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Ilaro: The Warrior Town Of Western Nigeria



Ilaro town

Ilaro, the warrior town, is located in Ogun State, Nigeria. It is a vibrant town steeped in history and culture and home to approximately 57,850 residents.

Ilaro serves as the administrative centre for the Yewa South Local Government, known as “Yewaland”. This area was once part of the Egbado division in the former Western State and later became part of Ogun State. It is situated about 50 kilometres from Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, and approximately 100 kilometres from Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State. Ilaro boasts a rich heritage worth exploring.

At the heart of Ilaro town stands the remarkable Orona Hall, named in honour of the honourable warrior “Orona“. Visitors can find a statue of Orona and his trusty leopard in the town as a testament to the town’s history.

The town’s history is filled with brave figures like Osata, an Ilaro ruler from the 19th century, who made a profound sacrifice to bring rain to his drought-stricken town. The Egbado dialect is spoken here, and when Ilaro natives gather, their rallying cry of “Omo Oluwewun” holds a unique power in uniting the people of Ilu Aro.

The warrior town was founded in the 18th century by Aro, who migrated from Oyo. Therefore, the town’s name originated from “Ilu Aro,” meaning Aro settlement. This settlement was strategically located on Igbo Aje, a small hill, allowing Aro and his warriors to spot potential threats, particularly slave traders from neighbouring Dahomey (now Benin Republic).

Oronna & His Amotekun-A Forward – Independent Newspaper Nigeria

The legend of Orona and his leopard is a fascinating piece of the town’s history. When Orona grew old and wanted to demonstrate his powers, he disappeared into the ground with his leopard, creating the Orona Shrine. This location serves as the site for the coronation of new traditional rulers and a place of historical interest.

During the Nigerian Civil War, Ilaro played a crucial role as the headquarters of Egbado land and produced brave warriors like Major General Olurin, Brigadier General Samuel Adegoriola Oniyide, Major Onifade, and Major Ibikunle Armstrong.

The town not only made a warrior name for itself, but it is highly respected for its contribution to literature. With a notable figure like Prof. Afolabi Olabimitan, a Yoruba literature guru and politician, his works, such as “Kekere Ekun” and “Ta lo p’omo Oba?” are celebrated.

Ilaro’s sons and daughters have made their mark worldwide, residing in Europe, the United States, Asia, various islands, and African countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Libya, Senegal, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and Benin Republic.

The town’s sense of community is reflected in its numerous compounds and communities, each associated with its indigenous people. Examples include Iga Ekerin, Iga Badagunro, Iga Babaolu, Iga Saatun, and more.

The town has a deep connection with European missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, with notable visitors like Lord Lugard and Mary Slessor. The town is famous for originating the “Bolojo” and “Gelede” dances, often using songs known as “EFE” to address societal issues.

The Oro Festival: Where do we draw the line? - Ikorodu News

People of the town celebrate various festivals, including the Egungun Masquerade Festival, Oro Festival, Ogun Festival, Sango Festival, Elegbara, Alamuwa, Iya Ala, Igbala, and Igunuko festivals. The Orona Ilaro Festival stands out, featuring cultural displays, a beauty pageant, football matches, and more.

The scenic beauty of the town includes rivers like Odo Ela, Odo Ogburu, Odo Yewa, and Odo Oniru, which not only nourish fertile farmlands but also provide drinking water for the town. Their farmlands are located in various areas such as Oke Ela, Igbo Igbin, and Gbokoto.

A visit to this elegant town is not complete without savouring “Idobesi Apara” and “Oso”. The town’s warm hospitality is symbolized by sharing kola and bitter kola during occasions like Ogun worship and child-naming ceremonies.

You will find a diverse religious landscape with both mosques and churches, including training centres for Muslim missions like Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission and Nawar-ud-deen Missions in this town. Missionaries played a vital role in introducing religion and Western education to the Yewa Land people.

Neighbouring towns like Ajilete, Oke-Odan, Owode, and others add to the cultural tapestry of this fascinating town, making it a place of rich history and vibrant traditions.

Make sure you explore this town on your vacation or weekend getaway days.


5 Inspirational Proverbs For the Week



Yoruba proverbs

Inspirational proverbs have long served as a treasure trove of wisdom, offering insights into human nature, culture, and life’s complexities in Nigerian culture.

Each week, we go deeper into the rich accumulation of proverbs, selecting five that encapsulate timeless truths and valuable lessons. Today, we delve into Nigerian proverbs from the Yoruba tribe, bringing you deep words with insightful meanings from this rich tribe.

