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The Frontier States of Western Yorubaland

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Biodun Adediran

7. The Eclipse of the Autonomy of Western Yorùbá Kingdoms

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INTRODUCTION

  • 1 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, p. 26.

1By the beginning of the nineteenth century, each of the dynastic groups had gradually built up a kingdom through a series of constitutional adaptations and by extending its sphere of influence territorially from the nucleus where it was installed. Although slight variations existed in the constitutional arrangements, there was some measure of uniformity, at least in broad outline. Also, while each kingdom was politically independent, the feeling of brotherhood within the Odùduwà family was strengthened by the fact that the areas they occupied formed a single economic region and were linked together by common experiences in their relationships with Dahomey and Òyó.1

ÒYÓ AND DAHOMEY

  • 2 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 36, 91-92.
  • 3 Foláyan, K. Ęgbádò to 1834. pp. 22ff; Law, R.C.C. The Òyó Empire, pp. 92-95.
  • 4 Dissou, M.I. Essai de reconnaissance et détermination de l’origine des principales families Yorùbá (...)

2Certainly, as one of the strongest kingdoms in West Africa in the eighteenth century, Òyó was a major hindrance to the imperial ambitions of the western Yorùbá kingdoms. Òyó’s interests in western Yorùbáland date back to c. 16802 when they gradually infiltrated the Aja country. As early as 1730, Òyó had brought the kingdom of Dahomey under her effective control. Her soldiers freely traversed the territories of the western Yorùbá kingdoms to Dahomey and at times enlisted the support of the local rulers. Later, from c. 1750, she systematically colonized the Égbádò country3 and encircled the western Yorùbá kingdoms within her imperial territory. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Porto Novo, in the mixed Yorùbá-Aja kingdom of Àjàşę, was Òyó’s major trading port and already had a substantial number of Òyó inhabitants.4

  • 5 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 123-127.
  • 6 Ibid., pp. 141 ff.
  • 7 Dalzel, A. The History of Dahomey, pp. 195-196.
  • 8 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 162-163.

3Dahomey, on her part, grudgingly accepted Òyó overlordship and on some occasions attempted to throw off the yoke especially to stop the payment of the annual tribute which was imposed by Òyó on Agaja and later re-imposed on Tegbessu. According to Akínjógbìn, the exacting tribute consisted of forty-one young women, forty-one guns, four hundred bags of cowry and four hundred coral beads.5 In 1748 when this tribute was re-imposed, Dahomey was very prosperous; and the weight of the burden was not immediately apparent. Later however, Dahomey was to realize how harsh this tribute was. This was particularly so from about 1767, when she experienced an economic crisis. The emergence of the western Yorùbâ kingdoms, especially Ìdáìşà, had a negative effect on Dahomey’s slave-raids and therefore affected her revenue. Also the growth of Porto Novo as a slave mart contributed to a decline in the trade of the Dahomean port of Whydah.6 Furthermore, Òyó adopted deliberate policies which worsened the economic crisis in Dahomey. For instance, she restricted the activities of Dahomey to Whydah and prevented her from using Porto Novo, which Aláàfin Abíódún metaphorically referred to as his ‘calabash’ out of which no one was permitted to eat but himself.7 Also, 0yd continued to enforce the treaty of 1730 and claimed various other payments8 which, under the circumstances, were very painful.

  • 9 Ibid., pp. 186-199.

4Thus, by the last decade of the eighteenth century, there was widespread hostility in Dahomey, not only against the Òyó but also against all the Yorùbá, especially the Kétu, Şábę and Ìdáìşà, who had on many occasions given military assistance to the enemies of Dahomey and contributed in no small measure to the economic crisis. Two kings of Dahomey, Agonglo (1789-1797) and Adandozan (1797-1818), ended their reigns prematurely, partly because they failed to stem the tide of discontent.9 It was in these circumstances that Gezo rose to power as king in 1818, determined to achieve Dahomey’s independence from Òyó and restore her economic prosperity. The realization of these objectives necessarily turned him against the western Yorùbá kingdoms.

  • 10 Bíòbákú, S.O. The Ęgbá and their Neighbours, pp. 12-13.

5The right conditions for Gezo’s plan were set in about 1789 when Abíódún, the last of the strong Aláàfin, died and the power of Òyó declined rapidly. Òyó as a strong military state, has been rightly described as a major factor of stability in Yorùbáland,10 especially in western Yorùbáland where she provided security against the militarily powerful Asante and Dahomey. Although in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Dahomey attacked Kétu and Ìdáìşà, none of the expeditions had any appreciable success or was carried to its logical end, presumably for the fear of repercussions from Òyó. The collapse of Òyó and the independence of Dahomey about 1822 therefore left the western Yorùbá kingdoms exposed to Gezo.

  • 11 Mábogùnję, A.I. and Omer-Cooper, J.D. Òwu in Yorùbá History, p. 53; Law, R.C.C. The Òwu war. in Yo (...)
  • 12 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and the Yorùbá in the 19lh century. In: Anene, J.C. and Brown, G.N. (eds. (...)
  • 13 Johnson, S. The History, pp. 258-268; Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, pp. 66-67; Bàgòdò, O. Le Ro (...)

6Meanwhile, as a result of the Òwu war which started about 182111 and the break-up of the Òyó empire, pockets of refugees and ambitious individuals seeking a career for themselves settled in western Yorùbáland. Newly independent Dahomey was naturally alarmed and was determined to keep the new ‘revolutionary’ Yorùbá states of Abęòkúta, Ìbàdàn and Ìjàyè out of her territory.12 At the same time, the Fulani jihadists from Ìlorin were infiltrating western Yorùbáland. The Yorùbá attempted to forestall the latter threat by joining forces with the Ìbààbá king of Nikki, the energetic Sero Kpera Ilorin Kpunon. The defeat of the joint Yorùbá-Ìbààbá forces and the death of Sero Kpera, about 1835 in the Elédùwe war,13 opened the gate of western Yorùbáland to the Fulani jihadists. As the nineteenth century wore on, raids into western Yorùbáland grew intense and the region became a theatre of war until the imposition of European colonial rule.

  • 14 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 26-32 for some of the versions.

7As Aşíwájú has pointed out, in spite of the cultural uniformity of western Yorùbáland, the existence of independent states militated against the formation of a united front against external invaders.14 Indeed, the experiences of the western Yorùbá over the decades preceding the nineteenth century had been such as made for a strong spirit of sub-ethnic ‘nationalism’ woven around the respective dynastic groups. In a cultural frontier zone, such as the western Yorùbá occupied, this was a serious problem, because as events in the nineteenth century were to show, the western Yorùbá kingdoms became easy prey in the hands of external foes: the Fulani, the Fon, the Mahi and various groups from central Yorùbáland. This put so much strain on the internal administrative structures that the state systems collapsed and this led to the eventual colonization of the region by European powers.

EXTERNAL RAIDS ON WESTERN Yorùbáland

  • 15 See Ibid.; Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and Yorùbá, op. cit.; Fóláyan, K. International politics in a (...)
  • 16 See Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, op. cit.; Cotton, E.P. Report on Égbá-Égbádò Boundary 1905. I (...)
  • 17 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. From constitutional troubles to civil war in Şábę: Constitutional crisis in a 1 (...)
  • 18 See for instance, Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende de Chabe. ED No. 2 (June 1964) pp. 66-67.

8The series of invasions of western Yorùbáland have been the subject of stimulating discussion.15 A brief summary will suffice here. The first series of wars were started by the Fulani Jihadists based in Ìlǫrin. Engulfing virtually the whole of the Şábę country, they penetrated as far south as the northern Égbádò territories which formed part of the Kétu kingdom.16 In Şábę where these invasions were most intense,17 they were known locally as Ogun Jànkárè after the Fulani leader who led them. These raids lasted till about 1840, and can be divided into two phases. The early phase culminated in the 1835 Elédùwe war. After this, the Fulani raids became merely sporadic; of a ‘smash and grab nature’ rather than a concerted effort to push the jihad into western Yorùbáland or to give it a strong foothold there. Although later chroniclers were to record widespread stories about the intensity of the Fulani raids,18 they do not appear to have had much effect beyond sending shock waves all over the western Yorùbá country. In any case, for the first half of the nineteenth century, the Fulani were more concerned with consolidating their foothold in central rather than western Yorùbáland. Nevertheless, the raids resulted in the infiltration of Muslim groups into various western Yorùbá communities and eventually led to constitutional crises which, as will be seen presently, were counter-productive to the development of the communities.

  • 19 See Ògúntómisin, G.O. Kúrumi of Ìjàyè: A Political Biography of a Military Ruler in the Mid-19th C (...)
  • 20 See for instance Mouléro, T. op. cit., p. 69: The History, pp. 291-2.
  • 21 On this see Ajàyí, J.F. and Smith, R.S. Yorùbá Warfare in the 19th Century. Ìbàdàn University Pres (...)
  • 22 For a comprehensive account of the Kírìjì-Èkìtìparapò war, see Akíntóyè, S.A. Revolution and Power (...)
  • 23 Aşiwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 26-29; Fǫláyan, K. International politics. (NAI) CSO 26/4/30 (...)

