origin of yorubas

Origin of Yorubas 1 / 2 / 3 /

The Ijebu people

THE Ijebu People inhabit the South-Central part of Yorubaland - a territory that is bounded in the North by Ibadan, in the East by Ondo, Okitipupa and the West by Egbaland. The Southern fringe is open to the sea with the coastlines of Epe, Ejinrin and Ikorodu. Despite the political division which has these three towns in Lagos while the main part of Ijebuland is Ogun State, the people have always regarded themselves as one entity even when the immigration ­legends which have often been cited point in dif­ferent directions.

There are immigration legends which tend to link the Ijebu with the biblical Jebusites and Noah (hence Omoluwabi -- omo ti Noah bi -- the children of Noah) but these are farfetched. Other immigration legends trace the origin of Yoruba people, and by implication, the Ijebu to Mecca where Oduduwa, the legendary ancestor of the Yoruba, was said to be the son of King Lamurudu. Oduduwa, according to the legend, had to be expelled from Mecca when he resorted to idolatry. This is another unacceptable story in that it implied that the Yoruba must have come into existence as a group after faithful Muslims expelled Oduduwa some 1,500 years ago.

Ijebu traditional historians tend to stick to the migra­tion legend that the people migrated to their present territory from a region of Sudan called Waddai which means that the Ijebu had a parallel migration wave just like other Yoruba who believe they came to their present abode via Oduduwa. That claim seems to be corroborated by a publication by one Hailemariam which states that "the most powerful people that the Negede Orit (ancient Ethiopian immigrant into Africa) met in East Africa were the Jebus." Their King was claimed to be so influential that he appointed the gover­nors of Yemen. If that king was the same Olu-Iwa, the legendary first Ruler of Ijebuland, we do not know.

There is a lot of evidence in support of the fact that the Ijebus migrated into Nigeria from Sudan. The most ob­vious is the Sudanese tribal mark which, though varied, is duplicated all over Yorubaland. In particular, the three ver­tical marks on both cheeks are the national marks in Ijebu. Moreover, in the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia, the original language which Arabic language has super­seded is very similar to Ijebu dialect. Names of people such as Saba, Esiwu, Meleki (corruption of Menelik) and many others are still common in Ijebu and the South of Sudan. A kind of flute which was formerly used during the coronation ceremony of the Awujale is still used in Ethio­pia and South of Sudan. In the second place, the passage quoted from 'Ethiopian History' by Hailemariam at the beginning of this essay shows that Negede Orit which entered Ethiopia several cen­turies before King Solomon and the famous Makida, Queen of Sheba (about 900 B.C.) met the Ijebus on the east Coast of Southern Sudan.

The ancestors of the Ijebus who now inhabit Ijebu-Ode and districts came into Nigeria from the ancient Kingdom of Owodaiye of Ethiopia which came to an end as a result of Arab supremacy in Middle East and the Sudan where Owodaiye was situated. The Kingdom of Owodaiye was bounded in the North by Nubia; in the East by Tigre and the Kingdom of Axum; in the West there was no clear boundary, while along its South-Eastern border, it was bounded by the land of Punt. With these people the Ijebus share their culture and religion. With the Tigrians and ancient Axumites the Ijebus share their tribal marks which are made up of three vertical marks on the cheeks while with the Egyptians, the Nubians and Puntite people, the Ijebu share many of their funeral rites, the Agemo cult and the Erikiran.

The Yorubas in Nubia were the nearest people to the Ijebus in Owo aiye. Even the Ijebus differ from the Yoruba in many respects. For example, while the main Yoruba group practice circumcision on both male and female members of the family, the Ijebus never practice it on the female members; the Yorubas used to bore the lower part of the ear in both male and female while the male never bore in Ijebu.

The first major wave of Sudanese that entered Nigeria was led by Iwase who came to Ife several centu­ries before the major Sudanese immigrations under Oduduwa and Olu-Iwa. The Iwase group of immigrants came during the reign of Esumare of Ife Erinrin. The next group of Sudanese immigrants were the Ijebus and the kindred peoples under Olu-Iwa, who entered the country at about the same time as the Yoruba under Oduduwa. There are many reasons to believe that they arrived before the main Yoruba group. The most important reason was stated in a Yoruba tradition that when Oduduwa was alive, he became partially blind and went to consult Agbonniregun, an Ife Priest, with a view to finding out what he must apply to his eyes to regain his sight. Agbonniregun recommended brine and so Oduduwa had to send one of his sons, Obokun, to the sea to bring him sea water. The latter wandered for many years in vain until he came to the King of Ijebu for help. This king sent a messenger to guide him to the sea and on Obokun's re­turn to !Ijebu, the King of the ljebus (Lewu Legusen) gave Obokun medicines for Oduduwa's eyes. And when Oduduwa applied the brine and the medicine, he regained his sight. The above tradition shows that the ljebus were in Nigeria before the main Yoruba stock because the king of Ijebu referred to was The fifth Awujale. In appreciation of this service, Oduduwa determined to visit the King of Ijebu, but he died about fifteen miles east of Ijebu-Ode. His followers settled down at Idofe, a town which has now become extinct.

