Ikirun is situated within the tropical zone with latitude 07°55′North and longitude 04°41′E of the Greenwich Meridian. It has boundaries on the North by Inisha, on the South by Osogbo, on the West by Iragbiji and on the East by Eko-Ende. The town is surrounded by hills of Oke Afo, Oke Iba and Oke Amola.
Ikirun is a gateway to the northern part of the country and is also strategic because of the railway station present in the town. The indigenes are predominantly farmers cultivating crops within and outside the town. Trading activities is prevalent in the town thus making it commercially viable.
Administratively, Ikirun is the headquarters of Ifelodun Local Govt and the population is 96,748 according to the 2006 Population Census.
The Akinrun of Ikirun is the traditional ruler and Chairman Council of Obas in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the State. Places of importance in Ikirun includes: Federal Government College, Unity School, Igbo Irele, Basetan Cave and River Eko Ende. The town is also blessed with Rivers Osere, Ontoki, Ponjo and Amo.
Brief history of Ikirun
It is a historical city that derived its name from the first ruler of the town called Akinorun.
Basetan was the first settler and founder of present-day Ikirun. He was a hunter and in one of his hunting expeditions, he came across another settlement nearby in Igbo Irele headed by Akinorun. Basetan convinced Akinorun to join him in present-day Ikirun. However, because Basetan was a hunter who used to go on long hunting sprees, he left the day-to-day administration of the settlement in the care of his new friend, Akinorun with the understanding that he would, whenever he was around stand in as the deputy. With this arrangement, the rulership was progressively ceded to Akinorun and his descendants with Basetan and his lineage as the Eesa (deputy), up to the present time. In recognition of this arrangement, whenever a new Akinrun is installed, he mandatorily spends some time in the Eesa’s palace as the Eesa’s guest (his original landlord) before moving into his palace.
This is also captured in the oriki of the Basetan descendants as “omo arile gba ofe kunrin, which literarily means “he who has enough space in his compound to accommodate male guests” There is a commemorative pillar in oja Oba in Ikirun with the inscription, “Basetan, ode to te ilu Ikirun do,” which literarily means, “Basetan, the hunter who founded Ikirun.”
Akinorun had two sons, Akinbiyi and Akinyemi who ruled and died at the original site, Igbo Irele. The other Akinoruns children Oba-Ara, Gboleru and Adedeji moved out of the original site at Igbo Irele because there was a shortage of water. Oba-Ara became the first ruler of the present Ikirun while Basetan became Eesa and head of the traditional chiefs and kingmakers in the town.
In recognition of the original role of Basetan as Oba-Aras host, every Oba soon after his appointment was obliged to spend a period of time, previously three months but now only three days with Eesa. Just as Ikirun is derived from Akinorun so does the title of Oba Akinrun which takes its origin from the same name.
Ikirun is situated in the north-eastern part of Osun State of Nigeria in Osun, northeast division. It is located within latitude 7 degrees 50 feet north of Equator and longitude 4 degrees 40 feet east of the Greenwich meridian. The town is located in a valley surrounded by two hills. Obagun/Gbogi, the hill to the north and Aafo the hill to the south. The mountains Alaroka and Idi-olo are to the east. Ikirun is centrally located in the Osun north-east division of Osun State. It is bounded on the north by the town Inisa in the Odo-otin local government area and to the south of Osogbo, the Osun state capital. To the east by the town Iragbiji in the Boripe local government council area, and on the west by the town Eko-Ende, also in the Ifelodun local government council area.
Traditional Irele Festival in Ikirun
The Irele festival comes up in July every year to coincide with harvest of new yams. In Ikirun, new yams must not be brought to the Obas market for sale until after Irele yam festival is held.
Irele festival is celebrated to commemorate the companion of founder of Ikirun. History has it that Akinorun came with a companion, named Irele. Like Akinorun, he was a powerful hunter and warrior. They both first settled in what is known as Igbo Irele. Not quite long after their arrival at Igbo Irele, Akinorun took ill. He called his companion and his people, and handed the leadership over to Irele. Thereafter he died.
The administration of the town and welfare of all that was left by Akinorun were in the hands of Akinoruns’ children and Irele. He took up the challenge and whenever war threatened Igbo Irele, he quickly rose and fought gallantly.
Irele announced his imminent death and gave certain instruction that must be adhere to by the people. He gave them two calabashes with instructions to never to open them. He then dipped Osanyin’s staff into the ground with instructions that whenever an attack was imminent, the people should go there and call his name upon which he would fight for them. He added that when he died his black dog must be sacrificed. With these instructions, Irele, according to legend, entered into the ground. Akinoruns’ eldest son, Akinbiyi continued the administration.
Egungun Festival in Ikirun
In Yoruba land, there is a festival called Egungun Festival. In Ikirun, Chief Ojomu is the traditional Chief in charge of Egungun Ilu (Town masquerade) while Chief Olota is the leader of all Egungun Oje (Magical masquerade) of the town.
