The Igbomina or Igbonna is a distinct dialectal unit of the Yoruba race. The term ‘Igbomina’ or ‘Igbonna’ refers to the people and the land they occupy. They occupy the Northern part of the Yoruba geographic map.
The Igbomina land is bounded on the North-West by Ilorin; on the South by the Ijesa, on the South-East by the Ekiti, on the East by the Yagba, and on the North by the non-Yoruba Nupe region South of the Niger River. Igbomina is bounded on the West by minor neighbouring communities: Ibolo, Offa, Oyan and Okuku in the West. Geographically, Igbominaland lies between longitude 40E and 60E and Latitude 80N and 90N.
If the eighteenth century Yoruba-Nupe raids and the nineteenth century Yoruba wars did not affect them and their art and culture, perhaps Igbomina would have produced more diversified forms. Owing to the effects of the wars which resulted in the inter-mingling of people, the original Igbomina have been highly diluted.
Hence, the Igbomina of today have been synthesized into what it is now; from fragments of all part of Yoruba land. Some of the people who fled from Ijesha, Oyo and Ekiti land as a result of the wars came to settle and made Igbomina land their homes (Babalola 1998). Also a considerable number of people who were Fulanis and Hausas in Origin who first settled in Ilorin later migrated into Igbominaland.
The Name “Igbomina” or “Igbonna” is coined from “Ogbo mi mo na” or “Ogbo mo na” which means “My Ogbo -sword- tells directions”. According to the myth, ‘Ogbo’ is a traditional cutlass with a magical power that can tell directions: a power similar to the kind of which the pilots and sailors use today (compass) in determining their route. It was handed by Oduduwa (the ancient Yoruba ancestor) to his son, Fagbamila Ajagunnla Orangun Ile-Ila (the founder of Igbomina land). Just like every other son of the Progenitor, Fagbamila was also sent out of ile-ife in search of a new threshold. Igbomina was the result of his epic voyage.
However, history has it that Fagbamila left Ile-ife already with a beaded crown. He wore this beaded crown for more than seventy years even during the life time of Oduduwa making him the only son of the ancestor to do so. Oduduwa gave Fagbamila Ajagunnla, his son, the ‘Ogbo’ mystical pathfinder to aid his search stressing that it would lead the young prince through and to a suitable place to settle down. Fagbamila also used it to clear bush path along his way as he proceeds in the forest.
He moved North and eventually conquered. He settled finally in a vast stretch of land which today stretches across two state boundaries namely Osun and Kwara states. The Kingdom today is known as ‘Igbomina’ named after Orangun Fagbamila’s mystical pathfinder with the administrative house in Ila (in today’s Osun state). Therefore, it will be safe to say that Igbomina are direct descendants of Oduduwa. Their forefather, Orangun (Oran-mi-gun) Fagbamila Ajagunnla, was the second male child of the Oduduwa dynasty. Oduduwa had only one son, Okanbi. Orangun was the first Son of Okanbi making him the first Grandson of Oduduwa while Oranmiyan was his last grandson.
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In the modern traditional setting, this geographical setting is now defined by states boundary and governed by different monarchs. According to Afolayan (1998:77), it is not definitely known when the modern 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, Omu-ipo, Ajase ipo, Igbonla, 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 conglomerations that the modern Igbomina came into being. Most notable of these was the kingdom of Ila which is regarded to be the traditional head of the Igbomina race.
Among the Igbomina, the Orangun of Ila is regarded as the ‘father’ and the original inheritor from Ife 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-Ila and 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.
Apart from Ila Kingdom; headed by the Orangun (Oba Wahab Kayode Adedeji Oyedotun), here is a list of some Kings and their kingdoms within the ethnic:
Olomu of Omu-ipo Oba Yakub Adebayo Buhari
Orangun of oke-ila Oba Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin
Olusin of isanlu isin
Olomu of Omu-aran Oba Charles Oladele Ibitoye
Alapa of Eku-Apa
Oloro of Oro
More updates shall come your way about other kings and their kingdoms.
Inspite of the partition of geographical spread of the Igbominna people, it remains a homogeneous ethnic group as they possess very strong traces of similarity and way of life. 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 Igbominas are also fond of eating pounded yam with melon (Egusi) soup as a special delicacy. The Igbomina people would preserve their late night leftovers for breakfast the next day.
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” meaning ‘it will cost you money’ (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.
Archaeological and linguistic evidence suggest that Igbomina people probably predated the surrounding people they met in the North at that time except perhaps the Nupe and the Yagba. Igbominaland definitely is linked to the Oduduwa era as evidenced by oral traditions of royal and non-royal migrations from Oduduwa’s Ile-Ife met existing dynasties in place but displaced, subsumed or subjugated them.
It appears that aside from more recent conflicts in the last two centuries, the Oyo Ijesha and the Ekiti may have in more ancient times, pressured the Igbomina, captured territory in the plains and restricted them into the more rugged and lower-quality land of the Yoruba hills.
The Igbomina, on the other hand, appear to have pressured the Nupe and the Yagba taken territory away from them in places, but also losing territory to them in other places. The Igbomina may have lost some territory to their Ekiti neighbours during various conflicts and wars of the nineteenth and preceding centuries. Evidence of such lost territory is in the strong Igbomina content in the dialect of the Otun kingdom which was actually claimed during the British colonial era as part of Igbomina and by the Orangun of Ila.
The Omo Ibile Igbomina National Secretariat (IGBOMINA HOUSE) is situated at Ganmo in Kwara state.
I’m Proudly Igbomina!
Researched and Collated by Ola-lawal M.D.