The foundation of Ede town often attributed in different accounts either to Alaafin Sàngó or to Kori. By either account,it is certain that Ede had come to existence in the early phrase of Old Oyo Empire. In the Oyo Kingdom list Alaafin Sàngó was a feared figure both by his subjects and across the Niger by the Borgus and Nupe Empires. He was known for his warring and tyrannical ways and as a symbol later deified in history. His era we turbulence and was the fourth Alaafin of Oyo while Kori was the sixth. The first four Oyo rulers were “Mythological”
It is evident from the above that Ede was established by the Oyo authorities before the 16th century. Though Ede is an ancient town, (it is certainly not as old as Ile Ife,Ila Orangun,Oyo Ile,Owu,Awo,Ara,Ojo, Iragberi,Apòmùn and Ibokun among others)
There is no way the history of Ede can be separated from the Royal position of Oyo Kingdom among the descendants of Oduduwa in Yoruba land. According to Mashood Raji (Elegant Dreamers) Oranmiya the youngest son of Okanbi was said to have embarked on a voyage back to Makkah with the intention to avenge the killing of his grandfather. He went as far as River Niger but the Nupes hindered him crossing their territory. He had to return back home but on his way back,he had to settle at the foot of a hill called Ajaka in Eyio territory. Hence Oranmiya founded a city there and referred to it as Oyo Ajaka. He named one of his sons after the place, Ajaka so Oranmiya was the first Alaafin.
Ede is one of the oldest towns in the South West. It is traditionally said to have been founded about 1500 by the Timi Alapotiemi tiemi (Timi Olofa Ina) a hunter and warlord,sent by Alaafin (King) Sàngó of Old Oyo (Katunga) capital of Oyo Empire,to establish a settlement to protect the Oyo Caravan route to Benin, a 127 miles and 204 kilometres to the South East. Nearby towns include Awo and Ara. Oduduwa is believed to be the incarnation of the celestial founder of the Yoruba tribe. And Timi of Ede has been accepted historically to have been one of the Oduduwa male descendants.
TIMI OF EDE.
The Timi,as one of the provincial rulers within the context of imperial Oyo,was originally invested with power from Oyo. He is also entitled to wear Akoro (Coronet) The imperial Oyo had four major provinces namely: The Ekùn Osi or metropolitan province which had the Onikoyi of Ikoyi,Olugbon of Igbon,Arèsà of Iresa,the Onpetu of Ijeru,and Olofa of Ofa. In the Ekùn Otun province were the Okere of Shaki,Aseyin of Iseyin,Eleruwa of Eruwa,among others. The third province was the Ibolo province where Ede was prominent member.
Other province rulers in the province were the Akirun of Ikirun, Olobu of Ilobu,Ataoja of Osogbo,and Adimunla of Ife Odan. The fourth province was the Epo province which had the Oluwo of Iwo and the Ondese as the prominent members.
In the pre imperial Oyo,the Onikoyi was the commander in the provincial army. However a new command structure came in to existence during the imperial era with the institutionalization of the tittle, Aare Ona Kakanfo,was established by Alaafin Ajabo and the title was akin to field marshal. It was conferred upon the “greatest soldier and tactician of the day” Because of the immense power of Aare Ona Kakanfo the owner of the title must not,by the fact of Oyo authorities,reside in the capital but in one of the provincial towns. He was appointed as a ruler and as a semi- independent “palatinate” in a frontier area where enemies pressure was especially great. Thus, the first two holders of the title,Kokoro,Gángan and Oyatope,resided at Iwoye,North West of Ede.
Ede must have been founded during the reign of King Sàngó, according to Ede Mapo Arogun,the official website of Ede land.
Sàngó had many nobles who formed his body guards and the core of his army, and the foundation of Ede started with the conflict between the two Esos. The names were Timi Olofa Ina,and Gbonka Ebiri. The former was given the cognomen,Olofa Ina because he was an expert Archer,who used to shoot his arrows with such force that made them to produce Sparks of fire
. Gbonka Ebiri, besides being a good solder,had great knowledge of magical medicines. These two amassed so much power that King Sàngó found it difficult to control them. Not only that,Sàngó was so much afraid of them that he wanted them killed or be banished from Oyo. For this purpose he called his council known as Oyomesi together and asked them how he might be rid of these two unimaginable nobles.
The council advised that the two must be separated. The Timi Olofa Ina who was more dreaded,was to be sent on a mission that would lead to his death. Sàngó did not know where to send him,but the council reminded him of the Ijesha raiders who had constituted themselves pirates robbing the peaceful travellers and traders from Ara and Awo to and from Oyo and Apòmùn. If the king would send Timi to some spot, Midway between Ara and Awo,it was sure that these Ijesha raiders would soon get rid of him,and since Sàngó was the king of the Yoruba,he would hide under the fact that he merely wanted to protect his subjects at Ara and Awo. The king took the advice and sent Timi away after he had paid glowing tribute to him.
Timi swallowed the bait without knowing the underlying motives of his being given the important commission.
He paid scrupulous attention to the king’s orders and stayed exactly Midway between Ara and Awo. The site was verging on grassland,so that deciduous forest and Savannah were intermixed. His followers pressed that they would like to stay in purely Savannah land but Timi refused and told them that the king’s orders were that he should settle Midway between Ara and Awo and there he would settle no matter what was there- grassland,deciduous forest,evergreen forest or what you will. The most common trees in the area was Edee tree,the root of which were used to brush teeth cleaning,it was these trees that the town Ede got it name,for everyone refered to it as settlement in the Ede bush.