A Project to Archive the Oral Literature of the Yorùbá People of West Africa


This field work research was funded by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research. The research comes in two phases; 1 & 2 respectively between 2017 and 2018.


Yorùbáland is endowed with quite a number of oral literary genres, validating her rich cultural diversity and resources. Nonetheless these numerous cultural literatures have not been properly harnessed and as a result, Yorùbáland is fast losing her cultural heritage or history to cultural colonization and westernization. The culture of the Yorùbá people faces the possibility of cultural usurpation by cultures that are foreign to her cosmology. This research therefore collates five of some of the Yorùbá cultural resources which can be tapped into for national and global building.

The study employed the use of field research. The researcher interviewed people who are knowledgeable about the selected oral literature. The voices were recorded on tape while some were written on paper; one is a short video clip.

Storytellers, chanters, priests and masqueraders in Lagos, Ọ̀yọ́, Èkìtì and Ọ̀un States respectively were consulted for data collection. Research findings indicate that the Yorùbá oral literary as a cultural heritage has potentials to contribute to nation building, especially through education. The study therefore, recommends that the government, cultural enthusiasts and history/anthropological organizations should ensure that our cultural heritage is preserved in order to attract foreign investment, thus enhancing nation building and SDGs.

The archived oral literature includes; àlọ́, iwì egúngún, odIfá, ọfọ̀, oríkì and ὸwe.



Àlọ́ is the general term for folktales. Àlọ́ is either straight tales without song, or tales with songs. Àlọ́-àpagbè is folktale with sing along songs (tales of chorusing). They are designed to teach a particular life lesson to the listener, from morals to obedience and more.

The story teller takes the lead, while the audience takes the chorus. Àlọ́-àpamọ̀, which literary meaning is “tales to spot the meaning/answer”, is a question (riddles) and answer kind of tales that task the intelligent quotient of the respondent. Àlọ́-àpamọ̀ is designed to task the I.Q of children, and it also makes one a critical thinker to provide answers to puzzling questions. There are 5 five àlọ́-àpagbè and 7 àlọ́-àpamọ̀.


Listen to the audio: Àlọ́ Ọkọ Iwin (Fairy Husband tale)


Fairy girl: Take the pot and keep the money

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: Go back to your house

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: You can’t follow me to where I come from

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

This story is about a woman who married a fairy husband but she did not know for a long time. They had seven children. After the death of the spirit husband, the children followed suit dying one after the other, until it remains the last child.

When she was delivered of the last child, the mother bought a cup which is used to prepare cereal to feed the child. She loves her last child more than any other thing. When she was sick, she brings out the cup and prays that she will not die because this is the cup she used in bringing her up. But unfortunately, she joined the others in the fairy world.

The mother was saddened by the death of the child; she insisted that the cup is buried with the corpse. On knowing to the mother, it is the fairy husband that is killing the children in order for them to work for him in the fairy world.

Usually, fairies take on the physical human body and they visit the world to sell and buy in the market. The children work for their father on the farm and come to sell the farm produce in the market. Whenever they visit the market, the last child always sees her gloomy mother who has been living sad ever since her death. She thought of a way to make her mother happy.

One market day, a friend of the last child from the fairy world wanted to visit the worldly market to sell, she sent her to take the cup which she was buried with to the market to sell and give the money to her mother. But she warned her friend to hide the cup, from her mother not to see.

Along the way to the market, the fairy friend borrowed parts of the body at certain rivers.

On that market day, the mother also brought some clay pots to the market to sell. At the market, the fairy covered her wares with a cloth in the calabash and went about to buy stuffs. She also bought a clay pot from the sad mother.

The mother was on her way to her house when she saw the cup similar to the one she used for her late child. She was interested in buying the cup, but the friend insisted that the cup is not meant to be sold, all she can do is to return her pot but she can keep the money and buy another cup elsewhere.

The mother insisted that she must know where this cup came from, they argued till evening when the market people have dispersed leaving the two alone in the market. The fairy girl took her wares to embark on the journey back to her home, and lo, the mother followed her. As the fairy girl noticed she is being trailed, she sang:

Fairy girl: Take the pot and keep the money

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: Go back to your house

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: You can’t follow me to where I come from

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀


They got to the first river where she will return the arm, the spirit girl told the sad mother to return home, but she turned deaf ears. She sang again:

Fairy girl: Take the pot and keep the money

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: Go back to your house

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

Fairy girl: You can’t follow me to where I come from

Chorus: Angberin sẹ̀kúẹ̀pẹ̀

She got to the other rivers where she will drop the other parts of the body. She sang again, still the sad mother didn’t heed to the girl’s advice. She kept on following her. In the end, they arrived at the fairy world. The girl told the sad mother what transpired before she visited the market, she planned with her to stand at the back of the door to eavesdrop to their conversation.

Arriving at the house of the fairies, she stood behind the door to listen to the conversation of the girls. The friends talked about the experience in the worldly market, how the mother insisted on coming with her to their world all because she wants to know where the cup came from. As they were talking, the fairy husband heard the conversation and retorted “you should have let her come, let me show her the leftover of the suffering she saw on earth!”

The friend whispered to the daughter of the mother that she brought her mother; she is hiding behind the door. That was how the mother was escorted to the boundary of the human world, and she went back home. The story teaches us to know who we want to marry before marriage so as not to marry a wrong person.



Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Hunter: Don’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: why say I shouldn’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Hunter: Are you not the one who killed my father! 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: If you come in contact with the one who killed your father, you will flee! 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: If you see the one who killed your father (2ce)

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: There’s a calabash on its head 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: There are wares on its head 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Hunter: Don’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: why say I shouldn’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

There once lived a very fierce hunter who goes into the wild to hunt for games, like buffalo, elephants and so on. The hunter’s wife did not give birth to a child. The hunter was so famous that even the animals in the wild are scared of him. 

There is a stream where all animals come to have a drink of water during the day. At this place, the great hunter lurks around to hunt down animals.

Among the animals in the wild was a terrific beast with all sorts of wares on its head. Every other animal is terrified of this beast. 

So one day, the great hunter went deep in the forest as usual to hunt. But before he left, his wife has taken in. Unfortunately for the hunter, he didn’t return home, he was killed by the terrible beast and his corpse was nowhere to be found. The villagers searched for him and couldn’t find him.

Later on, the wife gave birth to a boy. He grew up and took up hunting like his father. He started to hunt with his father’s gun in nearby bushes to train himself before he ventures into the forest.

He asked his mother what killed his father. He was told that a very terrific beast killed him a long time ago. The young chap decided to avenge the death of his father by killing the beast, however, he didn’t tell anyone. 

When the boy was man enough to go into the forest, he trekked far into the wild on a hot afternoon. On getting to the stream where the animals come to drink, he hid himself where he could not be seen. Small animals came to drink one after the other, and they left. Afterwards, the mighty animals followed to have a drink. 

On sighting the big animals, the boy will sing asking the animals if they are the ones who killed his father, and the animals respond describing the killer:

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Hunter: Don’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: why say I shouldn’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Hunter: Are you not the one who killed my father! 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: If you come in contact with the one who killed your father, you will flee! 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: If you see the one who killed your father (2ce)

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: There’s a calabash on its head 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: There are wares for sale on its head 

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Hunter: Don’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml

Beast: why say I shouldn’t drink the water

Chorus: osiml osiml osiml


All animals that came responded that they are not murderer of his father. The hunter boy waited so long but no other animal came.

At last, the hunter sighted the terrific beast approaching the stream. As it approached the stream, the earth tremors, noise of people calling to their wares filled the forest. The boy became frightened but he made his heart strong. As the beast was about to drink, the boy sang to confront the beast:

Hunter: Don’t drink the water

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Beast: why say I shouldn’t drink the water

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Hunter: Are you not the one who killed my father! 

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Beast: If you come in contact with the one who killed your father, you will flee! 

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Beast: If you see the one who killed your father (2ce)

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Beast: I am the one who killed your father

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Beast: Anyone who sees me must die 

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

Hunter: For setting eyes on me, you are dead

Chorus: osimle osimle osimle

The boy was full of anger to avenge the death of his father. He shot for the first time, but the beast didn’t die. He shot again, but the beast didn’t die, it was the seventh shot in the head that killed the terrific beast. All the wares on its head fell off and were set free. The story teaches us to be dedicated and courageous.


Ẹ̀ṣà/ iwì Egúngún

The Yorùbá egúngún (masquerade) speaks in a guttural voice pattern and every masquerader has a unique tone and trait that distinguishes it from the others. Ẹ̀ṣà egúngún; masquerade chant, also known as ẹ̀ṣà-pípè or iwì is the poetry/chanting of masquerades. Masquerades are theatric performers. They entertain the audience with their chants, songs, dance and acrobatic displays. As visitors from heaven, they pray for the living. Gift of money and kinds are given to the performers for their spectacular display.

There are 3 chants in this project. One is the Lagos State’s Ẹ̀yọ̀ Òrìṣà chant, otherwise called Arò Ẹ̀yọ̀, a video of Erin, a child masquerade in Ìsl of Lagos and a chant by four Ọ̀yọ́ masqueraders; Egúngún Apènà, who usually perform together.

Ẹ̀ṣà egúngún; ẹ̀ṣà-pípè or iwì encompasses stories of time past. The chants of masquerades talks about events that took place in ancient times about a community, a person or group of people. Above all, it utilizes the body of wisdom known as òwe (proverbs), oríkì (panegyrics) and orin (songs).

Another chant recorded is that of the Ẹ̀yọ̀ Òrìṣà masquerade. The chanter praises his ancestor; lọ́fin of the Akẹ̀sán people (descendants of the Àwó tribe) who are the first settlers of Èkó (Lagos). The chant also brings to light the belief that palm fronds are spiritual/holy objects. On the other hand, the elders’ sect Ògbó/Ògbóni is also mentioned to show the extent of the might of the cult in Yorùbáland.



I ward off death – intimate,

I ward off sickness – intimate,

I ward off ill luck,

This one will live old,

This one will live long,

May your hands be clean;

May your legs be clean;

May you be clean like the palm frond;

The ear is intimate to the head,

Intimate is the way the potter makes pot,

The eye can’t break the stick in the distance,

The squirrel belongs to the bush,

Groundnut is a shrub,

Who dare challenge the child of Olúkeresì,

The owner of the land,

Both the initiate and non-initiates,

Dazzle bright and bright,

In the gathering of the Òṣùgbó cult,

If that of the initiate succeeds,

The non-initiates’ falls,

I, the child of Táíwó the wealthy,

The child of lọ́fin

Child of Màyákì,

The child of him who saves the frightened,

From the hands of death,

I, the son of Oṣùlakẹ̀sán,

Whoever collects salary from the child of Oṣùlakẹ̀sán,

Should come say in the presence of Oṣùlakẹ̀sán,

Cast Ifá for water,

Water as no enemy.



The second chant shows the prayer of a masquerade. The child masquerade Erin, prays for the observers who give it money for his blessings. Let it be said that, masquerades are the bodies of the deceased persons, most often a man, brought back to life by his children. This child in the agọ̀ (masquerade gab) must keep the families traditional rite alive, this is why he is wearing the gab. Observe the gab, notice it is big and doesn’t fit the child, but he will grow in it.




Shackles used in chaining lunatics,

Will not be used on you,

And your children,

You will live long,

May it be well with you.


The last is a performance by four Ọ̀yọ́ masqueraders who often display as a team. They represent two masquerades; Ébigbó and Àwòdá. This performance shows the theatrical displays of masquerades. They take the chant from one another, stories are told, questions are asked and answers proffered. Various towns around Ọ̀yọ́ and its environs were mentioned in the poetry, along with their distinct oríkìs. As a key trait, the chant is signed off with a song.


Listen to the audio: Egúngún Apènà chant

Àwò thank you,

Listen to me clearly,

The gossip said the Gods should kill him;

The betrayal too cried 

That the Gods should kill him for food;

Please listen to me,

No one can tie down time,

It’s getting dark.

In the house of Apètùtù

The owner the house of the mother;

He who assist the 200 ancestors,

You will hear the rest some other time.

Now, help we go to the house of my person;

Ébigbó son of Ọ̀yọ́ mkọ;

Ìlágbùnrìn father of him; 

That drinks corn meal and blood;


— (two masquerader’s voice)



Ébigbó son of Ọ̀yọ́ mkọ;


That drinks corn meal and blood;

The ace masquerade;


The prince that knows the mysteries;

A word is what we call human;

He who wades in the waters;


Ọ̀tàràrà is the river of the town of Ọ̀bàdà;

The mighty three rivers;

One is along Mkọ;

One is along Mùjẹ̀;

The last is in the backyard of Òpé;

In the house of Fármbí;


The man with river in his backyard;


Water on the body like fishes;

The masquerades meeting place never die;

They said they should go call Òpé;

Before they came back;

The bush has grown taller;

Words that drops;

And the speaker can’t control;

Take it from us and make it a song.


……. (Single voice)

Ébigbó son of Kúl;

Talójọ̀fẹ́ indigene of Ọ̀wọ̀;

He has come;

Indigene of Ìgbólúkẹ́ town;

Prince of “Initiate Me into the Mysteries”;

The cane of the masquerade,

Sounds rmúrmù,

In the masquerades meeting place, 

Ògògó’s mother had a child;

And she gave him a cane;

Our father uses it for something;

Hope you are listening to me?

Àwòof Ìlerò;

Call it as you used to…


—-( Àwòtakes over)

Ébigbó listen attentively,

In the house of Ọ̀yọ́ mkọ


That drinks corn meal and blood;

Son of tree different rivers;

In the backyard of Òpé Láyígbadé;

One is on the path to Òmu;

One is on the path to Mùjẹ̀;

The last is in the backyard of Òpé Láyígbadé;

The place he drinks from,

It same place he urinates.

Women know the mysteries;

But must not enter the masquerades meeting place;

It is in Òpé’s backyard,

That woman may know the mysteries;

It has an origin;

It is in Òpé’s backyard,

That woman may enter the masquerades meeting place;

Before the arrival of Láyígbadé,

The path way has grown taller,


The man with river in his backyard;


The man with water in the body like cloth;

Òké didn’t do masquerade;

Eésọ́ is not an initiate;

The meeting place is incomplete;

That is why we gather;

In the backyard of Òpé

Tell me exactly the way it is…


Ébigbó son of Kúl;

Three wrapped bean cake meal (3 times);

It the custom in Àpíni town;

Six wrapped bean cake meal;

It the tradition in Àgndè town;

For me to eat two;

You to eat two;

Instead of eating the wrapped bean cake meal;

Why will the wrapped bean cake meal;

Finish in the calabash?

Children of Arkún,

Climbs on the horse on the head;

The elders will climb the buffalo from the tail;


— (two masquerader’s voice)


I took the kẹ́kẹ́ facial marks;

To Àpíni town;

I took the kẹ́kẹ́ facial marks;

To Àgndè town;

Kẹ́kẹ́ facial marks;

I took that to Ògbórí;

They bow the head to drink corn meal;

The people,

The people of Ògbórí;

They knelt to drink blood;

Your father fetches water of death to drink;


People of Ògbórí;


Listen attentively!!!

The people of Ògbórí;

Fetches the water of Itun to drink;

The people of Ògbórí;

Their father fetches water of Itun to drink;

I leave that aside.

In the house of Òdìgbó;

If an elder see me;

I won’t cry;

But if it is a child;

I will holler;

Something transpired that day.

Àwò bálògbà listen;

Today is the day;

He that we asked for a help;

Today is the day;

He that his mother was sacrificed to Yemọja;

Aruku is in the market;

Selling èkuru;

Ark is in the market;

Selling àkàrà;

What of kùrúk best of corn meal?

That one is in the market;

Selling black cotton;

The hook of the black cotton,

The meeting place of Ògògò;

The young of Ògògò can’t be sent on errand;

If two hundred non-initiates whip me;

I won’t cry;

If it is a young of Ògògò;

That whips me a cane;

I will cry aloud;


Àpíni is the most senior of the masquerades;

The senior of all;

The most experienced;

Cries in the forest of Rẹ́m,

There is someone that the Apènà killed,

That was killing people for food,

What is the name of Àpíni’s masquerade?

You people,

Listen attentively;

No Quran recitation forbids palm wine;

The Quran did not forbid raffia wine;

The preacher;

Drink palm wine or you don’t;

I am in search of wisdom not the opposite;

Àwò bálògbà 

I respect you.


Àwò of Ìlerò,

The elders know more;

We don’t know more;


Truly, I have words under my tongue;

Truly, it is the elders that can do it;

The youngsters are not capable.

You shall hear the story;

Some other time;


Help me visit one of my relative;

Visit Ìjẹ̀ṣà town;

Tẹ́nígbadé ọmọ lẹ́ní wl (praise poetry of Ìjẹ̀ṣà);

If so,

Tell me more

Àwò bálògbà listen.


Ìjẹ̀ṣà òṣèré onílẹ̀ obì (praise poetry of Ìjẹ̀ṣà);

Say it as you will say it.

(Praise poetry of Ìjẹ̀ṣà continues).

(Praise poetry of Ìjẹ̀ṣà continues).

Àwò bálògbà listen.

That is too far.

(Praise poetry of Ìjẹ̀ṣà continues).

Because in five days;

The cloth seller came to sell in Ọ̀yọ́ in those days;

The buyer says they should come back in five days;

The seller came on the fifth day for money;

They told the seller to revisit again;

In five days.

(Chorus of Ìjẹ̀ṣà song).

Note that the songs are accompanied by drum sets, but due to the fact that it’s not a festive period and the masquerades are not in their gab, drums were not rolled out for this research.



The general terminology for poetry in Yorland is ewì. Ewì is performed in chant form; it is the highlight of a potpourri of events, an experience and so on. It relates to everything from love to hatred, jealousy, wind, plants, hardship, the Supreme Being, deities, expectations, good manners/bad manners, life and many more. In ewì, the reader will find figurative expressions, maxims and proverbs, as well as borrowed languages, all necessary to drive a point home.

There are 10 ewì in this project, 3 written by the researcher, 6 is by 3 poets; while Ìrírí Àgùnbánirọ̀ is by Dámilọ́la Ìyá Yor, the researcher’s colleague.

The first poetry, Ayé lọjà is talking about man’s sojourn to earth. It highlight that the struggles of life remains on earth. It reminds the reader that we are strangers, and that earth is a market place, we all shall return home someday.

The second is titled Ẹ̀sìn ò fàjà; religious differences shouldn’t be a cause of a war. It appeals to everyone not to criticize one another due to religious differences. It says religion is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

The third ewì is about the killer of man, death (ikú), who has no friend. It kills everyone. The ewì appeals to death to take his own life instead, and leave his friend to live.

The fourth ewì, calls on the reader to have faith. It uses Ṣàngó (God of lightning and thunder), Moses and Samson as examples of people who made names with faith.

The fifth poetry Ìrírí Àgùnbánirọ̀ talks about the experience of a Nigerian Youth Service Corps member who was posted to the Eastern part of Nigeria where she has never been before. The ewì is an eye opener on the Nigerian Youth Service Corps.

Listen to the audio: Ìrírí Àgùnbánirọ̀


A city far from home,

It is far as 1000 miles.

See where my destiny led me.

See where NYSC took me.

On the day I received my Youth Service Corp letter,

I was surprised, flabbergasted.

I was short of words.

My bosom friend,

Was posted across the Niger,

Me, Àníkẹ́-Àadè 

I was posted to Eastern Nigeria.

