Comprising majorly of people who live in the South-West, the Yorubas originated from Ile-Ife in Osun state. While the majority of the Yorubas live in western Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in Benin, Ghana, Togo, the Caribbean, Cuba, Jamaica, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago among others. Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Akure, Osogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Ilorin, Sango Otta, Ife are the most popular Yoruba cities in Nigeria. Want to find out the culture and lifestyle of these cities, read on.
10 Most Popular Yoruba Cities in Nigeria
Being the commercial hub of West Africa, Lagos is the most popular Yoruba destination in Nigeria. It is also home to other tribes in the country that seeks for greener pastures as there is a good blend of people from other cultural backgrounds. With popular streets such as Bode Thomas, Allen Avenue, Isaac John, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Adeola Odeku and a host of others, the city boasts of most of the elegant buildings in the country. A teeming increase in its resident has made the city a very competitive and boisterous one. Creativity, innovation, and excellence are the main core of the city as it aims to rank as the best megacity in the country.
Living in Lagos is great. Although, many residents complain about the standard of living in the city without considering some exceptional reasons why living in Nigeria’s most productive state is a blessing. A lot of business opportunities, fun spots and unique local foods that will make you want to live in this city.
Many of the popular Yoruba culture and respect seems to have ebbed away with modernization in this city as the need to be seen as a civilized person has taken the front seat. Although the Eyo masquerade festival is still celebrated by the true indigenes of the city.
Aptly described by J.P. Clark as a running splash of rust and gold-flung and scattered among seven hills like broken china in the sun, Ibadan is the third largest city in Africa comprising mainly of the Yorubas.
Communal living is not so much displayed in this city although, the adjoining towns close to it still do. Ibadan is known for its food delicacy – Amala (yam flour) with gbegiri or ewedu soup.
Housing, feeding, and transportation in Ibadan are cheaper than that of other major cities in Nigeria; making it one of the best places to live in the country.
Taking a family vacation to the city, here are some fun hangout spots in Ibadan: Ventura shopping mall, University of Ibadan Zoo, Trans Wonderland Amusement Park, Ibadan Recreational Club, Game World among others
Translated to mean ‘under the rock’, Abeokuta is the largest city and state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. The city lies below the popular Olumo rock and is home to several caves and shrines.
Usually held in Abeokuta, The Ake Arts and Book Festival founded by Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin was named after The Ake, the traditional residence of the Alake. It is an annual literary, cultural, and art event that takes place in the city. Irrespective of modernization, the people of Abeokuta still hold their culture and traditions so dearly.
Home to Nigerian Nobel Prize-winning author, Wole Soyinka, has a breathtaking beautiful scenery with hills and valleys. Kuto, Owu and Olumo rock are very popular areas in Abeokuta. Transportation in Abeokuta is major via taxi cabs with rates that are not so expensive. For a popular city, the absence of cinemas and malls may not be very encouraging to outgoing tourists. However, there are several cool hangout places, fun spots, and clubs.
Living in Abeokuta is affordable and easy as it is not a congested place. So you don’t have to worry about traffic and a high standard of living.
4. Ijebu Ode
Ijebu ode, the second largest city in Ogun state after Abeokuta, is the home to the Yoruba ethnic group who speak the Ijebu dialect of Yoruba. Migration, civilization and inter-tribal marriages have made the general Yoruba language popular among folks as opposed to the local dialect.
The city is the trade center for farming regions where yam, cassava, grain, tobacco, and cotton are grown. It is a popular myth among Yorubas that the Ijebu people are stingy and not liberal. The Ijebus are known for having a very active social life as they often throwing one party or the other.
Akure is a major city in Ondo State. Originally included in what is now Ekiti, the city is predominantly occupied by Yorubas who speak various dialects of the language. The city boasts of a good number of the educated elites in the country which led to its being classified as been educationally advanced.
A great need to preserve the cultural heritage of the Akure people led to its historical monuments being housed in the palace of the traditional ruler commonly called the Deji of Akure. Showcasing the colourful and energetic cultural display of the city, the Egungun Festival is a popular one used in entertaining people.
Most of the luxury hotels and restaurants found in Ondo state are specifically situated in Akure.
