By now you should notice we update our “NIGERIAN HISTORIES” category every Monday. So this Monday we bring to you a detailed history and more about a sub-group under the well known YORUBA ethnic group the “EKITI people”,
under this article you will find important and interesting stories you don’t know about before like; The “Ekiti Parapo” war against the OYO empire and more like that.
The article you are going to read below was gathered from different webpages.
The Ekiti people are aboriginal, culturally homogeneous and highly intellectual agriculturalist Yoruboid-speaking people that forms a sub-group of the larger Yoruba ethnic group of West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and some part of Benin. Ekiti people who are well-known for their diverse and quality of traditional arts, music, poetry and witty sayings are reside predominantly in the Ekiti State in Western Nigeria. The Ekiti constitutes one of the largest Yoruba sub-group in Nigeria with the 2006 population census by the National Population Commission putting the population of Ekiti State at 2,384,212 people.
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.
EKITI STATE PHYSICAL STRUCTURE
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
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
Olohan of Erijiyan-Ekiti
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
Alawo of Awo Ekiti
Oniye of Iye ekiti
Olomuo of Omuo Land
Nobody can give accurate dates to these events due to the lack of written sources, but people have lived in Ekiti for centuries. It is on record that Ekiti Obas had prosperous reign in the 13th century. An example was the reign of Ewi Ata od Ado in the 1400s. The Ekiti are intelligent and have a deep love of home. Respect for age and superiors, ingrained politeness is part and parcel of their nature.
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.
THE EKITI PARAPO WAR
Although the Yoruba Civil War was mainly between Western Yoruba (Ibadan and its allies like the Offa, Modakeke and all Oyo forces on Ibadan’s side) and Eastern Yoruba (Ijesa, Ekiti, Ife and other Yoruba dominions like Igbomina, Akoko, Egbe, Kabba and the Oworro, a Yoruba sub-tribe in Lokoja, Kogi State); Ibadan was also fighting on four other fronts, making it five fronts, during this civil war.
The first encounter between Ibadan and the Eastern Yoruba forces was between it and Ekiti tagged Ogun Jalumi (battle of waterloo) which ended in ignominy for the Ekiti soldiers. The Jalumi War, also called the Battle of Ikirun, was a battle that took place on 1 November 1878 in the north east of present-day Osun State, Nigeria. It was part of the larger conflict named the Ibadan War or Ekiti-Parapo War. The forces of Ibadan defeated in detail a force of rebellious Yorubas including soldiers from Ilorin, Ekiti, Ila and Ijesa.
It was this defeat that prompted the Ekiti to call on Ogedengbe, a tall, fiery fellow, with shooting eyeballs of Ijesa stock, who had been reluctant to lead the Ekiti-Parapo, having himself had his military training in counter insurgency and infantry at Ibadan, and was wary of leading his people against his benefactors.
Ogedengbe subsequently agreed to lead the Ekiti Parapo War, which also enlisted several Yoruba dominions like Igbomina, Akoko, Egbe, Kabba and the Oworro, a Yoruba sub-tribe in Lokoja, Kogi State. Also, Lagos, Ijebu and Egba were said to have assisted Ekiti Parapo against Ibadan, seen by all, as a common threat to the commonwealth. The Ekiti War generals also held several nocturnal meetings where war strategies were reviewed and perfected. Ilara Mokin in Ondo State was said to have been the headquarters of the Ekiti Parapo secret service.
One source claimed Ibadan Generals were so clever that they would allow Ekiti to capture their women who would bear children for the captors but later spy on them. Several accounts speak of discipline on both sides, especially as regards the treatment of women, children and even prisoners of war.
