The Brief History of Igboho

Igboho occupies a key place in the history of the old Oyo Empire. Whilst Oyo is an integral part in the history of Yoruba, Igboho’s contribution to the sustainability of Oyo Empire can neither be erased nor expunged.

The origin of Igboho started with the migration of Gbage from Ilesha. There was a chieftaincy tussle then, where the younger brother of Gbage was installed as the Owa.

The (aggrieved elder) brother left the kingdom to give peace a chance. That senior brother that left the palace of Owa was called Gbage Olabinukuro and founded his own village called Ebiti. All his supporters, including hunters, followed him to this new abode.

At that period in Yoruba history, there was Fulani invasion of old Oyo Empire. Alaafin Ofinran and his people were forced to vacate their home. When Alaafin got to Ebiti, he met Gbage who had migrated from Ilesha. Alaafin Ofinran saw that Gbage was a powerful man who had a lot of charms and was very formidable in the act of warfare and hunting. Alaafin Ofinran was so amazed that the settlement was relatively peaceful and calm. He then inquired who was the head, usually called Baale and Gbage was called to meet with Alaafin.

He was welcomed by Gbage. Alaafin Ofinran told Gbage that he was looking for a place to settle down with all his people and entourage. Gbage, who knew the terrain because of his hunting expeditions, promised that he was going to help him. They then embarked on a search for a place to settle the Alaafin and his large entourage.

When they got to a river (Sanya) after Kishi, one of the wives of Alaafin gave birth to a baby boy named Tella Abisipa, that is, a child that was born on the path.

When they got to the middle of Igbo-Oba which is still named so till date, the oracle told them that was the place they were going to stay. As the herbalist was making divination, two birds were fighting on a tree under which they all sat, the two birds fell in front of the herbalist, one was Igbo bird (Eye Igbo), the other one Oyo bird (Eye Oyo). The two birds were killed and their blood used as a sacrifice to Ifa.

From these two birds Igbo and Oyo, the name Igbo-oyo was formed and it later became Igboho. It was at that place that Alaafin Ofinran was said to have been buried. After about four Alaafin had died in Igboyo; Tella Abisipa that was born at the bank of River Sanya (who had become the Alaafin) said he wanted to return the seat of governance of Oyo Empire back to Oyo-Ile.

However, the Oyo-mesi did not want him to go back, therefore, they took some of the deformed/disabled persons in the palace to Oyo-Ile and when Alaafin’s emissary got there, they (the disabled) chased them away pretending to be spirits with a warning that ‘this place is not your home go back’, until Alaafin sent Alepata and his hunter-like, Akasa, Okere, Emo and Iloko to go and unravel the mystery of the spirits.

The arrival of Alepata (back to Igboho) with all those so called spirits made the Alaafin to change his name from Gbage to Alepata and ever since then, they referred to Alaafin Abisipa as the king that arrest spirits ( Oba-Amoro)

Alaafin Abisipa eventually left for Oyo-Ile with all his entourage while Alepata and his hunters accompanied him. They were in Oyo-Ile for about three years when crisis erupted in Igboho, Alaafin now told Alepata to go back to Igboho to become their leader and ever since then Alapeta have become the head of Igboho till date.

There are various quarters in Igboho which includes Igbope-Baale, Modeeke-Ònà Onibode, Booni-Ibabooni, Iyeye-Baale, Ago-IgiIsubu, Okegboho (smallest quarters)-Onigboho, Jakuta, Waala, Idi elegba, Akitipa among others are also some of the quarters in Igboho.


Reverend Samuel Johnson(1921) History of Yoruba. London, Lowe and Brydone printers limited.

Robert Smith (1965) Alaafin in Exile: A study of Igboho period in Oyo history. The journal of African history.

The contrasting History of Owa-Ale and Olukare

According to oral history gathered, Ale had left Owamilere Ehinnabo to settle in Ikare after the demise of his blood relation the Owa Orimo, Olusi the first of Owamilere.

There are two ruling houses in Owamilere including Ode Adagba ruling house from where Agba Ode came from. It is believed that the non selection of the next Olusi from Ode Adagba in 1734 after the death of Oba Orimo and the conflicts that emanate from the choice of Owa Ikan from the alternate ruling house made Ale progenitor to emigrate from ode Adagba ruling house in Owamilere to Ikare in the reign of Olukare Ilekalu or Olukare Otamaga

Oba Orimo who was born by the second wife of Olusi their progenitor who was the war leader to Elemure was of the same mother and fatther to Ale. Owa ikan paid several visit to Ale in his reigning period during the Aringinya festival.

The same community have and worship the same Iye and Uba Owa who both died at three years differences in the seventeen centuries early migration and were both deified today by Owamilere and the Ale of Ikare. A document from Owamilere presented in the history book of Chief Ale Adedoyin showed that Ale in Ikare was a small emigrants from the Olusi families who came to settle in Ikare on or around the seventeen century.

The migratory history of Emure from ugbo Owa and the migration of Olusi the uba Owa who died in transit all occurred in the early seventeen century when even Olukare Alila the Alafin of Oyo prince had entrenched his kingship in Ikare after the abdication of Olukare Aokerese in the early fifteen centuries.

The Ale who ruled in Ikare are:

1. Ale Orukusuku the son of Agba ode,

1. Ale Ajiboye,

3. Ale Adegbite grand father of Ale Adedoyin who had a long reign of 40 years.

Others made mentioned in the book of Ale Adedoyin probably reign in the transit migration of the Ode Adagba sub set of Owamilere Ehinnabo before their surjorn in Owa with the Elemure. Elemure and the Owamilere lived in various locations in Ekiti like in Usi where they were called Omo Owalusi.

The pre-existence of Olukare dynasty was so long before the arrival of Ale from Ode Adagba in Isefa Oka.

Owa Ale of Ikare.

Ilawe link with Ile-Ife

Ilawe was founded in the late 12th Century by Oniwe Oriade, who was the grandson of the fourth Ooni of Ife, Obalufon Ogbogbodinrin.

Oniwe Oriade got his crown from his grandfather and migrated from Ilode in Ile-Ife to establish his own kingdom in Ilawe-Ekiti.

The 48th Ooni of Ife, Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun, who reigned between 1910 and 1930, lived in Ilawe Ekiti for three years and even married an Ilawe lady before moving back to Ife to ascend the throne.

Osogbo War of 1840

After the Fulanis systematically captured and made Ilorin their territory, they sacked the old Oyo Empire in 1835/1636. They were still not satisfied with their victory; they wished to extend their rule deep into the heart of Yoruba land. Thus in 1840, they set to capture Osogbo, a Yoruba town. The Fulanis, under the command of Ali, the Hausa balogun of Ilorin, laid siege on Osogbo.

When the king of Osogbo realized that the Ilorins were too strong for the Osogbo army, he summoned the Ibadans for help. Ibadan immediately sent some auxiliaries to Osogbo under the command of Obele alias Mobitan, and Alade Abimpagun. As this force could not stop the Ilorins, another contingent was sent to Osogbo under a more experienced leader. But still the Ilorins won every battle and gained more ground.

