953 Views
1 Comments

The ILAJE People Of Ondo State

The Ilajes are a distinguished, distinct linguistic group of the Yoruba stalk made up of four geo-political entities namely Ugbo Mahin Etikan and Aheri.

GEOGRAPHY

ILAJELAND is bounded by the Ijebus to the West, the Ikale to the North, the Itsekiri to the East.  The APOI and Arogbo Ijaw to the North East, while the Atlantic ocean formed the southern boundary.  No doubt, the Ilajes are one of the most dynamic and enterprising people in Nigeria.  Our aquatic skill, coupled with their high adaptational ability enable us to conquer the harsh geographical environment and turn it to a big advantage. Consequently, we were able to build large communities like Ugbonla, Aiyetoro, Zion PePe and Orioke.  Aiyetoro for example in it’s hey-days had the highest per capital income in the whole of  Africa and attracted visitors, tourists and researchers from all over the world especially Europe, Canada, and America.
Ilajes can also be found in cohesive diasporic communities in Douala (Cameroon), Sapele/Warri (Delta), Asejire (Oyo) and parts of Lagos State. According to the 2006 census statistics, we have a population of about 290,615 people.
Igbokoda, the Ilaje local government headquarters is fast becoming an international trade center as it popular market attracts traders not only from other part of Nigeria, but, also from other African countries especially Togo Benin, Ghana, Cameroon and Gabon

OUR ORIGIN

We were said to have left ILE-IFE our original ancestral home/settlement in the 10th century. We mainly occupy the Atlantic coastline of Ondo State of Nigeria while a large population of them settles on land in the hinterland. The area we occupy today remains the Ondo State of Nigeria only outlet to the sea.
According to our dethroned Olugbo Oba Mafimisebi “we were the aboriginal Yoruba that was displaced from Ife”. He and Oba of Benin agreed up to this point. Olugbo claimed this is why Ugbo and Benin have similar chieftaincy titles: Lema, Ashogbon, Oliha, Ojomo, Yasere among others. They were the Obalufon, Obamakin, Obalufe, Obawinrin, etc whose Yoruba language were originally spoken, including the lingua fraca in Benin palace.
According to Ben Omowafola Tomoloju, popularly known as ‘Pappy Ben’, a culture activist, author of books and the Aremo Onipopo of Ilaje Land, the Ilajes were members of the ancient communities that existed in Ile-Ife before the advent of Oduduwa in the the 10th century A.D. Upon the arrival of Oduduwa in Ife, he seized power from the incumbent ruler and assumed monarchical authority over the land.
Tomoloju said: “The ancestors of the Ilajes detested the Oduduwa take-over and, therefore, migrated through the forest of Oke Mafunrangan to a place near Esinmirin River from where they invaded Ile-Ife over a long period, carting away spoils and capturing slaves”. This invasion was what motivated the legendary Ife Queen, Moremi, to embark on a heroic espionage quest that led to the eventual defeat of the marauding aborigines.
The coastal town, Ugbo, under the paramount ruler, Olugbo, is a major settlement of the protesting migrants. Its full meaning is ‘Mo r’ubo gbo ni.’ (I have a place to stay.) Ugbo is primary setting in the Moremi legend, which people sometimes mistake for Igboland in South-eastern Nigeria.
“Another major town, Mahin, comes under the paramount rulership of the Amapetu. Ugbo, Mahin and other towns like Atijere, Obe-Nla and Igbo-Egunrin reflect a degree of cultural mix which suggest some form of historical kinship between the Ilaje, Itsekiri and the Edo.

PRIMARY OCCUPATION

Being riverine by nature, our primary occupation is fishing. An average Ilaje person knows which fish is gotten from the fresh water and which fish is gotten from the salt water. There are also seasons when the water in the Lagoon turns to salt water, this is between April and July, when we have heavy rainfall. despite fishing across several villages at a time, there is no occasion where any Ilaje fisherman loses his way on the high sea. This, he said is due to the fact that, when you are on the sea, there is a way you picture yourself and there are landmarks you will identify to tell you the distance from home.  The weather condition, the direction of the wind, the position of the sun by day and the position of the moon by night, all contribute to forming part of your compass and a forewarning for straying off the normal route. A very few of the Ilaje, who live outside the water, known as the Ilaje Igbo (that is, Ilaje on land) try their hands on farming, but some people jocularly state that, nature never conferred farming on them but fishing, as a result they have not been able to produce beyond subsistence level as the lands are said not to be fertile enough for agriculture. So, they majorly depend on the Ikale and Apoi people for enough farm produce. Another occupation of ours is timber logging. Though the wood logging occupation in Ilaje land suffers some kind of setback due majorly to the absence of a sawmill, we still manage to use our canoe to ferry the woods to Igbekun, a neighbouring towns in the hinterland.
The pre-colonial ilajes were also salt miners due to our closeness to the Atlantic ocean which contains a lot of salt water.