9More intense than the Fulani raids were the invasions from central Yorubaiand19 by the Ìjàyè, the Égbá and the Ìbàdàn. In the 1850 s, following the emergence of Ìjàyè as one of the major powers in Yorùbáland, her forces made a series of incursions into western Yorùbáland. These seem to have been concentrated on Şábę territory, immediately adjacent to Ìjàyè. Thus in the decade preceding the famous Ìjàyè war (1860-65), Ìjàyè forces left behind tales of woe and destruction20 in the Şábę country. Even though by 1860, the Ìjàyè invasions subsided as a result of the war with Ìbàdàn,21 freebooters from Ìjàyè and other parts of central Yorùbáland continued to make individual attempts to take advantage of the relative weakness of the western Yorùbá and their vulnerability to external invasion. But even the respite from concerted invasion was brief, for the end of the Ìjàyè war saw the emergence of Ìbàdàn as a more dangerous threat to the peace of western Yorùbáland. Unlike the Ìjàyè raids, the Ìbàdàn invasions seem to have been directed towards Kétu farms, a reflection of the direction of her expansionist moves in the post-Ìjàyè war years. But by 1878, these raids fizzled out when the Ìbàdàn got embroiled in the Kírìjì-Èkìtìparapò) war, which for the subsequent one and a half decades was to divert their attention to eastern Yorùbá country.22 The Égbá of Abéòkúta complete the list of Yorùbá invaders of western Yorùbáland in the nineteenth century. As in the case of the Ìbàdàn raids, Kétu was the worst affected as a result of its contiguity with the Égbá territory. In pursuit of the control of the trade of the Égbádò corridor and the adjoining coastal area, the Égbá got involved in a series of wars with the Égbádò. This made them adopt a bellicose policy towards the Kétu. In the process, southern Égbádò settlements belonging to Ketu, such as Àìbò, Ìdòfòyí, Ìmálà, Erímàdò, Àfòn and Ìmęko, experienced at least one Égbá invasion, thus bringing virtually all the south eastern section of the Kétu kingdom under the Égbá by the 1870s. By then, the bulk of the area had become depopulated as the inhabitants fled to relatively safer areas in the Ìbàràpá region or congregated in a few settlements of which only Ayétòrò has survived till modern times.23

  • 24 See for instance, Mouléro, T. Guezo or Guedize Massigbe. ED IV (1965) p. 53.
  • 25 Fǫláyan, K. International politics.
  • 26 Mouléro, T. Histoire et legend, op.cit., p. 66.
  • 27 Duncan, W.J. Travels in Western Africa, 1845-1846, Vol. II. London (1847) pp. 41-2.
  • 28 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and Yorùbá, pp. 326-327.
  • 29 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 143.
  • 30 (CMS Archives) CA 2/037. Journal of Rev. V. Faulkner.

10Of similar intensity were the Dahomean raids. In the light of developments in the eighteenth century highlighted at the beginning of this chapter, it would not be surprising if Dahomean raids on the western Yorùbá kingdoms were widespread and continuous throughout the nineteenth century and if their bellicose policy towards the Yorùbá became so well known as to be proverbial.24 Like all the other raids, the Dahomean invasions can be conveniently divided into two phases. The early phase which lasted till the mid-1840s was concentrated on the south western sector of Yorùbáland, particularly the Ànàgó-Égbádò corridor. The aggression of the Fon at this stage, as has been graphically described,25 was primarily economic and led to a series of invasions, the most memorable being the attack on the Égbádò settlements of Ìjánná in 1831 and Rèfùréfù in 1836. In the process, the Dahomeans caused a lot of havoc in the southern province of Kétu through which her troops passed and this led to a weakening of the grip of Kétu officials on this region. The extensive havoc caused by the Dahomeans can better be imagined when it is realized from the unbelievable catalogue of woes found in local traditions, that for instance, in Şábę alone, the number of settlements destroyed during the phase was one hundred and forty-three.26 The Şábę attacks again fit into the general picture of the period: from 1848, they were more aggressive in nature. Şábę territory was continuously ravaged, culminating in the destruction of Ilé-Şábę twice, first in 1848 and then in c.1855. Also, by the 1860s many Kétu settlements had been ravaged by Dahomey. The Ìdáìşà lived in a state of perpetual fear of the Dahomean troops, as their country was directly on Dahomey’s route either to Şábę or to the central Yorùbá country. However, the inability of Dahomey to gain a permanent foothold in the Mahi and Égbádò countries27 suggests that the effects of her invasions on the western Yorùbá kingdoms were probably not as serious as imagined. Akínjógbìn may be right when he suggests that after 1864 ‘Dahomey caused awe in the neighbouring kingdoms mainly through bluffs and isolated acts of brutal savagery committed against small unsuspecting villages’.28 Yet, there is little doubt that the western Yorùbá had a traumatic experience at the hands of the Dahomeans during the period. Thus, for instance, in spite of the common knowledge that the Dahomeans were incapacitated by their defeat in Abéòkúta in 1851, Kétu authorities, desirous of maintaining peaceful relations with Dahomey, sent Dahomean fugitives lost in the Kétu country to safety in Abomey.29 Rev. Valentine Faulkner’s recordings in the Kétu settlement of Ìjòùn in August 1875 are representative of the general predicament of the western Yorùbá throughout the century: ‘they were in constant fear all the year round, for three months in fear of the Dahomeans, the remaining nine months in fear of the Ègbás’.30 Earlier in 1860, Rev. Henry Townsend had observed:

  • 31 (CMS Archives) Church Missionary Record (n.s.) V: 5 (May 1860) p. 138.

The annual alarm of a Dahomey invasion is a standing infliction... which for the time puts a stop to commerce and lawful industry. The reports that cause the alarm cannot be treated with contempt... The Dahomey force is formidable, as it is guided by one head, and in part previously trained to the use of arms.31

  • 32 (NAI) Co 147/48 Encloure D., S. Johnson to Lt. Gov. 23/1/1882.
  • 33 Àtàndá, J.A. Dahomean raids on Òkè-Ògùn towns, 1881-1890: An episode in 19th century Yorùba-Dahome (...)

11Down to the 1880s Dahomey continued to cause havoc in areas it considered obstacles in its path and the Aláàfin of Òyó continued to make attempts to curtail the Dahomeans who, as Samuel Johnson recorded,32 continued to ravage various Yorùbá towns.33

  • 34 Ògúntómisìn, GO. Political change and adaption in Yorùbáland in the 19th century. Canadian Journal (...)

12Indeed, a balance sheet of the external raids by the 1870s would show that each of the western Yorùbá kingdoms had been reduced territorially to a city-state comprising virtually the metropolis and a few outlying settlements; mostly the adjoining farmsteads. As in other instances in Yorùbáland, the raids led to demographic upheavals and constitutional experimentation.34 In western Yorùbáland, attempts were also made to come to grips with the problems created as a result of the attendant chaos. But as will be evident presently, crises continued unabated as constitutional upheavals in each metropolis led to compromises which, by the last decade of the century, resulted in the removal of whatever pretences the kingdoms had made to independent existence.

POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN KÉTU

  • 35 Parrinder, E.G. The Story of Kétu, p. 43; oral interview: Àró Adétùnjí (100+), Máyingbín, Ilé-Kétu (...)
  • 36 Verger, P. Histoire du pays Kétou; also oral interview: Aró Adétúnjí (100+), Máyingbìn, Kétu, 22/9 (...)
  • 37 Parrinder, E.G. The Story of Kétu, p.44; also oral interviews in Kétu at various times between 197 (...)

13In the Kétu kingdom, the nineteenth century opened with a crisis of confidence within the formidable council of state which had been established by the eighteenth century. This is in spite of the reputed calm which accompanied the reign of Ajíbúlù Àlàó as Alákétu till c.1816. In fact, extant Kétu traditions tend to portray Ajíbúlù as a feeble ruler, too meek to meet the challenges of the time; during whose reign surrounding villages enjoyed virtual independence. For instance, on several occasions, Ìmèko defied the claims of the Alákétu to have a say in the affairs of the town and, in the course of the century, took steps which were clearly opposed to the interest of the Ilé-Kétu authorities. Thus, under Ajíbúlù, a dangerous pattern was set, in which tension existed between Ilé-Kétu, the capital of the kingdom, and the major outlying settlements. Consequently, as Parrinder reported, there were attempts by the few settlements still loyal to the Alákétu35 to secede and neither the appeal to traditional sentiment by the Ilé-Kétu chiefs, nor the attempt of the Alákétu to use force achieved the desired result. In the end, both the chiefs and the commoners in Ilé-Kétu became disenchanted with the Alákétu. He eventually died in mysterious circumstances suggestive of regicide carried out by the chiefs.36 Adébíyà who succeeded to the throne accepted after much persuasion, because the chasm between the Alákétu on the one hand and the chiefs on the other had reached such an extent that kingship was no longer attractive to many of the eligible candidates. In any case, the chiefs themselves were in no haste to pick a candidate, particularly among the princes resident in the vicinity of Ilé-Kétu, whose personal ambitions were known to them. The chiefs endorsed Adébíyà’s selection only on the assumption that he was non-partisan in the ongoing crisis37 and in the expectation that they would be able to redress the balance of power in favour of themselves. But the new Alákétu turned out to be the exact opposite of what the chiefs had hoped he would be. By sheer personal force, he appeared to be consolidating the position of the Alákétu further. Since he could not be deposed without violence, the chiefs sought various means to intimidate him and undermine his authority. The result is that Adébíyà’s thirty-seven year reign was marked with clashes resulting from constitutional crises precipitated largely by the recalcitrant chiefs.

  • 38 This issue is discussed fully in Adédìran, ’Bíójdún Islam and political crisis in Kétu: A case stu (...)
  • 39 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 148; (CMS Archives) CA3/031 S. Crowther. Account (...)
  • 40 Sec Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy of Western Yorùbáland.

