The Brief History Of Bashorun Gaa That Killed Four Alaafins Of Oyo
Written by Noble People Team on 4 August 2020
When Alaafin Labisi became the Alaafin Of Oyo, he succeeded Alaafin Onisile after his demise in 1750, he appointed Gaa his Bashorun, the head of Oyomesi (the 7 hereditary king maker). During Alaafin Labisi’s reign, the old Oyo Empire, also known as Oyo Ile, became so powerful and earned the respect of other kingdoms in Yoruba land.
History has it that Alaafin Labisi use to collect tributes from far away kingdoms of Dahomey, Popo And Ashanti even though his reign was very short and more than half of the kingdoms and villages in the Yorubaland (over 6000) fell under the political umbrella of Oyo Ile. This this made the old Oyo Empire a political and military colossus’s in Yoruba land.
Gaa the newly appointed Bashorun (prime minister), was a brave and powerful man who was respected and feared by the people of Oyo Ile, For his potent charms and supernatural strength. It was said that Has had the powers to transform into any animal of his wish. Has was feared to the extent that he became more authoritative that Alaafin Labisi Who made him the Bashorun. It was also said that Bashorun Gaa Was mist times controlled by his ‘charms’ power which often made him misuse it.
Shortly after he became Bashorun, He murdered two of Alaafin Labisi’s best friends which made the heartbroken Alaafin to commit suicide. After the demise of Alaafin Labisi In 1750, Awonbioju became the new Alaafin Of Oyo Ile, but Bashorun Gaa, Who was to rebel with any Alaafin that refused to dance to his tune, truncated the reign of Alaafin Awonbioju which only lasted for 130 days. He was put to death in the order of Bashorun Gaa.
The reign of Agboluaje (Alaafin Awonbioju’s successor) was a bit longer because he danced to the tune of Bashorun Gaa. But also like his predecessors, Alaafin Agboluaje lost his dear life to Gaa’s treachery. The fourth Alaafin to rule ‘under’ Bashorun Gaa was Majeogbe from 1772 to 1773 who also died from the overzealousness of Gaa. But before his death, he succeeded in poisoning Gaa who as a result became paralyzed. Bashorun Gaa’s end actually came during the reign of the fourth Alaafin ‘under’ him, and that was Alaafin Abiodun (1774-1789). Immediately Abiodun mounted the throne, he began to plot the death of his treacherous Bashorun in order to have a peaceful and tyrant-free reign.
The desperation of Alaafin Abiodun to kill Bashorun Gaa rose when he murdered his only daughter named Agborin. It was said that Bashorun Gaa was in need of a deer (Agborin) and when he couldn’t get any, he ordered his men to kill Alaafin Abiodun’s daughter, Agborin, for she bear a similar name.
The furious and heartbroken Alaafin Abiodun met clandestinely with the Onikoyi and the then Are-Ona-Kakanfo, Oyabi from Ajaseland, on how to send Gaa to his grave. Alaafin Abiodun and his co-plotters succeeded in extinguishing the fear Bashorun Gaa had instilled in the people of Oyo-Ile. They also arouse the people’s anger on Gaa whose fame and power at that time had seriously began to wane due to his paralysis.
On a faithful day in the year 1774, hundreds of angry people of Oyo Ile stormed Gaa’s compound and killed all members of his household with little resistance from his men. However Ojo Agubambaru, Gaa’s eldest son, survived the attack and fled to a faraway land called Bariba. Bashorun Gaa himself was dragged out and incinerated publicly at Akesan market (yes the same Akesan market).
The people believe Gaa will reincarnate if he is not burnt completely to ashes. This marked the end of the power drunk Bashorun Gaa Who consecutively killed four Alaafins. Bashorun Gaa Death gives birth to a popular Yoruba saying that “Bi o laya ko se’ka, sugbon ti ọ bá rántí iku Gaa ko sọ òtítọ” You are brave do bad but when you remember Gaa’s death say the truth. Alaafin Abiodun later ruled in peace, but also committed suicide in 1789 after he attack a town called Ijaye And Popo which earned him tons of criticism.