The Owu Kingdom

The Owu Kingdom

 


The Owu Kingdom


At present, the Owu kingdom is an amalgamation of 22 towns which mostly concentrated in the city of Abeokuta. The people of this origin are generally known as Owus. Though Owu settlements cut across the western region in Nigeria, they are predominantly banded together in Ago-Owu.

The history of Owu dated back to 1820 when the ancient Owus made their first settlement in Ago Iwoye. Though they are claims that Owu Orile, the northern part of Awe, is the original homestead of  the Owus, there are also indications that the original homestead of the Owu was situated in the Savannah and not in the southern forest region as claimed by certain historians. It is opined that the name of Olowu is derived from the name of a crop called owu ( cotton), which is mostly found in the savannah.


The Owu region is geographically bounded in the south by Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun state; in the north by Gbogan; in the west by Irewole/Isokan Local Government Area; and in the east by Ife South Local Government Area.

 

The Owus'  Exodus and Inevitable Wars


The exodus of the Owus southward had provoked tribal and ethnic wars between the Owus and the host communities, where they had settled. The Owus are a set of organised people in the Yoruba kingdom. Before the creation of any notable kingdom in Yoruba land, the Owus were famous warriors who moved about within the Nigerian western region fighting wars to protect their homestead against external forces. In 1821, on a market day at Opomu Market, a bitter disagreementt between an Owu man trader and an Ijebu woman over an alligator pepper degenerated into a full-scale war between the Owus and Ijebu people who suffered unprecedented defeat at the hands of the Owu people.

The Ife people who had earlier suffered similar defeat at the hands of the Owu people saw an immediate opportunity to pursue their course of vendetta against their brazen and callous assaillants. So, they formed a formidable alliance with the Ijebu people for reprisal attacks against their common foes. With this horrendous force which was also fortified by Oyo forces, they were able to regain their lost glory by invading the fortified Owu Wall for several years. Although they were unable to penetrate through the wall, the effect of this protracted invasion on the Owu people in their stronghold was too unbearable for them that the preponderant number of them fled their forte to Ibadan, and from Ibadan to Abeokuta; while negligent few of them escaped and journeyed through Ijebu Igbo, and finally settled in places like Omu, Ayepe, Ikija, etc.

As for those that made their escape to Abeokuta, the Egba people under the supreme leadership of the warlord, Chief Sodeke, persuaded them to make Abeokuta their permanent abode. The Owus played a major role since they settled in Abeokuta in repelling the incessant attacks of the Dahomeys in 1839 and 1842, and the Makun and other wars against Ota and Ado.Ever since,  the Owus have been integrated into Abeokuta.



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