Origin of the word “Sebiotimo elewa sapon”


Sebiotimo ẹlẹ́wà sapọ́n is a name used mostly by the Yorubas to express their inaffordability of something or not trespassing their boundaries. Sebiotimo means “do as you worth” while elewa is a yoruba word that means “a beans seller” and sapon loore(helping the bachelors) was a location where bachelors meet to eat sumptuous food in Abeokuta. 

The origin of the word can be traced to Mrs Amudat Janet Odesola in Abeokuta back then. People from far and near places come to the woman’s local rest(buka in youruba language) to eat and buy cooked and melted beans. Both the rich and the poor and infact, the grassroot politicians within the sapon territory patronised her. 

The patronage from people who came from different places expedited the big bag of beans she cooked daily to sell very fast.

People enjoyed her beans to the extent that they don’t mind buying it on credit whenever they ran out of cash. So, they do beseech her to sell for them on credit. She always declined her customers’ credits proposals and responded with “se bi otimo(sebotimo)” which means “Buy what your pocket can afford, and Cut your coat according to your size”. That was how Mrs Janet Odesola was nicknamed “sebotimo elewa sapon” by her customers. 

Madam Janet popularly known as sebotimo at her early life hawked dried fishes for survival before she ventured into beans selling. She sold the beans for good 45 years before she dropped the curtain.

She was born in 1925 in Abeokuta, Ogun State Nigeria.


It is saddened that madam Janet Odesola has been battling with a chronic illness and unable to foot her hospital bills up till this moment. She still suffers with her popularity.

British Broadcasting Corporations(BBC) reported that she sold her only house at the sum of #20, 000 in 1994 before she could afford her hospital bills and money for her upkeep after she had requested for financial assistance from the public and no help was forthcoming.

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