The Ibadan War or Ekiti-Parapo War was a long bitter war between a terrifying Ibadan military might and other Yoruba sub-tribes tagged Ekiti-Parapo. The War was an epic and chronic civil war between two powerful Yoruba confederate armies of mainly Western Yoruba (Ibadan and its allies like the Offa, Modakeke and all Oyo dominions on the side of Ibadan) and Eastern Yoruba (Ijesa, Ekiti, Ife and other Yoruba dominions like Igbomina, Akoko, Egbe, Kabba and the Oworro, a Yoruba sub-tribe in Lokoja, Kogi State). It is said that the war lasted for about 16 years with heavy casualties on both sides although historians believe that the losses were even. It is on record that the remote cause of this war was the collapse of the Oyo empire, while the immediate cause was the domineering stance of the Ibadan military output on Yoruba towns and cities; in other words, the immediate cause was revolt against Ibadan’s desire to rule over other towns in Yoruba country following the decline of Oyo empire.
|Ogedemgbe and other warlords|
Before Ibadan’s encounter with the Eastern Yoruba forces it had already become involved in yet another war over trade with Egba and Ijebu in 1877, when Ibadan traders on their way from Porto Novo with firearms were attacked by the Egba. Ijebu declared war against Ibadan in 1877. This gave the Ekiti and the Ijesa their chance. Ijesa and Ekiti taking advantage of this war, declared their independence in 1878. This revolt against Ibadan rule in 1878 started with the massacre of Ibadan officials in Ijesa, Igbomina and Ekiti. This led to a war which dragged on for sixteen years.
Eventually, Ibadan found itself fighting on five fronts. First, in the south against the Egba who confined their activities to raids and surprise attacks; secondly, against the Ijebu, in the same south, who pitched a camp against them at Oru under Balogun Onafowokan; thirdly the main war at Kiriji in the east, where their forces fought a long battle against the Ekiti and Ijesa (Ekiti-Parapo forces) under the command of Ogedengbe, the Seriki of Ijesa; fourthly at Offa in the north, where they faced the Ilorin Fulani who pitched their camp against the people of Offa; and finally at Ile-Ife where the Ife people joined the alliance against them in 1882. There had long been friction between the Ife and the Oyo settlers at Modakeke. These animosities were strengthened by the war during which Ife itself was sacked by the Modakeke and their Ibadan allies, and Modakeke was sacked by the Ife and Ekiti.
Although Ibadan was fighting on five fronts, the main action of the war, however, took place in the north-east. The Ibadan and Ekiti-Parapo forces faced each other at Kiriji, a few miles east of Ikirun. Control of the trade routes was a major issue. There were three main routes to the interior, via Egba, Ijebu and Ondo. The Ondo route had been opened up by the British because of the frequent closure of the other roads. During this war, it became the main supply route for both sides (Akintoye, 1969). Some Ibadan supplies were able to get through via Ijebu. The war was unpopular with Ijebu traders, and the Awujale was forced into exile in 1885. Despite this, the flow of supplies was not completely free. Ijebu traders’ profit margins were high, and they retained strict control of trade through the kingdom (Johnson, 1921: 610-11).
After some initial reverses, the Ekitiparapo gained something of an advantage in the conflict, and the help they received from Ekiti Saro merchants in Lagos was crucial. The most important factor was the supply of breech-loading rifles, much more accurate than the arms being used by the rest of the Yoruba, though the Ibadan were later able to get a small supply of them as well (Akintoye, 1971: 119).
Ibadan suffered so much set-backs in these wars not only because the Ekiti-Parapo were better equipped with larger supplies of the much more accurate breech-loading rifles but also because it had to fight on five fronts and probably because none of the Oyo forces on Ibadan’s side actually wished it well. This was partly because of their sufferings under Ibadan’s control, and partly because of the arrogant attitude of Are Latosa who, under normal circumstances as head of the town, would not have gone to the battlefield. He was eventually killed at Kiriji.
The failure of Oyo to provide military defence for the Oyo people from the onslaught of the Fulani at Ilorin, had pushed Ibadan into a position of prominence among the towns that succeeded the Oyo empire; it had in consequence wrested effective power from Oyo, but was unable to secure general acceptance as the dominant force in Yoruba country.
Within the Oyo community, where the Alafin’s control had been virtually complete, Ibadan’s overbearing attitude and the alienation of the Alafin’s support had weakened its control, whilst within Yoruba country the fact that it was an upstart town whose real ruler was the Alafin had made it difficult for it to achieve the former prestige of Oyo empire. Moreover, its inability to reach a modus vivindi with the rest of Yoruba country, and its obvious military character led them to combine against it.