I got here,

I witness strange things.

When I go here,

They call me “Corper!”.

When I go there,

They salute me.

Truly, I was happy.

Anyone who has worn the khaki before,

Knows the feeling.

Let me leave that aside,

Let me talk about the awful side.

Youth Corps see a lot,

They suffer a lot.

When you hear them call “Corper!”;

When you see them salute you;

You think you are on top of the world.

It’s all lies!

These people aren’t friendly,

I think when a Corp is posted to a town,

He should be pampered,

And treated with utmost respect,

Don’t let me deceive you.

Reverse is my case.

Let me start from the market,

Rice sold at 5 pounds,

Is sold at 16 pounds to Corps,

That isn’t painful.

When a Corp mount commercial bikes,

For a journey which shouldn’t be more than 200 naira,

They charge the Corps 250 naira.

Please, listen to me.

The government doesn’t pay more than 19,800 allowances.

Please, help me plea with them.

And the last thing,

Is their lack of respect for elders’.

In Yorland, 

You knee and prostrate.

It is another ball game here,

All you need do to greet is to wave.

Wave in the morning,

Wave in the afternoon,

Wave and go your way.

Let me take a break here,

There are more to talk about later.

May Almighty bring us back home.



The sixth is on good character. Yor culture is centered on good manners, Ìwà Ọmọlúwàbí. The poem eulogizes the character of good attitudes in young people.

The seventh is titled Láyé Ọyẹ́, and it narrates the experiences of the poet in harmattan season and the changes that follow.

Listen to the audio: Láyé Ọyẹ́ (In the days of harmattan)


As soon as we approach the 10th month of the year,

The cool harmattan breeze will have been blowing slightly.

In the days of harmattan,

The cool breeze starts at dawn.

Day break is usually cold,

The harmattan cold makes sleeping fun.

Elders will fold the body,

Children too will fold the legs like a baby.

In the early morning,

White haze will cover the sky.

Making it difficult to see who is coming,

One would have gotten closer,

Before one see who is coming.

In the days of harmattan,

We don’t stay that long in the bathroom.

We bathe fast, 

And leave the bathroom on time. 

Whoever stays too long will shiver,

Due to excessive cold breeze.

Extreme cold every morning,

In the days of no bathing the body.

The dirty ones only wash the face,

They can as well rinse the arm and legs,

And hit the road.

Some people’s skin become white,

As if they work in a floor manufacturing company,

Those with white skin as a result of harmattan,

Are said to have been “taken away by harmattan”.

When I was a child,

My mother provides shea butter,

In the days of harmattan,

To run my skin,

And it makes the skin shine.

In the days of harmattan,

Some people’s lips are blistered,

Some people’s foot tear,

In the days of harmattan,

Some people’s hands and foots,

Secretes water just like the ebòlò vegetable.

In the days of harmattan,

When the sun is hotter,

It burns the skin than usual.

The season when dust is in abundance,

Dust in the eyes, nose 

And in the hair.

The time of cough and catarrh,

Is the season of harmattan.

In the days of harmattan,

The trees also knows the season,

Leaves are scanty on trees,

Leaves on the ground are called ìràwé.

Grass burning is easy during harmattan.

Likewise, the danger in harmattan is much.

The dry season,

Is the harmattan time.

If you clad in thick cloth in the morning,

The heat increase at day,

Heat from the mouth,

Harmattan rain is what we call rain

That falls in the eleventh month.

When the harmattan becomes profound,

That was twenty years ago,

Where is the harmattan nowadays?

Harmattan where are you?


Eight is a poem on deceit and backstabbing. It is a warning for one to be careful of whom we call friends. Ojú la rí literary mean we only see the eyes (not the mind).

Nine is titled Ọ̀lẹ Afàjò, it is about laziness and idleness.

The last is titled Ọmọge Ìwòyí; girls of now-a-days. It is an expose of the fashion trends of today which exposes certain parts of the female body that are supposed to be hidden. It chastises girls who dress indecently.



Ifá is the exoteric word of Olódùmarè (Supreme Being). It is a verbal corpus (od) of Yorpristine wisdom, philosophy, metaphysics, stories of wise men of ancient times; theories; postulations; nature; medicine; science; cosmology; language; and everything in the Yor worldview which has been from the earliest times dating around 10,000 to 8,000 BC.

The babaláwo; the diviner is the link between the ephemeral (material) and eternal (spiritual) worlds. The babaláwo is a doctor; pharmacist; herbalist & diviner. Generally, he is a respected elder traditional adviser in Yorsociety.

In Ifá verses there are chants, recitations and songs (ìyẹ̀rẹ̀). There are 16 principal ods (ojú od) and 256 chapters overall called mOd, and each has its own numerous sub verses.

Below is an analysis on the 16 verses from the major 16 chapters.

This verse of Èjì Ogbè explains the looks and manners of two different apes. It narrates the ordeal of the colobus and brown monkeys who went to feed on a farmer’s maize. The word hàà used in line 33 and 34 is onomatopoeia, indicating the sound that maize make when harvested. Also, we saw culture at play in line 20, with the Ògbóni lodge; Ògbóni’s are elders who are the judges in Yorland mending the issue between the monkeys and the farmer. Line 21 and 25 also made mention of a Goddess by name Ọ̀un, that gives women children.  Additionally, twins are referred to as dun (colobus monkey).

This verse of ̀yẹ̀kú Méjì talks about someone was to embark on a business journey. He consulted the oracle, and he was asked to make sacrifice so that his business trip will be fruitful. To emphasize obedience and listening to the word of Olódùmarè (Ifá), yangí (laterite) was used as symbolism because laterite never betrays the earth, so Ifá will never betray the consulter. Ọlọmọ Akoto the businessman heed to the instruction of the divination priest, he made the sacrifice and he returned with wealth.

This verse in Ìwòrì Méjì talks about fair judgment. It narrates the story of Ọ̀rúnmìlà and his apprentice. The apprenticed reported Ọ̀rúnmìlà to the Supreme Olódùmarè. Olódùmarè summoned Ọ̀rúnmìlà (the custodian of Ifá) to come and explain why he didn’t assist his apprentice. Ọ̀rúnmìlà got to heaven and he explained to the Supreme Being that he tried his best for his apprentice but it seems his destiny doesn’t want to accept. From that moment henceforth, Olódùmarè proclaimed that no one should settle a dispute without listen to the other side of the matter. This verse emphasizes the power of destiny in the Yorculture.

This verse of Òdí Méjì tells the story of Òdí; also known as Èṣù or Ọbalúáyé who is an indigene of Kétu. It tells the story of palm kernel oil, who started it and how it took its name; àdí. Àdí was the first woman to make the black kernel oil; she was the foster parent of Ọbalúáyé (Yor God of judgment and messenger of Olódùmarè and the 401 deities). It explains why till today, it is forbidden to feed Èṣù with kernel oil.

This verse of Ìrosùn Méjì talks about the Èǹpe tribe of Tápà origin. There was misunderstanding between the tribe and Ifá was consulted for solution. Ifá told them to offer sacrifice and set aside a communal land which is the reason for their disagreement. It was advised that no one is to use or live on forever. Ifá assured that if this is done, there will be peace in the tribe. In the long run, after they had done as prescribed, everything was fine, they began drumming and dancing.

Ọ̀rúnmìlà who is also known as Bàrà Àgbọnmèrègúnis the one this verse in Ọ̀wọ́rín Méjìis referring to. It is a form of prayer for the good things of life; wealth, wife, children to come to the person praying. The yunmuyunmu represent the buzzing and humming of good things around Ọ̀rúnmìlà (the custodian of Ifá).

Ọ̀bàrà Méjì. This verse highlights the troubles of having multiple wives and the rivalry that emerges from polygamy. Although, polygamy is an aged long tradition among the Yorpeople, but as showed in this verse, Ifá warn whoever wants to have many wives or face the consequences.

This verses of Ọ̀kànràn Méjìis a defense to enemies or danger. The nomenclature Ọ̀kànrànis a contraction of Ọ̀kọọ̀ràn; he who waive a matter/problem. Therefore, Ọ̀kànràn Méjì is one who defends in two folds.

Just like the above on protection. This verse in Ògúndá Méjì talks about Ògún; the deity of war.

Ọ̀sá Méjì is a chapter of witches. This verse is one Àbíkú (born-die-child and the prayer to avert it from entering ones house.

One of the beauties of Yorlanguage is its application of wordplay and figurative expressions. In this verse in Ìká Méjì, there are lots of puns on the word ìká and ká. The verse also hinted on some cultural aspects of the Yorlike the Àró and the Ọ̀dọ̀fin (chiefs of Ògbóni cult).

Òtúúrúpọ̀n Méjì. This verse of Òtúúrúpọ̀n Méjì, is about good luck. It says that when a landlord builds his house with his money, someone else lives in it. It also uses the masquerade ìpàkà with less clothing as a symbolism, which implies that, one will eat from where one didn’t cook.

This verse from Òtúá Méjì, narrates the lifestyle of Muslim (Ìmàle) with numerous children. The Muslim man was asked to offer sacrifice so as to have as much as many children, he did and children started coming in their numbers including twins. Anyone, who this odù is casted for will surely have twins or double blessings. It is no overstatement that Islam has influenced the Yorculture in many ways; this is obvious in this verse.

This verse from Ìrtẹ̀ Méjì, explains how Ifá divination trays, clay pots and locust beans are made. It also talks about the culture of cooking with irú (locust beans) and ògìrì (melon paste). It made mention of a babaláwo (Ifá priest) by name Ìrẹ́ of Ọ̀tẹ̀ town, who made two signs on the tray. This is to further emphasize the way Ifá odù signs are drawn on the divination tray in twos; one on the left, another on the right.

The verse here from Ọ̀ṣẹ́ Méjì is about friendship and togetherness. It preaches that oneness is the key to peace and success.

Ọ̀ràngún Méjì is the last chapter of the major 16 exoteric odù’s. In this verse, it preaches cleanliness. It talks about a clean person who went to marry a dirty woman. In the long run, the clean person who loves to eat irú (locust beans) can no longer do because of the dirty wife. There is a word play on dirtiness and locust beans; locust beans smells and so are dirty people who do not bathe. On the other hand, the dirty person is compared to Èṣù (the messenger of Olódùmarè and the 401 deities), whose shrine is usually dirty as a result of piles of offering given it. Whereas, Àgbọnmèrègún; Ọ̀rúnmìlà is a clean deity, his shrine is usually kept clean.

To sum it up, it is necessary to add that, the Yorphilosophy of naming is informed by the ritual ideology that everything in nature and the universe has a history and a soul, all these analysis and more are present in the 256 odù corpus. Moreover, it is believed that plants and animals, were for sometimes human in form before they took another form. This is why these natural phenomenon are used in the verses, behaving like humans.



The term ọfọ̀ is a contraction of – you and fọ̀ – speaks; it therefore means the act of speaking/to speak. It also means the act of incantations. Plants, animals as well as other natural phenomenon are invoked through speech that bears power to make something come to be. Ọfọ̀ are speeches that carry àṣẹ (authority to be and not to be). It is also known as ògèdè. Another type is àyájọ́; which is invoking a past event for ones favour. To make ọfọ̀ effective, certain objects are necessary. Each incantation has a peculiar object used, above all, seven seeds of alligator pepper (ata ire – pepper of goodness) are sometimes used to make the saying more effective. The seeds are chewed before speaking and the particles spitted out after speaking.

There are 10 incantations and they are analyzed below:

This incantation is used for any legal cases in court. The speaker must have a pending case or trial in the court of law. Speaking this incantation will make the plaintiff call off the case or the judges discharge/acquit the defender. It uses allegory of the animal kingdom, that small animals have no power to face the leopard (ẹkùn – a symbol of power in Yorland); smaller birds can’t fly like the hawk. It also makes use of facts, i.e. the dog is destined to bark, for this reason, and no one can kill it for barking. Likewise, the ram is created to gore with its horns; therefore it should be left to do as destined.

This àyájọ́ is for wading off death. The speaker uses an old event for his favour. The event in this case is the day the paramount ruler of ancient Ọ̀yọ́ (Aláàfin) joined his ancestors in heaven, and everyone from far and near came to pay him homage of goods, white clothes, jewelries, food etc to accompany the late king to his grave, but only Ìkèlè (the red cloth) that didn’t visit. However, it’s a taboo in Yorland to wrap or bury a corpse in coloured or red clothes. This is what the speaker invokes. As the red cloth doesn’t go to the grave, he has become a red cloth; he will never go with them (other goods used in burial- in these context human beings) to the grave.

Wọ́nwọn wọ̀nwọn,Ọ̀wànràn wọràn is a name of an ancient priest of Ifá who divined for Wọ́nran wọ̀nran ọ̀wọ̀n (worms of the stomach). This incantation is taken from Ọ̀wọ́rín Méjì, the sixth chapter of the 16 major Ifá odù. The incantation is said when one is having stomach upset. Most of the time, all natural entities have secret names and poetry. If you know their secret names, they will do wonders. Wọ́nran wọ̀nran ọ̀wọ̀n is the secret name of stomach worms.

Yor name objects through their characters and traits, for example, in this incantation, the plant ọgbọ́ (plant that hears) is invoked. The word ọgbà (that which obeys) is also used as word play to affect authority. The relationship between the grass cutter and the ground; needle and the cloth; the toad and the river; the power of the salt to spoil the broth are put into play in order to make an effect. The point is that the ground obeys the command of the grass cutter (it bore holes underground); the cloth dare not reject the stitches of the needle; the water is for the toad and if salt is added in excess to soups, the soup changes, therefore, the speaker commands the hearer to obey and do as said.

This is an incantation to effect progress in one’s life journey. It is true that water never flow backwards, when one walk with a stick, it swings forward. The ẹ̀bìtì snare stick flips forward when it has trapped a game, palm wine fizzes upward in the gourds. This incantation is said on a Tuesday which we call day of success. Therefore, the speaker commands the day using the mentioned fact to proclaim authority of success.

Lágbájá/Tàmẹ̀dù/Lámọhin and Làkáègbe are used when one doesn’t have a precise name in mind, just like the English Tom, Dick and Harry. This proverb is used by the speaker to make someone become a lunatic. It employs the traits and manners of a mad man and command.

This also used facts and figures to make command. It is used to make someone feel not sleepy and awake from sleep.

This incantation is to make something transform. Yípadà or yídà means transform/change. The plant alùpàyídà (Uraria Picta) plays a role in making this ọfọ̀ effective.

This incantation is primarily used to ward off diseases and sicknesses from the patient’s body. It is believed that sometimes, witches put sicknesses in people’s body as punishment.

This is also an àyájọ́. It narrates the story of the coming of serpents to earth (creation). It explains how they got their venoms from Odùduwà (heaven & earth). The serpents were warned not to bite anyone who knows the mystery. The ọfọ̀ is basically employed to neutralize snake poison in the body of the victim. However, certain plants like Bidens Pilosa are chewed and spitted on the snake bite wound.

From the above analysis, it is clear that the Yorpeople of West Africa are literary artisans; they craft oral poetry to depict their surrounding, culture and what have you. It is therefore necessary to preserve these ancient but not primitive literatures because there are so much lessons to learn from it which will in the long run have positive impact on the globe if put to good use. The government and stakeholders in history should endeavour to re-orientate and educate the people about the cultural heritage in order to increase national consciousness and awareness.



Oríkì is an important tradition of the Yorùbá people. Oríkì is composed of important historical and hidden facts about a particular thing, persons or places, transferred orally from generation to generation. Oríkì is a piece of eulogizing literature gathered with time and used to express a feeling of endearment or enliven first a person. Oríkì takes one on a memory lane, while there are stories that of recent times, there are stories of event that happened in the olden days. It is certain to find numerous unique traits, experiences, nature and whatnot of one’s progenitor, likewise in it are the features of places or things are also highlighted.

In addition, Yorùbáland operates on dos & don’ts, certain things are moral, others are not, for this reasons, there are taboos kept by the people from different lineage, family, town to town, these taboos and reasons behind them are featured in the poetry, it is a reminder to prick the person been praised to stick to tradition.

One prominent term found in oríkì is “ọmọ”. You hear this term repeatedly when panegyrics are recited. Ọmọ denotes “child/child of”, and it is followed by a nomenclature (name of the ancestor or ancestral home) of the person been eulogized. These persons are historical figures that had one time in the past done either good or bad but great deeds worth emphasizing. This aged long tradition is used to pacify the head of the olóríkì (owner of the oríkì; person been praised when angry or indisposed). Oríkì expresses the definition & origin of names of people, villages and towns.

Oríkì can be divided into: oríkì for lineage; oríkì orílẹ̀, and oríkì for place or town; oríkì ìlú. There are also oríkì for special beings (twins, triplets and child born with special features), things as well as animals.

Oríkì orílẹ̀ is about the root, foundation of the different lineages of the Yorùbá people; it traces the pedigree of a people and tells where one originates.

Professional chanters sometimes include their own or friends names or oríkì while praising someone; it is like a little break before getting back on track. As a rule, only elders’ address children by their oríkì, children don’t address elders by their oríkìs.

Below are some seven panegyrics; including oríkì orílẹ̀ and oríkì ìlú with their close translation and brief summary for further understanding.



Ọmọ Ògbórú Ilé Ifẹ̀, ọmọ adádé owó nÍfẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni,

Ọmọ ọ̀kan ṣoṣo tí í fi méjì pààrọ̀.

A ì í dúró kí ọba nífẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni,

A ì í bẹ̀rẹ̀ kọ́ba nÍfẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò,

Ẹni tó dúró kọ́ba nÍfẹ̀ Otòólú,

Ẹni tí ó bẹ̀rẹ̀ kọ́ba nÍfẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni.

Ẹbọra burúkú ní í bọ́rú wọn láṣọ lọ.

Òkè Ọ̀rá ń bẹ nÍfẹ̀ Oòdáyé níbi tí baba wá gbé rọ̀ ọ́lẹ̀,

Ṣebí mẹ́jọ làgbà ìjòyè tí í bẹ lápá ọ̀tún.

Ṣebí mẹ́jọ làgbà ìjòyè tí í bẹ lósì Ọọ̀ni.

Àgbà ìjòyé di mẹ́rìndínlógún tí í bá Olúfẹ̀ẹ̀ gbìmọ̀ràn,

Mo kí wọn nílé Ifẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò.

Ó dílé Ìhanràn t’ójúmọ́ ti í mọ́ wáyé.

Ọmọ Aṣòroíkò ọmọ Arábájá owó rẹmọ.

Aṣòroíkò lójú, ọmọ ta ní í jẹ́ Sòrókò.

Àbú ìtẹ́ní Olúfẹ̀ Abùré ọmọba tó nílẹ̀ dẹ́ṣẹ̀ omi,

Ọmọ aládé tó ní ṣẹ́ṣẹ́ ẹfun,

Ṣọ̀bọ̀rọ́ bónílà nínú jẹ́ ọmọ Aṣòróókò.

Ẹ ǹlẹ́ o!

Ọmọ Ajíbówó tí í pelòmìíràn lọ́lẹ,

Ọmọ olówó ìṣẹ̀ǹbáyé k’ówó șílè ó tó gbòde.

Orí anajú nílé baba tó bíi yín lọ́mọ.

Àbú ìtẹ́ní Onífẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni. Ọmọ Aládé nÍfẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò.

Mo kí i yín kí i yín. Mo kì ì yín kì ì yín.

