|Nickname(s): Land of Honour|
Location of Ekiti State in Nigeria
|Date created||1 October 1996|
| • Governor
|Dr. Kayode Fayemi|
|• Total||6,353 km2 (2,453 sq mi)|
|Area rank||31st of 36|
|• Estimate (2005)||2,737,186|
|• Rank||29th of 36|
|• Total||$2.85 billion|
|• Per capita||$1,169|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+01)|
|ISO 3166 code||NG-EK|
Ekiti State is a state in western Nigeria, declared a state on October 1, 1996 alongside five others by the military under the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha. The state, carved out of the territory of old Ondo State, covers the former twelve local government areas that made up the Ekiti Zone of old Ondo State. On creation, it took off with sixteen (16) Local Government Areas (LGAs), having had an additional four carved out of the old ones. Ekiti State is one of the thirty-six states (Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria)) that constitute Nigeria. Ekiti State is reputed to have produced the highest number of professors in Nigeria. Several pioneers academics are from the state. Pioneers like Profs Adegoke Olubummo( One of the 1st Nigerian Professors in the field of Mathematics), Adeyinka Adeyemi(1st Professor of Architecture in West Africa). Others include renowned academics like Profs J.F. Ade-Ajayi, Niyi Osundare, Sam Aluko and others too many to mention.
Following a prolonged political crisis, President Olusegun Obasanjo imposed a military administrator (General Tunji Olurin) on Ekiti State in October 2006. On April 27, 2007 Olurin was replaced by Tope Ademiluyi. In the PDP primary of 2006, 1st place finisher, Yinka Akerele and 2nd place Prof. Adesegun Ojo were supposed to be in a run-off to determine who would be the nominee of the Nigerian ruling party when President Obasanjo summoned them to Abuja and imposed the candidate who came third - Engineer Segun Oni. He was later elected in the 2007 election as the governor of the state in an election marred by widespread irregularities and the AC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi challenged his election and forced a rerun in May 2009.
The May 2009 rerun was characterized by even worse rigging and the election was disputed again. Eventually, after three years, the election of Oni was thrown out and Dr. Kayode Fayemi was declared the duly elected governor of Ekiti State.
Agitations for the creation of Ekiti State in the Nigeria' Federal System
1.0 Introduction – Nigeria’s Federalism and Evolution of States
European expedition of Africa and the scramble for and partition of Africa in the 19th century led to the British imperial conquest and colonization of Nigeria. On 1 January 1914, the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was merged with the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria with Lord Frederick Lugard as the Governor General. With the evolution of Nigeria as a colonial state, steps were taken by the colonizers to redefine the political structure and administration of Nigeria between 1922 and 1960, when Nigeria gain her independence from the colonial powers.
Notably constitutional changes were reflected in the 1922 Clifford Constitution, 1946 Richards Constitution, 1951 Macpherson Constitution, 1954 Lytteton Constitution, the London Constitutional Conferences and the 1960 Independence Constitution of Nigeria.
Obafemi Awolowo (1966:6-7) stated that in the evolution of Nigerian State by the British colonizers, questions were posed at the three Regional Conferences, Colony Conference and the General Conferences held to determine the future of political arrangement of the Nigerian State and that the three regional conferences recommended the adoption of Federal System of Government in Nigeria, though with modifications.
The Northern Region demanded for a Federal System that coordinates with Regional Governments with both having drawn lines of legislative responsibilities, whereas the Eastern Region demanded for a Federal Structure where all powers would lie in the Central Government, except those delegated to the Regions. In the case of the Western Region, it supported a Federal structure ‘in which the constituent states would be formed on an ethnic and or linguistic basis…a federal parliament and state parliaments…competent to legislate on all residual not specifically included within the legislative powers of the federal parliament.’ The position of Western region was similar to those adopted by Lagos Colony Conference.
The foregoing indicates that Nigerian Federalism was originally built on regional structures at independence on 1 October 1960. Three Regions in existence at the time were the Northern Nigeria, the Western Nigeria and the Eastern Nigeria. However, in 1963, the Mid West Region was carved out of Western Nigeria with a view to reduce the influential powers of the region on the Nigerian polity while creating a sphere for the main minority bloc of that region to operate with separate autonomy. This also align with the declaration of Nigeria as a Republic, the change of status of the Head of State from the Queen of England through the Governor-General to the re-designated ceremonial President of Nigeria and the recognition of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as the highest judicature of the land in place of Privy Council.
Political crisis in Nigeria due to military overthrow of the turbulent democratic administration at the national and regional levels in January 1966 resulted into a period of tension and political instability that eventually resulted in coups and counter-coups and the scores of death across the regions. The progenitors of the upstaging of the military revolutions and greatest sufferers of the same were the people of Igbo origin (the main ethnic bloc of the Eastern Nigeria) whose attempt to transform Nigeria into a Unitary State in May 1966 apart from the underlying threats of Igbo domination in Nigeria polity paved way for military insurgence and political crisis in June/July 1966.
By August 1966, a new military administration headed by a Northern minority Army Officer was in place and conflict of interest and leadership tussle took the dimension of personality clash and alignment and re-alignment of forces among the political class across the Nigerian Federation. On eof the greatest beneficiaries was Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the repressed and earlier imprisoned Leader of Opposition in the civilian administration of the nation at the time of Nigeria’s independence.
The further re-alignment of political forces and promotion of Awolowo as a civilian member of the Nigeria’s Military junta invariably saved the face of the nation’s military in the cause of internal conflict in the Army and the political stability of the nation, when the Gowon’s Government adopted the Western Nigeria’s position on the restructuring of the Nigerian State in the face of the hostilities and break down of stability and order in the Nigeria’s Federal System after the failure of Aburi Pact to sustain and retain the Eastern Nigeria as a tier of Nigeria’s federal structure. In the emerging process, Nigeria entered into a 30 months civil war (the Nigerian-Biafran war 1967 to 1970).
Eventually Nigeria practically discarded the regional structures and emerged at the end of the civil war as a 12 State structure. Agitation for newer States to balance the Federal Structure which favoured the Northern Region at the expense of the Eastern and Western Region was unabated and resulted in the translation of Nigeria’s Federal structure into a 19 States and the transfer of the Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to a newfound land at Abuja by 1976 under the short-lived administration of Gen. Murutala Mohammed.
The political structure that was in place from 1976 and during the Second Republic (1979-1983) witnessed fresh agitations for State creation as provided for by provisions of the 1979 Constitution, though the attempt was unattainable due to the differences of the political parties, the existing state administrations and the inability of the political class to find a common front for sharing the values and interest of agitators of new states creation. However, during the era of military dispensation from 1984 to 1999, particularly under the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sanni Abacha, Nigeria’s Federal system witnessed further transformations with the creation of new states increasing the number of states from 19 States in 1976 to 36 States in 1996. It was during the period that Ekiti State was created.
