Lisabi festival is usually held annually by the Egba people in remembrance of Lisabi Agbongbo Akala. Lisabi, an Egba warrior, is venerated for his heroic exploits during those turbulent days of inter-tribal wars and he is thus identified by all Egba people as the strength of their togetherness.
According to the history of Abeokuta, Lisabi forest houses the remains of the legendary farmer turned warrior.
Lisabi, a native of Itoku in the ancient town of Abeokuta, lived at Igbein area of the city, and because of his prowess in warfare, the people of Igbein, till date, have the exclusive right to the war title of Balogun of Egbaland.
According to history, when the other Egba leaders had resigned to fate under the unbearable servitude they were consigned to by the Oloyo, Lisabi was preoccupied with the thought of how his land of birth would be freed from the shackles of slavery. Towards uniting the people for an onslaught against Oloyo’s formidable force which was an amalgam of many towns and villages which were similarly consigned to servitude, Lisabi reportedly formed a cooperative society which had able-bodied men who were farmers as members.
Abeokuta’s history points to the fact that Lisabi proved to be an energetic leader as he worked harder than others whenever they went to work on a member’s farm, so much that every member promised to do his best when it was time to work on Lisabi’s farm.
When his (Lisabi’s) time came, instead of asking members to work on his farm, he declared war on Oyo. His cooperative society members were amazed and afraid, but accepted to go to war because they did not want to disappoint him by reneging on their promises.
With supreme war tactics, Lisabi’s army, whose numerical strength was far less than that of the Oloyo, won the battle, consequently obtaining freedom for the Egbas.
In celebrating this important part of the Egba history, the annual march to the Lisabi forest becomes a major event.
However, the event will be celebrated traditionally. Egba sons and daughters will visit the Lisabi Sacred Forest in Oba village, Obafemi/Owode Local Government, Ogun State.
History of the Egba has it that the Lisabi forest houses the remains of the legendary man, Lisabi.