Ẹ̀yin ọmọ akábá owó rẹmọ.

Ẹ̀rùjẹ̀jẹ̀ nÍfẹ̀ Oòrè. Ẹ fi igbá ńlá wọn owóò mi kò mí.

Bàntẹ́ kan jònànà ní í múlé Olúfẹ̀ hùn mí.

Ogun ojoojúmọ́ ní í múlée wọn ó sú mi í lọ.

Òtóóró omi alẹ̀ Ifẹ̀. Òtóóró omi alẹ̀ Ifẹ̀, inú ọmọ ò péjìá rárá.

Ọmọ olódò kan òtàràrà. Ọmọ olódò kan òtéréré.

Ọmọ odò tí í ṣàn wéréke tó ṣàn wérèke tó dẹ́yìn ‘kùnlé Akilẹ̀ tó dàbàtà.

Àbú Ìtẹ́ní Onífẹ̀ Abùré. Aṣákẹ́kẹ́ ò gbọdọ̀ bù mu.

Abàbàjà ò gbọdọ̀ bù ṣinsẹ̀.

Ṣègèdé oníṣọ̀bọ̀rọ́ ni yóò mu odò náà gbẹ


Child of the strong one of Ilé Ifẹ̀,

He who wears a crown of money in Ifẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni,

One that exchanges with two,

We don’t stand to greet the king in Ifẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni,

No one squat to greet the king in Ifẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò,

The person who stand to greet the king in Ifẹ̀ Otòólú,

The person who squat to greet the king in Ifẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni

Got his/her cloth pulled off by the spirits (death)

Mount Ọ̀rá is in Ifẹ̀ Oòdáyé where the emissary from heaven descended

The chiefs on the right side are eight in number

The chiefs on the left side of the king Ọọ̀ni are eight in number

The high ranking chiefs became sixteen that advises the Olúfẹ̀ (Ifẹ̀ king),

I salute them in the land of Ifẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò.

Straight to the house of Ìhanràn where the morning rise

Child of Aṣòroíkò, much money to care for a child

Difficult to encounter face-to-face, who is called Sòrókò?

Àbú ìtẹ́ní Olúfẹ̀ Abùré the prince who owns land that reaches the shores of the ocean, the crowned prince that owns ṣẹ́ṣẹ́ ẹfun; a kind of white beads,

Ṣọ̀bọ̀rọ́ (Ifẹ̀ indigenes without facial tribal marks) spoils the mind of the carrier,

Child of Aṣòróókò.

I salute!

Child of he who wakes-up-to-meet-money-at-home that calls someone else lazy, child of the ancient money (cowrie) before the arrival of shilling.

Àbú ìtẹ́ní Onífẹ̀ Ọọ̀ni. Crowned king of Ifẹ̀ Oòyè Lagbò.

I greet you and greet you. I praise you and I praise you.

You are the children who has much money to care for a child

The terrific one of Ifẹ̀ Oòrè. Measure my money with large calabash.

A large loin’s cloth makes me like visiting the house of Olúfẹ̀

Every day war makes their house tiresome.

Òtóóró water of Ifẹ̀.

Child of a river òtàràrà. Child of a river òtéréré.

Child of he whose river flows wéréke,

That flows through the backyard of Akilẹ̀ before it became a mire ground.

Àbú Ìtẹ́ní Onífẹ̀ Abùré.

Those with the kẹ́kẹ́ tribal marks dare not drink from the river

Those with the àbàjà marks must not wash their foots

Only those without marks (ṣọ̀bọ̀rọ́) can drink the water dry



Ifẹ̀ is the ancestral home of all Yorùbá, and the Ọọ̀ni (king of Ifẹ̀) is the paramount king of Yorùbá land, every other king is his subordinates.

The Olúfẹ̀/Onífẹ̀ (owner of Ifẹ̀/master of Ifẹ̀; Ọọ̀ni of Ifẹ̀) is very dreadful, no one dare disobey him or look him in his face (Aṣòroíkò), and anyone who disrespects him will face the wrath of the supernatural forces.

All Ifẹ̀ people are known as Àbú Ìtẹ́ní/Ìtẹ́rú and not all Ifẹ̀ has tribal marks. The ṣọ̀bọ̀rọ́ are the royal blood. Ọ̀rá is the name of the mountain on top of which the first 16 sets of emissaries from heaven descended in Ilé-Ifẹ̀. Also, there are 6 chiefs advising the supreme king of Yorùbáland; the Ọọ̀ni.




Ọmọ Ẹ̀gbá Onígbẹ̀du àlùlà,

Ẹ̀gbá Onígbẹ̀du àlùlówó lọ́wọ́, alágogo Ọ̀rányàn tan tan tan,

A bí mi l’Áké mo ṣẹnu gbígbó lẹ́nu bíi jeje.

Wọ́n bí mi ní Gbágùrá mo gbó lóhùn bí ọ̀jẹ̀,

Ẹ̀gbá èwo nìwọ, Alàkẹ́ ni ọ́ ni àbí t’Ìkèrèkú?

Gbágùrá ni ọ́ ni àbí ará Ẹ̀gbá Òwu?

Ṣé t’Aké ni ó ni bí t’Arọ? Ẹ̀gbá l’Ẹ̀gbá í jẹ́ bí ó ṣ’ọmọ Ẹ̀gbádò


An indigene of Ẹ̀gbá, the successful drummer of the gbẹ̀du drum,

Ẹ̀gbá, the rich drummer of the gbẹ̀du drum

I was born in Aké, I have a mouth like jeje

I was born in Gbágùrá, I have a voice like an ace masquerade,

Which of the Ẹ̀gbá are you, are you from Aláké or Ìkèrèkú?

Are you from Gbágùrá or Ẹ̀gbá Òwu?

Are you Ẹ̀gbá of Aké or Arọ?

Ẹ̀gbá is Ẹ̀gbá even if from Ẹ̀gbádò



This oríkì is praising the people of Ẹ̀gbá as wonderful drummers of the gbẹ̀du drum. There is a popular village, Onígbẹ̀du in Abeokuta Ògùn state. Onígbẹ̀du is home of the best gbẹ̀du drum makers & drummers. This shows that the Ẹ̀gbá are great musicians. Divisions of Ẹ̀gbá; Aké, Gbágùrá, Ìkèrèkú, Òwu, Ẹ̀gbádò and others are stated also. In conclusion, it enjoins all Ẹ̀gbá indigene to live peacefully together as one.




Ìlọrin Àfọ̀njá ọmọ werí wérin, ọmọ Ọlátóderin,

Ìlú tí wọ́n ti ń figàá rìn kẹ́ṣẹ́, wọn ò ṣẹbọ wọn ò ṣòògùn,

Ìlú tó ti tó báyìí bẹ́ẹ̀ wọn ò léégún, wọ́n ń lọrin lóde Ìlọrin,

Ẹṣin léégún wọn nílé Ọláderin, ọ̀kọ̀ loorò ibẹ̀.

Ẹ̀yin lọmọ atàpín ràpín, a ta tọmọlọ́mọ fi bọ́ ti wọ́n,

A tọ̀tọ̀tù ènìyàn fi ra okùn idà,

Ọmọ Àfọ̀njá tí wọ́n bá fibi sú ní í là tí í lówó lọ́wọ́,

Ó lójú ẹni tí í jẹ mèsújàmbá,

Ará Ìlọrin kì í fi oore ṣoore, ìtàn Ìlọrin ò padà.

Ọmọ Àfọ̀njá láya lọ́pọ̀ alùgbìrìn,

Bí jágun ó bá ọ jà, jagun a là kàkà jagun a ròde Èjìgbò,

A ré lumọ bí owú, kó tó là gààgà dé oníjà á gbàgbé, kó tó là gààgà dé, oníjà á sùn lọ, bó bá kẹ́ṣin dé, jagun á bínú gba torí wọn lọ, a fòdì ọ̀kọ̀ gbọmọ.


Ìlọrin of Àfọ̀njá, the child that wraps its head and that of the elephant

The child of Ọlátóderin

The town where the horse is used to walk, they don’t do sacrifice nor charm,

The town as big as this, but have no masquerade,

They smelt iron in Ìlọrin

Horse is their masquerade in the house of Ọláderin,

The spear is their orò cult

You are the child who sells your share to buy another, the seller of someone’s child to feed theirs

He who sells a full human to buy the rope of the sword

The in-grateful child of Àfọ̀njá is the rich one,

Not everyone is Mèsújàmbá,

The people of Ìlọrin don’t pay good with good, the story of Ìlọrin never changes.

The child of Àfọ̀njá has numerous wives,

If the warrior isn’t fighting you, he visits the town of Èjìgbò,

He who fall on one like the smiths hammer,

Before he comes back the opponent has forgotten,

Before he came back the opponent has slept off

If he arrives with horses, the warrior will get angry, collect the ones on their head and use the end of the spear to kidnap children.



Much of this oríkì is the cause-effect of the Fulani invasion. Ìlọrin before now is ruled by the Yorùbá vassal chiefs, until Àfọ̀njá invited the Fulah to assist him fight a war to become sovereign of Ọ̀yọ́, but at the end of the day, the stood of kingship falls in the hands of the Fulani that is why the emir rules Ìlọrin instead of an ọba.

The oríkì points to the fact that there are horses in Ìlọrin, because it is the Fulani that knows so much about caring for horses. We also observed the story of the Fulani wars and slave kidnappings. Èjìgbò, a town in Kwara (Ìlọrin) is mentioned as a seat of Àfọ̀njá in those days.



Òdùrú ǹlẹ́ ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu ò ṣèkà bẹ́ẹ̀ wọn kì í rán ‘ró,

Àwí ìmẹ́nu kúrò ni t’Òwu ńlé ọmọ Ládérinj

Pẹ̀lẹ́ Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu ò ṣèkà bẹ́ẹ̀ wọn kì í rán ‘ró,

Àwí ì mẹ́nu kúrò ni t’Òwu nílé ọmọ Ládérinj

Pẹ̀lẹ́ Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Ẹ ò ríi ibi ojúmọ́ ti í mọ́ wá

Ọmọ kùtùkùtù òwúrọ̀

À ń jù wọ́n ò ṣe é wí lẹ́jọ́, ìjà ìlara Òwu ò tán bọ̀rọ̀

Àwn lmọ Òtònpòrò tí ń b lÓwu Òdùrú

Òtònpòrò ọba yeye Òtònpòrò lójú ẹní  fàá

Àwn tó fàá ò ma mọ Òtònpòrò, ni tó mọ̀ o máa fojú ire l

Ọmọ ìyá Òtònpòrò yóò yè f’Òtònpòrò

Ó ṣe pé ṣubú

ubú (4 x)

Ẹ ò rí i! ubúṣubú là ń lulu Òtònpòrò

Òtònpòrò nìkan ni ó mẹsẹ̀ àìni ubú í gbé

Àwn lm sunkúngbadé, sunkúngbadé

Sunkúngbadé sunkúngbalẹ̀ ni baba Òwu

Òdùrú ńlẹ̀ ọmAbòógbìmọ̀

Àwn lỌmọ Amọ́lẹ́sẹ̀ bí àlárì, àlárì mọ́lẹ́sẹ̀ ó wun ọ̀lẹ

Ọmọba ńlé àrán, ọmọ abẹ ò rí kọ bi òje

Òwu lákátí  Òwu gbòngbò

Mo ṣebí àtẹ́lẹwọ́ ni wọ́n fi pìlẹ́ Òwu

Pẹ̀lẹ́ Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

O ò ṣèkà! Àtẹ́lẹwọ́ n mo bálà mi o mẹni tó kọ ọ́

N bá mọlé Olóòlàdé níta Àtẹ́wọ́ ma ti lọ du gbowo abe

Wọn ò ní gbowó ilà lọ́wọ́ Òwu,

Ọ̀kọ̀là kan ọ̀kọ̀là kan tó bágbowó ilà lọ́wọ́ Òwu

Pẹrẹgẹdẹ labẹ bẹ lọ́wọ́ọ wọn

Ńlé Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Ọmọba oní matà, ọ̀la matà àrìmatà

Malà marà matà ni ò jẹ́ ká mọ ẹni matà tán lÓwu.

Pẹ̀lẹ́ Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Ọmọ Amọ́lẹ́sẹ̀, ma mọ́ lẹ́sẹ̀ bí àlárì, àlárì mọ́lẹ́sẹ̀ ó wun ọ̀lẹ

Ọmọ ọba nílé àrán, ọmọ abẹ ò rí kọ bi òje

Òwu lákátí  Òwu gbòngbò

Mo e bí àtẹ́lẹwọ́ ni wọ́n fi pìlẹ́ Òwu

Pẹ̀lẹ́ Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Ọ̀kọ̀là kan ọ̀kọ̀là kan tó bá gbowó ilà lọ́wọ́ Òwu

Pẹrẹgẹdẹ pẹrẹgẹdẹ pẹrẹgẹdẹ labẹ bẹ lọ́wọ́ọ wọn

Ńlé Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Ọmọ Amọ́lẹ́sẹ̀ bí àlárì, wọ́n mọ́lẹ́sẹ̀ ní wun ọ̀lẹ

Ọmọ ọba nílé àrán ni wọ́n, ọmọ abẹ ò rí kọ bí òje

Òdùrú ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu ò ṣèkà bẹ́ẹ̀ wọn kì í rán ‘ró, àwí ìmẹ́nu kúrò ni t’Òwu nílé Ládérinj

Ọmọ aládé ìṣẹ̀nbáyé tí ń bẹ nílé baba tó bí wọn lọ́mọ

Òdùrú ń lẹ́ ọmọ Abòógbìmọ̀


Òdùrú, I greet you, child of Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu don’t do evil, nor are evil-doers

Òwu is not an evil-doer; they just don’t forget matters in the house of Ládérinjọ

I greet you, Òdùrú child Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu is not an evil-doer, they just don’t forget in the house of Ládérinjọ

I greet you, Òdùrú child Abòógbìmọ̀

Òwu is not an evil-doer; they just don’t forget matters in the house of Ládérinjọ

The place where the sun set

Child of the early risers

Jealousy doesn’t pay, Òwu don’t forget easily

They are the children of Òtònpòrò in Òwu Òdùrú

Òtònpòrò said “fall”

Fall (4x)

Can you see! Drumming in Òtònpòrò is like fall fall

Only Òtònpòrò knows the right dance step

They are the children of Sunkúngbadé (weep for the crown)

Weep for the crown,

Sunkúngbalé (weep for the house) is the father of all Òwu

Òdùrú child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you

They are the children with clean feet like the àlárì cloth

Àlárì is clean in the edges and the lazy wants it

The child in the house of velvet,

The blade is not like lead tin

Òwu lákátí and Òwu gbòngbò

I think cotton is harvested with the hands

Òdùrú child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you

I met markings on my palm but do not know who drew it

Had I know the house of the tribal mark drawer,

I would have visited

No one collects tribal-marks fee from the Òwu person

Whosoever collects money from an Òwu

Will have his hands lacerated by the blade

Òdùrú child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you,

The prince/princess that sells today, tomorrow and next

I will prosper, buy and sell did not make us know who actually sells in Òwu

Òdùrú, child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you,

Clean like that of the àlari attire

Child of the king of Òwu

The child that sells today, sell tomorrow,

I will buy and sell didn’t make us know who sells more in Òwu kingdom

They are the children with clean feet like the àlárì cloth

Àlárì is clean in the edges and the lazy wants it

The child in the house of velvet,

The blade is not like lead tin

Òwu lákátí and Òwu gbòngbò

I think cotton is harvested with the hands

Òdùrú child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you

Òwu is not an evil-doer; they just don’t forget matters in the house of Ládérinjọ

The child with the ancient crown in the house of their father

Òdùrú child of Abòógbìmọ̀ I salute you



This oral literature lauds the Òwu indigenes. Òwu are shrewd business people, some of the lines talks about their love for business. They rise early to go for their daily bread. They are into cotton farming and also preserve the orò cult system. The oríkì also mentions the Òwu tribal marks.

Òtònpòrò is a masquerade indigenous to the Òwu people, and it celebrates the women folks.

There is a story of one of the daughters of Ọlọ́fin Oduduwa (father of Yorùbá), the first Òwu nicknamed Sunkúngbadé/Asunkúngbadé (weep for the crown). She is said to cry anytime Odùduwà carries her in the hands, and she only cease to cry when the crown has been placed on her little head. This event is why the Òwu people usually sing that “Òwu la kọ́ dá lọ́la” “Òwu is the first to be bequeathed”, they were bequeathed the sacred crown.




Ìjẹ̀bú ǹlẹ́ ọmọ Èrenìwà,

Ǹlẹ́ ọmọ Adúnrunmọ́dé

Ǹlẹ́ ọmọ Adúnrunmóṣù pa ẹdìyẹ jẹ.

Ǹlẹ́ ọmọ ẹlẹ́dìyẹ ògògòmọ̀gà.

Eléyìí tíí fi ẹyin rẹ̀ yé bí awó kìnginkìngin

Ìjẹ̀bú ló ní bí ó bá hun ẹní rẹ̀ ní winniwinni,

Wọ́n ní tó bá hun ẹní rẹ̀ níwìnnìwìnnì

Tó bá hun ‘jẹ̀bú a fi ẹní ẹ̀ tó kù ṣodún Agẹmọ

Àwọn lọmọ Alágẹmọ Abìjówèlè

Ìjẹ̀bú ló ní tóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn

Ó pé tóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn de òun a mokun òun jọba ní Rẹ́mọ

Afínjú Ìjẹ̀bú tíí fọmọ rẹ̀ j’Apènà

Àwọn lọmọ Adúnrunmọ́dé, ‘Mádúnrunmóṣù pa ẹdìyẹ jẹ

Ọmọ ẹlẹ́dìyẹ ògògòmọ̀gà

Eléyìí tíí fi ẹyin rẹ̀ yé bí awó kìnginkìngin

Ìjẹ̀bú ló ní tóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn

Ó pé tóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn dé òun á mokun òun jọba ní Rẹ́mọ

Afínjú Ìjẹ̀bú tíí fọmọ rẹ̀ j’Apènà

Àwọn lọmọ Ọlọ́pẹ kan iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ

Ọ̀pẹ̀ kan iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ,  

Ọ̀pẹ̀ tí ò kúrú kògbòjò íí fọwọ́mọ gbalẹ̀ gẹrẹjẹ

Ìjẹ̀bú ló ní bóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn

Ìjẹ̀bú ló kọ́kọ́ ná owó dọ́la kí èyìnbó tó k’ówó dé.

Oyìnbólódé t’ówó po si ‘Madúnrunmọ́déni wọ́n,

‘Mádúnrunmóṣù pa ẹdìyẹ jẹ

Àwọn lọmọ Ọlọ́pẹ kan iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ

Ọ̀pẹ̀ kan iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ,

Ọmọ dúdú ilé ò mọ ọ̀bẹ í sè ní ìjọ́sí, pupa tó mọbẹ̀ẹ́ sè ò kúkú sí nílé.

Àwọn lọmọ mo rẹyẹ má mà rókò

Mo rókò tan ẹyẹ́ ti lọ,

Ọmọ onísu nílé n ò rọ́bẹ, ọ̀bẹ tíí bẹ nílé bàbá tó bí wọn lọ́mọ

Àjèjì tó ba wọgbó orò yóò sì dẹni ẹbọra

Ọmọ dúdú ilé ò mọ ọ̀bẹ í sè ní ìjọ́sí, pupa tó mọbẹ̀ẹ́ sè ò kúkú sí nílé.

