Section 10: Unpublished Papers on Ilorin and Area by Dr. Susan J. Watts; Notes on Undergraduate Dissertations; Note on Pioneering Study of Slavery in Yorubaland

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10.2  Unpublished Student Dissertations on Ilorin: Notes

10.2a Background information on the dissertations

10.2b Abdulkadir, Jimoh. “Malete: An Historical Survey in the 19th and 20th  Centuries.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1986.

10.2c Ajoke, Yusuf Azumi. “Diplomacy and Warfare: The Strategies and Military Exploits of Ilorin in the Nineteenth Century.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1988.

10.2d Alade, Busari Ajani. “The Effect of Kwara State Local Government Reforms on Ilorin Division.” B.Sc. (Soc. Sci.) diss., Sociology, Ahmadu Bello University, 1973.

10.2e Aremu, Tunde Shuaib. “Ilorin-Iponrin Relations: The Nineteenth Century to the Present.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1986.

10.2f Ganiyu, Mumeen Yusuf. “Ilorin and District Administration with Specific Reference to Lanwa and Ejidongari Districts, c. 1823‒c. 1960.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1982.

10.2g Gegele, Kehinde Galadima. “Ilorin Relations with Oloru, Malete and Paiye Districts 1823‒1960.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1982.

10.2h Jimoh, Kehinde Abolarin. “A Social History of Balogun Fulani Ward since 1823.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1984.

10.2i Muhammed, Yahaya Alfa. “Ilorin Relations with Her Western Districts—Afon, Onire and Owode, 1823‒c. 1960.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1982.

10.2j Mustapha, Ganiyu Usman. “Mogajin Gari in the Administration of Ilorin Emirate since 1823.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1987.

10.2k Onimago, Saheed Ibrahim. “Afon: A Historical Survey of the 19th and 20th Centuries.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1987.

10.2l Yakubu, Abdulrahman Ayinde. “Rural-Urban Relations: A History of Balogun Gambari Ward of Ilorin, c. 1823‒1976.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1985.


10.3  Note on the Pioneering Study of Slavery in Yorubaland: E. Adeniyi Oroge, “The Institution of Slavery in Yorualand with Particular Reference to the Nineteenth Century.”

Table of Contents


10.2a Background information on the dissertations 


The undergraduate dissertations featured here were written mostly by students in the University of Ilorin History Department (the only exception is the important dissertation by Busari Ajani Alade, Sociology Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria). The material here is culled from notes that I (Ann O’Hear) took on the dissertations in the 1980s. These notes include, especially, information on elite slaves, and on the dependent rural districts of Ilorin—claims/evidence of independent, that is, not slave, origin; evidence of dependent relations in both the 19th and the 20th centuries; evidence of resistance; and the effects of local government reforms on dependent relationships. I have concentrated on selecting examples of information given by oral informants, which is unlikely to be available in other sources. These notes may usefully be read in conjunction with my book, Power Relations in Nigeria (1997). It appears that, during the 1980s, the lecturers in the University of Ilorin History Department encouraged their students to write dissertations on the city and districts of Ilorin. At the time when I read them, copies of these dissertations were kept in the History Department Office, University of Ilorin. Further such dissertations, from the late 1980s and the 1990s onwards, may now also be available. Readers who would like to make photocopies of text from the dissertations or quote extensively from them should contact the appropriate university department for further information. 

10.2b Abdulkadir, Jimoh. “Malete: An Historical Survey in the 19th and 20th Centuries.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1986. 


Selected notes.


p. 6. Available information indicates that Malete was founded after the fall of the Old Oyo Empire (ref: Baba Daudu, 56 years old, businessman and contractor, Isale Oja, Ilorin, interviewed 26 July 1985).   

p. 17. Early settlers predominantly traditional worshippers, because they migrated from Old Oyo Empire and brought their religion (ref: Alh. Ally Olarewaju, 43, civil servant, Pakata, Ilorin, interviewed 10 September 1985). 

            When district came under Bazambo, all traces of traditional worship removed. Today no traces of/ 

p. 18. traditional worship in Malete Village. 

            But in “surrounding villages like Agah, Jehunkunu, Gbegudu etc there was this element of Ogun worship among the hunters and those who associate with iron to appease the god against injuries. They offer palm wine and a dog is slaughtered annually for this purpose” [ibid.?]. 


p. 60 Sample Interview: 


Muh. Abdul Baki, 55, District Head Malete, lived at Malete, language Yoruba. 

. . . 

Q“You said the early settlers were Yorubas. Does that mean these people were traditional worshippers? 