14These crises which continuously plagued the Kétu kingdom arose largely as a result of the inability of the traditional authorities to incorporate incoming refugees effectively into the indigenous political system.38 Ilé-Kétu was one of the Yorùbá settlements that received many refugees fleeing from the northern Yorùbá countryside at the turn of the nineteenth century and from central Yorùbáland in the aftermath of the Òwu war. Founded on a tradition of tolerance and cooperation, and reputed as a place of redemption for captured slaves,39 Kétu was an ideal settlement for refugees from various parts of Yorùbáland. Thus by 1850, Ilé-Kétu was an important stop on the caravan route from Porto Novo into the interior of Yorùbáland and the Hausa city-states.40 It already had a substantial number of northern Yorùbá, Ìbààbá, Hausa and Fulani residents.

15Rev. Samuel Crowther regarded Adébíyà’s reign as benevolent from whichever angle it is looked at. According to him:

  • 41 C.M.S. Intelligencer. (November 1853) p. 249.

The continued existence of so many of his towns and villages between the teeth of the rapacious lion-like king of Dahomey, and raging, bear-like, robbed of her whelps, the Égbás, and prowling wolves, like the restless kidnappers of Ìbàdàn will tell volumes that Adébià, king of Kétu, may be classed among those who study to keep their people in peace and safety. He sends his people to no war; he does not restrict them in the use of their articles of dress as in other places; he tries to make them happy, and encourage them to industry.41

  • 42 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Islam and politics in Kétu.
  • 43 See for example, Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy of Western Yorùbáland.

16The greater part of the reign of A1ákétu Adébíyà was, however, preoccupied with resolving the crisis which accompanied the incorporation of refugees. As Muslims were in the vanguard of commercial activities in Yorùbáland during the period, and as most of the refugees who settled in Kétu came from parts of Yorùbáland with long exposure to Islamic influence, it is not surprising that there was an astronomical rise in the number of Muslim residents in the town. By 1853 in fact, the Muslim adherents in the town had become a force to reckon with in local politics. Even though they were never fully integrated into the society and constituted a negligible proportion of the population, yet for most of the second half of the nineteenth century, they played prominent roles in local politics. They were powerful enough at one time to oppose the Alákétu and at another time to pursue a policy which was contrary to the wishes of Kétu chiefs.42 For instance, throughout the period, they succeeded in pursuing an anti-Christian policy, forming unstable alliances based largely on their personal interests, and exploiting the prevailing situation of mutual distrust between the A1ákétu and the chiefs till the A1ákétu’s demise in June 1853.43

  • 44 Barber, J. Journal entry for 24th June, 1853.
  • 45 Oral Interviews: Adéotí Adébédè (120+), Asùnú, Ile-Kétu, 21/8/78; Adésína Claver (110+), Dábajìn, (...)

17The interregnum between the death of Adébíyà and the investiture of a new king, provided the chiefs with the opportunity to arrogate to themselves all sorts of powers and privileges. It would in fact appear that they deliberately prolonged the investiture ceremony of the new king to consolidate their position.44 This is not surprising judging by their experience under the forceful Adébíyà. The plan was to get a meek ruler that would do the chiefs’ bidding. But again as in 1816, the chiefs vacillated during the interregnum, and played one prince against the other,45 and when they eventually made a choice in 1853, their calculations were wrong. As soon as he was invested with full powers, Adébédè was determined to rule and not to be a mere puppet in the hands of the chiefs. Although he had good intentions about resolving the constitutional crises, he did not realize how enormous the task was, and in his over zealousness, he underrated the chiefs, causing a furore which created widespread discontent. The end result was that the chiefs whipped up sentiment within the metropolis against the A1ákétu and succeeded in considerably undermining the monarchy.

18While the chiefs were building up their power, Kétu was going into decline. Greatly weakened by successive onslaughts of external invaders, particularly from Ìbàdàn and Dahomey, there was, in addition, mass emigration from the heartland to various parts of Ègbádò and Ońkò provinces. The A1ákétu’s influence within what remained of Kétu had been much weakened partly by the loss of the revenue from his outlying provinces and as secessionist feelings continued to build up in various parts of the country.

  • 46 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 131.

19Rev. T.J. Bowen had a glimpse of this inherently weak position of the A1ákét vis-a-vis the chiefs in 1858 when he tried to visit 116-Kétu. The plan of his visit was received with mixed feelings and caused a division between the A1ákétu and some of his chiefs. Although the A1ákétu personally favoured Bowen’s visit, he was turned back at the first major Kétu settlement on his route.46 When eventually, the A1ákétu brought Bowen into the town against the wishes of his chiefs, the crisis deepened. Bowen himself described in detail the developments:

  • 47 ibid., p. 145.

Several of the nobles of Kétu, declared that the king had transcended his authority by calling a white man into the town contrary to their wishes.... Next morning, I was called to a public audience of the king and nobles. Only a few of the latter were present, and my reception though courteous, was not cordial. At night, the king’s house was set on fire and burnt down. In the morning, he ordered the chiefs to detail men to assist in rebuilding his house, several of them replied, ‘Let the poor white man build it’.47

  • 48 Parrindér, E.G. The Story of Kétu, pp. 50-54; oral interviews: Àró Adétúnjí (80+), Máyingbìn, Ilé- (...)

20The fact is that, while the average Kétu indigene still had some faith in the institution of monarchy, the incumbent A1ákétu had become unpopular. In the event, it was easy to force him to commit suicide on the false accusation that he had connived at the Dahomean sack of Èpò, a town with which Kétu had some sentimental attachment,48 and therefore, the accusation implied that Adébèdè was no longer alive to his responsibilities.

  • 49 (CMS Archives) CA 2/043. Charles Gollmer. Journal extracts for half year ending September 25th, 18 (...)
  • 50 Adédìran, ’Bíójdún. The Kétu mission.
  • 51 See Charles Gollmer’s journal entry for 12th August for the Alákétu’s plea to the missionaries.

21An ineffective reign is better than an interregnum; it is therefore not surprising that issues were further aggravated by the demise of Adébèdé. The town was now divided into two hostile camps largely on the issue of a Christian mission. The first camp, to which members of the late Alákétu’s family and his sympathizers belonged included all Muslims resident in Kétu. This group was made up of strange bed-fellows brought together only by their common fate. The second camp was made up of the chiefs. Àdìrò Olúmájà who ascended the throne as the new Alákétu in 1858 initially played for time in order to reconcile the two camps. He appeared to have succeeded in bringing some normalcy into the town as the Christian missionaries in Abéòkúta were, by the middle of 1859, already receiving encouraging reports about developments in Kétu.49 This paved the way in 1859 for Christian missionaries from the Church Missionary Society base at Abéòkúta, to enjoy an unprecedented friendly reception from the Alákétu, his chiefs and a broad spectrum of Kétu indigenes and non-indigenes.50 The fact is that all parties seemed to agree that the Christian missionaries held the key to the solution of their problems. For instance, the chiefs wanted to use the influence of the missionaries to undermine that of the Muslims in the town. The Muslims, on the other hand, had come to see the settlement of the Christians as a necessary prelude to an era of peace and tranquility which they needed for the thriving of the commercial activities in which they were primarily interested. They hoped that the presence of Christian missionaries would scare Dahomey off in view of Dahomey’s calamitous experiences in places where Christians were established. The Alákétu himself, caught within the web of political interests in the metropolis, hoped to resolve the prevailing constitutional crises with the assistance of Christian missionaries.51 Thus with astute diplomacy, Àdìrò Olúmájà was able to bring a peaceful respite to Ilé-Kétu. At the same time, Dahomean soldiers ravaging the region did not make a direct assault on the town itself but contented themselves with raiding Kétu farms. In actual fact, the Dahomeans did not encounter any serious opposition in Kétu territory as one town after the other sought to buy peace by spying for them and giving their troops adequate provisions whenever they passed through to. the Ègbádò/Ègbá country. But this respite was only for a short while. Though the Alákétu proclaimed his neutrality in the hostility, it is alleged that he was involved in behind-the-scene intrigues against the chiefs. The C.M.S. failed to open a missionary station in Ilé-Kétu and the relationship between the Muslims and the chiefs again deteriorated.

22The Alákétu compounded the problems by his futile attempts to reconcile the two groups. He has been described as a cautious and skillful intriguer. Although this was not without some justification, in actual fact, he operated in precarious circumstances. When Àdìrò ascended the throne, the Kétu kingdom was already weak and its people were demoralized. The various raids since the beginning of the century had devastated many parts of the country and many of the indigenes had been forced into exile. What the average Kétu indigene wanted was peace and security. But these were not easy to achieve because of the division of the scanty population into hostile camps. Any concession the Alákétu made to one of them was bound to antagonize the other. He decided that the only way to rule successfully was to woo his subjects by innumerable public appearances. Nevertheless, events degenerated rapidly into a state beyond the Alákétu’s competence, leading in 1867 to his eventual abdication and flight to Ìmèkǫ where he was welcomed by the local indigenes who took delight in the developments in Ilé-Kétu.

  • 52 Igué.O.J. and Ìrόkò, F.A. Les Villes Yorùbá du Dahomey: L’Exemple de Kétu. Cotonou (1974) p. 15.
  • 53 Verger, P. Histoire, op. cit., also oral interviews: Adéşínà Claver, op. cit. and Àró Adétúnjí, op (...)

