Basking in the euphoria of the 133rd memorial anniversary of the first Nigerian woman to own a motor car, the late Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu, the secretary of the Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu Family of Ojokodo, Gbagura, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Chief Tajudeen Lekan Tinubu has explained why the family will continue to celebrate the legendry woman.
Tinubu, after whom the popular Tinubu Square, in Lagos was named, died hailed from Abeokuta and died on December 3, 1887 in the same town after reportedly taking ill two days earlier.
During the event which held at the Tinubu Family Compound, at Ojokodo, Gbagura, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, different religious groups including traditional worshippers and ffamily members among who were Christians and Muslims offered prayers for the repose of the soul of the legendary woman warrior.
Tinubu, a chartered accountant, who coordinated the remembrance ceremony also explained why the family will continue to celebrate the legendary woman.
His words: ” The reason for the continued celebration of our matriarch, Mama Tinubu is beyond us of whom I’m a great grand son.
“I was born into this compound, Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu Compound, Ojokodo- Gbagura Abeokuta, many decades ago.
”To God be the glory, although I’m now a chartered accountant, but I grew up and I stayed here (in this compound) for my primary, secondary and tertiary educations.
“ So I grew up to meet our forefathers, celebrating this woman within and outside this compound. So it’s what we met in the hands of our parents that we are doing and we will continue to do so.
”Besides this legendary woman being remembered in Lagos, Abeokuta, Sierra Leone for her commercial endeavours, including her slave trade activities, the mark of Madam Efunroye Tinubu is still there in Sierra Leone. Even in Lagos, she had a lot of parcels of land which we are trying to recover from people who have enroached upon.
“’As a family, we owe her a sense of duty, not as a family alone, but the entire Egba nation as a whole. For the records, when the Dahomean war broke out, Mama Tinubu was instrumental to its defeat, particularly those trying to over run the Egba, putting all her personal resources, including wealth into the war to assist the Egba. So the Egba owe her a duty to be remembering her annually. Since God endowed her with the fame and popularity, we as a family must sustain the tempo.
”We are proud of the heritage and fame that she left behind and we will continue to sustain it by remembering her as we have been doing on annual basis. It is also our prayers and desire that those coming behind us will also celebrate this woman of substance’.
Tinubu, though made her exploits in Lagos, where she became an “iron lady”, she was born in Ojokodo, Gbagura where her father also hailed from.
Her mother was of Owu extraction, hence her statue erected in Totoro-Owu area of Abeokuta is an honour to immortalise the great woman of commerce.
Although, she held sway like a colossus, in Lagos, Tinubu never forgot her native town of Abeokuta where she was honoured by her people as the first Iyalode of Egbaland.
Tinubu, who was said to have been delivered on a journey in a canoe, was named Efunroye by her father, Olumosa, while her mother, Nijeede christened her Osuntinubu. The name stemmed from the belief that Efunroye was a gift of the Osun River godess.
She grew up in Abeokuta with her parents and grand mother, until she was married to an Owu man through whom she had two sons, who later died in Badagry as a result of Malaria.
Earlier in her life, she had learnt and mastered the art of collecting leaves and barks of trees during which she was said to have encountered an Ifa priest who allegedly gave her a charm to boost her trade and made her wealthy.
While in Abeokuta, she lost both her husband and mother until she got married to Prince Adele of Lagos after the latter’s visit to the rocky city in 1833 and took her to Badagry.
In Badagry, Tinubu was said to have been involved in politics and commerce; selling tobacco, salt among others so much that she became popular until she moved to Lagos after her husband, Adele became king.
On arrival in Lagos, which coincided with the period of slave trade, Tinubu traded in war, items so much that in no time she became famous as a middleman between Europeans and Yoruba, With her financial muscle and success, she ventured into buying land across the city of Lagos, including kolanut farms
Tinubu was said to have taken side with Akitoye during his strugglle for the Lagos throne and supplied him forces fortified with arms and ammunition which made Akitoye to regain the throne.
Despite being a middleman between her people and Europeans, Tinubu was said to have in the later part of her life, became adversary of the British Colonial Government after realizing the danger inherent in the slave trade.
Despite her pioneering efforts in the country, the late Egba woman seems to have been neglected by successive governments in her state of origin, Ogun State until when the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun built a tomb in her honour.
Though, the family of the late woman, commended Amosun, for his bold efforts at uplifting Tinubu’s tomb. but they want more, saying that their matriach deserves more than the tomb.