When Ibadan realized that the Ilorins were becoming more threatening to Yoruba land, they sent a large and stronger force under Balogun Oderinlo to crush the intruding forces and Jammas of Ilorin. When Oderinlo and his men arrived at the battlefield, they realized that things had gone worse than they thought. They could not show their faces in the open field for the fear of the Ilorin horses, and for about 20 days after their arrival at Osogbo, they could not fight outside the town thickets. Oderinlo suggested that Elepo, a brave Ibadan warrior was badly needed at the war-front. Elepo had been rejected by the war-chiefs of Ibadan for his actions at the late Agbamaja expedition.

As soon as the message from Oderinlo reached Ibadan, the Bashorun wished he could send Elepo to Osogbo but could not go against the wish of other war-chiefs. The Bashorun gave Elepo a cow to worship his god, Ori, and pray for the victory of Ibadan at the war-front.
At the war-front, the Ibadan could not attack the Ilorins during the day because Osogbo was practically in a plain and the Ilorin horses might have advantage of them with disastrous results. They decided to attack at dusk when the Ilorins would no longer be able to use their horses. About 2:pm, the well prepared Ibadan army left the gate of Osogbo for the battlefield.

They were to keep a strict watch and arrest anyone suspected to be a spy. About a mile from the Ilorin camp, they halted and arranged the order of the attack. The Osogbo army and the earlier auxiliaries were to handle the center of the battlefield, chiefs Abitiko and Labuju were to command the right wing, Balogun Oderinlo with the rest of the Ibadan war-chiefs were to form the left wing of the army. The Ilorin camp was then attacked at midnight. The watchword was “Elo ni owo odo?” (How much is the ferry fare?). The reason this watchword was chosen was because the river Osun had to be crossed in entering Osogbo from the south, and anyone who could not tell this was likely to be an enemy.

Stampede engulfed the Ilorin camp as the Ibadan army set it on fire. The Ilorins could not offer the slightest resistance; they were smoked with the gun powder of the Ibadan guns. This attack was a success for the Ibadan. Some Ilorin war-chiefs were captured in the attack. Prominent ones were:

  1. Jimba the head slave of the Emir;
  2. One of the sons of Ali the commander in chief;
  3. Chief Lateju;
  4. Ajikobo the Yoruba Balogun of Ilorin

The first two were released while the latter two, being Yoruba by birth, were regarded as traitors and were executed. This was a huge victory for the whole of Yoruba land. After the Osogbo victory, Ibokun, an Ijesa town not far from Osogbo was taken by the Ibadans for being an ally of Ilorin.

Johnson, Samuel; The History of the Yorubas; Lagos; CSS Limited; 1921; pg. 80-81

Kiriji War (1877-1893)

The KIRIJI war, which lasted for about 16 years, was a revolt against Ibadan’s desire to rule  over other towns in Yoruba country following the decline of Oyo empire. This write-up 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.The Yoruba Civil War was mainly between Western Yoruba (Ibadan and its allies like 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, Lokoja- Kogi State). Ibadan was fighting on four other fronts, making it five fronts, during this civil war period.

The first encounter between Ibadan and the Eastern Yoruba forces was 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 1st of 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 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 threat to their commonwealth. The Ekiti War generals 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.

The war was long and bitter; an epic war between two powerful Yoruba confederate armies of mainly Western and Eastern Yoruba cities. Before Ibadan’s encounter with the Eastern Yoruba forces, it had already become involved in another war over trade with Egba and Ijebu in 1877. During the period, Ibadan traders on their way from Porto Novo with firearms were attacked by the Egba. Ijebu also declared war against Ibadan in 1877 and this gave the Ekiti and the Ijesa their chance. Ijesa and Ekiti took advantage of this war and declared their independence in 1878. This revolt against Ibadan’s rule in 1878 started with the massacre of Ibadan officials in Ijesa, Igbomina and Ekiti.

Ibadan fought on five fronts. In the south were the Egba who confined their activities to raids and surprise attacks; also, against the Ijebu in the same south, who pitched a camp at Oru under Balogun Onafowokan; 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; 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.

The Ibadan and Ekiti-Parapo forces faced each other at Kiriji, a few miles east of Ikirun. With time, the Ekiti Parapo gained advantage over Ibadan; which resulted from the help they received from Ekiti Saro merchants, 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. Defeat began to set in on Ibadan in these wars not only because the Ekiti-Parapo were better equiped but also because it had to fight on five fronts; also possibly because none of the Oyo forces on Ibadan’s side actually wished them well. Partly, this was due to the sufferings being experineced under Ibadan’s control and as a result 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.

Despite the odd against Ibadan, having to fight on five fronts, it was still undefeatable along the line. Stalemate was reached and only with the intervention of an outside force could the image of the whole Yoruba country   be redeemed.

Before the war ended, attempts at mediation started as early as 1879-80. Alafin of Oyo and the Oni of Ile-Ife were involved, but neither was trusted by the other, 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.

After 1885, some of the main protagonists of the war were themselves getting tired of it. Ceasefire was arranged in 1886 through the efforts of Samuel Johnson, the historian, and Charles Phillips, later the Bishop of Ondo. The parties signed a treaty in Lagos with Governor Maloney which provided for the independence of the Ekiti Parapo 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.

In 1893, Carter was able to set off on a tour around Yoruba land, making treaties with Oyo and Egba, and finally persuading the Ibadan and Ekiti Parapo 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 and the capture of Ilorin by the Royal Niger Company in 1897, effective colonial control was established throughout most of Yoruba land.

Jalumi War of 1878

The Jalumi war, also known as Ogun Jalumi or Battle of Ikirun was a bloody war fought by Ibadan on the side of Ikirun against the allied forces of Ilorin, Ila, Ekiti and Ijesha on November 1, 1878 in the northeastern part of modern day Osun State.

The Jalumi war was among the devastating civil wars that plagued the Yoruba nation in the 19th century. Others are, Osogbo war, Ekiti parapo/Kiriji war, Ibadan-Ijaye war e.t.c. In June 1878, Ikirun, a town in modern day Osun State, called for the help of Ibadan to join her in fighting the armies of Ekiti, Ijesha, Ila and the Fulanis of Ilorin who had laid siege on Ikirun. Ibadan was unable to send her armies immediately because they went on an expedition to Meko, a town in modern day Ogun State.

When the armies returned on October 14, 1878, they were instantly dispatched to Ikirun under the command of Balogun Ajayi Ogboriefon who was ordered to reach Ikirun within five days.Ibadan armies marched to Ikirun but had a tough time crossing the Oba and Osun rivers because it was rainy season and the rivers were full. Many Ibadan soldiers drowned while crossing the two rivers. The allied forces of Ekiti and Ijesha, (ekiti parapo) Ila-Orangun and Ilorin had chased the Ikirun armies to their town walls and were gradually winning the war.

On the 31st of October, 1878, Balogun Ogboriefon eventually arrived Ikirun with his soldiers. He saw the condition of Ikirun and immediately began planning and working. He shared command with a co-warrior named Osi Ilori. The rebel forces attacked Ikirun in three groups. The Ilorins under Ajia attacked from the northeast; Ogunmodede and Ayimoro led the Ijesha armies and attacked from the east and camped in the town of Iba, while the Ekitis under Fabunmi Okemesi and the Ilas under Prince Adeyala lurked nearby.

The battle began on November 1st, 1878. The rebelling forces advanced on Ikirun. Osi Ilori took his army towards the east to fight the advancing Ijeshas while Balogun Ogboriefon fought the Ilorins, Ilas and Ekitis. The Ijeshas defeated Osi Ilori and his soldiers and captured him alive. The survivors retreated to the walls of Ikirun and reported their defeat to Balogun Obgoriefon who quickly attacked and tactically defeated the Ijesha force. He then returned to his previous position fighting the Ilorins. Ogboriefon successfully defeated the Ilorins and drove them out of their camp, but he was too late, Osi Ilori had already been killed.

He completed the victory by defeating the Ilas and Ekitis. Ibadan soldiers chased the Ilorin survivors to Inisa, a town between Ofa and Ikirun. When news reached the people of Ofa that the Ilorins were retreating towards Inisa, they cut the bridge across the Otin River in the rear and left the retreating Fulanis of Ilorin devastated. The Fulanis were pushed into the river by the Ibadans and drowned en masse; thus the war was named Jalumi which literally means “drown in the river“.

Hence the 1878 Battle of Ikirun was also called Battle of waterloo.After the war, Ibadan armies stationed in Ikirun but left after an agreement between Ikirun and Ibadan. This birthed the statement “Kí ogun ó tó kúrò ní Ìkìrun, ọ̀rọ̀ ló tẹ́lẹ̀” which means “Before warriors left Ikirun, there were some discussions/agreement”.A water cannon monument marking the end of the Jalumi war is located at Odo Otin River bank in Inisa till today.

* Johnson, Samuel; The History of the Yorubas: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate [Accessed 2017-07-19]
* Omipidan, Teslim; OldNaija; Historical wars in Yorubaland []
* Smith, Sydney, Robert; “Kingdoms of the Yoruba”; 3rd ed.; 1987; University of Wisconsin Press [Accessed 2017-07-18]

The Brief History of Ado-Awaye.

Ado Awaye was founded in 1500 AD. The Alaafin of Oyo’s crown prince, Koyi, who was supposed to become the Alaafin was denied and his younger brother, Onigbogi, took over. In anger, he left Oyo with one of his father’s crowns and decided to go and settle in Otta, his mother’s town. However, he went through plain grounds until he got foot of the Ado Hill, where he saw a smoke. He climbed the mountain and there, he met some escapees from the Dahomey war. Having agreed and discussed with them, they decided to make him King of Ado.

The highlight of features that makes Ado-Awaye a wonderful and exciting town.

1. Iyake Lake

Iyake Lake is the only recognized suspended/hanging lake in Africa – one of the only two in the world after the Hanging Lake in Colorado. It has been named as Ado Awaye and was founded in 1500 AD. The Alaafin of Oyo’s crown prince, Koyi, who was supposed to become the Alaafin was denied and his younger brother, Onigbogi, took over. In anger, he left Oyo with one of his father’s crowns and decided to go and settle in Otta, his mother’s town. However, he went through plain grounds until he got foot of the Ado Hill, where he saw a smoke. He climbed the mountain and there, he met some escapees from the Dahomey war. Having agreed and discussed with them, they decided to make him King of Ado.

Highlight of features that makes Ado-Awaye a wonderful and exciting town.

1. Iyake Lake.

Iyake Lake is the only recognized suspended/hanging lake in Africa – one of the only two in the world after the Hanging Lake in Colorado. It has been named as one of the fascinating sites to visit in Nigeria as well as one of the seven wonders of Nigeria. It is said to be bottomless and have swallowed those who have tried to measure its depth. Till today, whoever enters the lake never comes out of it. It is said to be the main god of fertility of the Mountain. The villagers believe that beneath the lake exists another world that looks like the earth, and whoever transits into that world by diving into the lake will never return.

2. Agbómofúnyàké.

Agbómofúnyàké literally means “collects child and gives to iyake”. This little hole is located just beside the iyake lake. It is believed that, whenever the hole has water in it, whoever puts his leg into it gets dragged to the bottom of iyake lake.

3. Ìyá-Aláró Lake.

It is also one of the numerous lakes on the mountain. The lake was named after an old woman in the Ado-Awaye village, who specializes in dying of clothes. It is said that the old woman, known as “Iya Alaro”, worships the lakes and sacrifices to it at specific times during the year. The lake is characterized by a gloomy depth which underscores its association with Iya Alaro and its surface and surrounding is bedecked with a lush overgrowth of colourful vegetation.

4. Oke Ishage (Ishage Rock).

Ishage Rock is the bringer of rain for the Ado-Awaye people. It is a large elongated boulder of rock, balanced and standing upright on one of its small edges. The fact that this boulder has not fallen off the steep mountain side on which it rests remains a mystery to all. Whenever it doesn’t rain and rain is needed, the chief priest goes to the rock, covers the “waist” of the rock with a white cloth, then rain falls for 3-4 days straight.

5. Esè àwon Àgbà.

Esè àwon Àgbà translates to “the footprint of the elders”. It is a cluster of large “footprints” found all over the mountain. It is believed that the gods once walked over the mountain to protect the locals during the time the locals stayed up the mountain.

6. The Elephant Tree.

This is composed of the tangled trunk or root of a fallen tree which dramatically takes the form of the head and trunk of an elephant. The eyes of the elephant are also well represented on the formation. Hikers on the mountain are often tempted to climb the formation and sit on the ‘elephant’s head’ while posing for photos.

7. Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun.

This is a wide and deep chasm on the mountain which separates one part of the mountain from the other part which hosts the peak of the mountain. Only brave mountain climbers dare cross this valley as the rock slopes steeply along the valley walls. Only a narrow, very steep and slippery path across the valley, links the two parts of the mountain.

It is said to be bottomless and have swallowed those who have trie d to measure its depth. Till today, whoever enters the lake never comes out of it. It is said to be the main god of fertility of the Mountain. The villagers believe that beneath the lake exists another world that looks like the earth, and whoever transits into that world by diving into the lake will never return to our own world again.



Od’odun la nr’orogbo, od’odun la nr’awusa, od’odun la nr’omo obi l’ori ate,
Ojo ibi odun yi, terin teye lo maa je fun mi.


nly God is worthy of all my praises and adoration today, he gave me peace in times of troubles, soothes my pain, put a smile on my face during my sad days and also gave me sunshine in my cloudy days.

Igba Odun, odun kan ni o.

