EGBA people were parts of the famous precolonial African Oyo empire (kingdom) in Nigeria. Up until the 18th century, the EGBA people lived in a cluster of villages around a place known as Orile – Itoko, as a subject territory of the old Oyo empire, which was one of the strongest empires that ever existed in West Africa.

The EGBA people original Homeland in the EGBA forest was established by the Yoruba migrants from elsewhere. According to the history of the Yorubas, Eso Ikoyi chiefs in the retinue of the first Alake of the EGBA joined him in founding a new community the Confederacy of towns that became known as Orile EGBA.

In the forest after they left the nascent Oyo Empire in the 13th century, Orile EGBA continued to exist until it’s destruction during the Yoruba civil war of the 19th century. As a result, many of the leading families of the Egba Alake claim descent from the Eso Ikoyis today.

IMG-20191205-WA0000Egba Alake is one of the five sections of Egbaland, the others being Oke – Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Ibara (historically, Ibara is part of yewa, not Egba, although it is located in the present day Abeokuta geographically).It is a traditional state which joins with its bordering sections to form something of a high kingship. The Alake of Abeokuta or Alake of Egbaland, is the traditional ruler of the Egba clan of Yoruba in the city of Abeokuta in southwestern Nigeria.

The Egba land is blessed with a lot of songs, rhythms and most especially it has a special anthem. Among all the rhythms, the praise rhythm is regarded as one of the most astounding way of making someone feel special, healing the body or mind.

The popular panegyric (oriki) of the Egba people is “ilu ti ati bimi l’omo.”

Egba mo’lisa

Omo gbungbo akala

Omo Erin jogun ola

Omo osi ‘ekun pa ‘le kunde

Aridi ogo loju ogun Baba t’emi la royin ogun

Baara fagbe

Ko sohun ti won n se ni Mecca

T’awa kii se Legba Alake

Won n mumi semi semi ni Mecca

Awa n mumi odo ogun Legba Alake

Won n g’arafa ni mecca Awa n gori olumo l’ Egba tiwa

Won bimi L’ake

Mo gbo lenu bi jeje

Won bimi ni Gbagura

Mo gbo lohun bi oje.

The Egbas can be distinguished from other Yoruba group with how their facial tribal marks are cut. The Egba facial mark is known as the Abaja Oro, that is, the upright Abaja is distinctive of the Egbas. They consist of three perpendicular lines, each about 3 inches long on each cheek. The younger generations, however, have their lines rather faint or of shorter lengths indistinguishable from the Pele.

On clothing, Egba men wear trousers, kembe/sokoto for down; and the top is Buba and Agbada; cap, fila (abeti aja). Their women wear: (down) wrapper, iro, (top) Buba; Headgear, Gele; others – ipele – piece of cloth placed on the shoulder or wrapped around the waist.

Their staple food is Lafu (white Amala) and Ewedu soup; wara, (cottage cheese Drink).

The Egba people speak North – west Yoruba (NWY) dialect of the Yoruba languages which belong to the larger Niger– Congo language phylum. Apart from Egba people of Abeokuta, NWY dialect is also spoken in, Oyo Ogun and Lagos areas.

Palm oil, timber, rubber, yams, rice, cassava, maize, cotton, other fruits, and shea butter are the chief articles of trade. It is a key export location for cocoa, palm products, fruits and kola nuts. Both rice and cotton were introduced by the missionaries in the 1850’s and have become integral parts of the economy, along with the dye indigo. It lies below the Olumo Rock, home to several caves and shrines. The town depends on the Oyan River Dam for its water supply.

There are numerous festivals performed in the Egbaland and they are well known in and out of Nigeria. These are some of the few ones;  Ojude Oba Festival, Igunuko, Olumo, Gelede, Oro, Orisa Oko, Obinrin Ojowu, Abalufon Festivals, Oronna Festivals. But the most common one is the Egungun Festival.

Notable buildings or structures include the Ake (the residence of the Alake), centenary Hall and several churches and mosques. Secondary schools and primary schools buildings Teachers’ Colleges, The university of Agriculture (formerly the university of Lagos campus), polytechnics, various River Basin Authority programs. A plastics factory, a brewery, saw Mills and an aluminum – products factory. South of the towns are the Aro granite quarries, which provide building materials for much of Southern Nigeria, and a huge modern cement plant at Ewekoro.

The Egbas have been significant members of ruling political parties, music, art, feminism advocacy, freedom and democracy and at the fore front of Human Rights campaigns. Infect, they have contributed significantly to the political development of Nigeria and the world at larger.



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