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A Detailed Historical Account of How Epe Town Was Founded (Everything You Need To Know)

Gov Akinwunmi Ambode at 2015 Ojude Oba celebration at Epe Recreation Ground

When Uraka and Aramope (both hunters) left
Ile-Ife on a hunting expedition and arrived Ijebu-Ode, little did Uraka know
that he was on a threshold of history.
At Ijebu-Ode through Ifa divination, he
was told to move southwards towards the sea and should settle anywhere between
his crossing of the sixth and seventh river. After crossing the fifth river
called “OTERIN” (Cold Water), he got to a place later identified as ‘Poka’
where he used his popoka stick to strike the ground.
Poka town derived his name from Uraka’s
popoka stick. At Poka, the Ifa oracle was further consulted for direction which
led Uraka to proceeded and after crossing the sixth river, he finally settled
in a place called “ETITA”.
A scenic view from Lagos-Epe Bridge – (photo credit muyiwa71)

Upon settling at Etita, Uraka saw smoke
emanating from a heavily thick forest towards the lagoon. To see things for
himself, Uraka traced the source of the smoke where he met with Opute, Lugbasa,
Alaro and Ogunmude – all fishermen.
Alaro and Ogunmude were married but
childless. Both later became deities worshipped in Epe to date hence all Epe’s sons
and daughters are referred as to “Omo Epe Alaro Ogunmude”
Meanwhile Uraka continued his hunting
expeditions until he got to a place called Iboobo (monkey forest), the present
site of Lagos State University (LASU), School of Engineering and formerly a military
barracks, from where he continued his search for games.
He later discovered a place called
Oko-Eepe (Forest of black ants). As it turned out, whenever Uraka set his traps
for games, he always returned home empty handed.

The 100-Year-Old Colonial Office In Epe (Photo credit – Festour)

This became a source of worry to him and
his wife. Yet he was convinced that Oko-Eepe was home to the biggest games
around. He complained to his wife named “PEETA” that the forest was infested with
black ants and whenever he tapped his feet to ward off the black ants, animals
around would took to their heels. More so, any animal caught by his traps were
always eaten up by the ants before he got there.
Each time Uraka sets out for hunting,
Peeta would ask if he was still going to Oko-Eepe. Eepe town derived its name
from Oko-Eepe in the 15th century and some historians believed Peeta,
Uraka’s wife must have played a vital role in the naming of Epe Town.
Epe started expanding and in no time,
some people settled at Areke or Aleke while others settled at the other side
known as “Apakeji”.
Along the line, an Ijebu prince, son of
the fifth Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, Obaloja left Ijebu-Ode and settled in Epe. He
took the name Oloja and by 1790, Shagbafara was installed Oloja.
As at 1810, Epe was fairly a large town.
The town was relatively peaceful but had its own share of inter-tribal war. However
1848 witnessed the Makun-Omi-Epe war.
It was almost immediately after the end
of Makun-Omi-Epe war that King Kosoko of Lagos sought refuge in Epe Land with
over 1,500 followers. That was in December of 1851, during the reign of Oloja
Kosoko was denied entry into Epe town
but after a long plea, he was directed to Ijebu-Ode to obtain clearance and
permission from Awujale Anikilaya.
Epe Animal Market (Photo credit -jgcazorla)

The Awujale consequently considered him
as a mark of royalty and sent “Oja Ikale” as symbol of permission and caring to
Oloja Olumade, asking him to grant Kosoko and his lieutenants’ asylum in Epe.
Kosoko stay in Epe was a subject of
controversy.  Some claimed that in his 11
years in Epe, he never had a house of his own, while others think otherwise.
But whatever the case might have been, Kosoko’s years in Epe changed the
socio-cultural atmosphere of Epe town, because some of his followers to Epe town
were mostly Muslims.
Balogun Ajeniya, Oshodi Tapa, Balogun
Agbaje, Disu Kujeniya, Braimoh Iyanda Oloko and Posu were some of the brave
warriors who were in Epe with Kosoko. Some of these chiefs converted to Islam.
For example, Balogun Ajeniya, who later became a great promoter of Islam in Epe
was one of them. These converts later formed a community under the leadership
of Mallam Idris Saliu Gana, who happened to be an Imam in Lagos.
This was responsible for the spread of
Islam in Epe town to date. The term “Epe Onikorani” was as a result of the
spread of Islam in Epe. In appreciation for the treatment accorded him in Epe,
Kosoko gave one of his daughters named Kusade to an Ijebu Chief, Adebawon of
Idogun in marriage; Adewusi was the product of that marriage.
In 1862, Kosoko was pardoned and later returned
to Lagos. The bulk of his followers left with him, including his daughter
Kusade, and leaving behind his grandson Adewusi. Adewusi’s family is still
multiplying in Epe to date. Those left behind by Kosoko formed bulk of what is
now referred to as Epe Eko.

