The details of Ado Ekiti Origin
When the several children of Oduduwa were leaving Ile-Ife to found their own territories, the Oba Ado, or Elewi as he was called then was not left out of the Princely adventure. Ancient Yoruba history tells us that the Oba of Benin and Oba Ado (Ewi) were brothers born of the same mother to Oduduwa. The two of them were reported to have left Ile-Ife for a place known today as Benin City and its vicinity to settle. But the Ewi and his people pitched their camp at a place called ORUNMODI meaning 'God-fortified round wall.' The place was said to have been a fairly level ground surrounded by low hills and was situated near the present Benin City. Once settled, the smooth cordiality that existed between the two brothers began to turn sour. Frequent clashes and bloody encounters featured prominently between the people of both brothers. When the situation became intolerable, the Ewi summoned courage and led his people out of Orunmodi and Journeyed with them towards the northwest direction in search of a fertile land where to settle. Legend has it that Ewi and his people wandered for a long time before the came to settle at the present site if Ado Ekiti - a distance of 140miles from the ancient city of Benin City or Orunmodi. The first Oba Ado or Ewi is called Awamaro or Elewi. He conquered many villages, towns and hamlets during his wandering. Awamaro and his people first stopped at Oke-Papa Utamodi. Later he settled for some time respectively at Idoani and Agbado - the later being a town Ise and Ikole Ekiti. Because they were fed up with the constant movement of the Elewi, the elders of his people decided not to follow him any longer if the Oba's urge to resume his wandering gripped him again. And true to their anticipation, Awamaro called his people and informed them that they had to leave Agbado. The elders made their decision known to him and there was nothing he could do to make them rescind it. While he moved on the elders remains behind. That settlement was later nike-named 'Ile Agba Ado' (the homestead of Ado Elders). The elders too retained their identity as 'Agba Ado' (Elders of Ado). The town derived its name of Agbado from these two reference names, and it is still in existence at about 25miles from present Ado - Ekiti. Advancing westwards, the Elewi arrived at a hilly place. He moved to the top of one of the hills and settled his people there once more. He named the hill as Oke-Ewi (Ewi's hill) The migrants met an aboriginal race there called the Ilesun people. Their leader played the dual role of a priest and king. They could not resist the military onslaught of the invaders and so had to surrender to a superior authority of the Elewi. However, one thing is significant. The Ilesun people retained their cultural identity till today and they have to play an important traditional marketing role during the installation of an Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. On settling down finally, Awamaro named the people who accompanied him as Ado-the encampers. From this Ado-Ekiti got its name. Therefore literally, 'Ado' means 'WE SETTLE.' The word 'Ekiti' which makes it become compound refers to its hilly area earlier mentioned. In early era the town was called Ado-Ewi-Ekiti. The word Ewi is a title used to distinguish the Ado-Ekiti ruler from others bearing Ado e.g. Ado Ibenin or Ado-Odo etc.. Elewi met two other hamlets near Oke-Ewi. They were and still known as Odo Ado under the rulership of the Odofin, and the Oke-Ila under the leadership of the Alarierin. The Elewi later subdued them and brought them under his control. Hence there are three principal quarters or sectors in Ado - Ekiti. (1) Odo - Ado known as Ado (2) Ejigbo, Okesha, Igbehin, and Irona called Oke-Ewi. (3) Oke-Ila, Ora and Oke Efon called Ogbon-Meta. Distinct among them all is the Aafin which includes the Oba's palace, the Ewi's compound, the Oba's market and the Native Court Hall area. At first, the Ewi was the absolute ruler or sole authority of his people. Although he sought advice from his Chiefs and Village Baales, he was such a demi god that whatever the Ewi said on earth was accepted without challenge by the heavenly bodies and angels of God, as the people believed. He allowed his senior chiefs some autonomous powers to rule his villages but such chiefs held their offices at the pleasure and mercy of the Ewi. The town's police, Efa, are under the command of the Barafon and the other war chiefs. Chief Odogun is the war Minister. The hunters' organization serves as the Ministry of Information as they have access to the night and day to know what's going on in and around the town and villages. The town's people hold their meetings in the open market place, and pass on their message through a leader normally recognized as the Efa while the Efa pass it on to the Elegbe. The Elegbe have a high chief in each of the sectors of Ado: (a) Oke Ewi (b) Odo Ado and (3) Ogbon Meta. The high chiefs carry the message of the Elegbe war chiefs to the Executive meeting of the chiefs and or to the Ewi. The decision of the Ewi is handed down in the reverse order. The villages are assigned various assignments and duties in the running of the 'state'. During festivals, some have to provide all the kolanuts, others the lighting materials, others still, the palm wine, the yams, the meat etc. These they do annually, though each had to report to a certain high chief in Ado-Ekiti who would pilot him and his men to Aafin (Palace). The Ejigbo who is the traditional' 'Chamberlain' saw to the settlement of any matter and all quarrels or disputes in the Aafin, etc between any Eyelori, Omode Owa and or both. There are five groups of high Chiefs in Ado Ekiti. They are:- From OKE EWI: (1) THE ELERI MARUN GROUP OF CHIEFS (5) (II) THE AARE GROUP OF CHIEFS (4) From OGBON META (I) OLORI OGBON META (3) (II) THE