The Ijebu legend tracing their origin to Waddai must have brought the known rivalry between them and other Yoruba people. If, indeed, Lamurudu and Oduduwa de­scended from Omu, the younger brother of Olu-Iwa, there is some sense in the claim that the Ijebus are senior to other Yorubas and cannot, therefore, accept the junior position that put them under the Ooni of Ife or Alafin of Oyo.

The bulk of Yoruba people regard the ljebus as peripheral Yoruba while the ljebus themselves do not hide the fact that the cohesion between them and others who call themselves central Yoruba has been the result of cultural and political interaction over the centuries. Time itself has taken care of these legends as the various groups of people in Western Nigeria have come to accept a common Nationality as Yoruba, be they Ekiti, Ijesha, Egba, Ondo, Ijebu, etc.. Even among the Ijebus, there are conflicting claims to the source of origin depending on the political intention of those concerned. Irrespective of these claims, the Ijebus are united under the leadership of the Awujale of Ijebuland and this unity is the strength of the people as exhibited by their achievements in the past 40 years of the reign of Oba Sikiru Adetona, Ogbagba II.


The name “Ijebu-Ode”, according to history, is a com­bination of the names of two persons namely, AJEBU and OLODE who were conspicuous as leaders of the original settlers and founders of the town. OLODE, was said to be a relative of OLU-IWA, the first Ruler of Ijebu. It is diffi­cult to say for certain which of them {AJEBU and OLODE} preceded the other, but tradition has it that Ajebu, Olode and Ajana met on this land, which was uninhabited dense forest. They consulted Ifa Oracle to determine the actual spot on which each one should make his place of abode.. The Oracle directed that Ajebu should go and settle on a spot now known as IMEPE. OLODE and AJANA to remain together at a place known today as ITA AJANA. The grave of Ajebu is still marked by a tomb erected by his descendants at Imepe, near Oyingbo market on the Ejinrin Road. Olode's grave is also marked at Olode Street at Ita Ajana Quarter, Ijebu-Ode. The two persons more conspicu­ous among the original settlers being AJEBU and OLODE. The town derived its name from their names, hence "IJEBU-ODE."

Ijebu-Ode town was divided into two main wards namely, Iwade and Porogun. Iwade was divided into two -- Iwade Oke (also called Ijasi) and Iwade Isale; that is, Upper and Lower Iwade (North and South). By this division, there are three wards in Ijebu-Ode town. That was why the town was spoken of as "Iwade - Porogun, ljasi, Keta" unto this day: Iwade oke, lwade Isale and Porogun. Each . Ward was divided into QUARTERS known as "Ituns.” Iwade Oke has four quarters (Ituns); Iwade Isale has thirteen Ouarters (Ituns) and Porogun has eight Quarters (Ituns), making a total of twenty-five (25) Quarters. Each Quarter had its own Quarter Head, who was known as 'Oloritun" -- the head man of the Quarter. All of them combined were spoken of, or referred to, as the 'Oloritun Medogbon" (twenty-five Olorituns -- Quarter Heads) and they constituted the ancient and traditional IJEBU-ODE TOWN COUNCIL.

Each Quarter Head represents and expresses the views of the people of his Quarter with whom he holds regular meetings to discuss matters affecting general pub­lic interest. The meetings also serve as tribunals in settling minor civil matters.

The traditional twenty-five Quarters of I Ijebu-ode are:

A. Iwade Oke, four (4) -- ljasi, Ita Ntebo, Odo Egbo and Ita Afin

B. Iwade Isale, thirteen (13) -- Idomowo, lyanro, Idele, Imepe, Ijada, Ipamuren, Ikanigbo, Isoku, Odo Esa, Agunsebi, Imupa and Ita Ajana.

C. Porogun, eight (8) -- Idewon, Mobayegun, Mobegelu, ltalapo, ldogi, Isasa, Idomowo-Muja and Ojofa.


There were no political parties as known in modern democracy, and yet the ancient administrative set-up which ruled ljebu in those days was democratic in principle. There were political groups which had functions each in the administration of town. The administrative pattern in Ijebu-Ode was the same in all other towns under the sovereignty of the Awajale, in some cases with slight variations.

