OMU in Ijebu province consists mostly of Owu indigenes who migrated out of Owu Ipole now known as Orile Owu during the war of “Dispersal of 1821 – 1827. Okukumadesi was the founder of Omu -Ijebu. He was a grandson of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yorubas. His father Olowu a price – from Ile-Ife founded the Owu kingdom. During the war of Dispersal Okukumadesi left Orile-Owu in company of his ancestral brother Prince Olowu of Owu – Ijebu and travelled southwards to Apomu and because of another war there at Apomu, they proceeded to Isomu near lkija where they stayed for some two years till after the coronation of Olowu. Okukumadesi with all his royal paraphernalia as a prince wanted to settle down at Isomu but could not as it was not convenient. They continued their journey until they got to lkija-Ijebu where they were camped on the outskirts of the town. As the then traditional ruler of lkija could not attend to them on time, Okukumadesi grew impatient. He and his cousin Adekiyeri and a large number of the entourage left their kiths and kips who had already established Owu town beside lkija and moved west-ward on their migrant journey in search of a better place for settlement which is a place by the river as decreed by the Oracle. They moved to Ijebu-Ode where some members of the migrant party also settled while the main group moved to Ala and camped at a place now known as Odo Ramuja. The group still being in search of a better site for settlement again moved from Ala while leaving some members of the migrant group at Odo Ramuja (infact Adetola Ramuja the 1st Oba of Omu performed his Odo rites here) which later became an Omu auxiliary settlement or the town of Ramuja. At this stage, the Awujale began to suspect whether Omu migrant group really meant to settle in Ijebu land or they had come merely to learn and study the exit and passage facilities available in Ijebu land and sneak out at any opportuned time, hence the Awujale appointed Afile or Ajale an intelligence agent, a sort of resident Agent Plenipotentiary to look after the Omu migrant heroes and settle with them wherever they decided to found a settlement in Ijebu land. The Afinle would constitute a link of friendship between the Awujale and Omu people. The Omu migrant party having been assured that the appointment of Afinle was never an encroachment upon their liberty as a sovereign entity moved from OdoRamuja with Afinle in their entourage and stopped at a place five miles from Ala and ten miles to Ijebu-Ode on Ejinrin Road. Here a suitable site was found for settlement and the town of Omu was founded. The other cofounders were Ramuja, Jawun and Adekiyeri with orunsen and Kelewusi as their warriors. On arrival, the migrant Omu people were granted land to settle by Irete people then under the leadership of Gbogbolu son of Oyenuyi. People also came later to settle there from Motta, Moro, Ode-Omi and Igbein hence you have quarters such as Itun-mota, Oke-Moro, Odo-Oko, Itun-mobido and Ago-Omu. Omu -Ijebu settlers spread to other villages numbering over twenty-five spreading towards and beyond the Lagos Lagoon in Epe, Ejinrin, Ketu, Itokin and Lekki areas of Lagos State. In fact more than 75% of Omu settlement farmland is in Lagos State.
Omu town is situated on the coastal plain of Ogun State, South West, Nigeria. Precisely, it is on Kilometer 83 on the Ejinrin Ijebu lbaclan Federal Trunk “B” Road. It is one of the four towns constituting the Ijebu-Southern District Council Area in the Old “Western State of Nigeria”. It is 16km South of Ijebu Ode, the Head quarters of Ijebu Ode Local Government and 6km North of Ketu in Epe Local Government of Lagos State.
Omu is thickly populated. When the result of tl-2006 headcount by the National population Commission is out, the exact number domiciled in the town would be known.
A. Omu Sons and Daughters are very enterprising in their different economic callings. They are very successful entrepreneurs, merchants, craftsmen, administrators, business managers, politicians etc.
B. Traditionally, the main occupation of Omu people are fishing, crop farming and mat weaving.
C. Fishing: This is the main occupation of men and women of Omu-ljebu. Twice in a year they will migrate in large numbers to fish in the swamps of the creek area along the lagoon which stretches from 1jecle in Lagos State to lgbokoda and Agerige in Ondo State. The men folk usually spend about 6 – 8 months of the year fishing in “Idale” (Foreign land). This is spread over the months of May to August referred to as “Ifomi” (early fishing period) and November to February “Ogbemi” or “Ojodun” (peak fishing period).
D. Crop farming: Men and Women who do not engage in fishing expedition engage in arable farming. When the swamps are dry and fishing becomes uneconomic, some fishermen do settle for crop farming in order not to be idle. They grow cassava, melon, on very large economic scale. Kolanut is also produced in very large commercial quantity..
E. Mat weaving: This is the major occupation of the women folk. Even women who accompany their husbands on fishing expedition still find to weave mat. Live mat and raffia are the main raw materials needed in this industry and they are obtainable from the swamps. Omu is notable for large scale mat and fishing production, hence the appellation “OMU ELENI” and “OMU ELEJA”.
