History Of Ekiti State From Precolonial Times To Present Day

History of Ekiti State: From Precolonial Times to Present Day

Ekiti State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria, located in the southwestern part of the country. The state was created on October 1st, 1996, from the old Ondo State. Ekiti State is known for its rich cultural heritage, which is reflected in its festivals, arts, and crafts.

The history of Ekiti State dates back to the pre-colonial era when it was an independent state. It was one of the many Yoruba states in what is now Nigeria.

The Ekiti people, as a nation and districts of the Yoruba race, trace some of their progeny to Oduduwa, the father and progenitor of the Yoruba race, although there is evidence to suggest the existence of aboriginal people in the Ekiti region prior to the influx of royalty from other parts of Yorubaland.

The Ekiti people are one of the largest historical subgroups of the larger Yoruba people of West Africa, located in Nigeria. They are classified as a Central Yoruba group, alongside the Ijesha, Igbomina, Yagba, and Ifes.

Ekiti State is populated exclusively by Ekiti people; however, it is but a segment of the historic territorial domain of Ekiti-speaking groups, which historically included areas now located in Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, and Edo states.

 

Geographical Background

Location and Terrain

Ekiti State is located in southwestern Nigeria, bordered to the north by Kwara State, to the northeast by Kogi State, to the south and southeast by Ondo State, and to the west by Osun State. The state covers an area of approximately 6,353 square kilometers and has a population of over 3 million people.

The terrain of Ekiti State is characterized by rolling hills and valleys, with an average elevation of about 500 meters above sea level. The state is situated on the highland region of Nigeria, which is known for its fertile soil and favorable climate for agriculture.

Climate and Vegetation

Ekiti State has a tropical climate, with two distinct seasons: the rainy season, which lasts from April to October, and the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The average annual rainfall is about 1,500 millimeters, and the average temperature is around 26°C.

The vegetation of Ekiti State is predominantly savanna, with scattered forest reserves and riverine forests. The state is known for its rich biodiversity, with several species of flora and fauna found in the region. Some of the common tree species found in the state include the African mahogany, teak, and iroko.

In conclusion, Ekiti State’s geographical background is characterized by rolling hills and valleys, a tropical climate, and savanna vegetation with scattered forest reserves and riverine forests. The state’s favorable climate and fertile soil make it a suitable location for agriculture, which is the mainstay of the state’s economy.

 

Historical Evolution

Ekiti State is located in the southwestern region of Nigeria. The state has a rich history that dates back to the pre-colonial era. The state was one of the many Yoruba states that existed before the British conquest. The Ekiti people as a nation and districts of Yoruba race trace some of their progeny to Oduduwa, the father and progenitor of the Yoruba race.

Pre-Colonial Era

The Ekiti people were known for their strong traditional institutions, which were based on the principles of democracy and egalitarianism. The traditional rulers were responsible for maintaining law and order, resolving disputes, and ensuring the welfare of their subjects. The Ekiti people were also known for their agricultural practices, which were based on the cultivation of crops such as yam, cassava, maize, and beans.

Colonial Period

The colonial period in Ekiti history began in the late 19th century when the British established their presence in the region. The British colonialists introduced a new system of administration, which replaced the traditional institutions of the Ekiti people. The new system was based on the principles of indirect rule, which allowed the traditional rulers to maintain some level of authority over their subjects.

During the colonial period, Ekiti was part of the Western Region of Nigeria. The region was created in 1939 and was made up of six provinces, including Ekiti. The Western Region was one of the most developed regions in Nigeria, with a thriving economy and a vibrant cultural scene.

Post-Independence Era

Ekiti State was created on October 1, 1996, by the military government of Nigeria. The state was carved out of the old Ondo State and was made up of sixteen local government areas. Since its creation, Ekiti State has been governed by a series of civilian administrations.

The state has made significant progress in various areas, including education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. The state is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, which includes festivals such as the Ekiti Parapo Festival, the Ogun Festival, and the Ekiti State Cultural Festival.

In conclusion, Ekiti State has a rich history that spans several centuries. The state has gone through various stages of development, from the pre-colonial era to the post-independence era. The state is home to a vibrant and diverse population, and its people are known for their resilience, hard work, and strong cultural traditions.

 

Cultural Heritage

Language and Ethnic Groups

Ekiti State is a culturally homogeneous state in Nigeria, with the Ekiti people forming one of the largest ethnic groups in Yorubaland. The Ekiti people speak a dialect of Yoruba language known as Ekiti. However, there are variations in the Ekiti dialects spoken across the state. Some of the dialects include Ado, Efon, Ikere, and Oye.

Apart from the Ekiti people, there are other ethnic groups in the state, including the Ijesas and Okemes. The Ijesas are found in the southwestern part of the state, while the Okemes are found in the northern part of the state.

Traditions and Festivals

The Ekiti people have a rich cultural heritage, which is evident in their traditions and festivals. One of the major festivals in Ekiti State is the Ekiti Parapo Festival, which is celebrated annually. The festival is a celebration of the unity of the Ekiti people and their cultural heritage.

Another important festival in Ekiti State is the Ogun Festival, which is celebrated in honor of the god of iron, Ogun. The festival is usually celebrated in the month of November and is marked by the sacrifice of animals and the performance of traditional dances.

Other festivals celebrated in Ekiti State include the Oshun Festival, which is celebrated in honor of the goddess of fertility, and the Egungun Festival, which is a celebration of the ancestors.

In conclusion, the cultural heritage of Ekiti State is rich and diverse, with the Ekiti people and other ethnic groups in the state having their own unique traditions and festivals. These cultural practices have been passed down from generation to generation and continue to be celebrated today.

 

Modern Developments

Political Structure

Ekiti State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria and was created on 1st October 1996. The state is governed by a democratically elected governor and a deputy governor who are both elected for a four-year term. The state is divided into 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs), each with its own elected chairman and councilors. The current governor of Ekiti State is Kayode Fayemi who assumed office on 16th October 2018.

Economy and Resources

Ekiti State is known for its agricultural resources, particularly in the production of cocoa, palm oil, and yam. The state also has significant mineral resources including granite, kaolin, and columbite. These resources have contributed to the development of the state’s economy, which has grown in recent years. The state government has also made efforts to attract foreign investment to the state, particularly in the areas of agriculture and mining.

Education and Health

Ekiti State has made significant progress in the areas of education and health. The state has several universities and colleges of education, including Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti and Federal University, Oye Ekiti. The state government has also made efforts to improve the quality of education in the state through the construction of new schools and the provision of educational materials.

In terms of health, the state has several hospitals and health centers, including the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Center, Ido Ekiti. The state government has also implemented several health programs, including the provision of free healthcare for pregnant women and children under the age of five. These efforts have contributed to the improvement of the overall health of the people of Ekiti State.

Overall, Ekiti State has made significant progress in its development since its creation in 1996. The state government has made efforts to promote economic growth, improve education and healthcare, and attract foreign investment. These efforts have contributed to the improvement of the standard of living for the people of Ekiti State.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the historical origin of Ekiti State?

Ekiti State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria, located in the southwestern region of the country. It was created on October 1, 1996, alongside five other new states by the military government of General Sani Abacha. The name “Ekiti” is derived from the Yoruba language and means “hill country.”

Who are the indigenous inhabitants of Ekiti?

The Ekiti people are one of the largest historical subgroups of the larger Yoruba people of West Africa, located in Nigeria. They are known for their rich cultural heritage, including their distinctive language, music, dance, and art.

Can you list some significant historical events in Ekiti State?

Ekiti State has a long and rich history dating back to pre-colonial times. Some significant historical events in the region include the establishment of the Ekiti Parapo Confederacy in the 19th century, the British colonization of the region in the early 20th century, and the creation of Ekiti State in 1996.

What are the major towns and their roles in the history of Ekiti State?

Some of the major towns in Ekiti State include Ado-Ekiti, Ikere-Ekiti, Omuo-Ekiti, Ijero-Ekiti, and Aramoko-Ekiti. These towns have played important roles in the history of the region, including serving as centers of commerce, education, and culture.

How has the population of Ekiti State evolved over time?

According to the National Population Commission of Nigeria, the estimated population of Ekiti State was 3.3 million as of 2016. The population has grown steadily over the years, with significant increases in the 20th and 21st centuries.

What unique cultural aspects distinguish Ekiti State from other regions in Nigeria?

Ekiti State is known for its rich cultural heritage, including its distinctive language, music, dance, and art. The region is also known for its traditional festivals, including the Ogun Festival, the Ekiti Parapo Festival, and the Ijesu Festival. Additionally, Ekiti State is home to several important historical sites and monuments, including the Ikogosi Warm Springs and the Esa Cave.

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