THE JIBOLU-TAIWO FAMILY OF EGBALAND

The Matriarch of the family was Madam Sarah Taiwo who was a native of Itesi (Egba) and Erunwon (Egba) on the paternal and maternal sides respectively. The misfortune of the West African Slave Trade landed her in Freetown, Sierra-Leone where she got married to Daddy George Thomas, to whom she had her first son called George Ebenezer Sobowale Thomas who died on October 5, 1885.

On the death of Daddy George Thomas (Snr.), Madame Sarah Taiwo contracted a second marriage, this time with Daddy John Jibolu Coker, a native of Oba (Egba), and had four children:

1. Chief Samuel Sowemimo Coker, the Asalu-Oba, Abeokuta who died on November 3, 1892.

2. Chief Isaac Olufisibi Coker (alias Aderupoko), the Oluwo of Itesi, Abeokuta, who died on June 5, 1910.

3. Revd. Robert Arungbamolu Coker, Professor of Music and Anglican Clergy who evangelised at Ijebu-Ode and Districts. He died on February 9, 1926.

4. Mrs. Efunjakogun Wycliffe.

The descendants of these five children of Madame Sarah Taiwo make up the Jibolu-Taiwo family of Egbaland.

Stories carried between Sierra Leone and Abeokuta by early Christian Missionaries made the Egbas in Sierra Leone know that their kith and kin had settled in a central town occupied by the Egbas called Abeokuta by 1830. This was an aftermath of the end of the Slave Trade and the Yoruba Civil Wars of the 18th and 19th Centuries that had combined to displace the Egbas from their former locations around the Yoruba Hills in the present day Oyo State. Egba Christians also who in their new settlement knew that their kith and kin were in Freetown, Sierra Leone, encouraged efforts to see to the return of their siblings.

Through the untiring efforts of Christian Missionaries, some of the Egba families in Sierra Leone returned to Abeokuta. Amongst such lucky families was the Jibolu-Taiwo family. Pa John Jibolu Coker and his wife Sarah Taiwo left Hastings in Freetown, Sierra Leone with their five children ([1] Sobowale Thomas, [2] Sowemimo Coker, [3] Olufisibi Coker, [4] Arungbamolu Coker, and Efunjakogun Wycliffe {nee Coker}) for Abeokuta through Badagry. They encountered great difficulties during their journey. On arrival at Badagry, they were said to have been robbed of every item in their possession when their boat capsized. They later became reluctant to leave Badagry for Abeokuta as their colleagues did.

On information, Pa Olunlokun, an uncle of Sarah Taiwo and the great-grandfather of Oba Oyebade Lipede, the former Alake of Egbaland, left Abeokuta with his siblings to bring Pa Jibolu and his wife Sarah together with their children to Abeokuta. They arrived Abeokuta around 1845 in penury.

On getting to Abeokuta, they first settled in Erunwon, the base of Pa Olunlokun but later moved to Oba, the home of Pa Jibolu Coker. According to history, after the death of Pa Jibolu Coker, Mama Sarah Taiwo resorted to selling drinking water to fend for herself and her five children. In the course of time, her first son Pa George Sobowale Thomas became a pillar and solace to the family by fending for the entire family from his personal resources. Soon however, God raised a successful trader and farmer in Chief Isaac Olufisibi Coker, alias Aderupoko, the fifth Oluwo of Itesi, Abeokuta. Chief Isaac Olufisibi Coker used his wealth and affluence to the greater glory of God and the edification of his family in diverse ways.

The Matriarch, Mama Sarah Taiwo died in Itesi Abeokuta on 18th April 1874. The offshoots of her children are:

1. DADDY GEORGE EBENEZER SOBOWALE THOMAS

(a) Mrs. Patience Subulade Meadows (Iyalode of Egba Christians), the mother of Chief Victor Meadows-Ogunbona, Mrs. Olatomi Sogeke, Mrs. Jaiyeola Aina and Mr. Olufidipe Meadows.

(b) Mrs. Richard Olayoku, mother of Wilfred M. Olayoku.

(c) Daddy Olumuyiwa Thomas, father of Chief (Mrs.) Funmilayo (Beere) Ransome-Kuti and others, and grandfather of Afrobeat legend, Fela Aikulapo-Kuti and others.

2. CHIEF SAMUEL SOWEMIMO COKER, the Asalu-Oba, Abeokuta

(a) Chief Emmanuel Durojaiye Coker (died October 24, 1949), who