Efunsetan Aniwura was born in the 1790s in Ikija, Egbaland in present day Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state.

She rose to become Ibadan’s powerful Iyalode, despite facing numerous hardships in her life.

She was orphaned at a young age but she persevered through multiple marriages and the loss of her only child. This sad occurrence deeply affected her emotionally and influenced her leadership style.

Her entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen propelled her to greater wealth and influence. She traded extensively in goods like bitter kola, kola nuts, cocoa, and engaged in commerce with white traders, pioneering business ventures for women in her time.

Efunsetan was also a significant figure in agriculture, employing thousands of slaves on her farms and exporting produce across West Africa.

She was known for her unconventional power and alleged mystical abilities. Efunsetan relocated to Ibadan, drawn by family ties and the city’s economic prospects.

Her activities extended into military affairs, where she trained her slaves in combat, contributing to Ibadan’s military strength. Despite her successes, political rivalries led to her dismissal as Iyalode in 1874 by Aare Ona Kakanfo Latoosa, who felt threatened by her influence.

Her death remains shrouded in controversy. One account suggests she committed suicide rather than face defeat by Latoosa’s forces, while another implicates a betrayal by her adopted son, Kumuyilo, possibly bribed to poison her.

Following her demise, her loyal slaves were executed publicly, and she was given a ceremonial burial with military honors.

Efunsetan Aniwura’s legacy endures as a symbol of female power and enterprise in Yoruba history, despite the tragic end to her remarkable life.