General

Titles and Functions of Chiefs in Igangan-Ijesha

The political history of this community depicts a kind of monarchical system of government synonymous with the Old Oyo Empire’s archaic and ancient system of administration.

The Ajo-Ilu assembly makes the system of their administration quite unique from others. Notable names of the Igangan chiefs and their functions are examined in this article. These names exclude sub-places under Igangan-Ijesha like Olofin Orubu, Ajumobi and others.

Odofin

Odofin – Edo ati Ifun Ilu (literally means the liver and intestine of the community) is the highest chieftaincy title in the political arrangement. Describing him as the liver and intestine of the community (Odofin) means his position cannot be underrated and he is very paramount in the setting.

They settle menial disputes like marital issues, theft, farm and land disputes and others. Only three chiefs- Saba, Odofin and Aro- can mediate in the cases mentioned above.

In a situation where these three chiefs cannot settle the case, it will be referred to the Ajo– comprises of several chiefs in diverse categories, chambers and styles of operations- where the matter will be presented and all hands will be on deck.

If the plaintiff is not pleased with the judgment, the case can now be referred to the Oba-in-Council which consists of the King and others like chief Loogan, Asawo, Ojumu, and the Iwarefa.

Odofin performs at the Olugbo festival. During this festival, it is forbidden for women to see him. Everybody is to be indoors from noon till the second day except the performers of the Olugbo festival on that day.

On this day, the Aro will perform many rituals like worshipping and sending Aroko to Igbemu, traditional water in Igangan-Ijesha.   Sajuku also workshops the Osayin on this day.

Saba

The Saba hosts the Ajo-Ilu meeting in his house. Also, before the referral of difficult cases to the King, it would be tendered at the Ajo-Ilu Community Assembly which occurs every nine days.

Cheif Emila of Igangan-Ijesha, Chief Soji Adan in his house
when relating the history of Igangan-Ijesha to TADEXPROF.

The Ajo-Ilu is a meeting of all the chambers of the chiefs. It holds every nine days and is hosted by the Oloye Saba of Igangan-Ijesha. Saba worships the Arake festival, while the Kabiyesi worships Olookun

Loogan

Loogan is the messenger of the community. He plays the role of the middleman between the peopling of the community and the chiefs as well as the Kabieyesi in terms of passing information to the people.

Asawo

Oloye Asawo is the community chief priest who is responsible for the implantation of oath, rituals and other things in that line. He leads in the swearing of chiefs into offices and manages oaths between two people and others.

During the Arake festival in Igangan-Ijesha, he plays some significant roles. The Asawo worships Ifa, an oracle.

Kazeem Munir (Minime) beside Baba Asawo of Igangan-Ijesha during his Odun Ifa festival in Igangan-Ijesha. Oloye Folorunsho Aribilola in Nov. 2021 cr: Kazeem Munir/TADEXPROF

In times of arguments that may need both participants to resort to swearing, the Asawo takes charge of this. For instance, if someone refuses to acknowledge his statement and another person insists that the former says such words; both of them can resort to swearing which will be organized by the Asawo. Asawo only plays this role.

Ojumu

Ojumu is the representative of the Oba in the Ajo-Ilu. He is the Oju ati Imu (eyes and nose) of the Kabiyesi in the meeting. The king is usually absent in the Ajo-Ilu, he is rather represented by the Ojumu. The Ojumu hears from the Kabiyesi to the Ajo-Ilu and vice versa.

Looyin

The Looyin supervise his Isomogbe (colleagues- six small chiefs) to clear the path to Igbo-Oluwa, a shrine. He is only entitled to get the Emu Aribale (palm wine) which is used during the Arake festival.

Looyin is the head of another set of six small chiefs who take charge of community services like clearing paths to the Igbo Oluwa shrine. He also gets the ritual palm wine that will be used during the Arake Festival.

This palm wine (Emu Aribale) is a sacred drink that must not touch the ground. The Looyin takes this palm wine from the tapper immediately as the latter is leaping down from the palm tree.

He does not negotiate with the palm wine tapper according to the tradition of the people. He pays any amount the palm wine tapper asks him to pay.

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About the author

Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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