The argument subsist that the need for state creation is dependent among others on the need to positively drive the indicators of nation-building towards bringing government closer to the people, making the process and platform of governance more representative and balanced and promoting national integration. Elaigwu (1994:149) noted that national building is sustained by ruling elites by creating unity among heterogeneous groups in the state in order to build a new political community called a nation.
Femi Omotoso (1998:138) posited that state creation is relative to the existence of a diverse or plural society of previously discrete independent units with which people identify. He noted further that transferring ethnic loyalties from tribal sects to a nation may not be easy as a matter of identity, yet national integration is a process and strategy through which state creation translates into an acceptable and fashionable mechanism of uniting or bringing together diversified society and their cleavages into a common fold rooted in history, religion, culture and other dynamics of external pressures.
2.0 Ekiti within the Polity of Yoruba Nation and Nigerian Federation
Ekiti State is situated in the Northern part of old Ondo State and covers a land area of about 7,000 sq. kilometres. Its North-South extent boundary with Kogi State at Iye/Eruku and South boundary with Ikere/iju boundary along 5.30’E is 88 Kilometres while the West-East extent borders Osun State at itawure/Ijebu-Jesa and East boundary with Omuo/Igasi along Latitude 7’70’N is 100 kilometres. Ekitiland which constitutes 52% (1,441,850) of the 1963 population of the old Ondo State (2,747,121) consists of 16 Local Government Areas.
I. Olomola (2005:1-80) traced the origin of Ekiti people and their emergence as a distinct Yoruba ethnic group at the advent of British Colonial rule. It was a critical and empirical work detailing the course of narrative history and reconstructing the history of Ekitis into a meaningful and more acceptable historical survey with ethnographic evidences and extensive study beyond Ekiti history published in the early works of Samuel Johnson – The History of the Yorubas (1969) and A.O. Oguntuyi - The History of Ekiti.
Notable Ekiti Historian and Priest - A.O. Oguntuyi (2007:2) however noted in his works on Traditional Ekiti Kingdoms that the term ‘Ekiti’ was derived from ‘Okiti’ meaning ‘hilly outcrops’ and that an ‘Ekitiman would feel more at home being called Ekiti than Yoruba. No other term is known to be used for the people, except name of each person’s town, though with their dialectical variations across Ekiti country.
Babatola (1990) described Ekitis as historically homogeneous, culturally identical, geographically contiguous and religiously similar. They speak a common dialect of Yoruba language and it was known around 1900 as the Confederation of Ekiti Kingdoms. Indeed, one of the reasons for asking for the new State by the Ekitis was the homogeneity of Ekitis vis-avis the rest of old Ondo State. He noted that Ekiti people are industrious though economically poor since most of them are farmers but with the most highly educated citizens sections of the Federation of Nigeria. He also noted elsewhere that at the height of earlier communion and relationship among Ekiti people, a confederation of paramount Ekiti rulers – the Ajero, the Elekole and Ewi of Ado-Ekiti arising from a legend that linked the three leading Ekiti Kingdoms as brothers of the same ancestry.
I. Olomola (2005:1-3) through archeological survey and available historical accounts shed more lights on the evolution of ‘Ekiti people’ while tracing the various historical works on the evolution of the name and the defects in the writings of early scholars. He noted that Ekitis metamorphosized from a ‘fusion of offshoots or descendants of the antiquarian autochthones and waves of early immigrants’ who settled in the area around 7th and 8th centuries from the basins of River Niger and River Benue. Internal migrations within Ekiti communities due to invasions, conflicts and Wars also displaced and restructure the Ekiti landscape thereby creating numerous Kingdoms and city states by the 17th and 18th centuries. No doubt, the frequent unsettling of Ekitiland due to the incursion of Benin raiders and the Fulani invaders from the North contributed to the dislocation, dispersal and restructuring of Ekiti people and communities in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
Oyo Empire’s imperialistic adventurism and domination of North-Eastern Yoruba Kingdoms – particularly, the Ekitis and Ijesha Kingdoms, changed the course of socio-political arrangement of the Ekiti Kingdoms and the emergence of a modern confederacy which had survived till date to forge ahead the strength of unity and political substance of Ekiti people, far and near. Notable developments arising from the emergence of EKITIPARAPO (EKITI UNION OF STATES) at the verge of Kiriji wars as well as the creation of Ekiti Native Administration after the British conquest and occupation in the 19th century set the pace for the British to incorporate Ekiti Towns and communities into Western Nigeria administration of the British Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria by January 1, 1914.
The earliest thought of bringing Ekitis’ together under a single political umbrella in modern times was traced to the meeting of paramount traditional rulers (Pelupelu) which is the Confederacy of Ekiti Obas. The most significant political incident outside the Pelupelu came from the setting up of Ekiti Parapo war camps which Governor G. Carter’s later scattered when his personal intervention with Hausa Constabulary end the Kiriji War, led to the sending back of all warriors to their homelands.
Another significant meeting where the unity of Ekiti people manifested was held under Major Reeve Tucker at Oke Imo, Ilesha on 21 June 1900. It was a meeting attended by 16 leading Monarchs of Ekitiland, after they had been visited by the representatives of the colonial government in the attempts to annex their kingdoms to the Nigerian territory. Thereafter Ekiti peoples served in various capacities and excelled in their fields without any particular recourse to any agitation for political autonomy or independence within the scheme of things in Yorubaland.
The political effects of the British colonial rule in Nigeria resulted to the establishment of administrative centres in predominantly populous cities and areas for effective control of their activities. It eventually led to the creation of a Provincial Centre at Akure (then part of Ekiti) which is lay at the heart of Ondo Province. The evolution of native authorities with the inclusion of Ekiti Kingdoms in the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria led to the creation of Yoruba North-Eastern District Administration with district headquarters at Oke Umo (Ilesa) for the Ijeshas and Ado-Ekiti for the Ekitis. The Chief Commissioner for the Protectorate was stationed at Ibadan. The creation of Provinces led to quartering of the Resident Office at Akure while the District Officer was quartered at Ado-Ekiti.
These political developments eventually laid the initial path to modern political recognition of Ekiti people in the Nigeria’s political enclave in the Colonial era. Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State was raised to the status of a District headquarters at the time and later became the Divisional headquarters of the Ekitis, before the Ekitiland was divided into Divisions which was later succeeded by Local Government Council Areas.
To strengthen Ekiti bond of unity and to give the people a voice, emergence of several associations were traced to the 1940s with the simultaneous formation of EKITI NATIONAL ASSOCIATION (ENA) and the EKITI PROGRESSIVE UNION (EPU) where leading voice of Ekiti youths pioneered several developmental projects across the Ekiti landscape such as Ekiti solidarity, construction of public works, schools and dispensaries and other important community development projects.