AOne cannot dispute that: but when Bazambo became fiefholder, there was a drastic attempt to Islamise the people.”


10.2c Ajoke, Yusuf Azumi. “Diplomacy and Warfare: The Strategies and Military Exploits of Ilorin in the Nineteenth Century.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1988. 


Selected notes. 

On the Eleduwe war of 1830s: 

p. 39. The captured Bariba were either sent to slave markets or given to war commanders as domestic slaves. Some given to the emir and Balogun Alanamu, some given portions of land to settle, while they continued to work for the emir and balogun, e.g., one Igbalajobi was reported to have been given a place, today known as Bariba compound (ref: Mallam Adeniyi, 65 years old, interviewed 20 May 1988). Also the Baribas that take care of the emir’s horse were settled at a place known/ 

p. 40. today as Apalando (ibid.). 


10.2d Alade, Busari Ajani. “The Effect of Kwara State Local Government Reforms on Ilorin Division.” B.Sc. (Soc. Sci.) diss., Sociology, Ahmadu Bello University, 1973.  


Summary of major points provided by Ann O’Hear. 



[Note: Ilorin Division at the time of Alade’s research included at least the city, plus the districts of Paiye, Igponrin, Oloru, Onire, Malete, Ejidongari, Afon, Akanbi, and Owode—most of the “Metropolitan Districts.” Was Lanwa District not part of Ilorin Division at this time? It is not included in the notes I took on the list of “ruling houses” and their districts, pp. 50-51; and on p. 89, Alade mentions “the nine rural districts of the Division,” not ten. What exactly was the status of Lanwa District? Was it considered a special case because as well as extensive rural areas very much like those in the rest of the Metropolitan Districts, it also included the railway town of Jebba? Lanwa District was (rightly) considered to be one of the Metropolitan Districts in 1955, though at the time there was some discussion of the anomaly that was Jebba: see 8.3d NNAK Ilorinprof 17/1 NAC/30/c.1, Local Government Reform in the Metropolitan Districts of Ilorin Emirate (except Ballah and Afon Districts). In 1976 the Metropolitan Districts were split into three new local government areas: Asa, Moro (which included Lanwa), and Ilorin (which comprised the city plus Akanbi and Igporin).] 


p. 5-11. Alade used participant observation and interviews. Stayed at Oloworu village in Paiye District, and went out to many other villages, most within 15 mile radius of Megida.  


p. 32. 1968 Local Government Reform initiated by Government White Paper, designed, e.g.,  to enable each District/Town Council to keep substantial revenue for local services and development. 


pp. 45-46. District Council Area Administrations headed by District Heads (DHs). District clerks, Council Secretary, and Secretary’s assistant, who were Local Authority (LA) employees, performed administrative functions. Most Secretaries were relatives of the DHs. 


pp.47-48. Councillors for each area were supposed to be representatives of the people. Their duty was to consult with and report back to the people. But this was “more theory than practice.” 


pp. 50-51. Appointment of DHs remained hereditary. According to the White Paper they should be chosen by agreement of the people. In Ilorin Division no change was likely in near future.  

DHs still chosen by “ruling houses”:  

Balogun AjikobiPaiye 

Balogun FulaniIgporin 

Balogun GambariOloru 

Ile Oju’ekunOnire 



Ile ObaAfon 


[member of a] Fulani [ruling house]Owode 


When new DH needed, the ruling house recommended a successor. Emir and Divisional Officer would not normally object. Loyalty of the DH was to his family rather than the community.  


p. 58. Alade lists three groups in population: 

1. traditional ruling elite 

2. Native [Local] Authority bureaucracy; and 

3. commoners 


pp. 61-62. Educational achievement was necessary for NA [LA] administrative officers, but most important was the kinship ties between many of them and the traditional ruling group, whose power and privileges they supported. 


pp. 62-63. Commoners: “Mekunnu/talaka.” Their perception of the reforms resulted from illiteracy and distance from political power. People Alade talked to felt whatever the change, they would suffer.  


pp. 64-66. A weaver in Ilorin Town said: “We Mekunnu can never escape the many cunning ways of ‘you’ educated people in the government. You read the books and got new ideas . . . and we do not know how to read book neither can we write and you can always make us to do whatever you wanted . . .” A petty trader in Ilorin Town said he lived at “a far end of the city which . . . the government only knows for the purpose of tax collection.”  He said,  “the Baloguns have always been there and will continue to be . . .” 


Local government and effects of reform.  


pp. 67-72. DHs had claimed right to rule the districts for many generations. Their position was strengthened in colonial period. 