The Egungun Festival comes in May annually and lasts for seven consecutives days. It is Chief Olota and Chief Ojomu who fix the days of the Celebration of the Egungun Festival in Ikirun. On the appointed day, Akinorun and his traditional Chiefs move to celebrate in the residence of Chiefs Ojomu and Olota, and will later proceed to Igbo Igbale for further ceremonies. On the third day known as Ojo Ita all Egunguns in Ikirun would come out. There are two types of Egungun in Ikirun. The first group are the Egungun Ilu otherwise known as Eegun Olore. They whip one another to entertain people. These include Doodika (Sika), Orogun meji, Labinkolo, Yemoja, and Yerepe. The second category is the Egungun Oje. They are masquerades who perform magical acts (Idan) to entertain people. These include Owolewa, Eyeba, Alagbaa and Eyefo-odo.
On the seventh day (Ijo Ije), Chief Ojomu and Olota feast with the Egunguns, celebrants and other traditional chiefs. They prepare meals such as pounded yam and egusi soup. All Egunguns come out and pay homage to Akinrun and his Chiefs at the palace. The Egunguns will entertain the Oba and the chiefs and thereafter offer prayer for Akinrun. As part of the ceremony, the masquerades proceed to the central market, near the Akinruns palace where they entertain the townsfolks by blessing the artisans, traders and market men and women. The people in turn give presents like kolanut and money to all the masquerades.
Ikirun Day Celebration
The idea behind Ikirun Day Celebration was the outcome or aftermath of a meeting of all Clubs in Ikirun which took place in December, 1991. The main objectives or purpose of Ikirun Day Celebration are as follows: First, to give the indigenous people of Ikirun an opportunity to get acquainted with the progress that their town has made so far, its problems and aspirations, and to make an assessment of the areas which various clubs and associations could be of help, financially and morally to the historic town.
Secondly, Ikirun Day Celebration is an occasion of reunion. The day is celebrated so as to generate rapport among the Ikirun indigenous by bringing them together in a carnival-like atmosphere, at least once a year.
Thirdly, to bring home the Ikirun indigenous people who sojourn in far away places without coming home for many years.
Fourthly, the day is also set aside to generate and raise funds for the developmental projects like the building of a modern palace for Akinrun.
Lastly, to invite visitors, investors, outsiders and friends to Ikirun in order to know the indigenous people and to appreciate the beauty and culture of the township.
The first Ikirun Day was on 18 April 1992 at the Akinorun Grammar School, Ikirun. The day was preceded by prayers in the mosques and churches, symposium and paying of homage to Kabiyesi by the people of Ikirun at home and abroad.
Ọmọ onile obi
Eleni ateeka, eleni ewele
Omo eru ko gbodo dere ni jinini, Iwofa wa ko gbodo d’otonporo
Ibile agunbe ni ogb’ofa l’ori.
Omo b’isu jin, na tan ma roun mu b’onu,
irele mo ko n’isa nile baba mi,
irele ti mu ikirun r’okun ti mu r’osa
Irele ti mu ikirun dun gbongbon.
Oya se tan oya w’ole n’ile ira
Obalufon se tan o w’ole l’erin.
Igbati irele se tan lo wole nilu ikirun,
Pankere la n mu dubu osun nile baba tobi mi lomo,
Èèyàn ti n re ikirun agunbe e ma wule mu, oko d’ani,
Apata nla lo gba’le de ikirun
Otontori baba onikaluku won lo mosu lojosi,
Ikirun omo alakuko gagara ti nko lodo ona
Ikirun agunbe lasoro ana di baamiran
Agbori oro pete, omo moje
Be, momu be, hinun bebe, meeri, meemo,
Emi owi, eeh, gbogbo oro won yí.
Daily and weekly markets in Ikirun
- Oja Oba which is attended every day. It is situated directly in front of the Obas palace. It is a market for daily needs of the citizens. Activities commence daily, as early as 7am until 10pm.
- Oja Oba Adeyemi popularly known as Oja Alamisi (Thursday Market). It is attended once every Thursday. It is situated along Oke Afo-Express junction road, Ikirun. Mostly sold are fruits, foodstuff that are brought from various villages closer to Ikirun. The market opens as early as 5am and closes by 6.30pm.
- Oja Oba Adedeji popularly known as Oja Monday which is open every Monday. It is situated directly in front of Akinorun Grammar School, Railway Station Road, Ikirun. Items sold and hours for this market are similar to that of the Thursday market.
- Oja Oba Adedeji, popularly known as Oja Satide is open on Saturday and is situated along State Hospital Road, Ikirun. It is a mini weekend market, where traders from various villages come to sell their farm produce.
- Oba Adedeji Shopping Complex, situated along Oke Afo, Osogbo Road, Ikirun.
Names of past Obas in Ikirun
- Olasinde Obaara
- Aye Munije
- Adedeji I
- Oba Adekunle Ishola
- Akadiri (1887 – 1917)
- Oba Kolawole (1917 – 1940)
- Oba Kusamotu Oyewole
- Oba Lawani Adeyemi Oyejola (1945 – 1989)
- Oba Abdul-Rauf Adewale Adedeji II (1990 – 2021)