Re: Origin of the Name ‘Bolakale’ in Ilorin, By Dr Yusuf Lawal
From the information gathered in the last few days, the following findings have come to the fore. It is quite obvious that |Bolakale is a Yoruba name as it is coined from two words namely OLA and ALE.
Though the scope of the research in terms of geography is Ilorin, it is apparent that the name is indigenous to Ilorin, as there are no indications that individuals outside the Emirate bear the name. This submission is based on the exposure, interaction and experience of participants in the survey. Otherwise, it may just be safe to conclude that the name is common in Ilorin and not common elsewhere.
The meaning of Ola in the name is more of nobility rather than wealth. This is because virtually all the few examples of the old generation that beared the name were either from, or connected to royalty, including the Palace, Families of statutory traditional title holders, particularly the Balogun.
The Ola may also be subtly related to dignity, as it is an attribute of royalty, nobility and knowledge. Sheikh Alimi was a renowned Cleric and he is still highly dignified, even in death many years after his demise. While he lived and died a Cleric of immense repute, deep knowledge and wide influence, he was not an Emir. Yet till date, his dignity is often used in prayers “Ola Shehu Alimi”.
Following the transition from religious affairs to royalty and public service, from Alimi to Abdulsalami and till present day, the Ola has also transited from dignity to nobility resulting in the merger of both.
Royalty in Ilorin with the turban as one of its symbols, as against Ade (Crown) which is one of the symbols of royalty in Yoruba speaking communities may also have come into play in the coining of many names with Ola in Ilorin. So, names like Kolapo, Bolakale, Olatunji, Atolagbe, Olarongbe, Agboola and the likes. In Yoruba speaking communities, the synonyms of these names may include Adegboye, Adewumi, Adeola, Adeyeye, Adetunji, Adekola, Aderongbe and the likes. The Ade in these names is referencing the crown of a King. This is different from Ade that prefixes names like Adebayo which meaning references Arrival. For example, a child born at a period of celebration or joyful event may be named Adebayo in Ilorin to signify the period of his birth.
The findings also show that while the name Bolakale has become very popular from the 1950s till date, possibly as a result of increase in population, the name had existed before then as examples of those born in the 1930s and 1940s were given.
The few examples of the 1930s and 1940s were persons born into the royal families or who are connected to royalty in different forms. This further buttresses the point being made that the original meaning of the Ola in Bolakale is nobility.
With the preponderance of the name in recent time, it is possible that wealth may now be impugned as a meaning for some of the contemporary bearers. The findings also indicate that Bolakale cuts across Aafin and Okemale in Ilorin, though it seems to be original in the former than in the latter.
With these few findings, it is hoped that the outcome of this exercise has expanded the horizon of our knowledge of the name Bolakale in Ilorin. It may have also helped to distinguish among Ola (nobility), Ola (dignity) and Ola (wealth).
Please note that this exercise is not a pure academic exercise as the instrumentalities and niceties of research used are very limited but this limitation has not invalidated the outcome of the survey.