Oral Historical Traditions and Political Integration in Ijebu

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Oduwobi, T.
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The Ijebu are a subgroup of the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. In precolonial times they established a single kingdom under the Awujale (the titular head) whose seat of government was the town of Ijebu-Ode. Structurally, the kingdom was composed of geographical divisions, each of which was identified by a name. Some of them were characterized by close socioeconomic and political ties effected through the joint control of a political association, the Pampa society, which coordinated commercial, communal, and military activities in the area. Three such divisions form the focus of this paper: Ijebu-Igbo, Imusin, and Ago-Iwoye. The British colonial administration engendered a process of political integration in these three areas as they were each brought under a single ruler; the purpose of this paper is to highlight how Ijebu oral historical traditions were employed to give support to this integrative process., but first, an identification of the areas concerned. The Ijebu-Igbo area is composed principally of five distinct settlements or towns: Okesopin, Ojowo, Atikori, Oke-Agbo, and Japara. Okesopin is accorded primacy as the oldest of the settlements. The term Ijebu-Igbo (forest) is an allusion to the forested nature of this area of Ijebu. The Imusin area, made up of about fifty very small settlements, is subdivided into two geographical groups: the northern group, called Ikatun, and the southern group or Ikasi. The term Imusin means the area of the akee apple (Imu: place or area; Isin: akee apple).
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Oral Historical Traditions , Political Integration
Oduwobi, T. (2000) Oral Historical Traditions and Political Integration in Ijebu.