By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The history of Iwo in Osun State will be incomplete without looking at her antecedents. The tradition of the town attests to the fact that Iwo originated from Ile-Ife, the cradle of Yorubaland. Its kingship has also been traced to Ife.
Iwo has all the characteristics of a Yoruba settlement. The Iwo people belonged to Ile-Ife from where they migrated sometime in the 14th century. The Iwo settlement was initiated by Adekola Telu, a prince from Ife. Telu was the son of the 21st Ooni of Ife, a female called Luwo Gbagida.
She, according to history, was so powerful and influential. She was also said to have had supernatural powers. You can imagine how strong she was to have emerged a female Ooni. That is the spirit with which Iwo was founded.
When Telu grew old, her mother, Ooni Luwo Gbagida, noticed his son’s ambition to become an Oba, and gave him a crown and other materials of kingship. Oba Luwo also provided some old men to follow his son in his adventure to discover his own kingdom.
Among the men that followed Telu on his journey were Ba-Gidigbo and Beku. Telu and his men first settled at Ogundigbaro which was water-logged and they headed for a place called Erunmu.
The team again left Erunmu area because of wild animals and settled at Igbo-Orita, along Ibadan–Iwo Road and some five kilometers from the present Iwo centre. After the death of Telu, Prince Parin, one of his successors, moved to a new settlement called Iwo. He was installed the first Oluwo of Iwo around the 16th century and he reigned for six to seven decades.
As the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), was presented with the staff of office and instrument of appointment on December 7, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi, the 16th Oluwo of Iwo, who is scheduled to be crowned and presented staff of office on January 16, 2016, has assured the people of the town that he will work in partnership with the new Ooni to improve the living condition of Iwo people and the people of Osun in general during his reign.
Speaking with newsmen, the monarch, who had lived in Canada for several years before his appointment, expressed appreciation to God and to the people of Iwo for their support during his three years litigation in court. Adeegunodo, one of the ruling houses in Iwo, had taken the Gbasee ruling house, where Oba Akanbi emerged, to court for determination of who becomes the Oluwo. Subsequently, the court ruled in favour of the Akanbi’s ruling house.
“It is unfortunate that this history of Ife and Iwo has suffered neglect. That is why I said my coming is divine. I am the reincarnation of Telu. I am here to bring back the glory of Iwo land.
“I know the town has passed through some challenges. We are going to see to the end of those challenges. We are going to come together with the new Ooni of Ife and the people to do it. But as the traditional ruler, I have made a vow to lead by example. I am going to open Iwo land to the outside world. God has really blessed us with human resources and we are going to leverage on this to make Iwo a hub of employment”.
Bemoaning the slow pace of development in Iwo, the monarch promised to facilitate investments in the town, assuring that, in the next two years, the town will be the food basket of the state.
Akanbi called on Iwo indigenes at home and in diaspora to come and invest in the town by taking advantage of various investment opportunities available in order to develop and put the town in its rightful position in the country.
While saying that the growth of Iwo land remained of paramount interest to him, he assured the people of bringing his wealth of the experience he acquired in Canada to promote the growth of the town.
The traditional ruler expressed appreciation to God and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Osun State governor, for allowing true justice to prevail in the state, describing him as “a man of peace and sincerity.”