Indigenous arts in Nigeria are as old as time immemorial and contemporary as yesterday. They are as old because they have got their history back in antiquity and contemporary because they are still with us today. Often, when technology is being talked about, the attention of many people first goes to the advanced technologies in countries like Europe and America without paying attention to the simple arts and crafts which emanated from Africa. This research essay aims at pointing out that modern science and technology in Europe today derived their origin from simple arts and crafts. There are abundant of arts and crafts upon which, the traditional skills are based, but I shall focus on oil-palm production with a view to stressing the fact that had long been in existence in Africa as it was the case in developed countries like Britain and America. It is aimed at bringing into limelight the technology involved in the oil-palm production since the earliest times.
Oil-production had for a long time been an important phenomenon in Nigeria localities. It developed with the people. Oil-palm takes great part and parcel of the cooking of food, making of bath soaps, e.t.c. Its importance, therefore cannot be over-emphasized. The research aims at showing the active participation of indigenous people through the harnessing and utilization of local materials and national resources. The essay will show that all the materials tools, skills, and techniques used are locally available.
Furthermore, the study will show the various ways and systems by which the oil-palm is being produced which vary from one locality to another based on geographical environment and beliefs.
The study will further show that the oil-palm production has also been useful in cooking of meals and making of bath soaps. It presents the various sites of the community and also shows that Africans also engage in indigenous occupation such as oil-palm production.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research is from the period 20th century to 21st century. The different methods used in the industry i.e, oil-palm industry in Ejigbo community, Osun state. In this work also, attempt will be made at century prior to the 21st century.
The researcher aims at showing the active participation of indigenous people through the harnessing and utilization of local materials and natural resources, and the different processing or processes used in the production of the oil-palm. Also, the production of the palm kernel in general which is being used for further production of other useful products.
Through the oil-palm industry, quite a lot of needs of people were met in terms of local lamps which were used for illuminating in darkness. Oil-palm is being put on the local lamp which is made of clay with cotton on it. Oil-palm is used as medicine for treating ulcer and stomach-ache and cough for adults and children. It shall be seen at the end that indigenous industries have their rightful place in our local communities, abroad and areas where misconceptions are still rampant that Africans are technologically backward. The study will further show that oil-palm has also been useful by carpenters and wood workers to prevent decaying.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PROBLEM.
In writing this essay a number of works have been consulted with ranged from secondary to primary sources. A good number of past essays and textbooks were consulted. The bulk of this work depends mostly on oral interview. Also contacted is the Ejigbo community library. Though, there is dearth of journals by better Life Programme an arm of the local government. This publication, however, gives less attention to oil palm industry in Ejigbo community and other indigenous technology in the area.
Furthermore, the researcher interviewed a number of people in the town who were major producers of oil palm in Ejigbo community. It is also important to note that during the interview, the researcher usually asked of the age of the owners of those oil palm industries.
It is from the information gathered from these various sources that the researcher had finially attempted to present objective account of indigenous technology in Ejigbo community, a study of oil palm industry since 1960-2000.
A work of this nature cannot be fully undertaken without some constraints such as the unwillingness of the informants to gives information to the researcher, because some of them thought that the interviews would be used for tax assessment. In solving this problem, the informants had to be convinced and englightened on the purpose of the interview before they could pass some information to the researcher.
In spite of this, some still demanded for gifts before information could be given. These limitations not withstanding, the researcher overcame such constraints through determined efforts and repeated calls which had proved quite successful for the study.
Various people have appreciated the works of arts, especially, the indigenous industry and have attempted to find out about its origin, its technique and its development through researches. Its is for this purpose that the present study had undertaken a review of the relevant literature on oil palm industry in Ejigbo community. Books consulted are not only limited to works on oil palm, but emphasis also placed on books written by scholars on social and Economics developments of oil palm Industry.
Martin susan’s oil palm and protest discusses the demand and market for the industry. Olufemi Ekundare’s An economic History of Nigeria provides information on the economic development of oil palm industry to the people and even to Nigeria as a whole. Brouk B’s plant consumed by Man, helps to butteress the fact that oil palm as a product is essential and very useful in the society for domestic and some other uses, it also helps in the aspect of patronage.
