The Ìgbómìnà (Igboona or Ogboona) people are ancient-hunters, renowned agriculturalists, skillful wood carvers and expert leather artists and a Yoruboid-speaking people that forms the sub-set of the larger ethnic Yoruba people of West Africa, particularly in Nigeria. The Yorubas are group of people that belong to the kwa group of the Niger – Congo linguistic group. Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicate that they had lived in their present habitat from as early as fifth century B.C. The larger Yoruba group are found predominantly in Nigeria and Benin, where the ancient Yoruba Kingdom of Oyo stretched to.
Igbomina elders of Òkè-Ìlá Òràngún (often abbreviated as Òkè-Ìlá), an ancient city in southwestern Nigeria that was capital of an ancient Igbomina-Yoruba city-state of the same name.
The heterogeneous Igbomina people who used to be one of the highly-advanced cloth-weavers are occupying the north-central portion of the Yoruba region of southwestern Nigeria. The Ìgbómìnà spread across what is eastern Kwara State and now northern Osun State. About 90%percent of these people live in the present day Isin, Irepodun and Ifelodun local government parts of Kwara State, while the remaining occupy Ora and Ila - Orangun areas of Osun State.
Ìgbómìnàland is adjoined on the west and northwest by major neighbours such as the Oyo-Yoruba region, on the south and southwest by the Ijesha-Yoruba region, on the south and southeast 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 Ìgbómìnà are the Ibolo sub-group of the cities of Offa, Oyan and Okuku in the west.
Olusin of Isan
This sub-group of the Yoruba people migrated to the present place of settlement from various locations and at different times between the 14th and 17th century A.D (Dada, 1985:1) Majority of Igbomina clans claimed to have migrated to the area of present habitation from either Ife or Oyo, the two main nuclei of Yoruba. The progenitor of the Igbomina was a prince of Oduduwa (Johnson, 1921). According Yoruba-Igbomina tradition the area now called Igbomina was given to and founded by Orangun of Ila as his own share of inheritance from his grandfather, Ododuwa, the purported progenitor of the Yoruba race (Ibiloye, 1994: 33). According to this tradition, Orangun was the second son (and the fourth child) of Okanbi, the only son of Oduduwa. He founded Igbomina through the use of Ogbo. It was this Ogbo that was supposed to know the way to the bank of River Niger, the ultimate destination of this itinerant way-farer; hence the name Ogbomona (that is, Ogbo knows the way) literary translated (corrupted over a time) to Igbomina with the passage of time (Ibiloye, 1994: 33).
Igbomina elders of Oke-Ila at Isiro festival
Apart from those found in Ila area, Igbominaland is more precisely aligned into sixteen administrative parts in Kwara State. The areas are Omu-Aran, Omupo, Sare, Oke-Ode, Igbaja, Ajase, Isin, Oro, Oro-Ago, Ile-Ire, Ora, , Oko, Ola, Esie, , Idofian and Idofin.
There are known compartments of Igbomina towns and villages in few other locals of Kwara State including Apado in Iponrin area, Jeba in Lanwa district, Apa-Ole, Joromu, Fufu etc., in Akanbi district and Ogbondoroko in Afon area.
The Igbominas are often grouped into two; the Igbomina Mosan and Igbomina Moye.
The Moye group includes Oke-Ode , Oro-Ago, Ora, Oko-Ola, Idofin and Agunjin districts.
Mosan group comprises areas such as Omu-Aran, Ajase, Igbaja, Isin, Oro, Share, Esie, Omupo, Idofian and Ila-Orangun.
The cord that firmly holds the Igbomina clan together exhibits in their inseparable dialect, origins, values, culture, institutions and aspirations.
All across Igbominaland, the habit of eating Ewu iyan and Ikasin oka or oka adagbon, is familiar. These meals are a remake of the overnight leftovers of amala and iyan, a delicacy that adds refreshing flavours of delicious tastes and aromas to the meals.
The “new” taste is highly cherished in especially Omu-Aran that its inhabitants have this refrain " ewu iyan d'Omu o dotun" , meaning the re-make is no way inferior to the fresh one.
Among the Yoruba, Igbomina people posses the famous Elewe masquerade which is an Egungun representing the ancestors during special festivals.
Igbomina land is also a proud home to many tourist centres. Many of these are even recognized by different states and federal govt. The first national museum in Nigeria established in 1945 is located at Esie, a standard Zoological Garden where people troop to in order to enjoy their holidays share the same fence with the museum also in Esie. Ayikunnugba Water Fall at oke-Ila as well as Owu Fall at Isin local govt of kwara state are beauties to behold.
Igbomina people are hardworking, intelligent, industrious, widely travelled, with great exposure and highly focused.
Igbomina Tribal marks
The Igbominas are by some classed with Qyos, and by others with Ekitis. It will, perhaps, be more correct to say they are Oyos with Ekiti sympathies. They occupy a midway position between the two ; and so their facial marks are parallel like those of Qyos, but long and far apart like those of Yagbas, yet not convergent in front.
On the whole, speaking generally, the finer and more closely drawn lines, are more elegant than the same drawn bold, and too far apart.
We may note how each of the principal marks is indicated by a different verb signifying "to mark": —
To be marked with the Pele is O kQ Pele
„ „ „ Abaja ,, O hu Abaja
Keke ,, O ja Keke
Igbomina people speak a Central Yoruba dialect called Ìgbómìnà or Igbonna, a Yoruboid language that belongs to the larger Niger-Congo language group. Igbomina dialect is akin to the adjoining Yagba, Ilésà, Ifẹ, Ekiti, Akurẹ, Ẹfọn, and Ijẹbu areas that are classified under Central Yoruba dialects of the larger Yoruboid languages.
Archaeological and linguistic evidence suggest that the Ìgbómìnà people may have predated the surrounding peoples except perhaps the Nupe and the Yagba. Ìgbómìnàland definitely predated the Oduduwa era as evidenced by oral traditions of royal and non-royal migrations from Oduduwa’s Ile-Ife which met existing dynasties in place but displaced, subsumed or subjugated them. Over 800 carved stones, mostly representing human figures, have been found around Esie in western Igbomina, Ijara and Ofaro villages. It is not known who created the sculptures, but they appear to have been created around 1100 AD. 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 Ìgbómìnà, captured territory in the plains and restricted them into the more rugged and lower-quality land of the Yoruba hills. The Ìgbómìnà, on the other hand, appear to have pressured the Nupe and the Yagba and taken territory away from them in places, but also losing territory to them in other places.
In Yoruba traditional history, Oduduwa is the first king of the Yoruba people. Yoruba traditions are emphatic that Ile-Ife is the cradle of their civilization. Other Yoruba towns and kingdoms grow out of Ile-Ife and some of them even became more powerful than their original source. However the major kingdoms in Yoruba land apart from Ile-Ife by 1800 were;
- Egba under the Alake
- Igbomina under the Orangun
- Ijebu under the Awujale
- Ketu under the Alaketu
- Ondo under the Osemawe
- Owo under the Olowo
- Owu under the Olowu
- Oyo under the Alaafin
- Popo under the Onipopo
- Sabe under the Onisabe
Other Yoruba kingdoms were Ilaje, Egbado and Awori. The rulers of these kingdoms trace their origins to Ile-Ife and their descent expressly or implied to Oduduwa, hence Igbomina people have it origin from Ile-Ife
Priests of Ifa gather at the palace to perform the rite of Ifa Adagba, Nigeria, August 1982. Photo by John Pemberton III. (Early August in the Igbomina town of Ila-Orangun, priests of ifa gather at the palace to perform the rite of ifa Adagba. The rite takes hours, for the task is to determine the nature, number, and recipients of sacrifices to be made by the Oba (king) and senior chiefs in preparation for the annual festival for the Odun Oba (king's crown) the following month. In divination rites the babalawo always sits opposite an open door or window assuring a freedom of communication between the rites of divination and the realm of spiritual powers. Note that on the rim of the opon ifa (divination board) the face of Esu (Eshu) appears twice, although more often than not it appears a single time. His image is always positioned opposite the seated priest, for Esu is the messenger of the gods and other spirits, bearer of sacrifices, and guardian of the ritual way.)
However, the traditional Yoruba history of Igbomina people assert that the Igbomina used to be in Ile Ife. Their migration from that land started after the Referendum was held by all Yoruba at Ita Ajero in Ile Ife. This referendum was held to discuss and decide how to decongest the over-populated Ile Ife the cradle of Yoruba land. The outcome of the Referendum was that all the sons and daughters of Oduduwa would move out of Ile-Ife to find places of abode. Each prince or princess was given a crown and a symbol, which later became a token of their authority.
The Igbomina people were given a cutlass called “Ada Ogbo”. It is believed that this cutlass was given to Orangun of Ila (Fagbamila Agun-nla Orangun) whose grandfather was Ododuwa, the purported progenitor of the Yoruba race (Ibiloye, 1994: 33) and Anaasin Adetinrin as expatiated by the oriki of Orangun Ile-Ila thus:-.
This cutlass is believed to have possessed a spiritual power that it acted as the pathfinder for the Igbomina people during their itinerary from Ile Ife to the present day Igbomina land. It is because of the path finding and route detecting roles of the cutlass that the cutlass was given the name “Ogbo mi Mona” (My cutlass is capable of showing me my ways). This was later shorten to “Ogbomona” which later, with the passage of time changed to Igbomina. So the cutlass (ADA) led the Igbomina people to the present Igbomina land.
Major upheavals, conflicts and wars as well as epidemics have resulted in major ancient dispersals and migrations such as the Òbà diasporas documented in the oral history, oral poetry and lineage praise songs of several Ìgbómìnà clans. Some of the towns in Igbomina are known for historical events or things, an example is the Gegele hill in igbaja.
The Islamic revolution that swept through Western Sudan in the 19th century brought into existence the erstwhile Sokoto Caliphate that dominated the political landscape of a considerable proportion of the area that later became Nigeria. While British Colonial intervention brought to an end the exercise of political power by this empire at the beginning of the 20th century, the socio-cultural and religious influence of the Fulani Jihadist have remained all pervasive in the day to day life of the people especially the Igbomina of Kwara State even during and in the post colonial era.
Igbomina people have for a long time, perhaps since their emergence as a distinguishable autonomous community, endured uninterrupted status of vassalage. They have passed from the hand of one imperial lord to another in quick succession with varying degree of control of her internal affairs by the imperial authority. Of these long traditions of subordination, the tradition of
Ilorin oppression is unrivaled in brutality in Igbomina colonial experiences. The bitter memory of it has also survived the passage of time. Such stories are passed down from father to children as fire-side tell-tales assuming the status of myth and legend. It sometime becomes so emotive that it is difficult to separate facts from fantasy.
Ila-Orangun, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria, August 1982. Photo by John Pemberton III. (Following the rites of ifa idagba, ifa priests are led from the palace to the Oloriawo's house by a youth carrying on his head the opon igebe (ifa bowl) and opon ifa (divination board) covered with a red cloth. Behind him a priest carries the staff of ifa, opa orere. The iron staff is surmounted by oyele ifa (the image of a bird) and has clusters of conical shaped bells covered by shredded raffia, which give forth a muted sound as the priest strikes the staff upon the ground.)
However, Igbomina people claimed not to have been militarily subjugated by Ilorin to deserve such demeaning treatment and that diplomacy or “treachery” (as Igbomina people call it) was responsible for or the mode of their incorporation into Ilorin imperial system (Adeyemi, 1984). It was fear of slave raiders, they explained, and the general insecurity that pervaded the 19th century political
atmosphere of Yoruba country after the disintegration of Old Oyo Empire, that made them submit voluntarily to alliance with Ilorin (Adeyemi, 1984). Ilorin on the other hand, clearly affirms military conquest as the mode of integration of the Igbomina into the emirate system and they have as their reference point, overwhelming documentary evidence to buttress this claim. (read further here: http://academicjournals.org/article/article1380033730_Ibiloye.pdf)
Igbomina people of irepodun Local Government Area in Kwara State, Nigeria
In terms of social relations, the people are highly communal and rely heavily on the values of kith and kin, emphasizing love to one another and providing support where required. In the cosmopolitan cities, the Igbomina breed concentrates in identifiable settlements retaining the ideals of their origin and reliving the values of the fore bearers. In Lagos for instance, the people are found in high density on Lagos Island , Apapa, Mushin , Agege and Alimosho Local Government Areas. They are largely hard working and humble in disposition, two virtues which have given them such phenomenal economic success that their wealth as a people is now legendary. The story of their hosts and neighbours were busy parading non - existent superior air, these people ignored the whiff and burrowed down into tending their trade. By the time the arrogant hosts cared to check the ground, proof of the real equation was iron cast. The air was gone, respect ushered in.
Palmwine tapper of Ila- Orangun
Indigo “snake” cloths of the Igbomina Yoruba
Unlike Ilorin, which was and still is one of the major centres of narrow strip aso oke cloth weaving by Yoruba men, there were rather few narrow strip weavers among the Igbomina. Instead it was known for the wider cloths woven by women on the upright single heddle loom. As recently as the 1960s almost all Igbomina Yoruba households would have included one or more women weavers, producing cloths both for use within the family and for sale in the market.
The relevance of migration to settlement pattern in Igbominaland
E. O. Ibiloye
Department of History and International Studies, Osun State University, Oshogbo, Nigeria.
The environment of Igbomina
The Igbomina are recognised by themselves and by others as a distinct dialectic sub-group of the Yoruba inhabiting the northern part of Yoruba country today, they are found in the two states of Kwara and Osun (Falola, 1988). In 1918, the boundary declaration between the Northern and Southern Nigeria partitioned the Igbomina into these two regions, with Ila Orangun and its Southern
neighbours located in the South and the other in the North (Falola, 1988). Even in the Northern part of the present settlement, the Igbomina were again sub-divided between two administrative divisions of Ilorin and Lafiaji/ Patigi, until May 1946 when they were all merged under Ilorin. Following the Local Government reforms of 1968 and 1976 and the intense pressure for change (Adeyemi, 1984) the Igbomina were granted local autonomy and the majority now live in Ifelodun, Irepodun and most recently, Isin Local Government Areas of Kwara State and Ila-Orangun area of Osun State (Dada,1985: 2).
In the 19th century, the Igbomina were equally divided into two prior to the establishment of colonial administration. Ila-Orangun was situated at the edge of the forest and the other Igbomina group occupied the savannah stretch below the band of the River Niger from latitude 4 and 8°East and longitude 8 and 9°North (May, 1860: 212). There were close to a dozen Igbomina subunits
(each unit having a major town and a cluster of small villages). These were the Share, Isin, Ila, Oke-Ode, Ile-Ire, Esisa, Irese, Ipo, Iyangba and Oro (Herman- Hedge, 1966: 1700).
To the north of Igbomina are the Nupe groups of Lafiaji; to the west are Ilorin, to the north-east are Yagba, the south- east is occupied by the Ekiti, while the Ibolo of Ijagbo in Oyun L.G.A of Kwara State are found in thesouth west (Adeyemi, 1985: 5). Igbomina covers an area of about 1500 km2 in Kwara State and belongs to the grass plain zone of Southern Nigeria (Udo, 1970: 100). This area forms part of the Southern border of what has come to be known as the middle belt of Nigeria (Udo, 1970: 100).
Migration and settlement pattern of the Igbomina
Several attempts have been made by a number of writers to explain who the Igbomina people are and their historical antecedence since the middle of the 19th century (Adeyemi, 1985: 7-8). For the purpose of this paper the Igbomina would be described as a heterogeneous sub-group of the Yoruba who migrated to the present place of settlement from various locations and at different times between the 14 and 17th century (Dada, 1985: 10). Although they have traditions of origin
that attempt to explain the origin of their common languages (dialect), culture and political institution, from their descent through a single ancestry, Oduduwa, Igbomina never united under a single political authority contrary to Atanda’s claim (Atanda, 1973: 132).
Some 19 and early 20th centuries authors portrayed the Igbomina in different ways based on their levels of understanding of the cultural inter-link among the Yoruba’s. Clarke, 1972 for instance did not recognize them as Yoruba, although he acknowledged that they spoke Yoruba Language (Adeyemi. 1995: 39). However, Talbot (1969) saw the Igbomina as true Yoruba under the sovereignty of the Alafin, but under the direct leadership of the Orangun of Ila (Adeyemi, 1995:
It is confirmed from historical, cultural and geographical location that the Igbomina people are Yoruba both in language and culture. Majority claimed to have migrated to the area of present habitation from either Ife or Oyo, the two main nuclei of Yoruba. The progenitor of the
Igbomina was a prince of Oduduwa (Johnson, 1921). If the dialectic variation casts any doubt at all on the genuinness of their Yoruba connection, this could easily be explained on the fact that other Yoruba dialectic subgroups such as the Egba, Ekiti, Ondo etc would not any way fare better.
All cultural traits of the Igbomina people portray them as Yoruba. Although under colonial rule they were partitioned to the North and South, they still remained either in the Yoruba provinces of the South or in the Southern part of the Northern provinces–contiguous to the Yoruba provinces.
Today, they occupy Irepodun, Ifelodun and Isin Local Government Areas of Kwara State. There are few Igbomina towns in what is now Osun State. These include Ila-Orangun Oke-Ila and Ora Igbomina. Jebba-South is also Igbomina, although the population is now mixed. Towns like Iponrin, Lanwa, Ayetoro–Ile and Agbeyangi that are now in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State are all Igbomina although Ilorin influence has compromised their identity (Adeyemi, 1995:40).
Traditions of origin
There is yet to be a universally acceptable history of origin of the Igbomina. However one significant fact about the origin in the context of this paper is that Igbomina generally see their origin in terms of migration. The most popular version of the traditions associated the founders of towns and kingdoms with migrant princess or hunters from either Ife or Oyo (Dada, 1985: 1). Although it is difficult to date precisely the waves of these migrations, there is no doubt that some of the towns are of considerable antiquity as earlier asserted here.
Closely related to this is the tradition which says that the area now called Igbomina was given to and founded by Orangun of Ila as his own share of inheritance from his grandfather, Ododuwa, the purported progenitor of the Yoruba race (Ibiloye, 1994: 33). According to this tradition, Orangun was the second son (and the fourth child) of Okanbi, the only son of Oduduwa. He founded
Igbomina through the use of Ogbo. It was this Ogbo that was supposed to know the way to the bank of River Niger, the ultimate destination of this itinerant way-farer; hence the name Ogbomona (that is, Ogbo knows the way) literarly translated to Igbomina with the passage of time (Ibiloye, 1994: 33). There exists also tradition in Omu-Aran, particularly after the shifting of Ila-Orangun
from the rest of Igbomina to the old Western Region, dating probably to recent past, which claims the possession of similar Ogbo as that in Orangun’s custody (Ibiloye, 1994: 34). It has however, been noted that the duplication of Ogbo is closely associated with leadership rivalry in Igbomina. Since the possessor of genuine Ogbo would have stronger claim to the leadership of Igbomina.
Not withstanding which Ogbo is genuine, the inadequacy of the whole tradition in explaining the origin of the people is glaring. First is that not all people presently inhabiting the present day Igbomina could lay claim to decent from Orangun, the assumed original owner of the land, nor could Igbomina people be considered homogenous group. Migrations of different waves from different directions and at different times and places, gave rise to the present settlements.
For instance, while the Oro group claimed to have come from Ketu, Isanlu–Isin, Ila Orangun and Omu-Aran groups claimed Ife decent (Adeyemi, 1985: 27). Others such as Ijara, Igbaja and Share etc, trace their own immigration to Oyo. Owu, the headquarters of Isin Local Goverment Area of
Kwara State, traced its own migration to Owu in Abeokuta, while Iwo, its immediate neighbour, claimed Iwo in Osun State as its primordial home. So also there are communities tracing their ancestry to Nupe decent. Of this group, Rore and Opanda are typical examples (Dada, 1985: 1; Elphinstone, 1921: 16). The pattern of migration is as wide and varied as almost the number of
recognizable sub-groups in Igbomina.
The Ogbo tradition could be explained in terms of myth, the likes of which exist in all culture. Practically every African country has its own myths or stories of its origin of creation. A myth is a means of explaining some actual or imaginary reality, which is not adequately understood and so cannot be explained through normal description. Myths do not have to be taken literarly, since they are not synonymous with facts. They are intended to communicate and form the basis for a working explanation about something. In societies such as the early Igbomina dating back to its time of origin, where no written records of ideas and events existed, myths are often the most effective means of keeping ideas circulating from one place to another and from one generation to the next
(Mbiti, 1975: 75).
It is, however, evident from the above that migrations of various types, namely, innovative, primitive, forced and free, have always been part of Igbomina history. Migration was therefore, not a 20th century phenomenon. The need to migrate developed out of necessity to seek greater convenience and factors responsible for this could be cultural, political, religious, environmental and
economic. The factors responsible for migration in each wave of human movement depend on the circumstances of the potential migrants. While migrations associated with origin of the Igbomina were traceable to disputes over land or chieftaincy titles, later migrations were motivated more by economic imperative rather than cultural necessity.
Cultural diversity associated with group migration and settlement
P.O.A. Dada has attempted a classification of Igbomina into sub-cultural groups based on old settlement pattern and migrations associated with origin (Dada, 1985: 1) Dada identified the following as autonomous sub-group with close affinity even within the Igbomina nation. These
include the Igbomina Esa comprising Oke-Ode and a number of villages under it. Igbomina Ire, comprising the whole of Ile-Ire District, Igbomina Esisa (Old name for Oro-Ago), Igbomina Iyangba, included Omu-Aran and some parts of Isin, Irese included Igbya and its neighbours. Others include the Ipo, comprising Ajasse and its neighbours and the Eku-mesan Oro, the nine
groups of villages called Oro (Dada, 1985: 9).
The separate traditions of origin associated with these identified sub-groupings is a clear demonstration of the level of cultural diversity among the Igbomina associated with separate migrations outside Orangun leadership as earlier stated. We would examine a number of these
identified sub-groups and their traditions of separate migrations and settlement.
Igbomina Oro (Oro-Ago)
The people of Oro-Ago claim that their ancestor migrated from Ketu in the present Benin Republic, under the leadership of Ajagun. Seven hilly settlement emerged under Ajagun leadership, namely, Omugo, Oke-Daba, Iraye, Isaoye, Aworo-ona, Oke-Ayin and Ayetoro. Eight other migrants joined this earlier migrants to make up fifteen that was known as Eku meedogun Oro (Adeyemi, 1995: 46).
Igbomina Esa (Oke-ode)
Maku, the founder of Oke-Ode, was said to have migrated from Ile Ife and settled on top of a hill in the present location of the town. The defensive position of the location attracted a number of surrounding settlements that flooded it for protection (Adeyemi, 1995: 46).
The founders of Aran was named as Alaran Odundun and Enuyomi who were said to have led their people from Ile-Ife to Igbomina land to found three major towns named Aran-Orin, Arandun and Aran quarters in Omu-Aran (Adeyemi, 1995: 47). The first place of settlement was at Igbo Odun Alaro. From there the settlement moved to Ile Aran on the way to Ekan in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State. An outbreak of war precipitated another movement to join Ajo Iyangba along
with other Igbominas like Isanlu, Omu and Northern Ekiti towns. The Ajo was located at a point half–way between Ilofa and Oko, the disbandment of which in the 1890s brought some Aran people to settle at Aran-Orin. Others chose to stay at Omu-Aran (Adeyemi, 1995: 48).
The Alapa claimed to have migrated from Ile-Ife with his brothers the Onipee of Ipe and Eleju of Ejuland. Alapa initially settled at a place called bara–Apa near Iludun, however, at the death of the first Alapa, his two sons moved into different locations at Agbonda and Omido. Other groups joined these brothers to form what is now Eku–Apa (Adeyemi, 1995: 48).
Igbonla and Sanmora are the two principal towns of Ejuland. The founder Apaarin, was said to have migrated from Oyo and settled in what was known as Abologun. As a hunter he constantly changed base to Igbo-Eju, and Igbo–Obaje before he finally settled at the present site
(Adeyemi, 1995: 47).
Isin land and people are not homogenous as far as their origin was concerned. Some came from Oyo, others traced their antecedence to Ile-Ife. Owu claimed to have migrated from Owu, part of which is found in Abeokuta and Iwo traced its own origin to Iwo in the present day Osun State. The Olusin of Isanlu-Isin is recognised as the leader of the group and one major cultural bond of unity in Isin land was the cult of Agbaa-Isin which used to be taken round Isin land annually (Adeyemi, 1995: 47).
The Eku-mesan Oro, as the name indicates, is a group of nine villages founded through migration from Oyo by one Olakanmi. He first settled at a place called kanko between Agbeola-Oro and Ajasse. Other settlements later joined until the nine towns that makes up Oro emerged
THE SURVIVAL OF IGBOMINA INDIGENOUS POLITICAL STRUCTURE UNDER THE ILORIN EMIRATE SYSTEM IN THE 20TH CENTURY
ADEBARA OLADIMEJI MICHAEL
The Igbomina is one of the sub-groups of the Yoruba Nations. The Yorubas are group of people that belong to the kwa group of the Niger – Congo linguistic group. Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicate that they had lived in their present habitant from as early as fifth century B.C. The influential role of the Yoruba on the history of Nigeria has been immense, although this is today most apparent in the western region, it is important to recall that in modern day Nigeria, they occupy the whole of Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states. They constitute 80 percent of the people in Kwara State and 30 percent of peolpe Kogi State. These states are both in the North Central geopolitical zone of present Nigeria. There are also Yoruba in Delta and Edo states. Indeed, the Itsekiri of Delta state, though distinct group, regard themselves as Kith and Kin of the Yoruba Nation.
Basically, the people of Igbomina geographical location can be said to occupy north – Eastern part of Yorubaland and number over a million in population of its population. The Igbomina people cut – across two states. While the largest concentration of Igbomina people are found in Kwara state, a considerable proportion are found in Osun State. Especially in Ila Orangun, Oke Ila and Ora Igbomina.
However, this sub – ethnic group of Yoruba nation could be divided into two branches, differing usually only slightly in dialectal intonation. These are the Igbomina “Mosan” and “Mo ye”. The former comprises people from Ila – Orangun, Oke – Ila Orangun, Ora – Igbomina, Ajase – Ipo, Igbaja, Omu – Aran, Omupo, Isin, Oro, Esie among others. While the latter include places and the people in Oro – Ago, Ile- Ire, Ora, Oke- Ode and Agunjin. Of the other such sub- groupings occupying the whole of Igbomina land the main sub –units are: the “Ejus” which comprises of Sanmonra, and Igbonla. Also the “Eku Oro” which comprises the Oro mesesan, “Eku Ipo”,this include Ajase Ipo, Omupo, and Eggi – Oyo – Ipo. “Eku Ila” which include Ila – Orangun, Oke – Ila Orangun, Ora – Igbomina. “Eku – Isin include Ijara Isin, Isan Isin, Owu, Oke – Aba, Iwo Isin”. “Irese” comprises Igbaja Ofarese and other Irese land, “Eku Apa” comprise Irese, Agbonda, Omido, and Agbamu. “The Arans” include Omu-Aran, Arandun, and Aran-Orin. “Ile- Ire” comprises Owode – Ofaro, Afin, and Idera and Esisa Igbomina which comprises Oro – Ago, Ahun, Oke Daba, Omupo, Oke – Ode and Share. Traditions have it that they came to Igbomina land at different times in history and from different sources. On that basis we can talk of Igbomina of Ife stock, Igbomina of Oyo stock, Igbomina of Nupe stock and Fulani / Hausa settlers who have been assimilated into Igbomina culture and traditions. Not much is definitely known about the exact period of arrival of these groups. In general, it appears that the people now living in these parts of Yoruba speaking states are of two types – the early settlers and latter “Immigrants”.
About the former, a great deal of information is still required. However, it seems that the ruling groups in virtually all Igbomina land were the leaders of “Immigrant” groups, most of who claimed to have come from Ile – Ife. While others claimed to have come from old – Oyo or from other places at different times. For instance the rulers of the towns of Igbaja, Oke – Ode, Ora, Ile –Ire and Oro – Mesesan are said to have come from Oyo (probably in the 17th century), While the founder of then Oloro dynasty of Aro Ago came to Igbomina towns contain pockets of people who are descendants of immigrants from various quarters outside Yoruba nation. For instance, in Rore, tradition has it that if you are not from Nupe clan you can never become the King of Rore. However, Igbomina land is a convergence of groups of Yoruba on the one hand, the Fulani and the Nupe on the other hand. Through cultural diffusion, Igbomina population is a mixture of Fulanis, Nupes and Yoruba.
By and large, the traditional emigrational history of Igbomina land can be traced to Ile – Ife, even though the stock of Igbomina people were known and said to be from different part of present Nigeria, never the less tradition with varieties of evidence has proved that Igbomina actually migrated from Ile – Ife, though later joined by the Oyos, Nupe and among others.
Consequently all the myths and traditions, however, refer to Oduduwa as the first king of the Yoruba people. Yoruba traditions are emphatic that Ile-Ife is the cradle of their civilization. Other Yoruba towns and kingdoms grow out of Ile-Ife and some of them even became more powerful than their original source. However the major kingdoms in Yoruba land apart from Ile-Ife by 1800 were;
- Egba under the Alake
- Igbomina under the Orangun
- Ijebu under the Awujale
- Ketu under the Alaketu
- Ondo under the Osemawe
- Owo under the Olowo
- Owu under the Olowu
- Oyo under the Alaafin
- Popo under the Onipopo
- Sabe under the Onisabe
Other Yoruba kingdoms were Ilaje, Egbado and Awori.
The rulers of these kingdoms trace their origins to Ile-Ife and their descent expressly or implied to Oduduwa, hence Igbomina people have it origin from Ile-Ife.
Oral and written sources supported the fact that Fagbamila Agun-nla Orangun the progenitor of Igbomina race was a child of Oduduwa and Anaasin Adetinrin was the mother as expatiated by the oriki of Orangun Ile-Ila thus:-
Owa Rangun aga ide Orangun, the king with
Omo Anaasin, Omo Ajisomo Son of Anaasin, son of Ajisomo
Omo Orunpekun Oke Son of one who dwells on high
Omo omn mu bi dudu sami One from above with idi
Omo eni a’nhun rin hoho Son of one who is
Ko lona met naked on the road ……
However, on the position of Oragun, the progenitor of Igbominas – among the children of Oduduwa, oral and written accounts also asserted that he is next to Ooni in Yorubaland10. For instance on 9th of October, 1931, in his letter to the British colonial authority clarifying the position of seniority between the Alaafin of Oyo and the Oba of Benin. Sir Adesoji Aderemi (the then Ooni of Ife) wrote that Odua, who was the founder of Yoruba race and the father of all Yoruba Obas, was the first Ooni of Ife and that Obalufon, the second Ooni of Ife was his eldest Son while Oranmiyan was the youngest of all Odua children. He thereafter said that no one could remember for certain the order of seniority of the other children by birth that Odua lived to crown all of them (except Oranmiyan) in his life time. Also Rev. S. Johnson while listing the seven children of Okanbi placed Orangun as the fourth child while Oranmiyan of Oyo was placed the seventh.
In tracing the migrational history of Igbomina people, it should be noted however, that the ruling dynasties of major Yoruba Kingdom like Owu, Igbomina, Oyo, Ijebu, Ilesa, Ketu, Popo, Egba, Sabe, Dusa,Egbado the sixteen Ekiti principalities, Owo and Ondo trace their origin to Ile – Ife and their descent directly or indirectly to Oduduwa. The founders of these kingdoms were said to have all left Ile – Ife about the same time, by common consent to seek and establish their own kingdoms elsewhere in Yorubaland. The major decision was said to have been reached at a meeting they held at Ita – Ijero (the meeting point) in Ile – Ife. They received the blessings of their father, Oduduwa, and each went away to establish, and administer his own kingdom. They later became collectively known and referred to as “Omo Oduduwa” whose father had given them beaded crowns as symbols of their sacred authority (ase)13. From then Oni Ife assumed a “mother” status symbol among other Yoruba kingdoms and it eventually became the spiritual nerve centre of the Yoruba people. Hence, the affirmation, that “Ile – Ife ni Orisun gbogbo Yoruba” (Ile – Ife is the cradle of the Yoruba race).
There are three main official lists of the dispersal of Oduduwas children. The first was given by Ooni Adelekan Olubuse in March, 1903. His list had 25 names of rulers including that of Ife who were accepted as Oduduwa’s sons. The second list was compiled around 1927 as part of a general collection of Ife traditions undertaken during the regime of Ademiluyi Ajagun (1910 – 1930). That list contained sixteen names. The third list was compiled in 1931 during the reign of Sir Adesoji Aderemi (1930 – 1980) at Ife, as to who had the authority to wear the “Ade Ileke” (beaded crown) in Yorubaland. Oba Aderemi listed 26 direct sons of Oduduwa who, he asserted, were personally installed by Oduduwa himself during three separate ceremonies and commissioned to found Kingdoms.
It is worthy of note however that, Professor Akinjogbin analyzed the difference between Olubuse list (1903), the Ademiluyi list (1927) and oral sources (which speak of one main dispersal will all the princess gathering at Itajero where they held consultations before dipersing) and the Aderemi list which speaks of three installations. The first installation was said to be that of Obalufon Ogbogbodirin, the oldest surviving son of Oduduwa designated to succeed him, while the second installation was of seven princes consecrated and sent away. Out of these seven one (Oba Edo i.e. Benin) went eastwards, two (the Orangun and Oloyo), went northwards and four (the Alaketu, Obadara, Oninana and Olupopo), went westwards. The third installation consisted of eighteen rulers. Of these, one, (the Olowu), went westward; two, (the Aringbajo and the Owa Otan), went northwards; three, (the Awujale, the Osemawe and the Akarigbo) went southwards; (eleven consisting of all kingdoms in Ekiti and Owo areas) went southward; the last one, the Owa of Ilesa settled very near Ile – Ife itself.
By and large, the establishment of Igbomina kingdom, many historians of high repute who were versed and versatile in Igbomina pedigree have one time or the other delve into this independently and come out with almost the same opinion hence a few of such works expressed below will suffice. Omotosho and Ayeni (1992:14) opined thus:
“When Orangun Ajagun nla became a man, he and his brothers left their grand father’s kingdom at Ile – Ife and branched out into different directions to establish kingdoms of their own. At the point of their separation, Oduduwa blessed them all and gave each of them gifts among which was the beaded crown that, till date, still acts as the symbol of Yoruba unity. Ajagun – Nla was further given the “Ogbo” cutlass with which he was advised to constantly clear paths for himself and his people. Armed with the Ogbo cutlass and trailed by many followers, Ajagun – Nla headed for the bank of River Niger which had always fascinated him. In the course of their journey to the Niger, Ajagun – Nla and his people sometime stopped at some locations for short periods, to rest their weary bones, attend to their sick or replenish their stock of provisions. Sometime when it was time to go, a small section of people within the group would express their desire to stay behind and make permanent settlements out of such place of rest; while the main group moves on in such fragmented and isolated cases it could be said that the period of rest must have been considerably longer than previous ones. However, at a certain point in their journey, they decided to make a temporary settlement out of their new place of rest which was christened ‘Igbo Ajagun – Nla’. It is from here they hoped to continue their search for the elusive Niger at a later date. From Igbo Ajagun –Nla some group which moved to found settlements were Omu – Aran, the Isanlu and the Isin peoples. A good number eventually found their way to the Niger river bank and established new settlements. The overwhelming majority of the people that settled in Igbo Ajagunla did not, however, venture out of their immediat environment. Even, a few of those that made it to the Niger came back to resettle at Igbo Ajagun – Nla. It was from here that Fagbamila Ajagun- nla ruled as the first Orangun”.
Consequently, Akande (2000) also stated thus;
“Oral history indicates that Orangun Ajagun – nla once took the route which led through the Nupe or Takpa country to valleys of River Oyi and Osin along the low flat Plateau with Savannah vegetation up to the patches of the range of hills (running from Kukuruku land through Ekiti and Ijesa countries to Igbeti and Igbho) into Igbomina Kingdom. The Orangun and members of his entourage might have come into contact with people of dissimilar and unidentical origins and culture from many different blood lines brought together by association, by slavery, by trade, by apprenticeship and by many other factors to found the different Igbomina settlements like Oke – Ode, Oro – Ago, Okeya, Igbaja, Oke – Onigbin, Esie, Share and to found Otun Oro, Ijomu, Iludun, Oke – Ola, Agbe – Ola, Okerimi, Ido, Ibode and Aafin which formed the Eku Mesan Oro (the confederation of the nine settlement of Oro), Eku Apa (the settlements of the salt and potash selling Jukuns from Korofa Empire) at around Agboda and Omido; Omu – Aran (the federation of Omu – Aran), Ekan Meje ‘Ajase’ where, in the Edo and the Igala languages, Igbomina cloths, decorated with red fabrics like scarlet, were named “Ukpo”.Hence Ajase Ukpo, Ajagun – nla was reported to have ended up at Ila Kodomu at Igbo Ajagun – nla (the sacred grove of Ajagun- nla) behind the present site of Ila water works on Ola – Ora road”.
THE INDIGENOUS POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF IGBOMINA LAND
Igbomina indigenous political administration was established to perform three main functions i.e. Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, although these three political functions were later modified to accommodate the new political development in modern Nigeria.
At the head of political organization in Igbomina land, is the Oba (king). In some towns known as Igberiko there is Baale who also have depended power they exercise. Primogeniture system was never in practice in the succession to the throne in Igbomina, largely because there are various families that are elegible to the throne as ruling houses. This is visible in all Igbomina land.
The supreme head is the Oba (king), the selection is always in different form, but most prominent ones can be seen in two different ways, the first way of selection is through an election conducted by the kingmakers. Then after this the Ifa oracle will be consulted. It should be noted that anybody who wanted to be come Oba (king) must be a direct linage of a former one in the family. This does not mean that it should be directly from father to son but it should be a blood relation.
It should be noted at this juncture that, there are over two hundred villages and towns that are of Igbomina stock and since all of them have similar trait, for a closer understanding a town sitting in the middle of Igbimina town will be considered in other word, Omu – Aran will be used as a case study in this chapter.
At the head of political organization in Omu – Aran is the Olomu or king of Omu – Aran, who is the supreme head of Omu – Aran. The selection of the Olomu can be seen in two different ways, the first way of selection is through an election conducted by the kingmakers. Then after this Ifa Oracle will be consulted. It should be noted that anybody who wanted to become Olomu must be a direct lineage descendant of a former one in the family.
According to political organization of Omu – Aran, the Olomu is the spiritual and political of the Omu – Aran people, some political functions are performed by him with the assistance of his Chiefs. He took part in all the three arms of government which are legislative, executive and judiciary. Olomu positioned to sanction and regulate any laws. He is the last resort against injustice and oppression, because he is at the fountain of justice as the chairman of the highest court of appeal known as Igbejo.18 In other to attribute more to his social – political importance in the community, he has to be consulted before the date of the most important festivals were to be celebrated. The festival Ogun, Orugbo, Egungun and new Yam festival. He is also positioned to give warm reception to important visitors to the town such as Obas from neighboring towns or villages.
After Olomu is the Ilu, this comprises the six leading Chiefs. The chiefs are, Asanlu, Eera, Petu Ojomu, Odofin Aran and Edemoun. Meanwhile only three of these titles which are Asanlu, Edemoun and Odofin Aran were hereditary but not necessarily from father to son. It was known that the only three titles that were hereditary were based on tradition. Among all these titles Asanlu was the head of Ilu. The member of Ilu formed the Kingmakers together with Olomu, they are also the member of Oba’s council known as the Ireje. Being the kingmakers, they perform the duties of selecting a new Olomu whenever it is necessary. It is also among their duties to invite the next ruling house for the presentation of their chose candidate in their family to become the next Olomu. Ifa is then allowed to choose the right candidate for the thrown.
The sitting of Olomu and the Ilu is called Ireje i.e. the king’s council. The function of this council is to legislate for the town. Important issues affecting the town are discussed. Before the advent of colonial rule, it was this council that passed laws and saw to its implementation. There are several functions that had been practice by this council, among the functions are; settling of land disputes both within Omu – Aran and those involving the people of Omu – Aran and their neighbours, divorce case were also dealt with by the council, they also join Olomu in receiving important visitors and assist him fixing dates for those important festivals that were earlier mentioned.
The meetings of the council known as Ikanse were usually held every five days.
The king’s council known as Ireje is being assisted to implement its decisions by the Iharefa which was made up of the following members: Aromu from Okore house, Enija from Igangu, Elemo from Ile – nla, Odofin Omu from Imolekere, Ooye of Ijoko, Aro Oja of Ile – Oja. The member of Iharefa goes around the town to listen to the views of the people on any particular issues and report back to the Ireje (King’s council). They also advice the council on how to govern the town and generally act as “intermediary” between the Ireje and the people.
The executive arm of government is under the various age groups. These groups included the Ologun Ilu, Eso Ilu and the Ete Ilu. The Ologun Ilu were the able bodied men of the town, whose basic duty was to defend the town, they are great warriors, who fought several wars for the town. The Ologun Ilu are grouped next to Iharefa. Before a person could become a member of this group such person must have distinguished himself while still a member of both the Ete Ilu and Eso Ilu. Ologun Ilu are the army officers of the town and member were believed to be in possession of charms which they use to prevent evil spirits from the town. Each of them has titles which made it easy to distinguish a particular one among them. Among the member of Ologun Ilu were: Olukose, Olukotun, Ajaponna, Agbakin, Obala, Oluju and Agbon. Agbon known for being very brave and ruthless and that was why he was assigned the most notorious duty of cutting off the head of every Olomu who died. Apart from being army, Ologun Ilu also serves as police; they perform the duty of arresting culprits within the town and sending such person to the king’s court. They were also responsible for killing thieves that had been condemned to death. They also plant medicine on every roads leading to the town toward evil spirits such as Sanpona, Okusu, Iwin, Egbere, Anjannu and Emere.
In the traditional political organization of Omu – Aran community, the Eso followed the Ologun Ilu. Those who formed the Eso were those who had been member of the Ete, the group immediately below the Eso. The last group at the bottom of the ladder was the Ete Ilu. Every age mate from the age of sixteen and also circumcised was a member at every seven years, new member were initiated at initiation, sacrifices were made to invoke the spirit of all the duties in the town to preserve their life throughout the period of their membership. It was considered as a bad experience for the town for any member of the Ete to die without completing his term. At the death of an Ete, a huge sacrifice was also made so that such might not happen again. The dead body of an Ete is refered to as Oku - Ekan.
To this end, the political organization can be termed as an aspect of age grade system in that one preceeded up the ladder according to his age. One became an Ete at the age of sixteen, left it at the age of about thirty and then joined Eso Ilu. One remained an Eso until he was fourty when he became a member of the Ologun Ilu.
The member of Ireje performs the judiciary functions including the Esinkin Omu – Aran who was the army commander of the town. The Ireje were the member of the highest court which Olomu was the chairman. Apart from minor disputes that could be decided and settled by the compound heads, serious cases were taken to this Supreme Court. This court sit in public to listen to cases brought before it; among such cases are murder, theft, arson, kidnapping and rape. Some could be sentences to death, and such persons were handed over to Esinkin Omu. Those sentenced of imprisonment were sent to Olookan, he will be given two (200) cowries to maintain him. According to Olomu Agbegunde II, who said the prison yard in Omu –Aran does not serve Omu Aran alone but serve interest of all Igbominaland.
The Agba Ilu – the aged men of the community also play their role in the political organization in Omu – Aran. Although they were too old for active participation in the day to day activities of the town, nevertheless, they made their wealth of knowledge available to all the political organization in Omu – Aran. They were mostly consulted on religious matter. The activities of women could not be overlooked. It was their responsibility to make public places such as the market place clean. They provided water for the building of Olomu’s house and the sacred houses. According to one of my informant, who indicated that, the witches among them contribute their own quota to the smooth running of the town. They prevented evil spirits and witches from the neighbouring towns from entering the town for evil purposes.
Conclusively, the fact that the system of government in Igbomina land generally is monarchical, it does not lead to dictatorship, it is democratic nature was despicable in all respect. As was earlier stated that, the views of the populace were sought through the Iharefa as the case in Omu – Aran who member cut across the whole town. They served as a sort of liaison between the rulers and the ruled.
It is however important to note that, with the conquest of Igbomina by Ilorin emirate, which will later be discuss, changed many of these ancient practices.
ILORIN BEFORE THE EMIRATE SYSTEM
The name Ilorin, meaning (sharpening of Iron) or Ilu erin (town of the elephants)29. In both cases the town can be attributed to hunters who whetted their own iron weapons on nearby stones or stalked the elephant in the concinnity, indeed, the first permanent inhabitant was traditionally a hunter, of unknown origin, Ojo Isekuse (the bad lot’) who fled to Ilorin after committing incest the date of Ojo’s settlement in Ilorin is obscure, but it is doubtful whether the town is of any antiquity. Later, another hunter, Emilla, arrived from Ila and drove out Ojo Isekuse. Who was later found at present Ojo-Oku in Oyun Local government of present Kwara. Hence, his name reflected in the area where he was later found, in other words, Ojo-Oku (Oju is still alive) was corrupted to Ojo-Eku.31 It is likely that Ilorin at this period was under the authority of the Orangun of Ila. However, Ila’s suzerainty over Ilorin was probably replaced by that of Oyo during the first quarter of the seventeenth century, when Alafin Ojigi began to consolidate Oyo’s influence in the Igbomina area32.
Alternatively Alafin Ojiji might have wished to protect the area from Nupe incursions by transforming Ilorin into a march of the Ekun Osi. The Alafin appointed an Oyo, Laderin, as the Ajele (Resident) of Ilorin33.
Ilorin, under Laderin’s administration, was part of a large political entity, the old Oyo Kingdom34. During the eighteen century, Ilorin, although merely a small provincial town without even a stockade around it, was drawn into the cortex of the political storm which struck the kingdom. At the center of this maelstrom was unwritten constitution of Oyo Ile, upon which Ilorin module its own political structure, albeit in a much simpler form35. The breakdown of the constitution of Oyo, which premised on unwritten constitution led to the fall of the empire36. Ilorin emerged from the collapse of old Oyo as the major power in northern Yoruba land yet Ilorin inherited more than just old Oyo’s imperial mantle. Much of the unwritten constitution, with its strengths and weakness, was also carried to Ilorin and there merged with an Islamic form of government.
The emergence of this hybrid state and its political development, therefore, had deep roots in the constitutional crises, which swept the old Oyo kingdom in the eighteenth century.
Prior to the collapse of Oyo empire, the Oyo mesi came into increasing conflict with the Alaafin during the eighteenth century, the imperial phase of old Oyo history. This tradition of conflict between the monarch and his chiefs also characterized the government of nineteenth century Ilorin. Indeed, Ilorin was quite unlike the other Fulani emirates such as Zaira, where political rivalry was generally between different members of the royal lineage.
Ilorin, as a provincial town of the Ekun Osi, also inherited from old Oyo a tradition, of provincial administration through indirect rule, the Baale of Ilorin was largely, autonomous, but recognized the Onikoyi of Ikoyi as the senior ruler of the Ekun Osi and indeed of all the provinces. The Onikoyo led the other provincial rulers to pay tribute during annual Bere festival. The Alaafin controlled the foreign policy of Ilorin and alone possessed the power to declare war. Furthermore, the Alaafin confirmed the appointment of provincial rulers and could depose them, for example, Baale Alugbin of Ilorin, the father of Afonja was deposed by Alafin Abiodun for his weakness.
The death of Alugbin, father of Afonja gave rise to Afonja in the history of Ilorin. Hence Alafin conceded the conferment on Afonja the highly title of Aare-Onakakafo. Never the less Ilorin remained a vassal state of the old Oyo Empire until the early part of nineteenth century when Aole became the Alaafin of Oyo.
It is however important to note that, with the collapse of Oyo Empire, Afonja the Kakanfo of Ilorin and Opele, the Bale of Gbogun, were the first to proclaim their independence. The invitation of Shehu Alimi by Afonja, through his friend Solagberu. The relationship between Aare Afonja and Sheu Alimi was said to have remained cordial throughout their lives43. Side by side, the revolt of the Fulani slaves recruited by Aare Afonja, against him which led to his death. Consequently, the death of Shehu Alimi, created a paradigm shift in the history of Ilorin, subsequently, Abdulsalami wrote to the caliph in Sokoto pledging his loyalty seeking support for the establishment of an Emirate, in ilorin. The caliph agreed and Ilorin was thus declared an emirate and Abdulsalami as the emir
The Aseda, second ranking priest of Ifa in Ila-Orangun, using the opele chain to cast ifa. The opele consists of eight half-nuts of the opele tree with convex/concave sides linked at regular intervals by short strands of chain at the ends of which the priest may attach small beads, coins, and cowries. More recent opele have substituted small, oval brass plates for the half-nuts. The babalawo holds the chain at the center and then swings the chain gently, lying it on the cloth or mat on which he is seated. In a single motion he creates a pattern, which refers to an odu of ifa, the verses of which he then chants. The pattern, consisting of the concave and convex sides of the brass plates or nuts, is equivalent to the pattern of parallel marks made by the ifa priest in the iyerosun dust on an opon ifa when using ikin ifa (the sixteen sacred kola nuts).