23In the circumstances, the Muslims and chiefs resorted to their individual methods of bringing about the much needed peace. The major issue was that of security, especially against Dahomean invasions. For this, the Kétu depended largely on various security measures taken since the foundation of the town and an army made up of militia provided by each Kétu quarter, under the overall command of the Kétu commander-in-chief, the Balógun. In the security arrangements made in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the Muslims became very powerful and influential. They provided groups of militia in the army because they occupied two of the quarters of the town, Mosáféjó and Yàwòwón. They also provided logistic support for other militia by supplying arms, ammunition and amulets. Furthermore, since they, by this time, controlled the trade of the Kétu region, they had acquired enormous wealth which placed them far above the chiefs.52 This consolidation of the position of the Muslims brought to a head once more the political tension in Ilé-Kétu. The Muslims favoured a policy of accommodation with Dahomey at all costs,53 primarily because they placed a lot of premium on the return of peace to the town. But this was against the chiefs’ interests since it would reduce Kétu to tributary status.

24This conflict of interests was amplified by the establishment of two hostile ‘political’ parties in the town. The first, composed of the Muslim and radical traders, saw itself as working towards the upliftment of the town and bore the name Asògo Ìlù (National Progressive Front). The other party was made up almost exclusively of the elderly chiefs in Ilé-Kétu and their compatriots in other Kétu settlements. It was a conservative group as the name Máyeùn (the pro status quo front) implies. The opprobrious name, Ègbé Afajere Pǫntí (society of those who collect wine in perforated pots), by which the first group was popularly known, indicates that it was regarded by the generality of the people as made up of deceitful and unpatriotic elements. It is alleged that on many occasions, members of the Afajere Pǫntí invited invaders into Kétu towns, supplying arms and ammunition to one side and amulets to the other, pretending to be neutral. After fighting ended, they bought many of the captives of the wars for sale in Porto.Novo and Badagry. However, except in 1867 when the mutual distrust degenerated into a civil war, both parties managed to maintain some calm in the town, apparently because they succeeded in maintaining a balance of power.

  • 54 This reconstruction is based substantially on Sedolo, M.O. Considérations sur la guerre de Kétou-W (...)

25Òşun Òjèkú who ascended the throne after Àdìrò was virtually a puppet and was unable to maintain the precarious balance of power. In fairness to him, since his predecessor was still alive, his investiture ceremonies could not be completed, and this put him virtually at the mercy of the chiefs. In the circumstances, the balance of power tilted in favour of the Muslims. This fact is tacitly acknowledged in Kétu traditions which liken the Afajere Pǫntí to the right hand and the more populous Máyeùn to the left. The cream of the Kétu army became engaged increasingly in expeditions to protect their outlying settlements against bands of brigands from Ìbàdàn, Abéòkúta, Òyó and even Dahomey. For the defence of Ilé-Kétu itself, the chiefs became more dependent on the Muslim militia,54 which remained in the town. For instance, in August 1883 when Dahomey attacked Ilé-Kétu, the Muslim militia put up a stiff resistance which almost foiled the attempt. The invaders withdrew, taking with them many captives, after killing the Alákétu and Afun (the leading Kétu general left in the town) ignominiously. Kétu traditions now allege that the Muslims connived at the 1883 attack in order to convince the chiefs of the necessity of an alliance with Dahomey. What is certain is that for the next three years, the constitutional crisis resurfaced with renewed enormity making it difficult to select a successor to Òjèkú. The state system had collapsed.

26Following the debacle of 1883, Kétu forces were reorganized under Agìdìgbò, the leading surviving Kétu general. Thus, when in April 1886 Dahomey again attacked Ilé-Kétu, it met a better organized resistance, and was pushed back with heavy losses. But when in the evening the Dahomeans heard the Kétu jubilating over this initial victory with hastily composed èfè songs to ridicule them, they resolved to place the town under a siege which eventually lasted three months. This the Kétu were not prepared for and as the provisions in the town were exhausted, there was an outbreak of epidemic and the death toll, especially of the elderly and children, rose sharply. Because of the strained relations which then existed between Kétu and most of the large outlying settlements such as Dírin and Ìmèkǫ, none of them came to Kétu’s aid. Discontent became widespread and the atmosphere of hostility intensified. To appease the Dahomeans, the Kétu released their soldiers taken captive during their pyrrhic victory, but this failed to produce the desired result. Out of desperation, a few individuals took the initiative to move out of the walled city and negotiate peace with the Dahomeans. It may never be known what the actual intentions of these individuals were, but the objective is very clear: peace at all costs was better than the siege which meant imminent death. With the usual deception characteristic of Dahomey’s military diplomacy in the century, Kétu authorities were made to believe that the siege would be raised at no cost. Only a few seasoned generals saw through the cover that, whichever way it went, the peace that the negotiation would bring could not be an honourable one for Kétu. However, since the central authority was already in shambles, their opinion carried no weight. The Dahomeans sacked the town with sardonic pleasure, taking many of its inhabitants as captives to Abomey. The few who managed to survive the carnage and the slave taking fled into the Ègbádò and Ègbá areas. Thus came the final destruction of Ilé-Kétu and with it the final end of the kingdom.

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISES AND CIVIL WAR IN ŞABȨ

  • 55 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. From constitutional troubles, pp. 6-7.
  • 56 Oral interviews: Biau Ezekiel (95+), Òkè-Óòlú, Kábua, 2/9/78; Onişábe Adélékè Àkànní and chiefs, 2 (...)

27For the şabȩ, the nineteenth century began in c.1795 with the accession of Ajere Akínkanjú to the throne.55 His installation was preceded by a major squabble during which the reigning Baálè of Kábua, Àfúdá Gbàyá, himself nursed the ambition of ascending the throne. He was only dissuaded from forcibly installing himself in the capital by the opposition of other leading members of the Babagídàí group and of the heads of non-royal lineages resident in Ilé-şabȩ.56 Àfùdá accepted Akínkanjú as the Oníşábę-elect as a result of some considerations.

  • 57 The profile of Akínkanjú was obtained from two major sources: the Onişábe and chiefs, and members (...)

28Firstly, Ajere Akínkanjú57 was a fairly young member of the Babagídàí group. Ostensibly, he was not learned in the intricacies of the affairs of the group. He had spent most of his lifetime outside the kingdom and was therefore presumably insulated from the intrigues of Şábȩ politics. By not choosing any of the elderly aspirants resident in Ilé-Şábȩ, Àfùdá probably expected the Oníşábȩ-elect to look to him for direction.

29Secondly, c was in some way indebted to Àfùdá. As a youth, he had engaged in many pranks and often got into trouble. He had relied mainly on the Baálȩ of Kábua’s protection from his colleagues who often insisted that in spite of the fact that he was an Òtólà (prince) he should bear the consequences of his actions. An account still recollected in bits in some Şábȩ settlements, recalls that Akínkanjú, on the eve of his selection, had lost heavily at gambling; but as an Òtólà he thought that his fellow gamblers had been unfair to him by claiming all their winnings. He subsequently appealed to Àfùdá who helped him to recover most of his losses. Assured by this indebtedness of Akínkanjú to him, Àfùdá put him up as the most eligible candidate, believing that if elected he would be his puppet.

30It is not now known whether others saw through Àfùdá’s personal interest in the choice, but it is interesting that the view which Àfùdá peddled to cover his interest was the greatest point in favour of Akínkanjú. It is conjectural, but it may well be true, that had Akínkanjú been a nonentity, the Baálé of Kábua would not have put him up, their personal relationship notwithstanding. An Oníşábȩ-elect had to be unanimously accepted by all segments of the Babagídàí group and by the non-royal chiefs resident in Ilé-Şábȩ. It was in the interests of both groups that whoever assumed the leadership of the state should be a capable person, ordinarily above board. A verse in the oríkì (praise-poem) from which the name Akínkanjú was derived refers to the young prince as a valiant warrior who could be relied upon in times of trouble. A stanza in the same oríkì records that Akínkanjú had a royal countenance, and was an enterprising businessman. It is particularly emphasized that he took early advantage of the long-distance trade between Şábȩ and Porto Novo (Àjàşé) to accumulate enormous wealth which placed him well above the average Şábȩ citizen. Part of his personal oríkì runs thus:

  • 58 Collected from female oríkì chanters of the Akínkanjú family.

Kàkàkí sàn ju fèrè
Gbogbo ara ló fi jé idȩ
A sòwórìn l’Ájàşé
Olówó tó kó’lé ojú omi58

A trumpet is better than a flute
It is entirely bedecked with silver
Frequenter on the Porto Novo route
The rich man who built a house on marshy ground.

31In the uncertain years of the early nineteenth century, such a choice could be expected to get widespread support.

  • 59 Oral interviews: Oníşábȩ. and chiefs; also DOAS files tilled ‘Les Quartiers de Savè’ and ‘La succe (...)

32Akínkanjú succeeded in bringing some peaceful respite. There are indications that he attempted to build a strong army. For this purpose, he invited some blacksmiths to live permanently in the town in order to ensure a steady supply of arms and ammunition.59 It also appeared that Akínkanjú allowed the Òyó to gain a foothold in the Şábȩ region, presumably as an insurance against Dahomey. As a successful man in the Porto Novo trade, he must have had acquaintances among the prominent Òyó citizens who-also frequented that market town. As soon as he became Oníşábȩ, Akínkanjú renewed old alliances and attempted to enlist the cooperation of Òyó authorities. Within a few years of his accession, Ilé-Şábȩ was thriving as a large market town and had become the most important administrative centre in the kingdom.

  • 60 DOAS file titled ‘Aperçu historique sur les rois’.

33But Akínkanjú was not able to follow these developments to their logical conclusion. The first few years of his reign saw him making a desperate attempt to put down incessant revolts in Ilé-Şábȩ.60 This resulted from the attempt of the non-royal groups in that town to seize the opportunity that was presented by the interregnum which preceded the choice of Akínkanjú to reassert their pre-eminence. However, building on the experience of his predecessors, Akínkanjú quickly consolidated his hold on Ilé-Şábȩ by constituting the non-Amùşù lineage heads into a council of advisers. The immediate effect of this was that opposition to Babagídàí rule subsided, giving Akínkanjú the opportunity to concentrate on the dissension within the dynastic group.