DHs were Chairmen of District Councils (DCs). Alade found they handled their DCs in varying ways. Some were “active,” used “initiative,” some were “autocratic,”  others were “indifferent” towards their Councils. Alade provides examples of individual DHs. 


p. 72. Alade found the level of political mobilization of both people and Councillors “relatively low,” and believed if mobilization had been higher, DHs wouldn’t have been able to get away with many actions “unchallenged.”  


On pp. 72-76, Alade gives detailed account of former compulsory gift giving and provision of services to overlords, who often used coercion. 


The services were ishakole, gifts were arojaIshakole consisted of a day’s compulsory labour on the DH’s farm by a “delegation” from village at start of planting. Aroja was compulsory tribute in commodities brought to market. Every farm products seller had to give part to Baba Oloja (market owner) who passed it to DH. 


“Quantity for saleAmount that went for Aroja 

3-6 yams1 yam 

9-12 yams2 yams 

15-21 yams4 yams 

24-30 yams6 yams 

33-60 yams8 yams 

63 and over yams10 yams 

3-5 measures of grainshalf a measure 

6-12 measures of grainsone and a half measures 

13-20 measures of grains2 measures 

half a bag grains4 measures 

1 bag grains6 measures 

subsequent bags grains2 on each bag”  (pp. 73-74) 


Similar portions were collected on women’s commodities. Alade concludes that ITP era abolished ishakole and aroja “in theory”  but local government reform achieved it in practice. DHs now had to appeal for gifts. The bureaucracy was not involved. Alade witnessed a request for foodstuffs from a DH, who acted through an influential villager with no connection with the bureaucracy. It was a humble request, and it was said categorically that anyone who couldn’t afford to give was free not to give. Alade concludes that abolition of gift/service provision started in ITP days, was continued by military government, and completed by local government reform.  


p. 77. Local Councillors arbitrarily chosen by the state government. 

p. 78. Alade found consultation between people and Councillors  “inadequate.” Councillors he interviewed believed “poor man” had nothing to contribute. Only subjects of particular interest to Councillors were discussed in detail. 

pp. 79-80. One “experienced Councillor” said people were “apathetic” while in ITP days they had been “enthusiastic.” He said selection of members for present Councils had been done without people’s consent and many didn’t know what Councillors supposed to be doing. In ITP days, people believed they were fighting for a cause (abolition of taxes, etc.) through Councillors. He said: “the topic which mostly interested them: tax abolition.” In present Councils, just a government slogan, “bringing government nearer to the local people,” which they didn’t understand or didn’t think possible. 

pp. 82-83. One Councillor told Alade: “Because [they] did not know how we came to be selected . . . , there have been allegations of a conspiracy between us and the government. Since about four years ago, my village has ceased to give me the [annual] communal service . . . because they were of the belief that I decided on my own to join the government. Thus if I was interested in farming I must do it myself or I hire labourers on commercial basis.” 


pp. 83-84. Councillors tended to take over baba kekere role, acting as intermediaries with bureaucracy, or in court cases. This made direct communication between people and officials impossible and reduced the justice that people could obtain.  


pp. 84-87. Before the reform and setting up of Councils, certain NA employees had caused major problems: 


Wogi-wogi were forest guards. Went looking for what they termed igi-oba (Emir’s trees: trees of economic importance), which shouldn’t be destroyed. To average farmer only shea and locust bean were igi-oba, but forest guards could declare any tree to be such. When farmers were clearing new land they had to remove trees. Forest guard could declare as igi-oba as many trees as they liked from those a villager had tampered with, and villager was taken to court.  


Wole-wole (sanitary inspectors) operated similarly. If any household was found “unsanitary,” its members were taken to court and fined. 


Onise-oba was name given to DH’s messenger, and owo-onise was the fee he charged when he carried a message to a village or individual. Five shillings was minimum for message to individual. Between 20 and 30 shillings when message was for village.  


Informants—Councillors and villagers —confirmed these abuses now stopped with help of Councils.  


Fees collected at markets had also been problem. Everyone coming to market with goods for sale was expected to pay threepence before leaving. But collectors insisted on payment on arrival, which meant sellers who came without money might be delayed or prevented from selling wares. This made life difficult until Councillors came along. Collectors had been warned to stop harassing people, and Council workers had been reminded that they were servants of the people. 