The Societies were:

1. The Pampa - the people

2. The Osugbo - the executives

3. The Ilamuren - the high chiefs

4. The Odis - the palace assistants (officials) and servants

5. The Parakoyi - the equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce


Though the lowest in rank, was the mother and spring board of the other groups. The Pampa was the people to whom we refer as the electorate in modern democracy and from them the others derive their authority. Without the Pampa, the Osugbo and the llamuren, even the Oba did not exist. The Pampa was the voice of the common people which must be heeded in the administration of the town. Titles in the Pampa Society were as follows:

1. The Agbon whose area was lwade Isale

2. The Kakanfo whose area was Porogun

3. The Lapo-Ekun whose area was Iwade Oke (Ijasi)

These three are equals in their respective Wards. There were also two other chiefs of lower rank. These were:

1. The Jagun for the whole of Ijebu-Ode who was attached to Agbon in Iwade Isale.

2. The Likotun for the whole of Ijebu-Ode who was attached to the Kakanfo Porogun.

Other Chiefs lower in rank to the Jagun and Likotun were the Ashipas -- one for each Ward: Iwade Isale, Iwade Oke and Porogun. Their functions were to be the medium of information between the mass of the people - the "Womparis"- and the higher chiefs. Matters of any kind from the outlying districts (the farms attached to particular wards) came through them; but there were however, certain villages which come only through the Olisa and some through the Egbo.


This is a Cult - a Fraternity of Chiefs and Elders which was also the Executive Authority of the town. It has also a religious character. Two brass images known as "Edan" was the center of worship in the Osugbo Cult. It was the highest group and Cult and commanded the respect and obedience of all. Women were admitted into it by initiation but such w\omen must have passed bearing age. Titles in Osugbo in order of precedence were:

1) Odele Olurin 2) The Oliwo 3) The Apena 4) The Akonoran

They had different functions in the Osugbo, the Apena being the Chief Steward in the Society. There was an inner circle known as the Iwarefa consisting of only six members as the name implied including the Apena and the Odele Olurin. The Oliwo and the Akonoran were not in the Iwarefa Circle. The Osugbo was the Legal Executive - they enforced the law and executive judgement in capital crimes. They were also members of the “Owa” - the King’s Court.


The llamuren is the class of High Chiefs under the headship of the Olisa. Other chiefs in this class are the Ogeni-Oja, Egbo, Olotufore, Apebi and other Chiefs that may have been initiated into the class having fulfilled all the conditions of initiation and provided “Eran Iboje” (a feast of ram or goat.

The seat of the llamurens is ILISA. But when it comes to the (Aafin) Palace of the Awujale, the Ogbeni-Oja takes precedence over any chief. The "Oja" in the Ogbeni-Oja title is not "market" - (its common meaning) but the PALACE (AAFIN AWUJALE).

The Ogbeni-Oja title had remained vacant for a long time in Ijebu history. Not much was known about its relevance and importance until Chief T. A. Odutola became the Ogbeni-Oj a. The position of the Ogbeni-Oja in the society became clearer and recognized during the reign of Awujale Gbelegbuwa II. The highest title (not hereditary) a free born Ijebu can aspire to is that of Ogbeni-Oja. Professor E. A. Ayandele confirmed this in his book: The ljebu of Yorubaland, 1850- 1950: Politics, Economy and Society (Heinemans, Ibadan, 1972); part of last paragraph page 11, he wrote:

"Final reconciliation was effected when Odutola was able to purchase the highest title available to a commoner - ­that of Ogbeni-Oja; a position that put him defacto next in rank only to the Awujale."

Again Foluso Longe in 1981 and in his book: A rare breed - The story of Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola last paragraph of page 13 wrote:

"Little is known in the country about Adeola Odutola's political activities, yet he dominated the politics of Ijebuland from about 1945 to the present time where, in his position as Ogbeni-Oja, he is in his own chieftaincy line next in rank to the Awujale as his Prime Minister and a moving force in Ijebuland." Ogbeni-Oja Odutola enjoyed very high and dominant position in the Royal Court of the Awujale. When Awujale Gbelegbuwa Il acceded to the request of the Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo and granted him permission to wear beaded coronet 1950, it was Ogbeni Oja Chief Odutola who, as representative of the Awujale presided over the ceremony in Ijebu-Igbo and presented the beaded Crown to Orimolusi Jewel Adeboye.

When Oba Adesanya, Gbelegbuwa II, joined his an­cestors in January 1959, it was Ogbeni Oja Chief Odutola who became the Chairman of the Regency Council, and presided over the affairs of Ijebu-Ode during the interregnum.