  • 61 DOAS files titled ‘Les villages de la sub-division de Savè’. Entries under ‘Kabwa’, ‘La Descendanc (...)

34The major problem in the dynastic group was created by the intention of the Baálé of Kábua, as head of the most senior segment of the group, to remain the strongman of Şábȩ politics. This threatened to disrupt the balance of power within the group. The Baálé of Kábua set himself up as the overlord of the northern section of the kingdom.61 The immediate effect of this can be imagined, especially from the economic angle. In terms of commerce, the northern provinces were very important. The trade routes from Hausaland via Borgu entered the kingdom around Saworo passing through Kìlìbò to Kábua. Here the routes fanned westwards through Şakí to join the Badagry-northern Yorùbá routes, and southwards to Ilé-Şábȩ. Tolls and tributes collected in the northern section formed a major part of the Oníşábȩ’s revenue. It is claimed that, in demonstration of the idea that he was the power behind the throne, Áfùdá not only kept tolls and tributes to himself, but also confiscated some goods destined for Ilé-Şábȩ. Furthermore, he levied arbitrary taxes on all traders passing through his province, irrespective of whether they had paid at other Şábȩ checkpoints or not.

  • 62 See for instance, Mouléro T. Histoire et légende, p. 65.

35In the light of his earlier bid for the throne, Áfùdá’s withdrawal from central government affairs was suspicious, and it was not improbable to discern in him a contemplated secession. But it seems most unlikely that the Baálé’s ambition in fact extended beyond demonstrating that he was a power to be reckoned with in the politics of the state. In spite of his treasonable activities, he continued to treat the Ilé-Şábȩ authorities with caution and respect,62 but the distrust which then characterized the affairs of members of the Babagídàí group strengthened suspicion of the Kábua segment. There is no doubt that by choosing a man with such sterling qualities as Akínkanjú possessed, the Baálé of Kábua had miscalculated the political odds. With strong support from his kinsmen and other acquaintances, Akínkanjú was determined to undermine the influence of the Baálé and be the de facto ruler of Şábȩ. Tacitly supported by a cross-section of his subjects, Akínkanjú proceeded to check the budding threat to his authority, and to achieve the establishment of Ilé-Şábe as the only focus of political authority within the kingdom.

  • 63 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Kinship and political authority in pre-colonial Yorùbalánd: The example of (...)

36Akínkanjú’s death brought to the fore again, the constitutional problems endemic within the Babagídàí group.63 There was an interregnum prolonged unnecessarily by the indecision of the king makers on a choice among the many eligible aspirants. Initially, the heads of the leading segments of the Babagídàí group failed to appreciate the danger inherent in a prolonged interregnum and simply interpreted it as the resurgence of an old problem. Therefore, they could not see the realities and simply refused to set in motion the process for electing a new Oníşábȩ. However, in fairness to them, no successful attempt seemed immediately possible. There were considerable disagreements on the basic principles of the constitutional framework. The monopoly of the kingship by the Ilé-Sábȩ segment was seriously challenged by powerful individuals within the dynastic group. This group was made up of radical Òtólà who had built up personal followings and had acquired substantial wealth from their various economic pursuits. They began to advocate a new framework which would place the personal merit of individual Òtólà above their respective positions on the genealogical tree.

37The young radicals seriously campaigned for and succeeded in appointing Yabi Pasi, the Baálé of Wòrògì, as regent. This choice indicates the extent to which the radicals had succeeded in undermining the old order. Traditionally, the position of regent was reserved for the Baálé of Kábua. With this by-passing of the constitutionally recognized candidate for the regency, the issue of the monopoly of the spiritual headship of the Babagídàí group by the Kábua segment appears to have been resolved. Thenceforth, the idea that all positions within the Babagídàí group were common property that should be open to all members became a strong argument in the campaign of the radicals.

38More seriously, although they achieved his appointment as regent, these radicals refused to acknowledge the right of the Baálé of Wòrògì to superintend their affairs. It would appear that they had accepted him as regent mainly because they recognized in him senile characteristics which would not inhibit their personal ambitions. Indeed, the traditions suggest that the radicals deliberately set out to undermine the influence of the Baálé in their respective areas. Attempts were made by some of them to seize the throne by force. Consequently, the choice of regent did not solve the constitutional crisis. Yabi’s clumsiness in running the affairs of state did not help matters. Indeed, he failed to achieve anything as he proved unable to contain the excessive ambition of the Òtólà For most of the period of his regency, the de facto rulers of Şábȩ were the radicals, particularly Kòsòní, the commander-in-chief of the Şábȩ army and a female Òtólà called Ìná Mègò.

  • 64 Oral interviews: Ayédún Omítókí (100+), Pàákò, Ilé-Şábȩ, 27/8/78.
  • 65 See for instance references in Law, R.C.C. The Òyó Empire, p. 273, footnote 72.

39There can be little doubt that Balógun Kòsòní possessed the requisite political astuteness to lead the kingdom in a time of crisis. He was an Òtólà from the Wòrògì segment.64 He had to his credit a distinguished career as a warrior and peacetime administrator. As the most powerful individual in the kingdom, he exercised some prerogatives of kingship to the discredit of his kinsman, the Baálé of Wòrògì, the officially recognized regent. In fact, contemporary reports refer to Kòsòní as the ruler of Şábȩ.65 He, certainly, saw himself, not merely as an Òtólà but as the natural heir to the throne.

40In spite of the ruthlessness which Kòsòní showed in the pursuit of his ambition, he was unable to achieve political stability or even unity among his kinsmen. In fact he showed a lack of realistic appreciation of the nature of the problem which faced the kingdom. In a situation which demanded utmost caution and astute diplomacy in order to stabilize the central government, Kòsòní decided to boost his military prestige by assisting the Mahi and Òyò against Dahomey and the Fulani. It may be argued that as a matter of political expediency the task of external defence should precede that of internal reorganization. But it is equally arguable that effective defence against external foes would be largely dependent on internal stability. That the latter was actually the case seems to be underscored by the failure of Kòsòní’s defensive alliances and the subsequent invasion of Şábȩ by Dahomey leading to Kòsòní’s death c.1835.

41The situation proved much more complex than it might have appeared to the casual observer. Kòsòní’s actions had incurred the wrath of Dahomey and the Fulani. The Şábȩ now lived in perpetual fear of an invasion. None of the Òtólà was prepared to accept the kingship just at that time, or to step into Kòsòní’s shoes. Convinced that no attempt to sponsor a male candidate for the throne could succeed, Ìná Mégò, a woman and a radical, decided to arrogate to herself the prerogatives of kingship. She took up the challenge of reorganizing the central administration which was now in total disarray.

  • 66 Oral interviews: Biau Ezckiel, op. cit.; also George, J.O. Historical Notes on the Yorùbá Country (...)

42Ìná Mégò seemed to have counted on support from two major quarters. First, she counted on the support of the non-Babagídàí groups who formed the majority of the inhabitants of Ilé-Şábȩ. These looked at a female reign as being the best in the circumstances. On the one hand it was a soft option compared to the high handedness of the male Òtólà; on the other, Ìná Mégò’s personal qualities promised to arrest the atmosphere of insecurity created by the absence of a ruler. Secondly, Ìná Mégò counted on the support of Yabi Pasi, the Baálé of Wòrògí, who was regent. It may never be known whether it is true that her candidacy was sponsored by the Baálè himself.66 But it appeared that in accordance with customary procedure, the ageing Baálè attempted to set in motion the installation process and was only dissuaded by others who were to be involved in the rituals. In addition, Ìná Mégò attempted to strengthen her position by cultivating friendly relations with influential members of the Babagídàí group. She must have achieved some measure of stability at least within Ilé-Şábȩ itself. It is remembered that she embarked on building massive defensive walls and took other steps designed to make Şábȩ free from external attacks.

  • 67 Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, p. 69.
  • 68 Collected from Kétúpò Ǫló, female oríkì chanter, Jàbàtá, 24/8/78.

43Nevertheless, the ‘reign’ of Ìná Mégò in a conservatively patrilineal society indicated the extent to which things had degenerated in the kingdom. Other members of the Babagídàí group ignored her as a pretender and made clear their unwillingness to allow a female to rule. More importantly, the Ìná Mégò episode which lasted till c.1845, inspired many princes to make a direct attempt at the throne, disregarding the traditional selection and installation processes. One such Òtólà called Àìmǫni forcibly entered Ilé-Sábȩ, occupied the palace and declared himself king. In response to the criticism by his kinsmen that his action was an aberration to normal convention, Àìmǫni declared that the throne was common property and anyone interested in it could be king.67 Àìmǫni’s personal oríkì talks of desperate attempts he made to revamp the economy and to bring some sanity into the administrative system. Yet the reign was anything but peaceful. There were many attempts to frustrate him. These are vividly recollected in his personal oríkì68 part of which runs thus:

Ilé sanmí Peace as a commoner
Oyè kèè wò is better than a
àbál’ayé ndá troublesome tenure
A pàwàdà s’ògùn in which many wicked attempts were only foiled by astute diplomacy

44The challenges to Àìmǫni’s usurpation and to Ìná Mégò’s previous bid for the throne indicated that in spite of the constitutional decay, there were still men who had faith in the old order. The caucus of this ‘conservative’ group is not yet fully known, but it appears to have included members of the Ilé-Şabȩ segment of the Babagídàí group and at least the Baálé of Kábua. Àìmǫni’s curt reply that the throne was common property seemed to have mobilized the group into action. They pointed out the dangers in the new trend of events and emphasized the need to restore normal rule and reorganize the central administration.

