500 years of the Osemawe Dynasty

// News | General | 500 years of the Osemawe Dynasty
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

In the track on Ondo in a record album featuring various kingdoms in Yorubaland, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey invited listeners to join him in saluting the people of Ondo Kingdom. It is time to sing that song again:

E ba mi ki‘mogun oo ee,

Ondo oo, Ondo ee,

E ba mi ki‘mogun oo ee.

At no time in Ondo history has the song been more appropriate than now as the people celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Osemawe Dynasty. The celebration immediately raises an important question: How many kingdoms in Yorubaland can boast of a genealogical record of 500 years? And what does such a record tell us about Ondo people and their love of education and record keeping? Could this have been the motivation for the establishment of the famous Nigerian Weekly Law Reports by one of their sons, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi?

I have studied the Osemawe genealogical tree and could not help but marvel at its completeness. It names every Oba and the duration of their reigns since Oba Pupupu about 1510. In trying to place Ondo kingdom within World History during that decade, I discovered that was the decade when King Francois I of France and King Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (also Carlos I of Spain of the Spanish Empire) signed the treaty of Noyon, by which France abandoned its claims to the Kingdom of Naples. Coming to Africa, it was the same decade that Egypt was conquered by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. The decoration of the Christmas tree has also been traced to that decade, precisely to 1510, when Oba Pupupu began his reign in Ondo Kingdom. That is how deep Ondo people have traced their history.

This historical depth underscores the significance of the two-week celebrations, which kick off on Saturday, July 3, with a town parade, and end with an interdenominational service on Sunday, July 18. The celebrations will overlap with the annual Odun Oba, a special celebration of the throne, slated for July 4 through 13. Other highlights of the 500th celebrations include a musical concert (July 7), tree planting (July 10), launching of Ondo Heritage Museum (July 10), treatise on the evolution of Ondo kingdom (July 15), launching of Ondo City Vision 2015 (July 16), a royal banquet (July 16), and inauguration of Honorary Chiefs (July 17).

Masterminding the celebrations is His Royal Majesty, Alayeluwa, Oba Victor Adesimbo Adenrele Ademefun Kiladejo, Jilo III, the Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom. Starting with Oba Pupupu in the early 1500s, Oba Kiladejo is the 44th Osemawe of Ondo and the third from the Jilo line of Okuta Ruling House. His predecessor in that line, Jilo II, otherwise known as Arojojoye Oba Pupa, ruled between 1926 and 1935. The Okuta Huling House descended directly from Oba Luju, one of Oba Pupupu‘s sons, who reigned between 1561 and 1590. Oba Luju‘s four sons ruled after him in order of seniority, each establishing a ruling house. However, one of the four ruling houses, led by Oba Liyen, terminated in 1702 because there was no male child to continue the ruling house.

The above brief capsule of the Osemawe Dynasty belies the complexities and intrigues within the dynasty over the past 500 years. There have been highly charged competitions for the throne across and within the ruling houses. In recent times, those competitions have led to protracted legal tussles. However, the Ondo throne has held its own over and above competitions and tribulations. Today, the Ondo throne is a beacon of hope for traditional institutions in our land.

Ondo people themselves have held their heads high in Ondo State, Nigeria, and even beyond. Their public image may have been constructed around Ogun and Obitun festivals, high fashion, and asun (roasted goat meat). But make no mistake about it: Ondo people also excel in hard work, entrepreneurship, and professional training, especially in medicine, engineering, law and business. Many universities and hospitals in Nigeria have benefitted from the knowledge of professors and doctors from Ondo town.

Above all, Ondo people are known to be very proud of their town, family lineage and culture, particularly their dialect of Yoruba. That‘s why it is often said that you could take an Ondo man away from his town but you could not take the Ondo dialect away from him. They are widely known today as Egin precisely for the dialect. They speak it with so much gusto as if they do not share it (with slight variations) with speakers from Idanre and Ile-Oluji.

It will be a grave mistake to view the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Osemawe Dynasty as yet another ariya (festivities), for which Ondo people are also noted. Rather, their true significance lies in their objectives, namely, to celebrate the continued existence of Ondo Kingdom and showcase its achievements over the centuries; to celebrate the people‘s culture and to develop a permanency for its exhibition through the establishment of a museum; to rally Ondo people worldwide for developmental support; and to join the World in the attempt to ensure ecological balance through tree planting and other eco-friendly activities.

These objectives must be understood within the context of major transformations within Ondo Kingdom, which Oba Kiladejo has embarked upon since his coronation in 2006. Perhaps the most important transformation, which is also the basis for other achievements, is the reign of peace and maintenance of security within the kingdom. On his coronation, Ondo kingdom was in the middle of social and political factionalism and land disputes, which led to various security problems. But Oba Kiladejo shrewdly managed the various crises and resolved security problems through innovative institutions; he carefully established committees and diplomatic negotiations, involving chiefs, religious leaders, notable Ondo citizens and officials of various security agencies.

Oba Kiladejo‘s managerial skills came from previous executive experiences as a Medical Director and as Chairman of various businesses, including Kilad Hospital Limited, which he established long before he ascended the throne. He also acknowledges the traditional tutelage he received prior to coronation. This is how the Kabiyesi himself put it in an interview: ”The period of my stay in different traditional locations for about six months … enabled me to learn how to be patient and tolerant. The art of mediating was also learned”.