Alade concludes that the achievements listed above could be credited to Councils, Councillors and the recent reforms. 


p. 88. Educational development. The Councils’ introduction of free primary education in the rural districts met with favourable response. Cause of parents’ previous negative attitude to education was difficulty paying school fees and other expenses. Emergence of Councils, on advice of LEA, ushered in  system of “Education Rates,” so that cost was shared among the population.  


p. 89. Government decided 1969-70 to establish Government Secondary School Malete, the only one to serve all the nine rural districts of the Division. Parents indicated difficulty in payment of fees, hence limited enrolment.  


pp. 91-92. Community development had not become common. Little indication of substantial self-help projects. Alade suggests two factors: illiteracy of Councillors and Chairmen who were responsible for advising communities; and small size of villages, many of which would not cooperate with each other due to long-standing disputes. Alade’s observation was that spirit of community development was low compared to divisions like Igbomina-Ekiti and Oyun. 

10.2e Aremu, Tunde Shuaib. “Ilorin-Iponrin Relations: The Nineteenth Century to the Present.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1986. 


Selected notes. 


p. 22. Three ruling houses in Iponrin today: 

Laka family house—Ile Laka 

Otobakin family house—Ile-Alasi 

Danna family house—Ile-Kere 

The Bale is usually the eldest person in the house of each family in turn. 


Reign of Danna, 3rd village head, by this time, Iponrin had expanded to include other settle-/ 

p. 23. ments, so Danna created offices of Magaji [for heads of various compounds] and Elemasho for Edun compound to ensure effective administration (ref: Alh. Alhassan Tsado, 62 years old, farmer, Iponrin, 17 Sep 1985). 

Other titles: Olori-Odo, Oluode, other honorary titles e.g., Basegun and Iyalode—recently created. 


Before Fulani rule, traditional religion. Certain quarters of Iponrin identified with Egungun have since been named after it. 

p. 24. When the Fulani took over in Ilorin, all gave way to Islam. The first Muslim personality “noticed” in Iponrin: Mallam Abdulkadir Tsado, migrant from Niger State believed to have had a large number of cattle and some Muslim followers (ibid.). 



p. 112. Sample Oral Data. 

NameMallam Kolawole Ile-Kere 






Qfoundation of Iponrin? 

A“Like I was told by my grandfather, late Danna who was 3rd  Bale, the person who founded this town was a royal prince of Ile Ife called Laka. A hunter and great warrior. 

QWhat brought him from Ife? 

ALaka was a royal prince and so after he had contested the throne of Ooni and lost, just like what the great warriors of those days used to do, Laka decided to move out of Ile-Ife to found his own settlement elsewhere. 

QDoes that mean that Laka alone founded Iponrin? 

AYes it was he alone. But later on his 2 brothers Otebakin and Danna came in search of him and found him near a rock where he pitched his tent. 

QHow then was this settlement called Iponrin? 

AIn this particular rock—iron implements—were sharpened especially before they went out for hunting. Before long the rock was named Okuta-Iponrin.” 

. . . 

Q“Was there any settlement called Ilorin then? 

AYes but that time Ilorin was a very small settlement under Laderin and another man called Ojo-Isekuse. 

QSo then one can say that Iponrin had been founded before Shehu Alimi came to Ilorin? 

ACertainly. Even before Afonja became a popular figure. Don’t you know that Laderin was the great grandfather of Afonja?” 


10.2f Ganiyu, Mumeen Yusuf. “Ilorin and District Administration with Specific Reference to Lanwa and Ejidongari Districts, c. 1823‒c. 1960.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1982. 

Selected notes. 

p. 5. Lanwa district. The first settlement can be dated to the reign of Emir Aliyu (1868-1891). Adenlolu is said to have gone to Lanwa on the instruction of the emir to build a settlement (ref: NNAK SNP 7/13 3096/1912 Lanwa Assessment Chapman; Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir, eldest son of Emir Abdul-Kadir, now District Head Lanwa, 62 years old, interviewed Oct 1981). Oral evidence suggests that after a short time he/ 

p. 6. was followed to the district by many people from Ilorin (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir). Adenlolu became the Baba Kekere, which gave him the opportunity to allocate land to other settlers (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir). 


p. 7. Gatta was founded by Kenberi a slave of Emir Moma, who got land from the emir and built the first settlement (Mallam Yusuf Alaran, 63, Magaji, interviewed in Adio, Jan 1982). 


p. 8. Ejidongari district. 

p. 9. It is said that Umaru Sanda, nephew of Emir Abdul-Salam, founded the first settlement in the district (Mallam Alabi Ajia, younger brother of the present DH Ejidongari, 61 years old, interviewed Oct 1981; Mallam Olarongbe Okanla, Village Head Ariori, 73, Oct 1981). Little is known about Sanda. He didn’t stay long. When he left, he handed over to a co-settler named Eji (Mallam Alabi Ajia, younger brother of the present DH Ejidongari, 61, Oct 1981; Mallam Olarongbe Okanla, Village Head Ariori, 73, Oct 1981). Eji attracted many people & other settlements sprang up. The settlement was named Ejidongari, in recognition of Eji’s contribution to its expansion (Alh. Sanusi Anafi, Magaji, Ejidongari, 63, Oct 1981). 


