How Oshogboye saved Owo from Benin



Eee son e son ,

Ero Ado me ison tenrenren (2ice)

Ado gb’ogun w’Ogho

Ogho y’oo p’Ado ooo 

O mu’le Oba Ado s’ogun ja 

E e son , e son 

Ero Ado mee ison tenrenren (2ice)

Translation in English


They are weeping profusely 

The Ados are weeping profusely and  gnashing their teeth (2 times )

Ado invaded Owo 

But Owo conquered Ado

Ado  went back to fight their King  

They are weeping  profusely and gnashing their teeth


     Trenches were constructed  round the town. Poisoned bananas  were spread at the entrances leading to the ancient town of Owo. Tension was high . The natives’ hope was hanging in the air while they carried out the instruction to the letter  according to  how Oshogboye  commanded them . Yes! men and and women were battle -ready but without  instruments of war like spear, gun, sticks and what have you.Their weapons of war were the trenches dug round the  ancient town and the   poisoned bananas used as bait that  scattered  at the entrances of the town .What of their  Ado ( Benin) enemies?, they   were  well  equipped   with their instruments of war for their  mission  was  to plunder the ancient town of Owo and make them surrender as other neighbouring towns did  . As planned , in  the middle of the night the Ado warriors  invaded the ancient  town, Owo   unfortunately they all met their Waterloo.

According to stories, while  some of these invaders  ate the poisoned  bananas and died  hundreds of the soldiers  fell into the prepared moats and perished. Only few returned home to vent their anger on their Monarch .

When the  Owo people became victorious  and saw  how they defeated their enemies  by  their tricks , they danced  and sang songs of freedom from their enemy- Ado invaders.  Since then the song became a national anthem for Owo natives.


         The story though an oral tradition from one mouth to another , from one generation to another  as there were  no written documents to back it up but it was  real .The story though is over 500 years old   has iota of facts. It is not a myth as evidences to  prove  are still there!.

”My son, if you go round Owo communities you will still see the traces or remnants of these trenches there”, Oba  Okikiola Folagbade Adetifa III, the Alale of Ulale the 88-year old Monarch  said, as he sang  the song again., Ado gb’ogun w’Ogho….. ee son ee son ero Ado me ison tenrenren, the community leader’s treble voice  echoed in the Hall. 

      OSHOGBOYE 1600 AD 

  The song is the song of victory,  freedom  and emancipation from  their oppressor, Ado ( Benin) of which they  sang during the reign of Olowo of Owo Oba Oshogboye who rescued the town from their enemies .He reigned in 1600 AD . According to history, many towns were constantly  invaded and conquered by the Ado ( now Benin) . His Royal Highness Oba Adetifa III  narrated the story of how Owo had never been conquered by enemies , he said  the Alale has been here from time immemorial and not only versatile and authoritative in the story but also had these trenches   they dug in his area  during the said story. 

The Monarch  continued ”Anytime the Ado  natives (Benin)  were  about to wage war against the people of Owo they always bring along an  object called   ogbiigbii   which was  heavy  and had  structure  like a car or caterpillar , and this object ogbiigbii   would destroy   any object it hit   to a pulp.  No matter how strong the material  is, the  ogbiigbii   would  destroy the object even if it is a earth -moving caterpillar it would destroy it. ”They said these Ado people  used juju to construct the mysterious  ogbiigbii”  .Oba Adetifa continued  ”When the news  filtered in that the Ados   were preparing to wage another war  again on Owo , the Alale consulted Ifa Oracle  and Ifa told him he would win the war.  Alale  then instructed his men to construct ditches round the town and when the said ogbiigbii was coming again to Owo ,it went down into the ditches and  perished. Later the  Ados  retreated  and went to bring  battalions of  their  soldiers to invade Owo , so when they came they were deceived by what they   saw -everywhere was shining, the roads, the sands, the trees and so on ,  then they hide somewhere  and planned  their invasion in the middle of  the night  , with the hope of destroying or plundering the town   while they met their doom as  they all  perished but those who survived  went back home  to tell Oba  Ado that Owo  was a sacred town they cannot be conquered .That was  where the war ended !. Nobody has ever waged war against Owo and won.Never in the history of Owo”,

To prove this   the monarch said   ”these ditches  are still present in the ancient town till date. If you go round Owo you can still see some of these trenches visible evidencing the over 500 years old story  .This is not a fiction but real as it has become a  blessing that Owo has never been conquered in war”,the Community leader boasted, beating  his chest with satisfaction.

