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Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede, Great Prince of Ife, King of the Yoruba also known as Oranyan, was a Yoruba king from the kingdom of Ile-Ife[1] and although he was the last born, he became the prime heir to Oduduwa at his return to claim his father's throne.[2] According to Yoruba history, he founded Oyo as its first Alaafin at around the year 1300 and one of his children, Eweka I, proceeded to become the first Oba of the Benin Empire. [3] Following the Oba Oranyan's death, his family is fabled to have erected the commemorative stele known as the Staff of Oranmiyan - Opa Oranmiyan in the Yoruba language - at the place where their father died. Radiocarbon tests have however shown that this royal marker was erected centuries before the start of the Oduduwa dynasty, during what is known as the "classical" Ife period.[2]

Oranmiyan at Benin[edit]

The Bini chiefs, who had earlier requested for spiritual and political direction from Ife after the death of Ogiso Owodo of Igodomigodo, were led by Oranmiyan. He however met opposition from the kindred of the Ogiso, and was refused entrance into the City. Oranmiyan camped at a place called Uselu, meaning "making of a city" or "Politicking" His foreign style management didn't go down well with the chiefs and they spied on him. All this made Oranmiyan declare that only a son of the soil can cope with the attitude of the Igodomigodo people and call the land "Ile - Ibinu", meaning Land of Vexation. On leaving Ile-Ibinu (later Ibini, and corrupted to "Benin" by the Portuguese), he stopped briefly at Ego where he had an affair with Erinwide, the daughter of the enogie or duke. Eweka I was the result of this affair but Oranmiyan was by now never to return to Benin. Oranmiyan, or Oromiyan as pronounced by the Bini, is recognized as the first Oba of Benin[4]

Oranmiyan at Oyo[edit]

After leaving Benin at about 1290, he moved north with his ever loyal entourage and settled close to the river Moshi (a tributary to the Niger River). He founded a city, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants expanded into the Oyo Empire. He engaged in war with the Bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi - a Tapa (Yoruba name for Nupe) princess - who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.

The first ever Oranyan Festival of Arts, Culture and Tourism was initiated in 2012 by his descendant and reigning successor, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III of Oyo, who mandated that subsequently the festival was to be celebrated annually between the 8th and 15th days of the month of September in Oyo, Nigeria.[5]


  1. ^ "Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria". 9 (3-4). Historical Society of Nigeria (University of California). 1978. 
  2. ^ a b Ogumefu, M. I (1929). "The Staff of Oranyan". Yoruba Legends. Internet Sacred Text Archive. p. 46. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  3. ^ G. T. Stride; Caroline Ifeka (1971). Peoples and empires of West Africa: West Africa in history, 1000-1800. Africana Pub. Corp (University of Michigan). p. 309. 
  4. ^ "Oba Ewuare II Coronation Speech 2016". Retrieved 2017-07-09. 
  5. ^ "1st Oranyan Festival". Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved 2012-06-21.