However, in spite of Ibadan’s disadvantages and set-backs in these wars, these five forces could not effect its defeat. A state of stalement was reached, from which only the intervention of an outside force could redeem the whole Yoruba country. The intervention of the British government of Lagos in the interest of trade in the period of the ‘Scramble’ saved the day.
Before the war eventually came to an end, attempts at mediation had started as early as 1879-80. Both the Alafin and the Oni were involved, but neither was trusted by both sides, and Ife later joined in the fighting. The Lagos government was under instructions from London and Accra to keep out of the conflict, even though the fighting was having serious effects on the economic life of the colony. Under commercial and mission pressure, the Lagos government attempted to mediate but was rebuffed, and from 1882 to 1884 the British did nothing. Attempts by Saro in Lagos and by the Fulani emirs to end the conflict also failed.
After 1885 the attitude of the administration started to change. Firstly, there was the changing political status of Lagos which was separated from the Gold Coast in 1886. Secondly, the scramble for Africa by the colonial powers was well under way, and there were fears of French interference. Thirdly, some of the main protagonists of the war were themselves getting tired of it (Akintoye, 1971: 176).
To negotiate a peace, the administration turned to the CMS. A ceasefire was arranged in 1886 through the efforts of Samuel Johnson, the historian, and Charles Phillips, later the Bishop of Ondo. The parties then signed a treaty in Lagos with Governor Maloney which provided for the independence of the Ekitiparapo towns and the evacuation of Modakeke, to suit Ife,. This proved impossible to carry out. Ilorin refused to stop fighting in the north where it was besieging Ofa. Thus the war dragged on, and the forces refused to disband (Akintoye, 1971: 181-4).
British fears of the French soon appeared justified. There was the curious incident of 1888 when an employee of a French company persuaded the Egba chiefs to sign a treaty with France, providing for the construction of a rail link with Porto Novo (Ayandele, 1966: 49-51). This was a direct threat to trade with Lagos, but the French refused to ratify the treaty. The two powers hastily agreed on a frontier in 1889 (Anene, 1963). The areas recently invaded by Dahomey fell within the French sphere of influence. The British moved into the interior with the establishment of a post at Ilaro in 1890, while the French invaded Dahomey in 1892.
More aggressive measures to extend British control in the interior came with the arrival of Governor Carter in 1891. Like Glover, he took the view that the key to the situation lay in control of the trade routes through Ijebu and Egba. The result was the Ijebu expedition of 1892 (Ayandele, 1966: 54-69; Smith, 1971b). Ayandele suggests that in fact the Ijebu had showed more willingness to open the road than the Egba, but the decision to attack Ijebu was based partly on the hostility of the missions: unlike Egba, Ijebu had never allowed them in. The impact of the expedition was considerable. In 1893, Carter was able to set off on a tour around Yorubaland, making treaties with Oyo and Egba, and finally persuading the Ibadan and Ekitiparapo forces to disperse. The Egba opened the road to Ibadan, and allowed the start of railway construction. After two final incidents, the bombardment of Oyo in 1895 (Ayandele, 1967) and the capture of Ilorin by the Royal Niger Company in 1897, effective colonial control was established throughout most of Yorubaland
PART II: Word of mouth (viva voce)
Even though stories about the wars are fading like stars at dawn, yet, for those Yoruba people who witnessed the war, September 23 is not just statistics, but a date that leaves an enduring footprint. If you are in doubt, Pa Omiekun Adekunle (92 years old as at the time he was visited by Vanguard Newspaper reporter Adewale Adeoye in 2011) serves as a living pathway to the rediscovery of one of history’s most chilling story of brutal repression by a once dominant and awe-inspiring Ibadan Empire and the heroic resistance of a people against a superior force, that was later brought on its knees, through share determination, bravery and valour.