     Corroborating this story , the community Head of Upo, Adewale Ojo  in one of the interviews granted said the trenches dug during the ancient wars are still visible in Upo to date, ”the trenches  dug in those days were  for protection and defence during the war between the Ado and Owo, No warrior  have the effrontery to invade this village, Upo despite its smallness .Then they were not respected due to their small number  and the town,they were feared because they fight in trenches”.

Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde the Olunaun of Unaun said ” from history no man born of a woman  has  ever waged war against Owo and won, not only  because  Owo is battle ready all the time but it has been there from the time of our forefathers.We are not boasting -it is real .The story of Ado (Benin ) is authentic”, Olunaun of Unaun added that ” when the warriors were massacred  those who escaped from Owo in annoyance went back to Benin to  wage war against their  own King  (Ado  mule B’are s’ogun ja).”, Olunaun stated with total confidence.



Omi kikon ino amo.

Ukere maa  soo dale

Ado gb’ogun w’Ogho 

Ogho yi pado 

O mu li iba’re s’ogun ja  ee

E ee son e son ero Ado mee i son tenren ren

Ado s’okun ogede wa ri je..

Mrs. Morenike Famulagun Olajide a retired teacher , an Historian and  a theatre artiste said ” if you watch the film of  Oshogboye you will see the whole story there .

she narrated the story thus:

” During the time of Oshogboye , Oba of Benin used to capture territories and Oshogboye was a Prince and had gone  to Benin to  be trained in the palace .While there Oshogboye  taught the king and his children the art of medicine .Later he (Oshogboye ) was  in care of the Oba of Benin’s  Military men. But when the Benin Monarch  saw how successful they were in capturing slaves as a result of  the training he gave his soldiers  and  the juju  Oshogboye possessed  and when it was time for Oshogboye to return to his home , Owo , Oba of Ado  refused  to release Oshogboye . While all efforts by Oshogboye to free himself from him failed , he one day  started  singing  for Oba Ado, but the king angrily asked him to go to his home , it was later Oshogboye’s eyes opened asking where  he came from. He then  made away with  the mysterious   ogbiigbii calabash [ a mysterious  object that warns when war is looming], its a Calabash that  gives sign by  groaning and making noise  like human being   when war is looming.    Oba Ado discovered that   the  mysterious calabash had disappeared and knew who took it. When  the king realised what happened he commanded the ground  to confuse and destabilise  Oshogboye’s  journey , and it happened while Oshogboye became confused and did not know the road leading to Owo again.  Oshogboye too, a powerful man then  turned his back to Owo and walked backward to Owo  facing Ado (Benin)  yet  holding  the strange calabash   with him, that is why  in Owo  panegyrics (oriki) we say Owo  oma a kohin si i bere, (Owo native  who will turn his back to where he is going ) .That is  ,he  faced Benin and used his back to walk down  to Owo. When he got to Owo , he told them his experience , and went to hide the ogbiigbii’‘ .


Famulagun Olajide continued ” when Oshogboye got home , he narrated the ordeal he went through and   told them that the Benin would be after him and wage war but they should prepare poisoned  bananas  and put them on the road for  it is Ado’s (Benin’s) delicacy .  He advised them further to dredge trenches round the town while the banana  should be spread on all the roads that led to the town. All was done and the real battle was prepared for. When the hungry warriors saw the banana they ate them and all died . The corpses of those  who consumed  the banana  were pushed into the trenches., some others fell into the trenches alive  and died there!.Those who managed to escape went back to Benin to revenge on their Monarch who sent them on the suicide mission”


Thus the Owo people came out rejoicing that they  had defeated their enemy  and they sang their song of freedom. 

