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About Ibadan

Ibadan (Yoruba: Ìbàdàn or fully (Ìlú) Ẹ̀bá-Ọ̀dàn, (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 million, and the largest metropolitan 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 to the north. 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.


History of Ibadan

Ibadan came into existence in 1829.[2] 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.

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[citation needed]. 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.

Location of Ibadan in Nigeria

Ibadan is located in south-western Nigeria. It is the capital of Oyo State, and is reputed to be the largest indigenous city in Africa, south of the Sahara. Ibadan had been the centre of administration of the old Western Region, Nigeria since the days of the British colonial rule. It is situated 78 miles inland from Lagos, and is a prominent transit point between the coastal region and the areas to the north. Parts of the city’s ancient protective walls still stand till today, and its population is estimated to be about 3,800,000 according to 2006 estimates. The principal inhabitants of the city are the Yoruba.

Ibadan, surrounded by seven hills, is the second largest city in Nigeria. It came into existence when bands of Yoruba renegades following the collapse of the Yoruba Oyo Empire, began settling in the area towards the end of the 18th century; attracted by its strategic location between the forests and the plains. Its pre-colonial history centered on militarism, imperialism and violence. The military sanctuary expanded even further when refugees began arriving in large numbers from northern Oyo following raids by Fulani warriors. Ibadan grew into an impressive and sprawling urban center so much that by the end of 1829, Ibadan dominated the Yoruba region militarily, politically and economically.

The area became a British Protectorate in 1893. By then the population had swelled to 120,000. The British developed their new colony to facilitate their commercial activities in the area, and Ibadan shortly grew into the major trading center that it is today. The colonizers also developed the academic infrastructure of the city. The first university to be set up in Nigeria was the University of Ibadan (established as a college of the University of London when it was founded in 1948, and later converted into an autonomous university in 1962). It has the distinction of being one of the premier educational institutions in West Africa, and there is a museum in the building of its Institute of African Studies, which exhibits several remarkable pre-historic bronze carvings and statues. Other noteworthy institutions in the city include the University College Hospital, the first teaching hospital in Nigeria and the internationally acclaimed International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (lTTA).

The city has several well stocked libraries, a zoological garden and several botanical gardens. Nestled inside (IITA) is the best golf course in Nigeria, and the grounds of the Ibadan Polo Club is not too far away. Ibadan is home to the first television station in Africa. There are a few hotels with hotspot (wifi) access, a few decent restaurants and a couple of radio stations. Ibadan and its environs before the disolution of the Western Region was the home of the the most sophisticated and liberal scientific and cultural community on the continent of Africa; as personified by the immortalized Ibadan School

The most probable date of the founding of Ibadan is 1829, when the abandone settlement of Ibadan was reoccupied by the allied forces of Ijebu, Ife and Oyo; hence, it came to be regarded as ‘a war encampment’ of the town of warriors.
From the onward, Ibadan grew I unimportance and has served as the administrative centre for the whole of Southern Nigeria (1946 – 1951). And as the capital of the Western Region (1951 – 1967). After this period, the city’s region started to shrink, to cover just the Western Region (1963 – 1967); Western State and old Oyo State (1976 – 1991), before the creation of Osun State, (1976 – 1991). It has been the capital of present Oyo State since 1991.
The Political status of the city has influenced other aspect of its development. One of which is the reminiscence of colonial administration. The Government Secretariat at Agodi and the Government Reservation Areas (GRAs)A at Agodi, Jericho and Onikere are relice of that era. The grid pattern of the residential layout of Oke – Bola and Oke – Ado is also associated with its activities.



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 are tire rethreading, cigarettes manufacturing and the processing of agricultural products; including flour-milling, leather-working and furniture-making. The largest companies with major infrastructure based in Ibadan are Kakanfo Inn , Coca-Cola , Nigerian Breweries , Galaxy Television, Globacom , NTA Ibadan , and Zartech Limited. 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.

Dugbe Market is the nerve center of Ibadan’s transport and trading network. The haphazard layout of the city’s roads and streets contribute largely to the disorderly traffic and make it very difficult to locate and reach destinations. The best method to move about the city is to use reference points and notable landmarks. The Bower Memorial Tower to the east on Oke-Aare (Hill) can be seen from practically any point in the city. It also provides an excellent view of the whole city from the top. Another prominent landmark is Cocoa House, the first skyscraper in Nigeria. It is one of the few skyscrapers in the city and is at the hub of Ibadan’s commercial center. Other attractions include Mapo Hall, the colonial style city hall perched on top a hill, the Trans-Wonderland amusement park, the cultural centre Mokola and Liberty Stadium, Ibadan–with a seating capacity of 35,000–is the first stadium built in West Africa. Ibadan is also home to the fabled Shooting Stars FC; a professional Football Club.

Ibadan has a few other important industries establishment like the confectionaries, oil processing plants, soft drinks, bottling and food factories, feed mills, tobacco factory and flour mills. Other are sawmills, paper mills, foam products, concrete poles and block making, chemicals, paints and petroleum oil deport. The government tries to promote industrial establishment by creating industrial estates, with a basic infrastructure , such as Owode Olubadan, Oluyole and Lagelu Industrial Estates.

Its, however, upon the commercial sector that the city’s development mainly depends. As of 1991, close to 50% of its economically active population were commercial workers Oja’ba, Ayeye and Oranyan are the Traditional markets. While Gbagi, Agbeni, Bodija, Alesinloye, Agbeni and gate are modern ones. They trade foodstuff, textile goods, locally woven strips of cloth or ‘aso oke’, household utensils, electronics and pharmaceuticals. One should also note that involvement of many Nigerian business in the trading of motor parts and both local and foreign building materials.

The production and related workers are next in importance, with 265 of the working population. They are followed by professional/technical and related workers (10.9%). Other occupations the people are engaged in are as administrative and (4.5%) and clerical and related workers (2.6%). The agriculture and related workers features last, with 1.9%.


Ibadan Natives

Ibadan natives of note include Augustus Akinloye, a prominent politician, Theophilus Adeleke Akinyele a civil servant, Bobby Ologun, a K-1 fighter who is very popular in Japan, and Sade Adu, frontwoman and lead vocalist of the popular English group Sade.



Ibadan also has many recreational and tourist centres of attraction: Liberty Stadium and Lekan Salami stadium, the PoloClub, the botanical Garden, the Zoo and the Transwonderland Amusement Park. The cultural Centre, Mapo Hall, Ido, Centaph and the Bowers Tower are other tourist centres of historical culture value.

Ibadan has an airport and is served by the Ibadan Railway Station on the main railway line from Lagos to Kano. The bad economic situation in the country has adversely affected the quality of public transportation. It is therefore advisable to arrange transportation before traveling to Ibadan.

the city is respectively well linked by road, rail and air both domestic and internationally. The intra city road network provide the major links with its different parts. Recently, the Ibadan – Lagos Express way the Ring road network were built to ease traffic congestion in the city.

Ibadan 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 an exception educational centre. It has numerous primary and post primary institutions, such as the University of Ibadan, the first University in the country, and world renowned. There are also The Polytechnic and several research institutes, such as the Nigeria Horticulture Research (NISER) and the Institute of Agriclture, Research Training (IAR & T). Also, there is a private University, the City University of Ibadan, and a host of private secondary institutions.



The 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.

Prospects. 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.