The Western Region Government also accorded the office of the Ogbeni-Oja deserved recognition, in the official letter to the Local Government Adviser announcing the appointment of the new Awujale Adetona on 4tn January, 1960 ( Ref. CB41/333), the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government directed:

"I am to request that Chief Odutola, the Ogbeni-Oja be informed that for the same reason the Minister regrets that he was unable to notify him of the appointment before the publication of the press release." Chief Odutola presented the new Awujale, young Oba S. K. Adetona to ljebu people at Itoro, Ijebu-Ode on 14th January, 1960.

Historians must however note the consolidation and modernization which have been effected in the hierarchy of the High Chiefs of ljebu-Ode in recent years and during the reign of the present Awujale. By 1995, Oba Adetona had evolved and established an orderly and traditional sys­tem of succession among this class of High Chiefs.


This was composed of the Oba’s attendants. Their descendants also come into this rank. They were employed as messengers of the Oba. They were first styled "Agunrins" and later became "Odis" by promotion. An­other category in this class are the refugees (asaforiji) who sought refuge under the Oba because of one reason or the other from their homes and/or countries. From this Odi rank some were promoted and then they could leave the Oba's Palace and occupy land allotted to them by the Oba on which they lived with their own family. They farmed in the Oba's land for their living, but were always at the Oba's service whenever he needed them. But the land will never pass to them.


This is a Society which was more of a commercial nature than political. It was the equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce. Members looked into anything pertaining to trades and market disputes. They have Olori Parakoyi (Head) and his Asnipas in running the organization.


What could be described as the Town Council in those days was the Council for Olorituns known as "Oloritun Medogbon" that is the twenty-five Quarter Heads in ljebu-Ode. For example, there were twenty-five Quar­ters and each had its own Quarter Head called "Oloritun" whom the people respected and was recognized by the Awujale. The people of the Quarter met regularly in his house and dealt with petty matters among themselves. There, other matters of general public interest were dis­cussed. All these Quarter Heads also met to discuss all matters affecting the common interest of the town. Each Oloritun represented the people of his Quarter: This organization formed the link between the people and the governing authority.


- From Gbelegbuwa II to Ogbagba II

IJEBULAND, 3 I st December, 1959: The last day of the sixth decade of the 20th century. The ljebus awaited a new Paramount Ruler- Awujale of Ijebuland. January, 1959 had witnessed the termination, through natural causes, of the reign of Oba Daniel Robertson Adesanya, Gbelegbuwa II, the 57th Awujale. Yet dur­ing his last years in office, Oba Adesanya had carved for himself a significant role in the Chieftaincy declara­tion affecting the Awujale stool. Also he had, as it should be according to Ijebu custom, ensured the Awujale Paramountcy in all Chieftaincy declarations in Ijebuland.

In an epic struggle, Oba Adesanya successfully fought the new politicians who wanted to employ their new political stature to diminish the age long rights, and authority of the Awujale on the selection of Obas and important Chiefs in Ijebuland as the principal consenting authority. By the time the new Chieftaincy Declarations in Ijebuland were considered and approved by the Government of the Western Region of Nigeria in 1957 and 1958, the Awujale's authority had been recognized, re­affirmed and entrenched in the State's laws.

One letter stood out to epitomize Oba Adesanya's stand and historically is worth recording in the context of the developments in the royal field during Gbelegbuwa II reign and the experiences of the past forty years (1960 - 2000). In a letter dated 24th June, 1957 and sent to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Local Government, Western Region, Oba Adesanya stated:

"1. I wish to invite your serious attention to the itching question of Chieftaincy Declarations as they are at present being made in this division under the shelter of the Western Region Appointment and Recognition of Chiefs Law, 1954.

2. The omission which is being made by Dis­trict Councils in setting aside the authority of the Awujale is purely intentional. The ordinary Ijebu man in the street quite well knows that the tradition and custom of Ijebuland laid it down that it was a grievous offence to wink an eye at the authority of the Awujale on all Chieftaincy matters in Ijebuland. The law itself which these Councils are quoting so flagrantly does not appear to give them the illusive backing which they rest upon so securely. Section 3 (1) of the law says: “the competent Local Government Council shall make a declaration in writing setting out the native law and custom.

3. According to this section it seems obvious that the Regional Government had initiated the programme the right and proper way by respecting the "native law and custom". But the competent Local Government Councils choose the independent and de­fiant attitude of setting out the native law and custom in their own irresponsible way leaving the Awujale entirely out of the picture, and not obtaining his comments.