Inspirational  proverbs

Join us at on this journey as we explore the profound wisdom encapsulated in the following Yoruba proverbs.

The 5 inspirational proverbs for the week are:

1. “Ise l’ogun ise.”

This proverb translates to “Work is the antidote for poverty”. It underscores the importance of hard work and diligence as the most effective means to escape poverty and achieve success in life.

2. “Bi a ba nja omo loyun, o maa nja eniyan.”

This proverb can be interpreted as “If you want to curse a child, you are also cursing the adult.” It emphasizes the interconnectedness of society and warns against causing harm to others, as it may eventually affect everyone.

3. “Oju to ba ri, ola to da.”

This proverb means “The eye that sees, the wealth that accompanies.” It explains the idea that knowledge and awareness lead to prosperity and success. If you must prosper, you must know.

4. “Ibi ti a ti de oke ooye, a o ma de ibi ti a ti de oke Iroko.”

This proverb translates “Where we’ve reached a significant height, we will reach the height of the Iroko tree.” It encourages perseverance and suggests that if you have achieved something substantial, you can achieve even greater things.

5. “Ojo ti mo ti de oke okun, ojo ti mo ti de oke oru, mo oye mo eyeo.”

This Yoruba proverb means “The day I crossed a large river, the day I crossed a dark forest, I knew how to swim and climb trees.” It signifies the importance of adapting and being resourceful in overcoming challenges and gaining valuable life skills.

Nigerian proverbs

Yoruba proverbs are known for their deep wisdom and insights into various aspects of life, and these examples provide a glimpse into the cultural richness and wisdom of the Yoruba people.

The Yoruba tribe is not just unique in their tribe and language, they also have a lot more other things that make them special and outstanding which include:

  • Their greeting
  • The way they show respect and hierarchy
  • Their craftsmanship
  • Their ability to create large city groups instead of small village groups
  • Their life of communism
  • Many cultural traditions like the naming of a newly born child, marriage customs, religious customs, etc.

The Yoruba people indeed have a very outstanding culture to boast of.

If you like more articles on arts and culture, and proverbs, check here.

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Africa’s Past Recreated By Nigerian Artist, Samson Bakare



Africa’s history has been marked by a series of challenging and dark trials, including slavery, world wars, colonization, civil wars, xenophobia, and more. However, amidst these times, Samson Bakare, a talented Nigerian artist, sculptor, and painter, possessed the remarkable ability to see beyond the obstacles.

In his latest exhibition titled “Let This Be a Sign”, Bakare did not dwell on the insufferable hardships of Africa’s past but instead celebrated black life and Pan-Africanism.

Samson Bakare Let This Be A Sign Exhibition | Hypebae

Rather than focusing on the struggles that occurred during Africa’s history, Bakare’s art took a unique path, his artwork adopted a different approach by placing the African historical narrative in a context of freedom and equality. He departed from the conventional portrayal of Africa’s past as victims of Western history and instead depicted sensitive scenes of black individuals savouring moments of privilege, power, equality, and peace. Through his art, Bakare provided a fresh perspective on Africa’s history.

Samson Bakare Let This Be A Sign Exhibition | Hypebae

Bakare’s impact extends beyond reshaping Africa’s history through art; he also offered a glimpse into the society many had long wished for in the past, one free from the harshness of reality. His focus was on showcasing black people relishing their freedom, peace, and rights rather than emphasizing their historical victimization. Bakare describes his paintings as time machines, transporting viewers to a past where the African society they yearned for might have existed.

Samson Bakare Let This Be A Sign Exhibition | Hypebae

Earlier this year, Bakare showcased his art at an exhibition hosted at the Dorothy Circus Art Gallery in London, where his unique vision and creative approach to reimagining Africa’s history left a lasting impression.

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Banyankole Tribe: Where Bride’s Aunt Sleeps With Groom To Test His Skills



Banyankole Tribe: Where Bride's Aunt Sleeps With The Groom To Test His Libido |

The Banyankole are a large tribe located in the western districts of South Sudan. They are known for their traditions and culture, one of which is the desire for a perfect marriage. This desire is taken to the extreme, with some families going to great lengths as to let the bride’s aunt sleep with the groom just to test-run his bedroom skills.

This tribe, also known as the Ankole people, esteem the significance of virginity. In their culture, a young woman is expected to remain sexually pure. In return, a potential groom must also have exceptional prowess in the bedroom to ensure full satisfaction of the bride. Such responsibility to determine the sexual prowess of the groom falls on the bride’s knowledgeable aunt.

