Next in importance to the Ọ̀yọ́ Mesi and of a rank below them are the Ẹsos or guardians of the kingdom.

These constitute the noblemen of the second class. They also are addressed as ” Iba.”

It is a military title, not necessarily hereditary. It is the reward of
merit alone, and none but tried and proved soldiers are selected
for that rank.

First and foremost among them and apart by himself stands the
Kakanfo, an Ẹso of the Ẹsos. Then the 70 captains of the guard ten of whom are under each of the seven councillors. Each wears an Akoro (or coronet) and carries in his hand no weapon, but a baton or staff of war known as The Invincible.

There is a common saying which runs thus : —
“Ohun meji I’o yẹ Ẹsọ:
(One of two things befits an Ẹsọ:)
Ẹsọ ja O le ogan
(The Ẹsọ must fight and conquer [or])
Ẹsọ ja O ku si ogun.”
The Ẹsọ must fight and peirish (in war).

N.B: He is never to turn his back, he must be victorious or die in war.

There is another saying : —

“Ẹsọ ki igba ọfà lẹhin
(An Ẹsọ must never be shot in the back)
Afi bi o ba gbọgbẹ niwaju gangan.”
(His wounds must always be right in front)


Also another saying : —

“Alakoro ki isa ogun.”
(One who wears a coronet must never flee in battle)

They are of two ranks 16 superior and 54 inferior, 70 in all
and they all must reside in the capital.

So much is this title thought of by military men and others and so great is the enthusiasm it inspires, that even the children and grandchildren of an Ẹsọ hold themselves bound to maintain the spirit and honour of their sires.

The Eso is above everything
else noble in act and deed.

“Emi ọmọ Ẹsọ” (me born of an Ẹsọ) is a proud phrase generally used even to this day by any ot their descendants to show their scorn for anything mean or low, or their contempt tor any difficulty, danger, or even death itself.

Ààrẹ-Ọna-Kakanfo stands at the head of the Ẹsọ. It is a title akin to a field-marshal, and is conferred upon the greatest soldier and tactician ot the day.