ALSO READ  Full Biography of Lt Gen. Kenneth Minimah: Nigeria’s 28th Chief of Army Staff

RELIGION

The advent of the white missionaries saw the Ilajes embracing Christianity with full force, with a slight majority of the Christians among them worshipping with the Cherubim and Seraphim Church of Zion, which has its headquarters in Ugbo Nla. There are also considerable amount of Anglican and Jehova witness worshippers.

FESTIVITIES

Though the Ilaje are scattered in various places along the coastal lines, at various times of the year, they all returnto their home base in Ondo to celebrate some of their festivals, which include: masquerading (the Umale festival), Malokun (a fertility festival for the goddess of the sea), regatta and periodically, the Epo (Raffia-costumed masquerade), which was used to scare the people of Ife before the Moremi saga.
During these celebrations, there is the uniquely polyphonic renditions of both the Biripo traditional music and the Ilaje spirituals of the Zion Christian sect. They are particularly soul-lifting and you find a lot of upland Yoruba musicians trying to imitate these in their compositions. In a typical ilaje marriage ceremony where the bride comes from Ilaje, a court of young girls from the bride’s place are selected to entertain their guests with the traditional biripo dance where the make use of obele(paddlestick) to demonstrate their dance act.

MONOARCHIAL SYSTEM

Ugbo is the major town in Ilaje land and is under the paramount ruler known as the OLU-UGBO of ugbo.
Beside ugbo, there are three other major clans,These include Mahin, Aheri and Etikan. Aheri is presided over by the Maporure and Etikan is headed by the Onikan of Etikan while Ugbo is headed by the Amapetu of Mahin.

DRESSING CULTURE

Being migrants from Yoruba land, it would be surprising to know that the core Ilaje traditional dress code borrows from outside the Yoruba tribe. The Ilaje traditional mode of dressing is of the semblance of the Itsekiris or Urhobos with slight modifications. The men dress in wrapper with a buba top and a hat with feather stuck in one part of the hat, while the women dress in blouse and wrapper. But, in the past few decades, most Ilaje have embraced the conventional Yoruba mode of dressing, except on special occasions.

FOOD CULTURE

Though the presence of fish is emphasised in all the foods, there are special kinds of foods prepared. These foods are peculiar only to the Ilaje. They include the Pupuru and Obe Marugbo. The Pupuru is made from cassava, and prepared in a similar process as fufu, it also has a similar taste with fufu. The Obe Marugbo is cooked with a special type of vegetable that is grounded. The colour of the Obe Marugbo is dark green( I usually term it black soup..lol). There is the mashed yam and unnripe plantain prepared with palm oil(ogolale) and we also have what is called the Igbanyeghe, boiled corn with fish and palm oil added to some other Ilaje food condiments.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Apart from petroleum which is largely found in the area for which Ondo State today is recognized as an oil producing State. Other mineral raw materials that are abundantly available in Ilajeland include Glass Sand, Salt, Tar Sand, Quartz and Clay while Agro raw materials include fish, poultry, maize, Palm oil vegetables, Timber, Rafia, Poultry Okro, Cocoyam, Banana, Cassava, and Piggery

And Lastly, the ilajes are highly accommodating and friendly. If u measure the hostility of an the scale of 1-100 on hostility he would score 0.95%.
If you want to call the ilajes in a gathering to an attention just scream AYEMAFUGE de de ilaje oh…the response you get aftermath is AWAYE oh!!!!

Source

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

One Comment

  1. WOW. this is a real description of the Ilaye people. The article is very useful for research purpose. Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Mikel Obi Speaks Ahead Of Super Eagles’ Clash With England
Sports
58 views
Sports
58 views

Mikel Obi Speaks Ahead Of Super Eagles’ Clash With England

MT - April 25, 2018

John Mikel Obi says the Super Eagles will put their best foot forward during the international friendly match against the Three Lions of England. The game is…

Like Cee-C, Nina Also Gets iPhone X, Hair and Cash Gifts from Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky
Entertainment
64 views
Entertainment
64 views

Like Cee-C, Nina Also Gets iPhone X, Hair and Cash Gifts from Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky

MT - April 25, 2018

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh has heightened her social media beef with singer and Instagram influencer, Tunde Ednut. This is coming after Tunde Ednut mocked a video shared…

Revealed: How Korede Bello Paid For His Distinction Results From Nigerian Institute Of Journalism
Entertainment
59 views
Entertainment
59 views

Revealed: How Korede Bello Paid For His Distinction Results From Nigerian Institute Of Journalism

