How history played out Ido-Ekiti, by monarch
From WOLE BALOGUN, Ado-Ekiti
Ido-Ekiti, a sprawling community in Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, has been in the news for the wrong reasons. There were reports of crimes particularly kidnapping of some staff of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), killing of a senior police officer, and violent protests by youths in the town in the past two years ago.
Peace was, however, restored when, through the instrumentality of Governor Ayodele Fayose, a detachment of security operatives including the Nigerian Army, mobile policemen and local vigilante were mobilized as requested by the monarch of the town, Oba Ayorinde Ilori-Faboro, Ajiboyede 111, the Olojudo of Ido-Ekiti, a retired sailor.
The peaceful atmosphere made the last two editions of “Ajodun Ido Oganganmodu” very successful. President, Ido Progressive Forum (IPF), Olofinlade Jomo and chairman, organizing committee of the festival, Sola Ogunsina, testified that Ajodun Ido Oganganmodu 2016 was great, but the 2017 edition, held recently, was greater. It was a week-long event featuring environmental sanitation, inter-school debate, free health services for indigenes, widows’ empowerment, marathon race, football competition, stage play on Kiriji War, homage to the Olojudo, cultural competition and beauty contest.
Oba Faboro used the occasion to correct erroneous impression, allegedly created over the time by earlier historians who wrote about the Kiriji War to the effect that a pivotal role, played by Ido town, through one of her great warriors, Faboro, great grand father of the present monarch, was relegated to the background: “Painfully, these days when people talk of the Kiriji War, they relegate the role that Ido played in the prosecution of that war.
“It is true the war started with Fabunmi at Okemesi but Fabunmi was very young at that time. It is true he was rascally, and also true that Fabunmi beheaded the Ajele, who was the Ibadan envoy to Ekiti, thereby causing the war. But being a young man, after beheading the Ajele, he panicked and ran away from Okemesi to his mother’s town in Ogotun to hide. Ibadan people at that time were powerful and they were going to sack the whole of Okemesi, which was just a village then.
“Fabunmi’s mothers’ people took him to the Ologotun of that time and explained what he had done to Okemesi, and sought advice. Ologotun also panicked saying Fabunmi’s act would ruin his town, and so he brought Fabunmi to the palace of Olojudo here.
“Oba Olaisade, the first Olojudo here was equally a young man then, this was around the 1870s. He also agreed that he would be in trouble if the Ibadan people found out that Fabunmi was hiding in Ido, but he took Fabunmi and his mother’s people to an elderly monarch, the Ore of Otun-Ekiti, who he thought would know the right step to take on the matter. The Ore of Otun was vast in Ifa divinity at that time when the Olojudo, Ologotun and Fabunmi’s people went to him.
“It was at the Ore’s Palace that the people invited a team of Ifa priests to inquire from the gods the right step to take to avert tragedy for Ekiti communities.
“Ifa oracle told them that all Ekiti people had to come together to fight the war so that they would not become slaves to Ibadan people. That was why from there, they invited all the monarchs at that time in Ekiti land and they were very few then. We had the Ore of Otun, Olojudo of Ido, Ajero of Ijero, Alara of Aramoko, Alayemore of Efon Alaaye and Elekole of Ikole. Ewi of Ado was a traveller from Benin who settled in Ado-Ekiti later.
“These Obas organised their warriors and went to Okemesi, a border town between Ekiti and Osun, the place where the war was fought. Ido was not prominent then. The Eleyinmi was head of warriors but he was very old then.
“Ido kingdom at that time consisted of Aaye, Igbole, Ora,Ifaki, Esinsin, Usi and Ulogbo. They all contributed men to fight. Those who did not have brave and strongmen to fight were pushed to the war front by other strong soldiers and they easily got killed. And so Ido was losing men initially at the war front.
“The Ibadan warriors were gaining the upper hand, even after our forces got Ogendengbe who had experience in warring, still Ibadan were winning and our people began to panic at home.
“It was at this point that all Ekiti Obas began to look for machineries to fight for them. In the course of this they remembered my great grand father, Faboro who had earlier left the town for Ilorin. History said Faboro was a very restless young man before he left Ido and became a very powerful warrior in Ilorin.
“The Kabiyesi here then was reminded that his brother, Faboro, who was chased out of town for being restless had become a prominent warrior in Ilorin and he should go look for him.