Eso Ikoyi ni o, omo ogun losan, omo ole l’oru
(You are the gallantry Ikoyi, that are warriors at daylight, thieves at midnight)
Origun meje ni won gba si’gun n’Ikoyi Ile,
( Battles are set inferno from seven angles in Ikoyi)
Mejeeje ni mo mon:
(I know all the seven)
Alapa-nsanpa, ogun nii lo
(There are those that go to battles empty handed)
Olobe isilo, ogun nii lo
(There are those that go to battle with different knives)
Onipinniinni, ogun nii lo
(There are those that go with different charms alone)
Ti alaapo ba siwaju
(When arrow sheath bearers are in front rows)
Onibon a tele
(Gun shooters follow in likewise manner)
Onikumon a laarin
(Those who fight with clubs are mostly found in the middle)
Alakanpo nii keyin ogun.
(Other genres of fighters then follow suit)
O rin sese ogun ilu lo,
(The brisk walkers when the town is set on fire by battle)
Ikoyi Esho, omo arerin ree ko Iku loju
(Ikoyi the guardsman, descendants of those who meet death will laugh/smile)
Omo mo duro ni’jo ogun le, mo sun kaaka ma gbo ariwo orun ranin-ranin.
(Your progenitors used to stand when battles are at its hottest, they somersaulted, heard audible sounds heavenward)
Omo gbonin , omo gbonin, omo gbonin tii di m’esin leyin orun
(Offspring of an ancient lesions that were on the hing leg of Onikoyi’s war house)
Ko jeki esin Onikoyi o r’ogun.
(The lesions prevented Onikoyi’s horse from going to battle)
Aroni gudugudu,ako eyin ti nje okuta
(Offspring of the great Aroni, the tough teeth that eat stone)
Ikoyi Esho, omo agbon tii beree ija
(Ikoyi the guardian, descendants of a mysterious daring basket)
Ogun ajaiweyin lo ti m’Esho wumi, ogun ojoojumo lo mu Ile Igbon sumilo.
(Fighting unrelenting at war endears Ikoyi to me, going to battle everyday make me feel fed up about going to Ikoyi lands)
Waawa gbe ogun d’ona, ogun a d’ete,
(Midway to the battlefield, they planned tricks to use)
Waawa gbe ogun d’ona, ogun a d’ero
(Midway to battlefield, they resorted to deep thoughts as to what to do)
Okotonpori gbe ogun d’ona ogun a dibinu
(Midway to the battlefield, they resolved to anger)
Aadojo l’Esho nile Igbon,
(There were 70 Ikoyi men in Igbon)
Ogun lo pawon ti won fi ku Aadota!
(Battles reduce their number to 50)
Erindin sun’le, Erindin sunta
(Less than 4 died within house premises, the same number died outside)
Ao reyo meji to ku mon
(We couldn’t find two of them)
Ikoyi kii fi eyin gb’offa, gbangba iwaju ni baba yin fi gbota
(Ikoyi don’t turn back at arrows-shoot, they rather turn their fronts)
Omo aku wonran, omo asun wonran
( They died in awkward manner, they sleep in the same manner)
Omo aku taapo, toorun: Aroni ku tori ti’di
(Offspring of dead people, they and their arrow sheath: descendants of Aroni expired wholly)
Omo eleru fisan-fisan
(Offspring of dangling loads carriers)
Ogun lobuuru, l’Esho o de’le pe
(Battlefield become fierce, the guardsman didn’t reach home completely in their number)
Ogun lobuuru, I’Esho o pera won looko
(Battlefield become fierce, the guardsman couldn’t call one another by name)
Omo ogun nle mi bo leyin, odo kun nsoso-nsoso,
(Opposition warriors were pursuing me behind, I met a flooded river in the front)
Ikoyi ni kaaka ki oun k s’odo, oun a ma b’ogun lo
(The Ikoyi man braved himself that he would prefer fall at hands of enemies to dabble into the river, and escape)
Obinrin Ikoyi won kii pa Agbon n’Ikoyi Ile,
(Female Ikoyi didn’t break coconuts at Ikoyi)
Ti won ba pa Agbon n’Ikoyi Ile, eti ogun ni won n ran baba won.
(If they do so, they are sending war signals-messages to their fathers)
Omo Onikoyi o gbodo je Okete, atungun ni baba won fii nse,
(It is an abomination for descendants of Ikoyi eat matured rats: their fathers used to stabbed them countless times)
Asehiwa asehinbo l’omo bibi Onikoyi fi nfi apa Ewusa je Eko
(Eventually, the Ikoyi indigenes resolved to eat pap meal with hing legs of bush meats)
Omo olofa kan aramonda Ojosi, o fi Offa kan so pa eyan mefa,
(Descendants of the ancient, wonderful archer who used one arrow shoot to kill 6 persons at once)
Eni keeje see “Haa a”, o fe’e ku,
(The 7th person exclaimed ‘Haa a’, he almost died)
Ikoyi ni, ‘ma ku ooooo, wa re’le baba mi. Ko so wipe o ri omo jagunjagun loju ogun.
