Oriki Ibadan with translation: Pride of Ibadan People

The term "Oriki" is an integral part of the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. It's a form of verbal praise poetry that glorifies a person's virtues, lineage, or a community's history and achievements. Today, we turn our spotlight to Oriki Ibadan, the cultural tapestry that beautifully enshrines the glory of Ibadan, one of the largest and most significant cities in the Yoruba region.

Below is a popular Oriki Ibadan followed with a translation:

Ibadan nile Oluyole
Ibadan ki seru enikankan, Ogun o ko ri
Ilu Bashorun, Ajayi, Lagelu
Ibadan ko gbodo pari
Ilu Ogunmola, olodogbo keri loju ogun
Ilu Ibikunle alagbala jaya-jaya
Ilu Ajayi, o gbori Efon se filafila
Ilu Latosa, Aare-ona kakanfo
Ibadan Omo ajoro sun. Omo a je Igbin yoo,fi ikarahun fo eko mu
Ibadan maja-maja bii tojo kin-in-ni, eyi too ja aladuugbo gbogbo logun
Ibadan ki ba ni s’ore ai mu ni lo s’ogun
Ibadan Kure! Ibadan beere ki o too wo o
B’Ibadan ti n gbonile bee lo n gba Ajoji
Eleyele lomi ti teru-tomo Layipo n mu
Asejire lomi abumu-buwe nile Ibadan
A ki waye ka maa larun kan lara, Ija igboro larun Ibadan

Below is the English translation:

Ibadan, the land of Oluyole
Ibadan is no one's slave, it's inhabitants has never been enslaved
City of Bashorun, Ajayi, Lagelu
Ibadan must never come to an end
City of Ogunmola, whose courage shines in war
City of Ibikunle, a formidable warrior
City of Ajayi, who defeated Efon decisively
City of Latosa, the Aare-Ona Kakanfo (War General)
Ibadan, who eats oro (a fruit) and goes to sleep
Ibadan who eat snails and use the shells as cups for pap
Ibadan don't fight, like you did the other day, and brought chaos to the streets
Ibadan doesn’t keep one as a friend without taking them fight in battles
Ibadan be cautious! Ibadan, inquire before you leap
Ibadan is kind to both its citizens and strangers alike
Eleyele is the river that both the free and slaves at Layipo drink
Asejire is the river that the residents of Ibadan bath with and drink
No one is born without a fault, street fights are Ibadan's ailment

Essence of Oriki Ibadan

Oriki Ibadan is a traditional Yoruba praise poetry that celebrates the city of Ibadan. Rooted in history, mythology, and cultural pride, it serves as a verbal portrait that captures the essence of the city. In it, the resilience, valor, and cultural richness of the Ibadan people are highlighted.

Historical Roots of Oriki Ibadan

The city of Ibadan was founded in the 16th century and quickly rose to prominence because of its strategic location and the valor of its people. The Oriki Ibadan aims to encapsulate this rich history. From its warrior beginnings to its modernization, every verse is a page in the annals of Ibadan's history.

Significance in Modern Times

In an era where cultural erosion threatens traditional values, Oriki Ibadan serves as a resilient pillar that continues to uphold the Yoruba culture. Today's younger generation might be more inclined towards western culture, but the Oriki is a poignant reminder of their roots. Schools in Ibadan and the Yoruba region still teach Oriki as a way to instill cultural pride and awareness.

Performing Oriki Ibadan

The performance of Oriki Ibadan is a spectacular event, usually accompanied by traditional Yoruba music and drums. The "Akewi" or the praise singer, uses poetic license to add contemporary elements, making it relatable to the current audience while maintaining its historical integrity.

Oriki Ibadan and Tourism

As a tool for cultural preservation, Oriki Ibadan has also found its way into tourism. Visitors to the city are often greeted with this melodious poetry, giving them an immediate taste of the city's cultural richness. Many local events, cultural festivals, and even official gatherings in Ibadan commence with the recitation of Oriki, making it a unique selling proposition for the city's tourism sector.


Oriki Ibadan is more than just a praise poem; it's a cultural artifact that encapsulates the spirit of a people and a city. It is a living heritage that gets passed from one generation to another. In a rapidly changing world, Oriki Ibadan serves as a constant, a cultural touchstone that reminds the people of Ibadan — and indeed all Yorubas — of who they are and what they stand for.

In essence, Oriki Ibadan is not just an element of cultural identity; it is a heartfelt expression of community pride, a vibrant celebration of history, and an enduring proclamation of cultural significance.

Whether you're a native of Ibadan, a visitor, or someone interested in African cultures, the Oriki Ibadan is an awe-inspiring experience that offers a rich, melodious, and insightful look into the Yoruba heritage. So the next time you find yourself in the ancient city of Ibadan, take a moment to listen to its Oriki and feel the pulse of a culture that refuses to be silenced by the sands of time.


Michael Akerele