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The Untold Story Of Erin Ile

The Untold Story Of Erin Ile


Erin-ile, an ancient Yoruba town was founded around 1225 AD i.e. over 878 years ago. History of Erin-ile dates back to the episodic return of Oranyan from Edo country after his fiery military expeditions against the Igbos who were then harassing that part of Oduduwa’s world. Erin-ile is one of the oldest towns in the old Oyun Local Government Area, including Offa. Erin-ile town was founded about the same time as Ipee and the boundary between these two was before the advent of Offa town. Reliable oral tradition and intensive research harmoniously revolve the historical origin of Erin-ile around one illustrious royal prince of Ife called ODUMOSA. He was known to be a renowned hunter and marksman, hence his cognomen “APAAYAN”, i.e. a marksman who was reputed for his best games. As the fore-name suggest, Odu-mosa was also a devout religionist and a calculating leader. He was an astute administrator and charismatic personality. He was the grandson of king OBALUFON of Ife. OBALUFON is the contracted from the OBA ILU IFE i.e. (The king of Ile- Ife), and Olufon its short form means OLU-IFE i.e. (the lord of Ife). He was a famous craftsman and the first to introduce brass-works to Ife. He is still being highly revered for that valuable contribution. King Obalufon was reigning when his nephew prince ORANMIYAN led his series of military expeditions to Benin. King Obalufon later died and prince ORANMIYAN who was the heir apparent did not return in time from the war front. In his absence, king Obalufon’s son ALAIYEMORE was appointed and installed as the next Ife king. Thereafter, prince Oranmiyan surfaced abruptly to Ife. Panic gripped everyone for fear of what would and could be the reaction of such a ferocious military hero to his life ambition being so dashed by his counsin’s ascension to the throne which he (Oranmiyan) had always coveted. In such an unsettled and uncertain situation, ODUMOSA who was the direct son of king Alaiyemore considered it foothardy to wait in Ife for ORANMIYAN’s reaction. He quickly decided to quit Ife in order to escape the possible wrath of Oranmiyan. It was everyone’s belief that whoever provoked Oranmiyan invited fiery war. Odumosa set off with a large contingent of followers including his son ALAWODE AREBIOPE and his half brother, prince ALAPA. He carried with him enough supplies of basic needs. he took along a number of precious treasures from the palace. Among such were beaded crowns, regal attires, royal scepter (EDAN OBALUFON), Obalufon’s festival silver crown, set of threaded coral beads, the cultures of Obalufon, Ifa oracle, war equipments, arms and ammunitions, (for games and self defense) and a mysterious clarion horn for assembling his followers whenever they scattered in search of games and food or were stranded. He relied very much on the horn which he also used to give war or peace signals and directions of next movements to his followers.

Like patriarch Abraham of the Jewish history who on divine orders left his parents in the land Haran for an unknown destination. Odu-mosa left Ife on Ifa oracle’s advice for the open wide world without ascertaining his real destination. He was a man of faith, indeed a man of indomitable courage, never scared of hills or jungles, dry land or flooded planes. He went on and on prodding his contingents to walk and walk fast away from a possible chase by Oranmiyan. He commanded his people “E RIN E RIN; E RIN” i.e. WALK FAST, WALK FAST, WALK FAST. The name ERIN was later suffixed with the word “ILE”, which denotes the terminal end of the trek on Ifa oracle’s direction to form the compound name ERIN-ILE. After a long spell of roaming and rambling before they reached that destination, they halted and rested in a number of places, like ERINMO or ERIN-ITADOGUN i.e. a junction place where they rested on 17th day of their trek and made houses of plan fronds. A big market was established at the junction settlement. When Odumosa left, some of his followers remained behind and settled permanently in ERINMO. Other place of sojourn included ERIN-OKE, ERIN-IJESHA, all of which are now notable towns in Osun State. At Erin-ile, Odumosa met three hunters; Olowe, Afolumodi and Gbaagba, who adopted him as their first king when they knew of his princely status.

At a last stop-over before Erin-ile, Odumosa, Odumosa forgot his clarion horn. By the time they went back for it, it had sunk and sparkling water, now the river Owo has started gushing out of it. It was at this juncture that his half brother, prince Alapa separated from him while Odumosa moved west ward, Alapa moved east ward. Alapa now established Eku-Apa now in Irepodun LGA of Kwara State.

A much later settlement of Odumosa’s successors are Erin Papa, founded on an open grassland by the 13th Elerin of Erin-Ile in defiance of Alimi, the Fulani Jihadist. Erin Papa was found in Osun State and is now called Erin –Osun. Around 1907, Elerin olaojo decided to return to Erin-Ile on cessation of hostilities by the Jihadist. Some citizens followed him while some opted to remain. Erin_osun is also a big toen and she shares close affinity with Erin-ile. Indeed,the two towns are “twain” towns.

Apart from towns and settlements established directly by Odumosa or his successors, there are also families who have blood or cultural affinity with Erin-Ile and are living in other communities. They can be recognized by their cognomen (oriki) whether they are in Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ilorin, Oshogbo, Ilesha, Ogbomoso or Offa. Such cognomens include, “More, Mosa” (from Alaiyemore and Odumosa), “Omo Elerin Mosa”, “Omo Elewe Ladogba”, “Omo Obalufon L’Erin”, “Omo Abinuwole” referring to Olowe who sank alive and “Omo Abiowe” again referring to Olowe star war leader of Erin-Ile. Some notable Nigerians with such cognomens include Ali Agboguleri; Saka Pena, Adegoke Adelabu (Penkelemi) and Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe all in Ibadan, the balogun family of Iragbiji, the Duro Ladipo family in Oshogbo, the Ige family in Ijeshaland spreading to Ibadan, the Toki family in Offa and on the maternal side, the Olugbense royal family in Offa etc.

Presently, Erin-Ile is in Oyun LGA of Kwara State and was the headquarters of the Local Governement when it was first created in 1980. For inexplicable reasons, the headquarters was moved when the Federal Military Government re-created the L.G.A. in 1990. Erin-Ile is on the southern-most fringe of Kwara State and shares boundaries with Offa, Ilemona, Irra, Eku-Apa, Ipee, Igosun all in Kwara State and Oyan and Ila – Odo in Osun State. She is serviced by modern amenities such as a General hospital, Telephone facilities and is on PHCN main grid. Culturally, Erin-ile is a typical Yoruba town. An annual festival peculiar to her is the Obalufon festival named after their progenitor in Ile-Ife.

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