4. Here, I wish to quote a precedent to sub­stantiate the veracity of my claim. When the declara­tion in respect of the Orimolusi of ljebu-Igbo was being made in 1955, the Ijebu-Igbo Local Government Coun­cil did not, at the outset, see the necessity of obtaining the Awujale's comments until I forwarded a complaint to the Ministry against their utter disregard of the native law and custom of Ijebuland. Immediately thereafter, your letter No. 27751/18/68 of the 23 rd of December, 1955 instructed them to adopt the proper procedure and then a paragraph was inserted in their declaration indicating that the consent of the Awujale must as a rule be obtained. If, therefore, the principle which this letter is trying to emphasize had been established at the very beginning there would have been no grounds at all for this kind of complaint.

5. In order, therefore, to find an early rem­edy to this unsatisfactory and disgusting affair, I wish to suggest that a foolproof amendment to the law or a new section thereto be made showing positively that no Chieftaincy declaration would be complete without ref­erence to the Paramount Chief of the Division or prov­ince concerned according to the native law and custom of the area. And not only that; that the comment of such Paramount Ruler should be obtained before the final stage is reached. It was thereafter that such dec­laration could be submitted for approval.

6. I do hope every effort would be made in due course to adjust the situation by restoring to the Awujale his age long authority in all chieftaincy matters in Ijebu Division.”

The reply came swiftly from the Permanent Secretary. In a letter dated 21st August, 1957, he informed the Awujale:

“1. I am directed to refer to your letter dated 24th of June and to inform you that Section 4(2)(a)(vi) of the Chiefs Law 1957 requires the Chieftaincy Committee of a competent Council when making a dec­laration to record therein the identity of any person whose consent is required to an appointment made by the King maker and the usage regulating the granting or withholding of such consent.

2. The Local Government Adviser, Ijebu, has already addressed you on this subject in his letter No. 2729/160 of the 25th of July and he is being requested to consult you in future before forwarding for approval declarations in which you claim the right of final consent.”

ljebu Division then comprised of one Divisional Council and eight District Councils. Apart from the Awujale, the Paramount Ruler, the Chieftaincy Declarations covered 21 0bas and scores of other traditional chiefs. The royal fathers affected were:

ljebu Ode District Council: NIL

ljebu Southern District Council: The Dagburewe of ldowa, The Gbegande of Ososa, The Liken of Ibefun and The Otunba (Olomu of Omu)

Ijebu-Igbo District Council: The Orimolusi of ljebu-Igbo

ljebu Northern District Council: The Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, and The Alaporu of llaporu

Ijebu Eastern District Council: The Ajalorun of ljebu-Ife, The Olowu of Owu, The Akija of Ikija and the Oloko of Ijebu -Imusin

Ijebu Waterside District Council: The Lenuwa of Ode-Omi, The Oloja (Liken) of lwopin, The Onipe of lbu, The Elero of Itebu and The Onirokun of lrokun.

llugun/Alaro District Council: NIL

Ijebu Western District Council: The Moloda of Odogbolu, The Oremadegun of Odogbolu, The Elesi of Odogbolu, The Olugbani of Okun-Owa and The Akalako of Aiyepe.

Above was the situation in 1959.

On 4th January, 1960, the appointment of young Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona as the Awujale of Ijebuland was approved by the Governor-in-Council of the Westem Region of Nigeria in accordance with the Provision of Section 16(1) of the Chiefs Law, 1957.

What has happened to OBASHIP in Ijebuland during the last 40 years (1960-2000)? How has Oba Adetona employed the traditional institution of Obaship to provide constructive leadership among Ijebu Communities? How have the communities clamored for this new instrument of cultural and economic advancement) The employment of royal benevolence to unleash the innate abilities and desires of ljebu rural communities and provide good leadership and stability is one of the great innovations and achievements of Oba Adetona's continued reign in Ijebuland.

The record is impressive. The potentials for development are innumerable. In the last two decades, Oba Adetona has honored 28 Communities with the grant of coronet.

Oba Adetona deserves full credit for his royal engineering works by which scores of Communities in Ijebuland have been nurtured and encouraged to produce dynamic traditional leadership through the grant of Coronet status. More Communities are still clamoring for this honor from the Awujale.