He drew on these varied experiences to embark on innovative modernization projects in order to make the Crown work with the government and the people for mutual benefit. He digitalised royal records, created a website for the Osemawe palace and established Kiladejo Crown Foundation (KCF). Its mission is ”to leverage all available human, technical and institutional resources nationally and internationally towards the development of Ondo Kingdom, with the objective of alleviating and mitigating poverty and disease burden among the people of Ondo Kingdom and its environs”. With computers in the palace and an Oba who reads newspapers daily, surfs the web and communicates with his subjects via telephone, text messaging, and e-mail, Ondo kingdom runs a modern bureaucracy within a traditional palace setting.

KCF‘s objectives and those of the 500th anniversary of the Osemawe Dynasty reveal a dynamic synergy between traditional and democratic institutions. Oba Kiladejo himself works hand in hand with state and local government officials to maximize appropriate economic rewards for his subjects. On the health front for example, KCF‘s past activities complemented those of the state government. They included a health awareness lecture given by renowned cardiologist, Professor Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe, free treatment for hypertensive patients, supply of free glasses to needy patients and distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to citizens.

The Ondo case shows that there is still a place for traditional institutions in our society. It also indicates the direction of modifications needed for those institutions to work effectively with democratic institutions. Surely, Oba Kiladejo has done his forebears proud with his activities and these celebrations. It is only appropriate to close this essay with oriki Osemawe, of which he is the current bearer: Aba-iye. Uku, Alase, Ekeji Orisa. Ugba gb‘omo la. Ajigwa jigwa ileke. Lewokun, Lewu woi woi, Lewu Aimojubomi. Alade nla. Wa d‘aigbo o.

Prof. Akinnaso teaches

Anthropology and

Linguistics at the Temple

University, Philadelphia,

United States.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

I Only Prefer Younger Men - Elvina Ibru

“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ... Full story

Barack Obama Praises GEJ For Accepting Defeat In Elections

US president Barack Obama has praised outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat in the recently concluded presidential elections. USA Today reports that Obama gave the ... Full story

Nigerian President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari Hails His Victory As A Vote For Change Video

The winner of Nigeria's presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy. Mr Buhari ... Full story

Wind Of Change Can Blow You Out If You Don't Do Well - Seun Kuti To Buhari

Late Fela Anikulapo’s son, Seun Kuti took to twitter this morning to commend the youths for voting for change, and also warned the newly elected ... Full story

Baby With Elephant Trunk Worshipped As God

A baby girl born with an “elephant trunk” is being worshipped as a Hindu god in a village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India.The ... Full story

Olusegun Obasanjo Cheer Buhari, Assign Him On Reunion

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo who has publicly shown his support for Major-General Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the elections, has congratulated him over his victory. In a ... Full story

I Kept My Word On Violent Free Elections - Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has told his supporters and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rather celebrate and not mourn because he has kept his word ... Full story

Goodluck Jonathan Concedes Defeat, Congratulates Buhari

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on his victory in the Saturday’s presidential election. A top ... Full story

Muhammadu Buhari Wins Nigeria's 2015 Presidential Election

Election commission declares victory for former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria's election commission has declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the country's ... Full story

Analyst Project Muhammadu Buhari As President-Elect With 95% Polling Units Collated

Political Analyst project Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of last weekend’s presidential election based on collated poll results from ... Full story

PDP Wins Presidential Elections In Rivers State

Prof. John is RO of Rivers state LGAs: 23 NO of POLITICAL PARTIES: 14 REG. VOTERS: 2,324,300 ACCR VOTERS: 1,643,409 AA: 1066 AD: 1104 ACPN:525 ADC:1031 APA:513 APC:69,238 CPP:577 HOPE:542 KOWA:2274 NCP:565 PDP:1,487,075 PPN:492 UDP:303 UPP:156   ... Full story

Comment on: 500 years of the Osemawe Dynasty

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President-Elect Dropped As VP…The Tinubu’s Connection!

Prof Yemi OsinbajoBefore now, Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly raised an alarm that the position of Vice President brought up by Asiwaju Bola ...

Alex Eyengho Mocks Jonathan’s Jobbers In Nollywood

A prominent producer in Nollywood, Alex Eyengho, has slammed some of his colleagues, who he said turned themselves into servants of President Goodluck Jonathan prior ...

Why I Only Date Younger Men—Elvina Ibru Speaks

“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ...

Godsday Orubebe Begs Nigerians Over Shameful Display

Who says entertainment is not a tonic for the soul? At least, sometimes, it helps to ease tension. Even politicians know the importance of the industry ...

Gareth Bale Becomes Fastest Player On Earth (FULL LIST)

Former Tottenham Hotspur player and wales man has been name as the fastest player on earth, beating Rinaldo, Theo Walcott and others …. See full list ... Full story

Rita Dominic, Asa, 2Face, Don Jazzy, Others Congratulate Buhari, Jonathan

Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election held last Saturday, more entertainers have continued to send ...

Darey Art Alade, Dede Mabiaku ‘Doze Off’ During Nigerian Idol Show

Two judges on the on-going Nigerian Idol Season 5 reality show; Dede Mabiaku, an Afrobeat maestro and Darey Art Alade, an RnB star in Nigeria, ...

Ships With Petroleum Products Arrive Lagos Ports

Eight ships laden with petrol, aviation fuel and kerosene had arrived Lagos ports, waiting to berth. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) stated this in its daily ... Full story

Ice Prince Meets Jay Z, Plans Collabo

Something big seems to be cooking in the life of Nigerian rap star, Ice Prince. The Chocolate City artiste recently uploaded a photo of himself ...

Why I Dress Poorly Most Times—Mavin Records Star, Reekado Banks

Reekado Banks is one young and budding music act that is fast winning the hearts of music lovers, home and abroad. The Mavin Records singer, who ...