Ekiti state Dancers
Ekiti State lies south of Kwara and Kogi State, East of Osun State and bounded by Ondo State in the East and in the south. It was declared a state on October 1, 1996 alongside five others by the military under the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha. The state, carved out of the territory of old Ondo State, covers the former twelve local government areas that made up the Ekiti Zone of old Ondo State. On creation, it took off with sixteen (16) Local Government Areas (LGAs), having had an additional four carved out of the old ones. Ekiti State is one of the thirty-six states (Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria)) that constitute Nigeria. The capital of Ekiti State is Ado-Ekiti. The people of Ekiti State live mainly in towns, like most Yoruba. There are not less than 120 towns in Ekiti state. One important aspect of the Ekiti towns is the common suffix "Ekiti" attached to their names. Some of the towns include Ado, the state capital becomes Ado-Ekiti, Aramoko, Ayedun, Efon Alaaye, it Emure, Ido, lgede, lgogo, ljero, ljesalsu, Ikere, Ikole, Ikoro, llawe, llupeju, Ire, lse, lye, Ode, Omuo, Otun and Oye.
Historically, the Ekitis are among the aboriginal elements of the Nigeria absorbed by the invaders from the East (Yoruba people from Ile Ife). "The term Ekiti denotes a "Mound", and is derived from the rugged mountainous feature of the country. It is an extensive province and well watered, including several tribes and families right on to the border of the Niger, eastward. They hold themselves quite distinct from the Ijesas, especially in political affairs." (Samuel Johnson, The History of the Yoruba, 1921). It is believed that the ancestors of Ekiti people who came to combine with the aboriginal people on the land migrated from Ile Ife, the spiritual home of the Yoruba people. According to oral and contemporary written sources of Yoruba history, Oduduwa, the ancestor of the Yoruba traveled to Ife [Ife Ooyelagbo] where he met people who were already settled there. Among the elders he met in the town were Agbonniregun [Stetillu], Obatala, Orelure, Obameri, Elesije, Obamirin, Obalejugbe just to mention a few. It is known that descendants of Agbonniregun [Baba Ifa] settled in Ekiti, examples being the Alara and Ajero who are sons of Ifa. Orunmila [Agbonniregun] himself spent a greater part of his life at Ado. Due to this, we have the saying ‘Ado ni ile Ifa’ [Ado is the home of Ifa]. The Ekiti have ever since settled in their present location.
The early Ekiti country is divided into 16 districts (and it has been maintained to this day), each with its own Owa or King (Owa being a generic term amongst them) of which four are supreme, viz. : —
(1) The Owore of Otun, (2) The Ajero of Ijero, (3) The Elewi of Ado and (4) The Elekole of Ikole.
The following are the minor Ekiti kings : —
(5) Alara of Aramoko, (6) Alaye of Efon Ahaye, (7) Ajanpanda of Akure, (8) Alagotun of Ogotun, (9) Olojudo of Ido, (10) Ata of Aiyede, (11) Oloja Oke of Igbo Odo, (12) Oloye of Oye, (13) Olomuwo of Omuwo, (14) Onire of Ire, (15) Arinjale of Ise and (16) Onitaji of Itaji.
The Orangun of Ila is sometimes classed among them, but he is only Ekiti in sympathy, being of a different family.
Udiroko festival at Ekiti
The Ekiti are very intelligent and have a deep love of home- there has been no large scale migration of Ekiti peoples to neighbouring countries, but Ekitis are in other parts of Yorubaland mostly in Ondo, Oshun and Kwara states. Respect for age and superiors, ingrained politeness is part and parcel of their nature. Ekiti land is reputed to have produced the highest number of professors in Nigeria.
Ekiti man ADEYEMI Ekundayo Adeyinka, Prof. Distinguished Professor, 1st Professor of Architecture in West Africa
It is rather by heritage than by accident that the motto of the present Ekiti state is “Fountain of Knowledge,” since Agbonniregun whose descendants are all over Ekitiland is praised as Akere-finu sogbon [the small man with a mind full of wisdom]. Several pioneers academics are from the state. Pioneers like Profs Adegoke Olubummo (One of the 1st Nigerian Professors in the field of Mathematics), Adeyinka Adeyemi (1st Professor of Architecture in West Africa). Others include renowned academics like Profs J.F. Ade-Ajayi, Niyi Osundare, Sam Aluko and others too many to mention.
Adegoke Olubummo, Ekit man and one of the 1st Nigerian Professors in the field of Mathematics. He was the son of the honored first literate Olorin of Orin, H.R.H. Oba William Adekolawolu Olubummo II and Olori Abigael Osarayi Olubommo. As a child of parents of high honor, he received an excellent education at Methodist schools in which he worked (Ifaki Methodist School) as a pupil teacher in 1937. All three of Adegoke Olubummo's children are mathematicians. His daugher Yewande Olubummo is currently in the U..S. as an assistant professor of mathematics at Spelman College.
In terms of arts and culture, Ekiti state is among the richest in the Federation in the There are as many as fifty traditional festivals in the state. Egungun, ljesu and Ogun festivals are celebrated in all parts of the state but the latter is associated, in particular, with Ire Ekiti. The Ekitis are good wood carvers, blacksmiths, and ornamental potters, mat weavers and basket makers. There are guilds established to control the operations of these crafts. Ekiti music consists mainly of folklore and moonlight songs. The folk music is usually interjected with folk tales which normally are both instructive and interesting.
The main staple food of the people of Ekiti is pounded yam with Isapa soup or vegetable soup. NATURAL RESOURCES Ekiti land is naturally endowed with numerous natural resources. The state is potentially rich in mineral deposits. These include granite, kaolin, columbite, channockete, iron ore, baryte, aquamine, gemstone, phosphate, limestone,GOLD among others. They are largely deposited in different towns and villages of Ijero, Ekiti West, Ado - Ekiti, Ikole, Ikere, Ise-Ekiti and other Local Government Areas.
The Land is also blessed with water resources, some of its major rivers are Ero, Osun, Ose, and Ogbese. More so a variety of tourist attractions abound in the state namely, Ikogosi Warm Spring, Ipole - Iloro Water Falls, Olosunta hills, Ikere, Fajuyi Memorial Park Ado - Ekiti and so on. The Ikogosi tourist centre is the most popular and the most developed. The warm spring is a unique natural feature, and supporting facilities are developed in the centre. The spring is at present being processed and packaged into bottled water for commercial purpose by a private company - UAC Nigeria.
Beautiful Ekiti woman
Moreover, the land is buoyant in agricultural resources with cocoa as its leading cash crop. It was largely known that Ekiti land constituted well over 40% of the cocoa products of the famous old Western Region. The land is also known for its forest resources, notably timber. Because of the favorable climatic conditions, the land enjoys luxuriant vegetation, thus, it has abundant resources of different species of timber. Food crops like yam, cassava, and also grains like rice and maize are grown in large qualities. Other notable crops like kola nut and varieties of fruits are also cultivated in commercial quantities.
Ekiti people have their own National Anthem:
" Oun abajoro kiipe kun
Oun asepo nileye
Ehin ola wa tidara o
Awa Ekiti ati parapo
Kaparapo katun panupo
Awa Ekiti ati gbominira
Chorus: Ekiti, Ekiti ati gbominira (2ce)
Awa Ekiti iwaju laomalo lagbara Olorun
Awa Ekiti okan soso ma ni’wa o lailai."
L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe; his wife, Eyeosrun Abosede; newly installed chief/wife of Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Fayemi; and Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, during the conferment of chieftaincy title of Eye Ajiseye of Ado-Ekiti on Erelu Bisi Fayemi, in Ado-Ekiti…
The dress for man in Ekiti is Bùbá (round neck shirt) and Sòkòtò (trousers) While women dress in Bùbá (blouse) and Ìró (wrapper).
Ekiti women in their traditional dress
Ekiti State is situated entirely within the tropics. It is located between longitudes 40°51′ and 50°451′ East of the Greenwich meridian and latitudes 70°151′ and 80°51′ north of the Equator. It lies south of Kwara and Kogi State, East of Osun State and bounded by Ondo State in the East and in the south, with a total land Area of 5887.890sq km. Ekiti State has 16 Local Government Councils.
By 1991 Census, the population of Ekiti State was 1,647,822 while the estimated population upon its creation on October 1st 1996 was put at 1,750,000 with the capital located at Ado-Ekiti. The 2006 population census by the National Population Commission put the population of Ekiti State at 2,384,212 people.
Ekiti, the land of rock
In general, Ekiti State is underlain by metamorphic rocks of the PreCambrian basement complex, the great majority of which are very ancient in age. These basement complex rocks show great variations in grain size and in mineral composition. The rocks are quartz gneisses and schists consisting essentially of quartz with small amounts of white micaceous minerals. In grain size and structure, the rocks vary from very coarse grained pegmatite to mediumgrained gneisses. The rocks are strongly foliated and they occur as outcrops especially in EfonAlaaye and Ikere Ekiti areas (Smyth and Montgomery, 1962).
Ekiti State has no coastal boundary, hence it has no coastal relief. Indeed, the term, Ekiti, denotes an interior or hinterland area as opposed to a maritime area (Oguntuyi, 1979). It also means mound. This name invariably implies that Ekiti State is mainly an upland area. In the main, the relief is rugged with undulating areas and granitic outcrops in several places. The notable ones among the hills are IkereEkiti Hills in the southern part of the state; EfonAlaaye Hills to the western boundary of the state and the AdoEkiti Hills in the central part of the state.
Most of these hills are well over 250m above sea level. The drainage system over the areas of base ment complex rocks is usually marked with the proliferation of many small river channels. The chan nels of these smaller streams are dry for many months, especially from November to May.
In Ekiti State, there is no major river. However, the state serves as the watershed and source region for three major rivers that flow into the Atlantic ocean. These are the Rivers Osun, Owena and Ogbese. Other rivers are Ero, Ose and Oni. Another impor tant aspect of the relief of Ekiti state is the preva lence of erosion gullies along hill slopes and valleys.
The gullies are very common in Efon Alaaye and in the northern part of the state. Indeed, in EfonAlaaye, the gullies could be devastating
Climate: The climate is of the Lowland Tropical Rain Forest type with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season comes up between November and April while the wet season prevails between May and October.
In the south, the mean monthly tem perature is about 28Â°C with a mean monthly range of 3Â°C while the mean relative humidity is over sev entyfive per cent. However, in the northern part of the state, the mean monthly temperature may be over 30Â°C while the mean monthly range may be as high as 8Â°C.
The mean monthly relative humidity here is about 65 per cent. The mean annual total rainfall in the south is about 1800mm while that of the northern part is hardly over 1600mm.
Vegetation: As indicated under climate, the expected climax vegetation is the evergreen high forest composed of many varieties of hardwood tim ber, such as a procera Terminalia superba, Lophir, Khivorensis, Melicia excelsa and Antiaris africana. This natural vegetation is hardly present now but relics are observable, especially in the southern half of the state where some forest reserves are estab lished by the government.
It can therefore be stat ed that the state is covered by secondary forest. To the northern part, there is the forestsavanna mosa This is a woody savanna featuring such tree species as Blighia sapida, Parkia biglobosa, Adansonia digitata and Butyrospermum paradoxover most of the state, the natural vegetation has been very much degraded as a result of human activities, the chief of which is bush fallow farming system.
Others are fuel wood production and road construction. An important aspect of the vegetation of the state is the prevalence of tree crops. The major tree crops include: cocoa, kola, coffee, oil palms and citrus. In the southern part, cocoa is the most prevalent while in the northern part, fruit trees such as mango and cashew are very common. Cocoa and oil palms are cultivated in large planta tions, especially by the government.
As a result of the degradation of the natural for e est, exotic trees have been introduced as forest plantations. The exotics introduced include Tectona grandis (teak) and Gmelina arborea. Teminalia superba, a native species is also cultivated. All these cultivated trees now replace the natural veg y etation of the forest reserves, as in Ikere and ljero ti forest reserves.
Soils: The soils derived from the basement complex rocks are mostly welldrained, having a mediumtofine texture. The soils of Ekiti state fall into two main association classifications according to Syrnth and Montgomery. These are Egbeda I Association and lwo Association.
Under the e FAO/UNESCO classification, they are Orthic and n Plinthic Luvisols, respectively. The former is of high agricultural value for tree crops especially cocoa. The latter is found to the north of the state classified al as Ekiti series. The soils here are skeletal in nature and of comparatively recent origin. Both soil types d are of high value for arable crops.
Ecological Problems: The main ecological problem of Ekiti State is the accelerated soil erosion, which is very devastating in EfonAlaaye. As a result of the nature of the land surface of the state e and the continuous opening of the land for agricultural and constructional purposes, accelerated soil erosion becomes pertinent especially when no concerted effort, is being made to control it. For instance, it took the former Ondo state government's intervention in 1988 to avert a total division of EfonAlaaye town into two separate entities by gully erosion.
It is, however, gratifying to note that ih this ecological problem is receiving the attention of the government and the people as observed in a visit to EfonAlaaye in October 1999.
LanguageThe people of Ekiti are culturally homogenous and speak a unique Central Yoruba (CY) dialect of Yoruba language known as Ekiti. This Central Yoruba (CY) dialect of yoruba language belongs to the larger Niger-Congo language family. Apart from Ekiti, the other Yoruba sub-groups that speak Central Yoruba (CY) dialects are Igbomina, Yagba, Ilésà, Ifẹ, Akurẹ, Ẹfọn, and Ijẹbu areas.
The Ekiti dialect, however, varies across locations, e.g. Otun people (in Moba land) speak a dialect close to that of the Igbominas in Kwara and Osun States; the Oke-Ako, Irele and Omu-Oke people speak a dialect similar to that spoken by the Ijumus in Kogi State. The people of Efon Alaaye also speak a similar dialect to that of the Ijesas of Osun State. Although slight (and in very few locations, somewhat wide) variations exist in the local dialects, the Ekiti people understand each other and communicate pretty well.