While some titles like the Obelu of Esure were upgraded to Part II and the Alawunren of Okelamuren resuscitated and as well upgraded to a Part II Chieftaincy, the last 20 years(1980-2000) witnessed the recognition of the headship of the following communities as Obas with their coronets approved and recognized by the State Government: 
1. Molipa Community, Ijebu-Ode (Oba J. O. Sonoiki, Lipa of Molipa)

2. Oke-Ako Community (Oba J.A. Osunsami, Aladeken of Oke-Ako

3. Isiwo Community (Oba (Engr.) S.A. Salisu, Lamodi of Isiwo)

4. Itamarun Community, Ijebu-Imusin (Oba J.A. Adenaiya, Magunsen of ltamarun)

5. Ilodo Community, Ijebu-Imusin (Oba (Engr.) I. O. Ajede, Ogirimadagbo of llodo)

6. Ogbere Community (Oba M.A. Orelaja, Sapenuwa of Ogbere)

7. Igbaga Community (Oba M.A.O. Adenaike, Oyebola of Igbaga

8. Jobore Community (Oba A.A.A. Omotayo, Kobowore of Jobore

9. Odoyanta Community (Oba S.O. Erinle, Ayanta of Odoyanta)

10. Imoru Community (Oba M.A. Obalaja, Oru of Imoru)

11. Ijesha-Ijebu Community (Oba I. O. Adekoya, Ayanyelu of Ijesa-Ijebu)

12. Ala Community (Oba E. A. J. Ogunbanke, Okemu of Ala)

13. Ojowo Community (Ijebu-Igbo) (Oba D. A. Kuyeba, Olojowo of Ojowo)

14. Oke-Agbo Community (Ijebu-Igbo) (Oba H. O. Abass, Bejeroku of Oke-Agbo)

15. Japara Community (Ijebu-Igbo) (Oba M. K. Odujobi, Abijaparako of Japara)

16. Atikori Community (Ijebu-Igbo) (Vacant; Kegbo of Atikori)

17. Oke-Sopen Community (Ijebu-Igbo) (Vacant; Sopenlukale of Oke-Sopen)

18. Isonyin Community (Oba A. K. A. Ogunuga, Saderiren of Isonyin)

19. Ilugun South Community (Oba G. A. Banjo, Ajalaiye of Ilugun South)

20. Ilugun North Community (Oba (Engr.) J. B. Otukoya, Oligun of Iligun

21. Odosenlu Community (Vacant; Olu of Odosenlu)

22. Odoregbe Community (Oba S. A. Osisanya, Yepenruwa of Odoregbe)

23. Abigi Community (Oba S. A. Osunlaja, Ojotumoro of Abigi)

24. Efire Community (Oba M. A. Adeniyi, Elefire of Efire)

25. Ibiade Community (Vacant; Alarige of Ibiade)

26. Odolowu Community (Vacant; Olowu-Iji of Odolowu)

27. Itele Community (Vacant; Moyegeso of Itele)

28. Ogbogbo Community (Vacant)


1. HM Oba (Dr) S. K. Adetona 20. HRH Oba (Dr.) Remi Adeoye - Awujale of Ijebuland (President) - Alawunren of Okelawunren

2. HRH Oba A. A. Oguntayo 21. HRH Oba E. A. A. Deinbo -Ajalorun of Ijebu-Ife - Alaiye Aba of Aiyepe

3. HRH Oba Y. O. Adekoya 22. HRH Oba M. A. Obalaja - Dagburewe of Idowa - Oru of Imoru

4. HRH Oba O. A. Alakija 23. HRH Oba S. A. Odukoya - Akija of Ikija - Oliworo of Iworo

5. HRH Oba A. O. Odebunmi 24. HRH Oba J. A. Adenaiya - Olowu of Owu-Ijebu - Maguesen of Itamarun

6. HRH Oba L. A. Adewale 25. HRH Oba Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo - Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye - Vacant

