You meet someone and he tells you he’s from Ado Ekiti (capital of Ekiti State), you meet another person and he says he’s from Igede Ekiti, you meet someone else entirely and he tells you he’s from Usi Ekiti, you encounter five other people and they tell you they are from, Aramoko Ekiti, Ayegbaju Ekiti, Ikole Ekiti, Ikere Ekiti and Asin Ekiti. Afterwards, you get confused about the common suffix that follows each word, and you’re like why would so many towns have a common suffix when they aren’t adjectives or adverbs. This is something that is fascinating about the people of Ekiti, that common trait you see among all of them, after all adjectives and adverbs are used in describing things. The following are some of the important features among the Ekiti people;
The Ekiti dialect of Yoruba language is spoken by the Ekiti people, however, there are slight differences in the Ekiti dialect. This is due to locations of some towns and their proximity to other cultures. Take for example, the Efon-Alaaye folks speak something different from the people of Irele, the Efon-Alaaye people are influenced by their proximity to the Ijesha people of Osun State while the Irele people are influenced by their closeness to the Ijumus of Kwara State. Yam which is a staple food of the Yoruba people is referred to as “Isu” (ee-shu), but in Ekiti dialect, it’s known as “Usu” (oo-shu).
No meal is more special to the Ekiti people than pounded yam, locally referred to as “Iyan” (ee-yawn) with vegetable soup. In Ekiti, pounded yam is the “bae of all baes” and if you’re going to ask “who pounded yam has helped?” It has surely helped the Ekiti people.
Here comes an intriguing part, tribal marks were used in the olden days for beautification (Oh yes! beauty is in the eyes of the beholder), identification (some sort of ID card engraved on the face) and for preserving cultural line (Yes! it worked). The Ekiti tribal mark is known as “Pele Ekiti”, which consists of four horizontal lines, each about a quarter of an inch long, embossed on the cheeks.
The outfit for a typical Ekiti man is “Bùbá” (a shirt-like top), “Sòkòtò” (trousers) and “fila” (cap). The Ekiti women dress in “Bùbá” (a blouse like top), “Ìró” (wrapper), “Gele” (headgear) and sometimes, the “Ipele” (a piece of cloth placed on the shoulder or wrapped around the waist).
Ekiti people are good farmers, blacksmiths, ornamental potters, wood carvers, mat weavers and basket makers. Ekiti music comprises mainly of folklore and moonlight songs and it’s typically interposed with interesting and cautionary stories.
Ekiti State is known to have produced the highest number of professors in Nigeria and by heritage, its motto used to be “Fountain of Knowledge” before it was changed to “Land of Honour”. Several pioneering Nigerian academics that are from Ekiti are Professor Adegoke Olubummo (One of the pioneering Nigerian Professors in the field of Mathematics), Professor Adeyinka Adeyemi (1st Professor of Architecture in West Africa). Other prominent Ekiti people are Professor J.F. Ade-Ajayi, Niyi Osundare, Sam Aluko, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Minister of Solid Minerals), Mr Ayo Fayose, (current Governor of Ekiti State).