The Brief History of Ado-Ekiti

ADO-EKITI is an ancient city, founded in the year 1310. A.D by Ewi Awamaro the son of Biritikolu after the defeat of Elesun of Ilesun settlement. Ewi was not only a King, he was also the supreme military Chief of his army.

Awamaro (the restless one) and ‎Ewi‎ (the speaker)‎ was said to have left Ile-Ife with his father Ewi Apa Biritikolu and his uncle Oranmiyan to both Ita Orogun and Benin respectively after staying briefly with Oloba in Oba-Ile, Akure.

Both Oranmiyan (Oba of Benin) and Biritikolu first settled in Benin forests before disputes among their people led them to separate and Biritikolu sought a new home westward at Utamodi (Oke Papa). Ewi Biritikolu and one of his son reigned there. It was Ewi Awamaro who migrated to Ilesun (Present day Ado-Ekiti) after staying briefly at Udoani (Ido Ani) and Agbado during the long migration. When Ewi Awamaro left Agbado, some elders remained behind to rest and gave the settlement the name Agba Ado (Elders’ Camp) – Agbado-Ekiti as the town is known today.

Ulesun people welcomed them warmly and neighbouring committees came together to assist their settlement (built homesteads for them) at Oke-Ibon in Odo Ijigbo. Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements, conquered Ulesun community, displaced its ruler Elesun and established a new town. Awamaro’s spies encouraged him to attack Elesun with the support of Odolofin after he had settled down at Oke Ibon (now Odo Ijigbo) and with the conquest of Ulesun by Awamaro, the town of Ulesun changed its name to Ado or Ado-Ewi.

The Elesun (the King) who ruled over the town of Ulesun with its satellite towns i.e. Ukere (now Ikere), Isinla, Ulamoji, Agidimo, Ikewo existed in what is now known as Ado-Ekiti before the emergence of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. The Elesun occupied the peak of a hierarchy where he had his subordinates as the Odolofin (Elesun second in command), Asao, Elegemo, Alamoji, Olisinla, Olulero, Olookori etc. Elesun was the head of the laity in the worship of Olota (god), the deity in charge of the security of Ulesun State. The Ulesun language was different from Yoruba (Ado-Ewi) language. Examples are Ideregbe (Ewure or Goat), Okeregba (Aja or Dog), Amomo (Alangba or Lizard), Usa (Ikoko or Pot), Ukere (Ago or Calabash Cup), Ogolomosi (Ibepe or Pawpaw), Oyeye (Epa or Groundnut). Some of the Elesun’s chiefs such as Odolofin and Asao were accepted into the Ewi’s system of chieftaincy after Awamaro’s conquest.

The Elegemo retained his post as Chief Priest and custodian of Iwemo Ogun. Ewi’s Warrior chiefs who provided military security for palace inhabitants were the Akogun at Irona, Oloja Ese at Oke Ese, Eleyinmi at Okeyinmi and Egbedi at Orereowu.‎ Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements after series of conflicts, conquered Ulesun community, displaced and killed its ruler Elesun, cut off his head and proceeded and established a new town, Awamaro named Ado, meaning ‘here we encamp’. Ewi Awamaro and his successors conquered villages and cottages in the neighbourhood, replaced their rulers with their own loyalists, stalwarts and scions of the royal family.

The important citizens of these conquered communities were relocated in Ado. Ewi supplanted Elesun as sovereign ruler of the aboriginal and settler population, many of Elesun’s Chiefs were confirmed in their offices but they swore oaths of allegiance to the Ewi. Many of the succeeding Ewi expanded the kingdom by force of arms, annexed territories and gave these territories to scions of the royal families, these assumed titles which became hereditary. The expansion and growth of Ado-Ekiti and the kingdom of Ado lasted over 400 years. In the course of this expansion, Ado became associated with certain traits.

Citizens of the kingdom in general and those of the mother town, Ado-Ekiti in particular were reputed for great attention to cleanliness. Traditions preserve numerous brave citizens of each Ado community, the best known were Ogbigbonihanran of Idolofin quarters, Ogunmonakan of Okelaja, Fasawo, a.k.a. Aduloju of Udemo quarters, and Eleyinmi Orogirigbona of Okeyinmi quarters – all of Ado-Ekiti and Ogunbulu, a.k.a. Ala l’oju Osoru of Aisegba. ‎Folk, traditions are replete with fond references to Ewi’s relationship with some other Ekiti traditional rulers. Ewi’s antecedents are depicted as: Elempe Ekiti (mightiest man in Ekiti).‎ Folk traditions of this nature vividly portray the towering position of Ado-Ekiti.

In the first place, Ado-Ekiti is situated at the heartland of Ekiti and is thus less exposed to cross-border attacks or non-Ekiti influences. Consequently, over many centuries, waves of immigrant groups seeking haven settled in Ado-Ekiti and several other Ado communities‎. Many of these immigrants were refugees, they left their old homelands in parts of Ekiti, Akoko, Owo etc. where their leaders lost out in chieftaincy contests.

Some were war captives, these were brought in droves by Aduloju and his lieutenants from their slave wars of the 1870s and 1880s in parts of Owo, Ose and Akoko. They were settled in Ado communities where they increased the local population, and enriched the culture with their lineage names and festivals in similar circumstances, citizens of Ado communities left their fatherland and settled in a few places in the neighbourhood up to Ijesaland.

