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Ilogbo-Ekiti: A community with rare feats

• Produced Nigeria’s first Professor of Yoruba language • Produced renowned surgeon who operated successfully on an unborn baby

• Rich cultural heritage • Treats quick wealth  as taboo

Priscilla Ofunre, Ado-Ekiti

Ilogbo-Ekiti, though a quiet town in Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, has many feats that stand her out.

Founded by some of the grandchildren of Oduduwa, led by Okunbobuwa, who jointly migrated from Ile-ife, around 15th century, the community began as a local military camp and had its establishment, coinciding with the institution of Islamic Hausa Kingdom in Northern Nigeria.

The community’s monarch, Oba  Dr. E. O Ajayi, (JP), the Owa of Ilogbo kingdom, said Ilogbo was formerly called Ulogbooro, meaning a town flourishing with wealth, which attests to the town’s current wealth in human and material resources.

He narrated a brief history of the town in a chat during the 36th anniversary of celebrating Ilogbo Day: “As descendants of Oduduwa, Ilogbo people could trace their root to Ile-Ife.

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The town began as a military camp in the early 15th century. Its establishment coincided with the institution of Islamic Hausa Kingdom in northern part of Nigeria.

“The town, which was initially known as Ilugbooro, came into existence when modern Nigeria was full of individually distinct ethnic kingdoms. Okunbobuwa, popularly as Ejemu, was the direct son of Owa Obokun of Ijesha, who was also the son of Oduduwa.

“According to history, Okunbobuwa was the first person to migrate to Ilogbo. He was a prince and a son of Owa of Ilesha and when his father died, Okunbobuwa (Ejemu) and his two brothers wrangled on who will be crowned as the next  king. In the name of peace, Ejemu left Ilesha with few friends and Okere,” the oba said.

Speaking further, he disclosed: “After a few days in the forest, the group settled at Ipole Oke-Ona and the place became their first settlement. At Ipole, Ejemu was there for many years before he could meet Olotin – a great hunter, who later helped Ejemu to persuade Omo Oye – a prince from Osun, to settle down at Ipole. Omo Oye was made the king and the dynasty remains the ruling house in Ilogbo ever since. Olotin also won another soul of passer-by (Odofin) to settle down with them and Ejemu agreed to make him second-in-command while he took third position while Enurin who migrated from Ikole took number four position.

“In the administration of Ilogbo- Ekiti, Owa is the head. The town has three permanent house chiefs namely: Odofin, Ejemu and Enurin. Odofin is the head of Odofin’s dynasty, Ejemu as the head of Ebi Mije and Enurin as the head of Enurin’s descendants. The additional three are rotational high chiefs which are: Eisinkin, Eisaya and Eisaba. The three additional chiefs increased number of high chiefs to six and these chiefs were known as Iwara Mefa (the kingmakers).”

Ilogbo-Ekiti, one of the eleven towns in Ido/Osi Local Government, is governed by the Owa-In -Council and the Arabamefa (High Chiefs). The meaning of Ilogbo is a town that flourish, formerly known as Ulugbooro.

An important feature of the Ilogbo Day celebration was the homecoming event organised by the Ilogbo Elites Club and supported by other associations, such as Egbe Omo Ilogbo, the umbrella of all age groups and associations in the town.

At the occasion, illustrious sons and daughters of the town, among whom is a former member of the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Aina, who was honoured for bringing huge development to the town.

 Ilogbo has other feats which has placed the small town on the world map. According to the Chairman, Committee for Homecoming event, besides many sons and daughters, who have made Ilogbo proud nationally and globally are Thaddeus Aina, Prof Tayo Olutoye, said to be Nigeria’s first Professor of Yoruba language, and a United States of America (USA) based Nigerian surgeon, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, who achieved a great medical feat by removing an unborn child from the mother’s womb, performed a surgery on it and later returned the child to the womb of the mother, who delivered after 32 weeks.

Apart from having world renowned indigenes, Ilogbo also boasts of rich cultural practices and heritage. Among these cultural practices and traditions according to the town’s monarch is a taboo that guards against indigenes of the town, craving for quick riches.

Explaining this tradition, the Owa said :  “It is an abomination for the indigenes to engage in money ritual. The consequence is that anybody who does this will die without tasting the wealth.

“Our other taboos include you can’t kill a man cat, you don’t carry the complete of plantain or banana without cutting as well as palm kernel, one cannot ride horse across the main town and lots more. The natural resources in the town are grand stone and partial gold.

“The most popular traditional festival in Ilogbo is Olua and it attracts tourists and traditionalists from Cuba, United Kingdom and America. The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi Eniitan is always coming to the town during Olua festival. He was here recently.

“Tourists attractions in Ilogbo-Ekiti include: Alaorosaba cave at Ipole,   Erandu, a similitude of Olosunta Ikere and Kitikiti. Also, we have Ope Oloriyeye, a spiritual palm tree with many fronts heads. We have streams with certain spiritual powers, they include Ogidigbi Oniranyin, a healing stream and her gentle compatriot, Isune. We are also blessed in agriculture. We produce mostly yam, cassava, maize and some other things,” he said. 

Oba Ajayi also explained why the town honoured her indigenes who have contributed immensely to the progress of Ilogbo: “Thaddeus Akinola Aina is a gift from God for Ilogbo-Ekiti. I am happy and well pleased for the honour bestowed on him. He is a man of honour. He is our pride in Ilogbo-Ekiti.

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Well, I congratulate them all for what is happening today. It is a great lesson for everyone of them so that when the opportunity arises they should use it very well to serve their town so that they will be well-known. They should do good in their own time so that they will be remembered for it. We also want to urge the state government to help tar Usi-Ilogbo Road and provide jobs for the unemployed youths.”

Speaking with The Nigerian Xpress on the occasion of the honour bestowed on him, Aina who is a former member of the Federal  House of Representatives and former Chairman of Ido-Osi LGA, said: “I thank God I was able to construct some developmental projects in this town and in my constituencies. I have to my credit almost fifty bore-holes in my constituency, about five bore-holes in Ilogbo-Ekiti and two authorised bore-holes, I sponsored the training of many on skills acquisition, I have some schools in the constituency,  bought transformers in the constituency and built modern town hall.

I feel delighted and elated. I am happy and grateful to God that I lived to see this. It is similar to what I witnessed while I was in the United Kingdom, a program : “This is your life”. I am happy that people can still recognise and appreciate what others are doing and I am very sure the young ones will take a cue from what they have seen tonight, because when you appreciate and celebrate people, they are very happy that they do not forget them or consign them in the dust bin. I appreciate every