi to head eastwards of Igbo Ajagun-nla.

Epe’s Itinerary. According to Mr. E. O. Alademomi, Epe first tried to settle at Igbo Ogun, a place between Asi and Ila Orangun. From there he and his migrants moved to Ekuru, aplace near Otan Aiyegaju; from there he moved to Ese Adan and Amaba.At Amaba, his Ifa priest divined that his final settlement wounld be a place after a river where he would find many ‘agbigbo’ peron birds. Epe left Amaba, crossed River Otun and settled down at Ajibope in the present day Ajibope area of Oyan. He planted ‘peregun’ tree there for the worship of Ogun, the god of iron. Epe lost his first son atAjibope before he discovers that there were no peron birds at Ajibope. So Epe and his migrants had to move on until they found a place where there were many Peron birds. That place is the present Onile Compound of Oyan. The first thing Epe did was to set up Ogun shrine with the planting of peregun tree.

Oyanu. On their itinerary, Epe and his followers journeyed about without much to eat and Epe on many occasions refused to listen to sound advice of his followers due to hunger. Because of his large appetite and constant compliant of hunger, his follower started calling him ‘Oyannu’. This nickname was later shortened to Oyan. So whenever anyone was going to see Epe, they would just say were going to Oyan. As time went by the place that Epe lived became known as Oyan.

Founding of Oyan. Fagbami Version. Another oral traditional account believed that that Epe was the last born of the children of Anain Adetinrin, one of the wives of Oduduwa. The account claimed that Fagbami Oranmigun, the founder of the present day Ila Orangun and the Igbomina Kingdom, wasof the same parentage with Epe and Aresi, the founder of Iresi and Eri, their sister. Since fagbamila was leaving Ile Ife with his brothers, Oduduwa in his share of his brothers’ to be kept for them till they became old enough to found their own kingdoms. This attests to the fact that Orangun of Ila has more crowns then any othe Yoruba Oba.

Epe and Aresi lived with their elder brother Fagbami until they were old enough to found their own kingdom. When they decided to leave Igbo-Ajagun-nla, Fagbamila gave them their own share of the crowns and advised Epe to head west of Igbo-Ajegun-nla while Aresi headed east. Their sister Eric however, continued to live with Fagbamila in Igbo-Ajegu-nla Ifa oracle divined that Epe should settle after crossing river where there were many peron birds. So when Epe and his team crossed Otin River they decided to settle at place now called Ajibope. This place was named after his Ifa priest, Ajibopelesoro. Epe set up an Ogun shrine and planted peregun tree as he normally did at any new site. Later on Epe lost one of his promising sons at this spot and when Ifa was consulted, he was told he had not reached where he should settle down. It then occurred to Epe that though he had crossed a river, there were no peron birds to be found. Upon this revelation, Epe and his fellow migrants once again packed their bags and baggage to begin another search for the place divined for them by Ifa oracle. They finally found a place where there were many peron birds at a spot now known as Onile Compound of Oyan. The first thing Epe did was to set up an Ogun shrine and planted a peregun tree as customary of him in all the places he tried to settle. The Ogun shrine with the peregun tree is in front of Onile Compound adjacent to Ojuode Local mosque.

Founding of Oyan-Aladepe Version. This version claims that the founder of Oyan was named Aladepe. He migrated to Oyan as far back as 1210AD. He was a warlike prince and farmer. He had a huge appetite for food and was noted to be a glutton. This version has it that, one day when Aladepe returned home from his hunting expedition, he asked his wives for food, but there was no cooked food ready for him. To take care of his hunger, he peeled raw sweet potatoes and ate them uncooked. His people were astonished and they nicknamed him “Oyannu” meaning “one who is always hungry” So, whenever people were going to him in his camp, they would say “we are going to Oyannu’s place”. The place was later shortened to Oyan.

Conclusion: There are many versions and the founding of Oyan as the number of oral historians I interviewed. Many of them are not worth putting on record. In deciding what to accept, I faced the problem of authenticity of the sources and I therefore thought it fit to give the readers the right to make the final judgment as what version or believe or accept.