The History of Ondo Kingdom – Ode Ondo

may be unlikely. water supply and electricity. Located some 300kilometres to the north-east of Lagos. While the people of the Kingdom. about three separate accounts that explain the origin of the Ondo people. as well as the geography of the Kingdom does not reflect any significant deviation from those of other towns and communities peopled by the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria. situated in the eastern part of the Yoruba¬speaking area of Nigeria. who are virtually agreed on the common paternity of Oduduwa. It also has the highest mountain in Nigeria There has been a lot of inaccuracy in lots of recorded accounts of Ondo kingdom history due to this reason I have been able to carry out thorough research and ascertain the true history of Ondo Land and this is what led to two corresponding accounts I give here one with dates and the other without date. almost in unison rejected a version that links its origin to the old Benin Kingdom in present day Edo State. there seems to be some level of convergence on the other two accounts which trace the origin of the people to Ife and Oyo respectively. as being the invention of its proponents. the Ondo State capital. Ondo Kingdom History without Date Ode Ondo or Ondo City or Ondo Kingdom sat among the thickly forested planes that characterize southwestern Nigeria are the towns and communities that make up the Ondo Kingdom. the symmetry of the more widely held versions of the origin of the people are herein reflected with the major dissonance being in the origin from either Oyo or Ife. Oduduwa. as in most historical collections. the Kingdom is easily reached by road from all parts of the country. It is a nice place to visit with good roads. who was believed to have Page 2 of 18 . The descent of Ondo people. While an outright invention of any historical account. the progenitor of the Yoruba was one of the sons of Lamurudu. as those in Oyo originally migrated from Ife. Nigeria's economic nerve centre and 45kilometres west of Akure. the ultimate source of all Yoruba. Ondo is one of the best cocoa producing states. The weather elements that characterize the region are those typifying the rainforest region of Sub-Sahara Africa. as attributed to the Benin Kingdom version. The Ondo people are one of the largest Yoruba subgroups. However there exists still. the two accounts seem to point towards the same direction.History of Ondo Kingdom Ondo town is also known as Ondo kingdom and it has 2 local government areas: Ondo west and Ondo east. There is also the serene environment courtesy of the forests which are found around although this is declining. But on a broad outlook.

the twins and their mother were instantly put to death. they passed through a hill which is today known as Oke Agunla and one of the communities that make up the present day Ondo Kingdom. This perhaps explains why most Yoruba Obas are still referred to by that title to date. was consulted on the prospects of the newly found location. sent out of the palace with a beaded crown and an Akoko tree. From this hill. They were well received and catered for until the death of Oba Oluaso in 1497. was the first Alaafin of Oyo and the father of Oluaso. but Onigbogi. Twin birth in those days was considered an abomination and a strange phenomenon. as a historical source interpreted it. their father against the tradition of multi tribal marks of Oyo. and wherever the stick didn't bond with the land. This explains the origin of the tribal marks of Ondo to date. They were however with an entourage of slaves under the guidance of a hunter called Ija. They were to poke the stick into the ground as they went along their way. as was the usual practice then. The group apparently stayed in this place for some time. the mother of the children was one of the favountes of the King. the reigning king had to send them back to a virgin land compassed about by Ife. The other twin. The Ifa oracle.migrated from Mecca. But because Olu. as their walking stick. who gave birth to Pupupu. They headed back to Oyo when the succeeding king did not treat them fairly. one on each side of the cheek. the first paramount ruler of Ondo Kingdom. probably out of sheer ambition or mere adventure. Oluaso was apparently conscious of the fact that he may not set his eyes on the children for a long time. There they met a man called Ekiri one of the original inhabitants of the area. so that they would be recognisable any time they were seen or if they came back home. Saudi Arabia. incised two long tribal marks. her life and those of the twins were spared. near Gbere. The oracle instructed them to take along with them a yam stake (edo). Those were to accord them the dignity and the reverence due to royalty. esemawe. hence those facial marks were incised on them. Ekiti. one of the sixteen sons of Oduduwa who left Ile-Ife. They were in Epe for many years and as they~ journeyed on. Ado(Benin) and Ijebu communities. Again. was named Orere. Eventually they found lgbo Ijamo unsafe and therefore continued their journey eastward. whose inhabitants were referred to as Ibariba. Page 3 of 18 . The group wandered through the forest till they got to a place called Epin. after some sectarian disagreement. Conventionally. not far from the present Ondo town. Oranmiyan. they were to settle. until they finally got to a place called Epe. to prevent the imminent bad omen which was believed to be synonymous with their arrival. He held the title of Olofin Adimula before he left Mecca. who was said to have reigned in Oyo in the 15th Century. a female. was one of the twin children of Oba Oluaso. they spotted some smoke and headed in its direction. Pupupu. a male. Ijesa. They later got to Igbo Ijamo (the forest discovered by Ija). signifying their royalty.

