Ise-Ekiti is the headquarters of Ise/Orun Local Government Area of Ekiti State. It is situated within the geographical coordinates of 7°27′36″N and 5°25′12″E. With a population of about 204,022 in 2007, Ise-Ekiti is the 44th largest city in Nigeria. Ise-Ekiti is bounded by Ado Ekiti and Gboyin Local Government Areas on the north, Emure Ekiti Local Government Area on the east, Owo Local Government Area on the south, and Akure-North and Ikere Ekiti Local Government Areas on the west. Ise-Ekiti is located in the rain forest zone of South-Western Nigeria, where rains are steady and fall almost evenly throughout the wet season (April – October).

Ise-Ekiti practices rain-fed agriculture, with the following as the main crops – yam, maize, rice, cassava, cocoyam, cowpea, plantain, and banana. Cash crops include cocoa, oil palm, kolanut, coffee, cashew, citrus and timber. The township was one of the original 16 Kingdoms of Ekitiland. The pre-eminence of Ise-Ekiti within Ekiti and Yorubaland conferred on the Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti the inherent right to wear a beaded crown. That tradition remains the symbol of authority and a veritable indicator of the importance of a traditional ruler in Yorubaland. Oral history has it that the original founders of Ise-Ekiti came from Okeluse, a town in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State. However, there was a question about how they arrived at Okeluse, when another account said Ise people migrated directly from Ile-Ife.

One tradition indicated that a certain Olofin, a descendant of Oduduwa, from Ile-Ife, had three male children, and that the Arinjale of Ise Ekiti was the youngest, and his brothers were the Oba of Benin and the Awujale of Ijebu Ode. Arinjale was said to have accompanied Awujale to Ijebu Ode, while the Oba of Benin set off in a different direction. There arose some communal disputes about the title of the Awujale, which ultimately led to the exit of Arinjale from Ijebu Ode. As was the practice in those days, Arinjale left Ijebu Ode with many followers and settled at a place called Olokuta, near Akure. There, they encountered considerable difficulties, as a result of natural disasters like thunderstorms, etc.

Another version of oral tradition connects Ise people to the royals of Benin Kingdom. It is said that the Oba of Benin had two sons, Osunleke and Gbaderin, who were born on the same day, but by different mothers. In conformity with tradition, the mother of Osunleke who was the younger wife was the first to draw the attention of the Oba to her new child. She took the baby to the palace for royal blessings and the Oba named the child the successor to the throne. It was after this that Gbaderin’s mother took him to the palace. The Oba blessed the baby as usual, but it was clear that he could not ascend the throne in succession to the Oba.

Gbaderin was an ardent hunter, who usually went on hunting expedition for two months at a time. He was away on one of such expeditions when his father died, and his younger brother, Osunleke, was enthroned, in line with their father’s will. Displeased with the enthronement of his brother as the Oba of Benin, Gbaderin reportedly left the town, with some numbers of supporters, especially hunters like himself. On getting to Okeluse, he settled at the outskirts of the town, due to the invitation of the Oba of Okeluse. News of his stay in Okeluse reached Osunleke, his brother, the Oba of Benin, who dispatched emissaries to inform the Okeluse monarch to drive his brother and his entourage out, since Okeluse was a tributary to Benin.

Gbaderin believed that there was no point causing untold hardship to the people of Okeluse, so he and most of his entourage left for a place he once discovered during a hunting expedition. It was called Use – the word that was adulterated or Yorubanised to Ise. In conclusion, the first oral tradition laid claim to Ile-Ife as the origin of Ise-Ekiti, while the second one stated that the founder of Ise Ekiti was one of the sons of the Oba of Benin, which according to history was a kingdom founded by an Ile-Ife prince. So, we can assume that the link between Ise people and Ile-Ife was legitimate.

MOTTO: Akinluaduse a gbe a o.
QUARTERS: Ise-Ekiti is divided into three quarters, namely; Oraye, Odo-Ise, and Erinwa.
CURRENT OBA: His Royal Majesty, Oba David Adetunji Ajayi, Aweloye II, the Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti.

HRM, Oba David Adetunji Ajayi Aweloye II, Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti.

Pa Olowe, sculptor from Ise Ekiti (1860 to 1938.)

Pa Olowe’s work, from Ise Ekiti.

 Pepper – Agricultural product from Ise-Ekiti.

Cocoa Tree – one of the cash crops from Ise-Ekiti.

Palm Kernels – another cash crop from Ise-Ekiti.

School kids using ‘ojaagba’ (barrel-hoop blades) for cutting grass.

Yoruba bronze from Ile-Ife.

Pa Olowe’s work, from Ise Ekiti.

Pa Olowe’s work, from Ise Ekiti.