45The immediate problem the caucus had to solve was the method of re-establishing constitutional rule. The strategy they eventually adopted was: first, to convince their ‘radical’ kinsmen that the violation of the principles on which the constitutional framework of the Babagídaí system was based was the real cause of trouble; secondly, to persuade the lineage groups in Ilé-Sábȩ to accept a new ruler; thirdly, to scout for an Òtólà who could command enough respect to restore the dignity of kingship; and lastly, to lobby Dahomey for friendship.

46The work of the caucus was hampered for some time by the uncompromising attitude of the non-royal Ilé-Sábȩ lineage groups. These had come to see the lack of coordination in the affairs of the Babagídaí group as a blessing in disguise since it allowed them some measure of independence. However, this problem was soon solved with the cooperation of one Ajeran Ajínta, the leader of the Amùsù and apparently the strong man of Sábȩ politics after the demise of Ìná Mégò.

  • 69 Oral interviews: Oníşábȩ and chiefs; Justin Yáì (75+), head of Amùşù, Sèhú,Ilé-Sábȩ; also DOAS. Ap (...)

47Another problem was the difficulty of finding an Òtólà acceptable to a cross-section of the people. Virtually all those who showed interest failed to get widespread acceptance. Some had become well-known for their excessive ambition and others were rejected because of their relatively junior status within the Babagídaí group. The fact is that all capable Òtólà resident within the state were at the least vicariously involved in the on-going crisis. The only way out of the dilemma was to scout for a candidate outside the frontiers of the kingdom. Eventually, c. 1850, a charismatic young prince, Sàbì Òtéwà’s, then resident in Kétu, was persuaded to accept the throne and given the mandate by a cross-section of the populace to re-organize the administrative system.69

48The new Oníşábȩ and Ajȩran Ajínta were soon involved in fierce rivalry. It was a new dimension to the constitutional crisis. The ‘conservative’ group had not envisaged this. Sàbì Otéwà was committed to the restoration of the Babagídaí system in its entirety. Ajȩran, on the other hand, advocated a complete overhaul of the system. In his opinion, the only possible means of achieving lasting political stability was to restore the Amùşù to a position of prominence, at least within Ilé-Sábȩ. The issue soon assumed a wider dimension and became a struggle for supremacy between the whole Babagídàí group and the Amùşù.

49It is unlikely, however, that Ajȩran’s ambition extended beyond a desire to be recognized as one of the chiefs in Ilé-Sábȩ. He had been personally instrumental to getting Òtéwà’s to accept the throne and appeared as enthusiastic as members of the Babagídàí group in restoring the central administration. The internecine struggles which characterized the politics of Ilé-Sábȩ made the Babagídàí group overreact to Ajȩran’s moves. Tension was heightened with the invasions of the eastern province of the kingdom by Ìjàyè forces. The Amùşù were accused of conniving at these invasions. Events degenerated rapidly as both the Amùşù and the Babagídaí began to prepare for confrontation. Ajȩran mobilized the Amùşù in all Sábȩ settlements and in addition began to equip an army of invasion by lobbying the Mahi, Dahomey and Òyó for support. Although there was strong support for war among members of the Babagídàí group, they failed to mobilize at the same level as the Amùşù. The unity which they had achieved on the eve of Òtéwà’s selection vanished rapidly as individual group interests once more came to the forefront. Each of the powerful Òtólá was preoccupied with organizing the defence of his own settlement; none was able to commit himself to anything more than moral support for Òtéwà’s. In the end, Òtéwà’s was only able to gather a few men, while Ajȩran had the strong support of his kinsmen in various Sábȩ settlements as well as a strong contingent of archers from Borgu. There was a rapid build-up of Ìbààbá forces in the kingdom. The main group, allegedly led by Ajȩran himself, attacked the town, quickly put down the weak resistance and assassinated the Oníşábȩ. The late king’s sympathizers fled the town in various directions. The main group under Boni Àkéké, an Òtólà, crossed the Òpárá river and settled at Àfàyìn.

50As a result of the coup d’etat, the Amùşù regained a position of prominence in Sábȩ politics, although their victory was a pyrrhic one. Evidently, Ajȩran had badly miscalculated both the military and political odds involved in forming an alliance with the Ìbààbá With their superior military powers, the Ìbààbá leaders made a bid for power. Like most leaders of such hastily organized coups, Ajȩran did not appear to have any immediate and clearly defined objectives that could appeal to a cross section of the people beyond the Amùşù. He could have taken over the leadership, but this he failed to do, presumably because he had never coveted the throne, and he allowed the Ìbààbá to assume leadership.

  • 70 Ibid; also Igué, O. and Aşíwájú, A.I. The Story of Sábȩ, ch.IV.

51Even with their occupation of Ilé-Sábȩ and their control of the town, there was no immediate way in which the Ìbààbá could make their authority effective beyond Ilé-Sábȩ and the outlying settlements. Rather, they unleashed a reign of terror as pockets of Ìbààbá marauders roamed the countryside. The situation was worsened by the fact that since the central government had no effective authority, the outlying settlements ceased to send in tribute. All peaceful economic pursuits, such as trade and farming were disrupted by the incessant chaos and insecurity. The Ìbààbá decided to consolidate the new government by recourse to terrorism. In a manner reminiscent of Àfònjá’s tactics at Ìlǫrin, they outplayed Ajȩran and declared two of their generals successive kings. This alarmed the inhabitants of Ilé-Sábȩ who were now divided into two factions. While one faction, led by Ajȩran, refused to face reality and remained loyal to the alien rulers, another became very hostile to the Ìbààbá and demanded their immediate withdrawal. Discontent grew in Ilé-Sábȩ and it would appear that the rebellious faction began to negotiate for the return of the Babagídàí group. This was strongly supported by the majority of the people in other major Sábȩ settlements. Events rapidly deteriorated to such a level that Monse Bure, the second Ìbààbá ruler, had to commit suicide.70 An outbreak of fighting in the town was only averted by the diplomatic manoeuvres of Ajȩran himself.

52Meanwhile, the Sábȩ in exile worked closely together and sought to avert further escalation of the intra-dynastic disputes. Furthermore, their leader, Boni Àkéké, took the initiative by sending proposals to non-Sábȩ settlements for assistance against the Ìbààbá army of occupation. It is recalled that many Sábȩ settlements sent contingents which were joined by one sent by Aláké of Abéòkúta. From their participation in other wars at the time, it is probable that the Ègbá were well armed with European weapons which the Ìbààbá lacked. The victory of the allies was therefore a foregone conclusion. The major fighting took place at a place called Ìgbèrè on the outskirts of the capital. There, a decisive victory seems to have been achieved over the Ìbààbá and their compatriots. The allies proceeded to attack all major strongholds of the Ìbààbá in the kingdom. The Ègbá contingent on its part took the opportunity to raid many Şábȩ villages presumably for spoils of war.

53In the aftermath of the prolonged civil war, the new rulers took measures to ensure political stability. They first tackled the issue of central administration and worked out some formulae for peace. Within the dynastic group, the status quo ante Akínkanjú seemed to have been restored. This meant the recognition of Kábua and Ilé-Şábȩ as the leading segments of the dynastic group. The council of advisers inaugurated by Akínkanjú was reconstituted into a council of state, incorporating heads of all non-royal lineages with the exception of the Amùşù. The immediate reactions of the radicals and the non-royal groups to these reforms can now only be guessed at. Everybody appeared tired of war and any formula which promised peace and tranquility was acceptable. Nevertheless, it was probably to enlist the loyalty of the non-royal groups that Boni Àkéké, instead of assuming the kingship, chose a direct descendant of Akínkanjú, for the throne.

54Secondly, the Şábȩ looked for an effective way of ensuring the security of the state. It had become clear that as a result of the wars going on in other parts of the Yorùbá country, no assistance from other Yorùbá states would be forthcoming. More seriously, Dahomey, having come under the intrepid Glélé c. 1858, began to put Şábȩ under constant military pressure. In c. 1865, shortly after the defeat of the Ìbààbá/Amùşù forces, Glélé sacked Ilé-Sábȩ itself. Although, as in earlier invasions, Dahomey seemed to have been satisfied with booty and to have withdrawn quickly after the sack, members of the Babagídàí group were jittery. They feared a possible resurgence of the Amùşù problem, particularly an Amùşù/Dahomey alliance. To forestall such a move, the new administration, still in exile at Àfàyìn, decided to lobby Dahomey for friendship.

55If the Şábȩ leaders had envisaged some degree of autonomy, they never got it. The subsequent negotiations ended with Şábȩ’s acceptance of Dahomey’s overlordship and payment of a heavy annual tribute. That such conditions could be accepted by the Sábȩ leaders shows the ridiculous extent to which members of the Babagídàí group were prepared to go to ensure the final defeat of the Amùşù and their re-occupation of Ilé-Sábȩ.

56Thus, the sovereignty of Sábȩ was brought to an end. While there is no doubt that external invasions contributed to the final debacle, it must be emphasized that the intensity of the invasions were due primarily to the mutual distrust and suspicion among the component interest groups. It is significant that until the constitutional framework broke down completely c. 1835 external invasions had little significance in the political development of the kingdom. From then on, particularly after c.1855, when the constitutional crisis degenerated into an open civil war, ambitious individuals all over the Sábȩ kingdom began to seek the aid of freebooters from the neighbouring countries. The more desperate among them brought in the Ìbààbá, the Ègbá and the Dahomey in the vain hope that such external assistance would resolve the constitutional crisis in favour of their own group.

