Adesimbo Aboki Tunwase

Aboki Tunwase & Capt. Bower 1884. Source: Unknown
Aboki Tunwase & Capt. Bower 1884. Source: Unknown

Adesimbo Aboki Tunwase, was the Awujale of Ijebu Ode from February 1886 to 1895 who occupied the Ijebu stool during the Imagbon War in which the kingdom was annexed by the British. Favoured by the warlord, Balogun Onafowokan, Tunwase had ascended the throne as Awujale when Fidipote fled to Epe after he was deposed. Tunwase was, as a crown prince, a well-travelled man, tolerant to appreciable degree, unlike his kinsmen, of free trade and Christianity. In his first year as the Awujale had head dealt with the city of Ibadan peacefully, allowing them peaceful passage to the coast. Tunwase’s contact with the governor of Lagos Colony, Sir Alfred Moloney, marked the end of the era of insularity in Ijebu kingdom. In 1887, he had consulted the colonial authority through Samuel Johnson, to request for the restoration of his power in Epe, where tension continues to mount between his Ijebu people and followers of deposed Lagos king, Kosoko with their descendants

Aboki strived to preserve the religious heritage of his domain, denying the Roman Catholic Church a passage into Ijebu in 1889, and sending Ali Akayinode to exile for praying to Allah in the public. When his powers was threatened with the depletion of his tax base shortly after the British annexation of 1892, Aboki had quickly changed his disposition to modern influence, inviting Muslim Akayinode back to town, and giving his brethrens land for praying and land at Eti-Itale, a night market place, to build the first mosque. To the Christians whose beheading he once commanded, he gave a land at Italupe on which the first church will be constructed. Tunwase played host to English Christians Missionaries at his palace and allowed some of his children to be baptized. Invention of the Ojude Oba festival, often credited to him, wraps his legacy for peaceful existence of his people.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer