HISTORY: Read All About The Ancient Nigerian City, IBADAN!

T.I.N Magazine brings to you another interesting piece like we do every Monday. This is an article revealing many things you really don’t know about Africa’s 2nd largest city IBADAN Nigeria. Well, take your time and read…


Ibadan (Yoruba: Ìbàdàn or fully (Ìlú) Ẹ̀bá-Ọ̀dàn, meaning ‘the city at the edge of the savannah’ is the capital city of Oyo State and the third largest metropolitan area, by population, in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano, with a population of over 3.5 Million, and the country’s largest metropolis by geographical area. At Nigerian independence, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country, and the third in Africa after Cairo and Johannesburg.

Ibadan is located in south-western Nigeria, 128 km inland northeast of Lagos and 530 km southwest of Abuja, the federal capital, and is a prominent transit point between the coastal region and the areas in the hinterland of the country. Ibadan had been the centre of administration of the old Western Region since the days of the British colonial rule, and parts of the city’s ancient protective walls still stand to this day. The principal inhabitants of the city are the Yorubas, as well as various communities from other parts of the country..


Old I.B

Ibadan came into existence in 1829. According to local historians, Lagelu, the Jagun (commander-in-chief and generalissimo) of Oyo empire, left the Yoruba kingdom Oyo with some his best warriors from Oyo, Ogbomoso and Ilesa, to found their military outpost to prevent attack on Oyo kingdom from Ijebu and Egba and ado warriors and their allies in Eba Odan, which literally means ‘between the forest and plains.’ According to HRH Sir Isaac Babalola Akinyele, the late Olubadan (king) of Ibadan (Olu Ibadan means ‘Lord of Ibadan’), in his authoritative book on the history of Ibadan, Iwe Itan Ibadan (1911), the first city was destroyed due to an incident at an Egungun (masquerade) festival when an Egungun was accidentally disrobed and derisively mocked by women and children in an open marketplace full of people. In Yorubaland, it was an abomination for women to look an Egungun in the eye because the Egunguns were considered to be the dead forefathers who returned to the earth each year to bless their progeny. When the news reached the then Alaafin (ruler) of Oyo, he commanded that Eba Odan be destroyed for committing such an abominable act.
Basorun Ogunmola led the Ibadan army that defeated Kurumi of Ijaye, the then Aare Ona Kakanfo of the Yoruba nation.

Old Ibadan

Lagelu was by now an old, frail man; he could not stop the destruction of his city, but he and some of his people survived the attack and fled to a nearby hill for sanctuary. On the hill they survived by eating oro fruit and snails; later, they cultivated the land and made corn and millets into pap meals known as oori or eko, which they ate with roasted snails. They improvised a bit by using the snail shells to drink the liquefied eko. Ultimately, Lagelu and his people came down from the hill and founded another city, called Eba’dan.

The new city instantly grew prosperous and became a commercial nerve centre. Shortly afterwards, Lagelu died, leaving behind a politically savvy people and a very stable community. The newly enthroned Olubadan made a friendly gesture to the Olowu of Owu by allowing Olowu to marry his only daughter, Nkan. Coming from a war campaign one day, the raging Odo Oba (River Oba) would not allow Olowu and his army to cross until a human sacrifice was performed to appease the angry river. The chosen sacrifice was Nkan. The Olubadan was infuriated at hearing of Nkan’s death; he sent an emissary to inform the Alafin of Oyo, some of now Yoruba kings and rulers. Then the Olubadan sent his army to attack the powerful Olowu of Owu and defeated him. The Olowu committed suicide to escape being captured by the Ibadan army. The battle shattered the great Owu kingdom into pieces till today. Some of it remains in the mother town which is the present Orile-Owu in Osun State, while others are in Ogun State, known as Owu Abeokuta, etc.

A part of Ibadan was historically an Egba town. The Egba occupants were forced to leave the town and moved to present-day Abeokuta under the leadership of Sodeke as result of their disloyalty. Ibadan grew into an impressive and sprawling urban center so much that by the end of 1829, Ibadan dominated the Yorùbá region militarily, politically and economically. The military sanctuary expanded even further when refugees began arriving in large numbers from northern Oyo following raids by Fulani warriors. After losing the northern portion of their region to the marauding Fulanis, many Oyo indigenes retreated deeper into the Ibadan environs.

The Fulani Caliphate attempted to expand further into the southern region of modern-day Nigeria, but was decisively defeated by the armies of Ibadan in 1840.

In 1893, Ibadan area became a British Protectorate after a treaty signed by Fijabi, the Baale of Ibadan with the British acting Governor of Lagos Colony, George C. Denton on 15 August. By then, the population had swelled to 120,000. The British developed the new colony to facilitate their commercial activities in the area, and Ibadan shortly grew into the major trading center that it is today.



presents fascinating landscape of tradition and modern features
Prominent in its old, indigenous core area are the I b a’s marked
(Oja’ba) and the king’s place. Force Mopo Hill, one can easily see the
sea of rusted brown roofs and buildings in places like Agugu, Ayeye, Idi
Arere, Odinjo, Gege and Foko, to mention but a few.

These are
interspersed by neighborhoods, of new and modern buildings, which are
linked and crisscrossed by winding roads. Other places are at the
periphery of the core centre. The include Odo Ona, Apata Ganga and Owode
Estate, to the west, to the south are Challenge, Molate and Felele
areas. Those to the north are Oorogun, Ojoo, Sasa etc, while to the
north – east are Bodija, Akobo, Monatan and Isebo.

The outward
of the city is in all direction of the seven main riges that dominate
the city of Landform. The sprawl has also been in the of the railway
that runs in a southwest-northwest direction of the cit of the road
networks, which link the city with almost all the cardinal points of the
country. Some of the contributive factors to its spread are:the Ibadab –
Lagos and the Ring Road – Adeoye Express ways, the establishment of
institutional area housing and industrial estates. Example of the last
three named factors are the University of Ibadan, Polytechnic, Bodija
Odogbo Army Barracksm Jericho, Owode and Felele Housing Estates, NNPC
Oil Storage Deport, Apata and Oluyole and Lagelu Housing and Industrial
Estate. Other newly developing area of the city include Eleyele,
Challenge, Gbanda, Ikolaba, Akobo, Monatan, Adegbayi, Olodo and Olomi.


Ibadan is located in south-western Nigeria in the southeastern part of Oyo State about 120 km east of the border with the Republic of Benin in the forest zone close to the boundary between the forest and the savanna. The city ranges in elevation from 150 m in the valley area, to 275 m above sea level on the major north-south ridge which crosses the central part of the city. The city’s total area is 3,080 square kilometres (1,190 sq mi).

The city is naturally drained by four rivers with many tributaries: Ona River in the North and West; Ogbere River towards the East; Ogunpa River flowing through the city and Kudeti River in the Central part of the metropolis. Ogunpa River, a third-order stream with a channel length of 12.76 km and a catchment area of 54.92 km2.

Ibadan has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), with a lengthy wet season and relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year. Ibadan’s wet season runs from March through October, though August sees somewhat of a lull in precipitation. This lull nearly divides the wet season into two different wet seasons. November to February forms the city’s dry season, during which Ibadan experiences the typical West African harmattan. The mean total rainfall for Ibadan is 1420.06 mm, falling in approximately 109 days. There are two peaks for rainfall, June and September. The mean maximum temperature is 26.46 C, minimum 21.42 C and the relative humidity is 74.55%.


Until 1970, Ibadan was the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa by surface. In 1952, it was estimated that the total area of the city was approximately 103.8 km2 However, only 36.2 km2 was built up. This meant that the remaining 67 km2 were devoted to non-urban uses, such as farmlands, river floodplains, forest reserves and water bodies. These “non-urban land uses” disappeared in the 1960s: an aerial photograph in 1973 revealed that the urban land-scape had completely spread over about 100 km2. The land area increased from 136 km2 in 1981 to 210–240 km2 in 1988-89 (Areola, 1994: 101). By the year 2000, it is estimated that Ibadan covered 400 km2. The growth of the built-up area during the second half of the 20th century (from 40 km2 in the 1950s to 250 km2 in the 1990s) shows clearly that there has been an underestimate of the total growth of the city. In the 1980s, the Ibadan-Lagos expressway generated the greatest urban sprawl (east and north of the city), followed by the Eleiyele expressway (west of the city). Since then, Ibadan city has spread further into the neighbouring local government areas of Akinyele and Egbeda in particular.

Islam is the dominant religion in Ibadan with the overwhelming majority of the core Ibadan City Center inhabitants being Muslims. Next to the Olubadan’s palace is the Central Mosque of Ibadan Land led by the Chief Imam of Ibadan Land. Christianity is the 2nd popular religion in the city, it is mostly practiced by non-indigenous inhabitants, like the Ijesa and Ekiti people of the Eastern states of the Yoruba Nation, and constitute less than 20% of the Yoruba population.
Monuments, landmarks and other locations

The best method to move about the city is to use reference points and notable landmarks.

Dugbe district is the commercial nerve centre of Ibadan. This is where many banks have one or more branches. The south west regional office of the Central Bank of Nigeria is at Dugbe. Also at Dugbe is the Cocoa House, Nigeria’s first skyscraper. It is one of the few skyscrapers in the city and is at the hub of Ibadan’s commercial centre. Cocoa house is the headquarters for the Oodua investment company co-own by all south-western states[citation needed]. Other tall buildings around Dugbe axis include Femi Johnson glass house, CBN building, United bank for Africa, Oxford building, FRCN Building, among others.

There is a museum in the building of the Institute of African Studies, which exhibits several remarkable pre-historic bronze carvings and statues. The city has several well stocked libraries, and is home to the first television station in Africa. The city has 2 zoological gardens, one located within the University of Ibadan and another at Agodi Gardens which also contain a botanical garden, swimming pool and several leisure spots.

The Bower Memorial Tower to the east on Oke Aàre (Aare’s Hill) (“Aare” in Yoruba means commander-in-chief or generalissimo), which can be seen from practically any point in the city; it also provides an excellent view of the whole city from the top. Other attractions include Mapo Hall – the colonial style city hall – perched on top of a hill, “Oke Mapo,” Mapo Hill (“oke” is hill in Yoruba), the Trans-Wonderland amusement park, the cultural centre Mokola and the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, a major stadium. The first citadel of higher learning, University of Ibadan (formerly the University College of Ibadan), the Obafemi Awolowo Hall in the university of Ibadan is said to be the tallest and largest hostel[citation needed] in west Africa. The first teaching hospital in Nigeria, University College Hospital, were both built in this ancient city. Ibadan is also home to the Shooting Stars FC – a professional Football Club.

There are some good golf courses: the Ibadan Golf Club is a large 18-hole challenge and the Barracks course has just been extended to 18 holes. The most challenging[citation needed] and exclusive is the 9-hole IITA Golf Club based on the 1,000 hectare premises of IITA.

The first university to be set up in Nigeria was the University of Ibadan. Established as a college of the University of London in 1948, and later converted into an autonomous university in 1962. It has the distinction of being one of the premier educational institutions in Africa. The Polytechnic, Ibadan is also located in the city.

There are also numerous public and private primary and secondary schools located in the city. Other noteworthy institutions in the city include the University College Hospital (UCH), which is the first teaching hospital in Nigeria; the internationally acclaimed International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) and Leadcity University. Also the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, the Nigerian Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), and the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), all under the auspices of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria; and the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria.

Before the dissolution of the Western Region, Nigeria, Ibadan and its environs were the home of the most sophisticated and liberal scientific and cultural community on the continent of Africa, as personified by the immortalized Ibadan School of historiography.

In 1853, the first Europeans to settle in Ibadan, Reverend Hinderer and his wife, started Ibadan’s first Western schools. They built churches and schools and the first two-storey building in Ibadan, which can still be found today at Kudeti. The first pupils to attend an elementary school in Ibadan were Yejide Olunloyo (female) and Akinyele Olunloyo (male) – the two children of an Ibadan high chief.


With its strategic location on the railway line connecting Lagos to Kano, the city is a major center for trade in cassava, cocoa, cotton, timber, rubber, and palm oil.

The main industries in the area include the processing of agricultural products; Tobacco processing and Cigarette (Manufacture); flour-milling, leather-working and furniture-making.

There is abundance of clay, kaolin and aquamarine in its environs, and there are several cattle ranches, a dairy farm as well as a commercial abattoir in Ibadan.

The headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have extensive grounds for crop and agricultural research into key tropical crops such as bananas, plantains, maize, cassava, soybean, cowpea and yam.

According to a report, Ibadan is the 3rd cheapest Nigerian city to live in.

Entertainment and Media

Ibadan is a busy city but also accommodates an adequate amount of entertainment and relaxation. There are numerous bars, lounges and night clubs to enjoy, including the Lebanese owned “KOKO Dome” which is the oldest night club in the city dating back to the mid 90s. These are the clubs you get the nightlife, unwind moments, ladies nites, dancing, sashaying, strippers, splurging on drinks and more. Clubs: GQ Lounge- Old Bodija Ebevande- Challenge Bubbles-Challenge Spyda- Agbowo Coded Lounge- Challenge Clique 69- Ring Road Koko Dome- Cocoa House, Dugbe Options 24/7 (Formerly known as Yepaa)- Ikolaba, Agodi GRA Time Out-Oluyole Chillarz-Oluyole Club Ace Olympus X-Queen Cinema, Dugbe 411- Sango-Bodija Road Apollos- Ringroad Echo Blues – Ringroad Topside Lounge – Ringroad/Oluyole E3- Ringroad Infinities- Ringroad

The hotels also ranging in class and styles and according to budgets. Top hotels include Premier Hotel Mokola Hill, Travel House, A3 Hotels, Wallan Hotel, Davies Hotel, Labod Hotel, Kakanfo Inn, and Lafia Hotel.