Omu people are very rich in traditions and Culture. They cherish their ancestors and worship them at Oju Osi for peace and prosperity. They also observe annual festivals e.g. Ebi, Oro, Eiye, Agbo, Eluku, Epa etc. The people of Omu are very sociable and hospitable. They enjoy Apala music, Apepe, Agidigbo and Other cultural activities peculiar to Owu Kingdom believed to be their ancestral home. They always observe “Omu Eleni Day” annually every Esther Saturday with funfair and pageantry.
KINGSHIP AND TRADITION
In the traditional history of this Owu settlement a crowned Oba has been a long standing tradition but there was an interregnum during which they were appointing Bales and Olurins under the Osugbo system of administration to govern the tow. Obaship system was restored in 1937.
RULING HOUSES OF OMU
There are two major ruling houses in Omu Ijebu and they are
2. Ramuja from where the present Monarch comes.
Adekiyeri Ruling House is made up of three ruling families of Adeloya, Akomadehin and Adegorunsen while Ramuja ruling house is made up of four ruling families of Adetola Ramuja, Adeyowa, Senolu and Adebojoye.
MODERN DAY OLOMUS OF OMU-IJEBU
Since 1937 when Obaship system was restored the following are the once that have ruled
1. Otunba Zaccheaus OKe Adekoya from Adekiyeri ruling house ruled from 20′r July, 1937 as Bale until March 1944 when he was made an Otunba and ruled till 31st August, 1959.
2. Oba Samuel Adebayo Sole from Ramuja ruling house ruled from 25th September, 1954 to 18th July, 1982. He first ruled as Otunba until his appointment as an Oba was gazetted on 23 d September, 1965.
3. Oba Adegboyega Olawale Ogunrin from Adekiyeri ruling house ruled from 15′r December, 1984 to 27th February, 2004.
4. Oba (Engr.) Mobolaji Oludaisi Mosuro from Ramuja ruling house ruled from 4 May, 2005 till date.
Regency is part of the Traditional process in Omu-1jebu. The regency Council which administers the town at the demise of an Oba till a new one is coronated is made of:
3. Oluwo and
There also exist the Parokoyi Chiefs and the lwarefas
The Parakoyi/Pampa Chiefs are:
3. lyalaje and
The lwarefas are the traditional Council of Chiefs headed by Olisa and they are:
5. Apena and
The 1958 declaration constitutes 12 kingmakers for Omu Chieftaincy as follows
1. The Oluwo
2. The Olotu Apena
3. The Agbon and his next in rank
4. The head of Ilamuren and his next in rank
5. The head of Iwarefa and his next in rank
7. The head of Akonoran and his next in rank
9. The head of Esugben and his next in rank
INSTITUTION OF KINGSHIP
The kingship institution in Omu-Ijebu consists of both traditional and modern rules and processes before an Olomu can be chosen and coronated. The process begins with the declaration of a vacancy in the Olomu’s stool. When the vacancy exists the Olisa informs the Local Government and a regency council is established. The Local Government writes to the next ruling house to convene a meeting of the
house within 14 days to meet and nominates candidates. The (ruling house) meets and there is an election. It is only a selection of those who are interested and who are also considered to be suitable. Their names are forwarded to the kingsmakers who will pass the names to the Ifa divinatory. The Ifa priest will consult the Oracle and present the most suitable of them all to the Kingmakers and where there are more than one candidate the kingmakers shall select a suitable candidate by majority vote of kingmakers present and voting. The 1958 declaration of the Chiefs law in respect of Omu Chieftaincy says that the person who may be proposed as candidates by the ruling house entitled to fill the vacancy shall be:- (i) Male members of the male lines. (ii) Provided that if no suitable male member of the male line is available succession can devolve on a male member of the female line. The law provided that the Secretary of the Local Government or his representative must be present at both the ruling house and Kingmakers’ meeting as an observer.
Everything about Kingship in this settlement is traditional from the selection stage through the approval of candidacy by the government stage to the Installation and Coronation stages when an Oba elect is called the Olomu by the council. Once a candidate is approved the Oba elect would be presented to the Awujale of Ijebu to whom the Olomu owes allegiance. The Awujale is the overlord of Ijebu-Land. After the Awujale’s endorsement, the Oba elect would go into the conclave called Ipebi for 3 months. From there, the Oba elect proceeds to Odo-Oba where he will go through the traditional training and the art of rulling his people. On coming out of Odo-Oba, the Oba elect will get Awujale’s blessing on the presentation of gifts called Ikaro and thereafter the Awujale of the Ijebu land will give his consent to the government in writing.