History : Opeagbe, Baale of Ibadan
Hello, folks, We want to welcome you to 2017 on our chronicles of the leaders of Ibadan. It is been a long while since we last brought you your beloved Chronicles of the great leaders of Ibadan. We are pleased to announce that we are back to share with you interesting bits of Ibadan culture. Last year we stopped at Oderinlo, Balogun of Ibadan, and today we are continuing the series with Opeagbe, Baale of Ibadan. We hope you enjoy reading about him
Opeagbe Baale of Ibadan (about 1850 to about 1851)
After Balogun Oderinlo’s death. The leadership of Ibadan once more became vacant. Lajumoke the Otun (second in command) to Balogun Oderinlo died soon after the Balogun himself. Opeagbe who was the Osi Balogun (third in command) to Oderinlo was thus made the leader of Ibadan. Like Lakanle who had ruled Ibadan before him, Opeagbe also originally hailed from Ogbomoso. There are indications that He and Lakanle might have enjoyed a casual acquaintance if not more because it is said that He was one of Lakanle’s trusted Lieutenants when they fought Maye Okunade at Gbanamu. His father’s name was Ado.
Unlike many other warriors who came to Ibadan during his time, Opeagbe was already rich and famous by the time he came to Ibadan from Ogbomoso. It is said that the day he entered Ibadan for the first time at least three horsemen rode in front of him to herald him. It is also said that in the aforementioned Battle of Gbanamu, Opeagbe fought on horseback throughout and he did not dismount from said horse till the battle ended and Maye Okunade’s forces were conquered. When he became Baale of Ibadan, he sited his palace at Idiomo/Kure in Ibadan,
As mentioned, Opeagbe did not live very long as the leader of Ibadan. He was only Baale for about a year, but he still goes down in history as the first leader in Ibadan who ruled a city which was truly at peace. The city was devoid of the usual violent street fights that characterized the rule of his predecessors and he put a stop to the unnecessary wars of terrorism that the Ibadan millitary leaders before him had delighted in fighting. historians say the peace during his rule was so total that the inhabitants of Ibadan had a saying translated roughly as “In Opeagbe’s time one can stay outside in the moonlight”. Such a thing was impossible during the rule of his predecessors, as being outside at nighttime was surely a recipe for being beaten, robbed, kidnapped or shot.
Even though his reign was short, Opeagbe encouraged religious tolerance in Ibadan. In his time He built a new mosque for the Muslims in the place of the original one at Oja’ba that Basorun Oluyole had destroyed. It was also during his time that members of the Church Mission Society first entered Ibadan. They were allowed to do as much exploration and preaching as they wanted, but they did not come to build anything in the city until after Baale Opeagbe’s death.
Baale Opeagbe is also the first Baale of Ibadan to die of natural causes. He died peacefully around 1851, in his bed. It was as if everything had fallen into place to make his rule peaceful. Ibadan actually had a lull in war, which was surprising for that period. He still stands as one of the few Ibadan leaders of the 19th century who did not die in a war or in an uprising of any sort.
Being a man of peace, however, didn’t change the fact Opeagbe was a valiant and extremely influential warrior. He served as a mentor to people like Abayomi, (who became second in command to Basorun Ogunmola whom we shall mention in a latter chapter of this series) and Orowusi, (who himself became Baale of Ibadan like his mentor).
Entry For Baale Opeagbe, retrieved from www.olubadan.com on 21/1/2017
Akinyele, I.B.(1951) Iwe Itan Ibadan ati die ninu awon Ilu agbegbe re bii Osogbo Iwo ati Ikirun. Ibadan: Board
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