who are actually descendants from siblings of sameparentage. And in due course. (The yam stake would not stick in). To date. his head was usually buried in Epe while the remaining part of his body was in Ondo. Up until now. The Alafin Oba Oluaso ordered that the twins and their mother be taken out of Oyo. he also gave instruction that one stroke of facial mark should be cut on each cheek of the twins as kese or ibaramu mark will cause agony for them on their journey. the word Ondo is a contraction of the sentence "Edo du do". they met the Ifore. The group chorused in surprise Edo du do. the twin brother of Pupupu. the Idoko and the Oka people. on the Oke-lgbo road. the original inhabitants of Ondo were assimilated into the culture of the new comers. the first Osemawe. The single facial stroke mark became an established Page 4 of 18 . the people spread to form other settlements like lgbindo. the Ondo people still regard Epe. many Ondo festival and rituals have Epe as their source. a relatively small town. By and large. It is also worthy of note that a historical account holds that Olu. These indigenous inhabitants recognized the royalty of the new arrivals and readily ceded to them the authority to rule over the territory. actually settled down in Ile-Oluji and became its first traditional ruler. The History with Date The history of Ondo-Ekimogun. in many respects. to that of the larger Ondo community. This may also explain the close link between Ondo and Ile-Oluji. forty three Obas have reigned in Ondo after Pupupu. Odigbo. lgbado. Igunsin. Ajue.The group left Epe and proceeded as instructed by the oracle until they got to a place where the yam stake did not penetrate the ground. as their original town (Orisun). Ondo Kingdom sprang from the Palace of Alaafin of Oyo in the ancient city of Oyo when the wife of Alaafin Oba Oluaso bore him twins a male called Orere and a female also called Olu which is forbidden in the palace of every Oba in Yoruba land. It remains a reference point however that the Idoko and Ifore settlers still maintain a kind of separate political structure which is akin. from where they migrated to their present location. When the group arrived in Ondo. According to oral history. seven miles from Ondo. Pilgrimages are sometimes made to Epe for some of the festivals. As time went on. The then Alafin of Oyo love the twins mother called Olori OLu so much and on hearing the news of the twins he lamented that this is a mysterious child "ese-omo-re" which later transform to Osemawe as Oba's title in Ondo kingdom. llu-nla. Historical account also has it that at the demise of the Osemawe. etc.

Araromi. All Otunbas title bearers in Ondo are headed by the Olotu Omo-Oba in Oke-Otunba quarters in Ondo kingdom. After a brief stay at Epe they desire to look for a permanent settlement. Tekuile. Agbabu. After another short stay Olori Olu and Princess Olu the female twins left the town with one Ogunja from Epe leaving Prince Orere behind in Ile oluji and continue a journey until it ended at the foot of a hill known in Ondo up to the present day as "Oke Agunla. The first Osemawe palace was built by Oba Airo first son of Oba Pupupu who became Oba in 1530 AD. Igburowo. farmers or produce merchants. The Ondo warriors of that time are Ago. Igbindo. They were happy and exclaimed "Edo du do to Edo do to Idi edo" and finally transform to Ondo in 1510 AD. Fagbo. Bolorunduro." This is also how Ondo are referred today as "Opon inu odi Ogunja. Olori Olu and the twins were accompanied by the Alafin of Oyo warrior's leader called "ija" or " Uja" to a place called Epin in the then Fulani kingdom. Imorun. Ilu Nla. They continue the journey until they reached a place called "Ita Ijama" from where they also arrived at Epe where Iyanghede of Epe received them with joy. Erinla. Oka. Laje. Araromi Obu. The new Alafin Oba Onigbogi also ordered them out of Oyo in 1498 AD with Alaafin warrior leader to the direction of Ile-Ife. Where Olori Olu Alafin wife slept for days and did not wake up " Ile ti Olu sun ti ko ji". They later return to Oyo after the death of Alafin Oba Oluaso in 1497 AD. Owena. Aiyesan. Oboto. Igunshin.Osungbedelola 11 built the best recent Oba's palace in Ondo when he became the 43rd Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom in 1992. their staple food is Iyan made from yam and they have their own peculiar dialect and very hard working. Oke-Opa.custom in Ondo town till today. Oke-igbo and etc. The Ondo chieftaincy title are The Page 5 of 18 . they followed in that direction down the hill and met a man whose named was Ekiri neither farmer or a hunter. Ekiri later lead them to a place called Oriden where they tried to stick their yam stick unto the ground prove futile as instructed by an Ifa Oracle before they left Epe. Princess Olu the female twins finally became first Oba Pupupu of Ondo in 1516 AD while Prince Orere the male twins became the first Jegun of Ile Oluji. Ajebandele. As they left Epe they arrived at a place which is today called Ile Oluji. This is how Ondo are referred today as "Ekimogun ara ita ijama. Oba Adeuga Fidipote 11 built the first modern palace in Ondo when he became Oba in 1935 AD while Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye . Odigbo. a fi ide agogo m'omi". Ajue. It must be noted however that Ondo emigrants settlers also founded towns like Igbado. The Ondos are known to be Traders. Oro. Taagba and Jomu-Nla known as High Chief Jomu till today and that chieftaincy title are family hereditary. The other historical facial marks are cut unto the right breast of the descendant of past Osemawes from the male lineage and the rights to Otunba title are from both lineages." At the hill they spotted a smoke rising from below.