Historically, the Ekitis are among the aboriginal elements of the Nigeria absorbed by the invaders from the East (Yoruba people from Ile Ife). "The term Ekiti denotes a "Mound", and is derived from the rugged mountainous feature of the country. It is an extensive province and well watered, including several tribes and families right on to the border of the Niger, eastward. They hold themselves quite distinct from the Ijesas, especially in political affairs." (Samuel Johnson, The History of the Yoruba, 1921). It is believed that the ancestors of Ekiti people who came to combine with the aboriginal people on the land migrated from Ile Ife, the spiritual home of the Yoruba people. According to oral and contemporary written sources of Yoruba history, the Ekitis are among the earliest settlers of Yorubaland. The Yoruba [Oyo Yoruba] are said to have sprung from Lamurudu, one of the kings of Mecca whose offspring were Oduduwa (Crown Prince), the kings of Gogobiri (Gogir in Hausaland) and Kukawa (Bornu).
Oduduwa, the ancestor of the Yoruba traveled to Ife [Ife Ooyelagbo] where he met people who were already settled there. Among the elders he met in the town were Agbonniregun [Stetillu], Obatala, Orelure, Obameri, Elesije, Obamirin, Obalejugbe just to mention a few. It is known that descendants of Agbonniregun [Baba Ifa] settled in Ekiti, examples being the Alara and Ajero who are sons of Ifa. Orunmila [Agbonniregun] himself spent a greater part of his life at Ado. Due to this, we have the saying ‘Ado ni ile Ifa’ [Ado is the home of Ifa]. The Ekiti have ever since settled in their present location.
Another oral tradition assert that The Olofin, one of the sons of the Oduduwa had sixteen (16) children and in the means of searching for the new land to develop, they all journeyed out of Ile-Ife as they walked through the Iwo - Eleru(crave) near Akure and had stop over at a place called Igbo-Aka(forest of termites) closer to Ile-Oluji. The Olofin, the sixteen children and some other beloved people continued with their journey, but when they got to a particular lovely and flat land, the Owa-Obokun(the monachy of Ijesha land) and Orangun of Ila decided to stay in the present Ijesha and Igomina land of in Osun state. While the remaining fourteen (14) children continued with the journey and later settled in the present day Ekiti land. They discovered that there were many hills in the place and they said in their mother's language that this is 'Ile olokiti' the land of hills. Therefore the Okiti later blended to EkitiI. So Ekiti derived her name through hills. These are direct children and founder of Ekitiland, Igbominaland and Ijeshaland:
- Alara of Aramoko
- Alaaye of Efon Alaaye Kingdom
- Ajero of Ijero Kingdom
- Arinjale of Ise
- Ewi of Ado
- Elekole of Ikole
- Ogoga of Ikere
- Atta of Ayede-ekiti
- Elemure of Emure
- Oloye of Oye
- Olojudo of Ido
- Onire of Ire
- Onitaji of Itaji
- Onisan of Isan
- Oore of Otun Moba
- Owatapa of Itapa
- Orangun of Ila-Orangun
- Owa -obokun of Ijeshaland
- Ologotun of Ogotun
- Obanla of Ijesa-Isu
- Oluloro of Iloro-Ekiti
- Alare of Are Ekiti
- Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti
Before Nigeria was amalgamated, the Ekiti tribe was under the British Protectorate with the other Yoruba tribes. Ekiti became part of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria which was divided to give the Ekitis their own state.
There has been no large scale migration of Ekiti peoples to neighbouring countries, but Ekitis are in other parts of Yorubaland mostly in Ondo, Oshun and Kwara states. The present Ekiti state is smaller than the old Ekiti one due to inter-tribal wars and subsequent redivisions. By virtue of Ekiti’s intelligence, there are more Ekiti graduates today than in most states of Nigeria. It is rather by heritage than by accident that the motto of the present Ekiti state is “Fountain of Knowledge,” since Agbonniregun whose descendants are all over Ekitiland is praised as Akere-finu sogbon [the small man with a mind full of wisdom].
The remarkable simplicity, though tough but unwarlike attribute of the Ekitis led the Oyos to wage war on them in the mid-1800. The Ekitis formed an alliance which they termed Ekiti Parapo (i.e. Ekiti Confederation). They raised a formidable army and were determined not only to liberate themselves but also to overrun the Oyos right to Ibadan farms at the River Oba. Prince Fabunmi of Oke Imesi headed the confederates with able warlords such as Fabaro of Ido, Famakinwa of Erin, Odole- Oloyombere, Oluborode of Ikogosi just to mention a few. They were later joined by Ogedemgbe- Agbogun Gboror who later became the Commander-in-Chief of the Confederates.
Instead of tendering their submission as Are Latosisa thought, the Oyo army found the Ekiti-Parapos became the first to introduce long flintlock guns with large muzzles to war in Yorubaland. These guns when fully loaded and fired, gave a report which reverberated from hill to hill all around. It sounded like KI-RI-JI, KI-RI-JI, from which this war was named the Kiriji campaign. The war lasted until 1886 around when the Oyos pleaded for British intervention in the war. The British intervention led to a peace treaty between the Oyos and Ekitis. never to wage war against each other and so with Oyo and other Yoruba nations, thus making the Kiriji war the last major war of the Yoruba
The people of Ekiti State live mainly in towns. These towns include: Ado, Awo Ekiti, Ayegbaju Ekiti, Efon-Alaaye, Aramoko Ekiti, Temidire-Ikole Local Govt, Igede Ekiti, Ikole, Ayede, Isan, Iye Ayede, Ikere, Ire, Ijero, Ayetoro, Ipoti, Igogo, Ise, Itapa, Otun, Usi Ekiti, Ido, Emure, Iyin, Igede, Ilawe, Ode, Oye, Omuo, Ilupeju, Ikoro,Iloro, Ikun, Iye, Ijesa-Isu, Ayedun, Aisegba, Osin, Okemesi, Iworoko, Ifaki, Osan, Erinmope, Asin-Ekiti, Orin, Ilogbo, Osi, Igbole, Ora, Aye, Ikogosi Erio, [Igbara-Odo](Ogotun), Erijiyan Ekiti Iludun, Ilemeso, Otun, Itapaji, Imojo, Ire Ekiti, Eda Oniyo, Gogo Ekiti, Odooro Ekiti, Ijan Ekiti, Epe Ekiti, Usi Ekiti.
Local Government Areas
L-R: Chairman, Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Ekiti State, Chief Aderemi Ajayi; Alara of Aramoko Kingdom, Oba Adegoke Adeyemi; his wife, Adenike; ..
Ekiti State includes 16 of Nigeria's 774 Local Government Areas. They are:
Proposed 18 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs)in Ekiti State The Ekiti State Government is to create additional 18 Council Development Areas based on the recommendations of the White Paper Committee set up by the government.
In a press statement, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo, said the new council areas will be created from the existing 16 local government areas following a referendum by the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and consideration of the outcome of the referendum by the State House of Assembly.
They will operate as Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) pending the concurrence of the National Assembly, which would accord them the status of full-fledged local government councils.
According to the commissioner, the new councils and their proposed headquarters as contained in the White Paper and approved by the State Executive Council are as follows:
i) Ado West Local Council Development Area- Okesha
ii) Ado-North LCDA--------------------------------- Oke –Ila
iii) Ado-Central LCDA-------------------------------- Ijigbo
iv) Ekiti North-East LCDA--------------------------- Kota- Ekiti
v) Ogotun/Igbaraodo LCDA------------------------- Oke- Agbe
vi) Osi/Isokan LCDA --------------------------------- Ifaki
vii) Eka Meta LCDA----------------------------------- Erijiyan- Ekiti
viii) Okemesi/Ido Ile LCDA--------------------------- Okemesi - Ekiti
ix) Gbonyin LCDA------------------------------------ Aisegba
x) Irewolede LCDA--------------------------------- Iloro- Ekiti
xi) Irede LCDA--------------------------------------- Ipoti-Ekiti
xii) Ikere West LCDA------------------------------- Anaye
xiii) Ajoni LCDA-------------------------------------- Aiyedun
xiv) Ifelodun LCDA----------------------------------- Igbemo –Ekiti
xv) Araromi LCDA----------------------------------- Iyin –Ekiti
xvi) Ero LCDA----------------------------------------- Igogo
xvii) Ifesowapo LCDA-------------------------------- Bamisile Land
xviii) Ifeloju LCDA------------------------------------- Ilupeju- Ekiti
Ekiti man Adeyinka Adeyemi is the Managing Partner of Intermarc Consulting Limited, an ebanking, epayment and eGovernment intermediation firm with a focus on Africa.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Ekiti, and it is the major source of income for many in the state. Agriculture provides income and employment for more than 75% of the population of Ekiti State.
Some of Ekiti’s agricultural produce are: Cash crops such as Cocoa, Oil Palm, Kolanut, Plantain, Bananas, Cashew, Citrus and Timber; Arable /Food Crops such as Rice, Yam, Cassava, Maize and cowpea. A detailed list of agricultural produce is contained in the tables below.
Ojojolu Theatre group entertaining the audience with a Sango dance at the 2013 Udiroko Festival in Ado-Ekiti.
Origin of Ekiti Towns
Ado Ekiti is a city in southwest Nigeria, the state capital and headquarters of the Ekiti. It is also known as Ado. The population in 2004 was 446,749. The people of Ado Ekiti are mainly of the Ekiti sub-ethnic group of the Yoruba. Ado Ekiti City has a State owned University - the University of Ado Ekiti now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, a privately owned University - the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, a Polytechnic - the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, two local television and radio stations, - NTA Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State Television (BSES), Radio Ekiti, Progress FM Ado Ekiti. Various commercial enterprises operate in Ado Ekiti. The city is the trade centre for a farming region where yams, cassava, grain, and tobacco are grown. Cotton is also grown for weaving.
Where Ado-Ekiti is situated is a land that has been continuously inhabited/occupied by human communities from time immemorial. Available research shows that human societies of unknown antiquity occupied this neighbourhood about (11,000) years ago. These ancient inhabitants were probably the same or progenitors/ancestors of Igbon near Ogotun, Erijiyan, Ijero, Ulesun and Asin (near Ikole) who were probably autochthones because available traditions shows that they had lived in and near their abodes from time immemorial. As a matter of fact, no one knows where, if any, they came from and for how long they had lived in those ancient sites. Ulesun appears the best-known apparently on account of its size, the number of its subordinate communities especially Aso, Ulero, Isinla, Ilamoji, Ukere and Agbaun (near Igbemo), its well-organized traditional religion including its festivals etc. and its location at the heartland of Ekitiland. These ancient people were the ancestors of Ekiti, they played hosts in the 7th and 8th centuries, about 1,200 years ago, to waves of immigrants from the basins of the rivers Niger and Benue; these settled among the ancient Ekiti, and were fewer in number and so, the hosts culturally absorbed them.
After many generations, a new wave of immigrant groups penetrated this homeland; their leader as Ewi, second successor of Prince Biritiokun, Son of Oduduwa, on account of his wanderings all the way from the Benin forests, the leader was nicknamed Awamaro. Ulesun people welcomed them warmly and neighbouring committees came together to assist their settlement (built homesteads for them) at Oke-Ibon in Odo Ijigbo. Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements, conquered Ulesun community, displaced its ruler Elesun and established a new town, Awamaro named Ado, meaning 'here we encamp'. Ewi Awamaro and his successors conquered villages and cottage in the neighbourhood, replaced their rulers with their own loyalists, stalwarts and scions of the royal family. The important citizens of these conquered communities were relocated in Ado. Ewi supplanted Elesun as sovereign ruler of the aboriginal and settler population, many of Elesun's Chiefs were confirmed in their offices but they swore oaths of allegiance to the Ewi. Many of the succeeding Ewi expanded the kingdom by force of arms, annexed territories and gave these territories to scions of the royal families, these assumed titles which became hereditary. The expansion and growth of Ado-Ekiti and the kingdom of Ado lasted over 400 years. In the course of this expansion, Ado became associated with certain traits. Citizens of the kingdom in general and those of the mother town, Ado-Ekiti in particular were reputed for great attention to cleanliness. A popular lyrical description of Ado citizenry depicts:
Ira Ule Ado m'etipise fifin seree (Ado citizens with their usually clean heels). Ado people were, by local standard, tough and brave warriors. Traditions preserve numerous brave citizens of each Ado community, the best known were Ogbigbonihanran of Idolofin quarters, Ogunmonakan of Okelaja, Fasawo, a.k.a. Aduloju of Udemo quarters, and Eleyinmi Orogirigbona of Okeyinmi quarters - all of Ado-Ekiti and Ogunbulu, a.k.a. Ala l'oju Osoru of Aisegba. The exploits of Ado tough in many parts of Ekiti formed the basis of the popular orature: Ikara s'eji s'inu agbagba t'emi ukoko (Of two balls of cake in the frying-pan, he insists his share is one)
Folk, traditions are replete with fond references to Ewi's relationship with some other Ekiti traditional rulers. Ewi's antecedents are depicted as: Elempe Ekiti (mightiest man in Ekiti) On k'emu 'kan o mu meji Oloju k'enu 'kan gba kete re (He is entitled to one, he took two he has a disposition to take everything) Ewi i pe mi udiroko Onitaji i pe mi esunsu...... (Ewi invites me for his udiroko festival Onitaji invites me for his esunsu festival)
Folk traditions of this nature vividly portray the towering position of Ado-Ekiti. In the first place, Ado-Ekiti is situated at the heartland of Ekiti and is thus less exposed to cross-border attacks or non-Ekiti influences. Consequently, over many centuries, waves of immigrant groups seeking haven settled in Ado-Ekiti and several other Ado communities. Many of these immigrants were refugees, they left their old homelands in parts of Ekiti, Akoko, Owo etc. where their leaders lost out in chieftaincy contests. Some were war captives, these were brought in droves by Aduloju and his lieutenants from their slave wars of the 1870s and 1880s in parts of Owo, Ose and Akoko. They were settled in Ado communities where they increased the local population, and enriched the culture with their lineage names and festivals in similar circumstances, citizens of Ado communities left their fatherland and settled in a few places in the neighbourhood up to Ijesaland. Ibadan sacked many Ado communities in 1873 and made a huge haul of prisoners of war and other captives who eventually settled in Iwo, Ibadan and some Remo towns such as Iperu and Makun Sagamu. However, Ado communities especially the mother town offset part of their losses with a large number of slaves and prisoners of war from Owo, Ose and Akoko.