Also relevant is T.M Ilesanmi;s book titled, Ise Isenbaye. The book also is of help to me especially in the area of production and technique. It was more clearer to the reader without any problem.
Ejigbo community is a major Yoruba town in Osun state of Nigeria. It is about 40kilometers from Oshogbo, the capital of Osun state. The 1963 Nigerian census estimated its population to be 46,000 with a landmass of 25square kilometers. Populated to be 132,641 as at the 2006 cenus.
According to oral history, Ejigbo is an ancient settlement founded by Akinjole Ogiyan, abbreviation of Ogiriniyan, right after the old Oyo. Ogiyan has a rich pedigree been a descendant of Oduduwa and the ruling family of Ife. Together with his brothers, particularly the Akire , the founder of Ikire-Ile, they left Ile- Ile with Oranyan(oranmiyan),the founder of old oyo,to establish their own towns. The fact that ogiyan, is from Ile-Ife is confirmed by Ejigbo Mekun’ the name of a market in Ile-Ife. Akinjole settled many other villages spread around yorubaland. He is the paramount ruler and prescribed authority over many, if not all of them.
The following towns and villages ,among others were under him, Ika, igbon,olosin ologede,inisa, aato, ijimoba, afake , ilawo, inisa edoro, isundunrin, olia,ado ori-oke,ayegunle, idigba, ibogunde, songbe, olorin osuntedo and iwata.
Around 1835, Ejigbo came under Ibadan, when the Ibadan army moved to protect Osogbo from Ilorin invaders. In fact, detachments from Ejigbo assisted the Ibadan army in the ijaye, jalimi, and kiriji wars between 1860 and 1866.
Ajayi ogboriefon, balogun and leader of the Ibadan army in the jalumi war circa 1860 and 1878 was a native of Ejigbo from the Akala compound and his mother, Alagbabi was the daughter of an ogiyan of Ejigbo. In 1934, when the then government retioined to the terms of the 1893 treaty which recognized Ibadan’s independence and gazettes the bale and divisional council of Ibadan as an independent native authority, five district Obas including the ogiyan were made members of the Divisional Council.
The traditional markets are the ones in the centre of the town, and few others in some other quarters. There is now a traditional markets fixed for every Saturdays as is the case in many Yoruba towns. It is situated at the centre of the town, in front of the palace and it is also the most favored for night shopping and other social activities.
In the past, it was used as recreational centre for the town, and therefore, was attended by many who even had nothing to buy or sell.
Ejigbo did not escape foreign influence especially, the nineteenth century events that permeated Nigeria. Its people and culture changed with the flow. For example, many people have been converted to Islam and Christianity. The Baptist, being the dominant Christian mission in the town, now has a number of churches and it was through its efforts that the people of the town established the first fully fledged secondary grammar school; the Ejigbo Baptist high school followed the Asarudeen Grammer School. Ejigbo is tolerant of its diverse faiths. This is demonstrated in the joint celebration annual Orisa Ogigan festival.
Although, there is no substantial evidence as to the exact date of the origin of oil-palm industry in Ejigbo community, but oral evidence suggests that the industry is as old as the emergence of the town around 14th century AD. But Ejigbo community and its province have relatively nitrous land, there seems to be enough food materials and farm produce which are being planted in large scale. The palm tree of which so many materials are being got from such as brooms which are meant for cleaning of the environment, palm wine, palm kernel, to mention few is a very good example.
Moreover, oral evidence suggests that the availability of these products by and large, made and encouraged the expansion of Ejigbo community market. The market became expanded as a result of settlement in Ejigbo community by people from far and near who participated in this flourishing business of buying and selling of the product of these oil-palm industries.
These markets became avenues for heterogeneous population with different cultural background. Therefore, availability of Ejigbo community, made oil-palm industries a flourishing one in Ejigbo community to date.
This research covers four chapters ranges from 1960 – 2000. The first chapter deals with the aims and objectives of the study, scope of the study, research methodology and problem, literature review and historical background of the industry. While the second chapter deals with the organization of the industry that is, the labour, techniques of oil palm processing, and the product of oil palm. While chapter three entails the marketing of palm oil product, that is the local market, the long distance market patronage. And the last chapter deals with the value of the product such as the employment for the people, impacts on local economic developments.