cassava. among others. The whole area is cut up by a number of clear streams running into four rivers . etc. Awosika and Rev. The Ondo are keen farmers. Ekule. in the tropical rain forest belt of Nigeria. Olofun. Odun Oba. raising food crops.060 km² and the population is (1991 Census) of which a large majority live in Ode-Ondo the capital of the kingdom. Otu headed by the His Highness Osemawe while Upoji female chiefs headed by the Her Highness Olobun Oba Obirin in Ondo Kingdom. Ondo lies in the humid tropic with tropical rain forest and the south-easterly wind throughout most of the year. with a big forest reserve of over 1000 square kilometres.O. In the north. but rises gradually towards the north. In the south the land is low-lying and borders on the creek area of the Ilaje/eseodo. beyond which is the Ifedore Local Government Area.Iwarefa. fifty minutes) east. It was bounded in the north by the modern Akure and Obokun Local Government Areas. Odun Oramfe. Afara. in it's pre-colonial setting. 6minutes and four degree. Opepe. Father John Akinwale was ordained in 1947 while the first Ondo Anglican Bishop was Rev. The Ondos embrace Roman Catholic Christianity in 1875 under the CMS Missionary worker Rev. such as yams. The kingdom covers an area of 4. proud of what they represent and very stubborn. cocoyam.Owena. while in the east it is bounded by Owena River. The kingdom is covered with forest and contains valuable timber. maize. Elegbe. comprised the area which lies on latitude 7°6' north. Oluwa and Ooni. and 4°50' (7 degree. The rainy season proper lasts from March or April until December. Obiton and etc. Olufosoye was the first Archbishop of the Anglican communion of Nigeria while Alhaji Muhammed Alimi was installed the first Imam of Ondo in 1888. February. Ondo KingdomTerrain The Ondo Kingdom. Ufara. there are considerable granite outcrops said to be of volcanic origin. Cash crops include cocoa (the Page 6 of 18 . Bishop Phillips and accepted by Oba Ayibikitiwodi while Oba Jimekun accepted the CMS Anglican Communion in 1884 and Islam in 1888. January. T. The first Ondo Rev. D. rice and beans. in the south by Ilaje/Eseodo Local Government Areas. Obeche. Popular festivals in Ondo are as follows. mostly Mahogany. which flow southwards into the creeks. the cooler dry continental air from the north prevails. Odun Ogun. and part of Ijebu in Ogun State. During the months of December.O. Ode-Ondo itself being 290 meters above sea level. An annual average of timber extraction is almost 23 x 105 cubic metres. and in the west by "Ooni River". Odun Moko. In conclusion The Ondos are known for a pride.

gold. Igburowo. In this way. But by the 1870s. Ago recruited warriors from Ile-Ife. Ajue and Araromi. Igbado. Local industries and crafts include blacksmithery. new towns were founded. In the meantime. An extensive timber extraction from the forest was a source of wealth to the people. There has been a decline in food production following the expansion of cocoa plantation in the kingdom. the Oba sent for his chief slave.and silver-smithery. villages and hamlets with capital at Ode-Ondo. Igbindo. his chiefs and the people into exile. Osemawe Arilekolasi was told to "go and sleep" (that is. All these towns and villages bear similarities to OdeOndo in their customs. during the reign of Oba Jimekun a message was received from Governor Glover who was then the Governor of Lagos. Page 7 of 18 . and with support of other slaves at Ode-Ondo laid waste the kingdom. when they were struggling for autonomy. It is significant to note that. Of more recent foundation were Oke-Igbo and Aiyesan.most important of all. They are Odigbo. The Ishan Town After many years of settlement at Ode-Ondo. The effect of this is that the Ondo have had to depend to a large extent on their neighbours for foodstuffs. covering a large portion of arable land). in the colonial period. He drove the new Osemawe. but before he died. a man called Ago who stationed near Oni River. rubber. The people also trade in merchandise. chieftaincy titles and tribal marks. carpentry and shoe making. claiming to have come directly from Ile-Ife. to commit suicide). The towns founded in the first wave of emigration from Ode-Ondo are referred to as Ishan (emigrants). Oba Jimekun must have subsequently re-established his authority over the whole kingdom including Oke-Igbo. the people had spread out. some of the towns denied historical link with Ode-Ondo. and the same type of administrative system which operated at Ode-Ondo was introduced in each of the towns. bricklaying. the Ifes who fought with Ago had settled at the outpost near Oni River where they founded Oke-Igbo. and told him to attack the people and avenge his death. an outpost of the Oba on the road to Ile-Ife. Ondo Kingdom comprised thirty-three towns. Ilunla. Most of them were large towns before they were scattered by internecine wars. to the effect that people who had fled the town during the war with Ago should return. Oro. coffee. Following his tyrannical rule. At the inception of colonial rule. probably as a result of population pressure on the land available or as a means of satisfying the adventurous spirit of some of them. Oke-Igbo was a product of internal strife between Osemawe Arilekolasi and the Ondo people in the middle of the nineteenth century. kolanuts and palm produce.