Popular destinations in Osun state are Osogbo, Ilesa, Ile-Ife. Ideal Nest Hotel and Suites, Zenababs Half Moon Resort, Regina Suites, KrisCourt Hotel are the best places for tourists to stay in Osun. If you haven’t visited the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Olumirin Waterfalls, and Erin Ijesha as well as the Nike Art Centre, then your tour in the city is incomplete.
Celebrated in honour of Osun (the goddess of fertility, protector of children and mothers), the Osun-Osogbo festival is a popular cultural celebration in the city which attracts curious tourists from all over the world.
Worship of traditional deities is still very much revered in this city. It is not unusual to see a traditional shrine in residential areas.
Living in Osogbo is cheap and affordable. Rents, fees, and cost of acquiring items are kept at the minimum in this city.
Located in the present-day Osun, Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. The origin of the Yoruba race, culture, tradition and language can be traced to Ile-Ife. Meaning the Land of Expansion, Ile-Ife has road networks to Ede, Ondo, Ilesha and Ibadan.
Highly revered among the Yoruba and the nation at large, The Ooni of Ife is the traditional head in Ile-Ife. Being the origin and source of the Yoruba religion and tradition, the city holds dearly a large chunk of the culture and traditions. An important event in the ancient town holds annually is the Olojo Festival.
Important places in Ile-Ife are University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ife Museum of Antiquities, Opa Oranmiyan, Okemogun Shrine, Oduduwa Palace, Zoological Gardens and Odua Shrine.
8. Sango Otta
Sango Ota, the home of the Awori ethnic group is a popular city located in Ogun state. A good number of the residents of Sango Otta have their workplace in Lagos as the city is a stone throw to Lagos.
The same kind of lifestyle seen in Lagos is also reflected in Ota. Compared to Lagos, the Yoruba culture and tradition are still very much practised here. Sango, Ota, Atan, Agbara, Ifo and Arigbajo are the most popular locations in the city.
Most of the houses here are new and the usually have large living rooms. Rental fees here are also very affordable.
9. Ado Ekiti
Surrounded by hills and rocks, Ado Ekiti is a city in south-west Nigeria, the state capital, and headquarters of the Ekiti State.
Unlike other indigenous Yoruba cities, Christianity and Islam are the main religions practiced with only a few traditional worshippers in the city. One of the features that make the people of Ado-Ekiti unique is their tendency for communal living and practice of the monarchical system of government while still embracing modernization.
In contemporary times, western education had been the vogue throughout Ekiti. Ado-Ekiti took the lead with the number of educational institutions. The progress made in Western education, cultivation of food crop and of economic trees, as well as the establishment of commercial ventures, brought great profit to Ado-Ekiti. Various commercial enterprises operate in Ado Ekiti. The city is the trade centre for a farming region where yams, cassava, grain, and tobacco are grown. Cotton is also grown for weaving.
With a stadium capacity of 10,000 and a third division professional football league team, sporting activities are encouraged in the city.
The city is known for Pounded yam and Egusi as its local delicacy.
Otherwise known as the City of Lawyers, Ilorin is the largest city and the official capital of Kwara State.
Although the city retains a strong Islamic influence from the northern incursions, Christianity is now widely practised in the city due to the significant immigration of people from other parts of Kwara State and other parts of Nigeria into the city. Peace and harmony are the unique features of the city as it is a conference of cultures, populated by Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Nupe, Baruba, other Nigerians and foreign nationals
The popularly practised profession in Ilorin is the legal profession as the majority of the top legal professionals in Nigeria either practised in Ilorin or have an affiliation with the city.
Having hosted several national handball competitions, the city accommodates the only standard baseball court in West Africa. A 20,000-capacity stadium and two Premier League professional football teams (the Kwara United Football Club and Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club) shows the abundance of interest in the world of sports. Esie museum, Mungo Park Cenotaph, Pategi Beach, Owu Falls, the Emir’s Palace along others are the must-see sites for anyone touring the state.
Endowed with adequate vast and rich agricultural land for both road and exportable cash crops, the commercial life of the city is quite impressive. Cheap rates for transportation, housing, consumables with little or no crime, makes living in Ilorin attractive.