Relations between Ilorin & Districts in the 19th Century 

p. 16. Having founded Lanwa village, Adenlolu recognized the authority of the emir & chiefs. He & his family did this by paying annual tribute usually in farm produce to the emirs, & partly by recruiting people from the village into the emirate’s army whenever demanded (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir). The same was true of Ejidongari village, occupied by Daniyalu in the first half of the 19th century. 

pp. 16-17. Daniyalu was a son of Alimi. 

p. 17. In the 1820s, Daniyalu went to Ejidongari village & occupied it with the help of Muslim soldiers. With little or no resistance the inhabitants accepted Daniyalu & recognized him as head of the area (Mallam Popoola Shiaba, DH Ejidongari District, 69, Jan 1982). 

As Adenlolu, Daniyalu & their families acknowledged the authority of Ilorin, they were virtually left on their own to administer the villages in the 19th century without interference from Ilorin (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir; Mallam Popoola Shiaba). 


p. 19. Some of the villages in Lanwa District were founded by followers of Adenlolu who obtained land from Adenlolu. In addition, they got approval from the emirs for their occupation of territories through Adenlolu, thus recognizing Adenlolu as their Baba Kekere & the emir as their “big father.” As elsewhere, they paid annual tribute in farm produce to the Baba Kekere, who sent part of it to the emirs. 


[founding of districts & appointment of district heads] 

p. 31. In Lanwa District, the village heads all readily acknowledged the authority of Muhammed Woru as District Head. 

p. 32. The same was true of Ejidongari District.  All this was made possible by the willingness with which the Adenlolu & Daniyalu families accepted the new district system & headship of the newly appointed DHs (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir). 

There was no Baba Kekere problem in Lanwa & Ejidongari districts unlike others, because the only Baba Kekere (Adenlolu & family) in Lanwa readily accepted the headship of the DH & thus didn’t rival him. Adenlolu made the inhabitants look to the DH to solve their problems which would otherwise have required help from a BK (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kadir).  


p. 34. The appointment of chiefs to head the districts didn’t cause any conflict in Lanwa & Ejidongari districts. As Adenlolu was a slave to the royal house of the emirate, his family readily accepted / 

p. 35. M. Woru as DH. In return, Adenlolu’s family received the position of Magaji of Lanwa village, which is held by the family till today. In Ejidongari District, the first DH, Alfa Saidu, was a member of the family of Daniyalu who had been overlord since the first half of the 19th century (Alh. Aliyu Abdul-Kabir; Mallam Popoola Shiaba). 

10.2g Gegele, Kehinde Galadima. “Ilorin Relations with Oloru, Malete and Paiye Districts 1823‒1960.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1982. 


Selected notes. 


p. 16. Some areas submitted willingly to Ilorin. They  included Shao, which had existed before Afonja’s time (ref: Hon. Wole Oke, Kwara House of Assembly, interviewed 11 March 1982). 


p. 19. The founder of Oloru Village is said to be a brother of that of Shao (ref: Alh. Jimoh ibe Onikangu, 43 years old, farmer, interviewed in Oloru Village, 14 April 1982). 


p. 28, note 16. The name of the original founder of Oloru is still disputed. A small section of the village claims that Omo Dare or Durowoju was the founder while a large section housing the “Alangwar” claims descent from Abdullahi as founder. The second group’s claim seems to be valid because of their numbers and identical tribal marks and because of superiority acknowledged even by Durowoju’s faction. 


p. 19. Adio, Ayaki, Onibamu, & Yeregi were given by Shitta to his slave Asoja/ 

p. 20. who sent his son to look after his interests there. Shao, Asomi & Yeke were bestowed by Emir Shitta on his slave Haliru who held the title Ajia ati Kekere. 


p. 21. Malete was originally founded by immigrants believed to be Yoruba. The ravages of the wars in the Old Oyo Empire when it was close to collapsing prompted the people who later founded Malete to look for a new place to live. Choice of the site was left to an oracle. When they first settled at the present site of the local government secretariat a few metres from the present Malete, it is said the oracle made them move to what was then an isolated area. The word latente meaning isolation appears in the name Malete (ref: Mallam Oloruntele, 61, farmer, interviewed in Malete Village, 13 April 1982. He is of Yoruba origin according to Dauda, the District Head). 


p. 22. One of the 2 sons of Al-Salih who would relinquish the throne of Emir in return for territory was the 4th son of Al-Salih, Abubakar Bazambo, who chose Malete as his territory. He had followers. Therefore Malete and the surrounding villages were inhabited mostly by Fulani.  

