Ọ̀PÁ AJÉ Nigeria History Archive



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In the late 80s, precisely in 1988, a TV drama was aired on NTA Ibadan titled Ọ̀PÁ AJE which was directed and produced by the legendary Ibàdàn-based independent producer called Laolu Ogunniyi.
The journey of Ajileye into superstardom cannot be separated from his very early TV success, just before he produced KÒTÒ Ọ̀RUN. The credit of that achievement goes to no other person than the veteran television producer, Laolu Ogunniyi. As an independent producer, Ogunniyi was the person who produced Ajileye’s first-ever TV hit known as Ọ̀PÁ AJE, which was a huge success on television, between 1988 and 1991 across the western part of this country.
Written and performed by Ajileye Theatre Troupe, Ọ̀PÁ AJE, a thirteen-week TV series, made unprecedented waves across the western part of this country in a magnitude that has never happened before.
Ọ̀PÁ AJE was a satirical story of ethnic dominance, conspiracy, patriotism, betrayal, conflict, and war.
The storyline of the drama centered around a priest called Abija, Tajudeen Oyewole, who was a custodian of a mystical staff of commerce (Ọ̀pá Aje) that was believed to be responsible for the economic prosperity of any town that sheltered it. The staff of commerce belonged to the town of Ajegunle and that obviously aided the town's enviable growth and its significant economic prosperity which made other neighboring towns like Lasigun, Bilegun, and Telude become envious of Ajegunle.
Abija was the chief priest in his own hometown called Ajegunle where his father hailed from, while Abijah's mother was from the rivalrous town of Begun.
Abija has bestowed a Balogun chieftaincy in his mother's town of Bilegun and during a lavish banquet held in his honor after his installation as Balogun, he was lured to lend the town of Bilegun the staff of commerce which was belonged to his father's town of Ajegunle. Abija was overwhelmed or perhaps beclouded by the warm welcome he received and he yielded to grant their desire.
The arrangement was that; he, Abija, would temporarily lend out the staff of commerce to Bilegun for three months and which would be returned immediately afterward.
Abija fulfilled his own part of the arrangement by lending the staff of commerce out to Bilegun people as led by the king and his council of chiefs, but eventually, they refused to return the staff after the three months as agreed upon earlier.
Bilegun town and its people were suddenly becoming prosperous for the presence of the staff of commerce, and while at the same time the town of Ajegunle began to feel the heat of her economic downturn simply because of the absence of the staff of commerce.
Abija was called upon to produce the staff of commerce by the authority of Ajegunle but he could not, and that led to a serious internal brawl with his own people when it was revealed that he had lent the staff of commerce out to his mother's town of Bilegun. The entire people of Ajegunle felt seriously betrayed for the revelation.
As the heat of the conspiracy was becoming hotter and messier day by day, the other towns, Lasigun and Telude, conspired and besieged the town of Bilegun and stole the staff of commerce from them, and that led to an unending catastrophe for the four rivalrous towns.
Abija fought all the dirty wars from all angles with several huge prices he paid for being too kind.
The role AJAN played cannot be underestimated.
Ajan was a supernatural being like the Christian's Holy Ghost which saw and announced every evil before it broke. Abija took Ajan warning for granted not to give the staff of commerce to the people of Bilegun and that simply brought heavy trouble upon him.
Ọ̀PÁ AJE was a satirical parody that reflects the state of Nigeria where ethnic rivalry, betrayal, mistrust, and hatred rule the day till now.

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