Ogun State is blessed with two different sets of people with rich cultural heritage and blessed age-long traditions; the Egbas and the Ijebus. The Egba and Ijebu people are wonderful sets of people and are both under the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. They might have a lot of similarities but they sure have their different characteristics, traditions, customs and norms. Here are some of the differences I have observed and gotten about them;
The Egbas love to eat “Lafun”; a meal made from Cassava flour, while the Ijebus love “Ikokore”; a meal made from water yam. A combination of “Lafun” and “Ewedu” (Corchorus) is perfect for the Egbas while Ijebus love to have “Ikokore” garnished with fish and meat.
As you know very well, any Egba son who does not eat lafun is what Fela refers to as suwegbe. In BBHS, we had a place we called down below. At down below, you ate very hot and very smooth lafun every morning. I still do that. Lafun is my best food with ewedu.
– Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Alake of Egba land
She paid attention to details and would ask what food I wanted ahead of our arrival. On one occasion she made sure my favourite Ijebu delicacy, Ikokore, was ready, accompanied by assorted meat and snails.
– Dele Momodu on Mama Awolowo
The Egba people speak a local dialect known as the Egba dialect, while the Ijebu people speak a local dialect referred to as the Ijebu dialect. Though you might find some of them speaking the central Yoruba language.
The Egba people have an anthem that depicts their cultural heritage and their ties with the Olumo rock, below is the Egba anthem;
Lori oke o’un petele Ibe l’agbe bi mi si o Ibe l’agbe to mi d’agba oo Ile ominira
Chorus: Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l’Ori Olumo; Maa yo, maa yo, maa yo o; l’Ori Olumo
Abeokuta ilu Egba Un ko nii gbagbe e re Un o gbe o l’eke okan mi Bii ilu odo oya Emi o f’Abeokuta sogo Un o duro l’ori Olumo Maayo l’oruko Egba ooo Emi omoo Lisabi E e!
Which loosely translates to:
On the hill and in the valley, it is where I was born, it is where I was nurtured, the home of victors. Chorus: I’ll rejoice, rejoice, rejoice; On top of Olumo; I’ll rejoice , rejoice, rejoice; On top of Olumo. Abeokuta, home of the Egbas, I will not forget you, I will regard you highly in my heart, like the cities beyond the shores,I will sing the praises of Abeokuta, I will stand on Olumo rock, I will rejoice in the Egba’s heritage, I, a descendant of Lisabi!
Unlike the Egba people, the Ijebus only have an anthem that eulogizes the Awujale of Ijebu land. It goes thus:
Kaabiyesi o (2ce) Alaiye Oba wa, K’adepel’ori o kibatape lese, k’adepel’ori. K’odigbapel’orun, Ki Oba petiti, Ki ijobatuwalara, kaabiyesi o. Oba waoninu re. Kaabiyesi o (2ce)!
Which translates to:
Oh King! (2ce) Ruler of the earth, may your authority last long, may your reign bring ease to the land, Oh King. Our kind King, Oh King (2ce) !
The Egbas and Ijebus can be distinguished from other Yoruba groups with how their facial tribal marks are cut. The Egba facial mark is known as the “Abaja Oro” which consists of three perpendicular lines, each about 3 inches long on each cheek. Although, the younger generations have their lines rather faint or of shorter lengths. The Ijebu facial mark is known as “Pele Ijebu” which consists of three short longitudinal lines inscribed on the cheeks.
As for clothing, the two tribes generally wear the same thing but one of the notable differences is the cap popularly referred to as “Fila”. The Egba men wear a cap known as “Abeti aja”, while the Ijebu men wear the “Gobi” which is slightly tilted to the left. The trousers are “kembe” or “sokoto” and their top is either “Buba” and “Agbada”. The women wear “Ìró” (wrapper) and “Bùbá” (a blouse like top) with a matching “Gèlè” (head gear), coupled with “ileke” (locally made beads) and sometimes, the “Ipele” (a piece of cloth placed on the shoulder or wrapped around the waist).