Ado-Ekiti is one of the towns of the northeastern territory of Yoruba land and passed through a succession of military, political and cultural changes from the time of Ewi Awamaro (circa 1310 A.D) who migrated there to form what became Ado-Ekiti.
Jadesola Babatola (2008) noted that the large part of the 13th century, legend had it that many princes left Ile Ife to what later became several Yoruba kingdoms along the west coast of Nigeria. Among the princes were two born to Oduduwa by the same mother, the Oba of Benin and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. Both first settled in Benin forests before disputes among their people led them to separate and the Ewi sought a new home westward at Utamodi (Oke Papa). Ewi Biritiokun and his son reigned there. It was Ewi Awamaro who migrated to Ilesun (Present day Ado-Ekiti) after staying briefly at Udoani (Ido Ani) and Agbado during the long trek. When Ewi Awamaro left Agbado, the elders remained behind to rest and gave the settlement the name Agba Ado (Elders’ Camp) – Agbado-Ekiti as the town is known today. Awamaro’s spies encouraged him to attack Elesun with the support of Odolofin after he had settled down at Oke Ibon (now Odo Ijigbo) and with the conquest of Ulesun by Awamaro, the town of Ulesun changed its name to Ado or Ado-Ewi.
The Elesun (the King) who ruled over the town of Ulesun with its satellite towns i.e. Ukere (now Ikere), Isinla, Ulamoji, Agidimo, Ikewo existed in what is now known as Ado-Ekiti before the emergence of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. The Elesun occupied the peak of a hierarchy where he had his subordinates as the Odolofin (Elesun second in command), Asao, Elegemo, Alamoji, Olisinla, Olulero, Olookori etc. Elesun was the head of the laity in the worship of Olota (god), the deity in charge of the security of Ulesun State. The Ulesun language was different from Yoruba (Ado-Ewi) language. Examples are Ideregbe (Ewure or Goat), Okeregba (Aja or Dog), Amomo (Alangba or Lizard), Usa (Ikoko or Pot), Ukere (Ago or Calabash Cup), Ogolomosi (Ibepe or Pawpaw), Oyeye (Epa or Groundnut). Some of the Elesun’s chiefs such as Odolofin and Asao were accepted into the Ewi’s system of chieftaincy after Awamaro’s conquest. The Elegemo retained his post as Chief Priest and custodian of Iwemo Ogun. Ewi’s Warrior chiefs who provided military security for palace inhabitants were the Akogun at Irona, Oloja Ese at Oke Ese, Eleyinmi at Okeyinmi and Egbedi at Orereowu. Ewi Awamaro subjugated Elesun’s neighbours and expanded his territory except Ukere (Ikere Ekiti) and his successors up to Yeyenirewu followed same steps that by 1550 A.D. Ado-Ewi had become a big power in the entire Ekiti country.
The Ewis that reigned at Ado from 1444 to 1552 were: Ewi Ata (1444–1471), Ewi Owakunrugbon (1471–1490), Ewi Owamuaran (1490–1511), Yeyenirewu - The regent (1511– 1552). Ewi’s military exploits during the period was to subjugate and annex his immediate territories extended to Ikere, Igbara Odo, Ogotun, Aramoko, Erio and Erijiyan among others. It was a long time systematic military campaign during the reigns of Ewi Obakunrin (1552–1574), Ewi Eleyo-Okun (1574–1599) and Ewi Afigbogbo Ara Soyi (1599-1630). During the reign of Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696), Ado-Ewi was peaceful as war was abandoned in place of diplomacy and mutual relations strategy. Ewi Gberubioya divided the Ewi dynasty into three ruling houses of Owaroloye (Aroloye), Atewogboye and Arutawekun. Ewi’s sons that ruled in neighbouring areas during the reign of Gberubioya included Okunbusi who became Onigede, Adubienimu who became Alawo, the Onijan, Opoakin (of Iwere), Olu Akitipa (of Odo), Aramude, Olokun, Olurasa, Onikewo and Olotin. One of his sons, Amujoye founded Igbemo and took the title of Oba of Igbemo from its inception. Gberubioya linked the Ewi’s dynasty to both Ikole and Ijero because one of his wives who were betrothed to Elekole was surrendered to Ewi as a peace deal and her children for the Elekole, Ewi and Ajero who took her into custody after Ewi’s demise later ascended as Ewi, Elekole and Ajero respectively. Ido Faboro (Ido-Ekiti) took her current name from Ado as a result of settlement with Ewi to remain independent of Ado during Gberubioya’s reign. Other Ewis that reigned after Gberubioya were Ewi Idagunmodo (1696-1710), Ewi Okinbaloye Aritawekun (1710-1722), Ewi Amono Ola (1722-1762), Ewi Afunbiowo (1762-1781), Ewi Akulojuorun (1781-1808), Ewi Aroloye (1808-1836), Ewi Ali Atewogboye (1836-1885), Ewi Ajimudaoro Aladesanmi I (1886-1910), Ewi Adewumi Agunsoye (1910 - 1936), Ewi Daniel Anirare Aladesanmi II (1937 - 1983), HRM Ewi Samuel Adeyemi George-Adelabu I (1984 - 1988) and HRM Alayeluwa Ewi Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III (the current Ewi of Ado-Ekiti).
From the 1880s, agents of the British, especially Christian missionaries penetrated the Yoruba interior in an endeavour to end the wars, in particular, the wars of liberation Ekitiparapo communities waged against Ibadan since October, 1879. In June, 1886, political-cum-military officers got the belligerent parties to sign a truce and in March, 1893, Governor Carter of Lagos visited Ibadan and Ekitiparapo camps of Igbajo and Imesi-Ile and terminated the war, got the leaders to sign treaties which prohibited slavery and slave trade, human sacrifices and the use of weapons to settle conflicts. The British administration in Lagos (which had authority over Yoruba hinterland from 1893) proclaimed a general emancipation for slaves and ordered slaves who so wished to return to their former homelands. As a result, numerous citizens of Ekiti in general and Ado in particular returned from captivity forth with. The British established its colonial rule on vast territories and in 1900, a number of districts became Nigeria. Eventually, further reorganizations led to the creation in January, 1913 of Ekiti District, with headquarters in Ado-Ekiti. That was a landmark from where to begin the discussion of today, modern times, a period characterized by the emergence of new things, phenomenal growth and development of old kingdom and its Chief city, Ado-Ekiti.
Ado-Ekiti Layout as a Yoruba Settlement in 1800s
Jadesola Babatola (2013) noted that the characteristics of average human settlements across the Yoruba nation up to 19th century have been identified as a formation of two basic settlement patterns – the main town and the subordinate towns. In quoting P.C. Llyod (1962:54-57) he presented that the metropolitan (main) town is sometimes larger than the subordinate towns while its rulership and kinship are based on patrilinear succession within the agnatic lineage. The traditional layout arrangement was usually based on geographic location, population size, need for expansion, trade opportunities, settlers’ vocation and military vulnerability of major towns over subordinate towns in addressing their strategic trade and military advantage. Across Yorubaland, it was observed that variations and modification in the location and access to King’s palace in particular alongside the settings for the King’s market and meeting places in designated areas were determined by the town’s topography, culture and politics and the extent of control over the people and the local economy.
The general Yoruba traditional compound described by T.J. Bowen in his Adventures and Missionary labours in the Interior of Africa from 1849-1856, and the Revd. R.H. Stone’s in Afric’s Forest and Jungle, was further described in by PC Llyod’s Comparative Study of the Political Institutions in Some Yoruba Towns, an unpublished B.Sc thesis (1952). For avoidance of doubt, the Intelligence Report produced by N.A.C. Weir (1933) reported a general framework of township organization in Ado-Ekiti in the early British colonial rule, which is similar to what existed during the pre-colonial era. Weir (1933) noted that the family (Ebi) as the smallest unit which is grouped into Village (Ileto) or Sub-Quarter (Ogbon) or Quarter (Adugbo) in a town (Ilu). However Weir made an error of assertion when he claimed that ‘the wars or slave raids of the 19th century were the greatest factors in the creation of the larger towns.’
Weir’s error was based on his lack of understanding of the traditional layout pattern in Yoruba land and his misconception of the facts behind the growth of major towns which he attributed purely to illegitimate and legitimate trade. The existing traditional arrangement always recognized some socio-economic and political factors necessary for the formation and setting of townships in Yoruba land. Recounting the assertions of E. Kraff Askaris, I. Olomola (2013) observed that the Palace of a paramount ruler is the centre of political and economic activities such that both the palace and central (Oba’s) market lay at the centre of the town and all route to and from the outer. Communities converged on it like spokes of wheel. Both Palace and Market were sacred places as well as centres of ritual sacrifices and worship of tutelary deities.
The panoramic view of Ado-Ekiti in the 19th century was a feature of average Yoruba settlement. Llyod (1962) noted that the traditional layout existing across settlements in Yoruba land in the pre-colonial era formed part of the physical features of Ado-Ekiti. He described how Ado-Ekiti was traditionally arranged among settlers. See diagram of source in P.C. Llyod (1962:56) Yoruba Land Law. Using the foregoing parameters, one can describe the nature and pattern of settlements of Ado-Ekiti in the pre-colonial era by pinpointing existing arrangement in Ado-Ekiti as it reflects on the growth of the metropolis or main town (Ilu-Nla) and the subordinate towns (Ilu-Kekere) in the peripheries (Agbegbe) or subordinate areas. Furthermore, the sketch devised by Llyod (1962:56) showed the structure of Ado-Ekiti settlement as a metropolitan town surrounded by subordinate towns and communities with Ado-Ekiti layout coordinated and co-existing with the layout of the subordinate towns surrounding the municipality in similar ways.
Ewi’s Suzerainty in Ado-Ekiti Traditional Layout and 1800s Settlements: Ado-Ekiti and all other Ado communities consisted of a ‘large number of traditional rectangular compounds grouped into the quarters of the town’. Within the Ado-Ekiti township layout, the Ewi’s Palace lay in the middle, though it was first built at Oke-Ibon and then moved to Chief Arowa’s Palace strands beside the Erekesin (King’s Market) before it was moved into the vintage point of Oke Ewi where it has finally settled over 200 years ago. The sitting of Ewi’s Palace within Ado’s topography is discussed in the work of G.J.A. Ojo (1966:76) who noted that Yoruba palaces (aafin) are the residence of King (Oba) and sacred places that houses shrines and temples to all deities worshipped in the kingdom, together with a number of places reserved for ritual activities, oath taking etc. Llyod (1962:192) in similar manner justified the status of the Ewi as a scared ruler in the typical Yoruba fashion. Oral tradition further hinged the sacredness of Ewi and the location of Ewi’s Palace at the centre of the chief city (Ado-Ekiti) on the degree of his relationship and the latitude which his High Chiefs, Military Chiefs, Palace Chiefs and Royal Princes who acted as patron chiefs over hamlets and surrounding villages enjoy.
The traditional layout of Ado-Ewi appeared to have taken definite shape from the time of Ewi Awamaro as a matter of strategic repositioning for Kingdom building and political dominance of the rural and conquered communities. The traditional layout design of Ado-Ekiti relocated most of the early settlers outside the vicinity of Ewi’s Palace. It was an arrangement that also left the Ado community and the subordinate towns to revolve around Ewi in a preferred order. The enlargement of the Ewi’s Kingdom during the reign of Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696) in the 17th century and other successive Ewis upward into late 19th century which covers the period under review with the expansion of the main town’s layout indicates that they did not alter the traditions for town settings which is similar to what is obtained in many other of Yoruba major towns.
Wife of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Eyesorun Bosede Adejugbe; Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe; and Wife of the Governor of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, when the governor's wife visited the palace,
In the most part of 1800 (19th Century) and early 20th century, Ado people were adherents in African traditional religion with fervent worship of the supernatural, ancestral and embodied spirits of varying categories, which revolve round Ewi’s Palace institution. The mode of worship and observance of traditional rites revolved around alaponmi, Oitado and alafonyos, Ogun festival and Iwe Mo Ogun, Egungun festivals - Ade, Aeregbe, Orude, Epa, Odede festivals and the most important, being Udiroko which is the traditional Ado Day, the first day in the traditional calendar. Traditional shrines were created for Orisa Ojido, Uba Lota, Ayoba, Oke Egbe (now Ayunbo), Odudu, Osun, Ose, Ogbese, Ajilosun, Isewese, Atan – All of them fertility deities.
