The history of Ede town.
By Adabanija Kamorudeen.
After Timi settlement,his army effectively patrolled the route that traders and travellers from Awo and Ara to Oyo and Apòmùn became safe and had nothing to fear from Ijesha marauders. Life became safe and unarmed women had nothing to fear and peace reigned in the area. This ability of Timi to curb the Ijeshas brought erstwhile villages to Ede to settle under his protection. Hence Ede started to grow.
When condition became settled Timi asked Alaafin’s permission to be collecting toll of five cowries per head on all traders passing through his territories ( Cowries were the units of currency during that period) and the Alaafin granted the request.
Timi turned his attention to administrative matters both in Ede and in the surrounding villages especially at Ara and Awo. He judged all minor cases but appeals and cases involving capital purnishments were sent to Alaafin of Oyo.
For some period Timi sent part of tolls collected to the Alaafin as proof of his loyalty and sign of dependence to king. After some times,however, he started to think that since he was practically on exile ,no longer enjoy city life,he will compensate himself by keeping to himself all he collected from these tolls. He therefore stopped sending anything to Alaafin. When king Sàngó the Alaafin did not see the usual tribute from Timi,he sent one of his messangers to called “Tobalagbo” to ask Timi,the Elede,why he had not sent his annual tribute. The Alaafin further commanded Tobalagbo to bring the tribute back. But the Timi Elede,refused to pay anymore tribute and told Tobalagbo the messenger why he had refused. The messenger went back and told the king Sàngó the result of his mission. Sàngó was enraged and sent a small force to Ede to press Timi to pay his annual tribute. Timi could not be compelled and refused to pay. The force returned empty handed. Then Sàngó collected fairly sizable army and sent it to Ede to bring Timi in captive to Oyo,but Timi had no difficulty in driving the king’s force back.
This was shameful enough for the imperial force. But more than that,the Alaafin realized that if Timi,the Elede could successfully refused to pay any more tribute to Alaafin,others might follow his example,and soon the Alaafin would lose his sway and influence. Elede’s action, if allowed to pass might in fact be a signal to civil rebellion. One more thing worried king Sàngó,Timi had been sent to Ede where it was thought he might be killed by the Ijeshas in which case the king will no more have to reckon with him. But instead of being killed, Timi had made himself master in that South Eastern part of the kingdom and was getting rich fast on the tolls he was collecting. Not only that,he was asserting his independence and the king attempts to bring him back to obediennce had failed. King Sàngó summoned his council and asked them for advice to do away with Timi. The council thought that a nice opportunity had come for one of the two over mighty subject of the king to be get rid of. It advised that Gbonka Ebiri the other wield fighter and a noble member of the king’s body guard,and close friend of Timi be despatched with a week army to fight Timi at Ede. King Sàngó then called Gbonka,and told him how insolent Timi had become,and asked him to bring Timi back to his allegiance.
At the same time,king Sàngó secretly instructed the army not to fight wholeheartedly, but to fight in such a way as to allow Gbonka to be killed in the battle. Without knowing this secret order,Gbonka took his army and set out on the king’s mission. On reaching Ede,he declared war on Timi. However, Timi was surprised to see his best friend turned his enemy,but lost no time in collating his own forces and joining the battle. In the first and second encounters the Ede forces drove back the Oyo forces. Gbonka, the leader of the Oyo forces perceived that his army was planning to have him trapped and killed. He therefore suggested that the battle should be decided by a direct encounter between the two opposing captains.
His suggestion was adopted and the army gathered on the opposite side to watch the duel. Timi,the captain of Ede forces shot his arrows as he used to do,but missed. Gbonka then cast a spell on Timi who felt asleep. And so was bound hands and foot and taken to king Sàngó at Oyo. King Sàngó thanked Gbonka for a job well done,but inwardly was not happy at the result of the battle.
He called the council again and told them what had happened. He had wanted one of the leaders to be killed and possibly the other to remain a virtual exile. Instead they both were back at Oyo,hale and healthy.
What was he to do? The council advised that the king should express some doubt about how Timi could have been bound and foot and brought to Oyo like a simpleton,and asked the two captains to repeat the battle at Akesan market in Oyo in the presence of the council and the populace. The king did as he was advised and commanded the two captains to fight in his presence how they fought in his absence. They both obeyed. But Gbonka saw through the ruse. They did in Akesan market exactly what they did at Ede,Timi shot his arrow but missed. Gbonka cast his spell at Timi who again fell asleep.
Gbonka was enraged there and beheaded Timi. That was how the founder of Ede died. The king and his council were happy for they have at least got rid of one of the over mighty subjects. But more was to happen,for the king Sàngó himself was later forced to abdicate and commit suicide. When Gbonka realized that what the king wanted was to get rid of him,he sent to the king after killing Timi,that the king must either die or abdicate and be in exile. He further boasted that no forces in Oyo natural or supernatural could kill him,and the king wanted to disprove it,he should cause a huge fire to be made,as huge as any fire could be,and should command that all sorts of fuels should be poured on it to give additional strength,then the king should command,that he,be thrown in to the fire. The king accepted the challenges confident that,that would be the end of his second over mighty subject. A tremendous fire was made and Gbonka thrown in to it,when everything had burn to ashes,(Gbonka included it was thought) the king’s friends started to congratulate him on getting rid of his two powerful enemies. While they were thus rejoicing,message came to the king that Gbonka was out in the street dancing,Gbonka was in the fast coming to the palace and soon he came. Then he reiterated his former ultimatum that the king must abdicate or die,and that if within five days the king did not do either,he Gbonka would drive him out with stones . King Sàngó however not going to allow himself to be stoned out of his capital so he decide to go on voluntary exile. But to his surprise most of his friends,family,dependants forsook him. That was too much to be borne,so he committed suicide by hanging himself on a Ayan tree just outside the city gate. Gbonka himself then disappeared from history and nothing was known of him until much later when it was claimed that he founded a small village called Orile Osupa where his descendants continue to be Baale until village was destroyed by the Fulanis and the remenants came to Ogbomoso where Gbonka’s descendants continue to be Baale Oke Osupa.
Historical narratives have it that Ede-Ile was the first settlement of the people of Ede. The people of Ede-Ile and their contemporary descendants are refered to in Yoruba poetry “children of flamming arrow” while a total area of 79msq excavated at Ede-Ile. Consequentally, all the excavated showed that Ede-Ile was founded on unoccupied land. There was no prior settlement or occupation before the Oyo colonists settled in the site and later became Ede-Ile.
However the prior ownership of the land on which Ede-Ile was founded is attributed to (AWO) a neighbouring small polity that came under the rule of Oyo as soon as Ede-Ile was established.
Ede-Ile was founded in the 16th century, but Radiocarbon dates securely placed the foundation of Ede-Ile within the 17th century that shows that the town was occupied throughout the 18th centuries. Historically sources indicates that the town was abandoned in the early fourth decade of 19th century.