Owo has the largest palace in Africa which was declared a national monument by the federal government. The Olowo Palace had as many as 100 courtyards on 180 acres of land approximately 8 percent of the land mass of Owo. Each courtyard had a specific function and was dedicated to a particular deity. The largest, said to have been twice the size of an American football field, was used for public assemblies and festivals. Some courtyards were paved with quartz pebbles or broken pottery. Pillars supporting the veranda roofs were carved with statues of the king mounted on a horse or shown with his senior wife.
The Oyo palace is one of the main cultural center of the city, where all cultural forms are widely practiced and stored.
The palace is decorated with works of art, murals and various forms of sculpture, including the posts of wood and carved paneled doors, symbolizing the status of wealth and royalty.
The palace of the Alaafin Oyo is one of the largest Yoruba royal residence and has the largest number of Kobis (corridors). This complex corridor system allows the Alaafin to move in without exiting to the outside. Within the complex, there are shrines of Sango, Obatala, Ogun and Imole.
Besides the Alaafin residence , and shrines , the complex also houses the palace ‘s throne room , offices, housing officials, the dwellings of the queens , the court , the room Aganju where confer the Oyes ( titles ) , the garden , the Akesan market , among other spaces .
The Oyo palace houses important works of art and antiques of the Yorubas. It is also the place where they are performed and traditional touches daily songs of praise and communication to the king, informing him about the external events of the palace . Touch is one of the most significant forms of communication culture of Oyo . Touch inside the palace is a real privilege and shows the continuation of the cultural practices of the Oyo Empire.
This palace is a great testimony to the architectural ingenuity of the Yoruba and their empire .
The Ooni of Ife Palace serves as both the residence and the court of the traditional ruler of Ife, the birthplace of the Yoruba race. This stately palace lies in the ancient city of Ife.
This was built. It is notable as the centre of Yoruba history and culture. Contains mythical objects and spots of historical significance
Legend has it that this location contains the spot where the first blacksmith vanished from earth, to continue his existence underground
The magnificent palace of the Ooni of Ife otherwise known as Ile Oduduwa, named after the first king of the Yoruba race. The palace is an in-depth reflection of ancient Ife because the palace existed alongside the city as far back as 500 BC.
It is a perfect symbol of power, authority and pride for all who trace their heritage to Ile-Ife. Even with the modernization of the palace, traditional and cultural part of it is still preserved.
The palace is a sacred place where you do not just indiscriminately wander. Many special rites and rituals must be performed before a new Ooni begins his residence in the palace.
The Elemo Chieftaincy is one of the oldest, renowned and hallowed chieftaincy title in Akureland.
It is the third in rank in the inner Cabinet of Oba of Akure known as the IWAREFA. Its all important position and eminent role within the Cabinet in particular, and Nay, the traditional council in general confirms the accepted belief that the Elemo Chieftaincy is a pillar within the Chieftaincy caucus. This explains the titles cognomen of “Opo Eketa Iaare” (meaning “the pillar and third in the rank).
Records show that ERURUBIOLOYE, the founder of the Elemo dynasty ascended the Elemo Chieftaincy throne about the same time as ASODEBOYEDE who was the founder and first Oba and Deji of Akure. ERURUBIOLOYE was reported as having come down to Akure in company of Asodeboyede from Inamu near Ile-Ife.
The first Elemo scouted round and settled at the present site of llemo directly opposite the house of ALAKURE. He was very friendly with the Deji and very popular with the settlers. He was a very reliable friend of the Deji and his dependable confidant and counsellor. It is pertinent to note that this chain of friendship, counsellorship, confidence and loyalty and indeed mutual honesty of purpose had remained unbroken from the time of their founding of the community now known as Akure.
Tradition has it that the Elemo title is a hereditary title and never has an outsider interrupted the succession line. The Elemo is the treasurer of the Iares and the traditional speaker for Akure people. He conveys the views of the Oba-in-Council to Akure people and reports the views of the people to the Oba and his Chiefs. In other words the Elemo is the traditional link between the “Crown” and the populace and vice versa.
The Elemo in addition to his political and cultural functions which are countless also have religious functions to perform in the interest of peace and stability in the town. The Elemo hosts the “OLIKI” and the “EYE OGBOO” among others. These are in Akure mythology the two most important guiding spirits for peace and tranquility. The Elemos are reputed for their longevity. This accounts for the relatively few Elemos as compared with important Chieftainces since the inception of Akure as a community.
The root of the existing chieftaincy family within living memory is ATOOSIN whose lineage can be traced back to over three hundred years ago. Atoosin a male descendant to Eurubioloye was the direct son of Agidigbaajola. His mother being a Princess (daughter of then Deji) he unsuccessfully vied for the Obaship. He was appeased and advised by the Oba and Elders to bid his time and await a possibility of taking up his father’s title Elemoship. He eventually became an Elemo. By tradition, children are named after events and circumstances hence his first son after the aforesaid was named ADEDIPE meaning “the crown appeased me”.