7. Oba S. A. Onafowokan 26. HRH Oba Onipe of Ibu-Arijan - Oloko of Ijebu-Imushin - Vacant

8. HRH Oba M. A. Daini 27. HRH Oba Elero of Itebu - Alaiye of Odogbolu - Vacant

9. HRH. Oba G. A. Abiodun 28. HRH Oba Olowu of Aiyepe - Owa of Okun-Owa - Vacant

10. HRH Oba A. O. Ogunrin 29. HRH Oba Limeri of Awa - Olomu of Omu-Ijebu - Vacant

11. HRH Oba G. O. A. Adetoye 30. HRH Oba Oloru of Oru - Liken of lbefun - Vacant

12. HRH Oba J. A. Adesanya 31. HRH Oba Moyeso of Itele - Gbegande of Ososa - Vacant

13. HRH Oba J. A. Quadri 32. HRH Oba Olowu-Iji of Odoluwu - Alaperu of Ilaporu - (Okun-Owa) Vacant

14. HRH Oba E. A. Oreniyi 33. HRH Oba B. A. Ogunnuga - Obiri of Aiyepe - Akalako of Aiyepe

15. HRH Oba A. K. A. Ogunuga 34. HRH Oba J. Ola Adekoya - Saderiren of lsonyin - Liken of Iwopin

16. HRH Oba (Dr) K. A. O. Sansi 35. HRH Oba F. R. A. Adegbesan - Obelu of Esure - Onitasin of Itasin

17. HRH Oba L. A. A. Adelaja 36. HRH Oba Babs A. Adebisi - Alakan of Aiyepe - Elese of Ilese

18. HRH Oba O. A. Awofeso 37. HRH Oba Lenuwa of Ode-Omi - Elerunwon of Erunwon

19. HRH Oba A. A. A. Omotayo - Kobowore of Jobore


1. Chairman, Ijebu-Ode Local Government

2. Chairman, Odogbolu Local Government

3. Chairman, Ijebu East Local Government

4. Chairman, Ijebu North Local Government

5. Chairman, Ijebu North-East Local Government

6. Chairman, Ogun Waterside Local Government


1. HRH Oba J. A. Osunsami 15. HRH Oba H. O. Abass - Aladeken of Oke-Ako - Bejeroku of Oke-Agbo (Ijebu-Igbo)

2. HRH Oba J. O. Sonoiki 16. HRH Oba M. K. Odujobi - Lipa of Molipa, Ijebu-Ode - Abijaparako of Japara (Ijebu-Igbo)

3. HRH Oba S. A. Salisu 17. HRH Oba G. A. Banjo - Lamodi of lsiwo - Ajalaiye of Ilugun South

4. HRH Oba 1. O. Ajede 18. HRH Oba J. B. Otukoya - Ogirimadagbe of Ilode - Oligun of Ilugun - North

5. HRH Oba M. A. Orelaja 19. HRH Oba Olu of Odosenlu - Sapenuwa of Ogbere - Vacant

6. HRH Oba M. A. O. Adenaike 20. HRH Oba S. A. Osisanya - Oyebola of Igbaga - Yepenruwa of Odoregbe

7. HRH Oba S. O. Erinle 21. HRH Oba B. O. Omosehin - Ayanta of Odoyanta - Onirokun of Irokun

8. HRH Oba I. O. Adekoya 22. HRH Oba Alarige of Ibiade - Ayanyelu of Ijesa-Ijebu - Vacant

9. HRH Oba E. A. J. Ogunbanke 23. HRH Oba S. A. Osunlaja - Okemu of Ala - Ojotumoro of Abigi

10. HRH Oba Olobisowa 24. HRH Oba (Lt. Col.) Ade Adesote of Odolubisowa - Vacant - Oloja of Aiyede

11. HRH Oba J. O. Erinle 25. HRH Oba M. A. Adeniyi - Elesi of Odogbolu - Elefire of Efire

12. HRH Oba Sopenlukale of Oke-Sopen (Ijebu-Igbo)- Vacant

13. HRH Oba D. A. Kuyeba - Olokine of Ojowo (Ijebu-Igbo)

14. HRH Oba Kegbo of Atikori (Ijebu-Igbo) - Vacant



Foremost among the deities in Ijebu is the Agemo which is jointly celebrated by Ijebu communities in June/July of every year. The Agemo is a ral­lying factor among the communities that make up Ijebu state. It is believed that the idea was initiated by the Obanta himself as an annual assembly of his priests (Alagemos) at Imosan to curb an unusual in­cidence of recalcitrance during the dispersal of town­ships. He was said to have summoned the Agemo priests from 16 different locations to Ijebu-Ode for heart-to-heart (frank) discussion.

The Obanta prepared well for his visitors whom he feted and had. discussion (oro awo) with. These priests too, as it was normal with them, came with their instruments of power (and defense). And to prevent a possible attack on the people, Obanta made the meeting more business-like so that none of their powers could filter to the people.

The Agemos (in the order of dancing at Agbala Imosan & Ijebu Ode) are:

Tami (Odogbolu), Olumoro (Imoro), Serefusi (Igbile), Posa (Imosan), Moko (Okun), Alofe (Ijesa-Ijebu), Onugbo (Okenugbo), Iju (Imosan), Lapen (Oru), Magodo (Aiyepe), Bajelu (Imuku), Lubamisan (Ago-lwoye), Petu (Isiwo), Ogegbo (Ibonwon), ldobi (Ago-Iwoye), Nopa (Imushin).

Other fetish Agemo Priests that do not per­form dancing rites are:

Onijagbori (Imosan), Adie (Ago-Iwoye), Ogi (Idogi, Ijebu-Ode).

