Ado Ekiti is a city in southwest Nigeria, the state capital and headquarters of the Ekiti State. The population in 2006 was 308,621. The people of Ado Ekiti are mainly of the Ekiti sub-ethnic group of the Yoruba. Ado Ekiti City has a State owned University – the University of Ado Ekiti now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, a privately owned University – the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, a Polytechnic – the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, two local television and radio stations, – NTA Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State Television (BSES), Radio Ekiti, Progress FM Ado Ekiti. Various commercial enterprises operate in Ado Ekiti. The city is the trade centre for a farming region where yams, cassava, grain, and tobacco are grown. Cotton is also grown for weaving.
Where Ado-Ekiti is situated is a land that has been continuously inhabited/occupied by human communities from time immemorial. Available research shows that human societies of unknown antiquity occupied this neighbourhood about eleven thousand (11,000) years ago. These ancient inhabitants were probably the same or progenitors/ancestors of Igbon near Ogotun, Erijiyan, Ijero, Ulesun and Asin (near Ikole) who were probably autochthones because available traditions shows that they had lived in and near their abodes from time immemorial. As a matter of fact, no one knows where, if any, they came from and for how long they had lived in those ancient sites. Ulesun appears the best-known apparently on account of its size, the number of its subordinate communities especially Aso, Ulero, Isinla, Ilamoji, Ukere and Agbaun (near Igbemo), its well-organized traditional religion including its festivals etc. and its location at the heartland of Ekitiland. These ancient people were the ancestors of Ekiti, they played hosts in the 7th and 8th centuries, about 1,200 years ago, to waves of immigrants from the basins of the rivers Niger and Benue; these settled among the ancient Ekiti, and were fewer in number and so, the hosts culturally absorbed them.
After many generations, a new wave of immigrant groups penetrated this homeland; their leader as Ewi, second successor of Prince Biritiokun, Son of Oduduwa, on account of his wanderings all the way from the Benin forests, the leader was nicknamed Awamaro. Ulesun people welcomed them warmly and neighbouring committees came together to assist their settlement (built homesteads for them) at Oke-Ibon in Odo Ijigbo. Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements, conquered Ulesun community, displaced its ruler Elesun and established a new town, Awamaro named Ado, meaning ‘here we encamp’. Ewi Awamaro and his successors conquered villages and cottage in the neighbourhood, replaced their rulers with their own loyalists, stalwarts and scions of the royal family. The important citizens of these conquered communities were relocated in Ado. Ewi supplanted Elesun as sovereign ruler of the aboriginal and settler population, many of Elesun’s Chiefs were confirmed in their offices but they swore oaths of allegiance to the Ewi. Many of the succeeding Ewi expanded the kingdom by force of arms, annexed territories and gave these territories to scions of the royal families, these assumed titles which became hereditary. The expansion and growth of Ado-Ekiti and the kingdom of Ado lasted over 400 years. In the course of this expansion, Ado became associated with certain traits. Citizens of the kingdom in general and those of the mother town, Ado-Ekiti in particular were reputed for great attention to cleanliness. A popular lyrical description of Ado citizenry depicts:
Ira Ule Ado m’etipise fifin seree (Ado citizens with their usually clean heels). Ado people were, by local standard, tough and brave warriors. Traditions preserve numerous brave citizens of each Ado community, the best known were Ogbigbonihanran of Idolofin quarters, Ogunmonakan of Okelaja, Fasawo, a.k.a. Aduloju of Udemo quarters, and Eleyinmi Orogirigbona of Okeyinmi quarters – all of Ado-Ekiti and Ogunbulu, a.k.a. Ala l’oju Osoru of Aisegba. The exploits of Ado tough in many parts of Ekiti formed the basis of the popular orature: Ikara s’eji s’inu agbagba t’emi ukoko (Of two balls of cake in the frying-pan, he insists his share is one)
Folk, traditions are replete with fond references to Ewi’s relationship with some other Ekiti traditional rulers. Ewi’s antecedents are depicted as: Elempe Ekiti (mightiest man in Ekiti) On k’emu ‘kan o mu meji Oloju k’enu ‘kan gba kete re (He is entitled to one, he took two he has a disposition to take everything) Ewi i pe mi udiroko Onitaji i pe mi esunsu…… (Ewi invites me for his udiroko festival Onitaji invites me for his esunsu festival)
Folk traditions of this nature vividly portray the towering position of Ado-Ekiti. In the first place, Ado-Ekiti is situated at the heartland of Ekiti and is thus less exposed to cross-border attacks or non-Ekiti influences. Consequently, over many centuries, waves of immigrant groups seeking haven settled in Ado-Ekiti and several other Ado communities. Many of these immigrants were refugees, they left their old homelands in parts of Ekiti, Akoko, Owo etc. where their leaders lost out in chieftaincy contests. Some were war captives, these were brought in droves by Aduloju and his lieutenants from their slave wars of the 1870s and 1880s in parts of Owo, Ose and Akoko. They were settled in Ado communities where they increased the local population, and enriched the culture with their lineage names and festivals in similar circumstances, citizens of Ado communities left their fatherland and settled in a few places in the neighbourhood up to Ijesaland. Ibadan sacked many Ado communities in 1873 and made a huge haul of prisoners of war and other captives who eventually settled in Iwo, Ibadan and some Remo towns such as Iperu and Makun Sagamu. However, Ado communities especially the mother town offset part of their losses with a large number of slaves and prisoners of war from Owo, Ose and Akoko.
Ado-Ekiti is one of the towns of the north-eastern territory of Yoruba land and passed through a succession of military, political and cultural changes from the time of Ewi Awamaro (circa 1310 A.D) who migrated there to form what became Ado-Ekiti.
Jadesola Babatola (2008) noted that the large part of the 13th century, legend had it that many princes left Ile Ife to what later became several Yoruba kingdoms along the west coast of Nigeria. Among the princes were two born to Oduduwa by the same mother, the Oba of Benin and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. Both first settled in Benin forests before disputes among their people led them to separate and the Ewi sought a new home westward at Utamodi (Oke Papa). Ewi Biritiokun and his son reigned there. It was Ewi Awamaro who migrated to Ilesun (Present day Ado-Ekiti) after staying briefly at Udoani (Ido Ani) and Agbado during the long trek. When Ewi Awamaro left Agbado, the elders remained behind to rest and gave the settlement the name Agba Ado (Elders’ Camp) – Agbado-Ekiti as the town is known today. Awamaro’s spies encouraged him to attack Elesun with the support of Odolofin after he had settled down at Oke Ibon (now Odo Ijigbo) and with the conquest of Ulesun by Awamaro, the town of Ulesun changed its name to Ado or Ado-Ewi.
