The origin of royalties

Origin of ISAKOLE (Royalties)     (

From the founding of Modakeke (1845) till the second coming of its dispersed inhabitants (1923)
there was nothing like payment of royalties. For a peasant farmer, a cocoa farm is the totality of a
life-time investment – of time, energy, initiative, and money. While the typical Oyoman toils on
his farm from dawn to dusk, the typical Ifeman loafs around. During the period of Modakeke’s
dispersal, the Ifes started harvesting their cocoa. It then became clear that the primary objective
of the Ifes in seeing Modakeke disbanded was to take possession of their cocoa farms and reap
what they never sowed. (From the pronouncements of their leaders and conduct of the followers
it is apparent that they are till today pursuing this same objective. They are still casting covetous
glances over Modakeke’s cocoa farms. Indeed since the beginning of the current crisis they have
started stealing cocoa from Oyo farmers in certain areas. Most of them wasted their youth and
are now desperate to grab or have a share in the product of other people’s toil).

As a result of distance, visits of dispersed Modakeke people to their farms became irregular.
Some even totally abandoned their farms as motor vehicles were not available in those days. This
made it possible for Ifes to move into the villages and take over these farms. This resulted in a
series of clashes over ownership of farmlands particularly cocoa farms when the Modakekes
returned in 1923. The reigning Ooni of Ife called the two sides to a parley during which the Ifes
claimed that they had planted young seedlings on the cocoa farms they took over and would not
as a result give up the farms. The compromise arrived at was that Modakeke farm owners would
pay them compensation for some years for seedlings planted. This is what gradually
metamorphosed into (ISAKOLE) royalties on an annual basis. Prior to the partial dispersal of
Modakeke, the Ifes were not to be found in the villages because hard work had never been a part
of their culture. The introduction of ISAKOLE led to the sudden emergence of Ifes as
“landlords” in the various villages where they suddenly declared themselves land owners to
whom annual royalties should be paid. This is why Ifes today own a small percentage of
farmlands in the entire area.

The uneasy relationship brought about by the introduction of ISAKOLE led to the Oyokoya
uprising of 1945-49. The ease went to Court but was decided in favor of the Ifes because the man
sent to deliver vital documents to Modakeke’s lawyer did not do so.

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