AD 1780: Oloja Shagbafara installed
Oloja of Epe.
1810: Epe became a fairly large town.
1836: Awujale Figbajoye Anikilaya
established Ejirin market.
1848: Makum Omi-Epe war
1851: King Kosoko sought refuge in Epe
1852: Islam was introduced by followers
of Kosoko in Epe.
1854: Kosoko and his chiefs signed a
treaty of peace with Mr. B. Campbell, British Counsel not to regain Lagos in return
to have palma and Lekki as his port.
1862: British negotiated with Kosoko and
obtained from him cessions of Palma and Lekki. Koso, Oshodi Tapa and others
left Epe and returned to Lagos on 16th September, 1862.
1863: Governor Freeman twice attacked Epe
with a force of West Indian Regiment, Hausas and British sailors, Chief Posu
Submitted and signed a treaty of cession on 26th March.
1875: Posu, a leading figure among
followers of Kosoko to prove his mantle and ceded Epe to the British died in
Epe on 14th of December of 1875.
On 29th of December 1882:
Awujale Fidipote left Ijebu-Ode in anger unexpectedly to settle at Epe where he
remained till his death on the 14th June 1885.
On 15th August 1885: Asani
Giwa of Okepopo was killed by the Eko Epes at Ikosi Market.
1886: Some Ijebus who came with Awujale
Fidipote to Epe killed Agurin, the guard in charge of Ejirin market.
1888: Balogun Agoro of Epe drowned via
1892: British Expedition to Ijebu-Ode
landed in Epe base of operation. Inspector A. cloud Willoughby was shot dead at
May 18th 1892: Christianity
was established in Epe
1894: St. Michael’s C.M.S School was
1898: Baale Buraimoh Edu, veteran
politician sponsored and finance the course of Muslim Education in Epe.
1898: Government Muslim school was
1901: Chief Imam Uthman died on January
22nd and Epe Town Council was established
1903: Paul Ogunsanya and others brought
Roman Catholic Mission to Ibonwon
1905: Misunderstanding between Ijebu-Epe
and Eko Epe became much more acute as a result of Ijaw fishermen, fishing on
the lagoon.
1912: War broke out between Ijebu Epe and
Eko Epe
1917: July 9th, Baale
Buraimoh Edu died
1923: S.A Mejindade Esq opened the
Islamic school which became Ansa-ud-deen school in 1946
On March 1930: Daddy Solomon Ademuwagun
introduced Cherubim and Seraphim in Epe.
1937: Commissioner of Colony (Captain
Emberton) the District Officer (Mr. Childs) Assistant District Officer (Mr.
Gilbons) had an important meeting with Baale Abidakun and Kaka, Balogun Abudu
Kadiri Oluwo and Amunikaro Mr. T.O. Seriki and A.B. Egberongbe, all of Ijebu
Epe and Eko-Epe on the way and means to engender harmony and mutual dealing
towards the re-organization to native administration.
1937, September 14 -15: Commissioner
of colony, district officers, bales and Baloguns of Ijebu and Eko Epe had
important meetings with the baales of adjourning villages to convey to them the
decision taken at the meetings of August 28th and to sought their
opinions on the proposals set up for the formation of a native administration
in District.

Culled from Metro News, a royalty publication, in Lagos

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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.


  1. Nice publication and make your findings very well. A notable ruller is missing in this article. There is politics in the rolling houses of epe.

    OBA DAVID AJAYI 1st oloja of epe, is missing in your publication.

    • Thanks for the observation, Anthony. Most historical narratives tend to skip some names and places, not intentionally though. Your contribution is appreciated

  2. This is very informative and well articulate however some section of the history is mismatched. The part of Lugbasa is not comprehensive enough. Lugbasa brought with him three Idols namely Ogunmodede, Alaro and Agbe from Ile Ife. He first settled at Ibeju Lekki. When he left ibeju lekki for Epe he came with Ogunmodede and ALARO and Leaved behind Agbe in Ibeju. He actually settled down at Etitita which is known today as Ita Opo. The alaro deity was originally in his compound at Ita Opo before it was moved from his house to it present place. His descendants are still there and they are the one still worshiping Alaro up till today. If you look at it very well no famliy can lay claim to the Alaro than the Lugbasa families and same applies to Agbe in Ibeju Lekki. You may wish to seek more clarification on this please.

    • Dear Abiola,

      I read your feedback with keen interest. But the good thing about history is its dynamism. New facts keep emerging frequently. I will clarify some of the issues you raised. Thanks for the insight.

    • Ita Opo is not belong to Lugbasa, the first wife of Alara then died at that spot and the king stay their to mourn her that why they name the place Ita Opo. He started his journey from Ile Ife move to Waterside through Osun River and cross to Ibeju, the Ogunbekun family from Ibeju are Alara family their great grandfather was the Pam wine Tampa to Alara they used Agbe to bring Pam wine for him to drink, when Alara left Ibeju he made Onibeju his follower to become King cause he has no son then but his wife is with him. That why they call great people of Ibeju, Onibeju Agbe. Alara is the only King that the Great Britain recognized then, he rule from land to Sea.

  3. Your story is not complete if you did not mention the number one Paramount Rular of Epe HRM Oba A. O Adesanya Alara of Ilara-Epe which his stole create the three itun in Epe. Ita Opo, Eyindi, Itun gbeyin and Ajaganobe

    • Oh yes…

      You are right about the Alara of Ilara-Epe, Oba A. O. Adesanya.

      Thanks for the observation, Sir!


    • Please help us to ask his royal highness oba alara of ilara that who is agbeebofin onilu or ebofin onilu and his brothers names as osho ,aramadasa,sangosan,aso,a adeture,owakale,

  4. I want to commend everyone that have contributed to this informative historical write up. But, my concern is this perversion that is often introduced to suit ourself when we are telling the story. Mind you, HISTORY IS AN ACCOUNT OF PAST EVENTS ANY ADDITION OR UNNECESSARY OMISSION RENDERS IT INVALID.

    • You are correct, Fred. All the more reason people are enjoined to take their time in giving account as accurate as they are told, no addition or subtraction for personal or ethnic gains.

      Thanks for your contribution

  5. Other questions? What happen too them before moving from ilé ife, after moving forward what is the first settle place before ijebuode the name of area settle at ijebuode? and after moving from ijebuode what happens at igbinle who ask questions from them,after the question are there still or move, after first settlement of them what make them disagree an other move and settle down at they destination alara settle at eyin IDI mean eyin odi ,please ask oba alara ,he the one fight with animal ? What happen between oba alaketu of ketu an oba alara before alara move to ilara today? True is bittle if it his assurance of even it’s make sure of your document thanks