After BaZambo, his eldest son Sule took over & more lands were opened up by his slaves like Agbaku, Agah, Budo Are & Jehunkunu. 


p. 24. Paiye district was made up of 7 village areas, and these were named after Balogun Ajikobi and his slaves, e.g., Biala. 


The precolonial period. Because of pressure for land, intending settlers would approach an important intermediary to obtain the Emir’s agreement. This intermediary if successful was adopted as patron of the new settlement and was known as Baba Kekere. In Malete, for example, Logun, Pakun & Jehunkunu had their Baba Kekere from Ita-Kudima, Abata Asunkere & Orita Merin, all in Ilorin (ref: Alh. Baba Daudu, 52, businessman/contractor, interviewed in Isale Oja Quarters, 23 July 1981). 


p. 37, note 9. The “master-servant relationship” was expressed in this way by an informant: “We were food-stuffs for Ilorin.” Some view Ilorin people with indignation. Oral evidence from Mallam Abdul Rahman (58, farmer, Ile Onikangu, Oloru Village), 13 April 1982 at Oloru, told how people used to suffer, resenting the term “bush.” 


p. 36. The people from the districts are said to “troop in” to Ilorin for ceremonies such as Muslim festivals. “The Emir and the Baloguns  “regard ‘flocking’ [sic] themselves with the inhabitants of these districts as an exhibition of their exaltedness or affluence.” 


p. 54. The period of British administration. In Oloru there was “rampant maladministration of justice.” The Oloru people saw the District Head as an alien so they followed his instructions only reluctantly. Mallam Jimoh (Alh. Jimoh, 43, farmer, Ile Onikangu, Oloru Village) recalled a time he had to challenge the DH of Oloru in the late 1940s over a tax issue. 


p. 60, note 27: The general notion was “Ati oko wa ile odun”—“From the village to town for the festival.”  

10.2h Jimoh, Kehinde Abolarin. “A Social History of Balogun Fulani Ward since 1823.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1984. 

Selected notes. 

p. 28. Re: 19th-century Fulani Ward. The type of slaves in living the ward rarely enjoyed social mobility like that in the Emir’s court. The children of slaves belonged to their parent’s master & grew up to serve the master “or be sold like market commodities” (p. 37, ref: Alh. A.M.B. Fulani, c. 57 years old, pensioner, interviewed 13 Nov. 1983). 

Nupe, Hausa & Yoruba male slaves looked after cattle “while others protected the wives of their masters against assault. I was told they were like bodyguards to their master’s wives.” 


p. 29. It was not the physical presence of slaves that was important to their owner but what they contributed to the household (p. 37, Alh. A.M.B. Fulani, interviewed 13 Nov. 1983). 


p. 81. The list of oral sources includes A.M.B. Fulani, c. 57, Pensioner, interviewed in Ilorin 13/12/1983. 


[no page number available]  

Appendix 1. (1) Sample of Oral Sources 

Fulani AMB 

Pensioner, c. 50 years old 

13/12/1983. Approx 2 hours 



“We don’t normally grant interview these days.” 

“What I’m going to tell you was also told to us when we were younger.” 


“ . . . Fulani did not permit non-Muslims to live in their midst. . . . When I told you that there were many tribes in the ward then, you should note that not all of them were traders. You see those Tapa [Nupe] at that time were slaves who knew Quran and were used by Fulani as mallams. Pagans were captured and converted to Islam. Those who refused to become muslims were regarded as slaves looking after Fulani wives and horses. What I’m telling you is true. There is a house behind this my compound known as Ile Seke most of the grand parents of those in that compound are descendants of slaves captured by Fulani.” 

10.2i Muhammed, Yahaya Alfa. “Ilorin Relations with Her Western Districts--Afon, Onire and Owode, 1823-c.1960.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1982. 

Selected notes. 


p. 9. Some towns & villages, such as Gamo & Ila-Oja, “willingly” placed themselves under the Emir to free themselves from Ilorin’s aggression but also for protection against external aggression (ref: interview with lawyer Safi Jimba, Ilorin, 23 July 1981). 


p. 10. Incorporation of Onire & environs: 

Prior to the establishment of Ilorin Emirate the land that now makes up Onire District was largely uninhabited (ref: interview with Hon. S.O. Apata, 29 Nov 1981). 


p.11. Incorporation of Owode and environs: 


p. 12. Oral evidence is clear that with the establishment of Ilorin Emirate, a small number of people started moving from Ilorin to the lands of Owode & environs. Notable was the movement of a group from Baboko Quarters in Ilorin whose family head, Logudu, became the 1st Bale of Owode, and the title has become hereditary in his family. Oral information suggests that these people from Baboko moved to Owode on a temporary basis for farming (ref: interview with Bale of Owode, Alh. Maliki Aremu Ade, 6 Dec 1981). 


