Akure is a city in south-western Nigeria, and is the largest city and capital of Ondo State. The city had a population of 484,798 as at the 2006 population census.
Rock engravings dating back to the Mesolithic period, have been discovered on the outskirts of Akure. Also the oldest Homo sapiens fossil ever found in West Africa thus far was discovered there, dating back to around 11,000 years ago.
Oral tradition states that Akure was founded by Omoremi Omoluabi, a grandson of the Emperor Oduduwa. The Prince left Ile-Ife, his grandfather’s principal kingdom, in search of a place to settle after passing a strict test administered by Oduduwa himself, and eventually founded the city. The Oba’s Palace is located at the centre of the town, and was built in 1150 AD. It has over 15 courtyards, with each having its unique purpose. Ua nla, Ua Ibura, Ua jemifohun, Ua Ikomo are some of the names of the courtyards. For example, in the Ua ubura courtyard, oaths are taken, and the ua Ikomo is used for naming ceremonies. At present, a bigger and more modern palace is being built to the south of the old palace’s grounds. Oja Oba, which means the Oba’s Market, is just a stone’s throw away from the Palace.
Akure’s King is known as the Deji of Akure and is supported by six (6) high chiefs (Iwarefa) in his or her domain. The totem of Akure is the Leopard and the father of Omoremi Omoluabi was himself called Ekun (this was his regnal name). It is for this reason that every descendant of the Akure clan has been addressed by outsiders as Omo Ekun during the recitation of his or her praise poetry or, alternatively, as ‘Omo Akure Oloyemekun’, since Omoremi was said to have stayed for a while at Igbo Ooye before coming to the Akure region.
In 1915, the colonial government merged the divisions of Owo, Ondo and Ekiti to form a new province with headquarters in Akure. In 1976, the town became the capital of Ondo State.
Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida Afunbiowo II was chosen as the Deji of Akure on 13 August 2010 to succeed the previous Oba Oluwadamilare Adeshina, who had been dethroned on 10 June 2010 for sacrilegious misdeeds. Afunbiowo’s daughter, the Omoba Adetutu, was appointed princess regent following his demise on the 30th of November, 2013.
In 2015, Prince Kola Aladetoyinbo, successfully emerged the new Monarch of Akure after beating twelve other contestants nominated by the Osupa ruling house to become the 47th Deji of Akure.
Akure lies about 70°15’ north of the equator and 50°15’ east of the Meridian. It is about 700 km Southwest of Abuja and 311 km north of Lagos State. Residential districts are of varying density, some area such as Arakale, Ayedun Quarters, Ijoka, and Oja-Oba consist of over 200 persons per hectare, while areas such as Ijapo Estate, Alagbaka Estate, Avenue and Idofin have between 60-100 people per hectare. The town is situated in the tropic rainforest zone in Nigeria.
Akure has two television and Seven radio stations NTA Akure, Ondo State Television, Sunshine Radio Akure, Adaba FM, FUTA FM, Positive FM Akure, Orange FM, Galaxy Radio and Breeze FM. Akure is the trade center for a farming region where cocoa, yams, cassava, corn and tobacco are grown. Cotton is also grown and used to weave cloth.
The state specialist hospital in Akure is equipped and staffed with trained medical personnel to cater to the health needs of the populace. To supplement the efforts of the state specialist hospital in this regard, there are other government health centres and private clinics. ‘Abiye’ health programme of Governor Mimiko administration was recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the best health programmes on maternal health programme with the establishment of Mother-Child hospital in Akure.
The city has tertiary institutions which include: the Federal University of Technology Akure, Federal College of Agriculture, School of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Health Technology. It also has famous secondary schools like St. Thomas Aquinas College, Oyemekun Grammar School, St. Louis Grammar School, and Fiwasaye Girls’ Grammar School. The first two are for boys while the latter two are for girls in the tradition of early schools in Nigeria. The town is also host to Federal Government Girls’ College and St. Peter’s Unity Secondary School, amongst many others.
Within the modern Akure kingdom are two other constituent communities with their separate chiefs and traditions. The more prominent of the pair is Isikan while the second of them is Isolo. The Oba of Isikan is known as the Iralepo while the Oba of Isolo is known as the Osolo of Isolo. In the olden days these were separate towns, but they were brought together under the nominal control of Akure as a result of a number of wars. Nearby towns include Ilara, Igbaraoke, Iju, Itaogbolu, Idanre, Owo, Ikere and Ondo. The most influential Deji in recent history was Oba Adesida I who was known as Afunbiowo. Several Dejis after him were his direct descendants.
It also serves as the birthplace of notable Nigerians like Chief Olu Falae (one time presidential candidate of a political party who reigns as a titled aristocrat of the realm), Chief Reuben Fasoranti (leader of the pan-Yoruba group: Afenifere) and several personalities in the academia Philip Emeagwali, industry, the military, judiciary and the civil service. Philip Emeagwali the Gordon Bell Prize winner was born in Akure while the mother of King Sunny Adé is a native of Akure. Akure is also the hometown of Engr. Julius Alabi, former Chief Executive Officer of Cadbury, and Kole Omotosho. The notable lawyer, Kayode Ajulo is also one of the city’s proud products, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas College.
In Akure, there are many stores with include cuisines such as Chicken Republic, Tantalizers, Captain Cook and Mr. Bigg’s. There are several clothing stores in Akure, with a newly opened store named “Atmospheric” (Opened 2010). The major supermarkets are NAO supermarket,CECI supermarket, Omega supermarket DE CHRIS supermarket while there’s a SHOPRITE STORE Akure mall.
For sporting events, Akure has a stadium with a capacity to sit 15,000 spectators. A new state-of-the-art stadium is under construction on the northern flank of the city. The town is the home base of Nigeria Premier League team, the Sunshine Stars.
Akure is a city with various and liberal religious leanings. Christianity, Islam and Traditional or Totemistic worship forming the basis of faith for most residents.The preponderance of churches in the city cannot be ignored. There is the Central Mosque on the Oba Adesida Road,forming a major landmark in the city.Worthy of mention is the fact that they all enjoy a peaceful co-existence in the city hub.