(Ikoyi said,’ don’t die, rather go to my father’s house,and relate what you saw)
‘ Yanbinlolu,
(Mother gave birth to me as a worthy one)
Omo aleri Iku p’ogun
(Descendants of he who boasted of death and made a clarion call for battle)
Ikoyi Esho, omo adiile de ogun,
(Ikoyi the guardsman, he who prepared afore-war)
Ikoyi omo ajo lapo woroworo
(Ikoyi, descendants of those whose pockets have holes here and there)
Omo asiju aapo piri da igba Offa s’oofun,
(They opened arrow sheath and poured 200 arrows into the gullet)
Omo apoofun yoyo da igba Offa sile.
(He reversed the act and vomit the 200 arrows swallowed)
Omo gbe ile, gbe iju, gbe igbe, gbe igi, gbe Ede:
(Your progenitors lived everywhere and anywhere)
Baba yin gbe Ibadan, o gbe Akinmarin :Ikoyi o man pe ibi kan laigbe.
(Even they lived in Ibadan, lived in Akinmarin, till Ikoyi went void as to where to live, they even live in unhabitable places)
Igbo n’Ikoyi ngbe, won kiigbe Igbooro
(Ikoyi lived not among people but in the forest)
Nitori kinni kan si ko Nitori ode sise ni
(No kerfuffle, it’s because of they are legendary animals’ hunters)
Ikoyi, oo r’ogun ab’oo r’ogun, ogun too lo
(Ikoyi, it’s time to go to war, would you go to warfront or not?)
Ikoyi o r’ogun ja o yinbon je
(Because a battle was settled prior physical engagement, Ikoyi committed suicide)
Omo aku won-nakan, omo asun won-nakan
(Your ancestors sleep in death in disarray manner)
Omo asun s’orun igi tan igun je
(Descendants of those who pretentiously sleep, as if died, to deceive Vulture, dead people’s eaters)
Ija laala, omo a tegbe sun
(Incorrigible fighters, ancestors sleep in death sideward)
‘Yanbinlolu, omo aku f’ eiye mu’je….
(Mother gave birth to me as a worthy one, offspring of those whose corpses birds fed on…….
Ani, ti won baku l’Oode Oyo Ile,
(In the olden days, when they expired in Oyo Ile)
Won a ko won a ro f’oba
(They always got the king informed)
Oba a ni ki won lo sin si ese gbagede
(King would instruct that the body should be buried at some opening within the compounds’ entrance)
Baba onikaluku, bi won baku l’Oode Oyo Ile,
(When every individual’s father expires in Oyo of Old)
Oba a ni ki won sin si ese yara.
(King would instruct that the bodyw should be buried at arm length to the room’s entrance)
Nigbati o di ori Esho Ikoyi omo Agbon tii yaa’run often, o ku l’Oode Oyo Ile,
(When Ikoyi, the descendant of the mysterious basket that bask in the sun of conspiracy, breathed out in Oyo Ile)
Oba ki won sin si ese gbagede,Ikoyi ni ori oun ko sun’be
(King instructed that he should be buried at the compounds’ entrance, Ikoyi refused to rest his soul there)
Oba ni ki won sin si ese yara, Ikoyi ni ori oun ko sun’be
King then instructed that he should be buried at armlength to the room’s entrance. Again, his soul refused to rest there)
Ounle meji adibo, e m’eta gegenlese
(Two and three things of sacrifice were selected respectively)
O dile babalawo, babalawo wa difa
(They consulted an Oracle priest, the priest consulted the Oracle)
O ni, e lo mu Alagbede Offa, e mu Alagbede Ijagbo,
(The priest instructed that blacksmiths should be brought from Offa and her neighbour town, Ijagbo)
Kee kan posi Ide, kee kan alamole baaba,
(They are to make a coffin, purely made from brass)
Ke fi daburo ooje, nibi eesua subudu posi
) They are also to make a kettle-like artifact, where a certain plant grows)
Won mu Alagbede Offa, won mu Alagbede Ijagbo, won wa kan posi Ide, won kan akamole baaba, won wa fi daburo ooje, nibi eesua subudu posi
(* They did as instructed)
Awon asinhun eni, awon were eyan, awon oponu ab’ijo daura, won a ni Ikoyi o nile.
(Some foolish, stupid idiots would say, at death, Ikoyi had nowhere to sleep)
Taalo ni abe Idosun?
Taalo ni abe hooro?
Taalo ni eesua subudu nibi emeso posi?

Edited: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle (Jimson Jaat Taofik)
The MAD Writer: Pen Priest
Facebook: Jimoh Taofik Adekunle
Twitter: @jimsonjaat01
Gmail: deskofinsanity96@gmail.com
Phone: 08144510532

History Of The
Yoruba: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the
British Protectorate
, by The Rev. Samuel Johnson, 1897
(Pastor of Ọ̀yọ́)
Edited By
Dr. 0. Johnson, Lagos, 1921

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