Though Pa Adekunle was not a soldier in the Ekiti Parapo War, between a terrifying Ibadan military might and other Yoruba sub-tribes tagged Ekiti-Parapo, his father was a marksman in the Yoruba civil war that lasted for 16 years, and Pa Adekunle said he holds on his palms the “raw, true account of the war” as handed over to him by his father. Vanguard Newspaper reporter Adewale Adeoye visited his village in 2011, Irele-Ekiti, a small community surrounded by lurch green mountains and rocky hills, located North east of Ikole-Ekiti.
The community of mainly agrarian locals played a critical role on the side of the allied forces. According to Pa Adekunle (in Adewale Adeoye’s report), “My father played a significant role in Kiriji War, my uncle also belonged to the secret service in the war.” In that particular report by Adewale Adeoye, Pa Adekunle was reported to have said his people fought for 16 years, in one of the longest wars history has ever encountered. “We fought with determination to free the entire Yorubaland from the domineering influence of a unitary government led by Ibadan”, he added, pointing to a mountain top in the center of the village where thousands of military officers of Ibadan origin were said to have been massacred and later buried. He said that in the 1930s, the skeletal remains of the soldiers could still be found littering the mountain top. Palaake was the name of the military commander said to have led the uprising around 1780 against the Ibadan invasion.
What does Kiriji mean and what really is the significance of the war?
Long before the coming of Europeans, the Yoruba people had a rich, wealthy system of government backed with a strong, time tested military machine that at one time was said to be in the range of 10 divisions (about 150,000 soldiers), almost the size of Nigerian armed forces today, which was mainly controlled by the Aare Ona Kakanfo ( Field Marshal and Commander of the Armed Forces).
However, around 1769, the Oyo Empire, which was the most fearsome government in Yorubaland, had been faced with deepening cleavages, pitching the military institution against the political class. There were, also, growing disenchantment among the Yoruba sub-tribes, against the unitary system of government. The sub-tribes wanted a federal system with a loose centre, prompting bottled up grievances against the Are, who preferred a command structure.
In his book, History of The Yoruba, the late Rev. Samuel Johnson wrote on the war: “The Are at this time exhibited some of the worst phases of human nature at such a pitch of glory, his words being law to all Ibadan and its dependencies, he became the dupe of his flatterers; he considered himself a god and that nothing was impossible for him to effect. He certainly thought he could make a short and easy work of the task before him.”
Ibadan soldiers were reputed to be fierce and highly skilled in infantry and night pitch battles. At that period, Adewale Adeoye gathered, the art of war was a science. For instance, the then soldiers studied the movement of antelope, leopards and the flight of birds to determine the level of preparedness of on-coming enemies. “When the birds fly in one direction, the enemy is setting to attack, when the birds fly in disarray the enemies are advancing, when the birds gather in droves, singing, the enemies are dining. When antelopes jump about with their heads upright, the enemies are about to encamp, when the antelopes are downcast, the enemies are far away,” Mr Abiodun Abe, who has done research on the war and now saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the stage performances across the South-west, said. He said the Yoruba warriors of the time, given their skill and wit, could match any sturdy empire of the time.
Are’s forebear, having in 1155 AD , seized several territories stretching to Togo and Ghana, horrified the Fulanis who had invaded Osogbo in 1842, was said to have become emboldened that the sky was not even the limit of his prowess and dexterity.
Around 1770, Are sent emissaries and envoys across the entire Yorubaland, Egba, Ijebu and some parts of today’s Delta State, asking that tributes, in the form of material items, be paid to him. In the spring of 1769, fresh from an extensive infantry and naval training of over 89,000 new recruits, he ordered the arrest of Ekiti’s military commander, Fabunmi, of Oke Mesi, who was accused of planning rebellion in the form of guerrilla warfare to topple Ibadan dynasty. It was the pattern to exterminate voices of dissent in that epoch.
The recruit, who was ordered to arrest Fabunmi, was said to have been arrested and detained. In annoyance, Are again ordered that the whole of Ekitiland be brought by force of arms, under his trampling. Indigenous playwright, Chief Jimoh Aliu, in a recent publication on Kiriji, stated that within a short period, the Ekiti mobilized young men that they trained for a military expenditure that was later to become heroic.
