Tribes In Oyo State
The name Oyo is almost synonymous with Yoruba. Oyo State is predominantly inhabited by Yoruba-speaking people. This is a widely known fact. What many don’t know is however that the Yoruba-speaking people of Oyo State are sub-grouped into smaller tribes who mostly have distinct culture, history and speak distinct dialects of the Yoruba language.
Below I introduce the different tribes in Oyo State. We’ll take a look at their histories, their ways of life, and the regions of Oyo State where they are found. I will also provide an estimate of their population, if such is available from a reliable source.
These tribes in Oyo State are:
The Ibarapa are a Yoruba group found in the Southwestern corner of Oyo State, in Ibarapa North, Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa East local government areas. The name of the group is derived from a local farmer of the melon plant, known locally as Egusi Ibara, which was historically acknowledged by neighboring peoples such as the Egbas and the Oyos to be extensively cultivated in the area.
The Ibarapa people are said to have migrated into the area, either as dissidents of the Old Oyo empire, during the periods of constant internecine warfare between the different Yoruba states, as well as refugees escaping the transatlantic and trans-Saharan slave raiding business of the day. The Tapa segment of the population is said to have been formed by the Jihad ridden Nupe refugees from the northern Niger, who had lost their traditional state to Fulani jihadists.
The major occupation of the Ibarapa people is farming.
The Oyo people are the largest group in Oyo State, occupying the majority of its towns and local government areas.
According to traditions, Oyo people descended from the great Yoruba ancesto, Oduduwa, who likely migrated to Ile-Ife and whose son became the first ruler(or Alaafin).
Linguistic evidence suggests that two waves of immigrants came into what is now Yorubaland between 700 and 1000, the second settling at Oyo in the open country north of the Guinea forest. This second state became preeminent among all Yoruba states because of its favourable trading position, its natural resources, and the industry of its inhabitants.
Notable Oyo communities in Oyo State include Oyo town, the city of Ibadan and Ogbomosho.
Oyo people are also found in large numbers in neighbouring states like Osun and Kwara.
Oke-Ogun people of Oyo State, otherwise known as the Onko are found in Iwajowa, Kajola and Iseyin local government areas.
Oke-Ogun people claim direct descent from Oduduwa, the mythical progenitor of the Yoruba race. Their traditional institutions are also headed by an Oba. Their traditional rulers however go with titles unique to only the Oke-Ogun community.
Oke-Ogun people speak a dialect similar in structure to the Oyo dialect, but with some distinct peculiarities in pronunciation.
Occupations of the Oke-Ogun people include farming of food crops such as yam, cassava, millet, maize, okra, potatoes, melon, fruits, rice and plantain among other crops. Cash crops such as citrus, tobacco, cotton, cashew and timber are also farmed.
Other major employers of the Oke-Ogun people include cloth weaving and production of metal wares such as pots and cooking utensils, and trading.
Islam is the religion of a majority of Oke-Ogun people. A significant percentage of their population profess Christians while the rest still hold on to traditional beliefs.