The Elesun (the King) who ruled over the town of Ulesun with its satellite towns i.e. Ukere (now Ikere), Isinla, Ulamoji, Agidimo, Ikewo existed in what is now known as Ado-Ekiti before the emergence of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti. The Elesun occupied the peak of a hierarchy where he had his subordinates as the Odolofin (Elesun second in command), Asao, Elegemo, Alamoji, Olisinla, Olulero, Olookori etc. Elesun was the head of the laity in the worship of Olota (god), the deity in charge of the security of Ulesun State. The Ulesun language was different from Yoruba (Ado-Ewi) language. Examples are Ideregbe (Ewure or Goat), Okeregba (Aja or Dog), Amomo (Alangba or Lizard), Usa (Ikoko or Pot), Ukere (Ago or Calabash Cup), Ogolomosi (Ibepe or Pawpaw), Oyeye (Epa or Groundnut). Some of the Elesun’s chiefs such as Odolofin and Asao were accepted into the Ewi’s system of chieftaincy after Awamaro’s conquest. The Elegemo retained his post as Chief Priest and custodian of Iwemo Ogun. Ewi’s Warrior chiefs who provided military security for palace inhabitants were the Akogun at Irona, Oloja Ese at Oke Ese, Eleyinmi at Okeyinmi and Egbedi at Orereowu. Ewi Awamaro subjugated Elesun’s neighbours and expanded his territory except Ukere (Ikere Ekiti) and his successors up to Yeyenirewu followed same steps that by 1550 A.D. Ado-Ewi had become a big power in the entire Ekiti country.
The Ewis that reigned at Ado from 1444 to 1552 were: Ewi Ata (1444–1471), Ewi Owakunrugbon (1471–1490), Ewi Owamuaran (1490–1511), Yeyenirewu – The regent (1511– 1552). Ewi’s military exploits during the period was to subjugate and annex his immediate territories extended to Ikere, Igbara Odo, Ogotun, Aramoko, Erio and Erijiyan among others. It was a long time systematic military campaign during the reigns of Ewi Obakunrin (1552–1574), Ewi Eleyo-Okun (1574–1599) and Ewi Afigbogbo Ara Soyi (1599-1630). During the reign of Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696), Ado-Ewi was peaceful as war was abandoned in place of diplomacy and mutual relations strategy. Ewi Gberubioya divided the Ewi dynasty into three ruling houses of Owaroloye (Aroloye), Atewogboye and Arutawekun. Ewi’s sons that ruled in neighbouring areas during the reign of Gberubioya included Okunbusi who became Onigede, Adubienimu who became Alawo, the Onijan, Opoakin (of Iwere), Olu Akitipa (of Odo), Aramude, Olokun, Olurasa, Onikewo and Olotin. One of his sons, Amujoye founded Igbemo and took the title of Oba of Igbemo from its inception. Gberubioya linked the Ewi’s dynasty to both Ikole and Ijero because one of his wives who were betrothed to Elekole was surrendered to Ewi as a peace deal and her children for the Elekole, Ewi and Ajero who took her into custody after Ewi’s demise later ascended as Ewi, Elekole and Ajero respectively. Ido Faboro (Ido-Ekiti) took her current name from Ado as a result of settlement with Ewi to remain independent of Ado during Gberubioya’s reign. Other Ewis that reigned after Gberubioya were Ewi Idagunmodo (1696-1710), Ewi Okinbaloye Aritawekun (1710-1722), Ewi Amono Ola (1722-1762), Ewi Afunbiowo (1762-1781), Ewi Akulojuorun (1781-1808), Ewi Aroloye (1808-1836), Ewi Ali Atewogboye (1836-1885), Ewi Ajimudaoro Aladesanmi I (1886-1910), Ewi Adewumi Agunsoye (1910 – 1936), Ewi Daniel Anirare Aladesanmi II (1937 – 1983), HRM Ewi Samuel Adeyemi George-Adelabu I (1984 – 1988) and HRM Alayeluwa Ewi Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III (the current Ewi of Ado-Ekiti).
From the 1880s, agents of the British, especially Christian missionaries penetrated the Yoruba interior in an endeavour to end the wars, in particular, the wars of liberation Ekitiparapo communities waged against Ibadan since October, 1879. In June, 1886, political-cum-military officers got the belligerent parties to sign a truce and in March, 1893, Governor Carter of Lagos visited Ibadan and Ekitiparapo camps of Igbajo and Imesi-Ile and terminated the war, got the leaders to sign treaties which prohibited slavery and slave trade, human sacrifices and the use of weapons to settle conflicts. The British administration in Lagos (which had authority over Yoruba hinterland from 1893) proclaimed a general emancipation for slaves and ordered slaves who so wished to return to their former homelands. As a result, numerous citizens of Ekiti in general and Ado in particular returned from captivity forth with. The British established its colonial rule on vast territories and in 1900, a number of districts became Nigeria. Eventually, further reorganizations led to the creation in January, 1913 of Ekiti District, with headquarters in Ado-Ekiti. That was a landmark from where to begin the discussion of today, modern times, a period characterized by the emergence of new things, phenomenal growth and development of old kingdom and its Chief city, Ado-Ekiti.
Jadesola Babatola (2013) noted that the characteristics of average human settlements across the Yoruba nation up to 19th century have been identified as a formation of two basic settlement patterns – the main town and the subordinate towns. In quoting P.C. Llyod (1962:54-57) he presented that the metropolitan (main) town is sometimes larger than the subordinate towns while its rulership and kinship are based on patrilinear succession within the agnatic lineage. The traditional layout arrangement was usually based on geographic location, population size, need for expansion, trade opportunities, settlers’ vocation and military vulnerability of major towns over subordinate towns in addressing their strategic trade and military advantage. Across Yorubaland, it was observed that variations and modification in the location and access to King’s palace in particular alongside the settings for the King’s market and meeting places in designated areas were determined by the town’s topography, culture and politics and the extent of control over the people and the local economy.
The general Yoruba traditional compound described by T.J. Bowen in his Adventures and Missionary labours in the Interior of Africa from 1849-1856, and the Revd. R.H. Stone’s in Afric’s Forest and Jungle, was further described in by PC Llyod’s Comparative Study of the Political Institutions in Some Yoruba Towns, an unpublished B.Sc thesis (1952). For avoidance of doubt, the Intelligence Report produced by N.A.C. Weir (1933) reported a general framework of township organization in Ado-Ekiti in the early British colonial rule, which is similar to what existed during the pre-colonial era. Weir (1933) noted that the family (Ebi) as the smallest unit which is grouped into Village (Ileto) or Sub-Quarter (Ogbon) or Quarter (Adugbo) in a town (Ilu). However Weir made an error of assertion when he claimed that ‘the wars or slave raids of the 19th century were the greatest factors in the creation of the larger towns.’