Ọmọ mo rẹ́yẹ má mà rókò

Àwọn lọmọ onígbó má dé ọmọ onígbó má wọ̀.  

Ọmọ onígbó kan àjèjì ò gbọdọ̀ wọ̀.  


Ìjẹ̀bú I greet you child of Èrenìwà,

I salute you child of Adúnrunmọ́dé

I salute you child of Adúnrunmóṣù pa ẹdìyẹ jẹ.

I salute you child of the big hen.

That lays plenty eggs just like the guinea fowl

Ìjẹ̀bú weaves its mat so tiny

They say if he weaves its mat so tiny

If an Ìjẹ̀bú likes it, he uses its mat for the Agẹmọ masquerade

They are the child of the Agẹmọ Abìjówèlè

Ìjẹ̀bú said if he went to Ọ̀bùn

The clean Ìjẹ̀bú that made his child the Apènà

They are the child of Adúnrunmọ́dé, ‘Mádúnrunmóṣù pa ẹdìyẹ jẹ

I salute you child of the big hen.

That lays egg just like the guinea fowl

Ìjẹ̀bú said if he went to Ọ̀bùn

Ó pe tóun bá r’Ọ̀bùn de ohun a mokun oun joba niremo

The clean Ìjẹ̀bú that made his child the Apènà

They are the child of a palm tree iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ

A palm tree iyẹkẹtirẹkẹ,

A palm tree so short that its fronds touch the ground

Ìjẹ̀bú said if he went to Ọ̀bùn

Ìjẹ̀bú are the first to spend the dollar currency before the white-men brought money.

Ìjẹ̀bú the child of he who threatens kills fowl for food

The dark child of the house can’t cook soup,

The fair that can cook soup is not home.

Ìjẹ̀bú, the child of the forest no one dare go in,

The child of the forest no one dare enter.

The child whose forest must not be entered by a stranger

Ìjẹ̀bú makes mat very tiny,

Ìjẹ̀bú, the weaver of tiny mats



Ìjẹ̀bú are renowned as a wealthy people who spends money lavishly, the irony, they are regarded as “selfish”. Their love for the orò cult as well as their dexterity in mat weaving is highlighted respectively. The orò is a cult of elderly citizens; they are constitutionally created to maintain law and order in the community. A special forest is usually dedicated to the elders and their activities; no one dare enter such forest and come out alive.



Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù, nọ̀mù tí orò ń ké.

Ọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí ọmọ asẹ́ tí í mumi kíkan kíkan.

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Àwọn lọmọ womú womú, womú womú (2ce)

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù, nọ̀mù

Ọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí ọmọ asẹ́ tí í mumi kíkan kíkan.

Òṣílẹ̀kùn palẹ̀kùn dé

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ yúnmúnyunmùn tórò ń ké,

Ǹlẹ́ ọmọ Alákéjọbí

Ọmọ asẹ́ tí í mumi kíkan kíkan.  

Òṣílẹ̀kùn palẹ̀kùn dé

Ọba márùn-ún ní í jẹ ní lóde Ẹ̀gbá Aláké

Gbogbo wọn ní í dádé

Olúbarà ọba ní í ṣe, Àgùrá ọba ni, Ọṣilẹ̀ ọba ni,

Olówu Òdùrú ọba ni,

Aláké Ẹ̀gbá ńkọ́, ṣé ó ń bẹ lálàáfíà,

Àràbà ni bàbá ń ṣe

Ẹ̀gbá ni mo dé ti mo ṣẹ́yìn orò kí n tún tó ṣ’éégún

Ọmọ asẹ́ tí í mumi kíkan kíkan.

Òṣílẹ̀kùn palẹ̀kùn dé

Àwọn lọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí

Ẹ ẹ̀ ri!

Àwọn lọmọ awún gbọ́n ó kó ọmọ tirẹ̀ sí abẹ́ ewé.

Ògòǹgó gbọ́n ó kó ọmọ tí ẹ sí abẹ́ àkìtàn.

Olúmọ náà gbọ́n ọkọ ọmọ tìrẹ sí abẹ́ àpáta torí ogun

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ yúnmúnyunmùn tórò ń ké,

Ọmọ Alákéjọbí,

Ọmọ asẹ́ tí í mumi kíkan kíkan.

Òṣílẹ̀kùn palẹ̀kùn dé

‘Ọ́n ní bí wọ́n ṣe ń ṣe níMecca ni wọ́n ń ṣe lẸ́gbàá Aláké

Ìgba tí wọ́n ń gun àràfá ní Mecca wọ́n ń gun Olúmọ lóde Ẹ̀gbá

Wọ́n ń mu omi Sẹ́mísemì ní Mecca, wọ́n ń mu omi odòÒgùn

Ẹ gbọ́ ṣérọ́ ni mo pa ni?

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ yúnmúnyunmùn tórò ń ké,

Ọmọ Alákéjọbí,

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Àwọn lọmọ womú womú o, womú womú tórò íké,

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Bóròò pagi, bóròò p’ọ̀pẹ̀

Wọ́n ní tó báṣoko etílé lorò lepa

Ẹò rí i!

Ọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí ni wọn Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Ọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí kúìkalẹ̀

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Ọmọ Olúgbọ́njọbí Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò lỌ́tà

Wọ́n ní bórò ò pagi, bórò ò p’ọ̀pẹ̀

Wọ́n ní tó bá ṣoko etílé lorò le pa

A pọ̀tá ilé a pọ̀tá òde

Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ yúnmúnyunmùn tórò ń ké,

Ọmọ Alákéjọbí niwọ́n Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù


Ẹ̀gbá indigene, the child of the orò cult that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Child of Olúgbọ́njọbí, child of the sieve that drinks water

Ẹ̀gbá, the child whose orò cult sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

They are the child of the orò cult sounding womú womú, womú womú

Ẹ̀gbá, the child whose orò cult sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Child of Olúgbọ́njọbí, child of the sieve that drinks water

He who opens and shut the door

Ẹ̀gbá, the child of the yúnmúnyunmùn sound of the orò cult

There are five kings in Ẹ̀gbáland

All wears a crown

Olúbarà is a king, Àgùrá is a king, Oníṣilẹ̀/Ọṣilẹ̀ is a king,

Olówu Òdùrú is a king,

What of Aláké of Ẹ̀gbáland? Is he hale and hearty!

Àràbà (Baobab) is the king of trees

I got to Ẹ̀gbá and joined the cult of orò and masquerade

Child of the sieve that drinks water

The tortoise is wise to have hid its offspring under the leaves

The edible worm is wise to have hid its offspring under the waste dump

The deity Olúmọ is also wise to have hid its children under the rock for protection from the war

Ẹ̀gbá, the child of the yúnmúnyunmùn sound of the orò cult

Child of Alákéjọbí

Child of the sieve that drinks water

He who opens and shut the door

It is the same way they do in Mecca that they do in Ẹ̀gbá-Alákéland

They climb the mount Arafat in Mecca so they climb Olúmọ in Ẹ̀gbá town

They drink of the Semsem water in Mecca, Ẹ̀gbá drink of the Ògùn River

Is it truth or lie?

If the orò didn’t fall trees, or palm trees

They say orò only kills trees close to the settlement

You see!

They are the children of Olúgbọ́njọbí, Ẹ̀gbá child of orò that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Child of Olúgbọ́njọbí I greet you

Ẹ̀gbá child of orò that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù

Child of Olúgbọ́njọbí, Ẹ̀gbá child of orò in Ọ̀tà

They say if orò didn’t kill trees, or palm tree

They say orò only kills trees close to the settlement

It will kill enemies within and without

Ẹ̀gbá, the child of the yúnmúnyunmùn sound of the orò (bullroarer) cult

They are the children of Alákéjọbí

They are Ẹ̀gbá of the orò cult that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù



This is another one on the Ẹ̀gbá people. In this poetry, we found the story of the interest in the orò cult. Also, there is mention of the five crowned kings in Ẹ̀gbáland; Olúbarà of Ìbarà, Àgùrá of Gbágùrá, Oníṣilẹ̀/Oṣilẹ̀ of Òke-Ọnà,

Olówu of Òwu, and the most paramount king; Aláké of Ẹ̀gbáland. On the other hand, we saw that the natural traits of some animals are recorded, like the tortoise and the edible worms. We also noticed the comparism of Olúmọ rock and mount Arafat in Mecca. Olúmọ rock is one of the popular tourist sites in Nigeria. The Olúmọ rock was a protection to the Ẹ̀gbá people during one of the old Ọ̀yọ́ wars.



Àwórì ọmọ womúwomú tí orò ń ké.

Àkẹ̀sán ǹlẹ́ ọmọ agbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀

Gbẹ̀bí ayé. Wọn lọ gbẹ̀bí ọ̀run

Baba gbẹ̀bí ewúrẹ́ tán wọ́n lọ gbẹ̀bí àgùntàn

Òjò Àkẹ̀sán ọmọ ọlọ́kọ̀ tó nÍṣẹri

Àkẹ̀sán ǹlẹ́ ọmọ agbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀

Ọmọ iwájú ọlọ́kọ̀ tíí ṣowó, ẹ̀yìnkùlé ọlọ́kọ̀ a ṣ’èjìgbàrà ìlẹ̀kẹ̀,

Ògèdègédé ọlọ́kọ̀ a tan yẹbẹ yẹbẹ lójú omi

Àwọn lọmọ ká dọ̀pá nù ká dàjẹ̀ nù  

Ká f’ògèdègédé ọwọ́ wa ọkọ̀ dé ilé Ìṣẹri.

Bí Alákẹ̀sán ò ga jùgo bí kò ga ju kùkùté, bí wọ́n bá ti ní ìbọn àmúléwọ́ kékeré, ọdẹ ni baba wọn ń ṣe.

Òní Ọbádá n lọsun, ọ̀la ‘bàdà lowole

Kín ni dọkọ̀ losun, wọ́n lémi níí dọkọ̀ lole ile

Sebádé orí Àkẹ̀sán níí dọkọ̀ káàkiri

Ẹò rí i!

Àwọn lọmọ àgbò dúdú tó wonú ọkọ̀ tó sì di funfun nẹnẹ

Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí ni wọ́n,

Ọmọ a gbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀

Ibi iṣẹ́ rì síni wọ́n pè ní Ìṣẹri

Ibi àwo rì sí ni wọ́n pè ní Àwórì

Òjò Àkẹ̀sán ọmọ ọlọ́kọ̀ tó nÍṣẹri

Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí ni wọ́n ǹlẹ́ ọmọ agbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀

Àwọn lọmọ wowúwowú, wowúwowútí orò ń ké

Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí ni wọ́n ǹlẹ́ ọmọ agbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀

Wọ́n gbẹ̀bí ayé. Wọn lọ gbẹ̀bí ọ̀run

Àkẹ̀sán ǹlẹ́ ọmọ agbẹ̀bí òmúwẹ̀


Àwórì, the child of the sound of the bull roarer

Àkẹ̀sán I salute you the midwife that assist in delivery of a swimmer

Assist on earth. They assisted in heaven

After their father assisted in the delivery of a goat

They went on to assist that of the sheep

Àkẹ̀sán the rain, the sailor that owns Ìṣẹri

Àkẹ̀sán I salute you, the midwife that assist in delivery

In the front of his boat is money, behind are royal beads,

The hands of the sailor shine bright on the surface of the water

Child of he who threw away the oars

He who uses the bare hands to paddle to Ìṣẹri

If the king of Àkẹ̀sán is as short as a bottle or stump of tree,

If he has a small pistol, they are great hunters

Is it not the crown that turns into a boat everywhere!

Can’t you see!

They are the children of the black ram that enters the boat turned white (riddle)

They are of Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí stalk,

Child of him who assisted in the delivery of a goat

The place where iṣẹ́ sank is where we called Ìṣẹri

The place where the plate sank is where we call Àwórì

Àkẹ̀sán the rain, the sailor that owns Ìṣẹri

Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí stalk,

I salute you Child of him who assisted in the delivery of a goat

They are the child of the womú womú, womú womú of the orò cult

They are of Àkẹ̀sán ìlẹ́rí stalk,

Child of him who assisted in the delivery of a goat

Assist on earth. They assisted in heaven

Àkẹ̀sán I salute you the midwife that assist in delivery of a swimmer



The Àkẹ̀sán descendants are the first settlers of Lagos. Like everyone else, they migrated from Ifẹ̀ to Ìṣẹri (part of Lagos) to form a settlement whence they spread to other suburbs of Lagos. The story in the poem hinted that on their voyage down to the present settlement, they sailed on the water, and they had to use the bare hands to paddle to Ìṣẹri at one point. The sons and daughters of Àkẹ̀sán consulted the Ifá oracle for a new settlement, and they were asked to place a ware on the surface of the river, sail after it and make anywhere the ware sank as their new home. From the oral history which is a balance to the poem above, the word Àwórì is formed from Àwó rì (the ceramic ware/bowl sank). The orò cult (an all men frat) is also an important cult in Àwórìland. The onomatopoeia words; womú womú, nọ̀mù nọ̀mù and yùmùyùmù signifies the sound of the boar roarer used by the orò cult members in the middle of the night to fright the people. It is a taboo to enter the forest of the orò or for a woman to come in contact with the orò procession.



Ẹ̀wẹ̀so o. Ẹ̀wẹ̀so!

Ọmọ Alárẹ̀n, ọmọ Abulẹ̀-ṣowó

Ìjẹ̀bú ọmọ Ọbańta

Ọmọ Alágẹmọ ò kún wọ̀yọ̀wọ̀yọ̀,

Ìjẹ̀bú ti kúrò lágbègbè lásán,

Wọ́n pọlápọ̀ wọ́n dìlùú ńlá,

Wọ́n pọgbọ́npọ̀ wọ́n tàn kiri jánú ilé jánú oko,

Abulẹ̀-ṣowó, ọmọ Ìjẹ̀bú ṣèèyàn.

Ìjẹ̀bú-òde Ìjẹ̀bú ni,

Ìjẹ̀bú Igbó Ìjẹ̀bú ni, Ìjẹ̀bú Ìṣarà Ìjẹ̀bú Ìpẹ́ru,

Ìṣágámù ńkọ́ ṣebí ara Ìjẹ̀bú ni, Ìkòròdú ń bẹ létí Èkó, Ìjẹ̀bú ni gbogbo wọn.

Ẹ̀wẹ̀so o ọmọ Alárẹ̀n, ọmọ Abulẹ̀-ṣowó, ọmọ Alágẹmọ mẹ́rìndínlógún,

Olówó ṣílè ṣá lẹ̀yin, kékeré Ìjẹ̀bú owó ni,

Àgbà Ìjẹ̀bú owó ni, ọkùnrin Ìjẹ̀bú, obìnrin Ìjẹ̀bú owó ni,

Ẹ̀yin lọmọ ìmalẹ̀ afẹ̀lẹ̀jà. Ìjẹ̀bú ọmọ Alárẹ̀n,

Ọmọ Awùjalẹ̀, ọmọ Ọbańta ọmọ òrìṣà jẹ́ n là bí onílé yìí.

Ọmọ arígbáńlá buwó, ọmọ afọ́nwó bí ẹní fọ́n yangan.  

Ọmọ afìdìípọ̀tẹ̀ mọ́lẹ̀, afìdìípọ̀tẹ̀ bó bá ṣe pé t’Ìjẹ̀bú òde,

Kọ́mọ ọlọ́tẹ̀ ó gbọ̀n jolojolo, ọmọ òrìṣà jẹ́ n là bí onílẹ̀ yìí.

Ọmọ abẹ̀já borí ọmọ Ìjẹ̀bú ṣèèyàn, ọmọ alágbàlá Àádéwùre,

Dede Ìjẹ̀bú ọmọ òṣùpá yọ lókè wọ́n ní ò gún tó,

Wọ́n ní ẹni ọwọ́ọ rẹ̀ bá tókè ni kí ó tún n ṣe,

Ọmọ Ajagalúra, ọmọ Aróyèjoyè, ọmọ Dáburèwé,

Ọmọ awúre fàṣẹ banu, ọmọ Arígbáńlá buwó nílé baba tó bíi yín lọ́mọ.

Ọmọ olówó tí í joyè méjì pọ̀, ọmọ olówó tí í joyè méjì pọ̀,

Tó jẹ Awùjalẹ̀ tó tún jẹ Dáburèwé, ọmọ Ọlọ́jà tí wọ́n ná tòru tòru,

Ọmọ ilé tí ò jẹ́ ká béèrè toko, ọmọ adáṣọ wọ́lẹ̀ bí òyìnbó,

Ọmọ a dẹrú bí ẹní dẹran


Ìjẹ̀bú child of the king in the open, Ìjẹ̀bú child of Alárẹ̀n,

Child of the chameleon,

Ìjẹ̀bú is more than a little settlement,

They put wealth together to form a big town

They put minds together the spread across everywhere,

Abulẹ̀-ṣowó, Ìjẹ̀bú are good people. Ìjẹ̀bú-òde is Ìjẹ̀bú,

Ìjẹ̀bú Igbó is Ìjẹ̀bú, Ìjẹ̀bú Ìṣarà Ìjẹ̀bú Ìpẹ́ru, Ìṣágámù is also one of the Ìjẹ̀bú stalk, Ìkòròdú is on the river bank in Lagos, and they are all Ìjẹ̀bú

Greeting to you children of Alárẹ̀n, child that makes-money-through-selling-of-land, child of the sixteen chameleon,

The spender of Shillings, a young Ìjẹ̀bú person is rich,

An elder Ìjẹ̀bú is rich; men of Ìjẹ̀bú, women of Ìjẹ̀bú are rich,

You are the children of the deity who fights with cutlasses.

Ìjẹ̀bú, children of Alárẹ̀n,

Children of king Awùjalẹ̀, children of Ọbańta, deity let me be as prosperous like this landloard

Child of him who uses a large calabash to fetch money,

The child of him who sprinkles money like corn

Child that kills rebels, if it is Ìjẹ̀bú òde, the rebels will shiver like a baby, Child of the deity (Ògún) deity let me be as prosperous like this landloard

Child of him who is a doubter, Ìjẹ̀bús are good people,

Child of him who has a compound Àádéwùre,

All Ìjẹ̀bú, child of the moon that does not rise well,

They said who ever has a long hand should repair it,

Child of Ajagalúra, Child of Aróyèjoyè, child of Dáburèwé,

Child of him who uses awúre charm,

The children who use large calabash to fetch money in the house of their father.

The rich who holds two titles at a time,

He is Awùjalẹ̀, he is also Dáburèwé,

The marchant that sells through midnight

Child of the house who doesn’t want us to ask after the child outside,

The child who wears a flowing garment like the whitemen,

The child of him who tie slaves like a cattle.



Ìjẹ̀bú people are one of the Yorùbás that spread across the land. We have many Ìjẹ̀bú towns; Ìjẹ̀bú-òde, Ìjẹ̀bú Igbó, Ìjẹ̀bú Ìṣarà, Ìjẹ̀bú Ìpẹ́ru, Ìṣágámù, Ìkòròdú and including Ẹ̀pẹ́, not mentioned in the oríkì. This is one of the reasons why they are called Abulẹ̀-ṣowó. The regular greeting in Ìjẹ̀búland is Ẹ̀wẹ̀so. The paramount ruler of Ìjẹ̀búland is the Awùjalẹ̀.

Out of the numerous festivals of the Ìjẹ̀bú people is the annual Agẹmọ festival which comes up in July. All Ìjẹ̀bú indigene are praised as Child of the 16 chameleons. Sixteen is a very important number in Yorùbáland, these masquerades are great dancers.




Ọ̀yọ́ Aláàfin ọmọ ajoowúyọkọ lẹ́nu abìkùn tọ̀tọ̀ lẹ́yìn.

Ibi tí wọ́n ti ní kí olówó ó gbówó kí ìwọ̀fà ó da tọwọ́ọ rẹ̀ ílẹ̀.

Ṣé kó lè ba à dìjà kó lè bá a d’aápọn ni.

K’ọ́ba aládé ó le ríhun jẹ ni.

Ọ̀yọ́’mọ láàfin òjò paṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ madè ọmọ Àtìbà.

Babaláwo ló dífá wípé ibi tí ilẹ̀ gbé yọ̀ wọ́n lọ́jọ́sí,

Ó ní ibẹ̀ gan-an lààyè wọn,

Ibi ilẹ̀ gbé yọ̀ wọ́n ni àwọn èèyàn wọ̀nyí ó dúró sí,

Ibẹ̀ l’Ọ̀yọ́ àkọ́kọ́ k’ógun ó tó jà níbẹ̀,

Ogun ló jà l’Ọ́yọ̀ọ́ àkọ́kọ́ òun ló tú Ọ̀yọ́ àkọ́kọ́ ká,

Ọ̀yọ́ tá a wà lóde òní la mọ̀ s’Àgọ́ọ̀já níjọ̀ọ́sí,

Ọba ló tún ń tẹ̀ láyé Àtìbà ọba. Ajíṣebí Ọ̀yọ́ làárí,

Ọ̀yọ́ ò ṣebí baba ẹnì kankan. Pínníṣín lọmọ erin fi ń fọlá yagi.

Ọ̀yọ́ ló ni ká rìn ká ṣánpá. 

Ọ̀yọ́ ló ni ká gbésẹ̀ kó yẹ̀ẹ̀yàn. 

Òkò Àlàkẹ́ ọmọ afògbóràlú.

Bí a ò bá mọ erin a ò gbóhùn erin.

Ajíṣọlá ọmọ Ajoowúyọkọ lẹ́nu.

Abóbakú ń bẹ lálàde Ọ̀yọ́, Oníkọ̀ọ́ Abọ́bakú dùn lóyè.

Ijọ́ ikú Abóbakú gógó ní í kan bí i jogbo.

Ọmọ bààkàbaka nikùn ajìfà, ọmọ Oníkọ̀ọ́ ọmọ okùn ọlà.

Mo dúró ọwọ́ọ̀ mi ò tó ṣin, mo bẹ̀rẹ̀ ọwọ́ọ̀ mi ò tóṣin.

Àwọn àgbàkanàgbàkàn wọ́n ní kí n dọ̀bálẹ̀, mo dọ̀bálẹ̀ yẹ́kẹ́ gbogbo iṣin ló wọ́ dí n lọ́wọ́, iṣín wọ́ dí n lẹ́nu.


Ọ̀yọ́ of Aláàfin, who looks just like the smiths hammer.

The town where they say that the rich should take some money and ask the ìwọ̀fà to drop what they have.

Is it to cause a fight?

For the king to have something to eat (homage to the king)

Ọ̀yọ́ the child of the owner of the palace òjò paṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ madè child of king Àtìbà.

The babaláwo said they should settle where the ground is slippery,

He says that will be there spot,

It is where the ground is slippery that they will live,

That is the first Ọ̀yọ́ before the war; it is the war that scattered the first Ọ̀yọ́,

The present Ọ̀yọ́ is what we call Àgọ́-ọ̀já of old; it was king Àtìbà that turned things around.

No one is like an indigene of Ọ̀yọ́,

Ọ̀yọ́ doesn’t act like any other persons. An indigene of Ọ̀yọ́ is as strong as an elephant even from a tender age.

An indigene of Ọ̀yọ́ knows how to throw the hands

An indigene of Ọ̀yọ́ knows how to walk majestically.

If we don’t know the elephant, we hear the sound of the elephant

Ajíṣọlá child of Ajoowúyọkọ-lẹ́nu.

Abóbakú is in Ọ̀yọ́, Oníkọ̀ọ́ Abọ́bakú is a remarkable title.

The death of an Abóbakú is ferocious

I stand and my hands didn’t reach the ackee fruit,

I squat and my hand didn’t reach the ackee.

Some elders asked me to prostrate, I lay flat on the ground and all the ackee fell on my hands and mouth.




Much of these oral literatures tell of the supremacy of the Aláàfin (king) of Ọ̀yọ́ who was the overall king of all Yorùbá towns at one point in ancient time. Neibhouring towns pay homage to the king annually. The ìwὸfà (pawn system) was a common thing in those days so there were lots of pawns working for the Aláàfin. Àtìbà is one of the Aláàfin of Ọ̀yọ́ who was instrumental in planning the new Ọ̀yọ́ after old Ọ̀yọ́ was ravaged by war.

Like all Yorùbá towns, the Ifá divination system was consulted before a town is named or a settlement is created. This is featured in the oríkì, where it talks about the people settling where the ground is slippery. It is slippery ground that became Ọ̀yọ́. An important title in Ọ̀yọ́; the Abóbakú of the Oníkọ̀ọ́ totem is also highlighted in the panegyric.

The ackee fruit is one of the natural resources of Ọ̀yọ́.



Ọmọ Ẹ̀lúkú mẹdẹ́n mẹdẹ́n, ọmọ Èṣùmàrè pupa rè é wo Aláàfin.

Ọmọ afínjú olorì dé bọ́ba mẹ́ta.

Ọmọ aṣẹ́rá bàro pẹ̀pẹ ìjíná.

Ọmọ Ògún eléèlè méjì, ọmọ Líwẹ̀ nÍkòrò.

Ọmọ ọ̀pá ńlá ṣomi kẹ̀re.

Ọmọ Ẹ̀lúkú mẹdẹ́n, ọmọ umalẹ̀ a fìdìí jà.

Ọmọ ka fọ̀pá wà, ka f’àjè wà, ọmọ ká f’ògèdègédé ọwọ́ wakọ̀ dé Ìṣeri Mọlẹ, Alára mẹ́sùn, ọmọ ataná ọ̀sán.

Ìkòròdú ará Oríwù ọmọ aṣàlè jẹ̀jẹ̀ bí ẹni tí kò l’óbìnrin nílé bẹ́ẹ̀ ayá wà nílé tọmọtọmọ.

Ọmọ ẹni ọba ń retí rẹ̀ n’áàfin.

Ọmọ olóbì wọrọkọ ẹ̀bá ọ̀nà.

Ọmọ iwájú ọlọ́kọ̀ a máa sunwó, ẹ̀yìn ọlọ́kọ̀ a so èjìgbàrà ìlẹ̀kẹ̀,

Ọmọ ògèdègédé ọlọ́kọ̀ re mí tàn yẹbẹyẹbẹ n’ójú omi.

Ọmọ ajígbáràwé fìràwé nuwọ́.

Ọmọ Ìkòròdú ọ̀gá, ọmọ akénígbó kérù ó bará ilé,

Ọmọ akénígbó kérù ó bará ọ̀nà.

Ọmọ àgbà ńlá re ń fọ̀ dẹ̀mudẹ̀múdẹ́múdẹ̀mù


Child of the Ẹ̀lúkú mẹdẹ́n mẹdẹ́n cult,

Child of the red Èṣùmàrè that visited the Aláàfin.

Child of the clean and tidy queen that arrived to meet three kings

Child of aṣẹ́rá bàro pẹ̀pẹ ìjíná.

Child of Ògún who has two cutlasses, Child of Líwẹ̀ Ikòrò.

Child of the large rod that disturbs the water

Child of Ẹ̀lúkú mẹdẹ́n, child of the deity that fights with cutlasses.

Child of him who uses the rod and oar to roll,

Child who uses the bare hands to roll the boat down to Ìṣeri Mọlẹ,

One who has a body but never sleeps, who puts on the lamp during the day

Ìkòròdú of Oríwù, he who treats a concubine like one who has never seen a woman, yet he has a wife/wives at home with children

Child whom the king expects in the palace

Child of the kolanuts on the path.

Child of the sailor that oozes money,

Back of the sailor adorned with the royal èjìgbàrà ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ beads

He whose hands dazzle bright in the water

Child of him who sweeps the fallen leaves used in cleaning the hand

Ìkòròdú ọ̀gá, child of him who wails in the forest to scare those in the town,

Child of him who wails in the forest and scares those on the road path.

Child of the vessel that sounds dẹ̀mudẹ̀múdẹ́múdẹ̀mù



Orò literarily means custom; therefore it is a custom of the Ìjẹ̀bú people of Ìkòròdú to have the Ẹ̀lúkú cult which is a cult of men with two cutlasses in the hand. Líwẹ̀ is also another festival in Ìkòròdú celebrated in June.

Ìkòròdú knows how to keep and pamper women; this is testified to in the line about having a wife at home yet pampers the concubine.



Ìjẹ̀sà òṣèré ọmọ onílẹ̀ obì. Ọmọ ẹléní àtẹ́ẹ̀ká,

Ọláṣeéwọ̀, ọmọ agbódó poro ní Moye.

Díẹ̀ díẹ̀ lobì í bá wọn í rọ̀ lókìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n.

Òkeeke l’aṣọ òde Ìgbájọ, ẹ̀lẹ̀gọ̀dọ̀tìẹ̀mì l’aṣọ òde Ìjẹ̀sà.

Èmi kò mọbi tí Àbẹ́ní ti r’Ẹ́gbàá rọ̀hán gógó,

Èyí ké yìí ẹ bá rí lọ́jà ni kí ẹ rà fún mi wálé.

Kí n rí fi bá wọn jólóyè nínú ìran baba tó bíi yín lọ́mọ.

Ọmọ agbódó poro ni Moye.

Díẹ̀ díẹ̀ lobì í bá wọn í rọ̀ lókìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n.

Ẹnìkan kì í jólóyè kó dun ìran Ìjẹ̀ṣà láé.

Ta ni yóò jólóye tí yóò dùn yèyé ẹ̀yin.

Ọláhun ọmọ agbódó poro ni Moye.

Òpè ni wọ́n ń ki ìran baṣọrun kì í sọ̀rọ̀ ẹnu.

Òkìtì pẹtẹ ni wọ́n ń kí ìran Ìjẹ̀ṣà.

Òkìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n ni baba Àbẹ̀ní ti wá gbẹ̀jẹ́ òògùn.

Ẹ̀jẹ́ òògùn tí ẹ wá gbà lẹ ò ṣẹ́rí lọ sílé mọ́,

Ọmọ ogúnràlú, ọmọ arìnlọ́sìn.

Ọmọ kúnkùndùnkún a b’ewé gẹ̀rugẹ̀ru,

Ọ̀pọ̀lọpọ̀ oògùn a sì rumọ gàlègàlè,

Ọláṣeéwọ́ ọmọ ẹléní ẹwẹlẹ ọmọ olóbìkan ọwọ́ọ́wọ́tiíwọ́,

Ọmọ olóbìkan ọ̀wọ̀ọ̀wọ̀tiiwọ̀, ọmọ olóbì kan àjáṣowó,

Ẹní já wóró kan ẹgbàá kan,  

Ẹní já méjì ẹgbàá méjì,

Ẹnì já mẹ́rin ẹgbàá mẹ́rin.

Ẹni já mẹ́wàá lórugi owó, ọmọ atẹ́ní gbogún ayaba,

Ògúnràlú, ọmọ olóbì kan ọ̀wọ̀ọ̀wọ̀tiiwọ̀,

Gbogbo Ìjẹ̀ṣà kọ́ ní ń j’Óṣòómọ̀óló, ẹni tí í taṣọ nínú wọn ni


Ìjẹ̀sà òṣèré child of the soil filled with kola nut.

Child of the mat àtẹ́ẹ̀ká,

Ọláṣeéwò, child of him who makes mortal in Moye.

Bit by bit the kola nut drops in Òkìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n.

Òkeeke is the attire of Ìgbájọ, ẹ̀lẹ̀gọ̀dọ̀tìẹ̀mì is the attire of Ìjẹ̀sà.

I do not know where Àbẹ́ní got 2,000 to buy scarce attire,

Whichever one you can get for me in the market is what you should buy for me.

So that I can see one to use as a chief in the house of your father

Child of him who makes mortal in Moye

Bit by bit the kola nut drops in Òkìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n.

Ìjẹ̀ṣà stalk is never angry because one is a chief

They are never angry because one is wise

Ọláhun, child of him who makes mortal in Moye.

Òpè is how we praise the baṣọrun

Òkìtì pẹtẹ is how we salute the Ìjẹ̀ṣà.

Òkìtì Ẹ̀fọ̀n is from whence Àbẹ̀ní father came to fulfil a promise

You came to fulfil a promise but never went back home

Child of Ogúnràlú, child of Arìnlọ́sìn.

Child of kúnkùndùnkún (sweet potatos) with its shrub leaves,

Lot of charms makes the carrier misbehave,

Ọláṣeéwọ́ child of the ẹwẹlẹ mat,

Child of kolanut trees that drops ọwọ́ọ́wọ́tiíwọ́,

Child of the kolanut that drops ọ̀wọ̀ọ̀wọ̀tiiwọ̀,

Child of the harvest of kolanut that brings money,

He who plucks one makes 2000 cowries,

He who plucks two makes 4000,

He who plucks four makes 8000

He who plucks ten makes fortune,

Ògúnràlú, Child of the kolanut that drops ọ̀wọ̀ọ̀wọ̀tiiwọ̀,

Not all Ìjẹ̀ṣà are called Òṣòómọ̀óló, but the ones that sell cloths



It is pointed out that Ìjẹ̀sàland is endowed with lot of kolanut trees, and they are famous for weaving the ẹwẹlẹ mat. In the last line, the poem mentioned that not all Ìjẹ̀ṣà can be called Òṣòómọ̀óló; those that sells cloth on credit. The term Òṣòómọ̀óló is a contraction of òṣó ni màá ló gba owó mi – I will squat to collect my money.

Òṣòómọ̀óló goes about selling clothes on credit and at the end of the 3rd month return to collect the money from the debtor. The Ìjẹ̀sà people value pounded yam. They are good mortal makers.



Ẹ ǹlẹ́ o ọmọ Lágelú rọra bínú jógun ó sinmi.

Wọ́n ti ní toguntogun là á kó’Bàdàn.

Ọmọ Lágelú ọmọ ọ̀rapatamáfidà.

Tí í pa ọ̀tá sílẹ̀ kíjà ó tó dé.

Ẹni tá a bẹ̀ pé kó má jagun mọ́ tí í tún léwọ́ ogun,

Ìbàdàn ọmọ Ajòrosùn.

Ìbàdàn kì í dÍfá kÍfá ó mú ọmọ ará ìlú.

Wọ́n a ní kí wọ́n ó lọ rè é mú àjèjì wá fún’ fá.

Láyé tí wọ́n ṣì ń fi ènìyàn ṣẹbọ.

Wọ́n á nÍfá Ìbàdàn kì í gbonílẹ̀ bí àjèjì.

Àpasúfèrè kí o tó wọ̀ ọ́ níbi olè gbé ń jàre olóhun.

Ọmọ Ajẹ̀gbín yó, ọmọ afìkarahun fọ́ ori mu.

A kì í wáyé ká má lárùn kan lára ìjà ìgboro làrùn Ìbàdàn.

Ọ̀fẹgbẹ̀ ogun ńlá ṣagbára odi.

Ọmọ Amúra ìjà bí ẹní mọ̀ tẹ́lẹ̀.

Ìlú tó yìí kò nígbó ńlé, ìlú tóbi tórú èyí wọn ò nígbèdekè ọba.

Ìbàdàn ọmọ Ajòrosùn. Ọwá ló nìlú Ìjẹ̀ṣà, Aláké lọ nílẹ̀ Ẹ̀gbá.

Irú wá ògìrì wá ló gbilẹ̀ nÍbàdàn ti wa.

Ìbàdàn ọmọ Ajòrosùn.

Ìlú Olúyọ̀lé, ìlú olóógun, ìlú Ògúnmọ́lá, ìlú Àjàyí ìlú Ìbíkúnlé.

Ìbàdàn lo mọ̀ o ò mọ Láípó

Láípó sì ni baba Ìbàdàn


Greetings to you child of Lágelú, let war rest so peace will reign.

They have said that Ìbàdàn is renowned for war.

Child of Lágelú, the Ọ̀rapatamáfidà. That kills the enemy before the battle.

The person whom we asked not to fight but is calling for fight,

Ìbàdàn, the child of him who feed-on-the-plum for dinner.

Ìbàdàn Ifá oracle never pick indigenes for ritual.

They say that the oracle demands a stranger for rituals.

In those days when human is used for sacrifice.

They say that Ifá of Ìbàdàn never uses the indigene but strangers.

Àpasúfèrè before you enter it,

Where the thief is right for stealing from the owner.

Child of him who feeds on snails,

Child of him who eats-cornmeal-in-the-snailshell.

No one is created perfect, street fight is the problem of Ìbàdàn.

Ọ̀fẹgbẹ̀ ogun ńlá ṣagbára odi.

Child of him who prepare for war as if he knows war is approaching.

A town as large as this but with no forest,

A town is this large yet have no uniformity of king.

Ìbàdàn child of Ajòrosùn. The king; Ọwá owns Ìjẹ̀ṣàland,

The king of Aké; Aláké owns Ẹ̀gbáland.

Our Ìbàdàn accommodate all and sundry (all tribes).

Ìbàdàn child of Ajòrosùn.

Town of Olúyọ̀lé, a town of warriors,

Home of Ògúnmọ́lá, home of Àjàyí

Home of Ìbíkúnlé.

You only know Ìbàdàn but not Láípó,

However, Láípó is the father of Ìbàdàn



As explained in the introduction, oríkì is filled with names of outstanding people who had done tremendiously well for their town. In this panegyric on Ìbàdàn, names of famous persons are mentioned, the likes of Lágelú, Olúyọ̀lé, Ògúnmọ́lá, Àjàyí and Ìbíkúnlé.

A popular trait of the Ìbàdàn people is street fighting, Ìbàdàn people are aggressive, and it was their aggressiveness that saved Yorubaland in the war with the Fulani.Ìbàdàn is a mixture of Ẹ̀gbá, Òwu and Ọ̀yọ́ people, they came together to form Ìbàdàn.



Òjé ọmọ òkò méjì.

Ọmọ Apajáfúnwọnráwọ.

Ẹ̀là ọmọ òkò, n kò gbọdọ̀ jẹran ẹ̀gà.

Ọmọ Láyímesé Àpèjoyè.

Ará Wọ́n ìn Ìlasaògbáró.

Ọmọ Búnibúni Ab’éèbú-wọ̀ǹtì-wọnti.

Òṣónú ilé baba ò gbáàlọ̀.

Obìnrin j’owú ọ̀rẹ̀rẹ̀. À l’ó b’ìṣe ‘ẹ̀ jẹ́.

Jẹ́ wọn ó máa bú mi Ab-èébú-wọ̀ùntì-wọunti.

Aì í béèrè àgbà. Nílé Olú Òjé ọmọ ‘Wínróunbí.

Èèjánú ilé òjé’ un wọ́n wá san ni àbí ò san?

Ọmọ aláàáyá-kan-itáálá-itáálá.

Olú Òjé ọmọ àáyá kan tòòlò ni tòòlò.

Ọmọ Akẹ́yẹwálé ẹẹ kú.

Olú Òjé kẹ́yẹ wádò, ọmọ afínjú ‘mi-lagbada

Ọmọ Akẹ́yẹwádò ọmọ ifojosowe, ti n ba lo ile awon baba mi.

Mo molee won.

Arọ́tíwẹ̀ As’ààlàìjà. Ọmọ A-pajáá-bí-iná.

Ọmọ Ajá-ń-kan’mi-iná.

Ọmọ olúwońjòwèrè-pàtà.

Èmi ò ní jàjà olúwo.

T’ó jẹ ìkere lẹ́nu.

Bẹ́ẹ̀ ni Fìjàbí n’baba Oyèéwùsì.

Oyèéwùsì ọmọ Fìjàbíadé. Ọmọ Ṣoró-rọkú.

Ọmọ àìṣorórọikú.

‘Gbà tí èmi múnú ṣọgbọ́n mo múkùn mo e ṣe ìmọ̀ràn.

Èmi torí oyè bá wọn r’Òjé ń’lé Ṣolúgbadé.

Mo gbádé bo orí.

Mo sì r’óyè ilé wa jẹ. Ẹyìn-ín pọ́n l’Ójèé.

Obìnrin ò gbọdọ̀ kọ.

Nílé wa Ọkùnrin ò gbọdọ̀ wẹkù.

Àbọ̀dé ogun Kíìjì Un l’obìnrin pagbà l’ó pàáké.

T’ọ́kùnrin ń wẹkù l’ójú mi.


Òjé, child of two stones. Child of him who kills-dog-for-its-hide.

Ẹ̀là child of stone, I must not eat the palm bird.

Child of Láyímesé Àpèjoyè.

Indigene of Wọ́nìn Ìlasa-ò-gbáró. Child of him who is used to cursing.

Let them curse me Ab-èébú-wọ̀ùntì-wọunti.

We don’t ask of the elders. In the house of the king of Òjé child of ‘Wínróunbí.

Èèjánú ilé òjé’ un wọ́n wá san ni àbí ò san?

Child of a monkey itáálá-itáálá. King of Òjé child of a monkeyas red as coal.

Child of him who brings-home-birds(Akẹ́yẹwálé).

The king of Òjé brought bird home, Child of Afínjú ‘mi-lagbada

Child of him who brings-home-birds omo ifojosowe, ti n ba lo ilea won baba mi. Mo molee won.

Arọ́tíwẹ̀ A-ṣ’ààlà-ìjà. Child of A-pajáá-bí-iná. Child of Ajá-ń-kan’mi-iná.

Child of Olúwo-ń-jòwèrè-pàtà. I won’t eat the dog of the sacrificial person.

That eats ìkere in the mouth.

Fìjàbí is the father of Oyèéwùsì.

Oyèéwùsì child of Fìjàbíadé. Child of Ṣoró-rọkú.

Child of Àìṣorórọ ikú.

It is until I applied wisdom and knowledge.

I went with them to Òjé in the house of Ṣolúgbadé because of a chieftancy title. I have a crown on my head.

And the chieftancy title of my house was conferred on me.

The palm kernel is ripe in Òjé. Women dare not harvest.

In our house men must not enter the ẹkù (place where palmoil is made).

The aftermath of theKírìjì war is when women started climbing the palmtree to harvest palm kernel, and men began entering the ẹkù.



One of the longest war in Yorùbáland is the Kírìjì of 1877 – 1893 is mentioned in this poem. This lineage are great wine makers and drinkers of palmwine, they also knows so much about palm-oil making because there are enough palm trees in the land. It is obvious that there are great numbers of palm trees in Òjé. Hence, the palm bird is forbidden for Òjé lineage. Òjé is close to Ọ̀fàin Kwara. There is a legend that the palmchat birds alerted the king at night when the enemies were approaching.



Òpómúléró Mọja Àlekàn Abímbéṣú,

Àlé Ọ̀yun, ‘m’ ara ire tí í lo aṣọ.

Kẹ̀ẹ̀kẹ́ ta dídùn aṣọ l’èdìdì ènìyàn.

Ọmọ Òpó kiribítí kiribítí.

Baba wa ní í ṣe. Òpó kiribìtì kiribìtì.

Abímbéṣú, ‘mọ “B’ óǹyọ ò yọ.

Emi l’òǹyẹ̀ ó yẹ̀?” Ìwànú, ọmọ “B’óǹyẹ̀ ò yẹ̀.

Emi l’òǹgbọ̀n ó gbọ̀n?” Ońwànú, ọmọ “B’óǹgbọ̀n ò gbọ̀n

Kí l’Ẹ̀sà ògbín óò rí rọ́ borí ròde rèé jó ń ‘jọ́ ọjọ́ bá tó?

Gbogbo eégún ilé wa, àrán mà l’ aṣọ.

Ọmọ ìyá l’ajá òun ọ̀bọ.

Ọmọ ìyá l’ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ òun ìmàdó.

Ọmọ ìyá ni wọ́n, wọn ì í ṣe ‘yèkan.

Ọmọ eṣú ya’ ílé. Ọmọ eṣú ya ‘óko.

Aṣòkùnșẹ̀kẹ́ onílẹ̀-adẹ̀ẹ̀rẹ̀-ọ̀gàn.

Abímbéṣú. Ẹni ó lodò n’ yóó lỌ̀yun.

T’Eṣújọbí ọmọ Ara ire tí í lo aṣọ.

Ẹkẹ́ ì í múléró, Mọja Àlekàn.

Ọwá ì í múléró Mọja Àlekàn, Okùn ì í múléró Mọja Àlekàn.

Òpó ì í múléró Mọja Àlekàn.

Tọkọtaya ní í múléró, Mọja Àlekàn.

Ní í máaá bí ‘mọ ire fún’ ni.

Obìnrin l’ó torí akọ di’rí ọ̀wẹ́wẹ́.

Ọkùnrin l’ó torí abo yẹ̀ṣọ́ Mọja Àlekàn.

Èébú mẹ́ta l’èébú wọn ń’lé Mọja. Iwájú àwọn Mọja, Mọja.

Ẹ̀yìn àwọn Àlekàn, ọ̀ṣọ́.

Ọmọ Alákùkọ-gàgàrà.

Tí í máaá r’ódó kan bà lé téńté. Ojúmọ́ mọ́.

Wọ́n l’áwọn ń lọ ìlú Ọ̀han.

Ọmọ ẹkẹ́ ire t’ó dáa tí í jẹ́ Mọja.

Òòrùn kàntàrí. Wọ́n láwọn ń lọ ìlú Ọ̀han.

Ọmọ ẹkẹ́ ire t’ó dáa tí í jẹ́ Mọja.

Ọ̀ṣọ́ Mọja Àlekàn.


The pillar holds the house firm, child of Jàá the strong Abímbéṣú,

From Àlé Ọ̀yun, child of him who wears good clothes.

Child that makes good clothing from cotton.

Child of a pillar so firm. That is our father. A pillar so firm.

I-was-born-with-locust, child of “B’ óǹyọ ò yọ. What will the òǹyẹ̀ ó yẹ̀?”

Ìwànú, child of “B’óǹyẹ̀ ò yẹ̀.

What will the òǹgbọ̀n ó gbọ̀n?” Ońwànú, child of òǹgbọ̀n ò gbọ̀n

What will Ẹ̀sà ògbín the masquerade use in covering its head when the day comes?

All masquerade in our house, wears velvet. Dogs are monkeys are siblings.

The pigs and wild pigs are siblings.They are of same mother, they are not relatives.

Child of the locust-came-home (eṣú ya’ ílé).

Child of the locust-came-to-farm (eṣú ya ‘óko).

Aṣòkùnṣẹ̀kẹ́ onílẹ̀-adẹ̀ẹ̀rẹ̀-ọ̀gàn.

Abímbéṣú. Who ever owns the river owns Ọ̀yun.

T’Eṣújọbí child of him who wears good clothes.

The rafter never holds the house firm, Mọja Àlekàn.

Ọwá never holds the house firm, Mọja Àlekàn,

The rope never holds the house firm Mọja Àlekàn.

The pillar never holds the house firm Mọja Àlekàn.

It is man and wife that hold the house firm, Mọja Àlekàn.

It brings forth good children.

It is woman that has lovely plaited hairdo because of men.

Men have nice haircuts because of women Mọja Àlekàn.

There are three curses in the house of Mọja.

Front of the Mọja, Mọja.

Rear of the Àlekàn, the fashoinable.

Child ofa gargantuan cock (Alákùkọ-gàgàrà).

That stands on a mortar. Morning rise.

They said they are going to Ọ̀han town.

Child of the good rafter that is called Mọja.

The sun shines bright.

They said they are leaving for Ọ̀han town.

Child of the good rafter that is called Mọja.

The fashionable Mọja Àlekàn.



The Òpómúléró lineage migrated from Àlé Ọ̀yun in Ọ̀yọ́ … They are very fashionable people; their elegance is portrayed in the poem. It is said that they are good & calm people “oní ìwà nínú”, and it is a custom for all masquerades in the land to use velvet in making their attire. Mọja means ọmọ Jàá, while Alekan means a fierce person. Òpómúléró are Ìkòyí people.



Ọmọ ọlọ́fà-kan-ògíríolú. Ọmọ apó titi. Ẹbirì titi.

Àrọ̀nì gbé’lé ìmọ̀. Gbé’ lé eléwé. Àrọ̀nì ò gbélé,

Olúkòyí ò sinmi ogún-lílọ. Ìyeke Ìgèdé ọmọ Gbọ̀n-ǹ-káà.

Ogun l’ó ká yín mọ́’gbó. L’ẹ d’ará igbó. Ogun ká yín m’ọ́dàn.

Ẹ d’èrò ọ̀dàn. Ogún ká yín mọ́ mòkítì. Ẹ d’olú eesun.

Ẹ ń j’ọ́mọ gbélé. Ọmọ gbégbẹ̀ẹ́. Ọmọ gbéjù. Gbégboro.

Gb’órí-oko. GbÁáwẹ́. GbÁágba.

Gbé Kọ̀bàì. GbÓgbòómọ̀șọ́.

Gbé’lé Ifọ́n. Gbé ti Kúta. Òkè kan l’ à á lé ‘ni í tì sí, ọmọ ẹrù ọfà.

Ojú-oró ni ò j’ ẹ́sẹ̀ ẹyẹ ó tó omi. Ìtàkùn ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́ ò j’ómi ọba ó tòrò.

Ojú-oró ìbá j’ẹ́sẹ̀ ẹyẹ ó tó omi. Ìtàkùn ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́ ìbá j’ómi ọba ó tòrò.

‘Bo lá bá róhun mú b’ Ọbà. Mú b’Ọ̀ṣun? Mú b’Ajagun?

Òòṣà méjèèjì Ìrè. Tí ń bẹ n’Ípẹ̀kun òpópó. Wọn ì í jiyán. Wọn ì í jẹ̀kọ. T’ojúmọ́ mọ́. Ogun ni wọn-ọ́n tọrọ. L’ọ́wọ́ ọba. Ọba kọ̀.

Ọba ò ṣígun. Òòṣà ò ṣíkọ̀. Wọn ò pẹsẹ̀dà. Ọba ní á f’ọdún nìín kàgbo.

F’ẹ̀ẹ̀míìn ṣ’òògùn ọ̀wọ̀. B’ó ṣ’ọdún mẹ́ta òní. Ogún yá.

Ogun ń bẹ lọ́wọ́ Ọba. Ọmọ sùn-‘ dí-àgbá. N’ílé Igbọ́n.

Lónìí wá lọ́jà. N’Ísòkùn. Ẹni ọbá dá rere. Jẹ̀ní Àgbén’Ígbọ́n.

Ọmọ olè lósì. Má ṣáájú ogun. Má f’awọ ẹkùn gbọ́n eeni.

Má gb’ẹ̀yìn lógun. Má f’awọ ẹkùn yẹ́rẹ̀.

Àárín gùngùn l’à á f’aláwọ-ẹkùn sí.

Ará Jẹ̀ní Ọ̀bẹbẹ Igbọ́n n’lé ọmọ Erelú abẹ.

Oníkòyí ọmọ Adógunjà-lẹ́yìn-ẹni-ó-logun.


Child ofthe arrow shooter-that-never-misses.

Child of the arrows and arrow poison.

Àrọ̀nì (charm maker) lives in the house ofpalm fronds.

Lives in the house of leaves.

Àrọ̀nì didn’t stay home, the king; Olúkòyí will never cease to fight.

Ìyeke Ìgèdé child of Gbọ̀n-ǹ-káà, the warrior.

War met you in the forest, you becameinhabitants of the forest.

War met you in the grassland; you became the inhabitant of the grassland.

War met you in Mòkítì. You became the head of the eesun flies.

You are name Ọmọgbélé (child-live-in-the-house),

Ọmọgbégbẹ̀ẹ́ (child-leave-in-the-forest),

Ọmọ gbéjù (child-live-in-the-wilderness),

Gbégboro (live-in-the-town),

Gb’órí-oko (live-on-the-fram),

GbÁáwẹ́ (live-in-Aáwẹ́),

GbÁágba (live-in-Aágba),

Gbé Kọ̀bàì (live-in-Kọ̀bàì),

GbÓgbòómọ̀ṣọ́ (live-in-Ògbòómọ̀ṣọ́),

Gbé’lé Ifọ́n (live-in-the-house-of-Ifọ́n)

Gbé ti Kúta (live-in-Kúta),

Òkè kan l’ à á lé ‘ni í tì sí, child ofthe load of the arrows.

Water Lillies didn’t make the legs of the birds touch the water.

The root of the ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́ does not make the water calm.

Had the Lillies let the birds’ leg touch the water?

Had the root of the ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́ make the water calm.

How would we sacrifice to Ọbà?

Sacrifece to Ọ̀ṣun? Sacrifice to Ajagun?

The two deities of Ìrè. At the extreme end of the road.

They don’t eat pounded yam. They don’t eat cornmeal.

When the morning rise, they request for war in the hands of the king.

The king declined. The king didn’t move the motion for war. The deity didn’t move as well. No war.

The king said we should make decocoction this year,

We should use the next year for charm of honour.

Three years after, we go to war.

War is in the hands of the king. Child of him who sleeps-with-the-brewing pot.

In the house of Igbọ́n. Today come to the market in Ìsòkùn.

Jẹ̀ní who lives in Ígbọ́n. Child of the thief on the left. Don’t lead the war.

Don’t disgrace the leopards hide. Don’t stay at the rear in battle.

Don’t use the leopards hide to rub mud.

It is in the centre that the leopard-hide wearer fights.

Indigene of Jẹ̀ní Ọ̀bẹbẹ Igbọ́n in the house of Erelú abẹ.

Oníkòyí, child of he-who-fights-war-in-the-absence-of-the-waring-party.



Oníkòyí or the Ìkòyí people are wonderful soldiers. They are the protector of Ọ̀yọ́ kingdom of those days, and they are great arrow shooters, they are known as ẹ̀ṣọ́. In the poem is a story describing the process of planning for a war, it shows the process, from the rituals of the Àrọ̀nì and the declaration of war by the king. The ẹ̀ṣọ́s use the leopard’s hide on their war uniform. River Ọbà, Ọ̀ṣun and Ajagun are three important deities of the Ọ̀fà (Kwara) people.



Ará Aké Màjó ṣe wọ́n ń bẹ nílé ni àbí wọ́n ròde.

Ṣélé lẹ wà tí ẹ ò wòde, ẹ̀yìnkùlé lẹ wà tí ẹ ò wo ọ̀dẹ̀dẹ̀ wò,

Bí gbàgede lẹ bá wà ẹ ò wòyẹ̀wù.

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó má jòó gbẹrú má jòó gbẹ̀kọ.

Ṣ’Áláké ń bẹ nílé ni àbí ó ròde.

Aláké jọjọ bí, Ẹ̀gbá ni wọ́n ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù.

Àwọn lọmọ má jòó gbẹrú, wọ́n ní kí o jó gbẹrú kí o má jòó gbẹ̀kọ.

Wọ́n lẹ́nu ní í sin’ ni, ẹrú ní í sin ni ẹ̀kọ ò gbọdọ̀ sìn’yàn.

Ọmọ jójó ńnú ilé,

Ọmọ ọba tó bí lọ́mọ Ará Aké Mọ̀jó.

Mọ̀jó gbẹrú má jòó gbẹ̀kọ.

Wọ́n ní ó lè jeku kò jeku, ó lè jẹja kó jẹja.

Ìgàngán olódò ni ò gbọdọ̀ bá wọn jẹ.

Àwọn lọmọ womú womú o, 3ce.

Ẹ ò rí ọmọ Aláké jọbí ará Aké Mọ̀jó.

Ó dẹlẹ́ẹ̀kínní mo ní kí ẹ wá forò yìí mọ̀ mí ńlé baba yín ńjọ́sí,

Pẹlẹbẹ igi lẹ gbé lé mi lọ́wọ́, ìgbà tí ó di ẹlẹ́ẹ̀kejì ẹ̀wẹ̀ pẹlẹbẹ igi lẹ gbé lé mi lọ́wọ́,

Ìgbà tí ó dẹlẹ́ẹ̀kẹ́ta ẹ̀wẹ̀, ẹní kí…

Mo rọkà kan mìnìjọ,

Kàkà kí ẹ forò yìí mọ̀ mí, pẹlẹbẹ igi lásán lẹ gbé lé mi lọ́wọ́,

Àṣé womù (11ce) lorò í ké.

Ẹ̀yin lọmọ womú womù, oòrè ò pagi òòrè ò pọ̀pẹ̀.

Wọ́n ní bó ti ṣe ṣe igi etílé, lòòrè ò pa,

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó, má jòó gbẹrú, má jòó gbẹ̀kọ.

Ẹrú ní í sin ni ẹ̀kọ ò tì ẹ wulẹ̀ sìn’yàn.

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó nílé baba tó bí wọn lọ́mọ.

Èjìòkọ̀mí, gbogbo wọn pátá ni mo kí tí mi ò lólódì kan.

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó má jòó gbẹrú má jòó gbẹ̀kọ.

Ọmọ Aláké ni yín, Ẹ̀gbá ọmọ orò tí í dún nọ̀mù nọ̀mù.

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó bí ẹ bá délé ẹ bá n kí ẹnì kan mi, ẹ pé mo kí wọn mo kí wọn.

Ará Aké Mọ̀jó ooo.

Mà mà jó gbẹrú má jòó gbẹ̀kọ, ẹrú ní í sin ni, ẹ̀kọ ò sìn yàn.


Indigene of Aké Mọ̀jó are they home or out?

Are you indoors, or you are in the backyard

Or is it in the corridor, look indoors.

Indigenes of Aké Mọ̀jó don’t dance to accept slaves, don’t dance to accept cornmeal.

Is Aláké home or gone out?

Aláké people are Ẹ̀gbá, the child of the orò cult that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù.

They are the children of don’t-dance-to-accept-slaves,

They said you should dance-to-accept-slaves you shouldn’t dance-to-accept-cornmeal.

They said it is the slave that serves for one, cornmeal will never serve one.

Child of him who dances in the house,

Child of the king, indigene of Aké Mọ̀jó.

Dance-to-accept-slaves don’t-dance-to-accept-cornmeal.

They say if he can eat rat let him eat rat, he can eat fish let him eat fish.

Only Ìgàngán fish is forbidden for him to eat.

They are the child of womú womú o, 3ce.

Can you see!

Children of Aláké jọbí indigene of Aké Mọ̀jó.

In the first instance, I asked to be initiated into the misery,

It is a flat wood that was handed over to me,

In the second instance, you also gave me a flat wood,

In the third instance, you said I should accept the flat wood and make a yam flour meal, I did and afterwards and I prepared a yam flour meal,

Instead of showing me the misery, a flat wood that was handed over to me,

So it is womù (11ce) that the orò cult cries!

You are the children ofwomú womù, oòrè never falls trees or palm-trees.

They say it is the tree close to the home, that òòrè can kill,

People of Aké Mọ̀jó, dance-to-accept-slaves don’t-dance-to-accept-cornmeal.

It is slave that serves one, not cornmeal.

Indigene of Aké Mọ̀jó in the house of their father.

Èjìòkọ̀mí, I salute all of them.

People of Aké Mọ̀jó, dance-to-accept-slaves don’t-dance-to-accept-cornmeal.

You are the children of Aláké, you are Ẹ̀gbá, child of the orò cult that sounds nọ̀mù nọ̀mù.

People of Aké Mọ̀jó if you get home, help me greet them,

Indigene of Aké Mọ̀jó ooo.


It is slave that serve for one, not cornmeal.



Aké are good dancers, like the other Ẹ̀gbá people, they value the orò cult. The power of the orò elders is sometimes displayed by making possessed trees fall to the ground.


Òkè Ihò

Òkè Ihò ọmọ Ọlọ́fin Àjàká, ọmọ apàtàkì àlejò.

Ọmọ Arójòjoyè, ọmọ adélé tejiteji.

Ẹ kú àmókègùn ni wọ́n ń kíran baba yín lókè ihò.

Òkè rìbìtì rìbìtì ni ò jẹ́ kómi ó gba àárín ìlú já.

Òkè Bíáyìn ń bẹ níbẹ̀ tó kàn’run, ọmọ òkè ihò ọmọ apàtàkì àlejò.


Òkè Ihò child of Ọlọ́fin Àjàká, child of him who cares for visitors.

Child of Arójòjoyè, child of him who-gets-home-drenched-in-rain.

“Ẹ kú àmókègùn”is how we greet your fathers in Òkè Ihò.

It is the mountain that prevented water from passing through the town.

Mountain Bíáyìn touches the heavens,

Children of Òkè Ihò, child of him who cares for visitors.



Some oríkì talks about recent times while others refer to more ancient times. In the above oríkì, Ọlọ́fin Àjàká was mentioned, and this is points to one of the kings of ancient Ifẹ̀. Therefore, it is a reminder to all people of Òkè Ihò that they are descendants of Ọlọ́fin Àjàká. From the line “Ọmọ Arójòjoyè, ọmọ adélé tejiteji”, it shoes that Ọlọ́fin Àjàká came home drenched in rain. If you are to greet in Òkè Ihò, you simply say “ẹ kú àmókègùn”, which may be translated to climbing-the-mountain. Òkè Ihò is mountain of holes.



Ọmọ Ìlaròó, èjì ògógó kúlódò tó ti Ìgbórí ilé wá,

Ọmọ adìẹ sùn wọ́n ṣe bí kúkú ló kú,

Kí wọ́n ó tó lọta tán, adìẹ dìde polongo,

Ará Ìlaròó, ẹ̀yin lọmọ erin ló nigbó ẹfọ̀n ló lọ́dàn,

Ṣe bẹ́yin lọmọ pàkan làkan là á jíjó awo nÍgbòrí Ilé.

Ọmọ iná tí í jó geregere lórí omi.

Ọmọ àrán ò sunwọ̀n, a kọ̀ ọ́ nígbàlẹ̀, ọmọ òkú ẹ̀kọ, ọmọ ìjàgùdù àkàrà.

Ọmọ agbéléjẹkú ọmọ là á yó nílé baba ẹ̀yin.

Ọmọ ekú lódòlodò ọmọ iná tí í jó gere lórí omi,

Ògógó eébà ọrọ̀, ògógó eébà ọrọ̀, Ará Ìlaròó ọmọ iná eésan.

Ẹ̀yin lọmọ òwú dúdú tí kò yá bùran, ọmọ kúlódò a ò jí, ọmọ kúlódò a ò ṣ’Ẹ̀yọ̀, Ọmọ kúlódò tó t’Ìgbórí ilé wá, ọmọ Sóúngbé olúkan, kiní kan ò joyè lẹ́sà,

Kó bá sì joyè lẹ́sà ńkọ́?

Ilésanmí n lọba ń mú wọn ń jẹ.


Child of Ìlaròó, èjì ògógó kúlódò that came from Ìgbórí ilé,

Child of him who went gathering ingredients for soup when the fowl sleeps. Thinking that the fowl is dead, before they finish grinding the pepper.

The hen woke up from sleep. People of Ìlaròó, you are the children of the elephant that owns the forest, the buffalo that owns the grassland, is it not you that danced the cult dance pàkan làkan in Ìkòrí Ilé.

Child of the fire that burns on the water. Child of the velvet cloth that is not accepted in the tent of the masquerade, child of the cornmeal, child of the beancake.

Child of Agbéléjẹkú (Stay-home-to-eat-death) in the house of your father.

Child of ekú lódòlodò Child of the fire that burns on the water, Ògógó eébà ọrọ̀. Ògógó eébà ọrọ̀, indigene of Ìlaròó child of the fire of eésan (back of the kernel seed).

You are the children of the dark cotton that is not suitable for weaven,

Child of Kúlódò how was the night?

Child of Kúlódò, we don’t know Ẹ̀yọ̀,

Child of Kúlódò that came from Ìgbórí ilé,

Child of Sóúngbé Olúkan,

One thing is never made a chief in Ẹ̀sà, what if a chieftancy is given in Ẹ̀sà? It is the title of Ilésanmí that the king conferred on them.



Ìlaròó is a part of Ẹ̀gbádò in Abẹ́òkúta, Ògùn state; they are blood relatives with the Yewa people as it is evidence in the first line of the oríkì. The other lines also emphasize the fact that Ìlaròó people are the followers of the Ògógó masquerade.




Àwórì ọmọ Ògúnfúnminírè,

Ọmọ aàrẹ ọ̀nà-kakaǹfò, Àtókún ògbójú ọdẹ aperin ògànganjìri oògùn.

Àrọ̀nì rógun má judi, ọkùnrin t’ọ́kùnrin.

Ọmọ aládé jìnwìnjinwin ìlẹ̀kẹ̀.

Ọmọ eégún ilé tí í tiwájú gbọta, tí í fi í wakọ̀ délé Ìṣẹri.

Gbogbo Àwórì kọ́ ló tara Ògúnfúnminírè jáde o jàre,

Ṣùgbọ́n ipasẹ̀ẹ rẹ̀ ni a fi sọ oókọ Àwórì.

Ẹ̀yin lọmọ ìdẹ́jọ́ ilé ìdẹ́jọ́ oko.

Ìdẹ́jọ́ ilé la mọ̀ sáwọn ọmọ Àjàyí tó gbádé wọmi níjọ́síjọ̀sìjọ́sí,

Ìdẹ́jọ́ oko la mọ̀ láwọn ọmọ Akésàn nílée baba ẹ̀yin,

Ọmọ egungun ilé tí í tiwájú gbọta.


Àwórì the child of Ògúnfúnminírè

Child of aàrẹ ọ̀nà-kakaǹfò (army generalsimo),

Àtókún the fierce hunter of elephant with assorted charms.

Àrọ̀nì sees war and set for war, man up to a man.

Child of the elaborately designed crown.

Child of the house masquerade that receives bullet in the front,

Till he sailed to Ìṣẹri.

Not all Àwórì originates from Ògúnfúnminírè,

But through him we named them Àwórì.

You are the child of Ìdẹ́jọ́-ilé and Ìdẹ́jọ́-oko.

Ìdẹ́jọ́ ilé are the children of Àjàyí that took the crown into water in those days,

Ìdẹ́jọ́ oko are the children of Akésàn,

Child of the house masquerade that receives bullet in the front.



Ògúnfúnminírè is the forefathers of the Àwórì people. Legend has it that Ògúnfúnminírè was a skilled hunter who usualy transform into a python at night to hunt animals. The concluding part of the oríkì says that not all of the Àwórì are direct descendants of the great hunter, while some are from the bloodline of Àjàyí (Ìdẹ́jọ́ ilé), some are of the Akésàn (Ìdẹ́jọ́ oko) bloodline.



Èkó Arómisálẹ̀lgbẹlẹ̀gbẹ, ìlú etí òkun ìlú aláfẹ́.

Ìlú wo ló tún gbáfẹ́ bí Èkó.

Gbogbo odò ní í forí f’Ólókun a ò m’ọ̀sà ká tó jiyọ̀ lọ́bẹ̀.

Ibi ilé ńlá ńlá pin sí.

Èkó Àkéte ìlú ọgbọ́n, ìlú tó wà láàárín alagbalúbú omi.

Òrìṣà odò ló ní ká la títì sórí ọ̀sà, Èkó Àdelé mo dẸ́yọ̀ mo dágéré,

Mo sáré j’ẹlẹ́sẹ̀ méjì lọ.

Ọmọ arábájá retí omi, mo w’ọ̀dẹ̀dẹ̀ mo tẹlẹ̀ẹ rọ̀fọ̀.

Ta ló ní wọn ò lómi l’Ékòó Àdèlé.

Ọmọ olódò aṣàn rẹrẹ.

Ẹ bi wọ́n, ẹ ní ta ló labatabútú omikómi.

Ẹ béèrè pé ta ló làbàtàbútú odòkódò.

Bálẹ́ bá lẹ́ n l’Èkòó ṣẹ̀ṣẹ̀ mọ́.

Ó yá ẹ jẹ́ ká rèlú onífàájì.


Lagos the city on the bank of the ocean, city of relaxation.

Where there are gigantic houses.

All river bows down to Olókun (deity of the ocean)

We don’t know the lagoon before we eat salt in the soup.

Lagos the bed, city of wisdom, the city in the middle of the water.

It is the deity of the river that said we should contruct a road on the lagoon.

Lagos the bed, I became Ẹ̀yọ̀, I became àgéré,

I ran faster than those with two legs.

Child of the wealthy one by the water side,

I entered the house and I step on mudy floor.

Who said there is no water in Lagos of Àdèlé?

Child of the river that flows rẹrẹ.

Ask them; ask who owns the deep waters.

Ask that who owns the deep river.

Lagos morning starts at night fall.

Now, let’s visit the city of relaxation.



This is the oríkì of Lagos, and it talks about the beauty of Lagos as a coastal city, home of wisdom where its people have a penchant for relaxation and fun.

The cities cultural attractions; Ẹ̀yọ̀ àgéré is also highlighted. Àdèlé was once a king of  Lagos.


Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún

Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún olú ògbóǹnà ló jẹ́,

Mo kí i yín pẹ̀lẹ́ pẹ̀lẹ́, ọmọ ògbóyè ṣá lẹ̀yin.

Ọmọ ewúrẹ́ Ìlá tó jẹ lẹ́sẹ̀ẹ gbàgede,

Àgùntàn Ọ̀ràngún jẹ lẹ́sẹ̀ẹ yàrà,

Àkùkọ Ọ̀ràngún tó gorí ọ̀pẹ lè é lé téńté,

Ó kọ́ f’Ajerò, ó sì p’Alárá tantantan, Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún ọmọ Ògbóyè.

Níjọ́ ìjọ́hun àná, àgbàrá mẹ́ta ló ṣàn tó la òde Ìlá já,

Ìkan ṣàn ó re Ìperin,

Ìkejì ṣàn ó r’Ẹ̀yìnbì,

Ìkẹta tó ṣàn, n ló kó tẹ̀yìnkùlée Adéjọọ́rìn ní Màgbo.

Ibi a p’erin sí ni wọ́n ń pè lÓkè Aperin,

Ibi a p’ẹ̀dẹ̀ sí ni wọ́n ń pè lÓkè Ẹ̀dẹ̀,

Ibi a p’ẹ̀dọ̀ sí ni wọ́n ń pè ní sẹ̀dọ̀.

Ibi a p’àgbò sí ni wọ́n ń pè ní Èjìgbò,

Ibi a sá àpẹyindì sí ni wọ́n ń pè l’Ẹ́yìndì.

Ọmọ adélé ọlá tejiteji, Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún ọmọ Ògbóyè.


Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún is the head of Ògbóǹnà

I salute you, you child ofÒgbóyè.

Child of the goat of Ìlá that feed at the foot of the gbàgede,

The sheep of Ọ̀ràngún that feed at the foot of yàrà,

The cock of Ọ̀ràngún that climbs up the palm tree,

That crows for Ajerò, and Alárá, Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún child of Ògbóyè.

Back in those days, three floods passed through Ìlá town,

One flows to Ìperin,

The second flows through Ẹ̀yìnbì,

The third that flows went through the backyard of Adéjọọ́rìn in Màgbo.

Where we slaughter elephant is where we called Òkè Aperin,

Where we slaughtered the animal ẹ̀dẹ̀ is where we call Òkè Ẹ̀dẹ̀,

Where we slaughtered ẹ̀dọ̀ is where we call Sẹ̀dọ̀.

Where we slaughtered àgbò (a ram) is where we call Èjìgbò,

Where we dry àpẹyindì in the sun is where we call Ẹ̀yìndì.

Child of Adélé-ọlá-tejiteji (he-who-gets-home-drenched-in-rain),

Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún child of Ògbóyè.



Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún is located in present Ọ̀ṣun state. The etymologies of the names of some areas of Ìlá Ọ̀ràngún were stated in this oriki.



Èkó àkéte ilé ọgbọ́n.



Kò síbi táa ó fÈkó wé.

Ilé-iṣẹ́ onírúurú ń bẹ lÁlákoro.

Ẹrù lọ́pọ̀lọpọ̀ ń bẹ l’Ẹ́yìn-Ìgbẹ̀tì.

Ẹni ń lọ sílùú Èkó, kó bomi sùúrù mu.

Kurumọ́ á nani, Àgànyìn á nà.

Adámú Òrìṣà á á pé; ‘kí lo ṣe jókòó lóde?’

A na ni ní ọ̀páǹbàtà.


Lagos the water bed, home of wisdom.

The land on water that never sinks.

Th land surrounded by water.

No place can be compared to Lagos.

There are many companies in Alákoro.

Goods in abundance in Ẹ̀yìn-Ìgbẹ̀tì.

Anyone visiting Lagos, should endeavour to exercise some little patience.

The Kurumọ́ (crew man) and the Àgànyìn (people from Togo) are found working in Lagos. Adámú Òrìṣà will say “why do you sit outside?’

He will beat one with the ọ̀páǹbàtà club.



This is another oríkì of Lagos. It talks about the Adámú Òrìṣà (the senior of the 4 most important Ẹ̀yọ̀ àgéré) who beats anyone who wears footware at the festival with the ọ̀páǹbàtà is highlighted.




Abẹ́òkúta ìlú Ẹ̀gbá, Ìlú Líṣàbí, Agbòǹgbò-àkàlà.

Ìlú Lámodi, ojúlówó Balógun. Ìlú orí òkè òun pẹ̀tẹ́lẹ̀.

Ìlú Ajíbóyèdé tó fọmọ rẹ̀ túnlẹ̀ ṣe. Ìlú Ṣódẹkẹ́, ọmọ Ẹfúwọ̀, akọni àtàtà.

Ìlú Aròbíológbó-ẹgàn, ojúlówó ọdẹ.

Ìlú àwọn àgbà-ọ̀jẹ̀ nínú iṣẹ́ ìdájọ́. Ìlú lóókọ lóókọ nínú iṣẹ́ ọba.

Ìlú tẸ́gbàá Aké ti ń ṣán nà ìlọsíwájú, ibi tẸ́gbàá Òwu ti ń sáré ìgbéga,

Ìlú tẸ́gbàá Àgùrá ti ń fọn rere ìdàgbàsókè.

Bẹ́ẹ̀ lẸ̀gbá Òkè-Ọnà ò yéé polongo ìtẹ̀síwájú.

Ẹ̀gbá Ìbarà ò sì dẹ́kun aáyan ìtúnlùúṣe. Ìlú tí gbogbo Ẹ̀gbá ti ń fìfẹ́lò.

Ìlú abẹ́ òkúta, abẹ́ Olúmọ à-bẹ̀-lọ́rọ̀.


Abẹ́òkúta home of the Ẹ̀gbás, land of Líṣàbí the Agbòǹgbò-àkàlà.

Home of Lámodi, the bonafide Balógun (war chief).

Town on the hills and plains.

Home of Ajíbóyèdé who used his child to cleanse the land.

Home of Ṣódẹkẹ́, child of Ẹfúwọ̀, the agile one.

Home of Aròbíológbó-ẹgàn, the strong hunter.

Land of the famous in the judiciary. Town of the renowned in government.

The land where the Ẹ̀gbá of Aké division are working for progress,

Where Ẹ̀gbá of Òwu is running for greatness, whereẸ̀gbá of Àgùrá is promoting development.

Also the Ẹ̀gbáof Òkè-Ọnà divisionnever stop promoting progress.

The Ẹ̀gbá of Ìbarà also plays a part in the success of the land.

The land where all the Ẹ̀gbás live in harmony.

The town under-the-rock, under the Olúmọ à-bẹ̀-lọ́rọ̀.



This panegyric lauds the indigene of Abẹ́òkúta for their role in government. The oriki also made mention of some notable Ẹ̀gbá people like Ajíbóyèdé, Ṣódẹkẹ́, and Aròbíológbó-ẹgàn.



Òṣogbo Òròkí Àsálà. Òṣogbo ìlú aró.

Òṣogbo Òròkí onílẹ̀ obì. Òṣogbo Òròkí onílẹ̀ kòkó.

Ààrè ò pẹtà. Ààrè tó pẹtà, wọ́n gbà á.

Òṣogbo Òròkí ọmọ Yèyé Ọ̀ṣun, yèyé Atẹ́wọ́gbẹja, aníyùn-lábẹ̀bẹ̀. Ẹlẹ́yẹlé aro. Olóde ẹ̀gà. Ẹ̀gà ṣùṣù ní yàrà. Yèyé Lárọ̀óyè tó tIpólé donílẹ̀ lÓṣogbo.

Bóròkí ti ń gbonílẹ̀ bẹ́ẹ̀ ló ń gbàbùlẹ̀dọ̀.

Yèyé Tímẹ́yìn akíkanjú ọdẹ tó mẹ́rin wà mÒṣogbo.

Ìlú alátùpà mẹ́rìndínlógún tí í tàn lÓròkí ilé;

Bó bá tàn fọ́ba a tún tàn fún ìjòyè ìlú.

A tún tàn fún Irúnmọlẹ̀. Òròkí lalágbàlá Ọ̀ṣun.

Níbi wọ́n gbé ń rẹró, tí wọ́n tún ń gbódó idẹ.

