Ondo City aerial view
Aerial view of Ondo town with All Saints Anglican Church Ogbonkowo in the foreground. Photo: Church page

Ondo: Town  founded by a set of twins who were sent out by their parents from Oyo town to avoid being killed. In those days, twins were regarded as strange creatures and sacrificed upon delivery, to appease the gods. During their sojourn, one of the twins finally came to the place now known as Ondo town where she met a group of people and negotiated with them, thus becoming the first crowned monarch of the town since she came with a beaded crown and Akoko leave given to them by their father to distinguish their stature.

The two tribal marks which serve as the identification for an Ondo indigene was put on the face of the twins while leaving Oyo and up till date, they have become a registered trade mark for the people. There has been a female traditional ruler in Ondo known as Lobun. In the past, the demise of an Osemawe must be followed by the death of the reigning Lobun. Contempporary Lobun have their own retinue of chiefs like the Osemawe. After the crowning of the Osemawe, they must not meet “face to face with the reigning Lobun.

Apart from tracing the lineage of Ondo to Oyo, there are reputable families in the community which had their ancestral history traced to Ilesa, Akure, Benin and Okitipupa, all now grouped together and known as Egin. The people are into all spheres of life from music to farming, commerce law, medicine cocoa business and every other areas of human endeavor and make sure they excel in their chosen career. There are about 50 other settlements and villages under Ondo with Olojas as their head and are all under the traditional supervision of the Osemawe who is the paramount traditional ruler of the kingdom.

Ondo people are very popular in their mode of dressing which is the traditional Aso-oke and beads to match. It is always very easy to distinguish a typical Ondo person from the mode of dressing. Even with the advent of civilization which has brought different types of dressing to pollute the culture and tradition, the people are known at special occasions with the tribal mark and display of Aso-oke, There is a special one called Sanyan, Etu, and Alaari which are specially made and designed for different types of attires specially made for those events. Ceremonies such as Ogun and Odun Oba are celebrated in grand style. Indigenes of the town will come from far and near for the celebration of these traditional festivals. Delicacies such as dog meat and palm wine are used to celebrate toe festivals. Despite modernisation, the celebration of ogun festival is still held in high regard.

Local delicacies are usually prepared by the people for visitors to the town for the first time. The popular Asun, a roasted goat meat delicacy, gbanunu, ila alasepo all prepared along with pounded yam are readily available at local restaurants and hotels in the town. Hospitality business is one area the people are into and this has led to the establishment of hotels in Ondo town, numbering a gross. Apart from this, there are wood processing factories, gas stations and cocoa stores and ware houses where the people earn their daily income.
Commerce & Education

There are two universities, Adeyemi College of Education, an affiliate of Obafemi Awolowo University, and the privately owned Wesley University being funded by the Methodist church. There are also public and privately owned secondary schools in the town. Ondo is the site of the National Educational Planning and Research, a federal government agency where seminars and educational programmes are being formulated.

There are cottage industries owned by individuals organizations which operate alongside with public owned ones such as toe NIROWI, a wood processing industry, Cocoa Processing industry and petrol chemical factories all set up to address the unemployment problem of the people.
Ekimogun Day

One other major event which brings toe people together annually is the Ekimogun day celebration, usually being celebrated on 1st December every year. The ceremony has also become a gathering of who is who inhOndo kingdom and has afforded indigenes toe opportunity of displaying their wealth and affluence. Indigenes of the town came from within and outside the country for the celebration of Ekimogun Day[i].
[i] Westerner March 2, 2009

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer