Colonial HistoryHistoryYoruba History

Adubi War (Ogun Adubi) of 1918

Adubi War

The Adubi war, also known as Ogun Adubi or the Egba Uprising, was a war that broke out between June and August 1918 as a result of the taxation system that was introduced in Abeokuta by the British colonial government.

Direct taxes were introduced by the colonial government along with existing forced labour obligations and fees which culminated in the revolts by the Egbas. As of June 7 1918, the British government had already arrested 70 Egba chiefs and issued a decree that all rioters should lay down their arms, pay the taxes and obey the local leadership.

More than thirty thousand (30,000) Egba natives went to war against the colonial government officials in Abeokuta, destroying railway and telegraph lines in the southern part of the territory.

Ogun Adubi

Adubi war got its name from the Village head of Elere, Ige Adubi. Elere Adubi is presently a village near Itori, very close to Papalanto a town along Lagos Abeokuta road where there is still large cultivation of Sugar canes, (SONG: Omi ireke l’ẹn bu s’ebẹ ) in Ewekoro Local government of Ogun State.

Awape (also known as Molashin) who was Ige Adubi’s deputy instigated the war. He was working with the British government and he revealed their plans on the Direct tax system to the Ige Adubi, the village head. British government later jailed Awape for six months as punishment for his offence. 

About 600 people were killed in the Adubi war, including a European trading agent and a high Egba chief, Oba Osile. This incident led to the abolition of Abeokuta independence. 

The Adubi war birthed a popular song which was re-composed by the legendary Afrobeats icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It goes thus:

Bi e ba n gbo gbagada gbagada (band repeats) Bi e ba n gbo gbogodo gbogodo (band repeats) E ma ya s’otun, e ma ya s’osi (band repeats) Ile olowo n’oro ngba lo (band repeats)

Ogun adubi s’oju re ja (band repeats) Ogun adubi le lopo lopo (band repeats) Iwo nikan n’odagba shoja mefa (band repeats) Oro o wo mo, o pada seyin (band repeats) Opada s’eyin, o wa n fi ewe bora (band repeats) Iya re nke lo bi ewure (band repeats) Baba re nke lo bi aparo (band repeats) Iwona n be lo bi igala (band repeats) Omi ireke l’en bu sebe (band repeats) L’en bu sebe, l’etun fin r’omo (band repeats)

O o o oya o, eni omo wu, oya kalo o (band repeats) Oya o o, eni omo wu, oya kalo eh (band repeats) Oya o o, eni omo wu, oya kalo eh eh eh eh (band repeats) Oya o o, eni omo wu, oya kalo eh eh ye eh (band repeats)

The Adubi war can never be forgotten in the history of the Egba people. Thanks for reading,


  1. Falola, Toyin; Genova, Ann (2009). Woronoff, Jon (ed.). Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. Historical Dictionaries of Africa. CXI. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5615-8.
  2. Lekan O.A (1999) “In Search Of Justice (Events in Egba History”), To Mark the 10th Year Coronation of Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa Oba Adewale Adedapo Tejuoso
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (July 3, 2015). Adubi War (Ogun Adubi) of 1918. OldNaija. Retrieved from

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