YAYI TIMOTHY OPEYEMI
It is interesting that the history of Ijio has become a potent area of human endeavour which must not be relegated. It accounts for a dramatic transformation of the society and indeed creates an history of reference not only for the indigenes but the world at large. Critically speaking, the knowledge of history equip us particularly the history of one’s town. My life was a two way traffic before; church and my place of residence. I went by this for some years because of my naivety but alas was rescued from the ocean of isolation as I found solace in the words of Cicero who says that:” Not to have known what happen before you were born is to forever remain a child”. The semantic meaning of the expression may be blurred but elements of truth still stand clear. Babs Fafunwa in his opinion remarks that history is to a people, what memory is to individual. A person with no knowledge of their past are a victim of collective amnesia, a groping blindly into the future without guide-posts of precedence to shape their course. Individuals, communities, societies could scarcely exist if all the knowledge of the past were wiped out. Locating the trends of activities that characterizes the history of Ijio reveals the fact that the town was plugged into a scientific hole. A lot of events that culminated form the present day Ijio that rivaled the neighbouring towns.
A synchronize and garbanize discovery of Ijio reveals that the town could be dated back to the early 18th century when an immigrant, Adam Baba Olukan came from Ogbooro (Atisbo Local Government). No trace of Potassium argon dating technique and radio carbon dating is established yet, but what we depend mostly on is the oral history which is subject to alteration. It is evident that the ancient Ijio started with three (3) settlers. The second settler was Sabiowusu from Sabee in the Republic of Benin. Abogunrin who happen to be the third settler came from Oyo town. These trios lived happily at Ogbase. A tent was pitched at Samo where water was derived. This accounts for Samo being part of Ijio.
Gradually, the population increased drastically and the need to have a head chief arose. Following this trend, Abogunrin was chosen as the first Amunijio of Ijio. It is pertinent to note that the pure motive of their coming together was the zeal to found a town. Consequently, the three settlers settled under a shea-butter tree which is today regarded as the cradle of Ijio town. The name Ijio etymologically is derived from two Yoruba words: Ije-Iwowo. This is quite shortened to Ijio. It thus means eating pieces of fish. Till today the slogan that accompanies the word Ijio is often synonymous or narrowed towards hospitality. The town moved at a higher pace and this draws the attention of enemies rallying round.
Arising from the foregoing, the increase in population speedy up the activities of the enemy soldiers trying to dominate. The soldiers came from Sabee around the year 1804 when Uthman Dan Fodio was launching his Jihad in the Hausa states then. The town dwelling people as a result of this occurrence scattered to many towns like Iseyin, Ipapo, Ile-Ife, Okeho, and others. It was believed following an unconfirmed source that Abogunrin as the name suggests: “went with the war” died during the period of the canter attack. Many hid in caves and most especially a mountain named Kotobawo. Near this mountain lies a heap of stones which they used during the revolution.
According to history, the two prominent mountains, Kotobawo and Ilele have great significance to the masses. Kotobawo’s heart is said to be stony, so they don’t worship it. It only serves as refuge and place of abode against the invading soldiers. Ilele is worshipped yearly with a very big black goat and food. It has a priest who has an esoteric knowledge and usually robed in his regalia every festival day. The rock is worshipped during the dry season. Children,...