Egba people

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The Egba people are a subgroup of the Yoruba people, an ethnic group of western Nigeria, a majority of whom are from the central part of Ogun State that is Ogun Central Senatorial District.

Ogun Central Senatorial District comprises six local government areas in Ogun State: Abeokuta North, Abeokuta South, Ewekoro, Ifo, Obafemi Owode and Odeda local governments.


The Egba group, originally under the Oyo Empire, became independent following the spectacular collapse of Oyo in the first half of the 19th century.[1] Wars with the Dahomey, in which the Egbas were successful partly due to the protection afforded by the Olumo Rock, led to the founding of the city of Abeokuta, which literally means "under the rock".

The Egba nation is made up of the following subdivisions: the Ake, Owu, Oke Ona and Gbagura, each with its own king. (Historically, the Egba nation is made up of four divisions; Ibara, though geographically located in Abeokuta, is part of Yewaland.) During colonial rule the British recognised the Alake (or King of Ake) as the paramount ruler of the whole clan and their territory, and so, his successor is now referred to as the Alake of Egbaland. The titles of the kings of the aforementioned subdivisions are therefore Alake of Egbaland, Oshile of Oke Ona, Agura of Gbagura, and Olowu of Owu, in order of settlement and seniority in the Egba nation. (The Olubara is not an Egba king; he is a Yewa king although his domain is located geographically within the present day Abeokuta.) It is worthy of note that the original town and settlement of the Egba nation was under and around Olumo Rock, which is in the Ikija/Ikereku area of the Egba Oke Ona. The Jagunna of Itoko is the Chief Priest of Olumo. Olumo Rock is in the territory of and under the control of the Itokos.

Another reference name for Abeokuta by the founding fathers is Oko Adagba (Adagba's Farm or Bush) in reference to the hunter that discovered Olumo Rock. Adagba went hunting in search of game animals from the Obantoko township where his fellow Itoko citizens were stationed while wandering for a settlement. He then came across the mountain.

Egbaland was where Henry Townsend lived, and was also the home of the first newspaper in Nigeria (Iwe Irohin). Its people serve as the first of the many Nigerian nations (until recently, the only of them) to have had an anthem.

Egba anthem[edit]

Lori oke o'un petele
Ibe l'agbe bi mi o
Ibe l'agbe to mi d'agba oo
Ile ominira
Chorus: Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo; Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo
Abeokuta ilu Egba
N ko ni gbagbe e re
N o gbe o l'eke okan mi
Bii ilu odo oya
Emi o f'Abeokuta sogo
N o duro l'ori Olumo
Maayo l'oruko Egba ooo
Emi omoo Lisabi
E e
Chorus: Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo; Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo
Emi o maayo l'ori Olumo
Emi o s'ogoo yi l'okan mi
Wipe ilu olokiki o
L'awa Egba n gbe
Chorus: Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo; Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l'Ori Olumo

Traditional attire[edit]

  • Women:
    • Wrapper, Iro
    • Top, Buba
    • Headgear, Gele
    • Other: Ipele - Piece of cloth placed on the shoulder or wrapped around the waist


Lafu, (White Amala) and Ewedu soup; badan

Notable Egba individuals[edit]


  • S. O. Biobaku: The Egba and their neighbours; 1842 - 1914. Oxford 1957.


  1. ^ "Egba People". LitCaf Encyclopedia.