MT - April 25, 2018

Mavin artiste, Korede Bello who graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism with a distinction in Mass Communication (HND),just four days ago has explained in details how…

A Look At The Lagos Slum Where Land Is Allocated At N2k And Residents Live In Dirt
Shocking
60 views
Shocking
60 views

A Look At The Lagos Slum Where Land Is Allocated At N2k And Residents Live In Dirt

MT - April 25, 2018

Life at Mosquito village, a slum in Lagos state, is disgusting, brutal, weird, ephemeral, yet entertaining. The residents live in the cozy embrace of the filth surrounding…

SEE What Eating Dark Chocolate Does To Your Memory And Immunity – New Study
Best of Nigeria
58 views
Best of Nigeria
58 views

SEE What Eating Dark Chocolate Does To Your Memory And Immunity – New Study

MT - April 25, 2018

A new research showed that consuming dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. Presented on…

PHOTOS: This Is How Nigerian Singer, D’banj Is Living Like A King In Dubai
Best of Nigeria
67 views
Best of Nigeria
67 views

PHOTOS: This Is How Nigerian Singer, D’banj Is Living Like A King In Dubai

MT - April 25, 2018

Without a shadow of doubt, D’banj is one artist who qualifies to be described as famous and rich. He also has so much style, so when he…

G-Worldwide Entertainment Unveils 2 New Artists, Easy Jay and Ajura
Entertainment
59 views
Entertainment
59 views

G-Worldwide Entertainment Unveils 2 New Artists, Easy Jay and Ajura

PH - April 25, 2018

G-Worldwide has just announced the latest additions to their rosters; Easy Jay and Ajura. The records Head of Artist Management, Louiza Williams said: We are thrilled to…

Why I Escaped From Police – Senator Melaye
Politics
62 views
Politics
62 views

Why I Escaped From Police – Senator Melaye

PH - April 25, 2018

Senator Dino Melaye has said that he jumped down from a moving police vehicle, which resulted in his hospitalization on Tuesday to prevent being taken to Lokoja,…

WATCH: DJ Neptune talks on his Challenges and Success Story on EbonyLife TV’s “EL Now”
Entertainment
62 views
Entertainment
62 views

WATCH: DJ Neptune talks on his Challenges and Success Story on EbonyLife TV’s “EL Now”

PH - April 25, 2018

In the new episode of EbonyLife TV‘s EL NOW, the talented DJ Neptune discusses the trials and challenges that he has encountered on his journey to becoming…

Singer Korede Bello Bags Degree from Nigerian Institute of Journalism
Entertainment
68 views
Entertainment
68 views

Singer Korede Bello Bags Degree from Nigerian Institute of Journalism

PH - April 25, 2018

Mavins record act, Korede Bello is proof that if you set you mind to achieve a certain goal, nothing can hold you back. In a post on…

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun
Art, History and Culture
81 views
Art, History and Culture
81 views

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun

PH - April 25, 2018

The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun has stated that the just concluded Africa Drums Festival hosted by the state, generated a lot of income for both…

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate
Geeky & Smart
85 views
Geeky & Smart
85 views

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate

PH - April 25, 2018

A 26 year old first class graduate of the Department of Applied Chemistry, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Simon Godwin Idoko, has opened up on how he was…

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!
Best of Nigeria
93 views
Best of Nigeria
93 views

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!

MT - April 24, 2018

AMFEST EXPO is laden with the responsibility of expanding Africa’s creativity economy into the global market. African practitioners in the area of music, fashion, film, food and…

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them
Best of Nigeria
102 views
Best of Nigeria
102 views

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them

MT - April 24, 2018

Here are 6 important scams you must watch out for when you are online so as not to fall victim to online fraudsters, according to this article…

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC
Best of Nigeria
118 views
Best of Nigeria
118 views

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC

MT - April 24, 2018

While speaking in an exclusive interview during BBC Hausa morning programme on Tuesday, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, said he is not desperate to become Nigeria’s president,…

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows
Best of Nigeria
112 views
Best of Nigeria
112 views

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows

MT - April 24, 2018

A Pharmacist, Dr Chukwuma Agubata, has said that taking Irvingia Fat from nuts of Irvingia Gabonensis Var Excelsa, known as ‘Ogbono’ soup has helped to improve the…

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income
Best of Nigeria
123 views
Best of Nigeria
123 views

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income

MT - April 24, 2018

When it comes to money, everyone has a habit that either helps you save or lavish your money. But for those who have a reasonable income and…

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims
Entertainment
118 views
Entertainment
118 views

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims

MT - April 24, 2018

Popular Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw, has taken to her Twitter page on Tuesday to jokingly claim that one of the security aides of rapper, Falz the Bahd…

Loading...