Friday 3 September 2021


What had been handed down from generation across and examined by regular historians was that the foundations of the Yoruba nation was laid by Odua sixteen (16) decendancy who gave birth to the various states/kingdoms or groups found in Nigeria, the republic of Benin, Trinidad and Tobago and in some other parts of South America. The Yoruba states are; Awori, Akoko, Benin/Edo, Egbado/Yewa, Egba, Ekiti, Ijesa, Ijebu, Igbomina, Ikale, Ilaje, Itshekiri, Sabe, Yagba, Ondo and so on. These kingdoms established by the Yoruba sixteen beaded crowns known as Olori-Alade and their generations, which the Odu-Ifa or the Ifa copious acknowledge as: “Alade Merindinlogun Ile Odua” meaning the Sixteen Beaded Crowns found in the land of Odua.

H.R.M Oba Yissau Bamitale Otunla Kodaolu
(Olukoyi of Ikoyi)

There is a slight disagreement on the exact day Ikoyi was founded, as the earliest people leaves no writing record, but the people of Ikoyi believed it was since 16th century. Meanwhile, suffice is to note that there are many Ikoyi scattered all around Yorubaland, with central headquarter of all Ikoyi’s is believed to be that in the present Oyo state. Meanwhile, while the present people of Ikoyi-Osun has laid claimed to writing of Samuel Johnson in his monumental work, my finding has realistically shown that Adegun mentioned was the King of Ikoyi-Odan who was a friend of Toyeje of Ogbomoso, in present Oyo state. Thus, controversies bedeviled the history of Ikoyi-Osun as there are versions of their history. However, even among the group who departed Itajero together, there are still sharp disagreements among historians as to the legitimacy of a segment of them, forming the disparities and controversies in Yoruba history. Although, attempt had not been made to plunder or alter the number to preserve the tradition as pronounce by the Ifa Oracle, but they have considered many kings to fill the spots as names of the towns have not been regular. Therefore, the pre-eminence and position of some Oba look confusing, complex and difficult to be objectively accepted. Meanwhile, it’s an acceptable fact that there was not one wave of migration, rather, there were many as recounted in history. Olufunminiyi, the progenitor of the Ikoyi people was not nominally part of 16 princes which according to Samuel Johnson dispersed at Itajero, and neither was he part of the 10 kings who had met at Okuta mewa in Igbajo as the tradition says. However, as had often seen, the migration and settlement pattern of any Yorubaland is often attached to Ile-Ife which is believed to be the cradle of Yoruba race, meanwhile there is another version which believed Ikoyi should be link with Ikoyi-Odan in Ogbomoso.

One version of the history posited that Ikoyi-Ile could be traced to one Adegun who is believed to be one of the grandsons of Oduduwa. He was one of the kings that ruled in the ancient town of Ikoyi-Ile, situated on a small rising to about 1000ft and is about nine miles North-West of Ogbomoso 100 and 10miles to Katunga or Old Oyo and about forty three miles to the present Oyo. Adegun was said to be father of Olufunmi who was the founder of Ikoyi in Osun State. Ikoyi was believed to have been coined from the statement which is “Olu mi ko yi pada” meaning that I would never return to Ikoyi Ile, his former settlement. The above expression is faulty as Adegun himself was a 19th century king of Ikoyi-Odan, except to conclude that Ikoyi-Osun is a 19th century creation. But notwithstanding, the settlement must surely have something to do with Ikoyi-Odan.

Another version of the history stated that Olufunmi was also known as Olugbade who was having problem with child bearing. Due to this, he consulted Ifa Oracle to know what was actually wrong with him. He was directed by the Ifa priest to leave his father land for him to surmount the problems. This made Olufunmi to take a bold step by leaving his father land according to the dictate of Ifa priest to wherever he heard the crying of a bird called “Agbigbo”. It’s believe that he was given a beaded crown to show that he was a true prince and to be recognized as an Oba, before he left. Among the people that left Ikoyi with Olufunmi were Oluoosa, Olusomi, Ehun and Olundegun. He therefore set on a journey as Ifa oracle has dictate. After a long travelling and wandering in the bush, they got to a big river where he heard “Agbigbo” crying and wild animals talking like human beings. It was the river now called Osun River. It’s about twenty one kilometers to present Ikoyi. This river intersects the road going from Ibadan to Ife, cradle of all Yoruba. It was at the bank of this river Olufunmi and his party first settled.

Their stay at the bank of the river Osun was not long because of the problem of mosquito bite which they faced. As a result, they moved a very kilometer away to settle at a place which is now the boundaries between Ijebu and Osun state. Later, they migrated to the present site which was formally called Ikoyi koto due to its topography. Meanwhile, another separate account stated that their migration from the bank of the river was because, at first the Osun goddess has informed them that for them to stay at the bank of the river, they have to maintain extra-cleanliness as she wouldn’t condole dirtiness around the river, but the people faulted this forewarned order, and the river overflow its bank and some of their property was swept away. That was the reason they left the place to their present settlement, formally known as Ikoyi-koto. It’s at Ikoyi-koto that Olufunmi vowed not to return to their former abode, and was quoted to have said “olu mi ko yi”, metamorphosing to Ikoyi and the name of the king being Olukoyi.

Credit: Jacob Olaoluwa Adesina

References: Olaoluwa Adesina

Adeoye Agunlejika, Ijesa Chronicles: An Historiographic Tribute (Lagos, Comforthez, 2011)

Johnson, The History of the Yoruba

Oral interview with Mr. Sulaiman Osundiya, Ikoyi-Osun, Driver, 70+, 12/04/2018

Oral interview with Comrade Sangodipe, Ikoyi-Ile, Teacher, 56, 08/03/2018

Oral interview with Oba Yisau Bamitale Oyetunji Otunla Kodaolu 1, Ikoyi-Ile, Traditional Ruler, 70+, 15/03/2017

Oral interview with Alhaja Suwebat Ajani, Ikoyi-Ile, Teacher, 68, 17/04/2018

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