For the Local Government Area of Oyo State, see Oluyole, Nigeria.
Oluyole was a distinguished, dominating army commander from Oyo. He rose to fame as Bashorun, a title he subsequently made famous, and was one of the leaders who contributed immensely to the military and economic development of Ibadan during the city's formative years, a period which had its share of tumult and uncertainty.
Life and career
The spread of the Fulani Jihad and subsequent attacks on Ilorin and Old Oyo by the Fulani's had resulted in forcing many Oyo natives to leave their abode in the West African Savannah and move towards the thick forests of southern Yorubaland. However, the resulting influx of northern Yorubas known as Oyo's to the hinterland led to skirmishes and later wars with the Egbas, who controlled a large chunk of the Yoruba hinterland. It was during this era that Oluyole rose to prominence. He first gained esteem when he was a member of the victorious coalition that won the Owu wars, which eventually led to the collapse of many Egba towns including Ibadan. As a reward for the prominent role he played in defeating the Egbas at Ipara and Ijebu Remo, and to strengthen the disparate Oyo nobility which had weakened as a result of the wars, Oluyole was made the Areago of Ibadan. He later created for himself the post of Osi-Kakanfo, the second in command of the Ibadan army.
After the success of the Owu war, some Yoruba chiefs decided to recapture Ilorin which had fallen to the Fulani's. The mission failed, and Old Oyo was finally destroyed, a few powerful Yoruba leaders also lost their lives in the mission. Subsequently, a power vacuum emerged in the vital military and leadership sphere in Yorubaland. Oluyole took on the challenge in successfully defending his new city, Ibadan, against the regrouped Egbas, the Fulanis and Dahomey. He was later crowned the Oloye Bashorun, a title which made him the military leader of Ibadan. By this time, he was considered by many to be the second leader of the scattered people of Oyo, after the Alaafin himself. He was also a successful farmer, with large estates of tuber crops and vegetables. He had one of the largest productive plantations in Ibadan, with indigenes always touring his farm, trying to imitate his planting technique. His effective power could be explained by his will to control economic and social events. For the fear of Oluyole, and also for lack of efficient pricing, many traders usually did not sell their products when he took his to the market.
- Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation; 1960, Eminent Nigerians of the Nineteenth Century: A Series of Studies Originally Broadcast by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation