History Of Ondo State From Pre Colonial Times To Present Day

History of Ondo State: From Pre-Colonial Times to Present Day

Ondo State is one of the states located in the southwestern part of Nigeria. The history of the Ondo people can be traced back to the late 15th century when Oba Oluaso reigned in old Oyo before migrating to Epin, which was at the time close to Gbere, whose inhabitants are referred to as the Ibariba, until his death in 1497. The state was created on February 3, 1976, from the former Western State.

Ondo State has a land mass of about 14,788.723 Square Kilometres (km2) and is situated in the tropical belt. It borders Ekiti State to the north, Kogi State to the northeast for 45 km, Edo State to the east, Delta State to the southeast for 36 km, Ogun State to the southwest for 179 km, Osun State to the northwest for 77 km, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The state includes mangrove-swamp forest near the Bight of Benin and tropical rainforest in the south.

The state is an epitome of the Nigerian nation in many ways such that it is endowed with ingenious people and rich culture. Ondo state has a population of 3,441,024 people, with 1,761,263 males and 1,679,761 females. The people of Ondo state have a rich cultural heritage, and this is evident in their music, dance, and festivals.

 

Geographical Overview

Location and Boundaries

Ondo State is a state in southwestern Nigeria, located between latitude 7°10′N and longitude 5°05′E. It is bordered by Ekiti and Kogi states to the north, Osun and Ogun states to the south, Edo State to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The state has a land area of approximately 15,500 square kilometers.

Topography and Climate

Ondo State is situated in the tropical rainforest zone of Nigeria, and its topography is characterized by lowland rainforest, savanna, and coastal mangrove swamps. The state has a humid equatorial climate, with an average annual temperature of 26°C and an average annual rainfall of 1,500mm.

The state’s vegetation is dominated by tropical rainforest, which covers about 70% of the state’s land area. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, antelopes, and birds. The state’s coastal areas are characterized by mangrove swamps, which provide a habitat for fish, crabs, and other marine life.

Overall, the geographical features of Ondo State play a significant role in shaping the state’s economy and culture. The state’s forests provide timber for construction and furniture making, while its coastal areas support fishing and other marine activities.

 

Historical Development

Pre-Colonial Era

The history of Ondo State dates back to the late 15th century, when Oba Oluaso reigned in old Oyo before migrating to Epin, which was at the time close to Gbere, whose inhabitants are referred to as the Ibariba. Ondo State is an epitome of the Nigerian nation in many ways such that it is endowed with ingenious people and rich culture. The kingdom of Ondo was established by Princess Pupupu, one of the twins of Alafin Oluaso. The kingdom was known for its powerful army and strategic location. During this period, the people of Ondo were primarily farmers, hunters, and traders.

Colonial Period

The British arrived in Ondo in the late 19th century and established a protectorate. During this period, the British introduced a new form of government and education system. The people of Ondo were forced to pay taxes and provide labor for the British. The British also introduced Christianity, which had a significant impact on the people of Ondo.

Post-Independence Era

Ondo State was created on February 3, 1976, from the former Western State. Since then, the state has witnessed significant development in various sectors such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The state has produced many notable personalities in various fields, including politics, sports, and entertainment. The state is also known for its rich cultural heritage, which is celebrated annually during the Ondo State Cultural Festival.

In conclusion, the history of Ondo State is rich and diverse, with a unique blend of pre-colonial, colonial, and post-independence eras. The state has come a long way since its creation and has made significant strides in various sectors. The people of Ondo are proud of their heritage and continue to celebrate their culture and traditions.

 

Cultural Heritage

Languages and Ethnic Groups

Ondo state is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups. The major ethnic group in Ondo state is the Yoruba people, who make up the majority of the population. Other ethnic groups include the Ikale, Akoko, and the Ilaje people. The official language of the state is English, but the Yoruba language is widely spoken and understood. The Yoruba language is a tonal language with a rich vocabulary and grammar.

Festivals and Traditions

Ondo state is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The state is home to several festivals and traditions that showcase the unique culture of the people. One of the most popular festivals in Ondo state is the Ogun festival, which is celebrated annually in honor of the god of iron. During the festival, people dress in traditional attire, dance, and make offerings to the god of iron.

Another popular festival in Ondo state is the Eyo festival, which is celebrated in honor of the dead. The festival is characterized by masquerades dressed in white and black robes, who dance through the streets of the city. The festival is a time for the people to come together and celebrate their cultural heritage.

In addition to festivals, Ondo state is known for its rich culinary traditions. The people of Ondo state are known for their love of spicy food, and their cuisine is characterized by the use of local spices and ingredients. Some of the popular dishes in Ondo state include eba and egusi soup, pounded yam and vegetable soup, and amala and ewedu soup.

Overall, the cultural heritage of Ondo state is a rich tapestry of different traditions, festivals, and cuisines. The people of Ondo state are proud of their cultural heritage and are committed to preserving it for future generations.

 

Modern Governance

Political Structure

Ondo State is governed by a democratically elected governor and deputy governor who are elected for a term of four years. The current Governor of Ondo State is Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress, alongside his Deputy Agboola Ajayi. The state is divided into 18 local government areas, each with its own elected chairman and councilors.

The state also has a House of Assembly, which is made up of 26 members who are elected to represent their respective constituencies. The House of Assembly is responsible for making laws that govern the state and also serves as a check on the executive arm of government.

Economic Development

Ondo State is one of the fastest-growing economies in Nigeria, with a GDP of over $6 billion. The state is rich in natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, and bitumen, which have contributed significantly to the state’s economic growth.

The state government has also implemented various policies aimed at promoting economic development, such as the establishment of the Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), which is responsible for attracting local and foreign investments into the state.

In addition, the state has invested heavily in infrastructure development, such as the construction of roads, bridges, and other public facilities, which has helped to improve the ease of doing business in the state.

Overall, the state government’s efforts to promote economic development have led to significant improvements in the standard of living of the people of Ondo State.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who created Ondo State and when was it established?

Ondo State was created on February 3, 1976, from the former Western State. It was created by the military administration of General Murtala Mohammed, who divided the country into 19 states.

What are the historical origins of Ondo State?

The history of the Ondo people can be traced to the late 15th century when Oba Oluaso reigned in old Oyo before migrating to Epin, which was at the time close to Gbere, whose inhabitants are referred to as the Ibariba, until his death in 1497. The state has a rich cultural heritage, with a history that dates back to pre-colonial times.

What cultural significance does Ondo State have in Nigeria?

Ondo State is known for its rich cultural heritage, which is reflected in its festivals, dances, and other cultural practices. The state is also home to some of Nigeria’s most iconic landmarks, including the Idanre Hills, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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

Some of the major towns in Ondo State include Akure, Owo, Ondo, Ikare, and Okitipupa. These towns have played significant roles in the history of the state, with each having its unique cultural practices, traditions, and landmarks.

How has the governance structure of Ondo State evolved over time?

Ondo State has had several governors since its creation in 1976. The first military governor that ruled the state was Ita David Ikpeme from 1976 to 1978. Michael Adekunle Ajasi was the first civilian governor of the state, who came into power in 1979 and left in 1983. Since then, the state has had several governors, each with their unique approach to governance.

What are some notable historical events that have shaped Ondo State?

Several historical events have shaped Ondo State, including the migration of the Ondo people from old Oyo to Epin, the creation of the state in 1976, and the various political and economic developments that have taken place over the years. The state has also been affected by several national events, including the civil war and the transition to democracy in 1999.

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