Oba Aganmide established Losare and Sokoti quarters. 1919. Fathers Matthew Wouters and Freburger (Catholic Missionaries) arrived in Ondo to start missionary work. was installed. (later Bishop) Phillips. S. R. Oke-Igbo founded by Ago (a slave of Oba Aritekolasi). Township development scheme began with the creation of two quarters. 1861) was very oppressive and not liked by the Ondo. and Ondo entered history in its finest hour. Jogunde was banished to Akure.D. Canon Moses Craig Akinpelu Adeyemi. Glover and Mr. Erinla. A civil disturbance broke out. by Oba Okuta. Oba AIRO the first male Osemawe and the first Son of Oba Pupupu was installed. 1876). The Late Mr.Ondo Kingdom Landmarks 1510 1516 1528 1590 1731 1768 1770 1866 1870 Ondo town founded. 1870). Oba Terere introduced the 'Eku' festival. etc. Ago. Ondo. Pupupu. had constituted himself an implacable enemy of Ondo. The beginning of Christian missionary work in Ondo by Rev. and as a result the grave disorder and strife that followed. Oba Aritekolasi (A. No sooner Oba Afaidunjoye ascended the throne (A. on January 13. High Chief Sasere Ayotilerewa Awosika died (April 9) Rev. than a vigorous campaign was mounted by Ondo army and they succeeded in capturing Ago at Oke-Igbo. Twenty-six students were enrolled that day. Unfortunately. Oke-Opa.both of them sons of the soil. Ajue. namely: Olurowo and Aruwa. A string of 200 cowries was tied round his neck by 1881 1906 1908 1909 1915 1919 his captors who finally got rid of him by casting him into the Oni river where he died in 1881. The people of Ondo. (January 13) The Ondo Boys High School was. (March 25) The civil disorder which broke out in 1870 ended completely. Fadase . M. were the Page 8 of 18 . Awosika and the Late Mr. (February 25) The Ondo Boys' High School was founded by the Rev. the trouble which had loomed for so long broke into the open. the first Osemawe of Ondo (a lady). It started as C. He died without repenting or resolving the unpleasant situation he created. returned home on the intervention of Capt. S. the Ondo fled 1875 1880 the town and sought shelter and peace in places like Igbado. with his rebel followers. Abayomi from Lagos.D.D. O. who had deserted the town following the outbreak of the hostility of 1880. Grammar School in Stephens' Vicarage. The atmosphere of Ondo was still saturated with trouble and chaos when Oba Osungbedelola ascended the throne (A. Bishop Phillips died (December 26) Eleyinsakele (a highly notorious gangster) was killed. He returned to Ondo in 1770.(later Bishop) D. easily the first Community Grammar School "from Sierra Leone down to Nigeria here".

Canon J. M. the school was renamed Ondo Boys Public High School. demonstrated openly against an old-age tradition which confined them indoors on the 'imuko' festival day. Shorthand. S. June 6: Oba Jisomosun II exiled to Ile-Ife. O. M. March 4: The first conference of the District Church Council of the C. Adeyemi. and the Osemawe of Ondo appointed as its Proprietor. C. The Late Chief Sara Oladapo. He introduced Scouting in 1920. Special tribute is to the memory of Mr. Chief Sasere Bombata installed (December 12) March 29: Fifty years (Golden Jubilee) of C. In September 1968. The late High Chief Sasere Ayodeji handled over his house to accommodate the Founder and (first) Principal. M. Mrs. etc. Jacob Adeniyi Fawehinmi.Head of the International School. Work progressed satisfactorily and later. Top civil servants. Logic. Motor vehicle reached Ondo town for the first time (in the reign of Oba Jisomosun II). University of Ibadan . Osho (nee Ojojo) joined the staff in 1921 and taught in the kindergarten classes attached to the school. Muko festival was brought to Ondo 1921 1926 Page 9 of 18 . the Osemawe. held. Henceforth. it became coeducational and comprehensive. for it was he who drove in the first automobile from Lagos. Diplomats.and Church Leaders are a few eminent Nigerians the School has produced. works in Ondo celebrated.the wares of Birmingham and Manchester hitherto unknown to us were brought to our door-steps and became our new treasures in space of time.first tutors. Adeyemi gave his strength to the work of the School. where it spent only a term. Rev. A. Rev. University Dons. first class educationists. the simple commodities of life . The curriculum included Greek. established the OBHS Press in 1928 and suggested the formation of the Aionian Brotherhood of Secondary Schools in 1929. among them. gave up his house at Alo Street to be used as classrooms. V. for the first time. and Proprietor. S. professionals and business men. 19191922. when it arrived at its present site. popularly known 1923 1925 as 'OWIWA' in his days \. The Osemawe also awarded the first scholarship of £20 (then N40) a year for three years. T. The school has passed through a long and unbroken period of successes. The School first moved out of the Vicarage to an old Bookshop building at Oke Otunba. Iluyomade . and later settled at Alo Street until 1923. a famous moslem leader. November 28: Women. a 90-acre piece of land given by Oba Jisomosun II. Akinrele (nee Akinkugbe) and Mrs. Latin.