ELESI IJEGBE GROUP OF CHIEFS (15) From ADO (ODO ADO) (I) THE ELUMO GROUP OF CHIEFS (16) The five groups are independent of themselves except that they have an order of precedence among themselves. The most peculiar of the setup is the Eleri Marun (Five Heads) among whom no one is higher in rank than the other. But in the Elemo group, the sixteen are arranged in a special order of precedence. Apart from these five groups there are the Elegbe Chiefs with Barafon as the most senior. They are found in the three sectors of the town. There are the Ijoye (Ewi's Chiefs) who are regarded as juniors or minor chiefs under the high chiefs. Some of them have quarters over which they are chiefs. There used to be (and is still) an inner circle of chiefs about seven in number which might be called the top highest body that sits with the Ewi in taking final decisions on vital matters. The junior/minor chiefs supervise all duties given to the war chiefs, Efa and the Origbo's and ordinary citizens who are normally organized on age group basis for specific manual work like making or building of roads or bridges etc. Festivals: These include - Orisa Ojido and Alaponmi, Oitado and Alafonyos. The Aworo (Oitado Priest) is the only authorized person to "FLOG" the Ewi and some high chiefs during festivals. Other notable festivals are: UDIROKO, ADE, AEREGBE, ORUDE, EPA, ODEDE, OGUN. During the Oitado festival and two calendar months that follow there is the traditional annual wrestling - ijakadi. This is a very important annual festival. It takes place during the day, on the first three days of OITADO an in the moonlight for the remaining period. Wrestlers move in groups from one quarter of the town to the other beating drums and singing challenging traditional songs before the wrestling. After the wrestling, the rest of the night is spent singing and dancing round the town sometimes till daybreak. The songs after the wrestling are directed against evil doers or to warn some mischieve makers however highly placed. No one really knows who begins the song because such a person (who can be anyone) normal stoops very low in the center of the large crowd in the moonlight to raise the song. The others who don't care to know who raised the song just join him and all the crowd take it over. "IJAKADI ALE" and the song exert a lot of moral restraint on the people in the town because everyone is conscious of the fact that his/her action is watched and would be mentioned during the traditional wrestling period. Udiroko: The Udiroko festival is the only festival apart from Ogun or Oitado according to Ado-Ekiti tradition that brings all Ado-Ekiti citizens both at home and in the diaspora together. It was established around 1310 AD during the reign of Oba Awamaro, the first Ewi of present day Ado-Ekiti and marks the first day of the year for the town’s inhabitants. It is a day people set aside to give thanks for their creator. The name udiroko is derived from the venue of the festival, which is beneath the big Uroko (Iroko) tree at the Ewi’s palace. Udiroko like the Israelite's Pentecostal day is the traditional ADO Day or first day of ADO year. It has nothing to do with idols. On the Udiroko day, Thousands of Ado people at home and abroad come home: (1) to rejoice for knowing the end of another year; (2) to see or know the Ewi; (3) to hear the report of the past year and the resolution or advice for the new one. It is a very big day of merry-making for all ADO. They put on their best and eat and drink plenty. In the evening, all of them assemble in the AAFIN where the Oba's throne is set in the open - IGBAMOTE, the OMODE-OWAS (Ewi's servants) carrying all types of beaded crowns around the throne. Men and women are seated or are standing in the open court. They are later joined by the war chiefs - Elegbe in their traditional war dresses followed by their drummers and trumpeters. These groups are followed into the 'IGBAMOTE' by the OLORI - the Oba's wives led by the most senior (usually one of the wives of the late Ewi). All the high chiefs and the junior ones are then seated to the right and left of the Oba's throne. Finally, the Ewi comes out richly dressed in his best and most up-to-date traditional robe and crown. All the people rise up and shout "Kabiyesi" Iku, Ekun, etc. After the Ewi had taken his seat, the high chiefs come forward to pay homage in the following order. 1. The Oke Ewi Chiefs led by (a) the Odogun of ELERI MARUN on the one hand and (b) The Ologunsikin leading the ELESI group on the other hand. The junior chiefs including the Ijoye Ewi join them to salute the Ewi the traditional way. 2. The Odo Ado Chiefs led again by (a) The Odofin leading the other 3 AARE (b) The Oisa leading the 15 other Elumo and (c) The Alarierin leading the Olori Ogbon meta from Oke-Ila. Normally, the war chiefs from each sector pay homage after the chiefs from their own sectors. But on this occasion, the war chiefs come in their traditional regalia and they pay homage as warriors. This they do one after the other after the Eyelori would have paid homage to the Ewi. Thus the Eyelori follow the chiefs and the Elegbe follow the Eyelori. The Barafon or the eldest Elegbe normally dances last. After that, the Ewi makes the annual "speech from the throne", and the ceremonies come to an end for the day. Everyone returns home to continue the celebrations - eating and drinking. The following day, the chiefs, the Elegbe, the town's people all once again assemble at the inner chambers of the AAFIN - " OWA-UA" "THE ASSEMBLY COURT" to meet the Ewi there. One of the Elegbe delivers the annual speech or message from the town's people. Usually a critical review of the administration of the town in the past year including suggestions for better administration in the new year. On this occasion the chiefs are lavishly entertained with food and drinks by Ewi.