- CULTURALLY HOMOGENEOUS
- INTELLECTUAL YORUBA SUB-GROUP FROM THE CITY OF ROCK
The Ekiti people are aboriginal, culturally homogeneous and highly intellectual agriculturalist Yoruba speaking people that form 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:Ekiti Anthem
” Oun abajoro kiipe kunOun 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.”
Geography and Climate
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
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.
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
Towns and administrative divisions
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
Ekiti State includes 16 of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas. They are:
- Aiyekire (Gbonyin)
- Ekiti East
- Ekiti South-West
- Ekiti West
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.