O. Tewogboye II. Public Electricity and Water supplies were both commissioned. January 7. The first printing press was established. U. Oloja Udoko was baptised. Rev. Montomorrency (April 21). Immediately after the first Session of the Anglican Synod. M. St. Chief Sara Kadiri Oladapo died (December 30) The Rev. the press was established to train the students of Ondo Boys High School in the printing trade. Rev. Lijadu went on to 1927 England specially to pass the Revised Version of the Yoruba Bible for the Press. Ola Awosika. 1928 1931 1936 1942 1943 1948 1952 1953 1954 1955 1959 1961 1964 1974 Page 10 of 18 . Thomas Hughes was consecrated Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese (May 9). The Rt. Originally. A. Louis Girls Secondary School was established. The Rev. (January 1974 December 1975: Second period of interregnum in the history of Ondo. an old boy of the OBHS. November 7: White merchants (the Portuguese) opened trading stores/shops in Ondo. however. himself. St. Odutola became first Bishop of Anglican Diocese of OndoBenin. and there was reason to change the name to 'IGBEHIN ADUN PRINTING WORKS" and full control and management had to be transfer to Mr. Canon M. E. S. First interregnum: 1896 . who had extensive training in printing in Lagos. Oba Rufus Adesokeji Aderele.from Ife by Adegbonmilo a Son of Oni of Ife who later became Oloja of Udoko. St. Telephone service opened(May 26). died. A Middle School at Odosida was formally opened by Capt. The Ondo Anglican Boys Grammar School was established. 1908. Adeyemi died (December 3).when no suitable prince could be selected immediately to succeed Oba Jilo Ajiboro who died in that year). August 11: Telegraphic service introduced for the first time. C. Rev. Lijadu died. Lijadu will be remembered for his historic service. February 25. The Ondo General Hospital was opened. Joseph's College was established. held in Abeokuta in May. December 13: Rev. Monica's Anglican Girls Grammar School was established. Time wore on. For a long time. was established at Ondo on November 7. C. A permanent halt was called a most brilliant and useful life of a first-class citizen. Adeyemi College of Education was established. The Osemawe. The Ondo Town Hall was opened on 24th February.

Wing Commander I. February 3. was announced by the Federal Government. Ikpeme. O. Oba Adekolurejo. The staff and instrument of office was presented to the new Osemawe. List past of the 44 and present Obas of Ondo Kingdom Page 11 of 18 . April 3. creation of Ondo state with Akure as Administrative Headquarters. 1980 The Most Rev. at a colourful ceremony at the sports stadium by the then State Governor. D . Olufosoye (an Ondo indigene) became the first African to be consecrated Arch-Bishop of Nigeria and Metropolitan. T.1975 1976 May 12: High Chief Lisa Fawehinmi (Emmanuel Adesuyi) died.