Happy birthday to me. 🎂🥂🎉


Since the Nubians were descended or colonized by the Egyptians, the Ijebu, and by extension, all Yoruba customs, derived from the Egyptian.

Many traditional Yorubas have always claimed Egypt as their place of original abode, and that their monarchical tradition derives from the Egyptians.

Yorubas left Egypt as a result of a big war that engulfed the whole of Egypt. The Egyptian remnants settled in various places, two important places being Ode Itsekiri and Ile-Ife. Oral tradition has it also that when the Yorubas came from South of Egypt they did not go straight to where they now occupy. They settled at Illushi, some at Olukumi Ukwunzu while some settled at Ode-Itsekiri.

Since these oral traditions are passed on by very illiterate people, we can augment whatever is recorded with written sources. Concerning the migration of some of the Yoruban ancestors from the east, Conton says: The Yoruba left their fertile lands, for reasons which we can not now discover and joined in the ceaseless movement of tribes west wards and south-wards across our continent.

They were Negro people of ancient Egypt and that one of the many princely states they founded on their arrival in West Africa was Ife. While the ancient Egyptians were pure Negroes.

Impressed by the similarities between Yoruba and ancient Egyptian culture – religious observation, works of art, burial and other customs – speak of a possible migration of the ancestors of the Yoruba from the upper Nile (as early as 2000BC – 1000BC) as a result of some upheavals in ancient Egypt. He also pinpoints the cause for the Yoruban migration – war.

The Yoruba history begins with the migration of an east African population across the trans-African route leading from Mid-Nile river area to the Mid-Niger. The Nigerian region was inhabited more than forty thousand years ago, or as far back as 65,000BC. During this period, the Nok culture occupied the region. The Nok culture was visited by the “Yoruba people”, between 2000BC and 500BC. This group of people was led, according to Yoruba historical accounts by Oduduwa, who settled peacefully in the already established Ile-Ife, the sacred city of the indigenous Nok people.

This time period is known as the Bronze Age, a time of high civilization of both of these groups. The Yoruba, during antiquity, lived in ancient Egypt before migrating to the Atlantic coast. Thus, the similarity or identity of languages, religious beliefs, customs and names of persons, places and things. In addition, many ancient papyri discovered by archaeologists point at an Egyptian origin. (Tariqh Sawandi: Yorubic medicine: The Art of divine herbology – online article).

Some words in the Yoruban vocabulary echo the words used in Egypt in predynastic times and in the early dynastic periods. Some Egyptian gods of this period have strong identities with Yoruban deities. For instance, gods such as Adumu (Adumu) Hepi (Ipi) Ausar (Ausa), Horise (Orise), and Sámi (Sámi) Nam (Inama) are present in Yoruba. All these gods existed in the pre-dynastic and early dynastic periods of Egypt.


Neighboring communities are already initiated into the various gods systems and beliefs in yorubaland.

There are words that existed in the Graeco-Roman period in some of the Yoruban dialects. When the Romans took over Egypt, they infiltrated the Egyptian area with their language. In present Yoruba, we can still find words of Roman descent. For instance, the Yoruba called the palm frond ‘Mariwo’. This word is derived form the Latin Rivus (River). One of the declensions of river is Rivo (by the river).Since the Yoruban possesses no “V”, the word become riwo. Thus, the word “Omariwo” means the child by the river. Some other words like Sangi (blood in Itsekiri-yoruba dialect) thought to have been derived form the Portuguese were actually brought as a result of the Roman Conquest of Egypt. Sangi is blood and the Latin term is Sanguis. Some eastern Yoruba use the term “Ihagi” which is clearly a corruption of the Roman Sanguis. A Christian army in 540AD invaded Egypt and some persons believed to have reached Yoruba land were driven from Egypt.

With the commencement of the Arab period in Egypt, some indigenous Egyptians who never wanted to accept the Islamic religion escaped to present Yoruba land. It was probably in this period that words such as Keferi (Kafri pagan in Arab) infiltrated into the Yoruboid vocabulary.

All said and done, more than fifty percent of the Yoruboid vocabulary of today can be deduced either directly or indirectly from the ancient Egyptian. These are the original ancient Egyptian language devoid of Arab and Latin words that are very few in the Yoruboid vocabulary

It is not really certain when king Oduduwa came from Egypt. He must have come in one of the many migrations. But since the Yoruba religious discourse has a lot of identities with Egyptian, Oduduwa would have left Egypt at a very early period perhaps after the Hyksos invasion of 2000-1500BC, but not later than 30BC.


1. Egypt was a part of Africa and therefore should be black
2. The Egyptians believe that Egypt was a colony of Ethiopia, and that the religion was brought to Egypt by King Horus from the south (inner Africa). Thus when the Egyptians died, they buried their corpses with their faces facing the South West (the direction of West Africa, home of the Yoruba)
3. Some West African peoples claim that their ancestors migrated to ancient Egypt. The Yorubas claimed that a mystic-prophet Orunmila (Oritse Udeji among the Itsekiri) migrated to Egypt and established a religion. Archaeology and cross-cultural studies have shown that Negroes migrated from West Africa to ancient Egypt.
4. Anthropologists have discovered, to their dismay, that Egyptian cultural traits: divine kingship, forms of burial, Osirian cult, etc., permeate some parts of Negro Africa.
5. Some deities exist in Egypt and in Negro Africa, such as Adumu, Hepi, Inama, Sami Horise etc.
6. The Greeks referred to the Egyptian as “Hoi Aiguptos”, (black people); the Egyptians referred to themselves as Kam (black in their language.)
7. Melanin test proved that the Egyptians were black.
8. Osteological measurements which are less misleading than craniometry in distinguishing a black man from a white man has proved that the ancient Egyptians belonged to the black race. Lepsius, a German Savant at the end of the nineteenth century, made the studies and his conclusion remains valid. Future studies have not contradicted the “Lepsius canon”, which in broad figures gave the bodily proportion of the ideal Egyptian: short armed and of Negroid or Negrito physical type.
9. Most West African claim Egyptian ancestry. If they are black, their ancient Egyptian ancestors must be black.
10. Ancient paintings on caves and temples in Egypt depict blacks. At first there were only black paintings, in later times, the blacks were shown ruling over whites and yellows (Asians).
11. Ancient statues and carvings found in Upper and Lower Egypt showed black skins, and features.
12. Ancient monuments such as the pyramid have been replicated in other parts of Africa. A typical example is the Warri pyramid recorded in Roth (1671).
13. Language similarities exist between the Egyptians and some groups in west Africa such as the Wolof and particularly more so, the Yorubas ( more then 500 similar words have been discovered bearing identical meanings. See Yoruba is Atlantis by the same authors: to be published).
14. Recent findings of Genetics and Molecular Biology and Linear Analysis have proved the Egyptians were Negroid.
15. The testimony of classical writers such as Plato, Homer, Aristotle, Pythagoras etc., portrays the Egyptians as blacks.
16. the physical photograph of Yuyi of ancient Egypt is Negroid (Barbara Mertz : Red Land ,Black land: 1967)

The Egyptian religion and other cultural practices show strong Yorubic characteristics. These can be seen in the following areas:
1. The lost wax method of brass or bronze making, which was common to both the Yoruba peoples (particular Ife) and the ancient Egyptians.
2. The ritual of initiation
3. Striving to achieve the ultimate in “Good” and truth (summun bonum)
4. The doctrine of transmigration of soul and reincarnation is widely believed in, by both peoples.
5. The concept of the ‘god king’.
6. Aspiration to achieve the great ‘good’ of the gods – ‘wealth health and long life’.
7. The Yorubic regalia, in most cases, are strikingly similar to pharoanic ones.
8. Veneration of the Ram in both places. Among the eastern Yorubas (Itsekiri especially, most of the water deities are depicted as ram following the predynastic and pharoanic patterns).
9. Both peoples answer the theophorous names.


The surest way to prove a cultural contact between peoples is to adduce linguistic evidence

One of the largest inhabitants of Egypt were Yoruboid , and it will be expected that a good percentage of their language will be yoruboid too. See the table below.

1. Wu (rise) Wu (rise)
2. Ausa (Osiris, father of the gods) Ausa (father)
3. Ere (python/ Serpent) Ere (Python / Serpent)
4. Horise (a great god) Orise (a great god)
5. Sen (group of worshippers) Sen ( to worship)
6. Ged (to chant) Igede (a chant)
7. Ta (sell / offer) Ta (sell/offer)
8. Sueg (a fool) Suegbe (a fool)
9. On ( living person) One ( living person)
10. Kum (a club) Kumo( a club)
11. Enru (fear / terrible) Eru (fear / terrible
12. Kun / qun (brave man) Ekun (title of a brave man)
13. Win (to be) Wino (to be)
14. Odonit (festival) Odon (festival)
15. Ma or mi (to breath) Mi. (to breathe)
16. Tebu (a town) Tebu (a town)
17. Adumu (a water god) Adumu (a water god)
18. Khu (to kill) Ku (die)
19. Rekha (knowledge} Larikha (knowledge)
20 Hika (evil) Ika (evil)
21 Mhebi (humble) Mebi (humble to ones family)
22 Sata (perfect) Santan (perfect)
23 Unas (lake of fire) Una (fire)
24 Tan (complete) Tan (complete)
25 Beru (force of emotion) Beru (fear)
26 Em (smell) Emi (smell)
27 Pa (open) Pa (break open)
28 Bi (to become) Bi (to give birth, to become)
29 Hepi (a water god) Ipi (a water god)
30 Sami (water god) Sami (a water god)
31 Osiri (a water god) Oshiri (a water god)
32 Heqet – Re (frog deity) Ekere (the frog)
33 Feh (to go away) Feh (to blow away)
34 Kot (build) Ko (build)
35 Kot (boat) Oko (boat)
36 Omi (water) Omi (water)
37 Ra (time) Ira (time)
38 Oni (title of Osiris) Oni (title of the king of Ife)
39 Budo (dwelling place) Budo (dwelling place)
40 Dudu (black image of Osiris) Dudu (black person)
41 Un (living person) Una (living person)
42 Ra (possess) Ra (possess/buy)
43 Beka (pray/confess) Be or ka (to pray or confess)
44 Po (many) Po (many/cheap)
45 Horuw (head) middle Egyptian Oruwo (head) (Ijebu)
46 Min (a god) Emin (spirit)
47 Ash (invocation) Ashe (invocation)
48 Aru (mouth) Arun (mouth ) Ilaje
49 Do (river) Odo (river)
50 Do (settlement) Udo (settlement)
51 Shekiri (water god) Shekiri (a water god)
52 Bu (a place) Bu ,a place
53 Khepara (beetle Akpakara (beetle)
54 No (a water god Eno (a water god)
55 Ra -Shu (light after darkness Uran-shu (the light of the moon
56 Run-ka (spirit name) Oruko (name)
57 Deb/dib to pierce Dibi (to pierce)
58 Maat (goddess of justice Mate (goddess of justice)
59 Aru (rise) Ru (rise up)
60 Fa (carry) Fa (pull)
61 Kaf (pluck) Ka (pluck)
62 Bu bi (evil place) Bubi (evil place)
63 In- n (negation In-n (negation)
64 Iset (a water god) Ise (a water god)
65 Shabu (watcher) Ashonbo (watcher)
66 Semati (door keeper) Sema (lock/shut the door)
67 Khenti amenti (big words of Osiris Yenti – yenti (big, very big)
68 Ma (to know) Ma (to know)
69 Bebi, a son of osiris) Ube, a god
70 Tchatcha chief (they examined the death to see if they tricked tsatsa (a game of tricks, gambling )
71 Ren( animal foot) Ren (to walk)
72 Ka (rest) Ka (rest/tired)
73 Mu (water) Mu (drink water)
74 Abi (against) Ubi (against / impediment)
75 Reti (to beseech) Retin (to listen)
76 Hir (praise) Yiri (praise)
77 Ta(spread out) Ta (spread out)
78 Kurud (round) Kurudu (round)
79 Ak – male Ako (male)
80 Se – to create Se (to create)
81 Hoo (rejoice) Yo (rejoice)
82 Kamwr (black) Kuru (extremely black
83 Omitjener (deep water) Omijen (deep water)
84 Nen, the primeval water mother) Nene (mother
85 Ta (land) Ita (land junction)
86 Horiwo (head) Oriwo (head)
87 Ro (talk) Ro (to think)
88 Kurubu (round) Kurubu (deep and round)
89 Penka (divide) Kpen (divide)
90 Ma-su (to mould) Ma or su (to mould)
91 Osa (time) Osa (time)
92 Osa (tide) Osa ( tide)
93 Fare (wrap) Fari (wrap)
94 Kom (complete) Kon (complete)
95 Edjo (cobra) Edjo (cobra)
96 Didi (red fruit) Diden (red)
97 Ba (soul) Oba (king) soul of a people
98 Ke (hill) Oke( hill
99 Anubis (evil deity) Onubi (evil person)
100 Kan (one: Middle Egyptian) Okan one)
101 Nam (water god) Inama (water god)

The words above are used to show that most Yoruban words are identical to the ancient Egyptian.



The personality of Ikaladeran; whether he was the man who later became Oduduwa will be scientifically analyzed

Oduduwa is the founder of the Yoruba monarchical system, or at least, a founder of a prominent dynasty in Yoruba history. There must have been many dynasties in Ife, as Ife legends put pre-Oduduwa monarchs at more than ninety.

The personality of Oduduwa has suffered many attacks in recent times. The Binis claim he was a Benin prince (Ekaladerhan), who later became Imadoduwa or Izoduwa, and then Oduduwa. The Igbos claim he was an Igbo man from Nri. Some Igalas claim he hailed from Igala land. The Igalas have many Ifes, and they claim Oduduwa was from one of such Ifes. The Igala language is close enough to the Yoruba, to assert a common origin for both peoples.