Weir’s error was based on his lack of understanding of the traditional layout pattern in Yoruba land and his misconception of the facts behind the growth of major towns which he attributed purely to illegitimate and legitimate trade. The existing traditional arrangement always recognized some socio-economic and political factors necessary for the formation and setting of townships in Yoruba land. Recounting the assertions of E. Kraff Askaris, I. Olomola (2013) observed that the Palace of a paramount ruler is the centre of political and economic activities such that both the palace and central (Oba’s) market lay at the centre of the town and all route to and from the outer. Communities converged on it like spokes of wheel. Both Palace and Market were sacred places as well as centres of ritual sacrifices and worship of tutelary deities.
The panoramic view of Ado-Ekiti in the 19th century was a feature of average Yoruba settlement. Llyod (1962) noted that the traditional layout existing across settlements in Yoruba land in the pre-colonial era formed part of the physical features of Ado-Ekiti. He described how Ado-Ekiti was traditionally arranged among settlers. See diagram of source in P.C. Llyod (1962:56) Yoruba Land Law. Using the foregoing parameters, one can describe the nature and pattern of settlements of Ado-Ekiti in the pre-colonial era by pinpointing existing arrangement in Ado-Ekiti as it reflects on the growth of the metropolis or main town (Ilu-Nla) and the subordinate towns (Ilu-Kekere) in the peripheries (Agbegbe) or subordinate areas. Furthermore, the sketch devised by Llyod (1962:56) showed the structure of Ado-Ekiti settlement as a metropolitan town surrounded by subordinate towns and communities with Ado-Ekiti layout coordinated and co-existing with the layout of the subordinate towns surrounding the municipality in similar ways.
Ewi’s Suzerainty in Ado-Ekiti Traditional Layout and 1800s Settlements: Ado-Ekiti and all other Ado communities consisted of a ‘large number of traditional rectangular compounds grouped into the quarters of the town’. Within the Ado-Ekiti township layout, the Ewi’s Palace lay in the middle, though it was first built at Oke-Ibon and then moved to Chief Arowa’s Palace strands beside the Erekesin (King’s Market) before it was moved into the vintage point of Oke Ewi where it has finally settled over 200 years ago. The sitting of Ewi’s Palace within Ado’s topography is discussed in the work of G.J.A. Ojo (1966:76) who noted that Yoruba palaces (aafin) are the residence of King (Oba) and sacred places that houses shrines and temples to all deities worshipped in the kingdom, together with a number of places reserved for ritual activities, oath taking etc. Llyod (1962:192) in similar manner justified the status of the Ewi as a scared ruler in the typical Yoruba fashion. Oral tradition further hinged the sacredness of Ewi and the location of Ewi’s Palace at the centre of the chief city (Ado-Ekiti) on the degree of his relationship and the latitude which his High Chiefs, Military Chiefs, Palace Chiefs and Royal Princes who acted as patron chiefs over hamlets and surrounding villages enjoy.
The traditional layout of Ado-Ewi appeared to have taken definite shape from the time of Ewi Awamaro as a matter of strategic repositioning for Kingdom building and political dominance of the rural and conquered communities. The traditional layout design of Ado-Ekiti relocated most of the early settlers outside the vicinity of Ewi’s Palace. It was an arrangement that also left the Ado community and the subordinate towns to revolve around Ewi in a preferred order. The enlargement of the Ewi’s Kingdom during the reign of Ewi Gberubioya (1630-1696) in the 17th century and other successive Ewis upward into late 19th century which covers the period under review with the expansion of the main town’s layout indicates that they did not alter the traditions for town settings which is similar to what is obtained in many other of Yoruba major towns.
In the most part of 1800 (19th Century) and early 20th century, Ado people were adherents in African traditional religion with fervent worship of the supernatural, ancestral and embodied spirits of varying categories, which revolve round Ewi’s Palace institution. The mode of worship and observance of traditional rites revolved around alaponmi, Oitado and alafonyos, Ogun festival and Iwe Mo Ogun, Egungun festivals – Ade, Aeregbe, Orude, Epa, Odede festivals and the most important, being Udiroko which is the traditional Ado Day, the first day in the traditional calendar. Traditional shrines were created for Orisa Ojido, Uba Lota, Ayoba, Oke Egbe (now Ayunbo), Odudu, Osun, Ose, Ogbese, Ajilosun, Isewese, Atan – All of them fertility deities.
The role of Ado-Ekiti in the growth of Yoruba religion and politics intertwined and influenced the survival of Ewi’s realm while co-habiting and co-existing with her subordinate and satellite towns and other neighbouring communities. The tenancy embedded in the spiritual arrangement of the Ado-Ekiti layout in that era suffices. Narratives and archival materials embedded in the works of Chief J.E. Babatola (1976) written in concert with 31 Ado Chiefs as a rejoinder to a reconstruction of Ado history by Chief J.A. Fashubaa, the Oisa tallied with the historical approaches. It also highlighted the traditional panoramic view of Ado-Ekiti in 1800s and the nature of her municipality and the group intersections of her three notable traditional sectors in a unique arrangement that further conceptualized the traditional components of the Ewi’s cabinet. The layout pattern was shown in a sketch that depicted the traditional layout of Ado landscape in the pre-colonial era (1800s) as reproduced by Chief J.E. Babatola on the re-arrangement of Ado landscape and Chieftaincies beginning from the reign of Ewi Awamaro Source: 31 Ado Chiefs Rejoinder to Chief Oisa Fasuba’s Memo 1975/76
Ewi’s Realm –Territoriality and Politics of Division in Ewi’s Kingdom: At the height of Ado-Ekiti influence in Ekiti country in the 18th and 19th centuries, legend has it that Ado kingdom consisted of 150 (ewadojo) communities and that the metropolis of the kingdom was Ado-Ekiti Township where the Ewi as Sovereign superintended over the realm as the sovereign head. The Oluyin, the Alare, the Alaworoko, the Elesure, the Eleyio and the Onigbemo are very important rulers of subordinate towns within the immediate precinct of the Ewi’s municipality. Within the Ewi’s Kingdom, heads of subordinate towns often performed specific political and spiritual roles and responsibilities in the service of the Kingdom in order to retain and sustain their relationship with the powerful King while supporting the layers of interrelations among towns in the realm. Legend has it that it was a tradition in Ado-Ekiti for influential members of the royal household (Omo Oba or Omo Owa) to be sent to subordinate Ado-Ekiti community to found new dynasties on established settlements in buffer zones and borderland areas.
Rulers of subordinate towns like Iyin-Ekiti (Uyin Alelagba) and Are-Ekiti were brothers and relations of the Ewi who co-existed and led their respective townships as co-ordinate lesser cities of Ado-Ekiti. They ruled in those towns with a view to creating stability for the Ewi who was a ruler of higher importance in the main city, Ado-Ekiti, while his brothers are rulers over lesser Ado towns where they maintained required importance and role to preserve the Ewi’s realm and achieve an equation of substance and stability against Ewi’s potential regional neighbours. The existence of these chieftains help to preserve Ewi’s interest and to protect Ado-Ekiti from direct invasion by any ambitious adventurer since the chiefs represent Ewi’s interest in those subordinate and neighbouring towns, farm settlements, hamlets and subordinate towns. The headship of most of these towns was selected from the ruling lineage that was created by the senior chiefs, subject to the ratification of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti.
J.O. Olubobokun in his works – Itan Iyin (1980) as corroborated by A.O. Oguntuyi (1986:9) asserted that Iyin is one of the subordinate towns of Ado-Ekiti founded by Oluyin Agbogbomaje, e.g. the sword bearer (Oluda) who accompanied Ewi Awamaro to settle in Ado before he was allocated land to the West of Ado town and settled in a place called Uro where he was later joined by people of Ibedoyin, Oketoro and Okelawe in forming a total of 16 quarters which later truncated into one town. The essence here is that Iyin people were part of Ado Kingdom that gained royal autonomy to co-exist as separate community under the realm of the Ewi without severing traditional ties and blood relations with Ewi and Ado people. The deep traditional relationship that existed between the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti and the Onigbemo of Igbemo-Ekiti for instance requiring those rulers of the subordinate towns around Ado-Ekiti to participate in specific rites at the death or installation of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti tends to highlight the role of covenant renewal in the community for the continuity of Ewi’s ‘imperial’ or hegemonic status and influence in the subordinate Towns.
It is worth noting that, the rulers of these subordinate towns held rights of sovereignty similar to those wielded by the Ewi of Ado in making rules and that Llyod (1962:221) asserted that ‘the Ewi, however holds certain sovereign rights over the entire Kingdom’. A major feature is that each of the subordinate towns also has its separate rulers and chiefs, with a measure of importance and respect even when they hold lesser status or rank in relation to the Ewi who takes preeminence over them due to his prominence, influence, traditional rights, military might, population and size of the realm.
In Ado-Ekiti, the title of Ewi as a metropolitan sovereign is hereditary and alternatively contested by members of the two prominent ruling houses that had gained traditional preeminence within the royal household during period under review, whenever the stool of Ewi became vacant. Heads of subordinate towns in old Ado-Ekiti Kingdom may not be regarded as Baale (High Chiefs) as commonly seen in Yoruba communities of the Ibadan and Oyo country. Rather they were Traditional Rulers (Oba Ilu), though of lower status to the King-Emperor (Oba Alayeluwa or Oba lori Agbegbe) who resides in the main town, a position occupied by the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti in the 19th century. In the circumstances where subjected towns and their rebellion-prone rulers were faraway or near but troublesome by striving for autonomy or independence from Ewi’s influence as identified in case of the Alawe, the Olosi, the Olode, the Onijan and the Onimesi; rulers of other subordinate towns and Ewi’s chieftains were constantly on hand to check them against crisis that could create chaos or attract foreign invasions.
There is no doubt that the festering political relationship between dominant Ado and its erstwhile subordinate Ikere town played into the hands of Benin in 1815 as asserted thus: ‘…the rapid expansion of Ado brought it into conflict with Benin, another power with imperialistic designs in Ekiti. Responding to the invitation by Ado’s neighbouring states who had become unduly alarmed by the consolidation and excesses of the Ewi’s power, Benin army invaded and subjugated Ado in addition to overrunning most of the other Ekiti states some of whose ruling dynasties, as in Ikere, were replaced…’ G.O. Ogunremi and A. Adediran (eds) (1998:17)
The oral tradition of that time depicted the irony of the rivalries and adversities attracted to the Ado Township and the Ewi when describing her quest for expansion in Ekiti as popularly recounted thus: ‘Ogun yeye, b’Ewi ja, Ajase I loo Ewi’ Meaning ‘Many are the adversity of the King of Ado-Ekiti (Ewi), but the power of triumph lies in his hands.’ The continuous opposition to Ewi’s paramountcy by a large number of Ekiti royalties across the country is a pointer to the fear inherent in Ewi’s notable imperial ambitions from 17th to 19th century, which became threats on the status and economy of other notable towns, who were also aiming at prominence and equality within the regional power sharing structure of Ekiti country. No doubt, the characteristics of town formation in Ado-Ekiti area distinguish the mother town (the metropolis) where the most important chiefs reside from the subordinate towns where other rulers existed.
Ado-Ekiti Society and Chief’s Status in the Towns in 1800s: There are the two major grades of chieftaincy titles in Ado-Ekiti as the ihare and ijoye. For instance, the ihare grade in Oke Ewi (one of the three Ado Quarters) is divided into two – The Senior chiefs known as Olori Marun and the junior chiefs consisting of 5 Elesi and 10 Ijegbe. High Chiefs (Baale) in Ado-Ekiti like several others in different parts of Ekiti country were the senior ranking cabinet members of the King-Emperor’s court within the realm. They emerged as most senior chiefs representing recognized leading lineages and compound (agbo ile), chieftaincy families and settlements in the three sectors and quarters of the main town.
The sectors from where the High Chiefs existed also consisted of their immediate abode and extended families, the existing lineages (idi) and groups which Llyod (1962:191) described as (idile or ebi) – the main patrilineage corporate group. Others in the sector are the abode and farm settlements of lesser chiefs and their families which Llyod (1962:55) regarded as hamlets (abule or Ileto) while describing typical settlement patterns in Ekiti in comparison with those from Ijebu and Ondo country. By Ado traditions, descendants in the male line have exclusive rights to land in perpetuity subject to communal rights of hunting and the Ewi’s right as Sovereign ruler to certain trees and game. Grant of land to non-indigene requires permission of Ewi and his Chiefs to forestall subtle arrival of unknown strangers who could end up as agents of hostile communities or invaders planning to attack the realm.
A reflection of this tradition embedded in the status of rulers of subordinate towns up to the 19th century replayed itself during the settlement of a land dispute between the Oluyin and Odofinyin in 1940. It was pronounced according to native law and customs that the Oluyin could not arbitrarily impel himself on the traditional rights of his chiefs though he held an incontestable position as the Head Chief (Ruler) of Uyin Ekiti (a subordinate town) of Ado-Ekiti. This decision was derived from the tradition that everyone in Ado Township has his paternal and maternal land over which the ruler has no ownership or direct control. The Ewi’s controls over land by tradition were limited to areas designated as royal lands, public or open land where the attention of Ewi and his chiefs should be sought. By tradition, Ado people would naturally challenge Ewi’s intrusion on family lands and revolt against him if public land had been tampered with, unless the consent of Ado chiefs and the people were sought and gotten. P.C. Llyod (1962:200) noted that the Ewi’s 1940 crisis could be traced to these traditions because he was alleged to have breached same by alienating palace land for contrary purposes.
In the 1800s, heads of most hamlets and villages in Ado kingdom were Ewi’s chiefs or rulers of subordinate towns who rule in the subordinate towns though lesser in rank and status to Ewi. They are not servile but were subservient to Ado monarch. The import of the above explanation is that the lesser Kings and Chiefs whose towns surround the main town were autonomous and allowed to operate the running of their local affairs and economy and in taking decisions which did not conflict with the Ado system of governance, political tradition and culture nor attract the interest of the King-Emperor to adjudicate upon.
The Ewi in Council and organization of Ado-Ekiti Chiefs from the 1800s: The Intelligence Report produced in November, 1933 by N.A.C. Weir could not essentially produce adequate information on ancient organization of Ado-Ekiti due to his inability to elicit required information from the local people. Rather he concluded from his observations that the information is non-existent. Yet he wrote thus: ’…In Ado there is an aboriginal family in a number of towns or villages…It is therefore difficult the more difficult to trace their ancient organization because they know nothing of their history prior to their migration here. They came with their organization complete and there is nothing of their history to show how it was built up. Whole villages accompanied the Ewi to this part of the Ekiti country and as a powerful settler, he parceled out what land there was. The aboriginals were so scattered or so weak that they could offer no resistance to his advance and followed the only course left to them, that of securing the good will of the fresh arrivals…’
From various accounts of Ado history, Ado-Ekiti with her farm settlements was the largest kingdom in the Ekiti Confederation, though Ado in itself is an amalgam of three constituent sectors largely brought together after the Ewi’s conquest of Ilesun as OKE EWI, ODO ADO, and OGBON META (three coordinate and equal settlements of Oke Ila, Odo Ora and Oke Efon).
Llyod among others asserted that there were no records of the ranking of chiefs before the 20th century because most lineages grew in size, by the absorption of Ado citizens of other lineages and by increases due to possession of slaves while the more regular pattern in the town consists of five or six lineages, with each of constituting a quarter where there exist those who hold senior titles in relation to those with junior titles, whether or not hereditary. Many of Ewi’s chiefs and town settlers within Ado-Ekiti fall into one of the following three categories regardless of their emerging importance and role in the activities and government of Ewi’s Kingdom by 1800 viz. a. The Aboriginals and Early Settlers b. The Ewi’s Royal Court and companion settlers c. The adventurers and immigrant settlers who the Ewi granted citizenship status
Among the aboriginal and early settlers are groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet. Some of the Chiefs which Ewi met in Ado are: a. Odolofin in Odo Ado Sector b. Olora in Ogbon Meta Sector c. Asawa from Odo Ado Sector
Members of the Ewi royal courts and accompanying Chieftains in the groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet include: a. Aro in Odo Ado Sector b. Arowa in Oke Ewi Sector
Adventurers and immigrant settlers of Ewi who became citizens and chieftains in the groups of Chiefs with higher or lesser status in the Ewi’s cabinet include: a. Alarerin in Ogbon Meta Sector from Oke Ila via Ila Orangun b. Odofin in Odo Ado Sector from Oba (now Oba Ile) near Akure c. Ejigbo in Oke Ewi Sector from Imesi Lasigidi (Now Imesi-Ekiti) East of Ado d. The Esewa in Oke Ewi Sector who came from Esewa, Ido Ani e. The Ola in Eleyinmi, Oke Ewi Sector who came from Ode-Ekiti f. The Sasere in Oke Ewi Sector who came from Omuo now North East
The number of High Chiefs whose status qualify them as senior cabinet members (ihare) in the Ewi in Council in the 19th century were twelve in number and their role was designed in the turn of that century, not necessarily by their seniority, but by their importance and contributions to Ewi’s traditional authority for the advancement of Ado’s political stability and progress above other traditional chiefs (ijoye) of the Ewi. The twelve senior chiefs were drawn from the three major traditional sectors of Ado-Ekiti classified below:
OKE EWI SECTOR Odogun (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Interior Minister and Head of Okeyinmi Quarters) Ejigbo (Ewi’s Traditional Chamberlain and Head of Ijigbo Quarters) Baisaya (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Baisaya Quarters) Asa (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Asa Quarters) Sasere (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Sasere Quarters)
ODO ADO SECTOR Odofin (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Idofin Quarters) Aro (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Ularo Quarters) Odolofin (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Udolofin Quarters) Edemo (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Udemo Quarters)
OGBON META SECTOR Alarerin (Sector Chairman, Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Oke Ila Quarters) Olora (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Odo Ora Quarters) Odunro (Ewi’s Cabinet Minister and Head of Odo Uro Quarters)