As previously mentioned, the first encounter between Ibadan and Ekiti tagged Ogun Jalumi (battle of waterloo) ended in ignominy for the Ekiti soldiers, prompting the Ekiti to call on Ogedengbe, a tall, fiery fellow, with shooting eyeballs, who had been reluctant to lead the Ekiti Parapo, having himself had his military training in counter insurgency and infantry at Ibadan, and was wary of leading his people against his benefactors. Ekiti warriors were said to have sought for assistance from their ““creek kinsmen, the Itsekiri for training in naval combat.” Johnson described Ogedengbe thus “…..he was a very straight-forward man, he was always true to his words to be faithful to his covenant with them, for he had sworn never to oppose them.”
He added: “Ogedengbe at last issued from Ita Ogbolu his retreat, and took the field of the Ekiti Parapos against the Ibadans. On hearing this, the Ibadan war chiefs sent home again for more reinforcements and on the 3rd November 1779, the Are sent his fighters to the battle field for another round of war. In a chat with Adewale Adeoye, Chief Oyekan Ogedengbe, the grandson of Ogedengbe, said his grandfather gathered 10,000 soldiers which he led to Otun-Ekiti, where the military strategy against Ibadan was hatched.
“The battle was fierce. My grandfather was a trained military leader who commanded thousands of soldiers. The Ijesa and Ekiti are siblings, so my father was excited to lead the battle against a unitary government of the then Yoruba nation”, he said as he led me through a large compound dotted with architectural alleys which Ogedengbe, his grandfather, used as a military outpost at Ilesa.
The Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Faboro, whose great grandfather was one of the five Ekiti generals that led the war, said the project being put in place by the South-West governors is ‘wonderful.’ He said many of the artifacts associated with the war are either missing, but hopes the governments would help retrieve some that might have been sold for profit.
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.
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.
Udiroko festival at Ekiti
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.
NATURAL RESOURCES PHYSICAL FEATURES
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.
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.
RANDOM PICS OF EKITI PEOPLE ON THE WEB:
- Ekiti Tourist Attractions in Focus
- IKOGOSI WARM SPRING
- OLOSUNTA AND OROLE HILLS OF IKERE
- ERINTA WATER FALLS
- ERO WATER DAM
- EGBE DAM
- Fajuyi Square
Ekiti Tourist Attractions in Focus
IKOGOSI WARM SPRING
The meeting point of warm and cold spring
The Haven of tourists in Nigeria. Ekiti State is richly endowed with tourism potentials. Tourists to the state would be irresistibly charmed with the beauties of Ikogosi where warm and cold water oozing from different sources flowing separately to join in a pool but each retaining its thermal identity.Ikogosi Ekiti, where the warm spring is located is in Ekiti West Local government of Ekiti State of Nigeria. It is situated in a valley and from the surrounding hills rises the warm spring.
State own VIP Charlet for accomodation and relaxation of Tourists
The Vegetation of this resort centre is a highly thick forest. This natural and rich vegetation is closely maintained and protected from arbitrary deforestation. The area covered by this resort centre is about 31.38 and it is highly protected from erosion by tall and evergreen trees. These trees also serve as a sort of canopy under which tourists could stay during the dry season and sunny days. The undulating topography of the entire tourist centre and the symmetry of the surrounding hills add more to the aesthetic beauty of this centre. There is a pass that cuts across the Tourist centre to the equally popular Erinta Water Falls at Ipole Iloro, a few kilometres to the Warm Spring.
The scientific proof could not be wished away in favour of the traditional belief. The possible and plausible scientific explanation is that the deeper a body of water goes underground, the hotter it becomes and if by chance it is forced back to the surface through some earth fault, the temperature will be relatively high.
