Monday 1 August 2022


Olofin Aremitan the younger brother of Olofin Oduduwa led a group of people from Ile Ife after the demise of Oduduwa owing to the ensuing power struggle with the heirs to the throne of Oduduwa.

On the death of Oduduwa, Olofin Aremitan left Ile Ife with a group of people and settled first at Ijama in the present day Ile-oluji with Jegun Orere. A short while after, perhaps after only a season, he moved to Epe, It was believed that a group of people parted from Olofin at Ijama; and he bade goodbye to the rest at Epe. From Epe, Olofin moved out with those we might regard today as the fathers of Idanre and settled at Ojanla, not far from river Owena. From this time on, Idanre had maintained its distinct almost completely separated from all other children of Oduduwa.

The exact reason that led Olofin to leave Ife is the power tussle that no doubt erupted between Oduduwa’s heirs after the death of this powerful King. Olofin ruled Ife briefly after the death of Oduduwa as a regent but his reign was marred by jealousy, in-fighting and acrimony. Defeated in his bid for power, he set out to found another settlement with his followers, going eastward through Ujama, Epe, Urede, Ojanla, Jaleja, Utaja (his last stop where he called Ufe’ke), and crossing the Urore river. In some accounts, he was accompanied in these travels by the early leaders of Idanre.

After the death of Olofin Oduduwa, Olofin Aremitan took with him a few valuable and the most treasured belongings of Oduduwa. These include among others the ancient crown of Oduduwa, Oreghe, Ugwan, a pair of irunkere or horse tail and certain medicine for their preservation. These were supposed to be the common property of all the children of Oduduwa. It is related orally that some of the property he could not take with him while leaving Ile-Ife he sent Ajija to bring them for him.


Idanre people lived in caves, safeguarded by the protective charms of Olofin. Olofin lived with the Idanre people at Utaja for about forty years. Seeing that he was getting too old and could travel no further, he eventually died in a cave at Utaja-Idanre called Uwo-Akota, meaning the cave of wasps. Relics that are claimed to have belonged to Olofin remain in the cave until this day. Uwo Akota was located on the West side of Utaja at the foot of Aghagha Hill on the Eastern path to Oke Idanre.

Olofin Aremitan was succeeded by his lieutenant Agboogun who inherited all his properties as well as the old enemies. Agboogun was the armour bearer of Olofin and his name indeed makes reference to this; “Agberu Ogun” means he who carries his master’s tools of war. Agboogun sought to protect his people from invasion by surrounding enemies and decided to relocate his community from the foot of the hills to Oke-idanre, the top of the hills. In those days, the new settlement was called, “Ufe Oke,” which loosely translates to ‘Ife atop the hills’, thus providing some connection to ancient Ile-Ife.

One of Agboogun’s lieutenants was an explorer and hunter named Egunren and it was he who sought out the ideal location for the Idanre people to reside at Idanre Hills. Agboogun feared for the safety of his people in the valleys, where it was easy for other tribes to raid and enslave the people. He thus met with his followers, who were split into several groups, to deliberate on a more secure place to settle for the Makanres (Idanre people). These groups included Logunro, who led the Urowo people, Asalu who led the Usalu people, and Jemiken, who led the Udale people. One of these followers was a hunter called Egunren, who had gone up Aghagha hill on one of his hunting expeditions.

He reported that he had found a secure location up in the hills, where enemies could not easily attack. Agboogun led his followers to Oke Idanre, where they first settled the Oba at a place named Usalu up in the hills. However, this region was thought to be too exposed, so another location was chosen, close to Egunren, “the hunter’s cave”, where the people would mobilise; presumable under the lead of Egunren who was the leading warrior.

Agboogun settled at Odeja. The building of the palace took over 30 years to construct. As he was getting old, he decided to relinquish the palace on to his son, Baganju, on the condition that he would perform rites at Odeja for his father after the former’s death. Baganju was thus the first Owa to occupy the old palace at Oke Idanre. However, the traditional accounts are generally in agreement in considering Agboogun the first Owa of Idanre up in Idanre Hills, with Baganju as the second.

Oke Idanre hill consists of high plain with spectacular valleys interspersed with inselbergs of about 3,000 ft above sea level. Its physical attributes include Owa’s Palace, Shrines, Old Court, Belfry, Agbooogun foot print, thunder water (Omi Apaara) and burial mounds and grounds. It also has diverse and variegated eco-systems of flora and fauna. Oke Idanre contains very important bio-physical and land form features whose interaction with the physical features created an enduring cultural landscape within the setting.

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