Ado-Ekiti 1800s turbulence and the advent of British Colonial Rule: Much of the period between the late 1700 and early 1800s, were periods of dislocation and resettlements for Ado-Ekiti Kingdom. According to A.O. Oguntuyi (1986:13-17): ‘The development of the Ado Kingdom was seriously affected by external invasion. These resulted in series of demographic upheavals with settlements constantly moved from one site to another. The most serious of these external invasions were by the Edo of Benin. They attacked and destroyed many settlements…in the Ado Kingdom…The Binis were invited by Ogoga, the third time the Binis were so invited to settle the quarrel between Ado and Ikere. The line of action they resolved to adopt was to bring all the villages under the ewi to Ikere, settle them there and in this way Ikere would be equal or even bigger than Ado. Ado would then be afraid of Ikere. The Benin soldiers came…and sent words to the Ewi Aroloye…He refused to surrender. He did not in any way show that he was not ready for fight. Every town or village under him except Ijan were prepared to fight…The Benin soldiers stormed Igbara-Odo and Ilawe and took them. At this time, Ado town had been vacated. Aroloye took the people to a place called Oke Oko Axis between Ifaki and Iworoko. Most of the gods Ado worshipped on that side: Olua at Eyio, Obanifon at Esure and Are, Ogbese and Orisala at Iworoko. The soldiers pitched their camps near Uyin (Iyin)…Ogbesi Okun, the then Oluyin …was conquered and killed. They proceeded to Igede, Awo and Esure and took them. The inhabitants of Igede then uder[clarification needed] Okiribiti were driven in a north-easternly direction to a place called Oke Asha…Edo troops then marched to Iworoko…The soldiers entered Are…The same fate befell Afao. They were all taken to Ikere. The soldiers moved to Igbemo …entered Igbo-Omoba (now Ilu-Omoba)…The soldiers left Aisegba for Agbado and without delay took it and evacuated the people. Agbado was the last place under the Ewi. With the conquest, of Agbado, the soldiers seemed to have finished their job…’
Isola Olomola (2005:8-12) dwell extensively on the panoramic view of Ekiti in about 1800. He noted that the ravages of invaders and slave raiders from Benin, Nupe-Fulani, Ilorin-Fulani and Ibadan country turned many medium-sized towns and large number of villages into turmoil, political and social turbulence. Drawing on the characteristics and legend of traditional settlements in Ekiti country with reference to major Kingdoms of Ado, Ikole, Ijero and Moba, Olomola (2005:9) asserted thus: ‘Each Kingdom consisted of a major (mother) town and a few or numerous subordinate communities while each city-state comprised a main town and a couple of villages and cottages. Each Kingdom or city state was, to all intent and purposes, a territorial unit over which its Oba (ruler), for all practical purposes, was sovereign from its inception…The Oba of the mother town wore crowns and lived a life governed by protocol, while the heads of subordinate communities …wore crown lets (orikogbofo) and caps…No part of Ekiti was spared the agony of imperialist invasions…The rampaigning Benin armies sacked Ogotun, Aramoko, some subordinate communities of Ijero, Ado communities such as Are, Afao, Ugbo (now Ilu) Omoba and Agbado and settled a large percentage of the haul of captives therefrom in Ikere, their garrison post. The Nupe-Fulani…armies invaded Gbonyin district of Ado…Between 1845 and 1846, these invaders sacked… (Ekiti) towns and ravaged the countryside…Balogun Ibikunle led Ibadan armies to the rescue…and later in 1850 turned the intervention to punitive wars …Ibadan chiefs led their personal armies into Ekiti and adjacent communities…In January 1873, the Aare Momo (Mohammed) Latosisa launched a full scale invasion of central and northern Ekiti…sacked Ado and many of its subordinate communities…’
During the period of Ado-Ekiti dispersal and relocation in late 1700 and after the return of Ewi and other settlers to their original abode in mid 1800, minor modifications in the settlement arrangement occurred in communities outside Ado city wall and in the open land available occupied by royal household and other settlers apart from areas taken over by larger chieftains after the dispersal of some Ado chieftains who resettled elsewhere when Ewi returned to Ado metropolis. Most communities which returned with the Ewi re-occupied their original quarters/ settlements to rebuild them except those who moved from their original settlements outside the Ado township walls into the main town in order to reduce the direct impact of attacks by invaders on them whenever hostilities broke out. The modification that affected land occupation and re-allocation, border relations and security were aimed at reducing imminent threats to Ewi’s Kingdom. Hence, the traditional layout allowed for creation of new quarters in the main town to maintain solidarity, military support and boost the farming economy.
Ewi Ajimudaoro Aladesanmi I (1886-1910) had a peaceful reign devoid of Ikere attacks. This was made possible by the fact that Ado wars with Ikere ended through the peace covenant initiated by a Prince – Oba Oyinbolaja (Oba Dadi). He was reported to have convinced the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti to accept colonial rule of the white man and to stop human sacrifices. When the Ewi accepted colonial rule, he sent emissaries to Captain R.L Bower (the Resident and Travelling Commissioner of Interior Yoruba in 1894) through the help of Ifamuboni (later Babamboni) and then Ado-Ekiti was regarded as a territory within the British Protectorate. It was recorded that Mr. Campbell was the first Briton to visit Ado-Ekiti for situation assessment and report in respect of Kiriji Proclamations at the termination of the Yoruba wars.
In the account of Ewi Anirare Aladesanmi II (1977:9) he noted that the Peace Treaty signed on one hand, between the Ekitis and their Ife and Ijebu allies with Ibadan in 1886 made Ekitis (Ado-Ekiti inclusive) independent under the British Government of Lagos, though no direct colonial administration was witnessed until the setting up of Ekiti Council for members of Ekiti Confederacy on 21 June 1900. The efforts of Evangelist Isaac Ifamuboni (later Babamuboni) and a number of early Christians from Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan who introduced the cultivation of cocoa, maize, brown cocoyam and made wage earning labourers to go from Ado-Ekiti to work in Ondo, Ijebu and Ife in order to boost the cultivation of economic trees in the early part of 1900s were legend of the closing age of that era. The contact of the Ewi and Ado people with the British opened a new chapter for Ado Kingdom in the 20th century. It was a chapter that eventually resulted in elevation of Ado-Ekiti as a District headquarters of Ekiti Native Authority in Ondo Province (of north-eastern Yoruba Territories) which formed part of the Western Region in the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria (now the Federal Republic of Nigeria) and is today, the capital of Ekiti State.
The gradual break down and tearing apart of Ewi’s Kingdom after 19th century by the advent of British colonial rule is made poignant with the grant of political and territorial autonomy to various towns and villages under Ewi’s influence in the pre-colonial era. This is further strengthened by the creation of modern local government system and the composition of Council of Chiefs with the re-grading of the status of Chiefs and granting of full autonomies to natural rulers in several communities.
Chief J.E. Babatola (1995) noted that Ado Ekiti remains a geographical and historic centre of Ekitiland, a nuclear setting among the erstwhile 16 Kingdoms and the political administrative arrangements that succeeded them supported it. The originally 16 associated kingdoms that spanned the Ekiti country had diplomatic ties which depended much for a proper functioning on the role that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the General of his Army played in sustaining harmony in the entire Ekiti territory. He asserted that the kingdoms of Egbe Oba (Ikole) and Ijero gave Ado-Ekiti continual support in playing a leadership role. Hence, the traditional ties and leadership role of Ado-Ekiti and the central position of Ewi’s Kingdom among the three potential rulers of Ekitiland in its medieval period of history suffice.
In the course of the history of Ekiti, only kingdoms outside a direct centrifugal influence exerted from Ado-Ekiti were those of Otun, Ishan, Ayede and Emure, three of them in the extreme north and one on the extreme south. During the advent of colonial rule in Ekiti, between 1899 and 1912, the British Colonial Government administered Ekitiland from Oke Imo and from 1913 decided to choose Ado-Ewi as a convenient centre for its Ekiti administration, while changing the town’s name to Ado-Ekiti in recognition that Ado-Ekiti is the nerve centre of Ekiti people’s social and economic activities. In the areas of religious harmony in Ekiti affairs, major religious activities designed for Ekiti particularly for both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, have Ado-Ekiti as the Seat of their Bishops. In the academic field, Ado-Ekiti is the seat of the Federal Polytechnic and the Ondo State University (now renamed Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti). The location of these institutions therefore bears witness to the central-ness of Ado Ekiti in the heart of Ekitiland.
Chief J.E. Babatola also indicated that most of the organizations that made demands for the creation of an Ekiti State wanted Ado-Ekiti as its capital because Ado-Ekiti is uniquely a natural setting capable of resultant development of its landscape and facilities in a way to assist the finance of the administration of a new State. Part of the summary of the presentation to Mbanefo’s Panel on State Creation for the choice of Ado-Ekiti as the State Capital in Chief Babatola’s submission was his presentation of the Ekiti Map where he referred to the population sizes of Ekitis and showed that the percentages yielded by the population of Ekiti North (headquarters at Ikole), Ijero (headquarters at Ijero) and Ero (headquarters at Ido Ekiti) are respectively 13.03, 0.93, and 15.35, while that of Ado stood at 28.43% of their entire population. He noted that in using a map of Ekiti produced before Akure opted out of the Ekiti confederacy in 1946, the centre of balance geometrically in Ekitiland between 1913 and 1946 was Itaipe area (the picnic ground at Ado-Ekiti). He highlighted the efforts of Ado-Ekiti people to make the Ekiti Division of Ondo Province achieve development in terms of road transportation, creation of land bank for business and official use through existence of road infrastructures to link the town with the other Ekiti administrative divisions, extensive Government Reservation Areas to house government officials (i.e. District Officers, judges and magistrates), the Ewi-in-Council 1975 augmentation of Government efforts by creation of land bank for development purposes, construction of several buildings by the Federal and State Governments for the official use of the administrative, judiciary, police and prison departments, existing communication facilities and adequate provision for effective administration of justice and security of lives in Ekitiland which is at its best in Ado-Ekiti. He noted that since Ekitis naturally come to Ado-Ekiti regularly and settle there in large numbers to do business and contribute enormously to the increased prosperity of Ekiti people, Ado-Ekiti is a befitting place to site the capital. He concluded that ‘…Ado-Ekiti is already a fortunate asset with no liability attached in setting up the apparatus for a state capital…”
Ado-Ekiti eventually became the capital of Ekiti State when the state was created on 1 October 1996. The demand for equity among Ekiti people and equality of Ekiti Kingdoms was brought to light in the agitation for the location of the state capital in different communities; no part of Ekiti would see itself as subordinate or less developed to the others. This is the politics of development in modern Ekiti State since 1999 and one of the major challenges of political governance, leadership aspirations and policy making.
Political violence sparked a protest march in Ado-Ekiti in January 2009. Residents took to the streets demanding government action following a spate of political violence involving reported murders, assassination attempts, and at least one arson of a journalist’s home.
Some fifty years ago, the city began to grow/expand beyond its peripheries and ancient gates and ramparts. In 1963, the city was the largest urban centre in present Ondo and Ekiti States and its population of 158,000 at the census of that year represented it as the most populous urban centre in Eastern Yorubaland. The 1991 population count confirmed the primacy of the city, at least in Ekiti. The creation of Ekiti State in October 1996 and the establishment of state capital at Ado-Ekiti will further enhance the city’s physical development.
The phenomenal growth and development mentioned above have been due to many factors. Many of these are citizens of Ado urban, some are citizens of Ado rural, some are stranger elements, a couple of them are even Europeans and other expatriates. The citizenry warmly welcomed these development. For example, when the main road from the National Bank junction, through Erekesan and Ereguru to Ojumose was tarred in 1952 and the major road from Ajilosun through Ijigbo, Orereowu, Okesa and Obada etc. a section of Akure – Ilorin road, was tarred in 1956, the very welcome development was rendered in popular juju songs, one of which rang:
The layout of Ado-Ewi drawn up and successfully implemented from the time of Ewi Awamaro and enlarged by Ewi Gberubioya were only slightly modified to address the issues of border relations, internal security and reduction of threats to the heartland of Ewi’s Kingdom after the turbulence and wars of 19th century. Since the era of Ewi Awamaro, the design of Ado-Ewi Layout had been implemented in a manner that left the first settlers relocated outside the vicinity of the Ewi’s Palace in an arrangement that left the community around Ewi in a preferred order. Ewi’s palace was first built where Chief Arowa now resides close to Erekesan (King’s Market). The layout was part of the physical features in the traditional settings and layout of Ado-Ekiti, the panoramic view as at the beginning of 1800. Ewi Akulojuorun (1781-1808), Ewi Aroloye (1808-1836) who reigned at Ado but was attacked successively by Benin hordes.
Ado-Ekiti was a three sector traditional grouping with its unique arrangement of its component traditional entities in the Ewi’s traditional cabinet. The three major traditional political divisions of Ado-Ekiti with their unique graphic explanation of the Ewi’s traditional cabinet are as shown in the historical graph produced by Chief J.E. Babatola with 31 Ado Chiefs as a Rejoinder to Chief Oisa Fasuba’s Memo 1975/76 on the arrangement of Ado landscape and Chieftaincy beginning from the reign of Ewi Awamaro. It shows that Ado-Ekiti consist of OKE EWI, ODO ADO and OGBON META.
Among the most conspicuous of the great changes were the introduction and expansion of Christianity and Islam. Christian missions especially of the CMS, Roman Catholic, Baptist, African Church and Methodist, later the Cherubum and Seraphim and Apostolic Church took root and expanded during the 20th century. Each of these Christian communities established numerous churches such that by 1970, the CMS (Anglican) and the Roman Catholic had grown so fast that they had become dioceses with their headquarters and seats of bishops in Ado-Ekiti. The two missions had three grammar schools, the number increased to five in 1990. The growth of Christian communities was very rapid between 1970 and 2000; new missions and denominations Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical and Episcopal arose, swelling up existing communions. Altogether over one hundred churches were recorded in the city in the year 2000.
