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Ijebu Ode, Nigeria
|• Awujale||Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona Ogbagba II|
|• Local Government Chairman and the Head of the Local Government Council||Gbolade Ola Oladunwo|
|• Total||192 km2 (74 sq mi)|
|Population (2006 Census)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (WAT)|
|3-digit postal code prefix||120|
Ijebu-Ode is a town in Ogun State, South-West Nigeria, close to the A121 highway. The city is located 110 km by road north-east of Lagos; it is within 100 km of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern part of Ogun State and possesses a warm tropical climate.
With an estimated population of 222,653 (2007), Ijebu-Ode has 39 Public Primary Schools, 14 Public Junior Secondary school, 13 public Senior Secondary Schools, 110 approved Private Nursery and Primary Schools and 22 approved Private Secondary Schools.  it is the second largest city in Ogun State after Abeokuta.
Since pre-colonial times it has been the capital of the Ijebu kingdom.
The LGA has an area of 192 km² and a population of 154,032 at the 2006 census.
The largest city inhabited by the Ijebus, a sub-group of the Yoruba ethnic group who speak the Ijebu dialect of Yoruba, it is historically and culturally the headquarters of Ijebuland. Today, however, due to migration, colonization and inter-tribal marriage, Ijebu-Ode is now composed of a mixed people who majorly speak the general Yoruba language, as opposed to the local dialect.
The ruler of Ijebu Kingdom, Oba S.K. Sikiru Kayode Adetona, is known as the Awujale of Ijebuland and resides in Ijebu-Ode. He is regarded as the paramount ruler of Ijebu land, encompassing every town that is originally an Ijebu domain, including Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu-Igbo, Oru, Awa, Remo, Ijebu-Isiwo( pronounced as Ijebu Ishiwo),Odogbolu, Aiyepe, Epe, and other Ijebu territories. The Awujale is highly revered by natives and residents of these towns.
Adjacent to Ijebu Ode are several smaller towns and villages. They are mostly referred to as Egure "small settlement"; some of them include Odo-Agamegi, Ogbo, Italupe (a neighbourhood within Ijebu-Ode), Ososa, Imomo, Imawen, Odo Ogbun, Apa(Mesan), Okelamuren, Abapawa, Erunwon, Apunren, Isonyin, Imoru, Oke-Eri, Imagbon, Ijebu-Isiwo(pronounce as Ijebu-Ishiwo), Okemoyin (a village within Ijebu-Isiwo), Odo-lewu, Odo-Arawa, Idowa, Iworo, Ala, Atiba and Ibefun among others. Ijebu-Ode is made up of three parts - Iwade, Ijasi and Porogun. Italupe is a ward in Iwade, not an Egure of Ijebu Ode.
Agemo is the unity of Ijebus. There are 16 Agemos in various part of Ijebu. They come out every July and they all meet at Ijebu-Ode before moving to Imodi Mosan, where the Agemo Festival takes place. The Agemo of Ijebu-Isiwo is called Petu-Ado (short form Petu). Agemo festival has masquerades and is a performing art of the Yoruba religion. Women are forbidden from seeing the Agemo on their way to Ijebu-Ode. A public announcement is made on radio and television to inform everyone the exact time Agemo will be moving. The Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Ode is usually held two days after the Ileya festival while the Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Isiwo is usually held three days after the Ileya. It is a festival whose main purpose is for the people of Ijebu to come together as one to honor their king and is regarded as one of the biggest in West Africa.
In 1891, the Ijebu tribe, dwelling between 50 and 60 miles north-east of Lagos on the Magbon river, set a blockade on the trade route from the interior into Lagos, which was a crown colony, and charged customs dues which served as their income. The Awujale, the traditional ruler of Ijebu, closed down the Ejirin market, cutting off Lagos from a source of up-country trade.
The British government persuaded the Awujale several times to open the blockaded route but the Ijebu ruler remained adamant. However, in May 1891, a British acting governor, Captain C.M Denton C.M.G, together with some Hausa troops (mostly slaves who fled the North to South and were recruited by the British army) went to Ijebu kingdom to make an agreement with the Awujale on opening the blockaded route and allowing the free passage of goods into Lagos. The Awujale refused but after much persuasion and pressure, the Awujale agreed in January 1892 on the terms of receiving £500 annually as compensation for the loss of custom revenue.
However, the agreement didn’t last long. A white missionary was denied access to pass through the kingdom and was sent back. The British government were provoked by the action of the Ijebus and authorized the use of force on the kingdom. Britain gathered troops from Gold Coast (Ghana), Sierra Leone, Ibadan, and Lagos (the Hausa troops nearly 150).
Battle of imagbon
Colonel F.C. Scott C.B was the commander of the troops of 450 men piled up by Britain. On the 12th of May, 1892, the captain and his men, including some carriers, sailed up the Lagos Lagoon and landed at Ekpe.
When they got to Leckie, another carriers about 186 in numbers were recruited.
On the Ijebu side, 8000 men with old rifles would be fighting the British. The British underestimated the fighting prowess of the Ijebus thus giving them some hard times in penetrating into the interiors of Ijebu kingdom. The first day, the British army razed down four villages with some of their men sustaining fatal injuries. The next day, they proceeded to Atumba and gunned down the Ijebus with machine guns. Britain lost 12 men which include a Briton and 12 Africans. Every Ijebu villages they came across was burnt to the ground. The Ijebus were really losing the battle but determined to prevent the British army from crossing the Yemoji river. The goddess of the Yemoji river was said to have taken human sacrifice in order to prevent the intruders (British) from crossing. The river was dug deeper by the Ijebus to make it impenetrable by all means for the British army. However, the British army managed to cross the sacred Yemoji river and unleashed havoc on the Ijebus. They proceeded to the village of Imagbon.
The Ijebus had lost over 900 men while Britain lost only 56 men and have more than 30 wounded. The Ijebus were still determined to fight on but shortly afterwards, the Awujale surrendered and admitted losing the war.
The British union flag was later raised above Ijebu Ode. Captain Scot warned his men against pillaging which some didn’t heed to especially the Ibadan irregulars who were later deprived of their arms. The toll gates in Oru built by the Ijebus were destroyed and some of their shrines were also torched.
This bloody war is also known in history as the 1892 Ijebu Expedition.
The British troops were awarded The East & West Africa Medal with Clasp dated ‘1892’.
Today, one of these medals can be found in Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Ijebu kingdom was later annexed to the colony of southern Nigeria.
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