  • 71 Ibid.

57Even then, the Sábȩ were not spared the fury of Dahomey for long.71 Indeed, the lull in Dahomean invasions on the northern corridor seem to have been the result of Glé1é’s preoccupation in the Ègbádò/Ègbá countries to the southeast. Thus, the 1880s witnessed the resumption of a bellicose policy towards the Sábȩ with renewed vigour. This led, by 1884, to the destruction of the few existing major Sábȩ settlements such as Mǫkà, Jàbàtá Kábua and Kǫkǫrǫ. The capital city, Ilé-Sábȩ, was itself burnt down in 1885 leaving the Dahomeans the indisputable masters of Sábȩ country.

DISINTEGRATION IN ÌDÁÌŞÀ

  • 72 Duncan, W.J. Travels in Western Africa, op. cit.
  • 73 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Carrot and stick diplomacy: Glélé and the eclipse of Ìdáìşà autonomy. In: S (...)
  • 74 Dunglas, E. Contribution à l’histoire du moyen-Dahomey. ED vol. xx, pp. 36-7.
  • 75 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy...

58In the nineteenth century, the Ìdáìşà faced two major foes, Dahomey and the Mahi. The dilemma of the Ìdáìşà in the nineteenth century is partly portrayed by John Duncan who passed through Ìdáìşà country in the mid-1840s.72 Ìdáìşà country had always been on the priority list of the kings of Dahomey and it is not a surprise that the Dahomeans stepped up their raids on their ‘northern corridor’ in the nineteenth century.73 Under Adandozan (1797-1818), the Yorùbá communities in the area suffered several attacks. Although these attacks were primarily directed against the Mahi with the intention of destroying Savalou, any time the Mahi were attacked, the Yorùbá groups in their midst were not spared. In fact, finding the conquest of Mahi difficult, the Dahomeans in the course of the nineteenth century turned on the Yorùbá groups, destroying Ìfìtá, Ìjàòkú, Ìdùmè and a host of other major Yorùbá settlements in the western province of the Ìdáìşà kingdom.74 It is not that Ìdáìşà settlements were large towns like those of Kétu or Şábȩ, the terrain did not allow for that; they were in essence, small villages clustered around each other. Long-distance trade routes which could have linked the region with other areas were few, mainly because of the inhospitable terrain. Nevertheless, the Ìdáìşà initiated long-distance trading activities,75 in spite of the great fear of external invasion by Dahomey. With the military power of Òyó in shambles, the Ìdáìşà had no alternative other than to seek their own salvation.

59The efforts at political integration in the region were opposed by Dahomey and by the newly founded Mahi state of Savalou under Gbaguidi. These states were apprehensive of any form of federation by the Yorùbá which they believed could lead to an alliance of Yorùbá states in the region; Kétu and Şábȩ were already substantial states. With the experience of ?y? overlordship and Dahomean intransigence still fresh in their memory, the Mahi cannot really be blamed for making attempts to prevent the emergence of a strong, centralized state in their neighbourhood. As evident from the preceding discussion, Dahomey on her part favoured the existence of ‘republics’ which made her imperial designs easy. Clearly, the establishment of organized polities was against Dahomean interests, for following the emergence of the kingdom and presumably the organization of more effective resistance in the Ìdáìşà region, the volume of slaves captured by Dahomey from the north decreased considerably. The result was intense raiding by the Fon of Dahomey, the Mahi of Savalou and occasional stragglers from the Fulani or from the central Yorùbá country.

60The effects were clearly evident. First, was the further destruction to settlements and the formation of new refugee ones which took names such as Bètóú (Ibè-étú the old place was destroyed), Şáká1òkè (run about on the hills), Kpapanda (hunt them and kill them), Kpedekpede (we arrived here one by one), Ilèmón (everything is clear, i.e., destroyed). By the 1850s, the Ìdáìşà country was in virtual ruins, the capital, Igbó-Ìdáìşà itself was desolate and overgrown with weeds following its frequent sack and the flight of its inhabitants.

  • 76 cf. Adédíran, ’Bíódún. The structure of administration of pre-colonial Ìdáìşà; and Adédíran, ’Bíód (...)
  • 77 Mouléro, T. Histoire du Peuple. Also oral interviews in the Ìdáìşà region at various times between (...)

61This was a clear indication that the intricate network like sociopolitical organization built up by the Jagun dynastic group had outlived its usefulness;76 and each of the component groups that made up the state sought to make whatever arrangement it could for security.77 Thus, constant threats of external invasions in the nineteenth century led to a disintegration of the state.

  • 78 Ediku, L. Les rois ou Jagou de Dassa-Zoumé (ms). Oral interviews: Àlbert Abíssí (75+), Ààfin, Dass (...)

62There were also challenges to royal authority both from within the dynastic group and from the non-royal groups within the kingdom. The kings simply had no solution and the official royal names they took indicate the tense atmosphere within the capital city.78 For instance, Jagun Ndeju who succeeded Ajíbóyèdé is remembered as being very cruel, having put many people to death on flimsy excuses of treachery. As a result, he was not given a fitting burial and his descendants were forbidden to accede to the throne. The sixteenth Jagun, Kìnìún, had no scruples and resorted to selling his subjects into slavery, presumably to placate Dahomey and lessen the military raids on the Ìdáìşà. The troubles were complicated by the reign of the nineteenth Jagun. The name Ègbákòtán which he took was actually in the hope that in spite of all odds, the Ìdáìşà would not be completely decimated. Years of wars, intrigues within the capital, mass emigration of people, all led to a rapid decline of the economy, particularly agriculture. There were poor harvests and consequent famine and epidemics, locally called Ebi Òtòmpóró and Jànkálè respectively. Whole settlements were completely wiped out and the western province of the kingdom was virtually denuded of its population as the people emigrated further westwards to the Áná and Işà regions. The seriousness of the situation can be realized when it is known that not less than fifteen Jagun reigned in the first half of the nineteenth century, giving an average reign length of 3.13 years per king, an indication that for most of the nineteenth century Jagun of Ìdáìşà were incompetent and that the monarchy had become a burden to the state.

  • 79 Hutchet, R.P. Les Dassa (ms).
  • 80 Adédíran, ’Bíódún. Carrot and stick diplomacy.

63The most serious wars were fought in the second half of the century, yet the king who dominates the history of this period, Àmúró had a long reign (d. 1881) perhaps an indication that under him some stability was achieved. In fact, if Duncan’s observations were accurate, by the middle of the century the Ìdáìşà were probably reviving their economy and power, even though the threat of external invasion never fully ceased.79 They had probably rebuilt the army as well and the destruction which characterized the first half of the century seems to have lessened due to a relatively peaceful relation with Dahomey which lasted till 1881 when again attacked the Ìdáìşà country and successfully incorporated it within Dahomey.80

CONCLUSION

  • 81 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 39-45.
  • 82 Adédíran, ’Bíódún. The Kétu Mission...
  • 83 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 42-52.

64From 1881, when the Ìdáìşà kingdom was destroyed, to 1884-85 when the Şábȩ country was ravaged, and 1886, when Kétu fell, Dahomey succeeded in reducing to vassalage the western Yorùbá kingdoms. Between the Mono and the Òyán, Dahomey had become an indomitable power, giving the Europeans on the coast great concern. As is now well known, the desire of the British and the French to obtain spheres of influence in western Yorùbáland had continued to wax strong from the middle of the century.81 Both European powers therefore felt it necessary to bring peace to the region by resolving the internal crises within the. kingdoms and stemming the tide of wars. As evident in the case of Kétu, which has been studied in some detail, the Europeans, particularly the missionaries, became useful in giving some hope with regard to the recovery of the economy and stemming the tide of raids from external foes.82 But these failed to achieve the desired end and the result indeed, was the very one which the European powers had sought to prevent: the dominance of Dahomey over the western Yorùbá kingdoms. This was to play a crucial factor in the Anglo-French partition of western Yorùbáland83 as the French conquest of Dahomey in 1892 inadvertently gave them an edge over the British in the Kingdoms of Kétu, Şábȩ and Ìdáìşà which by the 1880s had been practically incorporated within Dahomey.

Notes

1 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, p. 26.

2 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 36, 91-92.

3 Foláyan, K. Ęgbádò to 1834. pp. 22ff; Law, R.C.C. The Òyó Empire, pp. 92-95.

4 Dissou, M.I. Essai de reconnaissance et détermination de l’origine des principales families Yorùbá de Porto Novo a leur ‘oríkì’. ED (N.S.) 13 (1969), pp. 35-62.

5 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 123-127.

6 Ibid., pp. 141 ff.

7 Dalzel, A. The History of Dahomey, pp. 195-196.

8 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and its Neighbours, pp. 162-163.

9 Ibid., pp. 186-199.

10 Bíòbákú, S.O. The Ęgbá and their Neighbours, pp. 12-13.

11 Mábogùnję, A.I. and Omer-Cooper, J.D. Òwu in Yorùbá History, p. 53; Law, R.C.C. The Òwu war. in Yorùbá history. JHSN 7: i (1973).

12 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and the Yorùbá in the 19lh century. In: Anene, J.C. and Brown, G.N. (eds.) Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Nelson (1966) pp. 263-268.

13 Johnson, S. The History, pp. 258-268; Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, pp. 66-67; Bàgòdò, O. Le Royaume Borgou Wasangari de Nikki dans la première moitié du XIX siècle. Mémoire de Maîtrise, Cotonou (1978) pp. 168-184.

14 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 26-32 for some of the versions.

