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4.2e(ii) Interview with Alhaji Yekini A. Okunola, 16 December 1982: Text
Questions for Alh. Okunola:
Ilorin Metropolitan Districts
1 Trade in agricultural goods (including export crops) would go through Village and District Heads. Is this correct?
2 So the VH and DH acted as the middlemen—ie they were taking their own profit?
3 Was this always the case, or only during wartime?
4 Was it still happening in the 1950s?
5 Did it happen only in the North-Western Districts—or also in eg. Owode, Afon?
6 If an unauthorised lorry was seen on its way to eg. Malete, the Emir could halt it and send it back. Why?—to make sure there was enough food for Ilorin?
7 Did this happen in other Metropolitan Districts?
8 Was it happening as late as the 1950s?
9 People in the Metropolitan Districts were not allowed to migrate to the south? Is this correct?
11 Did this apply only to the North-Western Districts, or also in eg. Akanbi, Owode, Afon?
12 The type of clothes that the people in the Metropolitan Districts could wear were controlled. Is this correct? ie, they were not allowed to wear fine clothes?
13 Was this true of any sign of riches?
Alh. Okunola’s responses, 16 December 1982:
1-5. Trade in agricultural goods & export crops—Metropolitan Districts.
In the colonial days, VH [Village Head] and DH [District Head] had big influence over trade. Eg, if a man was in favour—could sell without interference.
VH, DH—would expect forced payment.
If producer could tell DH he had a bounteous harvest—would receive congratulations. VH and DH would all take some. Then the man could trade freely.
This happened in the whole emirate—except the southern districts like Offa, Ekiti, Igbomina. Happened until the 1960s.
Offa—once a year the people bring yams etc & firewood. At Moremi festival. Bring their own people to cook etc.
6-8. If an unauthorised lorry was seen—DH could halt it and send it back.
Why?—to keep food for Ilorin?—not only that—people can’t carry on anything without the Emir’s permission—even marriage.
Happened all over emirate—except in southern districts as above.
This has stopped for some time. Happening as late as the 1950s.
9-11. Migration to south.
Migration to south—not forbidden, but Ilorins wouldn’t do it because of their feeling of superiority.
Districts didn’t dare—unless secretly, a man who had committed some offence would run off to the south.
The only other form of movement—Ilorins who had some Islamic learning—would go to teach their “half baked Islam” to us in the south.
12-13. Clothes etc.
Dared not wear fine clothes—because DH should look best.
Other signs of riches—dared not show unless were very powerful—either (a) magically or (b) a very hard worker on farm with many wives and children.
Lanwa Area—notorious for medicine. Villages eg Elegun, Eleja. Practice a kind of Ogboni cult—though not called by that name. This is because they are neighbours to the Bariba.