In appointing a new Elemo, the family exhibits always exhibit a unique tradition. It is only a male child of a male lineage of the Elemo chieftaincy family that is eligible to be elected an Elemo. A committee of elders of the family has huge responsibility in this matter when a vacancy occurs. In their peculiarly tradition way the Elders elect one of the eligible contestants for presentation to the Deji. The contest for the Elemoship by tradition is never a public issue, it is purely domestic within the family.
The Deji is the consenting authority to the appointment of an Elemo.
A major highlight of the event was the wearing of Sese-Efun (White Coral Bead Crown) by the Alaafin of Oyo, his Imperial Majesty, Alaafin Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. The Sese-Efun crown was made centuries ago and historically it has only be worn seven times by the successive Alaafins.
Alaafins do wear the crown only after ten years of coronation.
Ile-Ife, the city of the survivors where the dawn of the day was first experienced, Head of the whole universe, the land of the most ancient days. bThe history of Ile-Ife is wrapped in a thick fog of myths and mythologies. In about the late ninth century, there were majorly thirteen established settlements in “Elu” now known as Ile-Ife and its origin dates back to the palaeolithic period when religion had a dominating influence on the life of our ancient ancestors.
Ile-Ife according to Yoruba belief is the earthly origin and fountain of all. Yoruba is a pre historic race.
Ile-Ife traditional history maintains that from Ife scattered the various species of mankind. Yoruba history also highlighted that the personage Oduduwa migrated to Ile-Ife where he reigned and held sway to establish the Yoruba dynasty.
Oral traditions has it that early Ife history is divided chronologically into three:
The first was Ife Oodaiye, Ile Owuro (the land of the most ancient days where the dawn was first experienced). Tradition tells us that this Ife ended as a result of a flood. The survivors formed the nucleus of the second Ife, Ife Ooyelagbo (Ife, the city of survivors) this existed until the arrival of elements from the east whose attempt to seize power led to a bloody struggle between the strangers led by Oduduwa and the aboriginies led by Obatala.
Oral tradition of Ile Ife tells us that many communities existed in the second Ife. Each having its own Oba and each Oba had his Chiefs. Archaeological field survey shows that 13 of these communities have been revealed.
These settlements which were big and small in sizes include among others the following:
1. Ideta ruled by Obatala, presently found along Mokuro road
2. Parakin ruled by Obalufe
3. Imojubi ruled by Apata. Along Ondo-Ife road
4. Odin ruled by Olokore Obameri. Along Ifewara road
5. Oke Oja ruled by Obajio. Present day Modakeke
6. Iloran ruled by Obaloran
7. Oke Awo ruled by Owa Fegun
8. Omologun ruled by Obadio, the present site of OAU
9. Ijugbe ruled by Obalejugbe. Present day Modakeke
10. Iraye ruled by Obalaye. Present day Modakeke
11. Iddo ruled by Onipetu
12. Iloromu ruled by Obaluru. Along Ife-Ilesa road
13. Iwinrin ruled by Obawirin. Present Koiwo and Oronna quarters.
There were other settlements that emerged a little after the major settlements. these settlements are;
1. Ita yemoo
2. Orun Oba Ado
Oduduwas victory led to the centralization of these communities and became the first Ooni (ruler). The word Ooni was never used until the first centralised government in Ile Ife.
These settlements are all unique and substantial in their own rights with each having a high priest as the ruler. Each settlement has its own separate market while a general one that serves the whole settlements was known as “Oja Igbomoko” which was surrounded by vast farmlands. So also, all the inhabitants of “Elu” at that point in history were reffered to as “Igbo”.
The growth and expansion of these settlements increased the quest for more farmlands and other activities. These and more made the smaller settlements like Iloromu where Oduduwa was born to seek for more farmlands and also share from the emerging prosperity. The growth, expansion and the subsequent population growth tilted the existing trado-political arrangements
This necessitated series of alliances across the settlements leadership and it brought about the emergence of ORANFE the high priest of Ora as the first head of the settlements alliance. He presided over the spiritual and political affairs of the alliance. However, it was of note that the chairmanship of the alliance becomes rotational in case of death.
Oranfe emergence as the head of the alliance was plagued with a lot of internal strife and agitations leading to major unrest but he was able to supress it all. Obatala the high priest of Ideta succeeded Oranfe after his death as the head of the alliance. However, Obatalas reign as the head of the alliance was the last in the alliance and it was marked with lots of war.
Oduduwa led a revolution against Obatala because of his elitist nature of governance. Over time, a lot of the settlements left the alliance and pitched their tent with Oduduwa while Obatala excessive claim to leadership and his uncontrollable appetite for drink also alienated many from him.
Obameri the high priest of Odin and the war general of Obatala left the alliance to join the revolution on the side of Oduduwa. A major attack led by Oduduwa and Obameri forced Obatala and Obawirin to abandon Ideta and Iwinrin settlements respectively and they established a new camp at Ideta-Oko beyond the esinmirin stream. After a long period of time, a peace agreement was brokered between the warring parties by one of the respected elders of the alliance named Ojomu from Iloran settlement. The peace agreement allowed for the return of both Obatala and Obawinrin to the ruins of Ideta and Iwinrin settlements under the new leadership of Oduduwa in a newly unified settlement now renamed “Ile-Ife”(the land of love). Obatala had no choice other than to return after he had conceded both power and leadership to Oduduwa the new supreme high priest of ile-ife.
