Brief history of Igbomina Land

The Igbomina or Igbonna is a distinct dialectal unit of the Yorubas. The term Igbomina or Igbonna refers to the people and the land they occupy.They occupy the Northern part of the Yoruba region of Southwestern Nigeria. Igbominaland is bounded on the North-West by Ilorin, Yoruba region on the South by the Ijesa-Yoruba region on the South-East by the Ekiti-Yoruba region on the East by the Yagba Yoruba region and on the North by the non-Yoruba Nupe region South of the Niger River.Other minor neighbours of the Igbomina are the Ibolo – Yoruba group of the cities of Offa, Oyan and Okuku in the West.

Presently, Igbominaland consists of three Local Government areas (LGAs) of Kwara State: Irepodun, Ifelodun and Isin LGAs as well as two Local Government areas of Osun State: Ila and Ifedayo LGAs. Igbominaland lies between longitude 40E and 60E and Latitude 80N and 90N.

The Name “Igbomina” or “Igbonna” is coined from “Ogbo mi mo na” or “Ogbo mo na” the contractions of “Ogbo mi mo ona” or “Ogbo mo na” meaning “my Ogbo knows the way”, which is a reference to the mystical cutlass “Ogbo” – (The traditional cutlass called ‘Ogbo’ has a magical power, the kind of which pilot and sailor used today to determine their route) – which was given by the ancient Yoruba ancestor,Oduduwa to his son, Fagbamila Ajagunnla Orangun Ile-Ila whom he was sending out of Ile-Ife with a crown (according to mythology/oral history Orangun remained the only son of Oduduwa who wore beaded crown for more than seventy years in the life time of Oduduwa) to found his own kingdom. Oduduwa told his son, Fagbamila Ajagunnla, that the ‘Ogbo’ the mystical pathfinder would lead the young prince to a suitable place to settle down but he should also use it to clear his way as he proceeds in the forest.

However, on the establishment of Igbominaland, many historians of high repute who are well versed and versatile in Igbomina chronicle; have one time or the other dwell into this independently and came out with almost the same opinion hence a few of such works expressed below will suffice. According to the writers of Omo Ibile Igbomina programme for the commissioning of Phase1 Igbomina Secretariat Complex held on the 8th day of May 2004 at Ganmo, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.”

“igbomina are direct descendants of Oduduwa, their progenitor being the second male child of Oduduwa by name Orangun Fagbamila Ajagunnla. Like all Oduduwa’s children, he migrated from Ile-Ife and found his own kingdom. He conquered and later settled in a vast stretch of land which today stretches across two state boundaries namely Osun and Kwara states. ”

The name “Igbomina” is derived from Ogbomona, “Ogbo” being the mystical cutlass given to him by his father, Oduduwa. The cutlass was used as a mystical pathfinder with which Orangun (Oran-mi-gun) Fagbamila Ajagun-nla founded his kingdom which today is known as Igbmomina.

Afolayan (1998:77) opined thus:
It is not definitely known when the peopling of Igbomina reign began. Local traditions emphasize the existence of the fairly well defined states in the area before the 19th century. Indeed, by the early 18th century many independent state structures could be identified.
These included Omu-Aran, ajase, Isanlu-Isin, Iwo, Edidi, Oro, Ora, Aun, Ikosin and Igbaja. Each of these possessed separate traditions of foundation and growth distinct from the Ila kingdom. It is out of these conglomeration that the Igbomina came into being. Most notable of these was the kingdom of Ila, Whose ruler, the Orangun, is traditionally regarded as the leader of the Igbomina

Pemberton (1986:217) succinctly wrote:
Over the centuries the king of Ila whose title is Orangun – Ila, has been known as “father” of the Igbomina, a large subgroup in the Northeast portion of Yorubaland.

Then, Dada (1985:1) wrote:
“It seems correct to assume that it is the area of land currently occupied by the people that used to be called Igbomina by virtue of the fact that all the area of land was given to and founded by the Orangun of Ila as his own share of land inherited directly from his grandfather Oduduwa, the father of the Yoruba.”

Also, Akintoye (1971) brings this out thus:
“Among the Igbomina, the Orangun of Ila is regarded as something of a ‘father’ and the original inheritor from Ife of the land on which all the Igbomina later settled. Before coming to Ila, the seat of government of the Orangun had been established for brief periods in a number of localities, the best remembered of which are Oke-Ilaand Ila-Yara. Probably in the sixteenth century and because of a dispute or famine, the centre of the kingdom was once again moved from the latter place to Ila under the leadership of Igbonnibi, a scion of the dynasty. The traditions say that because crops grown around Ila did much better than those grown around the older settlements, more and more people came to settle at Ila. In the end, therefore, Ila became a very large town.”

Inspite of the partition of their land with some towns conceded to Osun State, while the others are in Kwara State, the Igbomina remains a homogeneous ethnic group in their culture. They are bounded together by the cultural festival of Egungun Elewe which is the most singular cultural symbol by which a genuine Igbomina town or village could be identified (Babalola, 1998). The Igbomina is also fond of eating pounded yam with melon soup as a special delicacy, while they preserve the left over as the next day break fast “rechauffe” meal (Babalola Ibid).

The Igbomina are renowned for their agricultural and hunting prowess as well as their woodcarving, leather art and they possessed a marvelous amount of physical strength, simplicity of manners and love of home. They are remarkably shrewd, intelligent, diplomatic and have a keen commercial spirit which has earned them a nickname
“Owo ni eeje” (Afolabi 2006). They are imbued with a deep religious spirit, reverential in manners, showing difference to superiors and respect to age and ingrained politeness is part and parcel of their nature.