The history of Ira began in IRA-FERE, which was created by Laage in the present-day Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria.
The location of Ira-fere is about three kilometers from present-day Ira, and may be reached by a turn-off on the route to Ofa at a hill called kereloriaje, about one and a half kilometers from present-day Ira. Other ancient Yoruba cities and villages exist, although their origin dates are unknown.
However, considering that Oya, the renowned wife of Sango the fourth Alaafin of Oyo, was born here, it is clear that Ira-fere is a very old Yoruba village.
The history of Yoruba is incomplete without the history of Ira. Laage, the son of Laru, the founder of Ira-Fere, is said to have come from Oyo.
Laage was a warrior and hunter. A hunting expedition had brought him into the settlement at a place called Ira-Fere.
Who is Laage?
Laage, who happened to be the first Onira, founded Ira. Laage was a hunter who traveled from Oyo to hunt in Fere’s environs. He and his folks had spent a long time at Fere. The urge to go closer to Oya’s grove led them to the current location of Ira. There was never any mention of a colony there previously.
Laage Lariekan successors are Oluagbe, Olurogba, Dibuloye, Labimtan, Abioye, kolawolu, Erewole, Oyekanmi, Oyafioye, Oyesanya, Oyeniyi, Oyenike, Oyebanji, Oduoye, Oyesoji, Oyelola, Moronfoye and Oba AbdulWahab Oyetoro, who is the present Onira of Ira.
Oyamakinde popular called “Oya”, after the death of her husband Alafin Itiolu Atanda Opo popularly called Sango Olukoso dweller inp Ira where she entered the ground at a place in the present-day, Igbo-Oya.
For her commitment to Sango, Oya was challenged by her people at Ira and Sango’s allies and helpers. Every year, people came from far and wide to worship her in Igbo-Oya Forest, where she had a shrine erected for her.
The arrival of Christianity and Islam in Ira signaled the end of Oya worship. Laage, like Oya, vanished beneath the earth, according to history. He penetrated the earth at a location in Obada’s estate called Ira.
How the name ‘Ira-fere’ was coined
The name Ira-Fere was given to him when he used magical power to vanish and reappeared unexpectedly afterwards.
People would say ‘O ra fere ni, o feree yoju na’ whenever he wasn’t discovered in his hut (He has just disappeared, he would soon appear again). Ira-Fere was derived from the phrase “O ra fere.”
Oya chose to return to her birthplace of Ira-Fere after leaving Oyo following the death of sango Alaafin. Sango’s death was a sad occasion for the Ira-Fere people since they wouldn’t know what happened to Oya after Sango died.
Oya was elevated to godhood and became a revered figure. Laage would travel from Ira-Fere to worship Oya at the site where she had sucked into the ground and erected a shrine. The location is still known as “Igbo Oya” (Oya’s grove).
When Laage got too elderly to travel between Ira-Fere and Igbo-Oya, he consulted his people and relocated to the current location, which is not far from Igbo Oya. The name of the place they departed was changed from ‘Fere’ to ‘Ira,’ which is still used today.