Obawinrin now known as “Olu Igbo later Olugbo” refused to come back to ile-ife with Obatala because he felt unsecured and embittered and he decided to relocate to a far place known as “Igbo-Igbo” now the present day Oke-Igbo. Obawinrin continued to harass and attack Ile-Ife people under the guise of masquerade until it was stopped through the deft intervention of Moremi. Igbo-Igbo was eventually sacked by the forces of Ile-Ife and Obawinrin and his people finally relocated down south in the riverine area.
The spiritual and political affairs of Ile-Ife were handed over to Oduduwa and he did it with all fairness. He exhibited the traits of a statesman even at a very young age. He also directed the spiritual affairs of Ile-Ife very well to the admiration of all. He got the title “Onirisha (eni orisha|one with the trait of the deities) ” from his conduct and proper coordination of the spiritual affairs of the settlements while he brought order and peace. The “Itapa” festival has since been celebrated to commemorate the defeat and reunion of Obatala (Orishanla) and Obawinrin (Olugbo) till date.
Before his death, Ooni Odua, reformed the government he crowned all his children and sent them abroad with orders to show filial obedience to their brother whom he first crowned as his successor.
Tradition tells us that Oduduwa had many children, male and female. Oduduwa’s first child was a daughter, and mother of Olowu, Asunkungbade the founder of Owu Kingdom. Towards the end of Oduduwa’s reign, He became blind and lost four of his powerful sons. On the demise of Ooni Odua, his eldest living son Obalufon Ogbogbodirin succeeded him as Ooni.
Yoruba Obas referred to themselves as brothers even though their kingdoms waged war against each other. The kiriji war ended with the insistent declaration of the Owa Obokun that the Aalafin of Oyo was his brother, not subordinate.
(1) The first Ooni of Ife was Olofin Oduduwa the founder of Yoruba Race.
(2) The second Ooni of Ife was Obalufon Ogbogbodirin the eldest son of Oduduwa He lived and reigned for unusually long period of time.
(3) Obalufon alayemore, son of Obalufon Ogbogbodirin became the third Ooni of Ife after the death of his father, while Oranmiyan was on sojourn in Oyo.
(4) After a prolonged war adventure, that took Oranmiyan to Benin, Oyo and other parts of the North East, Oranmiyan returned to Ile-Ife. He was welcomed to Ife as the Akinlogun (war hero).
Ooni Obalufon Alaiyemore was driven into exile and went to found the town of Efon Alaiye. Oranmiyan was placed on the throne of his father Oduduwa as the forth Ooni and the Lord of the Royal palace of Ife
The founder of the Ado kingdom was a prince of Ile-ife named Awamaro (the restless one) and Ewi (the speaker). He is said to have left Ile-ife with his elder brother Oranmiyan and gone to Ita Orogun and Benin with him after staying briefly with Oloba in Oba-Ile, Akure.
Both Oba of Benin and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti 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. 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’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.
Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements after series of conflicts, conquered Ulesun community, displaced and killed its ruler Elesun, cut off his head and proceeded and established a new town, Awamaro named Ado, meaning ‘here we encamp’. Ewi Awamaro and his successors conquered villages and cottages 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. 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. 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). 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 north eastern 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.
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.
Ewi Obakunrin (1552–1574)
Ewi Eleyo-Okun (1574–1599)
Ewi Afigbogbo Ara Soyi (1599-1630)
Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696)
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)
HRM Alayeluwa Ewi Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III (the current Ewi of Ado-Ekiti).
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.
The institution of Oba monarchy in Akure was established by Asodeboyede also known as ‘Ajapada’. Ajapada was reported to be the son of Ekun. Ekun was also known to be one of the several sons of Oduduwa. Oduduwa was reported to have also named Asodeboyede ‘Omoremilekun’ after Ekun had died during the pregnancy of Asodeboyede. Before Asodeboyede came to Akure, there were scattered settlements like Upalefa, Igan, Ileru and Odopetu.
Ourokutu and Omoloju were the most prominent elders in these settlements with a strong clash for leadership. Asodeboyede who arrived Akure with ‘Olojoda’ became the compromise candidate to head the United settlements of Upalefa and Odopetu. Asodeboyede nickname was Ajapada (aja pa eku eda). Omoloju the head of Upalefa settlement reigned after the death of Asodeboyede in 1180. Deji Obagbeyi Adegite who reigned btw 1313-1363 was from Oba-Ile and Akure with pure royal parentage. He established Erekesan market. He also brought the “isibi” and “Airegbe” festival from Oba-Ile to Akure. Deji Arakale (1768-1818) was on the throne when Binis invaded Akure and took away Prince Osupa Arakale who later returned to Akure as Deji.
Deji Osupa Arakale (1834-1846) resettled the ‘Ado Akures’ at Igbeyin and Eyinke quarters. Deji Arosoye (1890-1897) was the first Akure king to have had contact with the whites. He died on the 8th of January, 1897.