 However  Robert Sydney Smith  in his book Kingdoms of the Yorubas-Kingdoms of the east ) wrote  ”Owo was attacked again by Benin Army ………..however,  that  Oshogboye , heir to Olowo Omaro was sent as a young Prince to Benin for his education at Oba’s Court and enrolled as a page to the Oba[emada , literally means ‘sword bearer’) when Omaro died  Oshogboye seems to have returned to Owo to claim the throne without first obtaining  the Oba’s permission to leave the palace, and when messengers were sent to him from Benin he feigned illness. As soon as his coronation had been performed , Oshogboye set about fortifying the town against an attack from Benin , causing a ditch to be dug     (and presumably also erecting a wall) .The History of Owo implies that an attack was made and repulsed”.

Dr. Oladipo Olugbadehan  an authority on Owo History described the history of Owo as very interesting and inspiring especially on Oshogboye who reigned and fortified the ancient town on his return from Benin.He said ” I extensively dwell on the political and administration of Oshogboye .Oshogboye left Benin for Owo and he ruled. Many stories and angles were used on the story but the main point is that they were able to win the war the Benin waged against them” 

Professor Rowland Abiodun , Art Historian corroborated the story and said  ”Oshogboye went to Ado ( Benin) for a purpose, he had a mission and the mission was to be a Spy in order to know all the secrets of Ado people. He was the confidant of Oba of  Benin, he prepared all the charms of the Monarch , he knew all their secrets .Now that he escaped they did not know how to deal with him .He had sworn that he would not betray them .But mark you the wisdom or idea the Olowo  of Owo Oba Maro  had  then was super as he   sent  his son, Oshogboye  to Benin    as a  spy .They had told Oshogboye to learn all what they were doing , he was a very smart young  man  and  he learnt all. All these made Owo to win Benin in the war”. 

Abiodun continued ” All the towns  like Akure, Ado Ekiti and some other towns were all paying  tribute (isakole) ,but Owo did not!”

Abiodun confirmed the invaders’ story , ” there are many things found in the trenches and if one goes to some of these trenches today one could still find weapons of war in those trenches ”

The Art History professor  also confirmed the story of how Oshogboye left Ado, he said ” When Oshogboye  was on his way to Owo , he faced Owo road  but his eyes became  cloudy and could not see  but when he faced Ado  ( Benin) road his eyes would be clear and visible. So he had to find a way to come back home and by facing where he was coming from (Benin) and walked backward to where he was going (Owo)”

According to Abiodun  it is only Owo that did not have an outsider or non native as their Monarch .Olowo  bears Olowo of Owo while others like Ewi of Ado -Ekiti , Deji of Akure, are from Benin names its only Olowo of Owo  that cannot be changed .No non- native ever ruled or become a King in Owo , never in history .Non native has never become Olowo of Owo .But all these towns like Ewi of Ado,Deji of Akure ,all of them changed their fathers’ names because of the pressure  of Benin. Olowo was not changed , they cannot change it. A Benin man has never become an Oba in Owo!. Non native has never become Olowo of Owo, never in  the history of Owo .As powerful as Benin was, with their artillery they have never become Olowo! .When Benin fought war , or all wars in all places but when they got to Owo , they gave Owo  honour and respect”.

When Owo was ”invaded” by some ”warriors” ( armed robbers ) in 2015 and many people were killed , the  late Olowo of Owo Oba DVF Olateru -Olagbegi III  said ” this is war against Owo and  nobody has ever waged war on Owo and win.These armed robbers would be caught”. Not less than two weeks the robbers were caught  while some were shot where they went to rob.This added to the age long history  and evidence that the ancient town of Owo can never be conquered.