The people of Ijesha land belong to a Yoruba sub-ethnic group. This group is predominantly from Ilesa and domiciled in Osun State. Ilesa is the largest town and historic cultural capital of the Ijesha people, and is home to a kingdom of the same name ruled by a monarch with the title ‘’Owa Obokun Adimula’’. The total population of the people is approximately 738, 910. The people are found in six local government areas of the state, which are Ilesha west, Ilesha East, Atakumosa east, Atakumosa west, Oriade and Obokun. The people are bordered by Ekiti to the east, Igbomina to the north, Ife to the south, and the Oyo and Ibolo to the west.
The people are descendants of Oduduwa in Ile-Ife. It was said that when Oduduwa had partial blindness, it was his grandson Owu who brought water from a river at Epe which cured the blindness. He then left after receiving blessing from Oduduwa to found the territory presently called Ilesha. At a particular time, the Owu went to Alaafin to discuss the little size in population. The Alaafin was said to hand them a stick which made them increase in population. The Ijeshas may have left some territory to the neighbors during various conflicts and wars of the nineteenth and preceding centuries.
The Ijeshas are known for their resoluteness and doggedness. They earned themselves the appellation ‘’Osomaalo’’, derived from how they ensured they collected their debts from their debtors. They are also known for their bravery. History records that an Ijesha led the Ekiti-Parapo-war many years ago.
The language spoken here is Yoruba and the dialect, Ijesha. The people of Irele, Omuo-Oke, Oke-Afo are said to speak a dialect similar to Ijesha.
CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
The people are headed by a Monarch titled ‘’Owa Obokun Adimula’’. The current king is Owa Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II who ascended his father’s throne in 1982.
The favorite cuisine of the Ijesha people is Iyan (Pounded yam) and egusi (melon) soup washed down with palm wine.
Among all the traditional festivals in Ijesha land, the ‘’Iwude Ogun’’ is the most outstanding and it’s always celebrated in grand style. During the festival, the incumbent Owa (king) pays a visit to all the traditional chiefs in Ilesha.
Notable Nigerians from Ijesha land are; Candido Joan Da Rocha (businessman), Christopher Alexander Sapara-Williams (lawyer), Chief Bola Ige (politician and lawyer), Dr Christopher Kolade (Educationist and ex-ambassador), Pastor E. A. Adeboye (renowned clergy), T.M Aluko (novelist), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (politician) and so on.