Níbi tỌ́ṣun ti í gbọ́mọ lágàn lọ́wọ́; níbi tỌ́ṣun ti í fẹ̀mí ewúrẹ́ rẹ̀mí èèyàn;

Níbi tỌ́ṣun ti fọ̀pọ̀ gbẹ̀gìrì ṣẹ́gun Fúlàní; níbi tỌ́ṣun ti í bẹ́ja sọ̀rọ̀ ti í ránkọ̀ níṣẹ́. Òṣogbo Òròkí onílẹ̀ obì.


Òṣogbo land of Òròkí, home of abundant walnut.

Òṣogbo land of aró (indigo dye).

Òṣogbo Òròkí land of kolanut. Òṣogbo Òròkí land of cocoa.

The stranger dare not kill a civet cat. The civet cat was collected from the stranger that kills it.

Òṣogbo Òròkí child of Yèyé Ọ̀ṣun (river deity), mother who-receives-fishes, owner-of-the-coral-fan. Pidgeon of the dye. Palm bird of the open.

Mother of Lárọ̀óyè who came from Ipólé to become a land owner in Òṣogbo.

As Òròkí saves the indigene so she saves visitors.

Mother of Tímẹ́yìn the gallant hunter who brought elephant to Òṣogbo.

Land of the 16 face palm-oil lamp that lite up ancient Òròkí;

If lited for the king, it is also lited for the chiefs,

As well as for the dieties. Òròkí is the compound of Ọ̀ṣun.

Where dye is made, and brass mortals are made.

Where Ọ̀ṣun gives child to the barren;

Where Ọ̀ṣun revives human life with goat;

Where Ọ̀ṣun used lot of gbẹ̀gìrì (beans soap) to conquer the Fulani war;

Where Ọ̀ṣun speaks with fishes, send her messenger; ikọ̀ (a kind of fish). Òṣogbo Òròkí land endowed with obì (kolanut).



This oriki talks about legends like Òròkí and the deity Ọ̀ṣun. It went further to praise Ọ̀ṣun for giving child to the barren and reviving lives as well as other things about the deity. Indigo dye is popular in Ọ̀ṣun.



Ìbàdàn ‘Mesì ọ̀ gọ̀, nílé Olúyọ̀lé.

Ìlú Ògúnmọ́lá, olódògbo kẹ̀ri lógun.

Ìlú Ìbíkúnlé, alágbàlá-jáyàjayà.

Ìlú Àjàyí, ò-gbórí-Ẹfọ̀n-sá-filafila.

Ìlú Látóòṣà, Ààrẹ-ọ̀nà-kankafò.

Ìbàdàn, ọmọ ajòrosùn.

Ọmọ a-fi-ìkarahun-fọ́-ri-mu.

Ìbàdàn má jà, má jà.

Má jà bíi ti ọjọ́ kìíní èyí tí o ja aládùúgbò gbogbo lógun.

Ìbàdàn Kúrè.

Ìbàdàn ‘béèrè kí o tóó wọ̀ ọ́, níbi olè gbé ń jàre olóhun.

B’ Íbàdàn ti ń gbonílẹ̀, bẹ́ẹ̀ ló ń gbàjòjì.

Ẹlẹ́yẹlé lomi tí tẹrútọmọ Láyípo ń mu.

Aṣèjìrẹ́ lomi àbùmu-bùwẹ̀ nílé Ìbàdàn.

A kì í wáyé ká máà lárun kan lára, ìjà igboro làrùn Ìbàdàn.


Ìbàdàn knows esì (wild pig) so they are not fools, in the house of Olúyọ̀lé

Land of Ògúnmọ́lá, the fierce at battle

Home of Ìbíkúnlé, owner-of-the-compound of terror.

Land of Àjàyí, beheader-of-Ẹfọ̀n (buffalo).

Land of Látóòṣà, the Ààrẹ-ọ̀nà-kankafò (army commander).

Ìbàdàn, child of him who eats the òro (plum fruit) for dinner.

Child of him who eats corn-meal in the shell of snail.

Ìbàdàn don’t fight, don’t fight.

Don’t fight like the other day which you fought your entire neighbours.

Ìbàdàn Kúrè.

Ìbàdàn ask before you make attempt, where the thief is right for stealing.

Ìbàdàn accommodate the indigenes, as well as strangers.

Ẹlẹ́yẹlé River is where all slaves and frreborn of Láyípo drink from.

Aṣèjìrẹ́ River also provides water in Ìbàdàn.

No one is perfectly made; we all have one bad habit or another,

Public fight is that of Ìbàdàn.



There was one time when a wild boar; esì was disturbing the people of Ìbàdàn, they later found out and so are no longer fools. Warriors like Ògúnmọ́lá, Ìbíkúnlé and Látóòṣà were great mens of Ìbàdàn.




Àdó Ọ̀ráà. Ọmọ a mákàrà sábẹ́ ẹ̀wù jẹ.

Ilẹ̀ ẹlẹ́gbẹ. Ọ̀rìjó kÉwìí bá ti yúntù Làòrò Ùtù ń là.

Ìgbẹẹ̀ li tigbótijù a kẹ̀ ruru lọ́ọ́ àkún.

Ọmọ erin mọ́lá yagi. Ọmọ àtàbàtúbú àlejò tí í ṣonílé kánrekánre.

Adúlójú alápàárì aparaogun bọọni palé,

Ọmọ ò sùn sílé mábẹ dínà ogun lAdó Èkìtì.


Àdó Ọ̀ráà. He who keeps àkàrà (bean cake) under the upper garment

Land of plenty yams. On the day that Ewí went to Ùtù.

Then the forest is lited brightly in the hands of the àkún beads.

Child of the elephant that is strong enough to tear apart a tree.

Child ofimportant-stranger that disturbs the landlord.


He who sleeps at home and uses the blade to ward off war, is the child of Adó Èkìtì.



Èwí is the title of the king. The oríkì is an expose of the strangh and might of the Èkìtì people. They were much active in the Kírìjì/Èkìtì parapọ̀ war. Àkún is a type of shell like beads.




Ìwó ọm olódò Ọbà.

Ìwó ọm Atẹ́nígblá.

Ìwó ọm Atẹ́nígboore.

Ìwó ònílẹ̀kùn wn ò ní kókóró.

rú kékeréni wọ́n fi í delé nílé baba wn.

Ìwó nílé odídẹrẹ́, bí odídẹrẹ́ bá l sí ìlú òkè á padà sílé dandan.


Ìwó child of the river Ọbà.

Ìwó child of Atẹ́nígbọlá.

Ìwó child of Atẹ́nígboore.

Ìwó has no door and no key

A little slave is keep watch over their fathers’ house.

Ìwó is the house of the parrot, if the parrot travel abroad it will surely return home.



Some of the people of Ìwó are of the òpómúleró stock. The river Oba is an important deity in Ìwó.



It is saddening to know that the oríkì of the Yorùbá people is eroding gradually due to western religion and culture. Most of the sources of the literature don’t know the stories behind the panegyrics, it took the researcher extra efforts to decode some of the ancient words and dictions of the oríkì.

Many have forgotten the age long tradition which in the past carries great importance. Panegyrics are usually long, some are up to 15 minutes of recitation or more but most of our sources find it difficult to do 2 minutes recitation of their ancestral heritage. One of our informants in Èkìtì gave the longest recitation but it couldn’t be translated with ease because she didn’t have information about some of the details of the poem. As earlier said, historical facts and figures are in its abundance in the Yorùbá oríkì; the only problem is with the loss of interpretation. Therefore, there is need for a long run research as well as a new enquiry approach to be able to decipher each and every bit of the Yorùbá oral literature.

In conclusion, there is still lot of work to be done to achieve a comprehensive archive of the ecological knowledge of the Yorùbá of West Africa.



Àbọ̀ọ̀rọ̀ là ń sọ fún ọmọlúàbí, bó bá dé inú rẹ̀ á di odidi – half a word is enough for the wise, when it gets into the mind, it becomes full. So is the concept of proverbs in Yorùbáland. Yorùbáproverbs evolved with the growth and development of the society, it reflects diverse aspects of our culture, beliefs, traditional, social and political institutions, ethics, commerce, health, etc.

They are also used to scold, advice, warn, praise, encourage someone as well as express certain situations, moods and feelings. There are proverbs talking about the deities of Yorùbáland, and some about medicine, love, hatred, child birth and everything other thing on the worldview of the Yorùbá people.

Proverbs gives the Yorùbá language an aesthetic value, because it establishes a dominant rhetorical device for the shaping of moral consciousness, opinions, and beliefs. Among the Yorùbá, proverbs has become so intertwined with daily conversation. To achieve clarity and conciseness in discourse, Yorùbá proverbs are requisite to drive home points, this is why a Yorùbá proverb says that ‘Òwe lẹṣin ọ̀rọ̀, ọ̀rọ̀ lẹṣin òwe, bí ọ̀rọ́ bá sọnu, òwe la fi ń wá a, (‘proverb is the horse which conveys a subject of discourse, if a subject under discussion goes astray, proverb is used to trace it’.

Below are 50 adages that show the depth of the Yorùbá knowledge.

Ọwọ́ èwe ò tó pẹpẹ, ti àgbàlagbà ò wọ akèrègbè, iṣẹ́ èwé bẹ àgbà, kí ó máà ṣe kọ̀ mọ́, gbogbo wa la níṣẹ́ a jọ ń bẹ rawa

The minors hand can’t reach the shelf and that of the adult can’t enter the gourd, when a child sends an adult on errand, the adult shouldn’t say no, we all have errands to run for each other.

Ọ̀rọ̀ kì í gbaàárọ̀, káfalẹ́ sọ ọ́

A morning talk shouldn’t be left for the night


Ìkọ̀rọ̀ làjàpá mi wàtẹ́lẹ̀, ẹ̀yin lẹ yọjú alábahun síta

My tortoise was in its hiding place (shell), it is you who made the tortoise bring out its head


Àwòdì gbé ọmọ adìẹ, àgbébọ̀ ń gbìmọ̀ ìjà, ṣe ìran baba adìẹ kan pa àṣárí?

The hawk carries a chick, the hen is plotting a fight, has a hen ever killed a hawk before?


Bífà bá wọlé tọni, fààfaa là á jìfà

When an opportunity comes ones way, one enjoys it to the fullest


Ogun tó ń jani, tí kì í ṣe tìbọn, tí kì í ṣe tàdá, ó ní bó ṣe jẹ́

The war that is not of guns, not of cutlass, is for a reason


Ọlọ́run Ọba tó dá iná náà ló dá omi tí ọmọ aráyé fi ń paná

The owner of the heavens (God the king) who made fire also made water used by human to quench fire.


A fi àdá pa irù, irùlọ, àdá tún kán, ìyá di méjì

The cutlass was used to kill the gad fly, the gad fly escaped, and the cutlass was broken, the calamity becomes two


Èṣù ò lóun ò lówó, akówó orí ẹbọ ni ò jẹ́

The deity Èṣù never said he has no money, it is the thief who packs the money (cowries) on the sacrifice that makes him not have money


Obì aláwẹ́ mẹ́ta, kò yẹ kó díjà sílẹ̀ láàárín ọmọ ìyá mẹ́ta

A three lobs kola nut shouldn’t arouse a fight amongst three siblings


Jàkùmọ̀ kì í rìn de ọ̀sán, ẹni a bí ire kì í rìn de òru

Jàkùmọ̀; a kind of jackal does not roam in the day, anyone from a good home doesn’t roam in the late night


Ṣànpànná ò gbóná, ẹlẹ́gùn-un rẹ̀ lógbóná

Ṣànpànná (the deity of measles) didn’t say he is hot, it is his priest that his hot


Adìẹ tó yé sí gáréèjì, ó fẹyin ṣòfò

The hen that lays its eggs in the garage (auto garage), will lose its eggs


A ò fọ̀ du ù ló mú èèbó jẹ̀bà l’Órìgo

“How we for do,” makes the white man eat ẹ̀bà (a morsel from cassava) at Òrìgo


Kín ni ìyá aláṣọ ń tà tó yẹgba dání, àbí ewúrẹ́ ń jẹ léèsì ni?

What is a fabric seller selling to have canes in her hand, does a goat eat lace?


Onímílìkì ò ṣiyèrè, alágolo ló ń sínwín

The milk owner (main content) is not mad, it is the tin owner that is mad


Ìyàkòjẹ ọ́, o ló o gbọ́n, ta ni tíṣà tó kọ́ ẹ?

You did not suffer, you said you are wise, who is the teacher that taught you?


Wòòlí tí yóò gbàdúrà fún wèrè, kò gbọdọ̀ dijú

The prophet that will pray for a lunatic will not shut the eyes


Ojú ìmọ̀le kò kúrò lọ́tí, ó tún sọ ọmọ rẹ̀ ní Ìmórù-máhá.

The eyes of a Muslim is still on alcohol, he/she name the child “bring-the-brewing pot-bring the drinking cup”


Ọ̀pọ̀lọpọ̀ bọ́tììnì ń faṣọ ya

Lots of buttons tears the cloth


Eégbọn tó so lẹ́nu ajá, adìẹ kì óò já a

The tick on the mouth of a dog cannot be eaten by a hen


Láì kúrò lójúkan ìlẹ̀kùn, bó ti ń bárá ilé sọ, ló ń bárá ìta sọ

Without leaving a spot, the door talks to those indoors as well as those outside


Ológbò ti yóò pa àkèré, tojúti imú rẹ̀ ni yóò wọ omi

The cat that will kill the toad must have its eyes and nose dipped in water


Kékeré labẹ́rẹ́ kéré, kì í ṣe mímì fún adìẹ

The needle is small; it can’t be swallowed by the hen


Àgùàlà ń bá òṣùpá rìn, wọ́n ṣe bí ajá a rẹ̀ ní í ṣe

The Venus travels with the moon; they think it is its dog


Ọ̀rọ̀ t’ó bá rúni lójú, ní ṣe làá bi Ifá, Ifá náà á sì bi ilẹ̀ léèrè

A matter that one doesn’t understand, is presented before the deity Ifá, and Ifá will in turn ask the earth


Ẹ jẹ́ kí a dísà ejò, ká múteku ẹmọ́ de

Let us block the hole of the snake and hunt that of the brown rat


Ọjọ́ àjò kọ́ là á ré èékánná, ọjọ́ ìjà kọ́ là á wá òrùka àlùwó

It is not on a day of a journey that we’t cut the nails, it is not on the day of a fight that one look for a knockout charm


Òrìṣà ti a bá sìn títí, tí a ò pààrọ fìlà, kì í ṣe òrìṣà tí a lè fi sílẹ̀ tó lè gbaṣọ lára ẹni

The deity that one worship for a long time, that we didn’t change the cap, it is not a deity that can collect ones cloth


Ojú méjì tí bàtá ní, ló ń fi ìyàjẹ bàtá

The bàtádrum has two faces, both faces suffers from hit of the drummer


Ẹ jẹ́ ká tọ̀ sójú kan kó lè hó bí ọṣẹ

Let us pee on a spot so that it will foam


Babaláwo tó ṣe oògùn àfẹ́ẹ̀rí fún aáyán, òun náà ni yó ṣe ti àrìnnàkò f’ádìẹ

The babaláwo that makes an invisible charm for the cockroach will also make the charm for its encounter for the hen


 A kì í kánjú lá ọbẹ̀ gbígbóná

We don’t eat hot soup with rush


B’érin bá kọjú sí ọ kí o ta á, b’ẹ́fọ̀n bá kọjú sí ọ kí o ta á, ṣùgbọ́n bó bá ku ìwọ nìkan, kí o térò araà rẹ pa

If you are faced by an elephant you should shoot it, if you are faced by a buffalo you should shoot it, but if it is you alone, take a decision on what to do


Ta lómọ Òkòló l’Ọ́yọ̀ọ́, ṣebí oko ní í pa á fẹṣin ọba, àfi ìgbà tí Òkòló finá bọlé

Who knows Òkòló in Ọ̀yọ́, is it not hay that he makes for the king’s horse, until Òkòló put fire in the palace


Ṣìgìdì fẹ́ ṣeré ẹ̀tẹ́ ó ní kí wọ́n gbé òun lọ sódò lọwẹ̀

The clay figurine wants to be ridiculed; it says it should be taken to the river to bathe


À ń gba òròmọdìẹ lọ́wọ́ ikú, ó ní wọn ò jẹ́ kí òun ó re àkìtàn lọjẹ̀

We try to protect the chick from death; it says it was not allowed to go to the dung hill to feed


Ẹ̀rín alátọ̀sí kò sí lẹ́nu òkóbó

The mockery of the gonorrhoea patient is not that of the infertile person


Lẹ́yìn ikú alákàn, ariwo ẹnu lókàn

After the death of the crab, the noise of the mouth is next


Àìfàgbà fẹ́nìkan kó jẹ́ káyé ó gún

Disrespecting the elders is not making the world a prosperous place


Fálànà rán tìrẹ, tara ẹni là ń rán

Fálànà attend to your matter, it is ones matter that one attends to


Ẹni bíni là á jọ, ewúrẹ́ ò ní bíni ká rèsọ̀ àgùntàn

It is ones parent that one resemble, the goat can’t be ones parent and one goes to the stable of the sheep


A ì í fi iná sórí òrùlé sùn

We don’t put/leave fire on the roof and go to sleep


Àrùn là ń wò, a kì í wo ikú

We cure sickness, we don’t cure death


Àṣá ń bẹ́yẹlé ṣeré, ẹyẹlé ń yọ̀, ẹyẹlé ń fikú ṣeré

The hawk is playing with the pigeon; the pigeon is joyous, playing with death


Bí oore bá pọ̀ jú, ibi ní í dà

Excessive kindness brings evil


Àgùntàn tó bá bá já rìn á jẹ ìgbẹ́

The sheep that flock with the dog will feed on faeces


Ogun àgbọ́tẹ́lẹ̀ kì í pa arọ

An untold war doesn’t kill the leper


Igi ṣoṣoro máà gún mi lójú, òkèèrè la ti í wò ó

For a sharp tree branch not to pierce one’s eyes, one look at it from away


Bí ọmọdé bá gégi nígbó, àgbà ní í mọ ibi tí yóò wó sí

If a child cut down a tree in the forest, it is the elders that knows where it will fall


Olú tó ń bẹ̀rù apẹ̀rẹ̀ kò gbọdọ̀ wù lóko

The mushroom that is afraid of the basket should not grow on the farm


Ojú lalákàn fi í ṣọ́rí

The crab protects its head with the eyes


Olóòótọ́ tí ń bẹ láyé ò pógún, ṣìkàṣìkà ibẹ̀ wọn ò mọ́n níwọ̀n egbèje, ọjọ́ ẹ̀san ò lọ títí, kò jẹ́ kọ́ràn ó dun ni

The truthful one on earth are not up to twenty, the evil doers are not less than 1400, the day of reckoning is not forever, it doesn’t make the mater painful


Eré kín ni ajá ń bẹ́kùn ṣe?

What sort of play is the dog playing with the leopard?



Having read the above proverbs and the translation, it is evident that proverbs are store houses of great wisdom, and they are important element in the Yorùbá language system.

The Yorùbá proverbs are uncountable, it is not an overstatement to state that the Yorùbáproverbs amounts to more than twenty thousand or more because some dialects/areas of Yorùbáland use proverbs which other dialects don’t know. Therefore, a thorough work to garner more proverbs of the Yorùbá needs to be archived.

To sum it up, the Yorùbá proverbs captures the worldview of the Yorùbá people, and serve as means to an end by arousing, defining, manifesting and establishing the expectations, aspirations and consciousness of the children of Odùduwà.