Post-Independence Chieftaincy Politics in Ogbomoso

Oduwobi, T. (2009)

Staff publications


In broad terms the paper seeks to draw attention to the importance of nineteenth-century changes as a foreground to the modern history of Yorubaland. This is specifically exemplified with the experience in Ogbomoso. The town became host to a large influx of refugees and who became politically subordinated to the town’s autochthonous authorities, i.e., the Baale (later Soun) and his chiefs. However this political order began to be modified from the twilight years of the colonial period as the progressive political recognition of the senior ranking refugee heads led to a corresponding reduction in the powers and position of the Soun as the supreme authority in the town. Indeed the Soun gradually acquired the position of a primus inter pares. The constant challenge to the Soun’s premier status has been productive of incessant bickering in the town as the refugee heads are apt to always refer to their pre-nineteenth-century status when as crowned rulers they were more senior in ranking than the Soun who as a baale was uncrowned. The paper argues that challenging the Soun’s authority on the basis of his pre-nineteenth-century status is an unhistorical approach as it seems to blank out the developments of the nineteenth century. The outcome of the successive agitations of the refugee heads in the post-independence period has been to successfully exert pressure on the Soun to relinquish his hitherto-held supreme authority. The extent to which the Soun has been made to share his authority with them forms an important aspect in the dynamics of the modern history of Ogbomoso.