The present writers are holding the following positions:
1. The Yorubas are aborigines or autochthonous to their present environment;
2. The monarchical structure seems to be alien. The present writers tend to place the origin of the Yoruba monarchy in ancient Egypt and Nubia. This is because a lot of Egyptian related relics, words and practices can still be discerned among the Yorubas, particularly among the following: Ife (where the Ifa oracle and Yoruba monarchical system blossomed); Ijebu (with some ancient settlements; Ijebu Ode, the seat of the Awujale, Ode, the seat of Lenuwa, in present day Ogun Water side Local Government, Oke-Eri, purported to be the home of the biblical queen of Sheba, called Bilikisu in Ijebu legends), Ugbo, the ancient city of the Ilajes, Idanre (the home of Ogun, the god of iron), all show some similarities and identities in their monarchical and religious authorities.Basil Davidson, Olumide Lucas, Tariqh Sawandi, and even the present Awujale of Ijebu land, have pointed to ancient Egypt or Nubia as the origin of Yoruba monarchical system. All the above have used the similarities or the identities of cultural practices to substantiate their claims.

If the Yorubas left the Egyptian or the Nubian axis, they must have left during turbulent periods of war, economic stagnation or religious persecution. Thus, we shall examine the periods of upheavals in black Egypt and black Nubia; and examine when the Yoruban aristocracy descended from the Nile valley. They may not be one migration, but several migrations and the personality called Oduduwa, must have led one of the various migrations.

The first crop of migrants or southward push of the Egyptians took place about 2000BC – 500BC. The Hyksos invasion (2000-1500BC) caused some of these southward migrations. Many of the black Egyptians seemed to have moved to Yoruba land during this period. .

The second wave of migrations will correspond to what Laoye Sanda, of the department of Public Administration,The Polytechnic,Ibadan refers to as the black Nubian emigrants. The Nubians were black, they occupied present day Sudan, which was an integral part of the Egyptian Empire. The vocabulary, body scarification, and religious discourse resemble those of the Ijebus and more so, the Itsekiri. The 1984 Awujale’s coronation manual will make this manifest. These migrations occurred about 500BC.

A third wave of migration took place between 90BC and 30BC. The present writers feel the personality called Oduduwa, came in that migration trend.

A fourth migration will correspond to the Christian conquest of Egypt, about 100AD.

The last wave of migration will correspond to the Arab enforced emigration, between 700AD – 1100AD, when the Arabs had consolidated their control over Egypt; they chased the last batch of traditional worshipping Egyptians from Egypt. This occurrence would have led to many Yoruba claiming that their ancestors were chased from somewhere in the Middle East for not accepting Islam.

The proof of archaeology

There has been a dearth of archaeological researches in Nigeria. Whatever research has been done is not final, for new finds can be found in future.

The most ancient archaeological finds in Nigeria are the following: (1) the relic at Iwo Eleru (with a radio carbon date of about 12,000BC). Iwo Eleru is close to Akure, Ondo State. (2) The findings at Igbo-Ukwu of about 6000BC. (3) The findings at the Mejiro cave near Oyo (about 4000BC). The Nok culture that is more than 1000BC. (4) The Oke-Eri walls and graves purported to be more than a thousand years. The walls are reputed to be the biggest in the world, but for the walls of China. (5) The bronze heads at Ife about 1000AD. (6) The bronze heads at Benin about 1400AD. This might authenticate the Ife claim that the Binis got the civilization of bronze casting from the Ifes. Both the Binis and the Ifes claim that Igueghae was the one who taught the Binis how to cast bronze, during the reign of the Oba Oguola, fourth king from Eweka, the son of Oramiyan, a distant descendant of Oduduwa from Ife.


According to the studies of philology and etymology, most of the languages in Nigeria in the Kwa group of languages have a meeting point. The Yorubas and Idoma separated some six thousand years ago; while the Yoruba and Igalas separated about 2 thousand years ago; two thousand years ago corresponds to the time that the Yoruba dialects: Ekiti, Ijebu, Oyo, Itsekiri, Ilaje, Ikale etc started having distinct dialectical identities.

Linguistic studies have indicated that Yorubas in the Eastern Flanks of the Yoruba nation; Ekiti, Yagba, Kabba, Owo, Ijebu, Itsekiri and to some extent the Ifes, speak the most ancient Yoruba dialects. Glottochronological studies have shown that the dialects in the south east are more ancient than those of central Yoruba land and western Yoruba land. The table displays it further still.

A table showing east to west ancientness of the Yoruboid languages.

FORBID GHO( r ) WO( r )

The table shows that the Itsekiri dialect retains the more ancient “gh” or “g” guttural sound to the more liquid “w” of the Oyos.

If it is taken that the Yoruban ruling class came from Egypt, the southern Yoruba block, particularly the Itsekiri, would have served as an initial stopping point and a secondary course of dispersal. The table displays it further still

ADUMU (Water god) ADUMU (Water god) ADAMU (A god)
Kuku (Darkness) Okuku (Darkness) Ouku (Darkness)
Dudu (Black Image of Osiris) Dudu (black ) Dudu ( black )
Omi (Water) Omi (Water) Omi (Water)
Heket-Re (Frog god) Ekere (Frog) Akere (Frog)
Horise (Sky god) Orise (Sky god) Orisa (A god)
Hika (Evil) Ika (Evil) Ika (Evil)
Shu (Evil god) Eshu (Evil god) Eshu (Evil god)
Co-opted from 500 word-word correlation between, Yoruba and Egyptian languages .

From the above, it means that the eastern Yoruba blocs such as the Itsekiri, Ilaje, Ijebu and the Owo are more cognate with the Egyptian than those of Oyo or Ife. .

The Awujale has testified that the Itsekiri are speaking the original Ijebu dialect. . This is why Bolaji Idowu derived the origin of Oritse to the Itsekiri-Owo axis within the eastern Yoruba kingdoms…

It is proper here to state that the word “Orise” is almost cognate with the Egyptian, Horise. Both deities represent very high gods.. Both deities were first water divinities before they became sky or heavenly divinities. Both words are derived from identical etymological origins. Hori(Ori) means head in both places. “Se”, means a source in both places. Thus both words mean a source of creation in both places. This type of linguistic similarity or identity cannot have arisen by mere accident – there was a concrete historical intercourse. The Binis call God Oyisa, a corruption of the eastern Yoruba form. This is certain because the Binis cannot derive the meaning of Oyisa by breaking the word into morphemes as the Yoruba can display, or draw up any identity with ancient Egypt.


1. Oduduwa – The myth of Oduduwa seems to be valid. Minus the fact that many Yoruba claim descent from Oduduwa, some Urhobos and even Ijaws also claim descent from Oduduwa.
2. Ekaladerhan – This name exists in very little, if at all it exists, in the oral tradition of any of the Bini neighbors. There has been no relevant oral tradition among any of the circumjacent peoples that can recognize Ekaladerhan or identify him as Oduduwa. So, the Ife claim concerning Oduduwa seems to be more tenable.
3. Oduduwa’s descent from heaven – The Ife’s have been totally embarrassed by the invectives thrown on them by the Binis in their I claim that Oduduwa fell from the sky.

