Ogbomosho was one of the many regions under the old Oyo empire….. It held proudly its ancient Oyo heritage. The ruler of Ogbomoso was called Soun. He was a Bale and lower in rank to senior rulers like Onikoyi. In the early 1800s, the invasion from Ilorin destabilized many inner cities of Yorubaland and they fled to Ogbomosho….
It was a formidable city with battle-hardened warriors…. Some of who would even rise within the ranks at Ibadan…. most famous among them was Balogun Ibikunle… a strongly built fearless man fondly known as ‘Ekun Ibadan’…. ( Lion and master of Ibadan). He had the largest compound at Ibadan in his time at Ayeye….. Ibikunle led many campaigns including the siege on Ijaiye, Ijesha, and Ekiti. Three natives of Ogbomoso held the title of Kakanfo… they were Toyeje, Ojo Aburumaku, and Ladoke Akintola.
Ilorin invaded Ogbomoso in 1844., led by a Hausa general by the name Ali. He laid a siege on the city and tried to capture it….. Ogbomoso army came out and confronted Ali’s army… They decimated the Ilorin army and sent them on their heels.. as they fled, Ogbomoso soldiers slaughtered them. They however did not pursue too far for fear of the Ilorin Calvary.
Ilorin emirate had earlier made invasions into the interiors of Yorubaland and sacked many of its cities. many regions deserted their cities and relocated to more formidable ones….. this included the Onikoyi, Olugbon, Aresa and Onpetu of Ido. These rulers migrated to Ogbomoso with their subjects. Now this caused some tensions…. All three rulers were senior in rank to the Soun of Ogbomoso… living in his domain, they were technically under his rule… However, being senior in rank to him, they asserted their seniority to his face. The people of Ogbomoso, being subjects of Oyo by extension also acknowledged the migrant leaders the respect they deserved. This greatly worried the Soun Of Ogbomoso….
To solve this issue and reassert his authority through the same complex structure of the empire, Soun invited the Ogboni cult to Ogbomoso. The Ogboni fraternity represented the supreme judicial arm of the empire and its authority also commanded spiritual powers. Soun of Ogbomoso enlisted many of his officials into the newly introduced Ogboni cult and with their influence, his laws were enforced with judicial backing.
A popular saying ‘Ko baje laye Olugbon, ko baje laye aresa, kobaje laye Onikoyi’… speaks of how these great rulers managed to preserve their ancient kingdoms from disintegration.