The Baptist mission in the early 50s established a youth and conference centre and other conviniences on a hill adjacent to the warm spring area. This started attracting different people from far and near, even foreigner started visiting the centre to the the work of nature. At the wake of 1978 however, the Ondo State acquired this popular tourist centre from Baptist Mission. A few infrastructure were put in place by this Mission before the resort centre was acquired from them by the State government, but, after the acquisition of this centre, however, both the federal and the state government focused attention on how to develop the centre to a modern tourist resort.The internal facilities available at the conference hall, Ikogosi At the Warm Spring resort centre, there are modern facilities which could interest tourists to repeat their visit time without number. There are four V.I.P tastefully furnished charlets and four western chalets, (the former were built by the old western state). There are also 32 States charlets flashly furnished, and 8 cabins for students on excursions. The chalets are well kept and maintained by trained and qualified housekeepers. The architectural design of the infrastructures is superb. the chalet formed small letter ‘d’ from aerial view.
A multi-purpose and well furnished conference hall is conspicuously located at the centre of the resort facing the yet to be developed sport centre. A facinating restaurant is adjacent to this conference hall. The restaurant is equipped with modern facilities and qualified catering officers with wealth of Well fortified hot spring swimming pool experience in African and inter-continental foods. The modest Warm swimming pool is designed for both local and inter-national tourists. This beautifully designed swimming pool is well standardized and equipped with relevant materials. Kiosks (for snacks and soft drinks) are there for swimmers too. Tourists are encouraged to relax at the swimming pool with the provided amenities. The arrangement for the bottling of this spring water is virtually completed by Ekiti State Government. Experts are currently working in the area with a view to producing a visibility report on the project
OLOSUNTA AND OROLE HILLS OF IKERE
The Olosunta Hill The Orole Hill
These two hills are located at Northern and southern parts of the town (Ikere Ekiti) respectively. They are both steep-sided hills. These are good resort centres for Tourists to visit and see for themselves what God has done for the State of Honour, Fountain of Knowledge. There are deities in charge of these two hills. Both are worshipped accordingly. In line with the belief of the people of this town the Olosunta and Orole deities reside in the hills respectively. Both deities are credited with some feats such as provision of children to barren women and protection of Ikere from warfare. They are believe to be responsible for the welfare of the town. Ikere Ekiti is usually described as the only unconquered town in Ekiti during the popular inter-tribal wars.
ERINTA WATER FALLS
The Erinta Water falls at Ipole-Iloro is located at about 6km North-West of Ikogosi. It could be reached only through a secondary road from Ikogosi. The road leading to the fall passes through the Ikogosi Tourist Centre. Visit this resort centre and be marvelled at the work of nature. Tourists fell the chilly effect of this fall about 10 metres away. It has three pronounced escarpments. A research recently carried out by an Afro American indicated that the water falls could generate electricity (Hydro-electric power).
This resort centre is naturally endowed with thick and evergreen forest.
ERO WATER DAM
The Modern Ero Dam
Ero dam and lake are man-made tourist attractions in the State. This dam is located at Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government of the State. The lake covers some kilometers. In fact, it was initially designed to cover only five kilometres but eventually it covered eleven kilometres. This dam supplies three Local Governments drinkable water and the Local Governments that benefit from this are: Oye, Ido-Osi and Moba itself. This is to say that the dam supplies over one hundred towns and villages in the state with pipe borne water.
According to experts, the dam is capable of supplying Ekiti State as a whole potable water. The indigenes of the town and neighbours and even Hausas fish on this Ero lake. Local canoes, boats and modern flying boats are made use of by these fishermen. This dam encourages the people to practise irrigation (system of farming) in their environments.
This Dam is constructed on Ose River at Egbe Ekiti in Ekiti East Local Government. The dam supplies the whole Local Government regular pipe-borne water.
Both fishing and irrigation systems of farming are practise by the villagers. People go to Egbe Ekiti from all over the state to purchase fresh and smoked fish for their local consumption.
Both dams and lakes are good resort centres for tourists coming to Ekiti on a visit.
Adekunle Fajuyi Park
It is a triangular park where the late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi was buried. This park is at Ado Ekiti, the heart of Ekiti-land in Ekiti State. Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi was the Governor of the Old Western State. He was swept off by the coup of 1966 but accorded a heroic burial for his sacrifice and patriotism.