The History of Ede, series 3:
Ede in the Era of Fulani imperialism and power tussle.
The present Ede was founded in the open decades of 19th century by the Oyo authority but had to be moved to the other side of the Osun River around 1817/1818. The change of settlement was largely due to the breakdown of Oyo central authorities in 1769. Up till then the military might of Oyo had security and political stability for most of the Yoruba land. Subsequently as the breakdown of normal government authority,Yoruba land was thrown in to dilemma and anarchy as powerful individual began molesting and harrassing innocent citizens. But the leading Oyo provincial chiefs like Adegun,the Onikoyi,the Opele of Gbogun,Timi Kubolaje Agbonran and others who had military strength started carving out enclaves for themselves.
A military band which they called Ogo Were (i.e Jackals) also terrorised the people in the present day Osun area. In the anarchical situation. Kakanfo successful declared Ilorin independent of Oyo and accordingly conducted organized raid in to Ede- Ile, Osogbo,Iwo, Ejigbo and other towns in the Ibolo and Epo districts. Historical evidences abound that the Fulani conquest of Nupe land in the year 1816 and the Afonja alliance with the Muslim revivalists in the year 1817 which destabilized Ede-Ile and made the security of Ede and her neighbours precarious let to the development of abandoning and evacuating Ede-Ile whereby the establishment of the “new Ede” emerged. The famous Timi Olofa Ina was not the one that established the present Ede but the Ede traditional heros like in other cities in Yoruba land.
Timi Kubolaje Agbonran along with his siblings, Oyefi,Ajeniju,Arohanran,and Oduniyi,all being the descendants of Lalemo. The shield and safety of Ede from Fulani attacks and imperialism was accredited to him,who had a political foresight as reported by R.E Crookall and cited in Siyan Oyeweso paper, Ede: The home of warriors and land of dignity.
It was in the reign of 13th Timi Kubolaje Agbonran Gbakonija that under threat from Fulanis Ede moved to its present site on the South of the River Osun. Here,there was already a small village named Obutugbo and his people welcomed the Timi and his followers with great hospitality. A new place was built as well as an inner and outer walls,each protected by moat,and so peaceful life was restored,broken frequently by the joint forces with other Yoruba towns to repel Fulani raiders and to defend themselves against their neighbours.
The same view was also echoed by Robin Law: It was Kubolaje the Timi of Ede,who moved his town southwards across the River Osun as a precaution against fulani raids and set about attacking and reducing neighbouring towns in the Ibolo province.
At one time, Kubolaje Agbonran was in Igbo Obotugbo where he met some Ife settlers. The head of this community was a hunter known as Lagbonnun. Traditional historians asserted that Agbonran’s presence combined with the devilish red colour in his eyeballs made Lagbonnun sleepless and subsequently moved to the site now called Asunrara.( Asunrara means to sleep very well and stretch one’s limb) Likened to all oral traditions, we are inclined to agree that since Lagbonnun was a hunter,he could not have evacuated his settlement without offering some resistance. That he was the head of that community before Agbonran’s occupation also point to the fact he would not have surrendered his leadership so easy to an “alien” this situation informed the possibly that both of them might have engaged in the military combat which ended in the defeat and humiliation of Lagbonnun. What further reinforce this viewpoint is that Lagbonnun was said to have married his daughter Jojolola to Agbonran. The marriage is clearly a diplomatic overture on the part of Lagbonnun to come in to terms with Agbonran. The marriage also indicate that the Lagbonnuns and other people in the area were assimolated rather than exterminated. A reflection of the past in the present is the existent of the title Baale Asunrara in the contemporary Ede society.
Before Agbonran could effectively occupy the present site, traditions also claime that he had to fight a bloody war against a Yoruba group at the present location of Timi Agbale grammar school,it is probably that the group might be some fleeing Oyo refugees searching a more secured place of abode after the collapse of internal authority at Oyo around 1796. In a nutshell,Ede like Ibadan,Ijaye,and Abeokuta,was born out of circumstances prevailing in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
To be continued…