In the political sphere, the unique formation of EKITI PEOPLES PARTY championed was another attempt to brand Ekiti as a separate political entity within the Yoruba nation. The demise of the party was as a result of the influence of prominent political parties with widespread regional base and the unacceptability of her leadership as a media to protect the general interest of Ekiti people.
During the struggle for independence, Ekiti political leaders and representatives worked together for the unity of the Yorubas. It was noted that the position paper presented by the people of Ekiti and Ondo Province was adopted at the Constitutional Conference in fashioning out Nigeria’s independence and constitutional framework. It was an agitation which reflected minds of Ekiti people within Nigeria’s Federation for equity, social justice and the rights of minorities. By early 1960s, the Ekiti undergraduates in tertiary institutions had waxed strong in number and participation in public issues leading to the formation of EKITI STUDENTS UNION at University College, Ibadan.
The creation of Southern Protectorate of Nigeria in 1900 and the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, gave Ekiti a place of identity. Ekitiland and her Native authorities were recognized in the political and administrative structure of the colonial era. There was the Northeastern Administration with Ekiti as a District and later as a Division before it was re-divided into Districts. These Districts existed when Ekitiland was part of Ondo Province in the western Nigeria (Western Region and Western State) until it was successfully divided in 1976 into another set of states with Ekiti emerging as the most populous part of the newly created old Ondo State.
In a nutshell, Ekitiland now Ekiti State has remained a homogeneous political enclave within modern Yoruba nation and Nigeria’s federation bounded by the metamorphosis of Ekitiparapo Union in the 19th centuries and the unity achieved against different forms of oppression since the advent of British colonial rule.
3.0 Roadmap to the Creation of Ekiti State
Obafemi Awolowo in his book titled ‘Thoughts on Nigerian Constitution (1966) identified Ekiti as one of the regional components proposed for the creation of Western State of Nigeria.
Ono one can divorce the role of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his Yoruba Lieutenants from the retention of Yoruba nation as one indivisible and indissoluble entity within the Nigerian Federation until it was broken down in 1976, though it was premised on the need to guarantee Western Nigeria’s political autonomy and sustain loyalty to her political leadership and association in the best representation of issues of governance within Nigerian State. An envisioned stronger political base for the Yorubas to negotiate power sharing and democratization of issues influenced his ideals of a nation that was not totally accomplished at his death in 1987.
Nonetheless, Awolowo’s political leadership was without questioning within his camp for so long until the Second Republic political crisis across South West Nigeria, though issues that led to his questioning started in 1959/60 and re-emerged in 1966/67, when the idea for creation of Odua Republic surfaced as an alternative to Nigeria’s Civil War, without success.
The position of Chief Awolowo in the Gowon’s Administration until 1971 could not allow most Yoruba leaders to muster the idea of breaking up Western State of Nigeria without Awo’s approval or consenting knowledge. However, from 1972, dissents were slightly noted in representing the demands of Ondo Province or in protecting the best interest of the Ekitis within and outside the Government. This led the Muritala-Obasanjo administration to place Ondo Province in the frontiers of state creaction on 3 February 1976. Notable Ekiti people that participated actively in the creation of old Ondo State included Chief G.B. Akinyede (Ode-Ekiti), Chief J.A. Anisulowo, Chief B.A. Ajayi, Chief P.A. Akomolafe, Chief J.O. Oshuntokun, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, Chief J.B. Daramola, M.O. Rotimi, Chief S.O. Lasebikan and E.A. Ojuolape.
Roadmap for the creation of Ekiti State as a federating unit in modern Nigerian state was not foreseen in the pre-colonial era nor was it laid in the early part of Nigeria’s independence. Yet the path had been explored, paved and ploughed in those era with the ultimate arising from the fall-out in the creation of old Ondo State on 19 February 1976. The realization of the dream to create Ekiti State and carve it separate from old Ondo State came to fulfillment on 1 October 1996 less than 20 years after the path was laid due to consequences of events neither contemplated nor conceived originally in the heart and mind of Ekiti people. It came as independence anniversary gift from the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria - General Sanni Abacha, who announced the creation of Ekiti State with 5 others as a step to broaden Nigeria federal system into equitable and representative structure.
Prior to the 1996 grant of political autonomy to Ekiti State as a federating structure in Nigeria, events that crystallized and snow balled into the political crisis in Western Nigeria during the First Republic, notably the Ekiti reactions to political manipulations and electoral frauds in Nigeria’s First and Second Republic showed that Ekitis as an entity in Nigeria’s Federation consist of people that naturally revolts against injustice and marginalization as an active and politically conscious people in the Yoruba nation (South West Nigeria).
Beyond those experiences of political aspirations, the earliest beacon of resistance and demand for Ekiti State began with the agitations of Ekiti Leadership Caucus headed by Chief Dr. J.E. Babatola (the Olora of Ado-Ekiti) in the early 1980s. This was followed by the active role played by bureaucrats and political appointees like Prof. I. Olomola who pursued Ekiti interests to logical conclusions during the period of his service as a Commissioner in the Military administration of Old Ondo State. Those periods laid the foundations for the future and successful agitations for the creation of Ekiti State.
The eventual success in the painstaking effort was however championed through collective efforts of Ekiti Obas and Leaders from 1992 onward and the leading role of the Ekiti State Movement championed by the Wednesday Group led by Chief Oladeji Fasuan. The role of Ekiti Traditional Rulers particularly HRM Oba Dr. R.A. Adejugbe Aladesanmi III – Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and Obanla of Ijesha Isu-Ekiti – HRH Oba G.O. Adeniyi, the unsung financial and legal contributions of Aare Afe Babalola SAN, OFR, CON and personal contacts of Sir Dr. Kayode Obembe in exploring Abacha connection eventually led to creation of Ekiti State, notwithstanding the recommendations of the Mbanefo Panel on the creation of States.
After the creation of Ondo State in 1976, Ekitis which took the leading roles in fighting for the creation of Ondo State were destined to play the role of a second fiddle in the political structure of the state government and administration. From 1979, the differences between Ekitis and Non-Ekitis began to emerge clearly in the politics of old Ondo State and it polarized the activities of Government as well as the interest of the Ekitis and non-Ekitis in Ajasin’s government of that era. This was the beginning of direct efforts to agitate for a separate Ekiti State, since political issues usually addressed on merit, population and other economic indices were exchanged for political expediency and leadership convenience when Ajasin came into power and it resulted to the gradual and systematic removal of notable Ekiti people from the public service, the political leadership and followership.
