It’s common knowledge that Ogun State in the south-west geopolitical zone of Nigeria is a homeland of people of the Yoruba ethnic group. The Yoruba constitute a very significant percentage of the state’s over 3 million-strong population.
Yoruba people of Ogun State include groups such as the Egba, the Ijebu, and the Ikale. Other tribes in Ogun State include the Awori, the Ilaje, and the Yewa.
Most of these groups speak distinct languages or rather distinct dialects of the same language. These ethnicities of Ogun State also have varying history and accounts of origin, varying cultural norms and traditions, and of course live in different regions of Ogun State.
Below we take a look at the different tribes in Ogun State, where these tribes are found in Ogun State, brief essays on their accounts of origin, and their population estimates.
The Egba are found majorly in the central part of Ogun State in local government areas such as Abeokuta North, Abeokuta South, Ewekoro, Ifo, and Obafemi Owode.
The Egba were originally under the Oyo empire, but became independent following the collapse of Oyo in the first half of the 19th century.
The Egba nation is made up of many subdivisions. These subdivisions include the Ake, the Owu, Oke Ona, and Gbagura, each having its own king.
Famous figures from the Egba clan include former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and Afro-beat legend, Fela Ransome Kuti.
The Alake of Egbaland is the most influential traditional ruler of the Egba, however, as mentioned earlier, each of the subdivisions of the Egbas has its own king.
The Ijebu claim to be the largest ethnic group in not only Ogun State or the South-west geopolitical zone but the entire country. They are spread across various divisions in the eastern part of Ogun State. These divisions include Ijebu Ode, Ijebu Igbo, Ijebu Ife, Ijebu Ososa and Ijebu Remo.
Migration legend link the Ijebu origin to the biblical Jebusites and Noah. Other migration legends trace the Ijebu people to Mecca where Oduduwa, the legendary ancestor of the Yoruba was said to be the son of King Lamurudu. According to the legend, Oduduwa was expelled from Mecca when he resorted to idolatry.
However, the migration theory that the Ijebu came to their present location from a region of Sudan called Owodaiye is preferred by historians.
Ijebu Ode is the capital of Ijebu land, and the Awujale of Ijebuland is the paramount ruler of the Ijebu people.
The Awori tribe are most famous as one of the indigenous tribes of Lagos State. They are however also found in Ota, Igbesa, Ilobi, and Tigbo towns mostly in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State.
Legend has it that the Aworis migrated from Ile-Ife following the lead of a plate to settle in their present location in Lagos and Ogun States.
The Aworis speak a distinct language, considered to be a dialect of the Yoruba language.
Majority of Aworis combine traditional religious practices with either Christianity or the Islamic religion.
The Ilaje of Ogun State are found in Ogun Waterside local government area.
The Ilaje are said to have left Ile-Ife in the 10th century following a disagreement with the Yorubas led by Oduduwa, the first king of Ile-Ife.
The Ilaje occupy the longest coastline in Nigeria. Their knowledge of the sea and ability to adapt quickly to changing climatic condition enabled them to conquer their harsh environment and turn it into a big advantage.
The Ilaje speak the Ilaje language, which is considered albeit controversially in some corners to be a dialect of the Yoruba language.
The Ikale are found primarily in Okitipupa local government area of Ondo State, however they also contribute a significant percentage of the population of Ogun Waterside local government area of Ogun State.
The Ikale trace their origin to ancient Benin Kingdom.
The Abodi of Ikale land is the paramount ruler of all Ikale people.
The Ikale speak the Ikale language, which is regarded by many as a dialect of the Yoruba language.
The Yewa, formerly known as the Egbado are one of the largest groups in Ogun State. They are found in Yewa South, Yewa North, Imeko Afon, and Ipokia local government areas, and also in some communities in Ado-Odo/Ota and Abeokuta North local government areas.
According to history, early Yewa settlers were great warriors, hunters and princes who were said to have migrated from Ketu, Ile-Ife, and Oyo in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Another migration also took place in the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of Dahomey and Egba invasions of some northern Yewa towns. These migrations of different groups largely resulted in settlements of independent kingdoms and chiefdoms of diverse groups that constitute the various Yewa towns and villages.
Yewa people in recent history are predominantly farmers and traders.
There is no single Yewa language. Yewa land is a multi-language community. These languages include the Sabe, the Ije, the Ifonyin, Eyo, Egbado, Ketu, Anago, and Egun.
The Olu of Ilaro is the paramount ruler of the Yewa people.
There are over a million Yewa in Ogun State.