A notable slave of Emir Zubair, the Ajia Omo Ijesha, was given the Owode area as a fief, including Sokoto and Wahrah, because of his role as a great warrior [the reference given here is to the 1917 Ilorin Emirate Reorganisation of Districts, for which see section 8.3c in this Archive.] 

According to the Bale of Owode, when the Ajia arrived at Owode, he came with a message from the Emir that he was sending the Ajia to assist the Bale, not dislodge him (interview with Bale of Owode). 


p. 14. The land area of Sapati-Ile was obtained by a group of people who migrated from Ile Alawo Adabata quarters in Ilorin & settled there under their head, Zuberu Omo Arinadegbo, with the sanction of the Emir. Zuberu thus became the first Magaji of Sapati-Ile, and the title has become hereditary in his family (ref: interview with Hon. Sule Oba Sapati, Ilorin, 10 Feb 1981). 

10.2j Mustapha, Ganiyu Usman. “Mogajin Gari in the Administration of Ilorin Emirate since 1823.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1987. 


Selected notes. 

[Wawu was the ancestor of the present Mogajin Gari (MG)] 

p. 18. Wawu’s son Sidiku was MG/ 

p. 19 for part of Abdusalame’s reign and part of Shitta’s reign (ref: Olarongbe Abdulkadir, present Mogajin Gari, interviewed 30 August 1986). 

Abu was the son of Kuranga. 

There are 2 stories: 

(a) Kuranga was son of Wawu; 

(b) particularly among lineage of reigning MG—claims that Kuranga was slave of Wawu and Abu became MG because Wawu suffered from born to die children. 

p.20. Abu became MG in the time of Emir Shitta (ref: Olarongbe Abdulkadir). 

Ibrahim, 3rd MG, was the son of Sidiku. 

p.22. Sule became MG in 1907. He was the 2nd and last MG from Kuranga lineage. 


p. 82. The author of this dissertation notes that material in the genealogical tree in NNAK Ilorinprof 5 3640, Ilorin Town General Notes by G.R. Osborn, 1928, points to Aliu (son of Abu) as MG. But the present MG claimed that Abu did not assume the position of MG. 


10.2k Onimago, Saheed Ibrahim. “Afon: A Historical Survey of the 19th and 20th Centuries.” B.A. diss., History, University of Ilorin, 1987. 


Selected notes. 

p. 25. In surrounding villages e.g. Pampo, Laduba, there are a few traditional worshippers associated with Shango (ref: Issa Kawu, Ilorin, 60 years old, trader, interviewed 12 Nov 1986). 


p. 35. 1926 Ainde was’ 

deposed as District Head (DH) Afon. [reference given is NNAK SNP 17 vol. 1, Ilorin Province DH]. 

p.36. Ainde was given an oriki


“Ainde Kekere, Baba Ainde Agba 

Afi Okele gba Oko lowo ahun 


Small Ainde, father of older Ainde.  

He who uses his morsel to confiscate a miser’s farm” 


(ref: Busari Adedeji, 70, trader, 12 Dec 1986). 

10.2l Yakubu, Abdulrahman Ayinde. “Rural-Urban Relations: A History of Balogun Gambari Ward of Ilorin, c. 1823‒1976.” B.A. diss., History Department, University of Ilorin, 1985.   

Selected notes. 


Nineteenth century:  

p. 35. In some villages, agents & families of overlords had large areas of land, cultivated for them by village inhabitants either free or slaves. This was known as asingba (ref: Mallam Yakubu Akanni, 60, Magaji of Oloru,  ([either 29 or 30] Dec 1984). Women slaves were also used for menial farm work.  


p. 37. The rural people were used as labourers on farms owned by the families of the Balogun Gambari or the Sarkin Gambari or their representatives. They carried loads from their villages to Ilorin. They also carried part of their harvest, grass to feed Balogun Gambari’s horses, wood, cloth & firewood to Ilorin. This was also known as asingba


p. 39. Most of the people from Ilorin living in these villages came from Gambari Ward, particularly Okelele. The people from this area in the 19th century were known for unislamic practices. “Therefore their infiltration into the rural areas reinforced the traditional values and beliefs of the rural people.” 


p, 40. Reference is made to the annual Iyalomo festival, celebrated in Oloru Village till today. Many people from Gambari Ward “trooped into the village” to take part. Sacrifices were made to ancestral gods to “shower blessings on the people” & both urban and village women asked for fertility (ref: Mall. Yakubu Akanni, 30 Dec 1984). 