This duty is entrusted to the aunt from an early age, typically when a young girl reaches the tender age of eight. With great care and diligence, the aunt begins the grooming process, preparing the young girl for her future marriage.

It is believed that once the girl develops her womanly curves, she is to remain chaste until the significant occasion of her wedding night. Failure to adhere to this strict decree can result in severe social exclusion, and in some cases, the ultimate penalty – death.

Beauty too, holds an important role within this tribe. The Banyankole tribe perceived being soft, curved, and sexually attractive as a sign of allure, causing young girls to be hidden indoors. There, they are pampered with sumptuous feasts comprising beef, millet porridge, and large amounts of milk. This is done with the intent of enriching their fatness to match the tribe’s ideas of attractiveness.

The aunt’s responsibilities extend far beyond just guardianship. The aunt is also obligated with the duty of both finding out the groom’s sexual prowess and educating the bride-to-be on her future husband’s sexual capabilities. The aunt skillfully measures the groom’s sexual prowess by having sex with him, ensuring the groom possesses the necessary skills to satisfy his wife’s desires.

This act comes before the groom is allowed to wed his wife. The groom pays the bride’s family, and then there are celebrations and a feast. After the feast, the couple then consummate their marriage with the bride’s aunt present as a witness to help the couple improve their sex life.

This tradition shows the importance of virtue and family values in the Banyankole tribe. The Banyankole people have a rich history that combines love, desire, and tradition. It is a fascinating journey for the aunt, bride, and groom in this Ugandan tribe.

While this ancient tradition may perplex and amaze those unfamiliar with its customs, it reveals the importance accorded to virtue within the Banyankole tribe. The depths of their commitment to upholding and cherishing the purity of their womenfolk underscore the significance they place on the union of two souls.

With the uniqueness of this tribe, you would ask:

Where is Banyankole tribe?

The Banyankole tribe are the second largest ethnic group in Uganda, after the Baganda, the strongest tribe. The tribe are predominantly found in the western part of Uganda, in the districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, and Ntungamo. 

What is the origin of Banyankole tribe?

The tribe originated from the combination of two main ethnic groups: the Bairu and the Bahima, with Bairu as the majority group who are Bantu agriculturists, and Bahima as the minority group who are Nilotic pastoralists. The Bairu is believed to have arrived in Ankole long before the Bahima.

The Bairu and the Bahima have a long history of interaction and conflict. The Bahima were traditionally the dominant group, and they ruled the Bairu as serfs. However, the Bairu have become increasingly assertive in recent years, and they are now playing a more equal role in Ankole society.

Despite their differences, the Bairu and the Bahima are united by their common identity as Banyankole. They share a common language, Runyankole, and they have a common history and culture. The Bairu and the Bahima are working together to build a better future for their people.

What are Banyankole known for?

The Banyankole people were known for their long-horned cattle. This breed is a type of humped cattle found in Africa. They are known for their long, curved horns, which can grow up to 6 feet long. The Mugabe, or king, was an absolute ruler and claimed all the cattle in the kingdom as a way to assert his power and authority.

The Banyankole cattle are an important part of their economy. They were used for milk, meat, and hides. They were also used as a form of currency and as a way to display wealth and status.

What is the religion of the Banyankole tribe?

Christianity is the dominant religion among the Banyankole tribe, with over 80% of the population identifying as Christian. The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Uganda are the two largest Christian denominations among the Banyankole.

Prior to the arrival of Christianity, the Banyankole were animists, who believed in a variety of spirits and gods. They also practised traditional rituals and ceremonies. However, Christianity began to spread among the Banyankole in the 19th century, and it has since become the dominant religion.

Regardless of the Christianity that came to them, there are still some elements of the traditional Banyankole religion that persist, even among Christians. For example, many Banyankole still believe in the power of traditional healers and diviners.

Despite all, Christianity has had a positive impact on Banyankole culture. It has helped to promote education, development, and social harmony.

Who is the god of Banyankole?

Ruhanga is the supreme god in the traditional Banyankole religion. He is believed to be the creator of the world and all living things. Ruhanga is also believed to be a benevolent god who watches over his people and protects them from harm.

The Banyankole believed that Ruhanga could be communicated with through prayer and sacrifice. They also believed that Ruhanga could punish those who disobeyed him.

The Christian missionary movement in the 19th century had a significant impact on the Banyankole religion. Many Banyankole converted to Christianity, and the traditional religion began to decline. However, some traditional acts still remain.

If you like more posts on indigenous African arts and culture, check out our “Arts and Culture” page here.

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