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Check Fact: Brief History Of Ondo People

According to Benin oral account, the founders of Ondo migrated from Udo town in Benin Kingdom. They fled Benin during the Benin-Udo war. The word Ondo was derived from “Emwan N’Udo” (a Benin phrase which means “people of Udo”). Similarly, the title of the traditional ruler of Ondo “Osemawe of Ondo “ was derived from Osemwughe, name of the Benin warrior who led the migrants from Udo to the place which is now known as Ondo.

Sitting among the thickly forested planes that characterize southwestern Nigeria are the towns and communities that make up the Ondo Kingdom. Located some 300kilometres to the north-east of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic nerve centre and 45kilometres west of Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Kingdom is easily reached by road from all parts of the country. The Ondo people are one of the largest South-west subgroups, situated in the eastern part of the Yoruba speaking area of Nigeria.

The weather elements that characterize the region are those typifying the rainforest region of Sub-Sahara Africa.

The descent of Ondo people, as well as the geography of the Kingdom does not reflect any significant deviation from those of other towns and communities peopled by the Yoruba of south-westernNigeria, who are virtually agreed on the common paternity of Oduduwa.


However there exists still, as in most historical collections, about three separate accounts that explain the origin of the Ondo people. While some of the people of the Kingdom, almost in unison rejected a version that links its origin to the Old Benin Kingdom in present day Edo State, as being the invention of its proponents, there seems to be some level of convergence on the other two accounts which trace the origin of the people to Ife and Oyo respectively.

While an outright invention of any historical account, as attributed to the Benin Kingdom version, may be unlikely, the symmetry of the more widely held versions of the origin of the people are herein reflected with the major dissonance being in the origin from either Oyo or Ife. But on a broad outlook, the two accounts seem to point towards the same direction.

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Segun Akinlabi

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