15 See Ibid.; Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and Yorùbá, op. cit.; Fóláyan, K. International politics in a frontier zone: Ęgbádò 1833 - 63. ODÙ (n.s.) 8 (1972) pp. 3-32.

16 See Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, op. cit.; Cotton, E.P. Report on Égbá-Égbádò Boundary 1905. In: Thomas, E.V.S. Historical survey of towns of Ìlarò, Ìlóbí, Ajílété and Ìláshé (ms.); also (NAI) CSO 26/3/21790. Assessment Report: Ìmálà District, Abęòkúta Province.

17 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. From constitutional troubles to civil war in Şábę: Constitutional crisis in a 19th century Yorùbá community. Africana Marbugensia xvii: 2 (1984), pp. 4-5.

18 See for instance, Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende de Chabe. ED No. 2 (June 1964) pp. 66-67.

19 See Ògúntómisin, G.O. Kúrumi of Ìjàyè: A Political Biography of a Military Ruler in the Mid-19th Century. Lagos: John West (forthcoming). Also Smith, R.S. Ìjàyè, the Western Palatinate of the Yorùbá. JHSN 2: iii (1962).

20 See for instance Mouléro, T. op. cit., p. 69: The History, pp. 291-2.

21 On this see Ajàyí, J.F. and Smith, R.S. Yorùbá Warfare in the 19th Century. Ìbàdàn University Press, 1971.

22 For a comprehensive account of the Kírìjì-Èkìtìparapò war, see Akíntóyè, S.A. Revolution and Power Politics in Yorùbáland, 1840-1893. Longman (1973); also Akínjógbìn, I.A. et al. War and Peace in Yorùbáland, 1793-1893. Heinemann, Ìbàdàn, forthcoming.

23 Aşiwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 26-29; Fǫláyan, K. International politics. (NAI) CSO 26/4/30439. Report on Òkè-Òdàn, Ìlarò, Ìlóbi, Ajílété and Ìláshè by J.H. Ellis (1935); (ENA) Hole 34 No. 12 ’Ikétu, Ìjálę, Tibó.

24 See for instance, Mouléro, T. Guezo or Guedize Massigbe. ED IV (1965) p. 53.

25 Fǫláyan, K. International politics.

26 Mouléro, T. Histoire et legend, op.cit., p. 66.

27 Duncan, W.J. Travels in Western Africa, 1845-1846, Vol. II. London (1847) pp. 41-2.

28 Akínjógbìn, I.A. Dahomey and Yorùbá, pp. 326-327.

29 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 143.

30 (CMS Archives) CA 2/037. Journal of Rev. V. Faulkner.

31 (CMS Archives) Church Missionary Record (n.s.) V: 5 (May 1860) p. 138.

32 (NAI) Co 147/48 Encloure D., S. Johnson to Lt. Gov. 23/1/1882.

33 Àtàndá, J.A. Dahomean raids on Òkè-Ògùn towns, 1881-1890: An episode in 19th century Yorùba-Dahomey relations. Historia III (August 1966) pp. 1-12.

34 Ògúntómisìn, GO. Political change and adaption in Yorùbáland in the 19th century. Canadian Journal of African Studies 15:2 (1981) pp.-223-237.

35 Parrinder, E.G. The Story of Kétu, p. 43; oral interview: Àró Adétùnjí (100+), Máyingbín, Ilé-Kétu, 22/9/78.

36 Verger, P. Histoire du pays Kétou; also oral interview: Aró Adétúnjí (100+), Máyingbìn, Kétu, 22/9/78 and (CMS Archives CA7/021); Barber, J. Second journey to Kétu (June 1853).

37 Parrinder, E.G. The Story of Kétu, p.44; also oral interviews in Kétu at various times between 1978 and 1984.

38 This issue is discussed fully in Adédìran, ’Bíójdún Islam and political crisis in Kétu: A case study of the role of Muslims in a 19th century Yorùbá polity. Ifè Journal of Religions No. 3 (1982-89) pp. 5-19.

39 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 148; (CMS Archives) CA3/031 S. Crowther. Account of journey to Kétu, Dahomey.

40 Sec Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy of Western Yorùbáland.

41 C.M.S. Intelligencer. (November 1853) p. 249.

42 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Islam and politics in Kétu.

43 See for example, Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy of Western Yorùbáland.

44 Barber, J. Journal entry for 24th June, 1853.

45 Oral Interviews: Adéotí Adébédè (120+), Asùnú, Ile-Kétu, 21/8/78; Adésína Claver (110+), Dábajìn, Ilé-Kétu, 3/9/78; Samuel Adébíyì (75+), Ìlómu, Ilé-Kétu, 3-4/9/81.

46 Bowen, T.J. Adventures and Missionary Labours, p. 131.

47 ibid., p. 145.

48 Parrindér, E.G. The Story of Kétu, pp. 50-54; oral interviews: Àró Adétúnjí (80+), Máyingbìn, Ilé-Kétu, 22/7/78.

49 (CMS Archives) CA 2/043. Charles Gollmer. Journal extracts for half year ending September 25th, 1859. Entry for April 11th.

50 Adédìran, ’Bíójdún. The Kétu mission.

51 See Charles Gollmer’s journal entry for 12th August for the Alákétu’s plea to the missionaries.

52 Igué.O.J. and Ìrόkò, F.A. Les Villes Yorùbá du Dahomey: L’Exemple de Kétu. Cotonou (1974) p. 15.

53 Verger, P. Histoire, op. cit., also oral interviews: Adéşínà Claver, op. cit. and Àró Adétúnjí, op. cit.

54 This reconstruction is based substantially on Sedolo, M.O. Considérations sur la guerre de Kétou-Wotóló. Notes Africaines No. 57 (January 1953) p. 24-25; No. 62 (Avril 1954) pp.47. Dunglas, E. Kétou-Wotóló. France-Dahomey. (22/12/1951); and Mouléro, T. Conquête de Kétu. File No. Doc. P. Novo, 20. Bibliothèque de l’IRAD, Porto Novo; as well as oral traditions collected at various times between 1978 and 1981.

55 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. From constitutional troubles, pp. 6-7.

56 Oral interviews: Biau Ezekiel (95+), Òkè-Óòlú, Kábua, 2/9/78; Onişábe Adélékè Àkànní and chiefs, 21/8/78; DOAS file titled ‘La succession des rois de şabȩ’; also Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende de Chabe.

57 The profile of Akínkanjú was obtained from two major sources: the Onişábe and chiefs, and members of the Akínkanjú family; see also DOAS. La succession. Entry under Ajere Akínkanjú and Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende de Chabe, p. 65.

58 Collected from female oríkì chanters of the Akínkanjú family.

59 Oral interviews: Oníşábȩ. and chiefs; also DOAS files tilled ‘Les Quartiers de Savè’ and ‘La succession’.

60 DOAS file titled ‘Aperçu historique sur les rois’.

61 DOAS files titled ‘Les villages de la sub-division de Savè’. Entries under ‘Kabwa’, ‘La Descendance de Babagídàì’ and ‘Biaou Olódùmarè’.

62 See for instance, Mouléro T. Histoire et légende, p. 65.

63 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Kinship and political authority in pre-colonial Yorùbalánd: The example of Sábȩ. In: Abórişàdé, A. (ed.) The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria. University of Ifè Press (1984) pp. 66-76.

64 Oral interviews: Ayédún Omítókí (100+), Pàákò, Ilé-Şábȩ, 27/8/78.

65 See for instance references in Law, R.C.C. The Òyó Empire, p. 273, footnote 72.

66 Oral interviews: Biau Ezckiel, op. cit.; also George, J.O. Historical Notes on the Yorùbá Country and its Tribes, Lagos (1895) pp. 23-24.

67 Mouléro, T. Histoire et légende, p. 69.

68 Collected from Kétúpò Ǫló, female oríkì chanter, Jàbàtá, 24/8/78.

69 Oral interviews: Oníşábȩ and chiefs; Justin Yáì (75+), head of Amùşù, Sèhú,Ilé-Sábȩ; also DOAS. Aperçu historiques, op. cit.; and Mouléro T. Histoire et légende, pp. 69-72.

70 Ibid; also Igué, O. and Aşíwájú, A.I. The Story of Sábȩ, ch.IV.

71 Ibid.

72 Duncan, W.J. Travels in Western Africa, op. cit.

73 See Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Carrot and stick diplomacy: Glélé and the eclipse of Ìdáìşà autonomy. In: Soumouni, E. (ed.) Proceedings of the colloquium on the centenary of the death of King Glélé. Cotonou (forthcoming).

74 Dunglas, E. Contribution à l’histoire du moyen-Dahomey. ED vol. xx, pp. 36-7.

75 Adédìran, ’Bíódún. Aspects of the political economy...

76 cf. Adédíran, ’Bíódún. The structure of administration of pre-colonial Ìdáìşà; and Adédíran, ’Bíódún. Ìdáìşà: The making of a frontier Yorùbá state.

77 Mouléro, T. Histoire du Peuple. Also oral interviews in the Ìdáìşà region at various times between 1978 and 1981.

78 Ediku, L. Les rois ou Jagou de Dassa-Zoumé (ms). Oral interviews: Àlbert Abíssí (75+), Ààfin, Dassa-Zoumé, 12/978; Kirondon Madeleine, Ìsálú, Dassa-Zoumé, 20/9/78.

79 Hutchet, R.P. Les Dassa (ms).

80 Adédíran, ’Bíódún. Carrot and stick diplomacy.

81 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 39-45.

82 Adédíran, ’Bíódún. The Kétu Mission...

83 Aşíwájú, A.I. Western Yorùbáland, pp. 42-52.

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