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History Of The Balogun Ajikobi Of Ilorin


The first Balogun Ajikobi was Usman, a Yorubman from Iseyin. He was a member of the nobility of Iseyin and one of the dignitaries who became disciples of Shehu Alimi on the Shehu's arrival in the town. When Shehu Alimi was leaving Iseyin, Usman followed him and remained in the entourage all through the Shehu's tour of Yorubaland until he arrived Ilorin .

By virtue of his nobility, Usman became leader of the Yoruba in the Shehu's entourage and was highly respected for his exemplary leadership. Was an amiable personality, very humane , kind and selfless. Usman had the unique habit of visiting his kinsmen daily, going from house townhouse early in the morning, to acertain their well-being. This mannerism earned him the appellation and Baba aji ko ibi and literally meaning &the man (father) who wakes early in the morning to visit his kith and kin&. With time, he became known only by this nickname and wen he became a Balogun, he was given the title Balogun Aji ko bi later contracted to and pronounced as Ajikobi.

Mallam Usman first became Balogun Ajikobi about the year 1808 when he led troops from Ajikobi area to join the Ilorin army that repelled Majia, the Nupe war-monget, who invaded Ilorin during the day of Shehu Alimi shortly after the death of Afonja.

Balogun Usman participated triumphantly in many wars fought by Ilorin until he was captured in the disastrous Oshogbo war. According to Reverend Samuel Johnson, And The principal Ilorin war chiefs captured in this defeat were:

1. Jimba, the head slave of the Emir of Ilorin;
2. One of the sons of Ali, the commander-in-chief;
3. Chief Lateju; and
4. Ajikobi, the Yoruba Balogun of Ilorin.

The first two were released and sent home privately by Ibadan war-chiefs, a form of chivalrous etiquette among the war-chiefs. The later two being Yorubas by birth were regarded rather as traitors to their country, and were sent home to Ibadan as distinguished captives of war. And The Bashorun sentenced Lateju to death alleging that it was in his house that king Oluewu, the last of the ancient Oyo, was fettered when taken at the Elected (Worukura) war, before he was put to death.

Ajikobi, being a more distinguished personage was sent to Alaafin of Oyo for capital punishment and Balogun Usman was succeeded by his son Lawal (Lawani) who was in turn succeeded by Yusuf (Yesufu) as the third Balogun Ajikobi. Balogun Lawal's reign was not spectacular except that it was at the end of his reign which was the beginning of Balogun Yusufu that Emir Shitta, the second Emir of Ilorin reestablished the post of Balogun Alanamu and placed under it what thenceforth became knows as Alanamu ward.

The fourth Balogun Ajikobi was Buhari. He was succeeded by Ahmadu. Balogun Ahmadu, alias, Biala was the most controversial of the Baloguns of Ajikobi. He along with the other three Baloguns of his time namely :Balogun Ka'ra (Gambari), Balogun Inakoju (Alanamu) and Balogun Zubair (Fulani), was among the heroes of the Offa war. He was also one of the Balogun who stoutly and openly criticised the treaty which Emir Sulaiman signed with the Royal Niger Company in 1897. By that treaty, Ilorin Emirate became a vassalage of imperial Britain consequent upon the successful invasion of Ilorin by the Company's troops that year.

Earlier, that is, before the subjugation of Ilorin by the British, Balogun Ahmadu in collaboration with both Adamu, the Balogun Gambari, Aliyu Inakoju, the Balogun Alanamu, played a leading role in the violent overthrow of Emir Momo at the end of 1895. The Balogun uncompromising stance against British imperialism over Ilorin ultimately caused him to be deposed and banished by the colonial administration to Gbede on the road to Ogbomosho in 1907. Balogun Biala saw his banishment as a betrayal by Emir, believing that his deposition and banishment were done with Emir's connivance. However, in 1910, ex-Balogun was partially pardoned and allowed to return to Ilorin as an ordinary citizen but he was not repentant.

The Balogun Ajikobi chieftain had a unique featured in the olden days. In those days, when a Balogun dies, the staff of office was usually removed to the resident of the most elderly chief in the ward until a Balogun dies is installed. During that interregnum the chief in whose custody the staff of office was kept was privileges to assume all the ceremonial responsibilities of the Balogun. Hence, at various points in time the chief in Ile Aka'aba, Ile Olomoda, Ile Kura and Ile Alausa acted as Balogun Ajikobi in such an interim capacity. This practise lasted till the beginning of the twentieth century.

Past Baloguns Of Ajikobi

1.Balogun Usman
2.Balogun Lawani Ajikobi
3.Balogun Yusufu Ajikobi
4.Balogun Buhari Ajikobi
5.Balogun Biala Ajikobi
6.Balogun Habeebu Ajikobi
7.Balogun Mohammad Jimoh
8.Balogun Tukur Ajao 1955-04
9.Balogun Oba Tukur Ajao 1992-2003
10.Balogun Baba Olobi 2003-2009
11.Balogun Issah Jimoh 2011-2018


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