Ijara-Isin; in Isin Local Government council of Kwara State is an ancient community founded many centuries ago by a family of five who hailed from Oyo-Ile in the old Oyo empire. Historically, the family head was called Ile-Oye, a reputed warrior. They were said to have migrated from their place of origin as a result of family squabbles and settled at the present location. There are two accounts of how the ancient community was given the name Ijara. An account believed that it was so named as a result of the peace that the inhabitants enjoyed upon settling down at their new settlement. Ija means dispute, while Ara means family The word: Ijara in Yoruba language literally means, “dispute has vanished.” The second account believed that the name derived from the name of a big rope which the early settlers of the community brought from Oyo-Ile. Meanwhile, the suffix, Isin was derived from the Isin tree found in abundance in the settlement. Compounds were named after each of the five first settlers in the town till modern times.
The community shares boundaries with Oke-Onigbin and Iji-Isin communities. Interestingly, a monarch, reigns over the ancient town and another neighbouring community, Iji-Isin, since time immemorial. The stool of Olusin Iji/Ijara-Isin is rotated between the two communities. But in Ijara-Isin, only three ruling houses exist in the town. They include Olusin, Odo-Ijara and Okegunsin.
Traditionally, the inhabitants of the community are farmers because of the arable lands found in abundance at the settlement. They were also hunters who saw hunting expedition as a vocation. The traditional people were also palm wine tappers, while they relaxed to enjoy palm wine at the end of daily rigorous farming activities from time immemorial. The residents who are not into white-collar jobs, still practice commercial farming. The people of the community are engaged in various occupations including civil service, teaching and business ventures. Linguistically, the indigenous people speak Igbomina dialect of Yoruba language. Like any other community in Yoruba land, Ijara-Isin people have rich cultural values and custom, which are well preserved and observed by the indigenes. The early settlers of the town were pre- dominantly idol worshippers who believed in virtually all the Yoruba Orisa, including Sango , Oya, Orisa-Oko and Ogun. So the traditional people also celebrate Egung Elewe festival. Today, 70 per cent of population of the people are Christians while Muslims constitute about 30 per cent. It is difficult to find someone who declares himself or herself as a pagan.
With the advent of western education, the community witnessed accelerated growth and development in all its ramifications. These developments were in the areas of foetal amenities, which included establishment of primary and secondary schools. It has a popular market located at the centre of the town, which is being patronised within and outside the state. Besides, it has a dispensary, which was constructed by the community but later taken over and upgraded by the state government to a cottage hospital. Other social amenities, which were provided through the community’s developmental efforts, include a post office, construction and maintenance of feeder roads, electricity and water supply[i].
[i] Westerner, September 28, 2009