Bukola Hameed, Oyo
The history of Oyo isn’t complete without a mention of some people, places, occurrences and events. In the same token, mentioning some people in parsing may make one a newbie in the parlance of Oyo history.
One of such people whose history should be painstakingly and deliberately emphasised is that of the like-minded set of individuals whose friendship began in 1939. This is talking about The Òréméjos.
On the surface, Òréméjo simply means eight friends. As we have eight friends, there could also be twenty friends or, as many as desired by the confederating persons. Record has that ” twenty children can’t play for twenty years”.
This maxim indicates that there’s a wide room for twenty people to wine and dine together for a number of years, in-so-far there exist among them, mutual agreement, cooperation, tolerance and understanding. This, to say the obvious was the case of the Òréméjos.
To the Òréméjos, the bond transcends mere friends. Yes. They were eight whose umbilical cord was tied to a womb. They weren’t friends for friendship sake. A number of things bound them together, and their connectivity wasn’t like that driven by WiFi or any fucking LAN.
The original name with which people knew them was Egbe Òréméjo, meaning, a club of eight friends. The club was formed and officially launched in 1939, about 81years ago.
The club, Egbe Òréméjo, was an offshoot of the then popular Iyaniwura Club. After its formation in 1939, the philosophy or what could be simply referred to as objectives were formulated to include sponsoring of club members to holy pilgrimage, placing high premium on the education of the members’ children, and ensuring and maintaining general members’ welfare.
It is noteworthy that the eighth members of The Òréméjos had their job/occupation ranging from general merchant to tailoring, embroidery and barbing.
Ìsò Òréméjo, meaning, Òréméjos’ shop is made of palm fronds. The shops are roadside stalls housing all the members’ wares. The location today houses a mosque beside NIPOST, Akesan market.
Name and Designation
The following is the list of the Òréméjos:
1. Alhaji Tijani Abba of Igbo-Owa, Chairman
2. Alhaji Lasisi Onike Pelewura of Osi-Imole, Vice Chairman & Treasurer
3. Alhaji Lasisi barber of Lemamu(Ajokidero) Compound, Secretary &PRO
4. Alhaji Saka Alawaye of Alawaye Compound
5. Alhaji Saka Igbo-Owa
6. Alhaji Salami Agboluaje
7. Alhaji Hamzat Boluwaji of Igbo-Owa
8. Alhaji Wahab Akande Alare of Alare Compound
Pilgrimage to Makkah
As one of the cardinal objectives of the marriage, of The Òréméjos, at least a member is sponsored on Hajj, annually, begining from 1961 to 1971, spanning ten years. Three members performed hajj in 1961, namely, Alhajis Tijani Abba, Salami Agboluaje and Saka Igbo-Owa. In 1962, it was the turn of Alhajis Hamzat Boluwaji and Lasisi Onike. Alhaji Saka Alawaye and Alhaji Lasisi barber went on pilgrimage in 1967. Alhaji Wahab Akande Alare was the last person to perform hajj in 1971.
This is another stride from the stable of The Òréméjos. Zumratul Hujaj was referred to as the Egbe Alalaji ilu Oyo, that is, Alhaji Group of Oyo.
The chairman of Egbe Alalaji, who also doubled as the grand patron of Egbe Òréméjo, was Alhaji Tafa Aroona, popularly known as Allah-Ni-Basiri. Its secretary was Alhaji AbdWahab Yusuf(aka Biiznillah).
Meanwhile, on their return from the holy land, they would stay with the chairman of the zumratul Hujaj, Allah-Ni-Basiri Mosque, Owode until Friday when the new Alhaji will be accompanied by his Kith and Kin to observe first Jumah after arrival from the holy land.
Impacts and Death
The Òréméjos weren’t without indelible marks. They made indelible imprints on so many lives which actually reflected on achievements and successes rexorded, especially by their children. They came. They saw. They conquered.
Being one of the objectives of the club, their huge investment in the education of their children payed off and consequently produced the following notable offsprings/progenies, among others; Professor R.O.Lasisi, former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin (now late), Dr Rafiu Saka Alawaye, Alhaji Maruf Onike, the National Missioner, NASFAT, Nigeria, Alhaji Mas’ud Agboluaje, Alhaji Yunus Agboluaje and Alhaji Isiaka Wahab Alare.
Others are Alhaji Onike Rahaman, Alhaji Basiru Onike, Alhaja Nurat Onike, Ibrahim Olaoye Owoloro, and a host of others numerous to mention
Death, a detestful terminator, first took Alhaji Saka Igbo-Owa, throwing the remaining seven in mourning. Year after year, the broom of the Òréméjos began to diminish. The last of the eight to bid farewell to this ephemeral life was Alhaji Wahab Akande Alare who died on Wednesday April 23, 2008.
Bukola Hameed writes from Oyo, Oyo state. He can be reached for any comments/observations via his email address: email@example.com, or call 08078187343.
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