Yoruba Leaders Hall of Fame

FAQs - Yoruba Leaders Hall of Fame


Generation after generation, Yoruba has always had individuals or group whose contribution to events during the time they live helped shape the course of history. From pre-history there were several of such men and women, and to date, there are  still  many of  such individuals,  whose contribution to the growth and development of Yoruba nation cannot be forgotten; while we may not list every individual, at least some  will be mentioned and their contributions.

Yoruba Heroes/Heroines

Contributions to Yoruba  Nation

He was the progenitor of Yoruba race, and NOT the son of Lamurudu, or a native of Arabian peninsula; Oduduwa was a deity cum spirit who was never given birth to by any human being .He was sent by Olodumare (the supreme being) along side with Obatala who derailed on his way to ile-ife .Oduduwa was the first oni of ife. He had a son “okanbi” and okanbi has seven children who were very strong and displayed bravery, and powerful individuals, their military adventures created several Yoruba kingdoms. Prominent were: Ọyọ, Ketu, Popo, Isabẹ, Owu.

He was a grandson of Oduduwa, a powerful, knowledgeable individual, whose military strength had no equal. He established Ọyọ Empire, before then, he served briefly as Ọba in Bini {Benin}. He moved north ward and created a new town-Ọyọ, and by 17th century, it had become one of the most successful Sudanese kingdoms. He married Torosi a (Tapa princess), had two sons: Ajaka-Oko and Ṣango. After a long sojourn, he left the new kingdom to his two sons, and went back to Otu-Ifẹ, before he died. Oranmiyan made history, as the only individual who ruled in three different communities: Bini, Oyo and Ile-Ife. To date, there is an obelisk in his memory at Ile-Ifẹ.

He was the third king in Ọyọ, a man of extra-ordinary and unusual power. He was so powerful that whenever he spoke, he emitted fire. He was feared, revered by his subjects. He became somehow despotic that his subjects rejected him. He left Ọyọ for Tapa (mother’s traditional home) when opposition became so much for him to bear; when Ọyọ had problem, they sent for him, he did not come, but he told Ọyọ what to do. To show appreciation for guidance, he became  a deity.

A powerful hunter and warrior in old Ọyọ, he was sent by Ṣango to Timi of Ẹdẹ. These two powerful warriors engaged in a fight, Timi was captured and brought to Ṣango. Ṣango wanted the fight repeated, thinking Gbọnka would be defeated and be captured; thereby put an end to the underground or un-noticed rivalry between Alaafin Sango and Gbonka . Unfortunately, the public fight turned opposite, in fact, the outcome of the fight contributed in a significant way to the fall of Ṣango.

A fearless warrior Ṣango sent to Ẹdẹ, to check the Ijeṣa, and to collect unpaid taxes owed Alaafin. His power, according to history was hidden in his deadly Bow and Arrow. Timi Agbale engaged in two public fights with Gbọnka  (one in Ẹdẹ, and the second in Ọyọ), Timi was over-powered and killed in the second fight by Gbọnka. Timi became the first king in Ẹdẹ.

He was the mid- 18th century head of Ọyọ-Mesi, the king makers; he became so powerful, and notorious that successive Alaafin were afraid of him. He became so despotic that successive Alaafin were either killed, or forced to commit suicide by him. His notoriety reached a breaking point  when he murdered Agbonyin, the old child of Alaafin Abiodun. Alaafin Abiọdun at this point decided to take the bull by the horns, with assistance from Arẹ Ọyalabi who lived in Jabata, the whole Oyo went to war against Bashorun Gaa; he was over-powered and killed. His death opened a new chapter in the history of Oyo, to date  in Yoruba land, there is a maxin which says “bi’ o lai’ ya O s’ ika; bi’o ri’ ku Gaa, O sooto” which means (if you are strong-willed[obstinate, stubborn,pigheaded] to doing evil, the death of Gaa is a lesson to eventuality of life.

A progressive, humble,  and people oriented Alaafin; the last prominent Alaafin of Ọyọ-Ile, before it was destroyed by Afonja-led–Fulani soldiers. Alaafin Abiodun and Arẹ Ọyalabi led war against Baṣọrun Gaa, after Gaa killed Agbọnyin- the only child of Alaafin Abiọdun.

The last Alaafin in Ọyọ-Ile. He engaged in supremacy battle with Afọnja, although he committed suicide before Ọyọ was destroyed by the rampaging Fulani warriors, but he left a mark. A mark that altered political dynamics of Yoruba land for the rest of 19th century.

Afọnja was the Arẹ-Ọna-Kankan-Fo of old Ọyọ Empire, he refused to carry the orders of Alaafin, when told to wage war against Iwere-Ile; a Yoruba town in modern day (Kwara) an  unresolved rivalry ensued between Alaafin Aole and Afọnja. Afọnja led Fulani warriors against Ọyọ  around 1826/27, and the kingdom was destroyed. Unfortunately, his Fulani supporters turned against him, and later killed on the orders of Alimi.  Ilọrin lost its independence, its relevance in Yoruba history and became Fulani controlled Yoruba town till today.

One of the many outcomes of Afọnja’s war against Ọyọ was, it opened several military attacks on Yoruba without strong or viable resistance. One of such attacks was on Oṣoogun, a village very close to Ọyọ-Alaafin. Ajayi was captured by the Fulani soldiers, sold, moved to, but set free in Freetown, Sierra-Leone. He became a Christian, studied languages and  translated Bible into Yoruba, wrote several books, and carried Christian evangelism to nooks and crannies of Yoruba land and beyond. Became first African Bishop.


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