The role of Ado-Ekiti in the growth of Yoruba religion and politics intertwined and influenced the survival of Ewi’s realm while co-habiting and co-existing with her subordinate and satellite towns and other neighbouring communities. The tenancy embedded in the spiritual arrangement of the Ado-Ekiti layout in that era suffices. Narratives and archival materials embedded in the works of Chief J.E. Babatola (1976) written in concert with 31 Ado Chiefs as a rejoinder to a reconstruction of Ado history by Chief J.A. Fashubaa, the Oisa tallied with the historical approaches. It also highlighted the traditional panoramic view of Ado-Ekiti in 1800s and the nature of her municipality and the group intersections of her three notable traditional sectors in a unique arrangement that further conceptualized the traditional components of the Ewi’s cabinet. The layout pattern was shown in a sketch that depicted the traditional layout of Ado landscape in the pre-colonial era (1800s) as reproduced by Chief J.E. Babatola on the re-arrangement of Ado landscape and Chieftaincies beginning from the reign of Ewi Awamaro Source: 31 Ado Chiefs Rejoinder to Chief Oisa Fasuba’s Memo 1975/76
Ewi’s Realm –Territoriality and Politics of Division in Ewi’s Kingdom: At the height of Ado-Ekiti influence in Ekiti country in the 18th and 19th centuries, legend has it that Ado kingdom consisted of 150 (ewadojo) communities and that the metropolis of the kingdom was Ado-Ekiti Township where the Ewi as Sovereign superintended over the realm as the sovereign head. The Oluyin, the Alare, the Alaworoko, the Elesure, the Eleyio and the Onigbemo are very important rulers of subordinate towns within the immediate precinct of the Ewi’s municipality. Within the Ewi’s Kingdom, heads of subordinate towns often performed specific political and spiritual roles and responsibilities in the service of the Kingdom in order to retain and sustain their relationship with the powerful King while supporting the layers of interrelations among towns in the realm. Legend has it that it was a tradition in Ado-Ekiti for influential members of the royal household (Omo Oba or Omo Owa) to be sent to subordinate Ado-Ekiti community to found new dynasties on established settlements in buffer zones and borderland areas.
Rulers of subordinate towns like Iyin-Ekiti (Uyin Alelagba) and Are-Ekiti were brothers and relations of the Ewi who co-existed and led their respective townships as co-ordinate lesser cities of Ado-Ekiti. They ruled in those towns with a view to creating stability for the Ewi who was a ruler of higher importance in the main city, Ado-Ekiti, while his brothers are rulers over lesser Ado towns where they maintained required importance and role to preserve the Ewi’s realm and achieve an equation of substance and stability against Ewi’s potential regional neighbours. The existence of these chieftains help to preserve Ewi’s interest and to protect Ado-Ekiti from direct invasion by any ambitious adventurer since the chiefs represent Ewi’s interest in those subordinate and neighbouring towns, farm settlements, hamlets and subordinate towns. The headship of most of these towns was selected from the ruling lineage that was created by the senior chiefs, subject to the ratification of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti.
J.O. Olubobokun in his works – Itan Iyin (1980) as corroborated by A.O. Oguntuyi (1986:9) asserted that Iyin is one of the subordinate towns of Ado-Ekiti founded by Oluyin Agbogbomaje, e.g. the sword bearer (Oluda) who accompanied Ewi Awamaro to settle in Ado before he was allocated land to the West of Ado town and settled in a place called Uro where he was later joined by people of Ibedoyin, Oketoro and Okelawe in forming a total of 16 quarters which later truncated into one town. The essence here is that Iyin people were part of Ado Kingdom that gained royal autonomy to co-exist as separate community under the realm of the Ewi without severing traditional ties and blood relations with Ewi and Ado people. The deep traditional relationship that existed between the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti and the Onigbemo of Igbemo-Ekiti for instance requiring those rulers of the subordinate towns around Ado-Ekiti to participate in specific rites at the death or installation of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti tends to highlight the role of covenant renewal in the community for the continuity of Ewi’s ‘imperial’ or hegemonic status and influence in the subordinate Towns.
It is worth noting that, the rulers of these subordinate towns held rights of sovereignty similar to those wielded by the Ewi of Ado in making rules and that Llyod (1962:221) asserted that ‘the Ewi, however holds certain sovereign rights over the entire Kingdom’. A major feature is that each of the subordinate towns also has its separate rulers and chiefs, with a measure of importance and respect even when they hold lesser status or rank in relation to the Ewi who takes preeminence over them due to his prominence, influence, traditional rights, military might, population and size of the realm.
In Ado-Ekiti, the title of Ewi as a metropolitan sovereign is hereditary and alternatively contested by members of the two prominent ruling houses that had gained traditional preeminence within the royal household during period under review, whenever the stool of Ewi became vacant. Heads of subordinate towns in old Ado-Ekiti Kingdom may not be regarded as Baale (High Chiefs) as commonly seen in Yoruba communities of the Ibadan and Oyo country. Rather they were Traditional Rulers (Oba Ilu), though of lower status to the King-Emperor (Oba Alayeluwa or Oba lori Agbegbe) who resides in the main town, a position occupied by the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti in the 19th century. In the circumstances where subjected towns and their rebellion-prone rulers were faraway or near but troublesome by striving for autonomy or independence from Ewi’s influence as identified in case of the Alawe, the Olosi, the Olode, the Onijan and the Onimesi; rulers of other subordinate towns and Ewi’s chieftains were constantly on hand to check them against crisis that could create chaos or attract foreign invasions.
There is no doubt that the festering political relationship between dominant Ado and its erstwhile subordinate Ikere town played into the hands of Benin in 1815 as asserted thus: ‘…the rapid expansion of Ado brought it into conflict with Benin, another power with imperialistic designs in Ekiti. Responding to the invitation by Ado’s neighbouring states who had become unduly alarmed by the consolidation and excesses of the Ewi’s power, Benin army invaded and subjugated Ado in addition to overrunning most of the other Ekiti states some of whose ruling dynasties, as in Ikere, were replaced…’ G.O. Ogunremi and A. Adediran (eds) (1998:17)
The oral tradition of that time depicted the irony of the rivalries and adversities attracted to the Ado Township and the Ewi when describing her quest for expansion in Ekiti as popularly recounted thus: ‘Ogun yeye, b’Ewi ja, Ajase I loo Ewi’ Meaning ‘Many are the adversity of the King of Ado-Ekiti (Ewi), but the power of triumph lies in his hands.’ The continuous opposition to Ewi’s paramountcy by a large number of Ekiti royalties across the country is a pointer to the fear inherent in Ewi’s notable imperial ambitions from 17th to 19th century, which became threats on the status and economy of other notable towns, who were also aiming at prominence and equality within the regional power sharing structure of Ekiti country. No doubt, the characteristics of town formation in Ado-Ekiti area distinguish the mother town (the metropolis) where the most important chiefs reside from the subordinate towns where other rulers existed.
Ado-Ekiti Society and Chief’s Status in the Towns in 1800s: There are the two major grades of chieftaincy titles in Ado-Ekiti as the ihare and ijoye. For instance, the ihare grade in Oke Ewi (one of the three Ado Quarters) is divided into two – The Senior chiefs known as Olori Marun and the junior chiefs consisting of 5 Elesi and 10 Ijegbe. High Chiefs (Baale) in Ado-Ekiti like several others in different parts of Ekiti country were the senior ranking cabinet members of the King-Emperor’s court within the realm. They emerged as most senior chiefs representing recognized leading lineages and compound (agbo ile), chieftaincy families and settlements in the three sectors and quarters of the main town.
The sectors from where the High Chiefs existed also consisted of their immediate abode and extended families, the existing lineages (idi) and groups which Llyod (1962:191) described as (idile or ebi) – the main patrilineage corporate group. Others in the sector are the abode and farm settlements of lesser chiefs and their families which Llyod (1962:55) regarded as hamlets (abule or Ileto) while describing typical settlement patterns in Ekiti in comparison with those from Ijebu and Ondo country. By Ado traditions, descendants in the male line have exclusive rights to land in perpetuity subject to communal rights of hunting and the Ewi’s right as Sovereign ruler to certain trees and game. Grant of land to non-indigene requires permission of Ewi and his Chiefs to forestall subtle arrival of unknown strangers who could end up as agents of hostile communities or invaders planning to attack the realm.
A reflection of this tradition embedded in the status of rulers of subordinate towns up to the 19th century replayed itself during the settlement of a land dispute between the Oluyin and Odofinyin in 1940. It was pronounced according to native law and customs that the Oluyin could not arbitrarily impel himself on the traditional rights of his chiefs though he held an incontestable position as the Head Chief (Ruler) of Uyin Ekiti (a subordinate town) of Ado-Ekiti. This decision was derived from the tradition that everyone in Ado Township has his paternal and maternal land over which the ruler has no ownership or direct control. The Ewi’s controls over land by tradition were limited to areas designated as royal lands, public or open land where the attention of Ewi and his chiefs should be sought. By tradition, Ado people would naturally challenge Ewi’s intrusion on family lands and revolt against him if public land had been tampered with, unless the consent of Ado chiefs and the people were sought and gotten. P.C. Llyod (1962:200) noted that the Ewi’s 1940 crisis could be traced to these traditions because he was alleged to have breached same by alienating palace land for contrary purposes.
In the 1800s, heads of most hamlets and villages in Ado kingdom were Ewi’s chiefs or rulers of subordinate towns who rule in the subordinate towns though lesser in rank and status to Ewi. They are not servile but were subservient to Ado monarch. The import of the above explanation is that the lesser Kings and Chiefs whose towns surround the main town were autonomous and allowed to operate the running of their local affairs and economy and in taking decisions which did not conflict with the Ado system of governance, political tradition and culture nor attract the interest of the King-Emperor to adjudicate upon.
The Ewi in Council and organization of Ado-Ekiti Chiefs from the 1800s: The Intelligence Report produced in November, 1933 by N.A.C. Weir could not essentially produce adequate information on ancient organization of Ado-Ekiti due to his inability to elicit required information from the local people. Rather he concluded from his observations that the information is non-existent. Yet he wrote thus: ’…In Ado there is an aboriginal family in a number of towns or villages…It is therefore difficult the more difficult to trace their ancient organization because they know nothing of their history prior to their migration here. They came with their organization complete and there is nothing of their history to show how it was built up. Whole villages accompanied the Ewi to this part of the Ekiti country and as a powerful settler, he parceled out what land there was. The aboriginals were so scattered or so weak that they could offer no resistance to his advance and followed the only course left to them, that of securing the good will of the fresh arrivals…’
From various accounts of Ado history, Ado-Ekiti with her farm settlements was the largest kingdom in the Ekiti Confederation, though Ado in itself is an amalgam of three constituent sectors largely brought together after the Ewi’s conquest of Ilesun as OKE EWI, ODO ADO, and OGBON META (three coordinate and equal settlements of Oke Ila, Odo Ora and Oke Efon).
