Balogun Ajobo

Ajobo was a leading Ibadan warrior of the late 19th Century whose failure to exercise caution in the use of his powers led to the lost of it. As a youth, Ajobo migrated to Ibadan from Ikire in c.1839, like many young men from other Yoruba towns who were atracted by the oppourtunity provided by the military system of Ibadan for ordinary people to attain higher status by proving their mettle. He became Seriki in 1860, the military title reserved for brilliant warriors who were yet to lead a division of the Ibadan army to war. Within ten years he had gained promotion to the post of the Balogun which was the supreme title among renowned warriors. The Balogun in Ibadan used to be the ruler while the town was yet a military garrison. The influx of civilians, and the need to innovate a means of governance that will allow warriors concentrate on warring had necessitated the creation of the post of the Baale, a civilian, who with his chiefs administered the town, but never without the input or approval of the military class.

Ajobo amassed wealth as the Balogun, against the old wisdom of his colleagues and predecessors who avoided accumulating wealth as not to be seen as ambitious. By his influence and generosity he rose to such fame among the chiefs, war boys and elders from the vassal states that he became contemptous of his colleagues and the Baale. On June 1871, Balogun Ajobo circumvented the ususal pratice and unilaterally endorsed the appointment of a new Owa of Ilesha, a vassal town to Ibadan. His apology was rejected and he was ordered to either leave Ibadan or end his own life. Ajobo left Ibadan on the 5th of August, 1871 for Iperu where he lived and died as a common man.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer