History

Kabba was so geographically endowed that In October 1926 C.R. Niven and A.D.O used Kabba to describe a vast number of towns around her, the imperialist said;
“The province of Kabba lies between 7 15 and 8 45 N. lat. and 5 30 and 7 E. long., a position a little south of the centre of Nigeria. It has an area of approximately 5099 square miles and a mixed population of over 200,000 souls. Except for one sector it embraces the confluence of the Niger and Benue, from which it extends down the former river for about 30 miles and upstream for about 80. On the east bank of the Niger, between the Benue on the south and the Gurara on the north-west, the Koton-Karifi Distric, a long strip of country with a maximum witdth of 20 miles, draining into that river, forms part of the province. The drainage of over three-quarters of the province is into the Niger or Benue: in the west te drainage is northerly or southerly; to the north it finds its way into the Niger by the roundabout course of the Kempe River, and to the south goes direct to the sea by the Ose River. To the west lies the Ilorin province; north of the Niger the province of that name; east of Koton-Karifi the Nassarawa province; and in the south-eastern sector between the Niger and the Benue, the Munshi province.
The province is administered from Lokoja, the well known station on the confluence, and Koton-Karifi, to each of which a political officer is posted.”

You will notice that Ijumu was not geographically relevant in 1926 as they were not mentioned in the geographical mapping of C.R. Niven and A.D., O but suddenly they found their voice and saw a bigger picture and therefore began to initiate moves for political and geographical recognition in the scheme of things. E.J. Ige of the Department of History, University of Ilorin, Ilorin wrote;

The Ijumu were joined with Owe and they protested seriously against this merger. Eventually, the protests made the British to re-organize the entire Kabba Division. Consequently, Kabba was split into Kabba, Igbede (Ijumu) and Bunu (Abinu) Districts. All the districts were independent of one another. With this new arrangement, Ijumu having its own District Head, enjoyed equal status with Kabba and other Districts in the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. The Central Council created eventually became the Native Authority (N.A) for Ijumu. Two factors made the new administrative arrangements in Ijumu to be successful. First the British believed that the new arrangement would assist the control and exploitation of resources of the people. To the Ijumu people, the new arrangement was liberation from Kabba political control which encouraged a new spirit of togetherness, courage and vigour, which, in turn, contributed immensely to the shaping of the new administrative structures.

Evidently, Kabba Division was further broken into Districts. The new Kabba District comprised Kabba, Gbedde (Ijumu) and Bunu with Obaro of Kabba as paramount chief. The Obaro’s paramountcy did not go down well with Bunu and Ijumu people. They agitated for their own respective Districts where their own Head chiefs would be as paramount as the Obaro or any of the Northern Emirs. Consequently, Kabba district was broken down into Kabba, Ijumu and Bunu Districts. In the case of Ijumu which is the focus of the discussion, it was created in 1913 although it was then a sub-district. In 1912 a proposal was made by the Resident in Kabba, J.A. Ley Greaves to weld the towns and villages in Kabba Division into actual administrative Districts under selected heads. This proposal was approved and District Heads were appointed for Gbedde, (Ijumu) Bunu and Yagba District12

As part of the administrative reorganization, in 1922 Gbedde (Ijumu) District was made independent of Kabba but continued to use the Kabba Treasury. During this year, Iyara, an important Ijumu town, was allowed by the British to join Gbedde or Ijumu District while Ogale, Ogidi, Egbeda-Egga, Iffe (Ufe) and Ikoye were to remain under the Obaro of Kabba. It was in the same year that a grade C court was built in Ijumu. This implies that all court cases hitherto adjudged in Kabba where the Obaro was the Court President were now treated at the Ijumu grade C court where the District Head for Ijumu presided. The establishment of a court in Ijumu was a testimony to the fact that the area had become autonomous or at least independent of Kabba judiciary. It would be recalled that Oludoyi Otungbedde who was appointed Ijumu District Head in 1913 was succeeded by Eleta Ayeni Edidiboroke in 192016. Eleta Ayeni Edidiboroke, an ex-sergeant major of the West African Frontier Force, on becoming the District Head was able to liberate Ijumu communities from the oppression of Kabba especially in the area of taxation. ……… to be continued

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