» HISTORY OF YAGBA PEOPLE
HISTORY OF YAGBA PEOPLE
The Yagbas are a major group in Okunland in terms of population, land size and in the number of local government areas. They have three local government areas. These are Yagba East, Yagba West and Mopamuro LGA, formerly northeast Yagba) with headquarter at Makutu Isanlu, ODO Ere and Mopa respectively.
The other local governments where the Yagbas make up a good part of the population are Ikole and Oye LGA,s. Aiyede in Oye, Ipao, Irele, Oke Ako, Itapaji and Iyemero in Ikole LGA of Ekiti State are all Yagba Towns. These towns could have made up a south west Yagba LGA if merged with Koro and Eruku in Kwara State, as the people are in all respects, Yagba.
The Major towns in Yagba are Aiyede, Irele, Ogbe, Egbe, Isanlu, Mopa, Ife Olukotun, Ejuku, Ponyan, Ipao, Effo-Amuro, Awoyo, Ilae, ODO Ere, while the earlier settlements are Akata-Ere, Awoyo and Ilai respectively. Altogether, there are about 75 towns, villages and hamlets in Yagbaland, all Yoruba speaking from Ile Ife and the old Oyo.
Samuel Johnson (1921) in his history of Yoruba remarks the Yagbas are the most north easternly tribes of Yoruba, they are distinguished by three long tribal marks on each cheek far behind, converging to a point at the angle of the mouth.
The tribal marks can only be seen among very old people now as it is no longer the vogue. There is only one stroke difference in the tribal marks between the East and the Western Yagba people.
The Assistant District Officer (ADO) in charge of Lafiagi Division in his report titled " The Separatist Movement in Yagba District of Pâtégi Emirate and dated 1/6/32
" The Yagba appear to be an offshoot of the Yoruba tribe speaking a dialect of the Yoruba tongue. Formerly they consisted of a number of units independent of each other and recognising no central authority. They suffered severely from Nupe and Yoruba raids and had it not been for the British occupation, they would probably have disappeared as a separate race. A century ago, this unprepossessing and much harried remnants comprised eleven units of which Ipao, Irele, Oke Ako, and Itapaji were annexed by Aiyede, while Ere, Okeri, okoloke, isanlu Esa, Okunran Egbe, Ile Ife, Ejuku, Mopa and Isanlu were tributary to Bida.
Subsequently, Ere and Okeri were given to Ilorin and remained under the influence of Ilorin fief-holders until 1909 when they were made independent and became, like Egbe, part of Pâtégi Division. By this time, Ife, Ejuku, Mopa, and Isanlu had been incorporated in Kabba province as independent units while Ipao, Irele, Oke Ako and Itapaji remained under Aiyede in the southern province.
Harold Courtlander (1973) in his tales of Yoruba Gods and Heroes says: Iyagba (Yagba ) was a Yoruba site on Niger River near its confluence with the Benue River. An account of Iyagba origin says that in an ancient days a certain regional chief (whose name is not remembered) had a dispute with his Oba and was forced to exile. He reached the Niger and settled there with his family. After he died, his wife made her living by selling cooked food for those who travelled up and down the river.
She came to be known, not by her name but as Iyagba; the old woman and the site itself was referred to as Iyagba. The term also designates a Yoruba sub group and the region it occupies in proximity presumably to the place where the fleeing chief and his wife settled
THE YAGBA EKITIs
These are the people in the south west Yagba towns of Irele, Oke Ako, Itapaji, Ipao, Iye, and Aiyede.
The Assistant District Officer (ADO) in charge of Lafiagi Division in his report titled " The Separatist Movement in Yagba District of Pâtégi Emirate and dated 1/6/32 , placed this group of Yagba of the so called Ekiti kingdom under Aiyede.
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