Ibadan sacked many Ado communities in 1873 and made a huge haul of prisoners of war and other captives who eventually settled in Iwo, Ibadan and some Remo towns such as Iperu and Makun Sagamu. However, Ado communities especially the mother town offset part of their losses with a large number of slaves and prisoners of war from Owo, Ose and Akoko. Ado-Ekiti is one of the towns of the north eastern territory of Yoruba land and passed through a succession of military, political and cultural changes from the time of ‎Ewi Awamaro (circa 1310 A.D) who migrated there to form what became Ado-Ekiti.

Ewi Awamaro subjugated Elesun’s neighbours and expanded his territory except Ukere (Ikere Ekiti) and his successors up to Yeyenirewu followed same steps that by 1550 A.D. Ado-Ewi had become a big power in the entire Ekiti country.

The Ewis that reigned at Ado from 1444 to 1552 were:

1. Ewi Ata (1444–1471)

2. Ewi Owakunrugbon (1471–1490)

3. Ewi Owamuaran (1490–1511)

4. Yeyenirewu – The regent (1511– 1552)‎ Ewi’s military exploits during the period was to subjugate and annex his immediate territories extended to Ikere, Igbara Odo, Ogotun, Aramoko, Erio and Erijiyan among others.

5. Ewi Obakunrin (1552–1574)

6. Ewi Eleyo-Okun (1574–1599) ‎

7. Ewi Afigbogbo Ara Soyi (1599-1630)

8. Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696)

9. Ewi Idagunmodo (1696-1710)

10. Ewi Okinbaloye Aritawekun (1710-1722)

11. ‎Ewi Amono Ola (1722-1762)

12. ‎Ewi Afunbiowo (1762-1781)‎

13. Ewi Akulojuorun (1781-1808)‎

14. Ewi Aroloye (1808-1836)‎

15. Ewi Ali Atewogboye (1836-1885)‎

16. Ewi Ajimudaoro Aladesanmi I (1886-1910)‎

17. Ewi Adewumi Agunsoye (1910 – 1936)‎

18. Ewi Daniel Anirare Aladesanmi II (1937 – 1983),

19. Ewi Samuel Adeyemi George-Adelabu I (1984 – 1988)

20. Alayeluwa Ewi Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III (the current Ewi of Ado-Ekiti). ‎

Ado-Ewi was peaceful as war was abandoned in place of diplomacy and mutual relations strategy. Ewi Gberubioya divided the Ewi dynasty into three ruling houses of Owaroloye (Aroloye), Atewogboye and Arutawekun. Ewi’s sons that ruled in neighbouring areas during the reign of Gberubioya included Okunbusi who became Onigede, Adubienimu who became Alawo, the Onijan, Opoakin (of Iwere), Olu Akitipa (of Odo), Aramude, Olokun, Olurasa, Onikewo and Olotin.

One of his sons, Amujoye founded Igbemo and took the title of Oba of Igbemo from its inception. ‎


Published by oloolutof

Urbanologist, Geographer, Traditionalist and Oral historian. ​I am a versatile, personable, computer literate and goal – driven achiever. I have good communication skill with ability to interact at different levels. I am self –motivated, can easily assimilate new ideals and quite adaptive to work in different environments. Studied in University of Jos, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Calabar.

21 thoughts on “The Brief History of Ado-Ekiti

  1. This is a commendable contributions to the history of Ado Ekiti Kingdom. This write up will certainly assist us to begin the process of of effective documentation criticall required for the take off the Ewi Palace Museum within the Ewi’s Palce premises. Thanks. Makinde Olakunle.Deputy Director & Curator of Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove.08064823964.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciated the effort you put in computing and arranging this important history together(to me isn’t a story but our history).
    I will appreciate if we can get to have a team to build the YORUBA LEGACY TOGETHER. The level at which our language us going down is alarming. I will be glad if there will be a concrete research of the works before putting out to the word to see to avoid errors though I know there will be criticism. We still have MANY TOWNS IN EKITI THAT WE HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT AND THE PEOPLE WE CALL gods THAT MADE EXPLOIT IN CREATING THE LANDS. Great works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love what you’re doing. The Lord will increase you in wisdom and every desire of your heart.

      I want to know more about the Opoakin and his Kingdom at Iwere.
      I appreciate you. More Grace.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hail your erudite effort.. but the story of the “IFE” Posse has never been fully/correctly addressed.. on possible further interaction we shall carve that block of information the more..
    I’d just like that a proper/better choice of words in regards to “Gods” should be selected as the cases demand in all narrative, these to be defined by the actual belief, confession, utility and Practise of The People within the so called “worship” of various aspects and entities ..The Caucasians intentionally tagged our processes and confessions with blanket primitive pagan terminologies in order to sell their religion..which was based on a whitewashed bad translation of our own Text.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice One Bro . Good Job thanks for these narrative very Interesting and Educative, Pls what is the relationship between Ewi and Deji of Akure? Is there any Blood Relation from Maternal side? Though ‘Am from Inigbepa and Odogun (Ewi Ode) of Ado-Ekiti Lineage and fortunately Ewi Palace was almost my second home during the reign of His Majesty HRH.Samuel George Adeyemi Adelabu 1. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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