Yes! It is true. People can fall from the sky as modern interaction between earthmen and those from other planets have authenticated, and this can be displayed both in mythology and in real hardcore science in many parts of the world. The story of Ezekiel in the bible, the story of the Dogon mystic tribe of Mali are cases in point.

Then, some Yoruba ancestors would have been some of the Umales (aborigines) using their Umale-Olunas (spaceships) to travel across the universe, as this can still be sighted in Yoruba land today.
4. The huge bodies of water which the Bini and Yoruba mythologies claim their ancestors landed, would have been one of two waters (1) the Atlantic ocean, the home of Umale-Okun at the coastal flanks of Yoruba land , or the Mediterranean which was the biggest body of water known to the ancient Negro Egyptians.

– The Monarchies

There are areas where the eastern Yorubas and the Binis have a lot of historical linkages. It is an indisputable fact that the founder of the present Itsekiri dynasty was Ginuwa, the first son of Oba Olua of Benin. The Binis ruled over most parts of Ondo state: Akure and Ode-Ondo, to be more specific. They even established dynasties in some of these places, including Owo. There are a lot of titles that the Eastern Yorubas derived from the Binis. Those titles include: Ologbotsere, Iyatsere, Otsodin, Olisan (Oliha) etc. There are also many areas where the Binis are indebted to the Eastern Yorubas. Many of these have not been given prominence by historians. But the more we delve into History, the more we are convinced of Binis indebtedness to the Yorubas, particularly the Itsekiri-yorubas. Some of this indebtedness are the Bini religious discourse, the conquest of Lagos, the manufacture of salt etc.

On face value, the Lagos conquest seemed to have been done by the Binis. Many authorities however, agree that it is the Itsekiri of Warri that served in the Navy that attacked Lagos. The assertion is likely to be true because of the following (1) The Binis are not watermen and could not easily travel on the lagoons to Lagos. (2) The name ‘Olu’ is common among Lagos Obas eg. The Olu of Ikeja, the Olu Eko of Eko (Eleko) etc. The name ‘Olu’ is Itsekiri or Oyo-yoruba and not Edo or Bini (3) The Eyo masquerade attire and dance style is similar to that of Awankere of Warri. It is true that the Eyo masquerade originated in Ijebu, but the attire is purely of Warri origin. This will authenticate a not-too-popular Okere(Warri) legend, that it was the descendants of Ekpen that accompanied Orhogbua (Osogbua) to conquer Lagos. .

. Also, the drums used by the Awori people bear striking resemblance to the Itsekiri drums, but bear no resemblance to the Bini drums. In summary, the material culture of the Aworis is far more akin to the Itsekiri than to the Binis.

Now hear the authorities: Captain Leonard says; “Of the Jekri (Itsekiri) also there is much more definite, although to a certain extent contradictory evidence. According to one account, they are said to be closely connected with the Yoruba, the Warri kingdom having extended to and embraced Lagos as well as some of the surrounding territories to this day (1906), in fact, Jekri inhabit the strip of country, along the coast from the Benin river westward to Lagos” This might be due to the fact that Itsekiri held most of the trading posts along the coast when Leonard was writing.

Captain Leonard in another section of his work says: “And from all accounts, it is more than possible, if not evident that the army of warriors who founded Lagos proceeded in reality from Warri, but doubtless by the command of the king of Benin”.


Corroborating Leonard and Nirven that the Itsekiri aristocracy has at least some politico-economic interests in Lagos, H. Ling Roth says “Such corals as the Binis had, were obtained through Jekri traders either from the Benin River or Lagos”.


The Itsekiri have always claimed that beads started with them and that the Binis got their beads from them. Settlements such as Omadino, Inorin, Ureju and Korobe area of the Warri kingdom are the ancient Itsekiri settlements with the bead industry.

The people of Ureju and Korobe in Koko claimed to have given Ogboruware (Ewuare), probably a usurper to the Bini throne, beads for the first time. There is a legend among the Korobes, that Ogboruware (Ewuare), had his swelling disease as a result of an affliction placed on him by Korobe, a legendary spiritual woman. Now hear the authorities:

H Ling Roth says

According to Bold, coral beads, “are the intrinsic treasures of the rich, being held in highest estimation and from their rarity, are only in the hands of a few chiefs, whose avidity for them is immeasurable, the species admired are the pipe beads of various dimensions and are valued at ten large jars of oil an ounce, of the smaller sort, and so on in the proportion for the larger sized”. Mr. Punch informs me that “as a matter of fact, the king of Benin had few, if any of the large coral beads such as Nanna, Dore, Dudu and Jekri chiefs obtained from the merchants in the Benin River. His coral was insignificant pipe agate and was only significant when made up into vests and hats. The Benin value more the agate beads and especially the dull agate was a king’s gift and no one could wear such a necklet unless it was given to him by the king. It was death in fact, to wear it otherwise. The shiny crystalline agate, with white quartz, anyone could wear. Such corals as the Binis had were obtained through Jeiri traders, either from the Benin river or Lagos. The Binis said it was dug up at the back of Benin but everything in the days I am speaking 14 – 15 years ago (from 1898) which was at all mysterious came from the back of Benin .

Eve de Negri says,

“This coral was first discovered (so it is told) during the fifteenth century in the reign of Oba Ewuare. This type of coral was obtained from a tree, growing on the sandy bank of the Benin River”.

PC llyod also commented that Itsekiri legends claim that their ancestors, the Umales, got the blue corals from particular trees that were growing in the Jekri country.

from the above quotations, it is evident that the Benin got their beads from the Itsekiri, and the Itsekiri legends that they gave beads to Oba Ogboruware (Eware), has to be positively examined by scientific historians.

The Binis are land-bound people and they know very little about salt. Itsekiri legends testify that they gave salt to Binis for the first time

The Itsekiri are known as the manufacturers of salt.. Alagoa, H Ling Roth, and Obaro Ikime, agree to this position. H. Ling reports,

“According to Roupel’s officials, king Osogbua (Orhogbua) is credited with discovering salt in the Jekiri country”. Pg. 142.H Ling Roth Great Benin

It is now factual that Orhogba discovered salt when he came to the Jekiri (Itsekiri) country to seek the assistance of the Itsekiri navy in order to attack Lagos. In 1818 they also sought the assistance of Kaye, an Itsekiri mystic-warrior in order to attack Akure. He was given Ologbo some 25 kilometres south of Benin city.

