The Real Story Of How Ogbomosho People Beheaded, Removed The Genitals And Dismembered Their King Oba Emmanuel Olajide Layode (Olayode) II Then Burnt His Palace In 1969
It was on the first day of July 1969, Nigeria was in the middle of a blistering civil war in the Eastern Region and at the same time, its Western Region was also exploding. The southwestern region, peopled mainly by the Yorubas was witnessing one of the most violent revolts in the history of the country, the Agbekoya Peasant Revolt. It was a fracas engineered by the farmers squarely against the military government. The basis of the problem was that the cocoa farmers were witnessing one of the most depressing economic moments of their lives and as if that was not enough, the military government increased the taxes because cocoa was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy that time. To make matters worse, the only man who could speak for them, Obafemi Awolowo, was in jail.
Ogbomosho in Oyo State is one of the most important cities in all of Yorubaland. Headed by a king and paramount ruler called the Soun, it was one of the cities that boiled over during the Agbekoya Peasant Revolt which gripped Nigeria’s Western State. The violent anti-tax agitation was very strong in cities like Ogbomosho but the king would make a grave miscalculation. At the same time, the Soun of Ogbomosho, Oba Emmanuel Olajide Layode (Olayode) II, a member of the elite, had installed the war hero, Colonel Benjamin Adekunle aka Black Scorpion as the Ashipa of Ogbomosho. It was a day of merriment, festivity and celebrations but no one knew that a flood of blood was about to drench the ancient city.
VIOLENT END IN THE HANDS OF HIS OWN PEOPLE: The late Soun of Ogbomosho, Oba Emmanuel Olajide Layode (Olayode) II. He reigned from 1966 till that fateful day in 1969.
Just few days after the installation ceremony of Colonel Adekunle, the rioting farmers went round the town chanting they will not pay more than 30 shillings for tax and that any increase in the tax was going to be war. The farmers and war-ready hunters, now full-blown tax rioters, meant business and while in their mood of agitation, trooped to the palace of their king, armed to the teeth, hoping to lay their grievances before the monarch.
They demanded to see the king but at that moment, the royal father made a most devastating mistake. He was either disturbed or tensed with the presence of the rowdy and violent crowd at his palace but what he did next triggered a nuclear chain of reactions. The king reached for his phone and alerted the police. Within minutes, the police stormed the palace in full combat gear and all hell was let loose.
The palace was destroyed, set on fire and vandalized by the rampaging rioters. In the middle of the fracas and unknown to others, a few hunters had sneaked into the palace and made their way into the royal chamber. What they did next was more than brutal. They savagely slit his throat, removed his head, his genitals and then dismembered his corpse. But they were not done. They emerged from the palace and danced round the palace with their bloodied hands clutching the mutilated parts of their dead king. The entire town of Ogbomosho was thrown into chaos as maximum entropy descended.
DESTROYED: The palace of the Soun of Ogbomosho.
By the time the dust settled, about 100 people were killed and property worth thousands of pounds were destroyed. Not even the detachment of the Nigerian Army and police could prevent the massive loss of lives. The king was not the only victim; his other chiefs were also slaughtered. It is important to note that the anti-tax demonstrations were not limited to Ogbomosho alone, revolts were also exploding all over the Western State with rioters burning houses of government officials, shooting soldiers, policemen and functionaries of government.
A few months before the violence, farmers and hunters turned rioters brandishing Dane guns, cudgels, clubs, charms and amulets. They chanted war songs and said nothing on earth was going to make them pay more than 30 shillings in tax. The violence continued and did not stop until Obafemi Awolowo was released from prison, he was the one who quelled the matter and ended one of the bloodiest chapters of Nigerian history.
Akanran women arrested and bundled into the police van.
NB: The Agbekoya Peasant Revolt itself is story for another day.
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
- Menace in My Blood: My Affliction with Sickle-Cell Anaemia by Ola Tamedu.
- Drum, September 1969.
- Tekena N. Tamuno, Peace and Violence in Nigeria: Conflict Resolution In Society & the State, Panel on Nigeria since Independence History Project, University of Ibadan Secretariat, 1991.