Llyod among others asserted that there were no records of the ranking of chiefs before the 20th century because most lineages grew in size, by the absorption of Ado citizens of other lineages and by increases due to possession of slaves while the more regular pattern in the town consists of five or six lineages, with each of constituting a quarter where there exist those who hold senior titles in relation to those with junior titles, whether or not hereditary. Many of Ewi’s chiefs and town settlers within Ado-Ekiti fall into one of the following three categories regardless of their emerging importance and role in the activities and government of Ewi’s Kingdom by 1800 viz. a. The Aboriginals and Early Settlers b. The Ewi’s Royal Court and companion settlers c. The adventurers and immigrant settlers who the Ewi granted citizenship status
Among the aboriginal and early settlers are groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet. Some of the Chiefs which Ewi met in Ado are: a. Odolofin in Odo Ado Sector b. Olora in Ogbon Meta Sector c. Asawa from Odo Ado Sector
Members of the Ewi royal courts and accompanying Chieftains in the groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet include: a. Aro in Odo Ado Sector b. Arowa in Oke Ewi Sector
Adventurers and immigrant settlers of Ewi who became citizens and chieftains in the groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet include: a. Alarerin in Ogbon Meta Sector from Oke Ila via Ila Orangun b. Odofin in Odo Ado Sector from Oba (now Oba Ile) near Akure c. Ejigbo in Oke Ewi Sector from Imesi Lasigidi (Now Imesi-Ekiti) East of Ado d. The Esewa in Oke Ewi Sector who came from Esewa, Ido Ani e. The Ola in Eleyinmi, Oke Ewi Sector who came from Ode-Ekiti f. The Sasere in Oke Ewi Sector who came from Omuo now North East
The number of High Chiefs whose status qualify them as senior cabinet members (ihare) in the Ewi in Council in the 19th century were twelve in number and their role was designed in the turn of that century, not necessarily by their seniority, but by their importance and contributions to Ewi’s traditional authority for the advancement of Ado’s political stability and progress above other traditional chiefs (ijoye) of the Ewi. The twelve senior chiefs were drawn from the three major traditional sectors of Ado-Ekiti classified below:
OKE EWI SECTOR Odogun (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Interior Minister and Head of Okeyinmi Quarters) Ejigbo (Ewi’s Traditional Chamberlain and Head of Ijigbo Quarters) Baisaya (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Baisaya Quarters) Asa (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Asa Quarters) Sasere (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Sasere Quarters)
ODO ADO SECTOR Odofin (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Idofin Quarters) Aro (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Ularo Quarters) Odolofin (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Udolofin Quarters) Edemo (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Udemo Quarters)
OGBON META SECTOR Alarerin (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Oke Ila Quarters) Olora (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Odo Ora Quarters) Odunro (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Odo Uro Quarters)
Ado-Ekiti 1800s turbulence and the advent of British Colonial Rule: Much of the period between the late 1700 and early 1800s, were periods of dislocation and resettlements for Ado-Ekiti Kingdom. According to A.O. Oguntuyi (1986:13-17): ‘The development of the Ado Kingdom was seriously affected by external invasion. These resulted in series of demographic upheavals with settlements constantly moved from one site to another. The most serious of these external invasions were by the Edo of Benin. They attacked and destroyed many settlements…in the Ado Kingdom…The Binis were invited by Ogoga, the third time the Binis were so invited to settle the quarrel between Ado and Ikere. The line of action they resolved to adopt was to bring all the villages under the ewi to Ikere, settle them there and in this way Ikere would be equal or even bigger than Ado. Ado would then be afraid of Ikere. The Benin soldiers came…and sent words to the Ewi Aroloye…He refused to surrender. He did not in any way show that he was not ready for fight. Every town or village under him except Ijan were prepared to fight…The Benin soldiers stormed Igbara-Odo and Ilawe and took them. At this time, Ado town had been vacated. Aroloye took the people to a place called Oke Oko Axis between Ifaki and Iworoko. Most of the gods Ado worshipped on that side: Olua at Eyio, Obanifon at Esure and Are, Ogbese and Orisala at Iworoko. The soldiers pitched their camps near Uyin (Iyin)…Ogbesi Okun, the then Oluyin …was conquered and killed. They proceeded to Igede, Awo and Esure and took them. The inhabitants of Igede then uder Okiribiti were driven in a north-easternly direction to a place called Oke Asha…Edo troops then marched to Iworoko…The soldiers entered Are…The same fate befell Afao. They were all taken to Ikere. The soldiers moved to Igbemo …entered Igbo-Omoba (now Ilu-Omoba)…The soldiers left Aisegba for Agbado and without delay took it and evacuated the people. Agbado was the last place under the Ewi. With the conquest, of Agbado, the soldiers seemed to have finished their job…’
Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Professor Modupe Adelabu and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe III during the 2013 Udiroko Cultural Festival
Isola Olomola (2005:8-12) dwell extensively on the panoramic view of Ekiti in about 1800. He noted that the ravages of invaders and slave raiders from Benin, Nupe-Fulani, Ilorin-Fulani and Ibadan country turned many medium sized towns and large number of villages into turmoil, political and social turbulence. Drawing on the characteristics and legend of traditional settlements in Ekiti country with reference to major Kingdoms of Ado, Ikole, Ijero and Moba, Olomola (2005:9) asserted thus: ‘Each Kingdom consisted of a major (mother) town and a few or numerous subordinate communities while each city-state comprised a main town and a couple of villages and cottages. Each Kingdom or city state was, to all intent and purposes, a territorial unit over which its Oba (ruler), for all practical purposes, was sovereign from its inception…The Oba of the mother town wore crowns and lived a life governed by protocol, while the heads of subordinate communities …wore crown lets (orikogbofo) and caps...No part of Ekiti was spared the agony of imperialist invasions…The rampaigning Benin armies sacked Ogotun, Aramoko, some subordinate communities of Ijero, Ado communities such as Are, Afao, Ugbo (now Ilu) Omoba and Agbado and settled a large percentage of the haul of captives therefrom in Ikere, their garrison post. The Nupe-Fulani…armies invaded Gbonyin district of Ado…Between 1845 and 1846, these invaders sacked… (Ekiti) towns and ravaged the countryside…Balogun Ibikunle led Ibadan armies to the rescue…and later in 1850 turned the intervention to punitive wars …Ibadan chiefs led their personal armies into Ekiti and adjacent communities…In January 1873, the Aare Momo (Mohammed) Latosisa launched a full scale invasion of central and northern Ekiti…sacked Ado and many of its subordinate communities…’
During the period of Ado-Ekiti dispersal and relocation in late 1700 and after the return of Ewi and other settlers to their original abode in mid 1800, minor modifications in the settlement arrangement occurred in communities outside Ado city wall and in the open land available occupied by royal household and other settlers apart from areas taken over by larger chieftains after the dispersal of some Ado chieftains who resettled elsewhere when Ewi returned to Ado metropolis. Most communities which returned with the Ewi re-occupied their original quarters/ settlements to rebuild them except those who moved from their original settlements outside the Ado township walls into the main town in order to reduce the direct impact of attacks by invaders on them whenever hostilities broke out. The modification that affected land occupation and re-allocation, border relations and security were aimed at reducing imminent threats to Ewi’s Kingdom. Hence, the traditional layout allowed for creation of new quarters in the main town to maintain solidarity, military support and boost the farming economy.
Ewi Ajimudaoro Aladesanmi I (1886-1910) had a peaceful reign devoid of Ikere attacks. This was made possible by the fact that Ado wars with Ikere ended through the peace covenant initiated by a Prince - Oba Oyinbolaja (Oba Dadi). He was reported to have convinced the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti to accept colonial rule of the white man and to stop human sacrifices. When the Ewi accepted colonial rule, he sent emissaries to Captain R.L Bower (the Resident and Travelling Commissioner of Interior Yoruba in 1894) through the help of Ifamuboni (later Babamboni) and then Ado-Ekiti was regarded as a territory within the British Protectorate. It was recorded that Mr. Campbell was the first Briton to visit Ado-Ekiti for situation assessment and report in respect of Kiriji Proclamations at the termination of the Yoruba wars.
In the account of Ewi Anirare Aladesanmi II (1977:9) he noted that the Peace Treaty signed on one hand, between the Ekitis and their Ife and Ijebu allies with Ibadan in 1886 made Ekitis (Ado-Ekiti inclusive) independent under the British Government of Lagos, though no direct colonial administration was witnessed until the setting up of Ekiti Council for members of Ekiti Confederacy on 21 June 1900. The efforts of Evangelist Isaac Ifamuboni (later Babamuboni) and a number of early Christians from Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan who introduced the cultivation of cocoa, maize, brown cocoyam and made wage earning labourers to go from Ado-Ekiti to work in Ondo, Ijebu and Ife in order to boost the cultivation of economic trees in the early part of 1900s were legend of the closing age of that era. The contact of the Ewi and Ado people with the British opened a new chapter for Ado Kingdom in the 20th century. It was a chapter that eventually resulted in elevation of Ado-Ekiti as a District headquarters of Ekiti Native Authority in Ondo Province (of Northeastern Yoruba Territories) which formed part of the Western Region in the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria (now the Federal Republic of Nigeria) and is today, the capital of Ekiti State.
The gradual break down and tearing apart of Ewi’s Kingdom after 19th century by the advent of British colonial rule is made poignant with the grant of political and territorial autonomy to various towns and villages under Ewi’s influence in the pre-colonial era. This is further strengthened by the creation of modern local government system and the composition of Council of Chiefs with the re-grading of the status of Chiefs and granting of full autonomies to natural rulers in several communities.
Chief J.E. Babatola (1995) noted that Ado Ekiti remains a geographical and historic centre of Ekitiland, a nuclear setting among the erstwhile 16 Kingdoms and the political administrative arrangements that succeeded them supported it. The originally 16 associated kingdoms that spanned the Ekiti country had diplomatic ties which depended much for a proper functioning on the role that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the General of his Army played in sustaining harmony in the entire Ekiti territory. He asserted that the kingdoms of Egbe Oba (Ikole) and Ijero gave Ado-Ekiti continual support in playing a leadership role. Hence, the traditional ties and leadership role of Ado-Ekiti and the central position of Ewi’s Kingdom among the three potential rulers of Ekitiland in its medieval period of history suffice.
In the course of the history of Ekiti, only kingdoms outside a direct centrifugal influence exerted from Ado-Ekiti were those of Otun, Ishan, Ayede and Emure, three of them in the extreme north and one on the extreme south. During the advent of colonial rule in Ekiti, between 1899 and 1912, the British Colonial Government administered Ekitiland from Oke Imo and from 1913 decided to choose Ado-Ewi as a convenient centre for its Ekiti administration, while changing the town’s name to Ado-Ekiti in recognition that Ado-Ekiti is the nerve centre of Ekiti people’s social and economic activities. In the areas of religious harmony in Ekiti affairs, major religious activities designed for Ekiti particularly for both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, have Ado-Ekiti as the Seat of their Bishops. In the academic field, Ado-Ekiti is the seat of the Federal Polytechnic and the Ondo State University (now renamed Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti). The location of these institutions therefore bears witness to the central-ness of Ado Ekiti in the heart of Ekitiland.
Chief J.E. Babatola also indicated that most of the organizations that made demands for the creation of an Ekiti State wanted Ado-Ekiti as its capital because Ado-Ekiti is uniquely a natural setting capable of resultant development of its landscape and facilities in a way to assist the finance of the administration of a new State. Part of the summary of the presentation to Mbanefo’s Panel on State Creation for the choice of Ado-Ekiti as the State Capital in Chief Babatola’s submission was his presentation of the Ekiti Map where he referred to the population sizes of Ekitis and showed that the percentages yielded by the population of Ekiti North (headquarters at Ikole), Ijero (headquarters at Ijero) and Ero (headquarters at Ido Ekiti) are respectively 13.03, 0.93, and 15.35, while that of Ado stood at 28.43% of their entire population. He noted that in using a map of Ekiti produced before Akure opted out of the Ekiti confederacy in 1946, the centre of balance geometrically in Ekitiland between 1913 and 1946 was Itaipe area (the picnic ground at Ado-Ekiti). He highlighted the efforts of Ado-Ekiti people to make the Ekiti Division of Ondo Province achieve development in terms of road transportation, creation of land bank for business and official use through existence of road infrastructures to link the town with the other Ekiti administrative divisions, extensive Government Reservation Areas to house government officials (i.e. District Officers, judges and magistrates), the Ewi-in-Council 1975 augmentation of Government efforts by creation of land bank for development purposes, construction of several buildings by the Federal and State Governments for the official use of the administrative, judiciary, police and prison departments, existing communication facilities and adequate provision for effective administration of justice and security of lives in Ekitiland which is at its best in Ado-Ekiti. He noted that since Ekitis naturally come to Ado-Ekiti regularly and settle there in large numbers to do business and contribute enormously to the increased prosperity of Ekiti people, Ado-Ekiti is a befitting place to site the capital. He concluded that ‘…Ado-Ekiti is already a fortunate asset with no liability attached in setting up the apparatus for a state capital…”
Ado-Ekiti eventually became the capital of Ekiti State when the state was created on 1 October 1996. The demand for equity among Ekiti people and equality of Ekiti Kingdoms was brought to light in the agitation for the location of the state capital in different communities; no part of Ekiti would see itself as subordinate or less developed to the others. This is the politics of development in modern Ekiti State since 1999 and one of the major challenges of political governance, leadership aspirations and policy making.
Political violence sparked a protest march in Ado-Ekiti in January 2009. Residents took to the streets demanding government action following a spate of political violence involving reported murders, assassination attempts, and at least one arson of a journalist's home.
Some fifty years ago, the city began to grow/expand beyond its peripheries and ancient gates and ramparts. In 1963, the city was the largest urban centre in present Ondo and Ekiti States and its population of 158,000 at the census of that year represented it as the most populous urban centre in Eastern Yorubaland. The 1991 population count confirmed the primacy of the city, at least in Ekiti. The creation of Ekiti State in October 1996 and the establishment of state capital at Ado-Ekiti will further enhance the city's physical development.
The phenomenal growth and development mentioned above have been due to many factors. Many of these are citizens of Ado urban, some are citizens of Ado rural, some are stranger elements, a couple of them are even Europeans and other expatriates. The citizenry warmly welcomed these development. For example, when the main road from the National Bank junction, through Erekesan and Ereguru to Ojumose was tarred in 1952 and the major road from Ajilosun through Ijigbo, Orereowu, Okesa and Obada etc. a section of Akure - Ilorin road, was tarred in 1956, the very welcome development was rendered in popular juju songs, one of which rang:
Baba wa te 'ri oda l'ado (Our fathers walked on tarred roads at Ado)
Ko o bi ko e e (what a delight, what a delight)
e e o (very well so)
Ko o bi ko e e (What a delight, what a delight)
The layout of Ado-Ewi drawn up and successfully implemented from the time of Ewi Awamaro and enlarged by Ewi Gberubioya were only slightly modified to address the issues of border relations, internal security and reduction of threats to the heartland of Ewi’s Kingdom after the turbulence and wars of 19th century. Since the era of Ewi Awamaro, the design of Ado-Ewi Layout had been implemented in a manner that left the first settlers relocated outside the vicinity of the Ewi’s Palace in an arrangement that left the community around Ewi in a preferred order. Ewi’s palace was first built where Chief Arowa now resides close to Erekesan (King’s Market). The layout was part of the physical features in the traditional settings and layout of Ado-Ekiti, the panoramic view as at the beginning of 1800. Ewi Akulojuorun (1781-1808), Ewi Aroloye (1808-1836) who reigned at Ado but was attacked successively by Benin hordes.
Ado-Ekiti was a three sector traditional grouping with its unique arrangement of its component traditional entities in the Ewi’s traditional cabinet. The three major traditional political divisions of Ado-Ekiti with their unique graphic explanation of the Ewi’s traditional cabinet are as shown in the historical graph produced by Chief J.E. Babatola with 31 Ado Chiefs as a Rejoinder to Chief Oisa Fasuba’s Memo 1975/76 on the arrangement of Ado landscape and Chieftaincy beginning from the reign of Ewi Awamaro. It shows that Ado-Ekiti consist of OKE EWI, ODO ADO and OGBON META.
Among the most conspicuous of the great changes were the introduction and expansion of Christianity and Islam. Christian missions especially of the CMS, Roman Catholic, Baptist, African Church and Methodist, later the Cherubum and Seraphim and Apostolic Church took root and expanded during the 20th century. Each of these Christian communities established numerous churches such that by 1970, the CMS (Anglican) and the Roman Catholic had grown so fast that they had become dioceses with their headquarters and seats of bishops in Ado-Ekiti. The two missions had three grammar schools, the number increased to five in 1990. The growth of Christian communities was very rapid between 1970 and 2000; new missions and denominations Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical and Episcopal arose, swelling up existing communions. Altogether over one hundred churches were recorded in the city in the year 2000.