The itsekiri were the major salt producers in the Niger delta area. On this hear Alagoa: “the itsekiri supplied clay pots to to such Ijo communities as the Gbaramatu and Bassan, and and also sold salt to traders from eastern delta who took it up the Niger………Other Ijo exchanged dried fish and salt ,which was manufactured by the Itsekiri ,with the Urhobo ,Isoko and Igbo groups along the periphery of the Niger Delta and along the Lower Niger” (Alagoa 1989:729)


The cult of Olokun (the water religion) of the Binis seems to be purely alien. This is due to the following reasons: (1) the Binis are a land based people. Their main occupations are; farming, hunting and sculpture. So it will be unthinkable for the Binis to have a water religion as a major cult. (2) If a water religion exists among the Binis, and it has become prominent, the Binis might have copied from one of their riverine neighbors (3) these neighbours are the Ijaws, the Itsekiris, the Ilajes, and more distant neighbours being, the Asabas, the Onitshas, the Afenmai or Igala people around the river Niger.

The Afenmais and the Igalas seem too distant from Benin to have a good influence on them. The Asabas and the Onitshas, also, seem to be too far away form Benin. Minus that, they don’t seem to have any serious water cult to influence the Binis to have a viable water religion.

Thus, the Bini (a land locked people) must have had their water religion from the Ijaws, the Itsekiris or the Ilajes. The Bini religious discourse has nothing to do with the Ijaws. Besides that, the Ijaws that are the immediate neighbours of the Binis did not have any significant civilization. These Ijaw neighbours are the Egbemas, the Arogbos, the Apois–now Yoruba-speaking–the Ogbe-Ijohs, the Isabas, the Gbaramatus, the Ogulaghas, the Oburutus, and the Meins. No significant civilization or kingdom has emerged from these Ijaw clans. E.J Alagoa asserted that most of these Ijaws did not arrive their area by 1500, which is quite recent according to historical chronology. The cases settled in the Supreme Court between the Ijaws and the Itsekiri; place the date of Ijaws coming to these areas at the early 19th century. Now, hear Prof.Alagoa , an Ijaw doyen of history:

“Pereira’s record suggests that those Ijo groups now living west of the Forcados and east of the Bonny had not yet arrived at their present territory by 1500”. Thus, it is unthinkable for the Binis to have copied the water religion from the Ijaws.

The Itsekiri and the Ilajes receive the likelihoodof having given water religion to the Binis for the following reasons:1)The Binis situate the home of Olokun, the god of the sea, in the Atlantic Ocean. Both the Itsekiris and the Ilajes are in the Atlantic coast. (2) The Bini religious discourse shows a strong Yoruba affinity. The name, Olokun, (Olu Okun) is an eastern Yoruba name that can apply to the Itsekiri as well as Ilajes, as eastern Yoruba dialects. The Binis call God Osa, which is the same word that the Itsekiri call father. The other Bini word for God, Oyise, is clearly corruption of the much older Itsekiri name, Oritse. . In the early days of November 2004 , the Bini Monarch invoked an Ilaje deity, Aiyelala, to recover some property that was stolen from the Oba Market in Benin . This will authenticate the Ilaje story of the Binis coming to Ugbo once every year to serve Umaleokun, the water god of the Ugbo Yoruba
H. Ling Roth went further, quoting Burton says:

“Similar to other west Africans, the Bini When drinking,the Binis always pour a few drops upon the ground, muttering the while (Mobia, Malaku Mobia (Mobie, Umalokun, Mobie) – Ibeg, O Malaku (Umale-Okun, fetish guardian of lands and waters 1 beg of thee to defend me against all evil, to defeat and destroy all my foes”. This said, a broken bittock of Kola (stercula acuminata) is thrown upon the ground, and is watered with a few drops of palm wine.” Burton Pg. 281. Mobia (Mobie) is however the Jekiri for “1 beg you : 59.

It is evident that the Bini religious discourse was, and to some extent is, still infiltrated with Itsekiri and Ilaje. This is most evident in the water religion of the Binis.

From the above, we see that some of the most important aspects of the Bini civilization: their bead industry, the cult of Olokun (Olu Okun – King of the sea), their salt industry etc are from the eastern Yoruba land of Itsekiri and to some extent the Ilajes. Apart from this, the Itsekiri warrior, Ikaye, saved the Bini kingdom from being crushed by the Akures. For his settlement Oba Semede gave him Ologbo.
Again when there was leadership dispute between Obaseki and Aigwobasinwin, it was an Itsekiri chief, Dore Numa, who restored the Benin monarchy. He also gave them a lot of beads which the Bini aristocracy has not returned till today. It is therefore unthinkable that Ife, where the Yoruba kingship blossomed, would have copied from Benin. This is most evident when we consider the following facts: (I) The name, Oba (the Edo word for king), is copied from the Yorubas, particularly those from Ife (2) the heads of the Obas of Benin were taken to Ife, until very recently. The place where the heads of the Obas of Benin were buried is still called “Orun Oba Ado”, “the heaven of the kings of Benin”. (3) The Binis normally take permission from the Ooni, to crown new kings. There is no recorded history that the Oonis took permission from the Binis before getting crowned (4) The official language in the court of the Oba of Benin until 1934 was Yoruba. There was no time that Bini language was spoken in Ife. The Portuguese and other Europeans who were in the Bini area for more than 500 years (from 1486 when they got to Benin till 1960.)had no knowledge of Oduduwa being a Bini man.

So, scientifically speaking, the Ife position seems more tenable than that of the Benin. Oral traditions can be fabricated. So, rigorous history of the 21st century must be purely scientific – even if we recourse to oral tradition, they must face scientific testing and not based on moribund oral tradition. Aspects such as linguistic analysis, archaeological discoveries, cultural practices etc, must come into the forefront when reconstructing the history of preliterate peoples like the Binis and the Ifes.
In one of their accounts, the Edos claim discent from God himself, who they say is the grand father of Iso (Sky) who in turn is the grand father of Idu, ancestor of the Binis. One of the brothers of Idu called. Olukumi (the Yorubas were first called Olukumi, today a tribe called olukumi, speaking a language very similar to Itsekiri-Yoruba, and the legends claim they all descended from Egypt, are to be found in parts of Edo and Delta States) lived with him in Uhe (Ife) before they left to found Benin. Michael Crowder: “The story of Nigeria”, Page 63.

The word Olukumi in Itsekiri, means a friend of mine. The word Olukumi, rather than Ore is still used in Ife is evident that Idu and his brothers left to Ile-Ife, after the southward migration of the Yorubas to Ode-Itsekiri and thence to Ile-ife. This is why the story of a watery terrain remains in the tradition of the Binis and the Ifes who are located very far from the Atlantic coast. The vast expanse of water, where the ancestors of the Binis and the find themselves is no other place than the Itsekiri territory of the Atlantic coast.

At a time, the powerful Bini kingdom was paying tax to the Olu of Warri when the yoke of imperialism crumbled the once great kingdom of the Guinea. Concerning this issue Michael Crowder says:

“With the decline of Ughoton
the Benin had to use theports of the Benin river and thus, pay dues to the Olu of Warri in whose territory the ports was located”.17

In conclusion the Itsekiris introduced the following to Benin: salt, beads, and the worship of Umale Okun. The Itsekiri under Dore also helped the Binis to revive their monarchy.

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