Okukenu was the first Alake in Abeokuta. Okukenu as an Egba noble (of the Eso military class) had earlier led other chiefs in addressing a petition to Queen Victoria of England requesting assistance in ending slave trade. This petition was replied in March 1849 with the Queen’s recommendation of the Christian religion as a means of building a happy nation. It appeared Okukenu took this advice with a pinch of salt when he was faced with the first drama of his reign, which started in 1854.

Okukenu spent some time hunting for the fetish purpose, the head of the former king, Okikilu, killed during the Agbaje War, which occurred years before the Egba migration to Abeokuta. Up to the year of his coronation since the death of Okikilu there was no reigning king and the affairs of the kingdom had been managed by the four classes of Egba nobles. The people had ventured to select a king after Townsend, the British Reverend advised them to.

Okukenu continued to reign until his death in 1862 but his authority was not great. The situation in which revenues of the kingdom were imposed by a particular group of four noble men to whom he bequeathed his power was lamented in Iwe Irohin, the newspaper of the day

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer