The Complete Story of Ijebu Yoruba in Nigeria

Ijebu History

If the celebration of Okun Kpikpa festival in Warri signifies the Crossing over the Red Sea. That means that at a period Itshekiris cross from the Middle East to Africa.

The Story of Ijebu Yoruba in Nigeria 

Benin kingdom was the one that settled some Royal family in Warri. The official name of their king is Olu of Warri. The first king bears Ijebu name Ginuwa. Olua (olu uwa) sets his son Ginuwa (igi n'uwa) as the crowned king in Warri. Some Benin kings are bearing Yoruba names.

The Yoruba language spoken by this settlers is called Itshekiri language, which was the closest pure and real Ijebu dialect; what we are having now as Ijebu dialect was diluted with common language that unites all Yoruba tribes.


If we relate the Yoruba spoken by Benin, Itshekiri and Ijebu we will find so many similarities which we make us to conclude that Ijebu was the language spoken earlier by Benin royal family.


Itshekiri is an isolated place far away from Yoruba kingdom, that they are speaking pure Ijebu today signifies that Benin royals were from Ijebu origin. As well, Benin set a prince as Oba of Lagos, and till date Ijebu dialect was  still in their vocabulary. Eyo (masqurade) verses were in Ijebu dialect.


The celebration of Okun Kpikpa (Red Sea) proved that Oduduwa came from the Middle East as speculated. He came with his Ijebu relatives and most of them were priests and mercenaries. He met a ruler in Ife then, so he settled among Nupe kingdom until there was vacancy on Ife throne. Sango's maternal grandfather was a Nupe priest who gave Sango his super power. Sango is a son of Oranmiyan.

Oduduwa contested among the contestants and won, which made some native relocates away from Ife.


Crowning of Oduduwa brought civil war, and subsequent Gorilla war. Even though the Oracle said a foreigner will be crowned king in Ife, Oduduwa still had to contest. Occasionally contesting was the usual practice when installing a king.

Oduduwa kingship was accepted because he was from Nimrod linage, and also because the Oracle had earlier said they should be expecting a foreigner as their king, Oduduwa also came with  his army  and with Sophisticated weapons superior to the Aborigines.


After Oduduwa conquered Benin, he placed regent and vassal king who reigned in his name. There was a record of an ogiso named Oduwa, under him there were several revolt, l believe his rulership was an imposition by Oduduwa. There were constant strived and revolt in Benin until Oduduwa sent his grandson Oranmiyan to rule Benin. 

Some of the ogiso that reigned as vassal kings before Oranmiyan were 


Ogiso Ohuede (871– 917 CE), introduced the UKO (or ministerial system of government), and developed the guild system.  He was considered a weak king because I believe he was conquered by Oduduwa.


Oduwa (917– 967 CE), Oduwa is a short form of Oduduwa, he experienced serious rebellion during his reign. He could not control the large kingdom. 


Ogiso Obioye  (967– 1012 CE), Obioye sound like a Yoruba name, he was a resourceful king.  He introduced the use of cowry that were used in Yoruba kingdom as currency to Igodomigodo.  His reign witnessed fire outbreak, severe inflation, food scarcity and immigration.   Ogiso Arigho (1012– 1059 CE), was a great merchant.  He introduced the double payments system, a bank, and the slave labour culture to Igodomigodo.  


Ogiso Owodo (1059-1100 CE), Owodo (owo tedo) sounds like a Yoruba name. He was the thirty-first and last Ogiso of Igodomigodo.  He freed the slaves.  He was considered a weak king because he could not handle Osogan who was a thorn in his flesh during his reign.  Ogiso Owodo had a controversial son, called Ekarledahan. Some Edo believe he had no child. This child was mistaken for Oduduwa. Ekarledahan has nothing to with Yoruba history. 


Some ogiso are having Yoruba names, and the major reason why their government failed was because of language barrier. This was the reason why Oranmiyan decided to give them a king from the natives (Eweka), so as to quenched misunderstanding and to limit the power of corrupt interpreters. Eweka as a child was confused living with parents of two different distinct languages, who relied on the use of sign and gesture to communicate whenever there was no interpreter. They thought Eweka was dumb, he can hear both language but cannot figured out which one to pick; he was confused. He was in the midst of majority (royals that speaks Ijebu), and minority (his mother and perhaps maidservant that speaks Edo). Eventually, when he has mastered the two language, he was able to pick Yoruba first "owo mi ka"


If Oduduwa was an Edo man, Oranmiyan will not need an interpreter for translation, and Eweka would not find it difficult to speak earlier as a child.


That the Queen of Sheba was buried in Ijebu land shows that there were activities in Ijebu land during King Solomon's time. Ijebu had spread from Canaan, Arabia, Egypt, Sudan to Nigeria already. It was Joseph's famine that brought every nation to Egypt. After the famine, some Ijebu went Southward till they reached their present location.

The oldest map shows Ethiopia as the end of the world, Ijebu had to go beyond Ethiopia to settled at their present location. But along their journey, they left remnants behind who still speak language related to Yoruba. Okun Kpikpa festival signifies that Oduduwa crossed the Red Sea to Africa.


Ginuwa (igi nu wa) means "tree has life/tree inside life"

Warri (iwo Ori) means "Resting Place"

Olua (Olu uwa) means "Lord of life in general"

Ethiopia (eti opin ya) meaning the point where Sea split into two Sea (Blue Sea and White Sea)



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