The Muslim community did not lag behind, the faith spread. The central mosque was built about 1930 and thereafter, a number of mosques were built in Idemo, Umayo, Isato (Irona), Ogbonado, Okesa, Oke-Ila etc. The Ansar-Ud-Deen emerged in the early 1940s. As a matter of fact, the number of mosques and the number of Muslims who have performed the Hajj can readily come to hand as indices of expansion. The number of mosques increased substantially with the growing number of well-to-do Muslim who build mosques as annexes to their private homes; by the year 2000, more than forty mosques could be counted in the city. By 1960, only Alhaji Akorede had performed the Hajj but the number of Alhajs increased in the 1970s and steadily increased in the 1980s and 1990s.
In contemporary times, western education had been the vogue throughout Ekiti. Ado-Ekiti took the lead with the number of educational institutions.
In March 1896, Old Emmanuel School was established at Odo Aremu. In 1917, the Roman Catholic Mission established St. Patrick's Primary School. By the 1950s, the number of primary and secondary modern schools had increased very substantially. By 1974, the CMS alone had 104 primary schools, 8 secondary schools, and a teachers' college.
In the early 1930s, the Venerable Archdeacon Henry. Dallimore superintendent of the CMS mission established Christ's School in 1933. It was raised by the priest to a Middle School and finally towards the end of the 1940s it became a full-fledged Grammar School. He was succeeded as Principal and High Master by Canon LD Mason from 1948-1966. Chief RA Ogunlade was Principal from 1966 to 1972. Christs School, Ado-Ekiti has contributed greatly to the educational and scientific advancement of Nigeria in general and Ondo-province in particular. Within a short span of time Christs school had produced one of the highest numbers of Professors in virtually all fields of learning and especially the professions in Nigeria. Christ school, was indeed, one of the basis of the epithet that Ekiti is the "fountain of knowledge". Another possible explanation for the "fountain of knowledge" sobriquet for Ekiti in general, is the historical fact that Agboniregun the progenitor of Ifa corpus of knowledge in Yoruba cosmology, also had Ekiti roots. Christs school Alumni are found in academia and professions around the world today. In the early 1950s, the Ekiti Progressive Union built a second grammar school at Ido-Ekiti the Ekiti Parapo College, in celebration of the overthrow of the Ibadan overlordship following the Kiriji or Ekiti Parapo war. Soon after the CMS agreed to separate Christ's School into two (boys' section and Girls' Section)-as a result of the major road(Iworoko Road) which naturally divided the two sections into two) viz: Christ's School,Ado Ekiti and Christ's Girls' School,Ado Ekiti.
Thence forth, communities took it in their strides to raise funds and establish a number of community grammar schools. Ado-Ekiti established its own in 1960 and another one towards the end of the 1970s. The number of Grammar Schools kept increasing and by the year 2000, there were twelve pupil grammar schools, private grammar schools numbered six, a total of eighteen. The Federal Government established its polytechnic at Ikewo, Ado-Ekiti, the defunct Ondo State University established its University at Ilewu, Ado-Ekiti.
Within a period of 50 years, much development in western education had taken place in Ekiti in general and Ado-Ekiti in particular. Chief E. A. Babalola, a native of Oye-Ekiti was first University graduate in Ekiti. Chief Alex olu Ajayi was the first graduate from Ado-Ekiti graduating BA (HONS) from Fourah Bay College, in 1953, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Education from the University of London in 1954. Thereafter, Ado Ekiti has produced many illustrious sons and daughters from world class universities, many of whom are professors in many scientific, medical, social sciences, Engineering and humanities disciplines within barely half a century. . Chief E A Babalola from Oye-Ekiti was a high school master in 1947 and he took over the management of Christ's High School, Ado-Ekiti when Archdeacon Dallimore retired and left for Britain. Today, the Ekitis are found in large numbers in every academic and professional positions, Ado-Ekiti has a disproportionate impact in the academic world both in Nigeria and globally.
Tremendous development took place in the cultivation of economic crops, cultivation and collection of forest products such as kolanut (cola acuminata, Obi abata and cola nitida, gbanja) and oil palm produce, commerce and trade. Much of the impetus of all these came initially from Mr. Isaac Ifamuboni (later Babamuboni) and a number of early Christians from Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan. These men introduced the cultivation of cocoa, maize, brown cocoyam etc. to Ekiti. Wage earning labourers from parts of Ekiti who went to work in Ondo, Ijebu and Ife boosted the cultivation of these economic trees.
Ewi Aladesanmi II encouraged the cultivation of cash crops and establishment of trading and commercial enterprises among Ado citizenry. The Urhobo came into Ado communities in the early 1940s with their own mode of palm oil extraction. The Ebira came in large numbers in the 1940s and 1950s introducing the cultivation of their own specie of yams, cassava and beans. In the early 1950s, Igbemo, and Ado community started the cultivation of rice, the vogue spread to Iworoko in the 1960s and soon in the 1970s to other Ekiti communities such as Erio etc. These food crops boosted food production and contributed to the sustenance of the growing population of Ado communities, especially Ado-Ekiti, and by extension, other Ekiti and non-Ekiti communities.
The progress made in Western education, cultivation of food crop and of economic trees, as well as the establishment of commercial ventures brought great profit to Ado-Ekiti. In the early 1940s big time commercial firms (companies) such as U.A.C and in later years John Holt, U.T.C, C.F.A.O, established factories in the city. The Post and Telegraph now (NIPOST) established a station in this city in 1947/48 causing posting and collection of mails at the District Officer's office at Ayoba to cease. In 1958, pipe-borne water facility was provided making Ado-Ekiti the first town in present Ondo and Ekiti States to enjoy the facility. Two years later, ECN (now NEPA) extended electricity to the city. These facilities enhanced/increased commercial activities and brought immense socio-economic benefit and improved standard of life to the people. From the 1950s, commercial banks, at first the National Bank, the Union Bank, and in the 1960s and 1970s Co-operative Bank and United Bank for West Africa, opened their branch offices in Ado-Ekiti.
In the early 1970s, Brigadier RA Adebayo, the second military Governor of Western Region partnered with Mr Soliman Nagarty to extablish a Textile mill at Ado-Ekiti ( Western Nigeria Textile Industry Corporation) or WESTEXINCO)
Ado Ekiti has a stadium with a capacity of 10,000 and a third division professional football league team.
Oye is one of the 16th kingdoms of Ekiti land. Oye-Ekiti people are a group of the south-western
Yoruba, inhabiting the administrative headquarters’ of the present Oye Local Government area of Ekiti State. The Old Oye kingdom comprises of five villages namely Oye, Ire, Egosi, Eshetta, (Egosi and Eshetta have come together as Ilupeju) and Arigidi Ekiti (now Ayegbaju) and covers an area of about 64 square miles (NationalArchive, Ibadan). The population of Oye-Ekiti according to the 1952 national census was 13,696, (National Archive, Ibadan), 57,196 in 1963 and in 2006 the population was 168,251(National Population Commission 2006).
Oye-Ekiti is located at a general altitude around 1500 feet with hills and granite outcrops rising to about 200 feet. It is covered by thick forest with very small patches of high forest and is surrounded by hills which provide her protection in times of war. In fact, the hills were a blessing to the people especially during the Benin invasion in the 19th century (Akintoye 1921).
The origin of Oye Ekiti which is also known as Obalatanland is associated with the founder
of the town, Oloyemoyin who was born in Imore district of Ile Ife (Owoyomi 1995). Thus, the
name Oye was coined from his name ‘Oloyemoyin’, a name supposedly put together because of the circumstances surrounding the birth of the founder of Oye who was said to have been born during a terrible and ‘hostile’ harmattam which normally blows from the Sahara desert over and across north Africa countries and to all parts of Nigeria. And to preserve his life, he was kept in a dark room with female deity called ‘Obalatan’ for an unspecified period of time.
Thus, he was observed as a wonderful prince whose birth had been accompanied by a horrible
harmattan, while, traditional lamps were lit and arranged in the room both day and night to keep the room warm, coupled with the harmattan was the attendant dryness of his mother’s breast so much that she could not breast feed him and rather he was fed with honey in place of breast milk. This is why he was named Oloyemoyin, meaning a harbinger of harmattan who fed on honey and this is express in the cognomen to the child and by extension all autochthons of Oye as; Omo Oloye, Omo ora ufe ketaana Osan gangan, meaning that Oloye is an aboriginal son of Ile-Ife who always put on light during the day (Oye Progressive Union 1994).
According to available oral evidence, the prince left Ile-Ife in company of his brother Ogunlire, the acclaimed founder of Ire-Ekiti, with a remarkable entourage, equipped with large armies, crude weaponry, commanders, seers, oracles, priests and subtle counselors. The entourage on their way from Ile-Ife first settled at Ule Oye Ora (National Archive Ibadan). At Oye Odo Ora, the aborigines were not happy with such intrusion and as a result fought and scattered them. They, therefore, moved to a new settlement and called it Oye Ekiti, while Ogunlire migrated and settled in Ire-Ekiti. Some settled in Egosi, and others conquered Eshetta and Arigidi while, Oye-Ekiti became the head of these towns and Oloye was recognized by them as their leader being the eldest son of theirmother, Yeye Aiye (National Achive, District Officer Diary Ibadan). (click here: http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/T%20&%20T/T%20&%20T-09-0-000-11-Web/T%20&%20T-09-2-000-11-Abst-PDF/S-T&T-09-2-123-11-221-Onipede-K-J/S-T&T-09-2-123-11-221-Onipede-K-J-Tt.pdf)
“The first Olukere came from Ile-Ife and founded Ikere, much later, the first Ogoga, a hunter, left his base in Benin and came to Ikere on a hunting spree. Reaching Ikere, he went and stayed with the Olukere at his palace. As time passed by, the number of people bringing cases to the Olukere for settlement started increasing by the day until it reached a point when he could not do everything alone. He then asked Ogoga to go and stay at Iro to attend to the people on his behalf while he, the Olukere would continue with other traditional assignments. The Ogoga started carrying out the job assigned to him until he eventually attained the position of authority.”
As ordained by tradition, Ogoga and Olukere usually meet once a year during the Olosunta festival. That day, Olukere wears his crown while the Ogoga merely wears a cap. Today, both Ogoga and Olukere are, in the best interest of the people, generally seen as the head. And both are on the government payroll.
Ogoga and Olukere live in two different worlds. The attainment of University Degree put Ogoga at the forefront while Olukere a very intelligent and one who fully understands the science of power sharing continues as the traditional head. However, one thing they both have in common is the skill to understand the desire of their subjects and of winning their confidence. If anything, they try not to subscribe to the idea of absolute monarch.
Ikere, in its uniqueness, remains a complex society, a little conglomerate in its own right. History reveals that the resident of Ikere had their origin from different towns and cities in Yoruba land.
They are people whose existence defines unity and their nickname, “Ekiti Parapo,” echoes it proudly. Welcome to the only city ruled by two Kings. Ikere-Ekiti, “a wonderland wallowing in an admixture of profound civilization and tenacious cultural learning “. Headline, a reputable Nigerian Newspaper which first ran this story described it as “an expansive city lucky enough to escape being choked by the mighty rocks that dots its western part”. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the story of Ikere – a great city located on the southern part of Ekiti State in Nigeria.
Royalty is a rich literary and artistic tradition, which has influenced the development of cultures around the world. This is perhaps one of the reasons people have such a high regard for the institution of royalty. Royalty, with its rich history is one within a geographical location such as a city, or a nation. One King and one Queen in England, one King in Morocco, one in Norway, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and so on. But two Kings, otherwise known as “Obas” in Ikere-Ekiti! Oduduwa, the founding father of the Yoruba land established Ile-Ife, the traditional headquarters of the Yorubas. He never had a second or complementary King or Oba. There has never been two Oonis reigning simultaneously in Ile-Ife.
Battle-loving Aare Onakakanfo wielded tremendous influence in the old Oyo Empire, yet Oyo maintains one Alafin. Ibadan, the largest city in West Africa had always had powerful personalities. Among those in the beginning was Efunsetan Aniwura. Yet, Ibadan had never introduced two Olubadan.
Ogedengbe, the intractable warrior in Ijesa land, was a personality to behold. Ilesa never introduced two Agunlejikas because of him. Osogbo and Osun are almost synonymous. Ataoja, nontheless, is the only recognized Oba in Osogbo. There has always been one Oba (each city in Yoruba land), one Emir (Hausa land), and one Obi (Ibo land).
Itapa is one of the towns in Ekiti land which sprang from odufuwa of life and Owatapa is the head. Itapa is one of the goddess being worshipped at Ile-ife. Its festival is held for a period of thirty days and worshipped by Ooni and his people till today. It is worshipped till today. The festival is called Utaale at Itapa.
Ifa devotees of Itapa
Amowa and Elepe, sons of Oduduwa left Ile-ife with their mother, they also came with two friends known as Elemo and Baaro. These people were hunters. At a stage Elepe took his leave and settled at one of Itapa's farms called Osin, Another brother of Amowa settled in Itapa farm called Ijelu and he later became Elejelu. Amowa was the first OLOSIN of Osin. There are other goods called Elutapa and Orisa Itapa which are worshiped by Ooni till today.
His Royal Majesty, Oba David Makanjuola Ajaja of Itapa kingdom
Owa attends these gods through his elected priests called Ayaya as the priest of Elutapa and Aworo Orisa Ilawe as the priest of Orisa Itapa or Ilawe. Elemo took his quarter and become the head of Remo while Baaro became head of Egetun. All of them were great hunters.
Many people came to settle with them and they became prosperous. These heads of quarters regarded Owatapa as their head and the people approached Owatapa through their heads, and Owatapa has the final say over all matters brought before him.
