I do not know what came over me today – 14th of August, 2013. I just felt the urge to get to know more about the history of my family name, lineage and township. And I think it was worth it.
In this write-up, I will be taking a glimpse at the meaning and history of ‘Adebajo’, my surname; ‘Adekunle’, my first name; ‘Ago-Iwoye’, my hometown; and ‘Ebumawe’, the monarchical title of the Ago-Iwoye people.
My sources of information include my dad, Mr Nelson Adetola Adebajo, the son of Arowogbaaya (Ibipe township); my mom, Mrs Fatimah Kikelomo Adebajo (Imere township) and a book by Barrister J.O. Ajibola, ‘A Brief History Of Ago-Iwoye’, being a lecture delivered to a youth club at Ago-Iwoye court hall on Friday 30th December, 1966.
Many decades ago, in the era of slave-trade (19th century), an era infamous for its perilousness and during which a caring mother would hesitate before sending her child on an errand … a man called Ṣomade (the wicked ones have taken the crown) – grandfather to my dad, was abducted by the Ẹgbas to be sold to the whites as a slave. But the people of Ibipẹ* would not sit back and allow this to happen because Somade was not an ordinary man, he was from a royal background. They sent 3 slaves to Abẹokuta that they may be bartered for Ṣomade.
His return home was considered very special that his progenitors were named after the event. Ade bo ni ati ajo, the crown [king] has returned from the journey.
In the past, I was often confused when I think about (or tell others) the surface translation of this name, which I bear. ‘Ade full for house’?
Now if you ask me what it means, I can definitely tell you something more logical. And that is: this sort of name is found in royal households, but not just any. Ones in which princes (male heirs) abound, at least two . Funny enough, in my family, there are four .
Other names that can replace it include Adedeji, Adepọju, Adedimeji, Adeṣubomi, Adeyinka, Aderogba, Adeṣupọ etc.
Before 1931, there was no place going by the name Agọ-Iwoye. The present Agọ-Iwoye, prior to this time, was simply known as Agọ (meaning camp). It was as a result of the efforts and petition of the Agọ-Iwoye Progress Union (inaugurated in 1926) that the town came to be known, both informally and officially, as Agọ-Iwoye, which means the ‘camp of healing’.
Why this name? The answer is 1831. The Gbedeke war of 1831 (or Iṣamuro war as called by the Ẹgbas), a war borne out of greed, tribalism and white egocentrism. The trend back in the days was that the whites enticed various lands to fight wars and raid one another, in order that there may be slaves available for them to buy. This war forced the people of Iwoye (not Ago-Iwoye) to flee for their dear lives, as the Egbas ruthlessly attacked and destroyed their land.
They pitched their tents in a new area known as Imọṣọsi (whose leader was Meyẹlu), finding only a few settlers there. Seven townships comprising of Ibipẹ, Iṣamuro, Idọdẹ, Odoṣinusi, Igan, Imosu, and Imere emigrated from Orile-Iwoye and settled at Ago. They rotated the central leadership between their various Baloguns (war-leaders). The first Balogun to be made leader was Balogun Meleki of Igan township.
This explains why Ago-Iwoye was once referred to as Agọ-Meleki.
However, when a British commissioner visited between 1893 and 1895, asking for the Baalẹ of the town, the then chief-Balogun, Ogunfowodu, became to be called Baalẹ and so was his successors. This went on until Oba Alaiyeluwa Akadi Adenugba was installed in 1932, as the first Ebumawe of Agọ-Iwoye.
The people of Idoko who were among the early settlers of Ondo worshipped spirits, and they hated twins whom they always put to death. At one time, Oduduwa had twin children, one a male and the other a female. Oduduwa sent both these twins and their mother away from his headquarters to the remote part of his kingdom so that they might not be killed (cf. Johnson’s History of the Yorubas, page 25), and they finally settled at Idoko.
The people of the District, knowing that they were from the Royal family, and recognising in them the essence of twin, called them ‘EBU-MARE’ and ‘EṢE-MARE’ respectively, Ebu and Eṣe both mean POTENT and MYSTERIOUS. ‘MARE’ means – HERE IS or HERE ARE. That is, these are potent and mysterious beings. These names later on became to be known as EBUMAWE and OṢEMAWE.
The female child settled at Ondo and became a ruler, while the male, Akingbade, travelled from Idoko, through Okun-Ori-Imedu, Epe, to Ijebu-Ode, and then to Wojaiye and Ibipe. The only settlers they found were the descendants of Sapoku, the Isamuro people who made him king. Hence, Akingbade became the first Ebumawe, and many others ruled after him until the Iwoye towns were destroyed by the Egba people in the Gbedeke war of 1831.
Extracted from ‘A brief history of Ago-Iwoye’ by J.O Ajibola (Page 19/20)