Ogere, an ancient town in the present Remo Division of Ogun State, Nigeria was founded many years ago circa 1401 A.D. The ancestral home of the Yorubas is Ile-Ife. Oduduwa is the ancestral father of all the Yorubas inside and outside Nigeria. The people of Ogere are Yorubas.
They hailed from the ancestral home “Lagere in Ile-Ife” in two different emigrations led by Olipakala and Lowa-Lida respectively. The two are Ile-Ife crowned Princes.
Ogere is situated in a hilly area. The topography of the town justifies the biblical saying which states that “A town that is situated on hills cannot be hidden”. Ogere is one of the old thirty-three  towns that made up “Remo Kingdom”. It is in the South-West of the Kingdom. Ogere has boundaries in the North with Ajura (An Egba Town), in the South with Iperu Remo, in the East with Ode Remo and in the West with Sagamu Remo. Both the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and Ijebu-Ode / Abeokuta Road pass through Ogere. The people are principally farmers and traders by profession. They grow Rice, Kolanut, and Cocoa as cash crops. The women trade in Gari, Rice Provisions and Textiles. Olipakala, an Ile-Ife Crown Prince, a direct descendant of the Yoruba Progenitor Oduduwa, a great warrior, violent in temperant and character was the founder, ancestor and spiritual father of the Ogere people. Olipakala migrated with his senior brother Obanta from Ile-Ife to Ijebu-Ode.
His wife called Yemogun also travelled with him. They settled at Ijebu-Ode for a while and no sooner did they settle in Ijebu-Ode than Obanta discovered Olipakala to be a strong radical man. He became difficult to control by Obanta and even started to challenge his authority in social and political decisions as a result, Olipakala was asked to go and settle afar off.
Olipakala and his family moved out of Ijebu-Ode and moved westward. They settle at “Agbele” and called the settlement “Ilagere” where they made their homestead.
Another emigration led by Lowa-Eri the founder of the Lagere District in Ile-Ife also decided to move out of Ile-Ife to found another settlement. On their journey, Lowa-Eri the leader of the group died at Ipole and Lowa-Lida, his son took up the mantle of leadership.
Lowa-Lida established many villages in Ile-Nla, Ogbo near Ijebu-Ode before his settlement at Idoko (part of Ijebu-Mushin). Oral history claimed that Obinrin-Ojowu was erected at Ijebu-Ode by Lowa-Lida, who left his son Lowa-Iberu as his chief priest. Lowa-Lida and his group also moved westward from Ijebu-Ode and settled at Agbele Ogere with the Olipakala family. “Aje Shrine in Ogere was erected at the present site, which then was about 11/2 miles from Agbele. The Oloja of Iremo who was in Lowa’s entourage was the Chief Priest. The word “Iremo” was later coined to Aremo.
The Lagere people settled in two camps at Agbele and regarded it as their homestead. Olipakala was for many years the absolute ruler of the Ilagere people. The great leader loved his people and had the ambition to establish a powerful war camp and a great empire. He fought gallantly to preserve their entity and identity.
Olipakala and his wife Yemogun guarded Lagere (Ogere) people and ensured their security from invasion by their neighbouring rival towns. He fought many wars to safeguard his people. His wife Yemogun was a good companion in all the wars to safeguard his people. Ogere people were never defeated in any war when Olipakala, Yemogun and Lowa-Lida were alive; hence a cognomen was given to him that runs thus: “Olipakala A Gbe Ni Ma Dehin”.
In times of war, their immediate neighbours were contacted by the use of “Apere” the war signal drum used for transmitting messages which the enemy would not be able to interpret. The settlement of Lagere (Ogere) people was a farming community and faced a serious threat from wild animals and attack by carnivorous animals like Lions, Tigers, Hyenas and Wolves especially at dusk and in the evening. Spirited efforts were made to kill and terminate these animals.
After the conquest of wild animals with greater security of life, farming activities expanded and the Olipakala settlement enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity. Other settlements sprang up as a satellite of the Agbele settlement. These include Iporo I and II, Orile-Epe, Iseje, Lowosiwu, Larufin, Ipakala, Sakale, Obelu, Idoko, Oke Mogun and Ejigun. It was through the help of these divinities that Ogere has come to stay in her present location.
Olipakala became old and disappeared as well as Yemogun and Lowa-Lida.
In appreciation, the people of Ogere deified and worshipped them annually. They were consulted on the matters of war and for the general prosperity of the town. The people established Olipakapla Grove called “Igbo Olipakala” and Yemogun Grove called “Igbo Yeye”. Ogere people venerated them with reverence for they are regarded as a “Mysterium tremendum et fascinons” by the people.
The festival during which “Olipakala” is remembered and worshipped is called “Oro Olipakala” and that of “Yemogun” is the “Obalufon” festival. These festivals are annual events.
The exit of Olipakala led to substantial re-organisation of the Lagere (Ogere) Society. It is common knowledge that from time immemorial, people lived by their might and the weak easily fell prey to the strong, with Olipakala around no war ever conquered his people, even after his departure his spirit still gave strong support to the people but taught them lessons anytime the disobeyed his orders.
