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Alaafin Onigbogi


Onigbogi was one of the sons of Oluaso by Arugba-ifa an Ota woman. She had left Oyo during the previous reign for her own native town, but on hearing that her son ascended the throne, she returned to Oyo in order to assist him in his government by her advice. She was a very superstitious woman. Wishing her son to have a long and prosperous reign, she advised him to introduce the worship of Ifa into Oyo as a national deity. The Oyo citizens asked the King and his mother what offerings are required with which appropriate Ifa. She replied, 16 rats, 16 bags of cowries, 16 fishes, 16 fowls, 16 arm lengths of cloth and 16 ground pigs. The Oyo citizens answered that they were prepared to give the offerings, but they could not worship palm nuts. Thus the advice of the King’s mother was rejected and the worship of Ifa cancelled.

When Aruigba-ifa was going to Oyo she was accompanied by the personification of several common objects used in fetish worship e.g. Aje, Opon, Ajere, Osun, Elgbara, and Iroke. When the citizens of Oyo rejected her god, she returned on her way to Ota with all her followers, weeping as they went. On reaching the foot of Ado hill, the Alado’s wife came out to see the cause of a company of people weeping and wailing, saying “We are driven out of a country.” She reported this at home, and the Alado came out and invited the party to lodge with him. His inquisitiveness led him to ask why such august personages should be driven out of the city; when he had learnt the whole story; he sympathized with Arugba, and asked her to stay, promising to give some of the things required, as they were too poor to be able to afford all. This was done, and Arugba not only initiated him into the mysteries, but also conferred upon him the right of initiating others. Hence in the subsequent reign when the Oyo’s decided to adopt Ifa worship, it was this Alado who went to the city to initiate them into the mysteries, rites and ceremonies of Ifa worship.

A war broke out after these events, and the King sent out the Basorun at the head of his army to Ita-ibidun with all the war chiefs. The king of the tapas (Nupe) between whom and the Yoruba’s there have been strained relations since the death of Sango, seized this opportunity for crossing the river, and pouring his army into the Yoruba country, carried everything before him, until he stood before the gate of Oyo. There being no available force to oppose him, the city was soon taken. The King fled to Gbere in the Bariba country, and there he died not being used to hardships incidental to the life of an exile; leaving his son Ofinran a refugee in a strange land. In the land of his exile, King Onigbogi made it a law that only 35 of the Esos should be absent from home at any time, leaving 35 for the defence of the city and country, the Tapa King having entered Oyo practically without any opposition. Ayangbagi Aro was the Basorun of this period.