Marriages often occurred between a woman from the villages & a man from the urban area but not vice versa. It was “derisive” for a woman from Gambari Ward to marry a village man in the 19th century. 



p. 55. Junior district staff  who were often members of families of District Heads (DHs) were also corrupt & not satisfied with their wages. They collected “illegal money” from villagers. Also the staff would raid markets collecting various wares from sellers. These were often shared with DHs (ref: Alfa Ayinla, c. 80 years old, farmer, Isale Oja Iponrin, interviewed 29 Dec 1984).  


p. 62. Islamic activities became prominent in Sao through the activities of Islamic mallams from Gambari Ward. The first notable mallam in Sao was Alfa Kuranga who came from Ile Safura in Gambari Ward in 1953. He converted many people—e.g. Alh. Jimoh & Alh. Saka—now learned mallams in the village (ref: Mall. Yusuf Afolabi [Ohoro of Sao?]. After Alfa Kuranga came many others. Before 1953, the impact of Islam in Sao had been minimal. 


p. 63. Towards the end of colonial rule, most of the people of Sao, Iponrin, Elemere, Oke Oyi and other villages went to the town to erect personal buildings. The majority were built in Gambari quarter (ref: Alfa Ayinla, Iponrin; Mall. Yusuf Afolabi). 


After independence: 

p. 72. The DH still interfered in local politics in the districts. This occurred in Oke Oyi in1972.,when a new Oluo was appointed. The Sarkin opposed the Oluo/ 

p. 73. who is the present chief of the village. A court finally made it possible for the new Oluo to be crowned (ref: Chief Alao, 29 Dec 1984). 


p. 74. All “oppressive collections” —isakole, aroja and others—were abolished by the military government. After this, people only gave DHs voluntary gifts of food stuffs (ref: Chief Alao, 20 Dec 1984). 


p. 92. Sample interview: 

Alfa Ayinla Isale Oja 

Language: Yoruba 

Occupation: Farmer 

Age: c. 80 

Interviewed 29 Dec 1984 at Iponrin. 


QWho was the fiefholder of Iponrin? 

AIponrin was given to Sarkin Gambari Bako by Shitta. The Sarkin was also given Apado. 

QAny relationship between Iponrin and Gambari Ward during the colonial period? 

A“Iponrin had been under Ilorin before the advent of the Europeans. Some citizens of Ilorin had even settled in Iponrin during that time. When the white people came Iponrin was put under a District Head from the house of Sarkin Gambari. The people of Iponrin carried some of their goods to Gambari markets where they would sell to middlemen. You see the people were not allowed to sell directly in these markets, there was what is called asingba. The Sarkin had plots of land where people would work for him free. They also offered him tributes and gifts in form of farm produce. Indeed a lot of things went on between Iponrin and Gambari Ward during the colonial period.” 

10.3  Note on the Pioneering Study of Slavery in Yorubaland 


E. Adeniyi Oroge’s “The Institution of Slavery in Yorubaland with Particular Reference to the Nineteenth Century,” Ph.D. thesis, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham (UK), September 1971, is the pioneering study of slavery in Yorubaland, and has been widely cited by other scholars. Pages: i-xi; 1-454. It contains a synopsis, a preface, six chapters, 11 appendices, and “Sources and Select Bibliography.” 


The author notes in his Preface that his study  

seeks to overcome the limitations of short-period analyses of anthropology by viewing domestic slavery not as a static, but as a dynamic social institution. It examines the role of the domestic slave in government, politics and the economy, and hopefully will prove of some benefit to African economic and social history. The response of the institution to the challenge of Westernization, manifesting in various forms as legitimate commerce, missionary evangelization and colonialism, is also examined in some detail. . . . its disappearance in the first half of the [twentieth] century was largely a function of the changing social situation under the British colonial regime. (Oroge, “Institution of Slavery in Yorubaland,” vi-vii) 

In the context of this Archive, the thesis is particularly useful for purposes of comparison with studies of slavery in Ilorin. It is now available free of charge in digitised form at   


E. Adeniyi Oroge is also the author of  “Iwofa: An Historical Survey of the Yoruba Institution of Indenture,” African Economic History, no. 14 (1985): 75-106.