A monarch is a divine creation on earth or a man-made institution designed as a rallying point in society. Very many years after Olipakala had left the stage the settlers at Agbele who had multiplied astronomically decided to establish Obaship Rule and the two Royal Ruling Houses that emerged are:
- Negbua (now known as Agbejoye / Fadagbuwa)
The name Ogere is from Ilagere. That was the name of the town at Agbele. Another interpretation by some people is that Ogere was from “sun si Okere” i.e. “move afar” as decreed by Obanta to Olipakala.
The inter-tribal wars ranging throughout the Yoruba land in early 1880 and the frequent invasion of the camp at Agbele and its satellite villages taught the Ilagere people a lasting lesson to come together and establish a fortified town.
The different headmen of these settlements who were entitled the Olojas emerged into one head, with Oba Adelana Osifayo Legunsen 1st who was on the throne at Agbele. Lowa being aged lived with the people at Ogere before he descended alive.
Oba Adelana Osifayo was the third Oba to reign at Agbele and was the Oba on the throne at the time of resettlement at Ogere. He, therefore, became the first Ologere of Ogere.
Four Ruling Houses were established in the following orders:
- Legunsen Ruling House
- Agbejoye / Fadagbuwa Ruling House
- Kankanbina / Ejigboye Ruling House
- Oregunsen Ruling House
The Oba (Ologere) thus emerged as the leader and head of civil administration in whose name all acts of government were carried out. The system in Ogere like the rest of Yoruba land was one of limited monarchy. Oba Ologere was the spiritual head of the Ogere people; his supremacy over the Ogere people was accepted.
The person of Ologere was regarded as the fountain of honour conferred chieftaincies and other honours on worthy sons and daughters of Ogere who must have made substantial contributions towards the economic, social and political growth of the community or have distinguished themselves in their respective professions that the Oba can be proud of them.
The ancient administration of Ogere was democratic. There are political societies which had functions to carry out.
- The Osugbo Council: They shared the day to day administration of the community with the Oba. The Osugbo was the main enforcement authority and therefore the most dreaded body. It was usually called Ogboni who met regularly in the “Iledi”. The head of the Osugbo is the Oliwo and the secretary and the High Priest are the Apena. Other officers include the Iwarefas, Olotu Ijo, Olotu Egan, and Olotu Erelu (Judiciary / Legislative).
- The Ihare – The body of Traditional Chiefs: It comprises chiefs such as Olisa, Aro, Odofin, Family Chieftains and Honorary Chieftaincies (Executive).
- The Olopere: This headed by the Balogun of the town took over the military responsibilities of the community. It was open to all young men of the town. The body comprises traditional Chiefs like Asiwaju, Otun, Osi, Seriki, Ashipa, Bada, Aare etc.
- The Pampa Society: This took charge of Trade and commerce and the township market.
- The Oro Society: This constituted the police.
- The Eluku Society: This was the executioner.
- The Ode Group: This was in charge of community security.
- Other groups or societies are the Alagemo, Elegun etc.
Power was well-shared in the social advancement of the community under the royal headship of the Oba (Ologere).
The rest of the community belonged to one traditional religion or the other. The main social organisation was the Egbe or the Age group. The town was divided into two principal wards namely: ITAJIREN and OKE-LISA (OKE-ILU). Each ward was further divided into quarters called “ITUN” and each “ITUN” comprised of one or more compounds. There were traditional thirteen quarters:
ITAJIREN: Itun-Iseje, Morisagbara, Itun-Okuta, Itun-Oke, Itun-Epe, Itun-Agbon, Itun-Nla, Idaren.
OKE-ILISA: Itun-Iraye, Itun-Maro, Itun-Lisa, Itun-Idomogun, Itun-Aledo.
Each compound has a head called “Baale” with other officers to assist him in the administration of the compound. The officers held regular meetings at Baale’s house to discuss matters affecting their people, settle minor civil matters and burial arrangement of the head et. c.
In addition to the above division, there have been modern divisions such include Araromi, Ayegbami, Ayetoro, Ajegunle, Mosimi, Wasimi, Lowa etc.
Thus, Oba Ologere was seen as a democratic head that carried his people along with him in his decisions.
This shows that the Ogere people have always been an organised society. They have never lacked ideas on the development of their community. The Obas have always been at the helm of affairs at the township level where they shoulder big problems of administration. The advent of the Europeans towards the end of the nineteenth century did not change the concept but rather it tried to strengthen democracy by superimposing the Western System of Administration on the already existing system.
We have had Residents, District Officers, Native Courts, Customary Courts et. c. With the introduction of party politics, and independence in 1960, the Oba (Ologere) has been working under a difficult, modern and dynamic situation. Despite this, the big responsibilities of the Oba towards his community as the leader have not waned. The different political societies continued to function effectively helping the Ologere to maintain law and order in the town.
The Ogere Community Development Council (OCDC) also helped the Oba in carrying out some developments in the town. Since the miraculous disappearance of Olipakala, Ogere has been a well-organised community with a very high sense of political and social integration and stability.
Ilu mi (2ce)
O dara O lewa
Ni ’lu to tobi
Kosi bi kibi timolewa lorile aye
Timo le gbagbe Ilu Ogere
Curled from the Archive of Ologere of Ogere, His Royal Highness, Oba Oladele Ogunbade
-12th August 2008-
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