J.E. Babatola (1990) noted that the agitations for a separate State for the Ekiti communities in old Ondo State began in 1980, when Ekiti leaders were ‘forced to re-think the destinies of the Ekiti people and began to agitate for political leadership and autonomy of the people…’. This historical fact was corroborated by Chief Oladeji Fasuan in the book – The Struggle for the Creation of Ekiti State.
4.0 Main challenges of Ekitis and agitations for Ekiti State in Second Republic
The major challenges that foist the agitation for the creation of Ekiti State in 1979 started from within the ruling Unity Party of Nigeria, the leading political party in old Ondo state and the LOOBO States, which formed the South West Nigeria, the political base of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The first significant challenge leading to the agitation began with the disgruntlement that arose within the UPN party structure in January 1980 during the party’s post-election conference held at Akure. Several party officials of Ekiti origin came to the realization of the fact that the State Governor and UPN State Chairman - Chief Adekunle Ajasin was designing and carrying out several unfavourable policies which was detrimental to the Ekiti’s interest. These youthful elements had a pressuring demand to convince Chief Babatola to listen to their complaints and to take up the matter for a redress with Chief Ajasin who had just become the Governor of Ondo State on 1 October 1979. Their complaints were related to the ways and means of appointment of various political appointees.
An unfortunate aspect of their complaint was the neglect of Ajasin’s Co-Contestants after the 1979 shadow election of the party, which was contested by Senators Ayo Fasanmi and Banji Akintoye (the two from Ekiti) with Chief Ajasin (non –Ekiti). Although the two were defeated by Ajasin, the matter did not stop there because Chief Ajasin actually penalized his co-contestants and their supporters in by-passing them in the distribution of several posts especially in the appointment of Commissioners, Board Chairmen and members.
Another major allegation which stood on its own merit was that Chief Ajasin vetted and changed the appointment of the Rector appointed by the Governing Council of Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo from one Prof. Adeyemi who scored 63.5% to favour one Dr. Adeyeri (from Owo) who scored 61%. Prof. Adeyemi was alleged to be the cousin of General Adeyinka Adebayo from Iyin Ekiti and who was an NPN chieftain at the time. These developments therefore attracted sympathy and the need to address Governor Ajasin to get a fair deal. Overtures were made to the latter, but met favourable response, being misinterpreted as a challenge to the position as the Chief Executive in the party and over the State affairs.
The geo-political set-up of Ondo State would in many respects require good leadership that could deal with the usual jealousy or bitterness among the ethnic groupings without sentiments or punitive reactions, in order to operate without opposition. Chief Ajasin was faced with this great challenge, but he administered the State on the measure of loyalty displayed towards him. This led to conspiracies which polarized the party membership. It started as Ekiti versus non–Ekiti affairs, but changed from its character to become Ajasin Group versus Anti-Ajasin Group and lastly as the Ajasin versus Omoboriowo Group by September 1982.
The widened gulf between Ekitis and Non-Ekitis in Ajasin’s administration later took the turn of coercion and re-alignment when the Awolowo factor came into the picture. Notable political decision of Ajasin’s administration that fueled Ekiti versus Non-Ekiti gap and gave birth to party factions included refusal of the Governor in 1981 to hand over to his Deputy Governor (an Ekiti man) while on vacation; rumour of private instructions given to civil servants and political aides to disregard the 1963 population census in allocating facilities to communities as well as payments of contractors, which led to irrational distribution of benefits; Ajasin’s removal and displacement of his cabinet and Board members of Ekiti Origin in the likes of Chief Wumi Falodun (Ikole-Ekiti), Chief M.O Babatunde (Ado-Ekiti), Prof. C.S. Ola (Efon Alaaye), Dr. Bode Olowoporoku and Chief S. Akerele (Aiyede Ekiti); redeployment of Chief Aboloyinjo (Ijero Ekiti) and Chief Idowu Odeyemi (Ekiti).
Other similar issues included the deposition of certain Chiefs at Ilawe; redeployment of Ekiti Public servants, Criteria for the appointment of full-time members of Corporations and appointment of Permanent Secretaries; establishment of State owned industries and companies managed by the State Ministry of Trades and Industry; reversal of the decision to phase out Owo Technical College in place of Owo Polytechnic; appointment of Dr. Adeyeri (non-Ekiti) as Rector of Owo Polytechnic in place of Prof. Adeyemi (Iyin Ekiti) who came first in the interview; appointment of Officials of the State University at Ado-Ekiti with idea of multi-campuses and the State owned Bank- Owena Bank with branches across the State on geo-political basis; proposal for the creation of 19 Local Government Councils for the non-Ekiti area while 14 were proposed for the Ekiti area, which had a larger population.
J.E. Babatola (1990) recounted the ill disposition to Ekiti’s interest in party caucuses and tenders’ board meetings by Governor Ajasin who was fond of making wrong allegations against Ekiti Federal and Regional Ministers of the First Republic, stating that they influenced and rigged the actual head count of 1963 census whenever his attention was called to issues of population in the distribution of amenities. This fact estranged many Ekiti political leaders from him because he was an indictment on their past good records and a political blackmail to undermine the efforts of Ekiti people to secure their fair share of the state's resources. Governor Ajasin was frequently cited as making case for sitting of government projects on the use of sub-ethnic divisions with Ondo State divided into 6 major regions namely: Ekiti, Akure, Ondo, Okitipupa, Owo and Akoko rather than use population and geographical spread of the people.
Agitators for Ekiti’s rights felt that Ekiti alone deserved to be divided into at least 4 major areas apart from the 5 others created by Ajasin since Ekiti constituted the largest political Division in the State and more so they would have been divided into Ekiti Central I, Ekiti Central II, Ekiti North and Ekiti South and such appointees were eventually removed from office and replaced with Ajasin’s cronies, stooges and proselytes.
Attempts to resolve the problems created by Governor Ajasin created the birth of two groups more distinctively from the events at the Ondo State House of Assembly Debates of Wednesday 11 November 1981 with the Ajasin Group being led by Ajasin and the Omoboriowo Group led by Chief Babatola.
Although, Chief Ajasin delivered a Press Statement in 1981 titled ‘My Life is Devoid of Ethnic Bias’, it was however on record that ‘Chief Ajasin could not justify all his actions against Ekiti leaders in the UPN’. In the Daily Sketch Newspaper of 13 November 1981, Governor Ajasin stated that he removed another Ekiti Leader - Dr. Bode Olowoporoku from office on allegation that he was ‘…disloyal…impossible to work with all Permanent Secretaries and Senior Officers…’ Ajasin’s removal of another Ekiti leader - Chief S.A. Akerele was premised on allegations that he ‘…prevented Radio announcement of UPN supporters who paid money to the Corporation to advertise their party’s activities…’. The same pattern was noted in a report of Nigerian Tribune Newspaper of 13 November 1981 where Ajasin defended his summary removal of an Ekiti man – Prof. C.S. Ola (of Efon Alaaye Ekiti) as Secretary to the State Government arising from what he termed having ‘…found it difficult to work with me…’
After series of meetings of the Ekiti party members, a motion was carried for an en masse resignation of all Ekitis from the UPN to stigmatize Chief Ajasin, but Chief Babatola blocked the move because he considered it as over-reaction. The caucus was able to however commence the process for State creation while attempts were made to bring Chief Awolowo into confidence to use the party structure to whip back Chief Ajasin into line. The UPN crisis made Chief Obafemi Awolowo to visit Ondo State and to mediate over the broiling issues at Akure on 27 February 1982. The Treaty of Peace containing 22 terms was drawn up and signed by Chief Ajasin, Chief Akin Omoboriowo and a few others, but it was in vain.
It became apparently clear to Ekitis in the old Ondo state politics that they are destined to play the role of second fiddle in a state where they toil and lead various initiatives to foster her growth and development, unless effort is made to aspire for a separate state within the comity of Nigerian Federation. As much as development seems far away from various Ekiti communities, development of infrastructures and attraction of wealth and income generating industries and opening up of the towns and villages, were issues of neglect and politics of development, apart from by-pass of potential manpower of the State in matters of leadership and government patronage.
5.0 First attempt and efforts to agitate for the creation of Ekiti State of Nigeria
Agitations from various groups were part of the earliest strategies to break the yoke of the Non-Ekitis on the Ekitis, before a full blown confrontation later emerged. Two memoranda originated from Ekiti leadership of various political affiliations and were addressed to the State and Federal Governments.
The papers generated towards the agitation for the creation of Ekiti State out of old Ondo State constituted the basis of the study here, without much reference to various meetings held by Ekiti leaders at the Ado-Ekiti residence of Chief J.E. Babatola, the Ijero country home of Chief Akin Omoboriowo and other locations with a view to provide a platform and common front for projecting the cause of Ekiti people at that time.
The meeting organized by party stalwarts at Ikere Ekiti early in 1980 under the auspices of all Ekiti Leaders of different political parties was spearheaded by Hon. Bode Ikumapayi and Hon. Akin Morakinyo and it had Chief J.E. Babatola as the Patron. The meeting argued on the need to create Ekiti State with Ifaki Ekiti as the Capital. However, when an enlarged meeting was later convened in late April 1980, the dynamics for the choice of State Capital was inconclusive. When the matter was sponsored as constitutionally required at the State House of Assembly Akure by Hon. Akin Morakinyo (of Ekiti South) in May 1980, 40 out of the 66 members of the House were noted to have voted for the creation of Ekiti State in favour of the motion, of which Ado-Ekiti was favoured as the State Capital instead of Ifaki, Ikole and Ijero.
Several memos were written and signed separately by Ekiti Senators, Honourable Representatives, Assemblymen and Community Leaders in May 1980 as they began to mobilize at the Federal level, though obvious absence of strong and influential Ekiti leaders in positions of authorities of the NPN run Federal Government, made their efforts, more of wishful thinking.
One of the two major memos written and addressed to the Chairman of Senate Committee on the Creation of States on 9 May 1980 and signed by the distinguished Federal and State legislators and the other addressed on 25 May 1982. Senator Ayo Fasanmi was the Chairman of the Ekiti caucus in the National Assembly while Chief (Hon.) Akintunde Rotimi was the secretary.
Chief J.E. Babatola (1990) noted that Ekiti had the worst hit due to the fact that it was treated as one, when it is a component of regions of same socio-cultural background, but different political components and economic potentials. The crux of this erroneous and misplaced declassification of public policy and management approaches to the position of Ekitiland within old Ondo State affected her development in the areas of appointment of public officials, allocation of public funds, construction and use of public utilities for the development of the region.
Prof. I. Olomola (2005:146-156) noted that the Ajasin administration was unmindful of the necessity for equitable distribution of political offices in old Ondo State. He asserted further that the Ajasin government gave Ekiti politicians cause to suspect and allege the existence of some back-stairs talk (clandestine) plans of the non-Ekiti section in government to wipe off the majority advantage Ekiti had derived from the 1963 census exercise. The same was highlighted on the number of Local Governments in the State. Ekiti with a 52.8% (1,441,850) population figure in old Ondo State had 8 Local Governments, whereas the non-Ekiti areas with 41.2% (1,305,271) population figure as a matter of necessity got 9 Local Governments.
The characteristics of the leadership of the public service were not different as many potential Ekiti senior civil servants could not attain to the height of their careers before retirement. Ekitis who occupied positions of Secretary to State Government or Head of Service were in the public since 1996, though it prided itself of the highest number of graduates in all strata in the region and the state. The same occurred in the Judiciary where the Chief Judge and Judges were often drawn from outside Ekiti landscape.
Beyond the political developments and reactions arising at the beginning of the struggle for the creation of Ekiti State in 1980, various discussions and proposals were considered among Ekiti leaders to set into pace for the submission of the initial memorandum on the state creation. The inability of those efforts to actualize the goals of Ekiti Leaders due to political division and crisis in the Second Republic cannot be dissected from the consciousness which fuelled future agitations for Ekiti State through the leadership of the Wednesday Group meetings led by Chief Deji Fasuan apart from other meetings held by Ekiti Traditional Rulers and the Committee of Ekiti Chiefs and Community Leaders. It is on record that Chief Deji Fasuan was one of the potential Ekiti victims who suffered the abuse of office and circumvention of civil service processes committed by Ajasin’s administration against top Ekiti public servants.
6.0 Challenges of Ekitis and the burden for State Creation after Second Republic: Second attempt and successful agitation for the creation of Ekiti State
Tracing the various developments and role of Ekitis back to 1966 unsuccessful bid by Ekiti people to form the Yoruba Eastern State comprising Ondo Province and the Ijesha Areas, Olomola (2012) asserted that the experience of Ekiti people during the efforts to create the old Ondo State through presentations made to the Justice Ayo Irikefe Panel on Creation of States in 1975 and the various experiences of Ekiti people after the creation of Ondo State culminated in the need for Ekiti people to demand for a separation from the old Ondo State.
During the military era that followed December 1983 fall of Second Republic, the Federal Military Government began a process of restoring sanity into the nation’s political system through the war against indiscipline, trial of political office holders and public servants found guilty of corrupt practices and maladministration. By 1985, the change of military administration which was severally criticized for high-handedness, suppression of citizens’ rights and abuse of the rule of law, brought about the re-engineering of national discuss. The direction was a clamor for the review of the nation’s socio-political terrain to diverse developmental programmes and ideological orientation necessary towards restructuring and revamping the nation and her fortunes for future democratic experience.