Even today the Ondo live with the paradox of suppressed female political power. however. “a substitute. no king can be enthroned) suggests the importance of women in the past and may represent a sort of compensation for women’s lost power. What then is the importance of this for Ondo myths and rituals? The palace coup d’etat in which the woman Oba was replaced by a male line in the Ondo myth of origin must have had an impact on the way Ondo populace view their descent system and perhaps also on other aspects of the social structure. the Ondo possess a strong tendency toward matrifocality. The young men and women take to the street and sing “Oba wa N (referring to the personal name of the incumbent king) Se duo ku di Lobunje” (Our king N. For example. It is a daughter of the Lobun or a woman within the lineage that succeeds her. Reference to the primacy of lineage abounds in the vocabulary of Ondo people. Airo. The oldest living member of the lineage (Baba Agba) in principle becomes the lineage head (Olori Edili). Edili (Lineage) Uli (Family) Pattern The most significant social unit among the Ondo is the lineage group. the remnants of which are still preserved in the Lobun institution. especially in the naming system. which simply means “my maternal kin. Membership in the family is by birth and a child born into an uli automatically becomes a member of the larger lineage. who is considered a king in her own right. This is a corporate descent group consisting of members who trace their origin to a common male founder (Baba Nla) through a line of male descendants. literally. “a wealthy lineage. That an institution of such crucial ritual importance to the state has survived (for without the Lobun. A female progenitor was quite common for many lineages among the Ondo. This paradox is further demonstrated in the all-night “Opepee festival’. the name of the male king that succeeded Pupupu. and immediate relations. He is the sole guardian of the lineage. “a ritual of reversal” when the society’s suppressed urges are brought into the open.” but which is a household word and constitutes a fundamental tenet of the ideology of the ancient Ondo society. Unlike other Yoruba kingdoms.Descent.” The Lobun. die and let us elect a Lobun). the female king. Omiye mi. means.” she is an example of the ideal to which many Ondo families aspire. emphasized this fact by saying: “afi paro ni” (We make him replace someone). or edili. Thus the Ondo myth of origin may indicate that at some point in the distant past Ondo women played a powerful political role. Such rituals always end up by reinforcing the stability of the status quo. An uli is a compound family unit consisting of a father. The lineage can be broken down into family units or uli. This is expressed in the kinship term. Lobun is still referred to as “Oba Obinrin” (the woman’s king). thereby obtaining access to its rights and privileges. Inheritance and Succession Ondo kinship ideology today is highly bilateral with an emphasis on patrilineality. one of the most revered titles in Ondo today. children. his wives. the one who holds intact the tie of kinship (Okun Page 12 of 18 . Ediliola.

Ko si alajobi mo. Polygyny was the custom in former days and there was no limit to the number of wives a man could take. residence in Ondo society today is patterned differently. though there was never a rule against it. A male child born into an uli remains there until death. however. The genealogical bond (ajobi) existing between members of the lineage represents the central link of trust within the lineage and quite often people will swear or pray in the name of their ajobi in order to give validity to a statement or a point. A house without a male head is thought of as virtually empty.) Apart Page 13 of 18 . Such houses have a niche (Ojubo) usually marked with three cowries and stuck into the floor.ebi). (However. Children born of the marriage are born to her husband’s lineage or edili. However. what is left is co-residence bond”). A man may not marry within his edili (lineage) but can marry within the town. The decline in the traditional lineage structure today and the emergence of new social ties outside the lineage structure is vividly portrayed by the Yoruba proverb. naming ceremonies. it is noteworthy that the first born male children remain permanently in the family house even when they have built their own personal houses somewhere else in the town. There are three reasons for this type of residence pattern: • • (1) The notions of residence and home have a mythical character so that the idea is to keep the spirit of the lineage alive by maintaining continuity with the departed ancestor. There is(was) a general distaste for marriages contracted outside the town. Therefore. Generally. and it is more appropriate for him to stay in the home permanently. a marriage is contracted once the traditional puberty rites (Obitun for girls. Obitun is the equivalent of Christian baptism and that there was no need for it today.) are by convention performed in the ancestral home. upon marriage. since Christianity has taken root. Residence Residence is patrilocal in traditional Ondo society. A female sibling. alajogbe lo ku (“there is no longer a kinship bond. Each male child upon marriage aims at establishing his own household and will move out of the family residence once his house is completed. However. Apon for boys) are completed. Marriage Arrangement The Ondo marriage pattern is exogamous. the first born male child is referred to as Opo mule ro (the pillar of the house). (2) All ceremonies and activities pertaining to any member of the lineage. etc. This is in reference to the new pattern of relationships and neolocal residency that is common in most Yoruba urban areas today. as observed in Sora’s (the priest of Oramfe) house in Ondo. leaves the residence and joins the uli of her husband. as suggested in the saying Baale Ile ku lie di ahoro (“the death of the head of a home turns it into an empty one”). such as the rites of passage (marriages. • (3) The Yoruba generally cannot conceive of a home without a male head member.

but concubines are not included among legitimately acquired wives. The husband sleeps in rotation with the wives. will have already in all probability paired with one or other of the wives of the deceased while he was still alive. however. Oko mi. husband’s male siblings) as ‘my husbands’. Page 14 of 18 . That is part of the reason why older women with grown up children are excluded from it. or my senior brother. but rather a means of ensuring the support of the deceased’s offspring. his brothers and sons. The remaining wives and children will come under the guardianship of the younger brother of the deceased. until she becomes a kind of ‘wife emerita’. When a woman gets married she refers to her brothers-in-law (i. since the husband neither pays a dowry nor performs the formal wedding ceremony.from this standard type of marriage. especially when it is assumed that the wife had to obey her husband? This problem is easily resolved in the pattern of the Ondo kinship terminology. the deceased is a man of position with many wives (such as a traditional chief). if any of the wives wish to marry again outside the family they are at liberty to do so. The practices are described as follows: When a man dies the children of the deceased. if grown up. egin mi. Their new husband will pay a dowry to the younger brother of the deceased. The sleeping pattern is on the same weekly basis. To put it in a different way.) In this case each relative will take one wife together with her children. as the case may be.. who refer to her as lyale (mother at home). she assumes such positions in the real sense without much friction. (The Ondo-Yoruba terms used to express this relationship translate literally as ‘playing with’. if of tender years. The wives prepare the husband’s food in rotation. On the other hand. The senior wife takes a prime place in the home. remain with their respective mothers under the guardianship of the deceased’s next younger brother. is that not a conflict in itself. The junior brother of a deceased man by rule becomes the surrogate father and provider for the children and widow of his deceased brother. vestiges of which are still to be found. She is highly respected by her co-wives. The two kinds of levirate practices are anticipatory levirate and posthumous junior levirate. Concubinage (ale) is not an unusual practice among the Ondo. As the husband marries more wives she practically withdraws from household duties. Whenever levirate occurs. who will marry them or not. The organization of the day-to-day activities in the Ondo home is quite simple. usually on a weekly basis.e. If. including the periodic sleeping with and food preparation for the husband. when a levirate wife is older than the surrogate husband. both of which are considered essential in Ondo. The marriage system is not primarily for the purpose of having a relationship. It has been asked how the levirate institution could be sustained in a society where age seniority plays an important part in social relations. The children of wives that do so will remain with the family of the deceased. another form of marriage quite common among traditional Ondo is the levirate.

it is in daily Page 15 of 18 . the next of kin (usually the maternal cousin) becomes the overseer of his properties. Elder brothers and the widow(s) of the deceased are forbidden to inherit his property. In spite of the fact that Ondo is ideologically patrilineal today. Kinship Terminology The Ondo make a distinction between two sets of consanguinal relations: • • (1) Omiba. each wife and her children representing a stock (idi). The senior wife is referred to as yei or mama. however. These are kept under the care of the first born male child. If the deceased happens to be the head of his lineage. An individual refers to his or her mother as yei (my mother). and as is the case of a boy’s father. and one of the wives is referred to even by her own children as anti.Inheritance The property of a deceased man is inherited by both his siblings and his children. When a woman dies. the maternal relations. As a result of the polygynous nature of Ondo marriage system. It appears that egin is in use mainly in Ondo township. yei could equally be used to designate any female adult of the ego‘s mother’s age group or older. usually the next oldest man in the lineage. The rest is divided into the number of wives he had. bai (my father). the paternal relations and (2) Omiye. This title is. A sizeable portion of the goods is distributed among the deceased’s junior siblings. the English kin term for aunt.. Egin could equally apply to cousins and other unrelated senior males. This is purely a sign of respect and an indication of the place age plays in the social system. maternal kin occupy an equally important position in the life of the Ondo individual as do paternal kin. Ondo people are generally jokingly referred to as egin. for example egin Omololu. her properties are divided among her children and relations. distinguishing them from other Yoruba groups. It is interesting that in far distant places like Ibadan and Lagos. While the above is generally applied to all of the Ondo-Yoruba. a separate terminology is reserved for the senior wife as a sign of respect. though the former word is rarely used. Certain private immovable properties such as farmlands and the deceased’s domicile are never distributed but corporately owned by all the children. Three people are appointed by the edili. His senior siblings are designated egin. Upon the death of an individual. The executor gathers together all the movable goods of the deceased and takes an inventory of all his immovable property. An Ondo boy refers to his grandfather as Bamagba (my older father). The senior wife’s children have the rights to a higher proportion of the property. A child calls his or her father and any adult male around his father’s age and above. A similar greeting pattern of kee o is expressed towards both. there may be minor variations from one town to another. would mean. often joined to the name of the referent. However. properties held in trust for the edili are automatically taken over by his successor. my senior brother Omololu.

5—8 typifies the semi-independent stage. wash clothes. Some inquisitive ones ask questions concerning the rationale behind some traditional things performed such as the tribal marks. the child is allowed to crawl. When an Ondo child meets and greets an elderly relation (either a paternal or maternal relation). breast-feeds and clothes the child. Here an element of socialisation and culturisation has taken place. feed. And this stage. Socialisation and Culturisation Socialisation and Culturisation in Ekimogun land takes place within four age groups with families serving as the principal agents of socialisation and culturisation. sweep and so on. Ondo chiefs are greeted in the praise names associated with their position. The child is allowed to fetch water on his or own. It is the duty of the parents to tell him or her. and incidences preceding the child’s birth. but to the old ones witnessing it. constant supervision is minimised.e. The individual stands in front of the chief. The first age group marks the age of total dependence of any child in Ekimogun land. The second age-group i. the individual greeted responds with the child’s or his family’s praise names. the child is trained to walk by holding his or her hands and it is also this period that weaning takes place. the Ekimogun child is trained to use toilet most especially to draw the attention of the mother if he or she wants to answer the call of nature. during this age group. the names given. He or she is taught many domestic activities such as how to cook. These age groups are: 0-4. Here deep within the child subconscious culturation takes place. seat. stretches forth his fists three times while simultaneously calling the chief’s title praise names. At the end of the fourth year. Between 12—18 months. 17+.e. many culturisation consciously or unconsciously take place but expression still lags. socilisation. 5--9. just like other areas in Yoruba land. culturation takes pIace consciously and they are the one to make the transmission i. assuming the individual who has greeted the elderly person is only slightly known by the latter. Furthermore. the mother pacifies. It is also within this group that circumcision and the traditional tribal marks take place. Before the end of the third year. 1O-16. Page 16 of 18 .greetings that the degree of affinity between two individuals is better shown. usually when the child is 8 days old. In actual sense. or he may simply say wo lani o (may today be good for you). He may improvise very detailed response. At about seven months. erect and allowed to touch everything except harmful objects. This period encompasses the time the child is given a name. usually reflects the circumstances surrounding the birth of the child or events.

No matter the level of an Ekimogun’s education. dynamism has crawled into the culture of Ondo. culture in its universal sense is dynamic this dynamism of culture has not affected the Ekimoguns in the sense of losing any of their cultural traits. various traditional festivals and the current “ASUN” culture. In actual sense. school. sweep etc. Proper orientation is given to the ladies on how to behave at their husband’s house. However. It is also at this stage.. He or she is made to believe that cheating in all ramifications should be vehemently opposed. The child is taught on how to retaliate and defend him or herself. The rationale behind tribal marks and other important socio-traditional dispensation in the town are learned for onward transmission to their unborn children. the point mentioned above is responsible for cultural relativity which the Ekimoguns have attached to their tribal marks despite the condemnation which tribal marks in Yorubaland are being attracted. the teaching of some forbidden things in the town. how to work on the farm most especially during the primitive stage. education has greatly assumed a wider dimension in their lives. he does not forget his root most especially his dialect. norms and beliefs outside his or her home e. it is this stage that it becomes known that eating Big rat is forbidden. contrary to the general belief. church. streets and so on. Daily instruction on how to cook. The males are taught the proper things to do to their in-laws. aggressiveness. in recent times. 9—16 stage marks a period of higher independence. For example. This. it is also at this stage an Ekirnogun child learns new traits. Therefore. the children are taught the importance of exogamy. are given most especially to the girls. of reciprocity are also taught. the child learns. influence in the society. instead of having the total means of their existence based on farming. The child is taught the essence of comradeship.g.The value of mutual dependence norms. emphasis is also placed on obedience to elders. The stage of 17+ is considered in Ondo to be the major step to adulthood where a child is intellectually and emotionally mature and could get married anytime. and transmits to the coming children and the process continues like that. Though. Page 17 of 18 . Furthermore. He also acquires the skill of fatherhood. status. Further socialisation and aculturisation that take place among Ekimogun children within this second age group include among other things. Perhaps. For example. However. etiquette. many culturisation at this stage take place at school. unnecessary stubbornness on and strong headedness is discouraged but not when an Ekimogun child is being cheated.

prepare your lesson note for culturisation and get ready for its ultimate socialisation. management peaceful co-existence of all. all their cultural traits are meaningful and they have stuck to them but this does not mean conservatism. Similarly the celebration of traditional festivals numbering fifty three of which are Odun-Oba and Ogun Festivals play prominence has taken the town to lime light. Despite the prominence which some food items like rice. almost all the political parties registered by INEC have been embraced by the people. the advent of democracy and the need for active participation has made the people change their perceptions. Odun Oba. Politics: Although in the past. Alaari among others is still in vogue. vegetable to mention a few. To the newly born Ekimogun. interesting. Festival: Ondo has some festivals that attract people from far and near. Smiyan. meat pie among other is gaining in the contemporary society. puupuu ( a starchy food item obtained from cassava) and these could be obtained in some Food Joints in the town which also prepared local soup like okro. Etu. I say welcome to the culture of your father land. and a discovery for those who cares to know or explore the history of the Ode Ondo. Religion: majority of Ondo Descents are Christians with a sizeable number of Muslims and Idol worshipers. Ondo people still give recognition to Local food delicacies like pounded yam. ‘gbanunu’. In demonstration of this change of attitude. Some of these are the Ogun festival.To the Ekimoguns. Consequently. Oramfe and the hugely popular Ekimogun Day celebration organized annually by the Ondo Development Committee (ODC). May be this is all the more reason why absolute unity prevails in Ondo town. it appears the people of Ondo devotes little time to politics. Culture & Tradition: Ondo as an ancient enclave with cultural affinity with the Yoruba race is an embodiment of culture and tradition. Page 18 of 18 . eba. macaroni. Similarly several indigenes of the town now hold political post at local state and federal level. Ondo Kingdom history is voluminous and cannot be contain in this few pages it’s a whole book of history of mystery so adventurous. Food and Local Delicacies: Ondo people are unique when it comes to food. The us of several traditional dresses such as Aso-Oke. Please. political participations in Ondo Town have served several functions which include balance of leverage.

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