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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]. Although he was the last born, he became the prime heir of Oduduwa upon 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 after he had left Benin where he had been crowned the first Oba of Benin. [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. This obelisk Is 5.5m tall and about 1.2m in circumference at its base. During a storm in 1884 about 1.2m was broken off from its top and it has fallen down about twice and re-erected. It currently stands in a groove in Mopa, Ile-Ife. 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 Edo chiefs, who had earlier requested for spiritual and political direction from Ife after the death of Ogiso Owodo of Benin Kingdom, were given Oranmiyan by his father Oduduwa to serve as their king. He however met opposition from the kindred of the Ogiso, and was refused entrance into the city upon his arrival there. Oranmiyan camped at a place called Use, meaning "making of a city" or "Politicking", and began to rule Benin. His foreign style of management didn't go down well with the chiefs, and they sent agents to spy 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 Egor where he took Erinmwide, the daughter of the Enogie (or duke) of Egor, as a wife. Eweka I was the result of this union. Oranmiyan was never to return to Benin. In his place, Eweka I became king. Oranmiyan, or Oromiyan as pronounced by the Edo people, is recognized as the first Oba of Benin and founder of the Eweka dynasty, which is still ruling today. [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 there, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants then expanded into the Oyo Empire. He engaged in war with the Bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi, a Tapa princess, who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.

Oranyan festival[edit]

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.