Part of the initial process to re-engineer the political process was the creation of POLITBRO, an agency set up to reconsider the political ideology suitable for Nigerian State; while the political class was infiltrated with a view to enlist their support for the Military Government.
Agencies like MAMSER (NOA) was created to oversee the public enlightenment of the people in the new direction, while the Government shop for intellectuals, bureaucrats and experts to improve government institutions and to promote her policies and programmes. Eventually, the efforts of Federal Military Government to restructure the Nigerian Polity resulted in the steps taken towards convening a Constituents Assembly to review the Nigerian Constitution as well as the agenda setting and time table designed for political activities.
It is obvious that the row over demand for more Local Government Councils and State creation were part of the various injustices which the Babangida and Abacha military junta attempted to address as part of changing the political climate of Nigeria’s Federal State after the fall of Second Republic. This is what turned Nigeria from a 19 States in 1983 to 36 States by 1996, about three years before the military left sphere of political governance in 1999.
The persistent demand for more Local Governments and the need to create more States took different dimensions in each State and the Federal Military Government as an arbiter depended largely on inputs from various States and the role of their State Governments to devise and advise the Federal Military Government on such matters. The Mbanefo Committee on creation of State was set up during Abacha’s administration and it saw the need and feasibility in the creation of Ekiti State within the South West geo-political zones.
Efforts were undertaken to address the needs of the people in the areas of a balanced federation going by the issues of good governance and challenges of the political class during the Second Republic. This resulted in the gradual steps towards the creation of more Local Governments and new States including Ekiti State. A good observation was the fact that Ekiti people being literate and highly educated seized the opportunities of the on-going developments to press the demand for the creation of more Local Governments Councils and the eventual creation of Ekiti State within that time and space.
Ekiti area unlike other parts of the province suffered in the scheme of decision making which eventually characterized the marginalization of Ekitiland in areas of human capital, infrastructure and social development. Though the census figure attributed Ekiti as the largest part of the region, the allocation of resources usually left Ekiti with one share among the rest as Owo, Ondo, Akure, Akoko and Okitipupa share equally with the entire Ekitland which had minimum of 8 districts in 1958.
Professor Isola Olomola (2012) observed that the greatest challenge of Ekiti people since the colonial Era is that Ekiti people were treated as one and Ekitiland as an entity, whereas other part of Ondo Province (and old Ondo State) regardless of their limited population, human and natural resources were regarded as different ethnic groups and more often accorded similar status in relative terms to the entire Ekitiland. He noted that it was the Ekiti feeling of marginalization, ostracization and being annealiated within a region that Ekiti was deemed to be politically and administratively relevant, that spurred Ekiti people to demand for a separate State.
It is noteworthy to assert that the opportunities for political aspiration of Ekiti leaders and people in old Ondo State were limited within the Nigeria’s Federation. Ekiti people hardly had the opportunity to occupy meaning leadership positions save for the short period of the election of Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua as the Governor of the State during the aborted Third Republic. Plum positions of prominence and wealth were usually cornered by non-Ekiti people in government and public service while less attractive positions are usually allotted to Ekiti people.
Patronages of Government were therefore restrictive in the areas of public service, contract negotiations and personal development. Real power and influence was located outside Ekiti as profitable contracts and beneficial public projects are usually sited in Owo, Ondo, Akure and Okitipupa axis. The less of benefits were felt in Ekiti and sometimes in the Akoko and Ilaje regions.
During the military era in 1989, Prof. Olomola (2005:157-158) who was a member of the State Cabinet noted further conspiracies of the non-Ekiti sectors against the Ekitis in the attempts to create more Local Governments for non-Ekiti areas at the expense of the Ekitis of the old Ondo State. The attempt was thwarted by the decisions of the Federal Goovernment which insisted that each Federal Constituencies with a Local Government should be given additional Local Government Council. This resulted in the creation of 4 Local Councils in Ekiti and one in Non-Ekiti sector to improve the deplorable situation. The treatment meted on Ekitis obviously showed that Ekitis should look beyond the components of old Ondo State, in order to have their fair share of the political rights and relevance in the Nigeria’s Federation.
The eventual creation of Ekiti State did not dwindle nor berated the good contributions and support of honourable men who provided the necessary platform for the benefit of all the stakeholders. The road to an envisioned dream for the successful agitation was achieved through cooperation of Ekiti leaders, particularly Chief Afe Babalola SAN, Chief Ayo Ogunlade, Major Gen. (Rtd). R. Adeyinka Adebayo, Chief Julius Adeluyi, Dr. Kunle Olajide, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Chief Dr. Bode Olowoporoku, Chief Deji Fasuan, Prof. Opeyemi Ola, Chief Ayo Omodara, Chief Paul Olatunde Alabi, Prof. Sam Aluko, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, Chief (Hon.) Akintunde Rotimi to mention a few.
Part of the communiqué issued at the end of that meeting and signed by the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, HRM Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the Obanla of Ijesa-Isu and Chief Deji Fasuan represents the determination and intent of the Ekitis to finally break away from the Ondo State and to exist as a separate political entity within the Nigerian federation. A full list of the names of the Community leaders and the Royal fathers who participated actively in various stages of the struggle for the Creation of Ekiti State is contained in the attendance sheet of their meeting at the Palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti on 9 January 1996.
Chief Oladeji Fasuan (2002) noted that part of the initial phase of the Creation of Ekiti State resulted in the raising of delegation that travelled to Lagos to canvass for the support of Ekiti people. The delegation included Chief J.E. Babatola, Chief Ojo Falegan, Chief Ogunleye, Dr. Aladetoyinbo and Chief Deji Fasuan who were hosted at the Igbobi, Lagos residence of Chief Ranti Adeyinka. In the statement read to the Lagos delegation, Chief Babatola (2008) recalled saying thus: ‘…Our past efforts to champion the creation of Ekiti State in 1980 did not pass the adequate consideration of the National Assembly…Knowing that the politics of Second Republic in Ondo State was marred with political differences and leadership crisis which made it impossible for all Ekiti to come together in the same fold… Our desire to liberate our people from all forms of backwardness and abandonment can only be achieved in the new order, if we all come together as one… The current dispensation of Military rule in Nigeria provides the chances for us with better and promising prospect...The mood at home now is that Ekiti people should renew the call for a separate state…Our Obas and leaders have agreed that we should join hands together, come on board and commit ourselves towards achieving this onerous objective…we need all our people and their public contacts to help us influence those in the decision making process and positions of power to assist…’
During the presentation of the memorandum on the creation of Ekiti State to the State Creation, Local Government and Boundary Adjustment Committee led by Arthur Mbanefo in January 1996, Aare Afe Babalola SAN, CON, OFR presented the memorandum for the creation of Ekiti State. Other presenters included Professor Filani who presented a paper for the sitting of the State capital at Ikole while Chief J.E. Babatola who preferred that Ado-Ekiti should be made the State Capital due to political tenability presented a paper titled: ADO-EKITI -The choice of Ekiti People for the capital of the proposed Ekiti State.
The effort at creation of Ekiti State is a road paved from the earliest times by the contribution and leadership of Ekiti people. Ekiti State is a dream which did not start in one day and was not achieved in one day. It was a combination of selfless service and contributions based on patriotic enthusiasm, nationalistic flair, initiatives and cooperation, discipline, use of mental rigour, political victimization, and neglects arising from politics of development, all which translated in the mind and spirit of great men within and outside the various generations of merging and prospective leaders to create an opportunity and a voice of reason for the Ekitis in Nigeria.
The creation of Ekiti State cannot be hidden as a tribute and a legacy without the leadership, active role and support of Ekiti Obas and leaders of Ekiti politics and generational struggle earlier mentioned, where chief roles were played by the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti – HRM Oba Dr. Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, HRH Oba G. Adeniyi – the Obanla of Ijesa Isu Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola SAN, CON, OFR and Chief Oladeji Fasuan among others. History is there to validate the substance of these attributes and contributions.
Indeed, the role of Ekiti Obas and Ekiti leaders included various political delegations to Northern leaders including Tor Tiv and the Sultan of Sokoto, as well as visits to Abuja, the seat of the Federal Government to contact public dignitaries who were requested to give their support to the eventual creation of Ekiti State. Now that Ekiti State has been created, it is better left to work assiduously for its progress and economic development in order to justify the efforts and sacrifices of the leaders who sponsored its creation.
7.0 The quest and place of Ado-Ekiti as the State Capital of Ekiti State
Babatola (2008) indicated that most of the organizations that made demands for the creation of an Ekiti State wanted Ado-Ekiti as its capital with valid reasons because Ado-Ekiti is uniquely a natural setting capable of resultant development of its landscape and facilities in a way to assist the finance of the administration of a new State under the auspices of both successive Federal and State Governments. He argued that Ado Ekiti is both the geographical and historic centre of Ekitiland, a nuclear setting among the erstwhile 16 Kingdoms and the political administrative arrangements that succeeded them supported it. The originally 16 associated kingdoms that spanned the Ekiti country had diplomatic ties which depended much for a proper functioning on the role that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the General of his Army played in sustaining harmony in the entire Ekiti territory.
Furthermore, it was stated that the kingdoms of Egbe Oba (Ikole) and Ijero gave Ado-Ewi continual support in playing this leadership role. Hence the choice of Igbemo and Ado-Ekiti district towns for the burial of a common mother for an Elekole (her eldest son), an Ewi (her second son) and an Ajero (her third son) was an indication of the traditional ties and leadership role of the Ewi and the central position of Ewi’s Kingdom among the three potential rulers of Ekitiland in its medieval period of history.
In the course of the history of Ekiti, only kingdoms outside a direct centrifugal influence exerted from Ado-Ekiti were those of Otun, Ishan, Ayede and Emure, three of them in the extreme north and one on the extreme south. He also stated that with the advent of colonial rule in Ekiti, between 1899 and 1912, the British Colonial Government administered Ekitiland from Oke Imo and from 1913 decided to choose Ado-Ewi as a convenient centre for its Ekiti administration, while changing the town’s name to Ado-Ekiti in recognition that Ado-Ekiti is the nerve centre of Ekiti people’s social and economic activities.
In the areas of religious harmony in Ekiti affairs, Babatola cited that major religious activities designed for Ekiti particularly for both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, have Ado-Ekiti as the Seat of their Bishops.
In the academic field, Ado-Ekiti is also the seat of both the Federal Polytechnic and the Ondo State University (now renamed Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti). The location of these institutions in Ado-Ekiti therefore bears witness to the fact that both governments recognize the central-ness of Ado Ekiti.
Since Ekitis quite naturally come to Ado-Ekiti regularly and in large numbers not only to settle but to do business that contributes enormously to the increased prosperity of Ekiti people, the population sizes of Ekitis in their sectorial set up shows that the percentages yielded by the population of Ekiti North (headquarters at Ikole), Ijero (headquarters at Ijero) and Ero (headquarters at Ido Ekiti) are respectively 13.03, 0.93, and 15.35, while that of Ado stood at 28.43% of their entire population, a position which supports the claim to have the capital for the proposed Ekiti State in Ado-Ekiti. He concluded that in using a map of Ekiti that was produced soon after Akure had opted out of the Ekiti confederacy in 1946 was described as having its pivot or centre of balance, that is to say, the geometric centre of Ekitiland from 1913 to 1946 as Itaipe area (the picnic ground) in Ado-Ekiti… The nearest place to that point, which is still part of Ado-Ekiti ought to make the city qualify as the capital.
Part of the summary of Chief Babatola’s submission which attests to his presentation consisted of the Ekiti Map drawn to favour his argument where he referred to the efforts of Ado-Ekiti People to make the Ekiti Division of Ondo Province achieve development in terms of road transportation, creation of land bank for business and official use through existence of road infrastructures to link the town with the other Ekiti administrative divisions, extensive Government Reservation Areas to house government officials (i.e. District Officers, judges and magistrates), the Ewi-in-Council 1975 augmentation of Government efforts by creation of land bank for development purposes, construction of several buildings by the Federal and State Governments for the official use of the administrative, judiciary, police and prison departments, existing communication facilities and adequate provision for effective administration of justice and security of lives in Ekitiland which is at its best in Ado-Ekiti.
Babatola concluded that the siting of the capital of Ekiti State elsewhere in Ekiti would entail enormous expenditure of funds which in short would be undesirable because ‘…Ado-Ekiti is already a fortunate asset with no liability attached in setting up the apparatus for a state capital…”
Ado-Ekiti eventually became the capital of Ekiti State when the State was created in 1996, though the characteristics of equity among Ekiti people and equality of Ekiti Kingdoms was noted in the struggle for the State creation through the agitation for the sitting of the State Capital in different communities notwithstanding their homogenous nature and characteristics. No part of Ekiti would see itself inferior or less developed than the others. This is the politics of development in modern Ekiti State since 1999.
8.0 Conclusion – Envisioned Road to the creation of Ekiti State in perspectives
Several perspectives will continue to be written about the agitations for the creation of Ekiti State depending on the role played by each personality involved in the struggle and how those roles are interpreted and evaluated as a matter of substance. That is why Tailcot Parson, the American Social historian defined History as a ‘selective system of cognitive orientation to reality’. Within the assumptions and empirical realities lies the efforts and role of the key players and their calculated contributions and successes.