Here are the names of the Owatapa in order of Precedent.
The first Owatapa was Amowa;
The 2nd Owatapa was Muaro, Amowa's son;
The 3rd Owatapa was Jejeke;
The 4th Owatapa was Ponrokun, he removed his palace from Iloro Remo to where it is today. Chief Oisemo was asked to take charge of the palace.
The 5th Owatapa was Yioye;
The 6th Owatapa was Abaradudu;
The 7th Owatapa was Awadieruasola;
The 8th Owatapa was Arawamokunrin during the reign of this Owa, his town Itapa was overcrowded and many people went to settle at Egosi and at a place called Ila.
The 9th Owatapa was Agiriyoyo;
The 10th Owatapa was Akitipa- Obibo;
The 11th Owatapa was Ijimgbere Oke;
The 12th Owatapa was Owa Edun Alaye;
The 13th Owatapa was Iboun;
The 14th Owatapa was Ajakobijagba;
The 15th Owatapa was Okekorokoro ni kin ma gun on;
The 16th Owatapa was Agodisoro;
The 17th Owatapa was Owa Okogirigiri ni ki nwon ma di on;
The 18th Owatapa was Owa Ogogu;
This Owa wanted to recall his people from Egosi but the people at Egosi now called Ilupeju refused to release them and this later resulted into war. This war was called 'Ogun yinmomo' -i.e give me child. The people of Egosi were assisted by Ikole. When Itapas went to war, the Ikole came to Itapa and carried away their children and sold them. They were driven away.
During this war,another war from Ilorin led by Aliyu carried people from Itapa, Ikole and Egosi away. They captured Prince Arowogbadamu at the age of 7 years and it was during this war that Owatapa thereby becoming the 19th Owatapa.
Owa Amerijoye made an alliance with Ata who also came from Iye in case of any other attack or war. They both settled together at Aiyede. When Ibadan war broke out, Ata was captured and sojourned in Lagos from where he was brought to become the 20th Oba.
The 21st Owatapa was Owa Ola I;
The 22nd Owatapa was Owa Ademiloye;
The 23rd Owatapa was Ali Sanni - the son of Arowogbadamu, who was installed Owa in 1929.
The 24th Owatapa was Owa Ojo (Ola II);
The 25th Owatapa was Owa Amuda Adeyeye Ali ( Atabatele II), he was installed on the 17th April 1987, and reigned for Twenty-Two (22) years to December 29, 2009.
The 26th Owatapa is HRM Oba (Dr) D. O Makanjoula Ajaja, who started his reign of transformation and restoration on the 25th day of November, 2011 and had his Official Coronation as the OWATAPA of ITAPA EKITI on the 31st day of March, 2012.
Ade a pe lori o. Kabiyesi... Ire o!!!
Like a typical Yoruba town, a lot of stories, legends, myths and oral tales abound with respect to the origin and tradition of Igede-Ekiti.
Ake, a hunter and herbalist founded Igede. Erindo, his wife and Awota, his servant migrated from Ile-Ife. They settled at Okesu. Ake and his wife were blessed with sixteen (16) children, eight (8) boys and eight (8) girls. Among the children were Osun, Elemi, Orunro, Ogbese, Elerinmo and Okunsusi.
Immediately after the death of Ake, there was a struggle for leadership among the children. This led to a civil war where a high degree of metaphysical might through the use of incantations was displayed. Eventually, the most elderly ones destroyed themselves and thus, Okunusi, a younger but highly intelligent and courageous member of the family took over the mantle of leadership. He became the first king of Igede at Okesu because his father, Ake was never appointed a king.
With increasing population, the number of settlers at Okesu outgrew the total land space and hence the need to move to a more relatively plain area to settle at Odogede. This was the origin of the saying “Odo, Baba Igede”. Oba Obirimoko was the first Onigede to settle at Odogede. However, he lived a horrifying life and left a bad record and hence, his reign was ruled out of order and never to be listed as an Oba of Igede-Ekiti.
The name IGEDE was a derivative of the term “OGEDE” meaning incantations. This name was given to the settlement when the civil war was fought with a lot of incantations. Incantations were a powerful weapon of war in those days as a display of metaphysical knowledge.
The other story that the daughter of Alara of Aramoko-Ekiti who married the son of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti gave birth to a baby called Ige on her way to Ado-Ekiti at Odegede was not authenticated as the basis for deriving the name of the town – Igede (Signifying that Ige has arrived).
Igede-Ekiti lies within latitudes 70 391 and 7 0 411 North of the Equator and Longitudes 50 71 and 50 81 East of the Greenwish Meridian. It is the Headquarters of Irepodun / Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ondo State. It is bounded in the North by Awo-Ekiti, in the South by Ilawe-Ekiti, in the East by Iyin-Ekiti along Ado-Ekiti side, and in the West by Aramoko-Ekiti. It is at a distance of 64 kilometers from Akure, the capital of Ondo State. It covered land area of about 3.8 square kilometres with a populatoin of 31,041 people (1966 census). Igede-Ekiti belongs to a group called ‘Ekiti’. The Ekitis settled in the Eastern part of the old Western State of Nigeria now known as Oyo, Ogun and Ondo State.
The people speak Ekiti dialect which is often mixed with standard Yoruba language. The culture of the people with respect to mode of dressing, eating habits, housing, marriage, burial and naming ceremonies follow the same pattern as practised in Yorubaland.
Igede is a nodal settlement. It is situated on a relatively high ground with the highest point at Esu hill, and an out-crop at Okeaga in Odogede quarter. This topography makes Igede a watershed region. River Osun, otherwise worshipped and adorned as “Osun Oshogbo” takes its source from Igede at a portion between Igede and Awo-Ekiti. There are other rivers and streams such as Elemi, Ogbese, Inansi, Ogangan and Ogburuu. Gully erosion has adversely affected parts of the town at Irona, Odo-Uri and Ilamoye. Igede falls within the rainforest belt of southwestern Nigeria.Its vegetation is therefore evergreen rainforest type. This type of vegetation favours agricultural practices. More than 90% of the inhabitants are farmers.
The farm products include cocoa, accounting for more than 80% of the income of the farming population, kolanut (both Acumulata and Nitida), oil palm, yam, cocoyam, maize cassava, vegetables and to some extent, rice, Palm wine is Igede’s all the year cash earner and popular beverage “OGORO IGEDE”. The location within the humid tropics makes the town and its environs enjoy tropical hot and wet type of climate. There is a rainy season from April to October and a dry season from November to March. The rainfall regime is of the order onset, advance and retreat. On the average, the rainfall is about 1,450mm/year. If not for recent weather changes, Igede enjoys a short spell of little rainfall in the month of August (August Break) and harmattan in December to January months.
Awo-Ekiti is a small town in the newly created Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government area of Ondo State. Before the creation of the new Local Government, the town was within the defunct Ekiti Central Local Government. It is about six kilometers from Igede-Ekiti, the Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government headquarters, and about twenty two kilometers from Ado-Ekiti through Igede/Iyin road. The town is situated within longitude 15½0E of the Greenwich and Latitude 6¾0 North of the Equator.
Awo-Ekiti is a centrally located town in Ekitiland. It is within the heartland of Ekitiland. The central location of the town has not been appreciated simply because of the poor roads which pass through the town.Travellers prefer long but good roads to poor but short roads. It is when the six roads that converge on the town are developed that the modality of the town within Ekitiland would come into focus. The central location of the town makes it form the shortest route to all corners and major towns in Ekitiland. For example, Ido-Ekiti via Osi through Awo/Igede-Ilawe to Igbara Odo is only forty kilometers. Ado-Ekiti via old Iyin settlement through Awo/Ara to Ijero Ekiti is just 22km. Ifaki via Esure/Eyio through Awo to Aramoko in Ekiti West is only 28km. The major towns at the periphery of Ekitiland such as Otun, Efon Alaye, Ikere, Ikole are nearly equidistant to Awo Ekiti. With the development of the roads, the strategic location of the town would be a potent factor in its growth and development.
The town is situated on a high elevation of about 1,800 in above the sea level. It is on one of the high plains of Western Nigeria. The altitude gives the town some unique weather conditions. Throughout the year, the weather is moderately cool and its water are usually cold most especially during the dry season. When a lot of people in the town prefer the naturally cold water to fridged water. The land too is well drained no water lodging and flooding.
The Plateau on which the town situates forms a watershed for tributaries which flow into River Ogbese in the South and River Osun in West. It is interesting to note that these two important rivers in Western Nigeria takes their sourcs just a few kilometers apart at the outskirt of the town. The two rivers are important as they are being worshipped by a large community of people in Western Nigeria.
Very spectacular in the topography of the town in the Igori Rock which is just only one and a half kilometres east of the town. This hill an outcrop of granite, is reminisent of the beautiful rocky landscape of Idanre. This massive, rock but smooth feature presents a fascinating tourist attraction which ought to be developed by the state government. The top of the hill is an ideal place to build challets to boost the tourist industry in the state. Standing on this hill one has a panoramic view of a rolling countryside whose distant hills and horizon merge with the blue sky.
The original inhabitants of Awo were believed to have come from Ifè Oòdáyé. They were part of the waves of Yorùbá who migrated from Ile-Ife to found settlements in the present South-Western Nigeria. The foundation of Awo in its present site was as a result of amalgamation of some villages which agreed to cooperate for defensive reasons, as a result of common threats from stronger – chiefdoms. This was about 1350 A.D.
The community which later became Awo had its nucleus in a small settlement at Ijoru. The small settlement in later time became part of Oke-Uba Quarter under Osukoti of Awo Ekiti. At Ijoru was a market called Olujoda which was held every nine other days by such nearby settlements at Uju and Ile-Ona. The great importance of the market of Odo settlement who engaged Ijoru, Uju, Ile-Ona and other surrounding hamlets in warfare. The incessant attacks from Odo people forced the settlements to move close. Their united efforts helped them to put a permanent stop to Odo attacks. This early was referred to as Ogun Owuro.
Some years after the amalgation of the settlements that jointly fought Odo war, Olujoda market was abandoned and a more central market called ‘ATOWOSE’ was created. The great strength of the new settlement as well as its flourishing trade in kolanuts attracted the fancy of Odo people. The negotiated peace with the people of the new settlement and then many of the people from Odo moved in to settle with them. It was at this time an Ife Prince arrived at the settlement. The Ifew Prince was Akinadesanmi (but simply called Akinsanmi). He later became the first paramount ruler of the settlement with the title – Alawo of Awo.
Akinsanmi was one of the grand princes of Ile-Ife who with their followers left Ile-Ife some hundreds of years before the Yoruba inter-tribal wars. The group was led by a senior brother of Akinsanmi by name Okiribiti nicknamed Obadudu. He was fearless and popular. He later founded the settlement now called Emure Ijaloke and thus became the first Elemure of Emure Ijaloke. Olosi who later founded Osi-Ekiti (in Ido/Osi Local Government) also a brother to Akinsanmi was in the group. They left Ife with many beaded crowns and beads. The group arrived at Igbo Owa near River Ose where a powerful kingdom was established. Rivalry among Akinsanmi and his brother princes as well as attacks from Oba of Ado Ibini led to the fall of Igbo Owa Kingdom. The group then split and migrated in smaller groups settling in places one after the other.
Akinsanmi led a group which settled at Oba-Ile near Akure and later at Ise before he arrived to settle finally at the settlement within Atowose market environment which later became known known as Awo. On his way from Ise he fed mainly on baobab tree fruit. Ejisun, Erinwa, Edemo, Oluaro Aroro and Edemorun accompanied him as his followers on arrival.
Akinsanmi was a great hunter and a powerful medicine man. He was also very handsome and could change his body skin into different colours like a chameleon. He killed many animals and therefore dresed in different animals skins which were varied in colour. The often changing body skin and his garments of varied animal skins made people to popularly refer to him as ‘Alawo ewu arabara’. From this, the name Alawo is coined and the settlement became known as ‘Ilu Awo’. He often displayed his medicine charms hung on ‘Igba – (the type of coined ropes used for climbing palm tree). He used it as a necklace (Igbajo) in addition to beaded necklace. This, he believed gave him magical power against his enemies, and made his medicine handy for use during any emergency. So, for magical power against enemies ‘Igbajo’ was traditionally given to every newly installed Alawo as part of his regalia. It was however used last at the installation of Oba Filani Adesiyan in 1930.
People feared Akinsanmi (Alias Alawo ewu arabara) and was highly respected. With time he became recognised as the leader and paramount chief of the settlement (Awo). His fame extended to some far places and some people left their villages to settle at Awo. People from Ikole. Oba-Ile among others came to settle. Among such people were Elesi and Elese from the royal lineage of Osi-Ikole and Ilese respectively. The two men left their villages when they were not made paramount chiefs there. Both of them knew the traditional coronation rites as practised in their villages. They were then given the honour to perform the installation of Akinsanmi as the first Alawo of Awo. The two became recognised chiefs as Elesi and Elese. The official traditional duties of the Elesi and Elese up till this day is to install new Alawo.
Awo people have no common oriki like some other towns. For example: Osi-Ekiti has ‘Asise’ as its oriki, Ifaki as Orinkinran, Iyin is Egirioke and Akure is Oyemekun. The reason for this is simply that the original inhabitants of Awo came from different angle. Its royal family has its oriki which originated in the person of Oba Akinsanmi the first Alawo. Because of his boldness, his garments of varied colours, his feeding on baobab tree fruits and his arrival at Awo after his brief stay at Ise, members of the royal family at Awo have their oriki thus: Omo Akin, Omo Aláwò èwù àràbarà, Omo olòsè (baobab) Omo irà lílá ònà Ìsè e.t.c.
