History of Oka
Located roughly between latitude 3.SON and 4.60 and 3.30′E. Oka is the administrative headquarters of Akoko South West Local Government Area. It is bounded in the East by Epinmi and Ipe, in the West by Akungba and Supare in the North by Ise Iboropa and Ugbe in the South by Oba and Ikun towns.
Situated on a Plateau which tails off in extremely picturesque pattern of undulating hills which itself is an extension of the great Kukuruku hills. Okaland covers an area of Thirty Square kilometers. Predominantly, the vegetation is of the derived Savanna with scattered forests all over the area. The adjacent lowlands have wood land Savannah features a biotic climax which resulted from frequent bush burning.
In terms of atmospheric conditions, the situation remains almost the same as elsewhere in Ondo State. The climate of Okaland is equally determined by the SIW Monsoon winds and the N/E trade winds.
However, the relatively high topography of the area exercise an orographic effect which produces on the plateau settlement better weather conditions than those oLfaining on the surrounding lowlands
Okaland has a mean annual temperature of over 21:0 C with annual rainfall of about 1,270mm (50″) Humidity is relatively high for a good part of the year.
By the 1963 National Census, the Population of Okaland was put at 62,761 with an avarage of 250 persons per sq. meter. Oka is the 4th largest town in Ondo State. Okaland is a conglomerate of several settlements made up of Oke-Oka, Iwaro, Ayepe, Ayegunle, Okia, Simerin and Uba. Apart from Oke-Oka and Iwaro, which are nuclear settlements, the others are linear in pattern.
A brief account of the History of Okaland:
Oka is a contracted form of Okarufe meaning Oka-Ife, Oka people left Ile-Ife some centuries ago in search of a suitable abode.
They migrated through Ijeshaland and Ekitiland until they came to a place near Imesi-Ekiti East Local Government Area of Ekiti State. They sojourned for many years until a group under Asin and another group under Okikon left Imesi and journeyed through different routes till each group arrived at the precincts of some lofty hills.
The group under Okikon settled in the eastern part of the hills and this group became known as Okaroke. The group under the Asin settled in the Southern part of the hills and became know as Okaodo. Both groups later became the SIRU group of the communities.
Those left at Imesi also broke into two group, one group traveled through Ikole Ekiti and the other group traveled through Ora in Akoko North and finally settled at the Western and Northern peripheries of the same hills. These other group also became known as SIFA group of communities.
During the inter-tribal wars, all the communities joined forces together, to repel the invaders especially the conquering armies of the Nupes and Edos. While all the surrounding towns and villages were overrun and depopulated, Oka remained unconquerable, offering military assistance or asylum to the refugees from the neighbouring war stricken areas. The spectacular successes of Oka attracted a large number of refugees and over-awed the original settlers who were either flushed out or absorbed.
For lack of adequate arable farmland, Oka people are predominantly migrant
farmers, most of whom engage in mere subsistence farming. They produced foodstuffs like Yams, Maize and Cassava. The more daring among them also combine the production of cash crops like Cocoa, Coffee and Rubber. Besides, more and more of the Okas are going into commercial activities while others are engaged in tertiary occupation of which carpentry and bricklaying are notable examples.
Oka Hills: Beacon Tourism The town (Part of it) is situated on a table-land and every approach to it is always an up-going movement. On the Plateau itself, beautiful hills are slotted in a circular formation round the town. The picturesque arrangement of these hills is so mystifying that an on-looker often gets carried away by the rather intruding formation; which sometimes cast a very captivating scenery on the surrounding towns. Above all, the volume and quality of cool air which welcomes visitors to the hills could only be compared with the breezy winds at the Victoria beach in Lagos or Jos Plateau State..
That perhaps explains the reason why the Britons who colonized Nigeria in early nineteenth century could not avoid siting a “Rest House” at Oka Hills, both for security
reason and as a resort for good health and recuperation.
Furthermore, it may surprise the reader that some of these hills also have natural springs at their base formations which flow all the year round. A good example is the “Asawa Spring” at the foot of Ojomirin Hill. The water content of this spring is so pure and cold that one often mistake it for a mechanically processed water.
As matter of fact Tourism is an industry that flourishes on nature’s spectacular trails, some of which are common sights on Oka Hills. The Hills offer a lot of natural habitats as resorts for fun-lover, convalescing invalids and the spiritually impoverished believers. The relative quiet, coupled with the cooling and breezy winds on these hills are the two raw items which could further be processed, through the construction of charlets and conference halls, for the benefit of future tourists frequenting Oka Hills.
The “Oyibo” people who sited the Oka Rest House and the statue of the Holy Mary at Oke-Maria did appreciate the aesthetic beauty and potentialities latent in Oka Hills. This has now become an annual pilgrimage for Catholic faithful &other believers.