Chief Oladeji Fasuan (the Jagunmolu of Ado-Ekiti) who chaired the Committee for the Creation of Ekiti State in the 1990s will continue to attract point of relevance without overshadowing the role and contributions of other stakeholders, because he was part of the leadership that saw to the eventual creation of Ekiti State, though he was not the pioneer of the idea at the initial phase.
Ekiti was an independent state prior to the British conquest. It was one of the many Yoruba states in what is today Nigeria. Ekiti as a nation and districts of Yoruba race had her progeny in Oduduwa, the father and progenitor of Yoruba race. Just like every major subethnic division in Yorubaland. Ekiti has her origin from Ile-Ife (the cradle land of Yorubaland). The Olofin, one of the sons of the Oduduwa had sixteen (16) children and in the means of searching for the new land to develop, they all journeyed out of Ile-Ife as they walked through the Iwo - Eleru(crave) near Akure and had stop over at a place called Igbo-Aka(forest of termites) closer to Ile-Oluji.
The Olofin, the sixteen children and some other beloved people continued with their journey, but when they got to a particular lovely and flat land, the Owa-Obokun(the monachy of Ijesha land) and Orangun of Ila decided to stay in the present Ijesha and Igomina land of in Osun state. While the remaining fourteen (14) children continued with the journey and later settled in the present day Ekiti land. They discovered that there were many hills in the place and they said in their mother's language that this is 'Ile olokiti' the land of hills. Therefore the Okiti later blended to EkitiI. So Ekiti derived her name through hills.
These are direct children and founder of Ekitiland, Igbominaland and Ijeshaland:
- Alara of Aramoko
- Alaaye of Efon Alaaye Kingdom
- Ajero of Ijero Kingdom
- Arinjale of Ise
- Ewi of Ado
- Elekole of Ikole
- Ogoga of Ikere
- Atta of Ayede-ekiti
- Elemure of Emure
- Oloye of Oye
- Olojudo of Ido
- Onire of Ire
- Onitaji of Itaji
- Onisan of Isan
- Oore of Otun Moba
- Owatapa of Itapa
- Orangun of Ila-Orangun
- Owa -obokun of Ijeshaland
- Ologotun of Ogotun
The State is mainly an upland zone, rising over 250 meters above sea level. It lies on an area underlain by metamorphic rock. It is generally undulating country with a characteristic landscape that consists of old plains broken by step-sided out-crops that may occur singularly or in groups or ridges. Such rocks out-crops exist mainly at Aramoko, Efon-Alaaye, Ikere-Ekiti,Igbara-odo- ekiti and Okemesi-Ekiti. The State is dotted with rugged hills, notable ones being Ikere-Ekiti Hills in the south, Efon-Alaaye Hills on the western boundary and Ado-Ekiti Hills in the centre.
Climate and vegetation
The State enjoys tropical climate with two distinct seasons. These are the rainy season (April–October) and the dry season (November–March). Temperature ranges between 21° and 28°C with high humidity. The south westerly wind and the northeast trade winds blow in the rainy and dry (Harmattan) seasons respectively. Tropical forest exists in the south, while savannah occupies the northern peripheries.
Towns and administrative divisions
The people of Ekiti State live mainly in towns. These towns include: Ado, Awo Ekiti, Efon-Alaaye, Aramoko Ekiti, Temidire-Ikole Local Govt, Igede Ekiti, Ikole, Ayede, Isan, Iye Ayede, Ikere, Ire, Ijero, Ayetoro, Ipoti, Igogo, Ise, Itapa, Otun,usi, Ido, Emure, Iyin, Igede, Ilawe, Ode, Oye, Omuo, Ilupeju, Ikoro,Iloro, Ikun, Iye, Ijesa-Isu, Ayedun, Aisegba, Osin, Okemesi, Iworoko, Ifaki, Osan, Erinmope, Asin-Ekiti, Orin, Ilogbo, Osi, Igbole, Ora, Aye, Ikogosi Erio, [Igbara-Odo](Ogotun), Erijiyan Ekiti Iludun, Ilemeso, Otun, Itapaji, Imojo, Ire Ekiti, Eda Oniyo, Gogo Ekiti, Odooro Ekiti, Ijan Ekiti.
Local Government Areas
Ekiti State includes 16 of Nigeria's 774 Local Government Areas. They are:
The Ekiti, whose ancestors migrated from Ile-Ife as a people, form one of the largest ethnic groups in Yorubaland. Ekitis are culturally homogeneous and they speak a dialect of Yoruba language known as Ekiti. The homogeneous nature of Ekiti confers on the state some uniqueness among the states of the federation. Slight differences are noticeable in the Ekiti dialects of the Yoruba language spoken by the border communities to other states. For example, the people of Ado local government area do not speak exactly the same dialect with the people of Ijero Local government area, while the people of Ikole area speak something different from the people of Ikere area. The communities influenced by their locations include Otun (Moba land) that speaks a dialect close to the one spoken by the Igbominas in Kwara State. The people of Oke-Ako, Irele, Omuo speak a similar dialect to that of Ijesas of Osun State. However, part of the uniqueness of the Ekitis is that where ever is your own part of the state, you will understand well, when the other Ekiti man/woman speaks, in spite of the dialectal variations. In addition, all towns in Ekiti State take a common suffix, “Ekiti,” after their names. The main staple food of the people of Ekiti is pounded yam with Isapa soup or vegetable soup. NATURAL RESOURCES Ekiti land is naturally endowed with numerous natural resources. The state is potentially rich in mineral deposits. These include granite, kaolin, columbite, channockete, iron ore, baryte, aquamine, gemstone, phosphate, limestone,GOLD among others. They are largely deposited in different towns and villages of Ijero, Ekiti West, Ado - Ekiti, Ikole, Ikere, Ise-Ekiti and other Local Government Areas.
The Land is also blessed with water resources, some of its major rivers are Ero, Osun, Ose, and Ogbese. More so a variety of tourist attractions abound in the state namely, Ikogosi Warm Spring, Ipole - Iloro Water Falls, Olosunta hills, Ikere, Fajuyi Memorial Park Ado - Ekiti and so on. The Ikogosi tourist centre is the most popular and the most developed. The warm spring is a unique natural feature, and supporting facilities are developed in the centre. The spring is at present being processed and packaged into bottled water for commercial purpose by a private company - UAC Nigeria.
Moreover, the land is buoyant in agricultural resources with cocoa as its leading cash crop. It was largely known that Ekiti land constituted well over 40% of the cocoa products of the famous old Western Region. The land is also known for its forest resources, notably timber. Because of the favorable climatic conditions, the land enjoys luxuriant vegetation, thus, it has abundant resources of different species of timber. Food crops like yam, cassava, and also grains like rice and maize are grown in large qualities. Other notable crops like kola nut and varieties of fruits are also cultivated in commercial quantities.
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