Ejigbo is a large Yoruba town in Nigeria’s Osun state. It is around 40 kilometers from Oshogbo, the state capital of Osun. The population of Nigeria estimates 46,000 in 1963, with a landmass of 25 square kilometers. As of the 2006 census, the population was 132,641.
According to oral tradition, Ejigbo is an ancient village created soon after the old Oyo by Akinjole Ogiyan, an abbreviation of Ogiriniyan. Ogiyan has a long lineage as a descendant of Oduduwa, the reigning dynasty of Ife. Together with his brothers, especially Akire, the creator of Ikire-Ile, they also left Ile-Ile with Oranyan (oranmiyan), the founder of ancient oyo, to create their own cities.
The fact that ogiyan is from Ile-Ife is confirmed by Ejigbo Mekun’ the name of a market in Ile-Ife. Akinjole settled many other villages spread around Yorubaland. He is also the paramount ruler and prescribed authority over many, if not all of them.
Towns And Villages
The following towns and villages, among others were under him, Ika, igbon,olosin ologede,inisa, aato, ijimoba, afake , ilawo, inisa edoro, isundunrin, olia,ado ori-oke,ayegunle, idigba, ibogunde, songbe, olorin osuntedo and iwata.
Around 1835, Ejigbo came under Ibadan, when the Ibadan army moved to protect Osogbo from Ilorin invaders. In fact, detachments from Ejigbo also assisted the Ibadan army in the ijaye, jalimi, and kiriji wars between 1860 and 1866.
Ajayi ogboriefon, balogun and leader of the Ibadan army in the jalumi war circa 1860 and 1878 was a native of Ejigbo from the Akala compound and his mother, Alagbabi was the daughter of an ogiyan of Ejigbo. In 1934, government retioined to the terms of the 1893 treaty which recognize Ibadan’s independence and gazettes the bale and divisional council of Ibadan as an independent native authority, five district Obas including the ogiyan were made members of the Divisional Council.
The traditional markets are the ones in the centre of the town, and few others in some other quarters. There is now a traditional markets fixed for every Saturdays as is the case in many Yoruba towns. It is situated at the centre of the town, in front of the palace and it is also the most favored for night shopping and other social activities.
In the past, it was used as recreational centre for the town, and therefore, was attended by many who even had nothing to buy or sell.
Ejigbo did not escape foreign influence especially, the nineteenth century events that permeated Nigeria. Its people and culture changed with the flow. For example, many people have been converted to Islam and Christianity. The Baptist, being the dominant Christian mission in the town, now has a number of churches and it was through its efforts that the people of the town established the first fully fledged secondary grammar school; the Ejigbo Baptist high school followed the Asarudeen Grammer School. Ejigbo is tolerant of its diverse faiths. This is in the joint celebration annual Orisa Ogigan festival.
Economy in Ejigbo
Farming is the traditional source of economy in Ejigbo. It is based on production of food crops, such as yam, cassava, cocoyam, potato, maize, guinea corn, cowpea and cash crops like cocoa, palm oil, kola-nut, coconut and varieties of fruits. Trading in textiles and imported goods is also common in the town.
Ejigbo indigenes reside in Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin Republic and some other Francophone Countries thereby giving them the opportunity to speak French in addition to Yoruba, their mother tongue. They also occupy key positions in some of these countries.