“The Olaisade sent delegates to Faboro to come and fight for Ekiti. He was invited three times and first two attempts he turned down, but when they begged him, telling him that his father’s home and legacy would be wiped off by the Ibadan warriors he agreed and returned with many Oyo warriors who were his colleagues at that time. He joined forces with others and went for the war. Olaisade, Ore and Ajero joined Faboro at the war front and that was the beginning of the war’s stalemate.
“It was then the Ibadan warriors began to realize that Ekiti was becoming stronger and were asking who was fighting for them. The discovery that Faboro from Ido was the one who changed the tide made Ido’s popularity to spread across board.
“Olojudo then and Faboro with other Kabiyesis spent nine years at the war front with their wives before they returned. When they did, the Olojudo did many things for Faboro to compensate and immortalise him.
“That was when the then Olojudo officially named my great grand father Faboro Ido to confirm what many had started calling the town, Ido Faboro (Faboro’s Ido) during the war. The Olojudo then gave Faboro land and married wives for him. I am the first Faboro’s son to sit in the palace as monarch in Ido.
“The story of Faboro’s role in the history of the war and to a large extent that of Ido, has been relegated. The reason Ekiti Parapo College was sited in Ido was in recognition of the prominent role Faboro of Ido played in the prosecution of the war.
“The people of Ido know this history and respected it well but because we haven’t been blowing our trumpet, earlier historians distorted the accounts and made it look like it was Okemesi who led the war and won it single-handedly. As a matter of fact, Okemesi was just a village then and her traditional leader then was a Baale. At the end of the Kiriji War, those who signed the treaty included Olojuido, Ore, Ajero and the Owa of Ilesa.”
At the grand finale of the festival at the premises of Iganganmodu Secondary School, Ido, many illustrious sons and daughters as well as their friends were presented. They represented their various social and age groups including Ido Progressive Union, Ido Movement Club, Golden Social Club of Ido, Ido-Ekiti Empowernment and Industrialisation Committee and Rainbow Club Ido. Each of these groups took turn to pay homage to the monarch.
Awards recognising excellent contributions to the development of the town were given to eminent sons and daughters including Alhaja Suebat Adebola Suleiman, Chief Idowu Faleye, former state chairman, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Gabriel Fasuyi, Mr. Olorunda Esan and Pa Jimoh Afolabi Obelawo.
Chairman at the occasion, Alhaji Muhammed Awwal Garba, excited the people when he donated N20million to support their N250 million fund raising for community projects. The Rainbow Club followed suit with N5 million while many other sons and daughters and their friends also donated generously.
A book on the history of Ido, written by Ireti Omodola, was launched by the monarch. Oba Faboro was elated and he showed it: “I am extremely happy at the progress we are making as a people and as a town, my people are very much identified with me and I am grateful. All the events of the week-long festival were carefully thought out and planned.
“Each of the events has its own satisfaction, the football tournament, the marathon race and dance competition all contributed to the success of the festival. Today, which is the grand finale, we are raising money for the development of the town.
“We have an army camp, which we are building. There is a small detachment of the Nigerian Army staying in my house presently. What we want to do is to build a small camp and move them there. We are also building a town hall, started in 1969, we will also ensure this is worked on.
“We also need a utility block for the palace. We are going to manage the building ourselves using direct labour. I wish friends who have been part of this festival and all my children success in all their endeavours.”
Wishing the monarch and his people well and advising them to keep joining hands to develop the community, Chief Bayo Ogunmodimu, an ex-student of Ekiti Parapo College and first alumni of the school to be appointed its vice principal said: “This edition of Ajodun Ido has been highly successful because our people have put in their best into it. I congratulate the organising committee, I advise all Ido sons and daughters to join our monarch in moving the state forward and for those outside to also come home and develop the state.”
Pa Sesan Akinola said he was particularly excited about the play which corrected the distortion of the history of Kiriji War: “For those of us who are old enough to know the authentic history of Kiriji War, we are particularly excited about the play, which brought to fore Ido’s great contribution to the end of the war. This is a very y remarkable aspect of this festival this year and we commend the Kabiyesi on this.”
Others such as Chief Babatope Bejide, chairman, Ido Summit Committee and Chief (Mrs.) Olabisi Fakorede, president, Golden Social Club of Ido, said they were impressed with the turn-out of 2017 edition of Ajodun Ido Oganganmodu.