Shopping, Cinema and Parks

The Heritage Mall and Cocoa Mall houses several local and international retail stores the two malls built to interlink each other is located in the same compound as coco house at Dugbe. The 2 malls contain a South African retail shop SHOPRITE, Pep Store (kids wears and boutique) several cafés, restaurants, electronic outlets, Mr price, Cash n Carry. The newly opened Ibadan City Mall houses the largest Shoprite store in Nigeria there are other stores within too. The Filmhouse has cinemas in the heritage mall and another of it branch operate at the Ventura mall, Sango area north of the city as principal tenant.


city also enjoys modern health facilities. All the three tiers of heath
facilities are well represented in the city, with the University
College Hospital (UCH), Ring Road and Yemetu State Hospitals and myriad
of clinics, dispensaries maternal and child health centres.

The large market size which the city’s population size connotes, is one
major prospect of it vability. In addition, its accessibility to other
areas within and outside the country, its social administrative and
political functions are indicators that Ibadan has the potentials for
future development.


Ibadan has an airport, Ibadan Airport, the airport operates daily flights to Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Ilorin etc. through major airlines in Nigeria such as Overland Airways and Arik Air. The city is served by the Ibadan railway station on the main railway line from Lagos to Kano. Nearly all the major roads are dualiased, such roads include the Ojoo-Sango-mokola road that passes in front of the University of Ibadan, others include Ring road-Orita-challenge-New garage ways and recently completed dugbe-eleyele-jerico road. There are various roundabouts and flyovers within the city, the latest being the Mokola flyover built to reduce traffic jam at Mokola . Modes of transport include, cabs, taxis, taxi-vans commonly called danfos, and in more recent times mass transit luxury buses have commence operating to reduce the hardship of students and workers from various suburban areas of the city, various private/personal family cars, scooters, and walking.


In the 70s, lifestyle in Ibadan, the present Capital
of Oyo State, was full of social activities. Hardly would you walk from
one street to another without seeing canopies hung above party fellas,
eating, drinking and dancing to the songs of their popular musicians,
the likes of Sunny Ade, Sonny Okosun, Ebenezer Obey, Fela Kuti and so on.

Nigerian guys with swags in the 70s_OldNaija
Ibadan life 70s

Every district booms with music from speakers, noises from engines and
pedestrians, including the owners of the streets, the hawkers. “Ibadan
was never silent for once, even till midnight everywhere was always
still rocking” Mr. Bade Osoba whom OldNaija
interviewed said. You’ll find almost every tribe in this lively city
simply because they are glued to its way and life in every aspect. The
emergence of the “Afro beat” by the popular musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, added to the liveliness of the city with the people rocking clubs and shows to see the live performance of the musician pro.
There are lots of tourist and recreational centers to visit too e.g. Bowers Tower,
Queen Cinema, Zoological garden, different night clubs and so on, this
makes foreign visitors storm Ibadan. The tallest building in tropical
Africa (Cocoa House) also added to the flow of tourist to this wonderful city.

Ibadan life in the 70s.

Ibadan was also not left out in fashion, when it comes to fashion;
everybody partakes in it because nobody wants to be referred to as
“anti-fashion”. Those Lads and Lass would be seen with their bushy hairs
adorned with a parting called Afro, and then unbuttoned their shirt to
the chest and to kill the show, they’ll put on the curved mouth shoe
popularly known as “I swear to God”.
Between the late 70s and early 80s, another club banger song titled
“Baby Kilode” by Dizzy K Falola sent the people of Ibadan dancing wild
on the streets and clubs. The Ibadan life will remain incomplete without
mentioning the song (Baby Kilode- 1983) that woke the spirit of Michael
Jackson in the people of Ibadan.
According to the popular belief of the people, “Ibadan is very quiet contrary to Lagos, but still bubbles a lot.

SOURCES: wikipedia.org,infocontent,oldnaija.wordpress.com,

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