Ogbomoso is one of the popular towns situated in the Oyo state part of Nigeria. It is bordered in the north by Ilorin (Kwara state) and in the South by Oyo town (Oyo state). The town was founded in mid -17th century and it is one of the largest Yoruba settlements in Nigeria. Although the principal inhabitants of the city are the Yoruba people, there are people from other parts of Nigeria and other West African countries who are residents in Ogbomoso.
As documented by a Baptist pioneer missionary, Rev. S. G. Pinnock, Ogbomoso used to be a walled city guarded by soldiers during the day and closed at night. The town, picturesque and well-watered was isolated from the rest of the Yoruba towns.
Ogbomoso was said to have been in existence as a result of the bravery demonstrated by a man named Ogunsola. Ogunsola was a skilled hunter from Ibarapa, whose hunting expedition took to a settlement now known as Ogbomoso. While at the settlement, he met with some other hunters, who came together to form a society – Egbe Alongo (Alongo Society). The primary objectives of the society were to defend the town against Sunmoni raids (slave prowler), hunt for wild animals as well as provide mutual assistance.
Ogunlola was later jailed by the Alaafin of Oyo for an alleged crime. During this period, Oyo-Ile – which was the then capital, was attacked by soldiers from Ibarapa under the leadership of Elemoso, who caused great famine and suffering among the people of Oyo-Ile. As a result of this situation which made Ogunlola unhappy, he pleaded with the Alaafin of Oyo to allow him kill Elemoso, in return for his release.
Upon his release, Ogunlola killed Elemoso with his bow and arrow, after which he beheaded him. With this victory, Ogunlola became popular among the people to the extent that the Alaafin asked him to stay back at the capital, Oyo-Ile; as a reward for his bravery. Ogunlola, however refused the offer but instead insisted on returning to his settlement.
History has it that, travelers would often times refer to Ogunlola’s settlement as “ido eni ti o gb’Elemoso”, which translates to mean him who captured Elemoso. Hence, the name ‘Ogbomoso’.
In the meantime, Ogbomoso, because of her strategic location, quickly grew from a village status to a medium size town. Her people were also renown warriors. During the Fulani wars of the 19th century, many towns and villages (about 147) were deserted while their people took refuge in Ogbomoso. The influx of people further enhanced the size and strength of the town.
The inhabitants are predominantly Muslims and Christians with a sizeable number of traditionalists. The presence of large number of Churches and Mosques attested to this assertion, hence, their God fearing attributes. Despite the multiplicity in their belief and orientation as regards religion, there exists religious harmony and peaceful co-existence in Ogbomoso.
Ogbomoso is fast developing as a major commercial zone in Oyo State, Nigeria. It is predominantly dominated by traders, artisan, civil servants, entrepreneurs, traders, seasoned politicians, market men and women as well as farmers who grow crops such as cocoa, cotton, maize, yam, cassava, sorghum which they export to other parts of Nigeria.
Tobacco is largely grown in Ogbomoso which is then fed to the British American Tobacco factory in Ibadan. Cotton is also locally grown, which is used for weaving Aso oke, a traditional Yoruba cloth.
Ogbomoso weavers also make sanyan, a cloth woven from silk brought from Ilorin. The indigo dyeing of the cloth is performed exclusively by women. Although the craft of wood carving has declined, the town is known for its early wood artifacts and for its unique koso drums. Ogbomoso town also has a factory for producing shoes and rubber. Local trade is primarily in staple crops, palm oil, kola nuts, beans, fruits, and cotton.
Today, Ogbomoso has grown to become a hub for many great institutions and landmarks, one of which is Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH.