History of Oja’ba Central Mosque, Ibadan

Photo credit: Twinkle
Up until the emergence of the third Ibadan in 1829, there was no attempt at having a central mosque in Ibadan. It was in 1830 – during the reign of Iba Oluyole – that the first attempt to build a central mosque was made. Imam Abdullah Igun Olohun Ayeye emerged as the Chief Imam and was the very first Chief Imam that Ibadan ever had.
However, the reign of Iba was fraught with all sort of turbulence and it was in the midst of the upheavals that the mosque was destroyed.
In 1850, a prominent Muslim who was also a Chief of Ibadan by the name Osundina sought the permission of the then Baale Ope Agbe to have an expansive land close to where the city hall (present Mapo) to serve as the site where a new mosque would be built.
Baale Ope Agbe granted Osundina’s request and a parcel of land at the Oja’ba location was given for the erection of a mosque. A small mosque was built with mud walls and thatched roof. In 1900, the thatched roof was replaced with corrugated iron roof.
In 1921, the community of Ibadan Muslims found the small mosque not befitting enough and felt the need to build a bigger one in order to cater for the size of the faithful that came to worship. The small mosque was pulled down and a new one was built and it was in use for 33 years when it could, once again, no longer contain the faithful during prayer.
In 1955, the Muslim community considered building a modern mosque that could stand the test of all times and to this end, a committee was set up. Series of levies and launchings were made towards raising funds to build the mosque. As the mosque took shape, it began to be used for prayers while more renovations were being done to it through the years.
Finally in 1982, the mosque was officially commissioned. Imam Muhalli Abdullah Basunu III (1940-1982) was the Chief Imam of Ibadan at the time the mosque was officially commissioned.
(Oja’ba, Ibadan)
📸: Edmund Obilo (Twinkle Files)

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