Abeokuta is the capital city of Ogun State, established in 1830 as a result of the inter-tribal war between the Egba people and the old Oyo empire. Thus, Abeokuta was created by the Egba refugees, located on the east bank of the Ogun River.
In addition, Abeokuta is a town in southwest Nigeria that is known to be situated near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna. Abeokuta is located in a lush region of woodland savanna, the surface of which is broken up by huge chunks of grey granite. It covers a huge area and is encircled by 18-mile-long mud walls.
In this piece, Naijabiography narrates the history and culture of the Abeokuta people, including their trades and tourist centres.
The Oyo Empire collapsed into civil strife in 1817. Refugees from the fall of Oyo fought alongside the Ijebu in their conflict with the Owu in southern Yorubaland, which had erupted around the same period. The top Ife and Ijebu generals left Owu when it fell in about 1822, but the other troops that had sided with the Oyo exiles were invited by the Ijebus to Ipara, which they turned into their base of operations for more raids against a number of cities in the area.
The Egba were a loose confederacy of cities that had been founded by Yoruba migrants in the 13th century and were dispersed throughout the forested terrain between Ipara and Ibadan. This group then focused on fighting them. Many of these towns were seized and destroyed by the gang, who finally made Ibadan, one of the settlements that had not been entirely destroyed, their base of operations for further conquests.
By this time, at least a few Egba groups had joined the band of marauders, and they too were residing in Ibadan. In one event, an Egba chief named Lamodi fatally shot an Ife named Ege with a gun at a public assembly before being slain in the ensuing disturbance. Conflict erupted between the various clans.
Most of the Egba inhabitants moved as a group to an encampment some three or four miles away on the other side of the Ona River out of fear of retaliation from Ife. Here they chose Sodeke as their commander and moved to the hilly region known as Olumo Rock, where they eventually founded the town of Abeokuta in what was then a small farming community, approximately 1830.
By 1825, Olumo Rock was already a haven from Ibadan and Dahomey slave hunters; individuals were dispersed over the area, hiding among the rocks encircling the village. Other Egba refugees and a sizable number of Owu who had fled their captors soon joined the Egba who founded Abeokuta. It developed into a thriving metropolis where most of the Egba lived.
Abeokuta served as more of a “federation of communities within a town wall than a community in its own right,” as opposed to the numerous Egba clans comingling into one community. Dahomey quickly turned hostile as a result of Abeokuta’s strategic location for the palm oil trade and its status as the so-called capital of the Egbas. King Gezo and the Dahomey expedition were defeated by the Egba in the Battle of Abeokuta in 1851. In 1864, they defeated the Dahomey soldiers once more.
Problems with the Europeans, namely the British in Lagos, also arose in the 1860s. As a result, the Egba first closed trade channels before expelling missionaries and traders in 1867. The Yoruba Civil Wars, which took place between 1877 and 1893, pitted Abeokuta against Ibadan. As a result, the king or Alake of the Egba signed an alliance with the British governor, Sir Gilbert Carter.
This took place in 1893, formalizing the Abeokuta-based Egba United Government, which later gained recognition from the UK. The British absorbed the Egba lands into their colony of Nigeria in 1914, making Abeokuta the provincial capital.
The Adubi War, an insurrection that occurred in 1918, was a result of indirect rule by British Governor-General Sir Frederick Lugard and the imposition of taxes. Throughout the First World War, this was the only internal danger to British authority in Nigeria.
The British Governor-General Sir Frederick Lugard’s indirect rule strategy and the imposition of taxes led to a rebellion in 1918 known as the Adubi War. The only internal danger to British rule of Nigeria throughout the First World War was this.
In the 1940s, the Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU) organized and led the Abeokuta Women’s Revolt. It was a movement of opposition against the Nigerian colonial government’s imposition of discriminatory taxes. Thus, the newly established Ogun State’s capital, Abeokuta, was established in 1976.
Rice, yams, cassava, corn [maize], palm oil and kernels, cotton, fruits, vegetables, shea butter, and rubber are all traded in Abeokuta today. The city also serves as a hub for the export of cocoa, fruits, kola nuts, and palm goods.
The missionaries introduced rice and cotton in the 1850s, and today the town’s major skills include cotton weaving and dyeing. The federal Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority has its headquarters in Abeokuta, and it has plans to use land and water resources in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states for rural development.
Projects related to power, food processing, and irrigation are also some of the major determinants of Abeokuta’s economy. Although the local industry is still small, it currently includes sawmills, a plastics factory, and fruit canning facilities. The Aro granite quarries, which supply building materials to much of southern Nigeria, are close to the town, as is the sizable, cutting-edge Ewekoro cement plant.
According to history, 18 miles of the wall previously encircled Abeokuta, and some of the old wall’s remains can still be seen today. Both Centenary Hall (1930) and Ake, the Alake’s traditional home, are located in the Egba Alake’s domain. In addition to primary and secondary institutions, the University of Lagos, Abeokuta Campus, opened its doors in 1984.
This campus has departments for technology, agriculture, and science. Since then, in 1988, it has been transformed into the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), an independent, fully-fledged postsecondary university.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and investors constructed the sizable resort/hotel known as The Green Legacy Resort. There is also a location for the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) on the resort’s grounds.
Another noteworthy structure is the governor’s office, which is situated in Oke-Mosan. The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), which is one of the city’s significant structures and has one of Nigeria’s most picturesque public university campuses, is situated on Alabata Road in Abeokuta.
Notable People in Abeokuta
There are some prominent individuals in society that are from Abeokuta. These individuals include Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (politician), Odunlade Adekola (Nollywood Actor), Oladimeji Bankole (businessman), Fela Kuti (musician and political activist), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007), Ebenezer Obey (juju musician and evangelist), Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (women’s rights activist), Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti (former Minister of Health), Jimi Solanke (actor), Professor Wole Soyinka (Nobel Prize-winning author), and Chief Akintola Williams (founder of ICAN), among others.