The Muslim community did not lag behind, the faith spread. The central mosque was built about 1930 and thereafter, a number of mosques were built in Idemo, Umayo, Isato (Irona), Ogbonado, Okesa, Oke-Ila etc. The Ansar-Ud-Deen emerged in the early 1940s. As a matter of fact, the number of mosques and the number of Muslims who have performed the Hajj can readily come to hand as indices of expansion. The number of mosques increased substantially with the growing number of well-to-do Muslim who build mosques as annexes to their private homes; by the year 2000, more than forty mosques could be counted in the city. By 1960, only Alhaji Akorede had performed the Hajj but the number of Alhajs increased in the 1970s and steadily increased in the 1980s and 1990s.
In contemporary times, western education had been the vogue throughout Ekiti. Ado-Ekiti took the lead with the number of educational institutions.
In March 1896, Old Emmanuel School was established at Odo Aremu. In 1917, the Roman Catholic Mission established St. Patrick’s Primary School. By the 1950s, the number of primary and secondary modern schools had increased very substantially. By 1974, the CMS alone had 104 primary schools, 8 secondary schools, and a teachers’ college.
In the early 1930s, the Venerable Archdeacon Henry. Dallimore superintendent of the CMS mission established Christ’s School in 1933. It was raised by the priest to a Middle School and finally towards the end of the 1940s it became a full-fledged Grammar School. He was succeeded as Principal and High Master by Canon LD Mason from 1948-1966. Chief RA Ogunlade was Principal from 1966 to 1972. Christs School, Ado-Ekiti has contributed greatly to the educational and scientific advancement of Nigeria in general and Ondo-province in particular. Within a short span of time Christs school had produced one of the highest numbers of Professors in virtually all fields of learning and especially the professions in Nigeria. Christ school, was indeed, one of the basis of the epithet that Ekiti is the “fountain of knowledge”. Another possible explanation for the “fountain of knowledge” sobriquet for Ekiti in general, is the historical fact that Agboniregun the progenitor of Ifa corpus of knowledge in Yoruba cosmology, also had Ekiti roots. Christs school Alumni are found in academia and professions around the world today. In the early 1950s, the Ekiti Progressive Union built a second grammar school at Ido-Ekiti the Ekiti Parapo College, in celebration of the overthrow of the Ibadan overlordship following the Kiriji or Ekiti Parapo war. Soon after the CMS agreed to separate Christ’s School into two (boys’ section and Girls’ Section)-as a result of the major road(Iworoko Road) which naturally divided the two sections into two) viz: Christ’s School,Ado Ekiti and Christ’s Girls’ School,Ado Ekiti.
Thence forth, communities took it in their strides to raise funds and establish a number of community grammar schools. Ado-Ekiti established its own in 1960 and another one towards the end of the 1970s. The number of Grammar Schools kept increasing and by the year 2000, there were twelve pupil grammar schools, private grammar schools numbered six, a total of eighteen. The Federal Government established its polytechnic at Ikewo, Ado-Ekiti, the defunct Ondo State University established its University at Ilewu, Ado-Ekiti.
Within a period of 50 years, much development in western education had taken place in Ekiti in general and Ado-Ekiti in particular. Chief E. A. Babalola, a native of Oye-Ekiti was first University graduate in Ekiti. Chief Alex olu Ajayi was the first graduate from Ado-Ekiti graduating BA (HONS) from Fourah Bay College, in 1953, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Education from the University of London in 1954. Thereafter, Ado Ekiti has produced many illustrious sons and daughters from world class universities, many of whom are professors in many scientific, medical, social sciences, Engineering and humanities disciplines within barely half a century. . Chief E A Babalola from Oye-Ekiti was a high school master in 1947 and he took over the management of Christ’s High School, Ado-Ekiti when Archdeacon Dallimore retired and left for Britain. Today, the Ekitis are found in large numbers in every academic and professional positions, Ado-Ekiti has a disproportionate impact in the academic world both in Nigeria and globally.
Tremendous development took place in the cultivation of economic crops, cultivation and collection of forest products such as kolanut (cola acuminata, Obi abata and cola nitida, gbanja) and oil palm produce, commerce and trade. Much of the impetus of all these came initially from Mr. Isaac Ifamuboni (later Babamuboni) and a number of early Christians from Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan. These men introduced the cultivation of cocoa, maize, brown cocoyam etc. to Ekiti. Wage earning labourers from parts of Ekiti who went to work in Ondo, Ijebu and Ife boosted the cultivation of these economic trees.
Ewi Aladesanmi II encouraged the cultivation of cash crops and establishment of trading and commercial enterprises among Ado citizenry. The Urhobo came into Ado communities in the early 1940s with their own mode of palm oil extraction. The Ebira came in large numbers in the 1940s and 1950s introducing the cultivation of their own specie of yams, cassava and beans. In the early 1950s, Igbemo, and Ado community started the cultivation of rice, the vogue spread to Iworoko in the 1960s and soon in the 1970s to other Ekiti communities such as Erio etc. These food crops boosted food production and contributed to the sustenance of the growing population of Ado communities, especially Ado-Ekiti, and by extension, other Ekiti and non-Ekiti communities.
The progress made in Western education, cultivation of food crop and of economic trees, as well as the establishment of commercial ventures brought great profit to Ado-Ekiti. In the early 1940s big time commercial firms (companies) such as U.A.C and in later years John Holt, U.T.C, C.F.A.O, established factories in the city. The Post and Telegraph now (NIPOST) established a station in this city in 1947/48 causing posting and collection of mails at the District Officer’s office at Ayoba to cease. In 1958, pipe-borne water facility was provided making Ado-Ekiti the first town in present Ondo and Ekiti States to enjoy the facility. Two years later, ECN (now NEPA) extended electricity to the city. These facilities enhanced/increased commercial activities and brought immense socio-economic benefit and improved standard of life to the people. From the 1950s, commercial banks, at first the National Bank, the Union Bank, and in the 1960s and 1970s Co-operative Bank and United Bank for West Africa, opened their branch offices in Ado-Ekiti.
In the early 1970s, Brigadier RA Adebayo, the second military Governor of Western Region partnered with Mr Soliman Nagarty to establish a Textile mill at Ado-Ekiti ( Western Nigeria Textile Industry Corporation) or WESTEXINCO)
Ado Ekiti has a stadium with a capacity of 10,000 and a third division professional football league team.
Ado-Ekiti has had the following kings: