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5.3d(vi) Interview on Ajia Sakasaka

Who was the interviewer: Dr. E.B. Bolaji

Date: 23 September 1989

Where the interview took place: Ile Ajia Sákasàka, Agaka, Ilorin

Compound of the informant: Ile Ajia Sákasàka, Agaka, Ilorin

Approximate age of the informant: Born 1919 (70 years)

Any other relevant details about the informant: Chief Imam, a bit literate

Whether the informant was completely cooperative or not: Yes

Whether the informant wishes his/her name to be withheld or not: [no response recorded;

If not, what is the name of the informant: Alhaji Abdurahoofi Imam-Ajia

Names of any other people present at the interview: Dr. S. Bola Ajia

Information from the informant:

Ajia Sákasàka came from Igbon in the Old Oyo province. Igbon got sacked and burnt in a war (period, name, not given) and many people left the place. Those who remained were either killed or captured.

Ajia Saliu escaped from Igbon and went north, with his elder sister later searching for him. Saliu came to Ilorin from the north (exact place unnamed; presumed unknown) and was introduced to Emir Abdulsalam who then instructed that Saliu be provided with suitable accommodation. Saliu was housed by Magaji Dauda Adifa. During the Erimope War, Saliu fought side by side with Magaji Dauda Adifa. They won the war.

Saliu distinguished himself in the war, and on giving account to the Emir, Magaji Dauda said that Saliu was beheading left, right and centre. This led to his being given the nick-name Sákasàka (literally meaning that he cut without aiming at a particular spot, but each blow was devastating). Magaji Dauda pleaded that Saliu be given his own land for settlement. The Emir authorised this, and this led to the settlement of the family at Agaka which is now the heart of the city.

Saliu met his elder sister, who had been searching for him, at Origun Nda. He asked her to bring her children to join him and his own family. She did, and her descendants now live side by side in the Ajia Compound.

Ajia Sákasàka was not a slave family, and today, they still remember Ajia Saliu, the first Ajia, with a lot of pride, because it was his heroism in war, his nobility of carriage, that made him a favourite of the Emir, and which earned him his title.

Dr. Saliu Bola Ajia, a former University Lecturer with a PhD in Library Science, is a descendant of Ajia Saliu, and his own father is the immediate past Ajia. The informant is an uncle to Dr. Ajia.