When Alawo arrived at Awo, the settlement of Eyinke was not far from Awo and a man called Ogbese was its paramount ruler. He was a hunter as well as great warrior. He was also a powerful medicine man. As Alawo was in history but it was faced in its early days with incessant harassments of invaders. For this reason the Alawo palace was removed from its original site at Oke -Uba which was very prone to attack to Erewa which appeared a more secured place. The construction of the first palace at Erewa had not been completed when the incoming Alawo left the palace at Oke-Uba. He had to stay for three months in a compound close to the new palace site at Erewa before he moved in after the completion. He gave the name Ile Aro to the compound where he stayed and the head of the compound was given the title ‘Aro’. For years it was customary for newly installed Alawo to stay in chief Aro’s house for three months before moving to the palace. The period was used to make necessary repairs to the grass thatched roof of the palace. Now that the palace is roofed with corrugated iron sheets there is no need for any new Alawo to stay for three months. From the time of Oba J. D. Aladejuyigbe III in 1968 the stay has been for three days only.
Early in its history, Awo evolved a stable political system. Alawo was and still the paramount ruler and he ruled with the assistance of his chiefs. There was the traditional council of state. It was made up of:
numo Chiefs consisting of three Iare, three Iro and three Emo.
Elegbe consisting of three Agba Elegbe, three Agba Akin and three Oisa Ijokun from each of the three wards or quarters.
Egiri consisting of three Olorigbo, three Elegiri and three Elerukuku.
Women Chiefs consisting of Eyedofin, Eyegun and Eyesemore.
There was also the Ward Council which was made up of precinct Chiefs (Olori Ebi).
The institution of age-grade system was an important aspect of the political organisation.The lowest grade was Otun Erukuku, followed by Agba Erukuku. These two age-grades took charge of public works like road, market and palace repairs and construction. After seven years, Otun Erukuku moved to Agba Erukuku. From here they moved to Origbo. The Orighos moved to Egiri and Erigi moved to Oye Elegbe and Agba Elegbe. The Elegbes were responsible for the maintenance of peace, they caught and punished criminals like witches, and they made sacrifices to appease the gods of the town. They were also the warriors. The ablest member was made the leader with the little Sajowa.
Among the early traditional festivals was the Oodun or Oro Olofin festival. This was and still is a traditional festival that is performed or celebrated by any direct Ife prince ruling a community. The traditional beaded crown is worn during the festival others were Ogun festival, Egungun festival and the worshipping of Orisa Oja, Orisa Iko otherwise called Orisa Ojuna (god of fire) bought by the family that came from Ikole, Orisa Odo brought by Odo people and Oyi the popular god of Oke-Uba ward.
Many Alawos has reigned since the demise of Akinsanmi. They included the following. (Their names are not all listed in chronological order) Oba Agodogbo bi ila a fi nsuru, Oba Aropupayoko, Oba Orun ku bi ojo, Oba Amolese, Oba Osodogbadamu, Oba Asowinon who broke the traditional law and was waylaid by the Elegbe and killed with their metal rod i.e. Ogbo Elegbe, Oba Ona Owuro who later abdicated his throne and left for Era where he became Elera of Era (now Araromi Ijero) Oba Adubienimu, who reigned at about 1650, Oba Ifamosaya 1860 – 1875, Oba Oyiyo Okeruku 1876, Oba Adesiyan I 1880 – 1900, Oba Aladejuyigbe I 1910 – 1925, Oba S. O. Aladejuyigbe II 1927 – 1930 who was the first enlightened Oba. The people found his reign too tyrannical and he was dethroned on 27th of March 1930. He left Awo for Igede. He was allowed to come back in 1941 but not as a king. People in later years judged him a good king but were too fast for his people. He lived in Awo till 1972 when he died, Oba Filani Adesiyan II 1930 – 1962 and Oba J. D. Alade 1966 – 1977 who was the last of the past Alawos.
River Ogbese as a Powerful Deity in Awo-Ekiti
Ogbese was a popular man in the olden days. He was a great warriors, a hunter and a powerful medicine man. People used to sing praise of him in these words “E e sode (he was a hunter), e e sawo (he was a medicine man or an herbalist), omo amurugbon wole peran (he could kill animals in a prostrating position with his beard brushing the ground) Apamudanule (he killed his enemies during wars in hundreds so much that his blood drenched sword was used to be cleaned on the ground).
Ogbese was a prince of Ado. When his father died, there was a tussle between him and his junior brothers over who would rule Ado after their father. The two brothers set for Ado-Ibini to get the staff of office to rule, from the Oba of Ado-Ibini who was one of the seven sons of Okanbi. Before Ogbese got to Ado-Ibini, his junior brother had received the staff of office, a crown and some beads. This situation made Ogbese to grow annoyed and to hate his brother. To avoid serious clash between Ogbese and his brother, the Oba of Ado-Ibini gave Ogbese another crown and some beads. He advised him to go and found a new place of settlement. The hatred between the two made them decided not to visit each other any more and Ogbese ordered his children never to prostrate or kneel down before any person from his brother’s family.
Ogbese went northwestward and founded a new town called Eyinke. He was followed by members of his family and the few people who were loyal to him.
Some years after he founded Eyinke, a war broke out between Ado (where his brother was the paramount ruler) and an enemy group from somewhere. The fighting was too much for Ado people that they sought the help of Ogbese to assist them in the battle. Not minding the quarrel he had with his brother, he went and fought and won the battle for Ado.
This incident reveals the historical significance of the song “Ogbugbulomi, a mo ya ‘Gbese la o, A pamudanule oju re laa me io”. In standard yoruba it reads thus “Ogbugbulomi awa sadi Ogbese ni ilu Awo. Apamudanule Oju re la nwo”. This was song years later by Ado people in rememberance of the war fought for them by Ogbese.
To show their gratitudes to Ogbese the ruler of Ado sent a slave annually to Ogbese. It was the coming of the European to Nigeria that put a stop to this.
When Ogbese was about to die, he called his son Oloja and told him that he would die on unusual and miraculous death, which would make him a diety that they would continue to worship. He took a small pot with him and went to a nearby Iroko tree. He sat at the foot of the tree suddenly he disappeared into the ground. Just immediately, water started to spring out from the small pot he left lying close to the root of the Iroko tree. This became a source of River Ogbese as it is known today. The proof is here till today.
After Ogbese’s disappearance, his son Oloja became the paramount ruler of Eyinke and the name ‘Oloja’ consequently became the title of the paramount ruler of Eyinke. Oloja led his people to worship River Ogbese annally.
Eyinke under Oloja was engaged in a war with a group of people. Oloja and his people had to flee and settle in a nearby town later called Awo.
When Alawo arrived and united the various groups he met under his sovereignty, Oloja became a traditional compound head under Alawo.
Eyinke, the old settlement of Oloja became the farm land of Oloja and his people. The people continued to farm the land till today. As a mark of respect to Oloja, Ejisun the head chief of the quarter/ward to which Oloja compound belongs is installed till today in Oloja’s house.
Annually the people continued to worship the god of River Ogbese and Oloja established a priesthood of seven members. (Iworo meje) for the worship. He as Oloja headed the priesthood. Others were Oisa, Elero, Oisape, Osotun, Elesa and Odofin ere who was the chief errand man for the Oloja.
The annual festival for the worship of the god of Ogbese (until recent times) started with the wives and children of Oloja and some other priests going to the farm to bring new yams. On their arrival from the farm, they would dance round Ogbese and Atiba shrines seven times respectively. Early in the morning on the day of the festival, the youngest wives of Oloja would pound the yams nakedly under closed doors, with the senior wives guarding the compound gate to prevent people from entering. After the traditional eating of the pounded yam, the gate would be opened to visitors who came for the feast of the festival.
The traditional offering of sacrifice to the god by Oloja would follow the early morning feast. Up till the end of the last century, the sacrifice included ritual killing of a slave referred to as Oluo. The killing was always effected by the Oisa. The slave annually sent to Ogbese and his predecessors by the traditional head of Ado as a gift in appreciation of the war which Ogbese won for Ado people was after the death of Ogbese annually sacrificed as Oluwo to the god of Ogbese.
The last song sung by the last Oluwo was “eereunfeeo eereunfee oun mo wo ohun mo mu somo lale ke inreunfee.
In addition annually the traditional head of Ado used to bring kolanuts rapped with a leaf called “Omu” ferns to Oloja.
There is up till today a womanpriest Eyelogbese who plays prominent roles during the period the annual festival lasts. Every year, people with one problem or the other like those with no children come to her to be blessed and those people make pledges. The worshippers believes that with the annual prayers made by the priestess, the god always protect his people from sickness and troubles of war and also allows them to multiply till today anybody suffering from Guinea worm would be treated with the water from Ogbese river. Up till about 1958, anybody infected by small pod was admitted by Eyelogbese (Ogbese priest) and cured. A number of miracles were performed during the yearly celebrations during various acrobatic displays which include dancing and rolling on the ground with small pox (Oru) dressed and with life fern leaves stalked in the pot without falling off. We were robbed of this fanciful and attractive culture by adven of Western civilisation.
Erinmope-Ekiti falls within the derived savannah belt and has about six months of effective rainfall from mid-April to mid-October. The common crops grown are arable crops such as Yam, Cassava, Maize, Beans and Guinea Corn. Few cash crops such as Cocoa, Kolanut and Cashew are also grown in isolated areas.
The Indigenes are very dynamic, industrious and enterprising. However because of land limitations and limited opportunities, many of the people settled outside the town and can be found in virtually all parts of Nigeria where they are engaged in commercial and industrial activities and in particular the establishment of plantation in agricultural products such as Cocoa, Kolanut and Oil palm.
Record has it that Erinmope-Ekiti had its genealogical history traced to Oraufe dynasty in Ile-Ife before they migrated therefrom. Oraufe begat Ayetise and Ayetise begat Lajamisan. Obaleo belonged to the Lajamisan dynasty of the lijo area in the compound of Chief Obajio, the traditional Lord Exchequer. The first Obaleo Elejio (a.k.a) Ajigbeji (a prince, a warrior, a hunter and a herbalist) with Oore Abajadiewon also a prince left Ile-Ife at the same time and went together to all places until they both settled at a place called Ipole. When Obaleo Elejio was leaving Ile-Ife with his people he took along his own inheritance from his father which included Bearded Crown, Beads, White Horsetail etc.
Later the Obaleo left Oore behind in Ipole and settled first at Ekiti Epere near Ipole before moving to the present day location sometime in the 15th century, also Oore left Ipole and then settled at the present location - Otun. Since then, Obaleo has remained undisputed and unchallenged second-in-command to the Oore. The name Erinmope was derived from a head count of those who left Ekite-Opere to the present settlement. A census was conducted and the Oba asked the people if all the people were present, thus “NJE ORI PE” and was answered “ORI MOPE O”. Thus, the settlement was referred to as “ORIMOPE”. In another development, Obaleo Elejio having settled down ordered his hunters to scout round to see if there were other settlers. One of the hunters who faced the area called Ibamogun saw a big rock afar off believing it to be an elephant aimed at it but moving closer discovered it was not an elephant but a big rock. On return to others and the Oba he narrated his ordeal and ended it with the statement “ERIN NI MOPE” meaning that I thought it was an elephant. So Obaleo Elejio decided to name the settlement ERINMOPE. Thus the names “ORINMOPE” and “ERINMOPE” were used interchangeably to identify the Town up to the beginning of the 19th century when only ERINMOPE was finally adopted.
For administrative convenience, Oore Abajadiewon divided Moba into four constituencies in 1579 as follows:
(i) Arin Moba (Central) Otun
(ii) Ona Moba (Front/Route) Erinmope, Aaye-Oja and Irare
(iii) Osi Moba (Left) Osun, Epe, Osan, Ira and Iro
(iv) Otun Moba (Right) Igogo, Ikun, Ikosu, and Isaoye
The 1579 resolution made about 433 years ago by the Oore recognised Obaleo as second-in-command to him the position Obaleo still holds today.
There are three Ruling Houses in Erinmope Ekiti namely Iloye Ruling House, Iworo-Aro Ruling House and Ijewu Ruling House. The Ruling Houses are referred to as Royal Families or “OMO-OWAS”. The traditional Ruler - Obaleo of Erinmope - is rotated among the three Ruling Houses. The current Obaleo of Erinmope - His Royal Majesty Oba J. O. Aina is from Iloye Ruling House. Oba J.O. Aina ascended the throne in 1975. He took over from Oba Atere Atoyosoye from Ijewu Ruling House.
In Erinmope-Ekiti, several Obaleos have reigned as follows:
OBALEO ELEJIO a.k.a. Ajigbeji (Founder)
AINAAJEJIOYE (1975 till date)
In the same vein, the following Oores have reigned in Otun Ekiti:
Oore Abajadiewon (Founder)
Aroyinleke Adepoju 1967
Odundun Popoola 2002 till date (http://www.erinmope-ekiti.com/pdf_files/Erinmope%20at%20a%20glance.pdf)
The Oore of Mobaland, Oba (Dr.) James Adedapo Popoola JP, CON, Odundun I
L-R: Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Keynote Speaker and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; CEO, Emzor Pharmaceutical, Dr. Stella Okoli; and Wife of Vice President, Hajia Amina Namadi
Fprmer Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi left presents staff of office to Olupole of Ipole Iloro, Oba Babatola Oladele, with him is Olori Grace and Magaret Oladele
Olokun annual festival at Ayede, Ekiti State,Nigeria.
80th Birthday Celebration of Mama Adetutu Famuagun
Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Funso Amosun; Wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi; Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Titi Laoye Tomori, Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka at the birthday thanksgiving for Mama Adetutu Famuagun (Mrs Olayinka's mother) at the C.A.C Church Ado-Ekiti,