- Oral traditions claim that Oduduwa was Olodumare‘s favourite orisha, and as such was sent from heaven to create the earth. In Yoruba mythology it is believed that life and creation started first in Ile-Ife.
2. It is widely believed and accepted that Ile-Ife is the cradle of the Yoruba race.
3. In Yoruba mythology it is believed that all dead bodies have a ‘stop over’ in Ile-Ife before going to the world beyond, in some Yoruba burial rites, it’s often recited that the dead person should not stay too long in Ile-Ife but proceed straight to the other world. It is also believed that till date there is a path in Ile-Ife that leads straight to the other world which is only accessible by the dead.
4. According to historians, the town’s habitation can be traced as far back as 350 BCE The meaning of the word “ife” in the Yoruba language is “spreading out” “Ile-Ife” means in reference to the myth of origin “The House or place of Spreading out”. This being mostly in reference to the myth about Oduduwa decending from Heaven and having no place to land on because the world was covered in water, he poured out some sand and his cockerel helped to spread out the sand over the world creating land.
5. Oduduwa (the widely accepted Father of the Yoruba race) lived in Ile-Ife and was the first Ooni of Ile-Ife.
6. The Ooni is the paramount ruler of Ile-Ife and the Custodian of the Household of Oduduwa and by extension the custodian of Yoruba culture.
7. It is believed in Yoruba mythology that there are 401 gods/shrines scattered worldwide, 201 are in ILE-IFE.
8. The only speaking deity/god of theses 401 deities is the Ooni of Ife.
9. 46TH ADELEKAN (OLUBUSE I)- He was the first Ooni to travel outside Ile-Ife to Lagos in 1903 when he was invited by the then Governor General to settle the dispute involving Elepe of Epe. All Yoruba Kings including the Alaafin left their respective thrones as a mark of respect for the Ooni. They returned to their respective stools after Ooni returned to Ile-Ife from Lagos.
10. It was during ADESOJI ADEREMI reign UNIVERSITY OF IFE now OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY was established in ILE-IFE
11. The present Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, is the 51ST Ooni ever to have ruled ILE-IFE.
12. Every King in Yoruba land and arguably Bini traces his crown to ILE-IFE.
13. ILE IFE is the site of OPA ORANMIYAN stands over five meters tall in Moopa area of the town within a fenced wall. Few symbolic trees are scattered around the staff with some dotted marks, which the custodian says are marks of bullet during the several wars fought by Oranmiyan. High chief Johnson Owoyemi, the Akogun of Ife is the current custodian of the Opa Oranmiyan – a staff that Oranmiyan, the grandson of Oduduwa used to take to war. The staff made of granite obelisk with iron stud stands within the Oranmiyan shrine manned by Chief Eredumi as chief priest who is the link between the dead and the living.
14. Oduduwa had six sons and one grandson who went ahead to found their own kingdoms and empires, namely Ila Orangun, Owu, Ketu, Sabe, Popo, Oyo and Benin. Oranmiyan, Oduduwa’s last born, was one of his father’s principal ministers and overseer of the nascent Edo empire after Oduduwa refused the plea from the Edo people for his governance. When Oranmiyan decided to go back to Ile Ife after a period of service in Benin, he left behind a child named Eweka that he had had in the interim with an indigenous princess. The young boy went on to become the first legitimate ruler of the second Edo dynasty that has ruled what is now Benin from that day to this. Oranmiyan later went on to found the Oyo empire that stretched at its height from the western banks of the river Niger to the Eastern banks of the river Volta. It would go on to serve as one of the most powerful of Africa’s medieval states.
15. Oranmiyan was the grandson and the most adventurous of the members of Oduduwa’s household; taking the title of Alafin, he succeeded in raising a very strong army and expanding his kingdom to an empire. Regarded as being founder of the Oyo Kingdom, some accounts state he was also the third ruler of Ife.