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ASPECT OF THE SOCIO-POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY OF OWU-IKOSI,AGOWA LAGOS STATE UPTO THE 20TH CENTURY

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ASPECT OF THE SOCIO-POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY OF OWU-IKOSI,AGOWA LAGOS STATE UPTO THE 20TH CENTURY

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

The history of the Owu-Ikosi cannot be isolated from the history of the Yoruba speaking people in general and of Oyo empire in particular. Owu came to lime light around 1821 and 1828 in what has been known in Yoruba history as Owu war. The war started partly as a result of the struggle between various Yoruba districts as well as the attack on Ife towns by Olowu Amororo, an action considered as sacrilegious because of the sacredness of Ile-Ife in Yorubaland, the supposed birth place of the Yorubas’s. The result of his action became a disaster for the Owu people in their original abode and threw the whole of Yoruba land into war.

The Owu were thoroughly defeated by the combined forces of Ibadan and Ijebu. The Oni of Ife, the spiritual head of the Yoruba’s ordered with his constitutional authority that the Owu capital, Orile-Owu must be totally destroyed. As a result of this untoward event, the Owu became scattered people and however formed substantial communities in various parts of Yoruba land. In this study, our focus is on the Owu-Ikosi in Lagos State, were they are referred to as Owu-Eko. Ikosi was found by some of the Owu who fled from their original abode, looking for settlement. At their arrival at Ikosi, they found evidences of inhabitant in some areas. The Owu however looked for a fresh land and decided to stay there. But later it was discovered that it was war that drove the original inhabitant.

However, some of the Owu’s later encouraged the people to come back and promised them security and since then, there had never been war. They therefore both named the area as Agbowa, hence Owu-ikosi is a district territory from Agbowa territory. This work is aimed at reconstructing the history of Owu-Ikosi people in Agbowa community in Lagos in the 20th century. Also to show the importance of Owu-Ikosi in the content of their origin, settlement pattern socio-economic and political organization.

1.2     Aims and Objectives of the Study

The general objectives of this study are to examine the history of Owu-Ikosi town in Agbowa Lagos State in the 20th century.

The specific objectives are:

To examine the historical origin of the Owu people.

To discuss administration structure of Owu land and evaluate its consequences.

To examine the socio-cultural, economic and political development of the people under review.

Discuss the relationship between the Owu-Ikosi and their neighbour.

1.3     Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope is designed to have a deep insight on the history of the Owu-Ikosi town. The essay will focus on political, economic and socio-cultural activities of the people, along with the changes that were instituted between Owu-Ikosi and its neighbour in the early 20thcentury. Hence, this work covers the period between the turn of 19th 1830 century to 20th 1950 century. Ever then it is still necessary to go far back into time as it is only through such past, against which background the present is ranged that this study with its time – frame could only be appreciated. In other word, this research work covers the time between 1821 when Owu came to limelight in what has been known in Yoruba history as Owu war to the late 20th century. As regard the limitation, the major problem in the course of this research is non-availability of written document or materials on the history of Owu-Ikosi. Another problem encountered was during the oral interview in which the people saw it as a threat to them in knowing their history. They felt it could be used against them hence didn’t want to disclose it. However it took a lot of time before they eventually disclose the information.

1.4     Significance of the Study

Basically, examine the history of the Owu-Ikosi Agbowa community, Lagos State will enhance our understanding of the history of this people. Because this people have been known to be scattered around the country, a particular study of this nature will help to bring the bits and pieces of their history together.

1.5     Research Methodology

This study would be approached from a multi-disciplinary perspective. This will involve the use of primary and secondary. Primary sources are mainly derived from oral interview as well as archival materials. Oral interview would be conducted among informed members of Owu-Ikosi people. Bearing in mind the major limitation of oral sources, attempt would be made to confront these sources with secondary sources in order to attain some measure of objectivity. A number of secondary sources exist for the history of Yoruba land generally. Same can be said for the history of Owu-Ikosi. Nevertheless archival materials would be supplemented with the available literature with the Owu-Ikosi people.

1.6     Literature Review

A numbers of work which are related to the topic were consulted as a background to this study. There is although no specific book written on this topic. But some works have been done on the history of the Owu people which however paved way for the understanding of the people in their early history. The work of A.L. Mabogunje and J.D. Omer-cooper “Owu in Yoruba history”1, gave a brief account of the wider content within which the history of Owu must be seen. It explains the position of the Owus among the Yoruba speaking peoples. Tradition suggests that Owu in Southern Yoruba land was one of the earliest and most important sub-group2. It further explains the outbreak of the Owu war, in which its fall marked a turning point in the history of Yoruba land. Explaining the factors that led to the war, firstly, there was the political crisis in Oyo and the decline of Oyo power both within Yoruba land and outside it. Secondly there was the growth of the slave trade on the coast and in particular the rise of Lagos as a slaving point. Finally, there was the Islamic renaissance in the interland and the spread of Jihadist ideology to the northern confines of Yoruba land.

The deficiency of the book was that it was biased in its explanation to Owu today. In that it recognized only the Owu in Ijebu province, the Owu in Egbaland, the Owu in Ibadan and Oyo provinces. Howbeit, the present study is aimed at explaining the origin of the Owu people in Ikosi in the content of their origin, settlement pattern, socio-economic and political organization. A number of other work were consulted in this duration, Oba I.B. Akinyele’s “Iwe Itan Ibadan”4 is sufficient so also sundry material which are primary in nature derived from the Olowu of Owu kingdom in Abeokuta.

It is also gratified to find that in spite of the spread of education, published versions of historical tradition such as Johnson’s history of the Yoruba’s had not obliterated variant accounts which were essential to a clarification of the chain of event. Also, the article “migration”, contributed by William Peterson in David L. Sills (eds.) “international encyclopedia of the social sciences” vol. 9, as well a Edgar Kant’s “classification and problems of migration” that appeared in Philip L. Wagner and Mama W. Mikesch (Ed.) “Readings cultural Geography were consulted on migration as a phenomenon inherent in human nature since the beginning of civilization5. However, as useful and important as the above works are, they still leave gaps that are readily filled by learned journals, national dailies, pamphlets with useful information. It is opposite to state here, however, that most of these printed materials are most useful on the early history of Owus generally, hence the researcher relies almost entirely on oral source on the history of the row vis a vis the theme of this work.

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