Funmilayo Ransome Kuti: The Lioness Who Sacked The Alake Of Egbaland In 1949

  • The 7th Alake of Egbaland, Oba Samuel Ademola relenquished his throne on the 3rd of January 1949 after a long disagreement with the Egba women.
  • The movement by this women was led by Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and her sister in law who happens to be Wole Soyinka’s Mother, Eniola Soyinka.

In 1946, after a lot pressure, there was a mass refusal to pay tax by the Abeokuta Women Union but the Alake Of Egbaland and British Authorities simply responded by increasing the tax rate for women which resulted in hundreds of women marching to the Palace.

On getting to the palace, Alake’s response was that if there was any woman who felt the tax was too high, they should appeal individually.

So in January 1946, after several struggles that included the refusal to pay tax for two different years, Funmilayo was arraigned and banned from entering the palace for insulting the Alake and British Colonialists who supported the move.

Four months after her ban, the Egba women at this point were ready to do away with the Alake and make their demands by all means. Their demand was simply that the Alake should be removed from office. So they demonstrated on the streets of EgbaLand undressed which was a Taboo in the Land.

As soon as they got to the palace, the district and resident officials of the the British Government were not allowed to leave the palace.

Meanwhile, as they protesting, they sang in Yourba:

“Alake, for a long time you have used your male part as a mark of authority that you are our husband. Today, we shall reverse the order and use our female part to play the role of a husband.”

In a bid to cool things off, in June of the same year, the Alake of Egbaland travelled to Jos for holiday. In his absence, he appointed a special committee to look into the women’s complains and he also went further to suspend all women taxation. He even agreed that the women should have a representative in the central committee.

Unfortunately, it was a little too late because the women were no longer interested in his efforts to please them and they insisted that all they wanted was the renouncement of his throne, so their demonstration continued.

When Alake returned, as a hope of good fate he resigned his position as the head of the Sol Native Authority but these strong women of Egbaland insisted that he renounced the throne and still continued in their demonstrations.

READ ALSO: Yoruba Nation Agitators Threaten Alaake of Egbaland, Ogun Govt Over The Arrest Of 10 Rally-Goers

After this, the Egba Chiefs and members of the Egba Native Authority passed a resolution against the Sole Native Authority system and the “then” Alake was charged with corruption and abuse of power, so he was rejected as King.

On the 3rd of January,1949, the Alake abdicated the throne and the women struggles for years yielded a Postive result. Therefore, Funmilayo and three other women from the Abeokuta Women executive council were all appointed to the Egba Central Council that replaced the Sole Native Authority. The women taxation system was also cancelled.

After the success of the Abeokuta Women Union, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti expanded the union across the fedration in Lagos, Calabar, Enugu, Abba, Kano, Benin and Ibadan. So the Union’s name changed to Nigeria Women Union.

Education, Marriage and Family

Funmilayo was brought up by parents that knew the importance of education and she became the female student to have attended the Abeokuta Grammar School( she was called beere for this).After completing her studies in Abeokuta, she moved to England for more Education before returning to Nigeria to become a teacher.

She was married to the first president of the National Union of Teachers, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti. The marriage produced 4children; Olikoye, Beko, Fela and Dolapo.

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Funmilayo Ransome Kuti: The Lioness Who Sacked The Alake Of Egbaland In 1949

Funmilayo Ransome Kuti: The Lioness Who Sacked The Alake Of Egbaland In 1949

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