Efunsetan Aniwura, the powerful Iyalode of Ibadan land.

by Adabanija Kamorudeen


Efúnsèyítán (Ẹfun has done this) Aníwúrà (One who has Gold/Wealth). Though her date of birth is uncertain, she was likely born during or before the Owu War of 1820. Her father, Chief Ogunrin, was a warrior from Egba-Ikija while her mother who probably died during the war was from Ife. It was also said that she was a younger cousin of Iba Oluyole.

Efunsetan was a powerful and notable entrepreneur, she was involved in trading with the Europeans, taking goods from the hinterland to the coast and bringing imported goods, especially arms and ammunition. She was so rich that she had three large farms in each of which no less than 100 slaves worked, in addition she also owned over 2000 slaves.

She lost her only child during labour, with terrible sense of loss and the stigma of not having a progeny to inherit her legacies, she blamed Olodùmarè and was very bitter, she vent the anger on her slave workers. She was said to have ordered her slaves not to the get married or have sex, one of her slave who erred was killed.

She amassed enormous power that she even had her own private army under a general known as Ogidan. She also supported Ibadan during their war against Ekiti by offering her private armies and also giving out credit facilities of guns and ammunitions to Ibadan warriors under Aare Latoosa.

In 1860, she was made the Iyalode of Ibadan, this strengthened her economic and political influence. Unfortunately, she soon fell out with Aare Latoosa for her campaigns against Latoosa’s expeditions. She was deposed in May of 1874 and was replaced by the Ọtun Iyalode.

Still she was unbothered and continued her business and campaigns against Latoosa’s expansionist policy. She was fearsome, terrific, and audacious. Latoosa became wary of her, he bribed Kumuyilo (Efunsetan’s adopted son) to help get rid of her. Kumuyilo and two other slaves reportedly strangled her in her sleep in June of 1874. Other accounts claimed she committed suicide, but it was just to cover up for Latoosa’s misdeed. Her statue stands in the city of Ibadan.

Her story gained mainstream attention after being the subject of a play by Prof.Akinwunmi Isola. It was reported that over 14,000 watched the stage performance of the play in 1981 at the Liberty Stadium.


Related Posts

Leave a Comment

18 − 10 =