The first
thing that comes to almost every Nigerian’s mind when Ondo State is mentioned
in the same line with the question of ethnicity is Yoruba. Yoruba is the
dominant ethnic group in Ondo State, so much so that both can be used interchangeably
to represent the people of the south-western state.
groups in Ondo State include the Ilaje, the Akoko, the Ikale and the Ondo.
These groups speak distinct dialects of Yoruba language, have varying cultural
norms and traditions, and have different history and accounts of origin.
Below we
take a look at the different Yoruba and non-Yoruba tribes in Ondo State, where
these tribes are found in Ondo State, their history, culture and population

1. Arogbo Ijaw

The Arogbo
are a sub-group of the Ijaw ethnic group, and are found in Ese-Odo and Odigbo local
government area in south-eastern Ondo State. They migrated to their present
location from the town of Gbaran in the central Niger Delta.
The Arogbo
speak the Arogbo dialect, which belongs to the Ijaw dialectical group referred
to as Western or Central Ijaw.
the Arogbo have had trading contacts with neigbouring Ijaw tribes, the Apoi
Ijaw and the Egbema Ijaw , and two Yoruba tribes, the Ilaje and the Ijebu.
The Arogbo
acted as middlemen in the slave trade, selling captives from the interior to
European slave merchants.
The town of
Arogbo-Ile is the headquarters of the Arogbo.
Worship of
Egbesu, the tribal god of the Ijaw is very strong among the Arogbo.

2. Ijaw Apoi

The Ijaw
Apoi, or Apoi Ijaw, or Apoi are a tribe of the Ijaw people found in Ese-Odo
local government area of Ondo State, and also in some communities in Edo State.
They consist of nine kingdoms. These nine principal ancient kingdoms of the
Ijaw Apoi include Igbobini, Okomu, Kiribo/Ikpoki, Inikorogha, Oboro, Shabomi,
Igbotu and Igbekebo.
The Apoi
trace their origin to a migration from central Niger Delta in present day
Bayelsa State. Prior to their arrival at their present location, tribal
traditions recall a long period of settlement at Ukomu in what is now Furupagha
The Apoi
speak the Western or Central dialect of the Ijaw language, which is also the
dialect spoken among neighbouring Arogbo tribe, and also among the Kolokuma
tribe of Bayelsa State.
Kalasuwe of Ijaw Apoi is the leader of the Apoi, and the seat of the throne is
in Shabomi.

3. Ilaje

The Ilaje
are a sea-savvy tribe found in the coastal Ilaje and Ese-Odo local government
areas of Ondo State. The Ilaje area consists of four geopolitical entities.
These include Ugbo, Mahin, Etikan and Aheri.
The Ilaje
are said to have left Ile-Ife in the 10th century following a disagreement with
the Yorubas led by King Oduduwa, the first king of Ile-Ife.
The Ilaje
occupies the longest coastline in Nigeria. Their aquatic skills and high
adaptational ability enabled them to conquer their harsh geographical
environment and turn it into a big advantage.
The Ilaje
speak the Ilaje language, which is considered — albeit controversially, in
some corners to be a dialect of the Yoruba language.
Oronmaken is the paramount ruler of the Ilaje.

4. Akoko

The Akoko
are a people sharing a very large settlement mostly on rocky terrains on the northern
end of Ondo State.
The Akoko
people are found primarily in Akoko North-West, Akoko North-East, Akoko
South-East and Akoko South-West local government areas of Ondo State, and also
in Ijumu local government area of Kogi State and Akoko Edo local government
area of Edo State..
There is no
single Akoko language. Akokoid languages are really just related dialects with
each community speaking their own variant, and some communities, like Oke Agbe
having four dialects spoken in different parts of the town.
The main
Akoko towns are Oke Agbe, Arigidi, Erushu, Oyin, Igashi, and Uro Ajuwa
There are
over a million people in the Akoko region of Ondo State.

5. Ekiti

Even though
majority of Ekiti people live in Ekiti State, Ekiti people are however also
found in Ondo and Kwara States.
In Ondo
State, the Ekiti are found in the western parts of Akoko North-West local
government area.  Their major towns
include Eriti, Irun, and Ogbagi.
The Ekiti
people of Ondo State speak a Yoruba dialect similar to the Ijesha and Igbomina

6. Ondo

The Ondo
are a sub-group of the Yoruba ethnic group found in Ondo East, Ondo West and
Odigbo local government areas of Ondo State. They speak a distinct dialect of
the Yoruba language that’s almost unintelligible, if not totally unintelligible
to other Yorubas who are non-natives of the Ondo Kingdom.
The Ondo
trace their origin to Oyo. Osemawa, a direct offspring of the Alafin of Oyo is
the mother of Ondo. She migrated to the present location of the Ondo people
after being sent out by the Alafin.
Ondo town,
the capital of the Ondo people is the second largest town in Ondo State.

7. Ikale

The Ikale
are one of the largest tribes in Ondo State. The Ikale are found in Okitipupa
local government area of Ondo State.
The Ikale
trace their origin to ancient Benin Kingdom.
The Abodi
of Ikale land is the paramount ruler of the Ikale.
The Ikale
speak the Ikale language, which is considered in some corners as a dialect of
the Yoruba language.
There are
over 200,000 Ikales in Ondo State.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top