The Agemo festival has since followed the format with people celebrating it with pomp and pag­eantry. The Alagemos usually follow a permanent festival route during which women are compelled to stay indoors. The Awujale is the one that now re­ceives the Alagemos through their head (Tami) whom he (Awujale will receive at Ipebi before the usual "e e ke e e" is chanted to signify the arrival of the other Alagemos.


Oro festival is also common to Ijebus where it is used to cleanse the communities of bad omen. It usually comes up before the Agemo festival as a strat­egy of preparing ground for the Alagemos to ensure that the communities have been rid of evil spirit as well as epidemics. It is believed that communities are safe after Oro festival (Igbalu) and so "Eiye a ke bi eiye and Eran a ke bi eran.” Women are not allowed to witness Oro worship which is usually a seven day programme. In Ijebu-Ode, the Oro comes out in the night when women must not only stay in-doors, but must equally not attempt to peep at all, while in some Ijebu villages women are kept in-doors throughout the day.


Also celebrated is the Obinrin ojowu (Ebi) which usually falls between February and March of every year (beginning of planting season). Th e Olowu is priest of Obinrin Ojowu who directs the rites and takes responsibility for its worship. Before the Obinrin Ojowu celebration, the Olowa would have had to consult with the Awujale and secure his consent on three different occasions. He will then pass death sentence on dogs that have no palm fronds around their necks. The Iroko tree at Odo -Esa is very important to Obinrin Ojowu festival as some rites are performed under it and a dog is usually killed and hung on it throughout the year. Also associated with the festival is the Woro carnival (which usually takes people round the community) and the practice of youths testing night and level of endurance with cane competition. They engage themselves (in twos and beat each other until one gives up (by hanging his cane).


The month of August is usually devoted to the worship of Leguru (although this is no longer popular) in remembrance of the bravery of the Onisemu Leguru, who volunteered to sacrifice self to save Ijebu Ode from being taken over by the lagoon which then occupied some areas in the town.

Unconfirmed reports have it that the town was then faced with the threat of the Lagoon taking over the whole place, and as was predicated, the town would only become a port (not habitable as it is presently). The man, it was said, was a foremost priest who decided to brave the sacrifice when Ifa talked about the grave implication of retaining the water in the town. Reports have it that Leguru himself performed the divination and was then not prepared to change or twist the facts as revealed by Ifa that he (Leguru) was the one that could save the town by sacrificing himself. People still claim to hear him perform divination (under water) around a portion of the Lagoon at Epe.


1. Olu-Iwa

2. Oshi

3. Obanta

4. Monigbuwa

5. Oba-Guru

6. Oba-Loja

7. Oba-Lofin

8. Oba-Apasa

9. Oba-Ofinran

10. Obaruwa

11. Obangaju

12. Tolumogboye

13. Lapengbuwa

14. Otutubiosun

15. Ajuwakale

16. Adisa

17. Jewo

18. Elewu-Ileke

19. Ajana

20. Olotunoyese

21. Olumodan

22. Mase

23. Ore-yeye (Female)

24. Agunwaja

25. Jadiara

26. Asapo-Okun

27. Afolajoye

28. Omila

29. Mekun

30. Gbogidi

31. Ore-geje (Female)

32. Oluyoruwa

33. Muwagona

34. Olope

35. Ayora

36. Fesojaiye

37, Rubakoye (Female)

38. Sapennuwa

39. Oniyewe

40. Boyejo

41. Moyegeso

42. Orodudu-joye

43. Atewogbuwa

44. Gbelegbuwa - 1760

45. Fusengbuwa - 1790

46. Setejoye - 1819

47. Figbajoye Anikilaya - 1820

48. Ademuyewo Fidipote - 1852

49. Adesimbo Tunwase 1886 (Aboki)

50. Adeleke Ogbagba I - 1895

51. Adeona Fusigboye - 1906

'52. Ademolu Fesogbade - 1915

53. Adekoya Eleruja - 1916

*54. Ademotu Fesogbade - 1917

55. Adenuga Folagbade - 1925

56.. Ogunnaike Fibiwoga 1929

57. Dan. Adesanya Gbelegbuwa II - 1933-1959

58. Sikiru Adetona Ogbagba II - 1960

*(Nos 52 and 54 are the same person).

By the declaration made under section 4(2) of. the Chiefs Law 1957 of the Customary Law

regulating the selection of the Awujale of Ijebuland Chieftaincy, there are Four Ruling Houses and the identity of each Ruling House is: (I) The Gbelegbuwa Ruling House

('ti) The Anikinaiya Ruling House

(fu) The Fusengbuwa Ruling House and

(iv) The Fidipote Ruling House.

The Declaration was approved 25th August, 1959 and registered on 1st September, 1959.