ADO EKITI AT A GLANCE

Ado dates to the 15th century when it was made the capital of Ekiti. The British took control of Ado in 1893. Background Of Ado-Ekiti
Ado is the name of a political society, as a matter of fact, a kingdom, on account of its size and development, was the largest in Ekiti. In its heyday, the kingdom covered all of the present-day Ado Ekiti Local Government Area, Irepodun/Ifelodun and Aiyerire Local Government Areas, Ekiti Southwest less Ogotun and part of Ido/Osi Local Government Area. Traditions assert that at the height of its power in the 18th and 19th centuries, about 200 years ago, Ado kingdom consisted of 150 (ewadojo) communities. The metropolis of the kingdom was Ado-Ekiti, Ewi was the sovereign head, his palace was (and still is) situated in the Chief city. All the high Chiefs lived in the city. These Chiefs were patron Chiefs of all the subordinate towns and villages. Some Past Traditional Rulers Ewi Adewumi Agunsoye 1910 - 1936 Ewi Anirare Aladesanmi II 1937 - 1983, (HRH) Ewi Samuel Adeyemi, George-Adelabu I 1984 - 1988, Ewi Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III From 1990 up to the present time
Early history
Where Ado-Ekiti is situated is a land that has been continuously inhabited/occupied by human communities from time immemorial. Available research shows that human societies of unknown antiquity occupied this neighbourhood about (11,000) years ago. These ancient inhabitants were probably the same or progenitors/ancestors of Igbon near Ogotun, Erijiyan, Ijero, Ulesun and Asin (near Ikole) who were probably autochthones because available traditions shows that they had lived in and near their abodes from time immemorial. As a matter of fact, no one knows where, if any, they came from and for how long they had lived in those ancient sites. Ulesun appears the most well-known apparently on account of its size, the number of its subordinate communities especially Aso, Ulero, Isinla, Ilamoji, Ukere and Agbaun (near Igbemo), its well-organized traditional religion including its festivals etc. and its location at the heartland of Ekitiland. These ancient people were the ancestors of Ekiti, they played hosts in the 7th and 8th centuries, about 1,200 years ago, to waves of immigrants from the basins of the rivers Niger and Benue; these settled among the ancient Ekiti, and were fewer in number and so, the hosts culturally absorbed them. Eventually,the people fused as aboriginal people by and by. Ewi immigration After many generations, a new wave of immigrant groups penetrated this homeland; their leader as Ewi, second successor of Prince Biritiokun, Son of Oduduwa, on account of his wanderings all the way from the Benin forests, the leader was nicknamed Awamaro. Ulesun people welcomed them warmly and neighbouring committees came together to assist their settlement (built homesteads for them) at Oke-Ibon in Odo Ijigbo. Eventually, Ewi and his people overthrew the existing political arrangements, conquered Ulesun community, displaced its ruler Elesun and established a new town, Awamaro named Ado, meaning 'here we encamp'. Ewi Awamaro and his successors conquered villages and cottage in the neighbourhood, replaced their rulers with their own loyalists, stalwarts and scions of the royal family. The important citizens of these conquered communities were relocated in Ado. Ewi supplanted Elesun as sovereign ruler of the aboriginal and settler population, many of Elesun's Chiefs were confirmed in their offices but they swore oaths of allegiance to the Ewi. Many of the succeeding Ewi expanded the kingdom by force of arms, annexed territories and gave these territories to scions of the royal families, these assumed titles which became hereditary. Kingdom of Ado The expansion and growth of Ado-Ekiti and the kingdom of Ado lasted over 400 years. In the course of this expansion, Ado became associated with certain traits. Citizens of the kingdom in general and those of the mother town, Ado-Ekiti in particular were reputed for great attention to cleanliness. A popular lyrical description of Ado citizenry depicts: Ira Ule Ado m'etipise fifin seree (Ado citizens with their usually clean heels) Ado people were, by local standard, tough and brave warriors. Traditions preserve numerous brave citizens of each Ado community, the best known were Ogbigbonihanran of Idolofin quarters, Ogunmonakan of Okelaja, Fasawo, a.k.a. Aduloju of Udemo quarters, and Eleyinmi Orogirigbona of Okeyinmi quarters - all of Ado-Ekiti and Ogunbulu, a.k.a. Ala l'oju Osoru of Aisegba. The exploits of Ado tough in many parts of Ekiti formed the basis of the popular orature: Ikara s'eji s'inu agbagba t'emi ukoko (Of two balls of cake in the frying-pan, he insists his share is one) Folk, traditions are replete with fond references to Ewi's relationship with some other Ekiti traditional rulers. Ewi's antecedents are depicted as: Elempe Ekiti (mightiest man in Ekiti) On k'emu 'kan o mu meji Oloju k'enu 'kan gba kete re (He is entitled to one, he took two he has a disposition to take everything) Ewi i pe mi udiroko Onitaji i pe mi esunsu...... (Ewi invites me for his udiroko festival Onitaji invites me for his esunsu festival) Folk traditions of this nature vividly portray the towering position of Ado-Ekiti. In the first place, Ado-Ekiti is situated at the heartland of Ekiti and is thus less exposed to cross-border attacks or non-Ekiti influences. Consequently, over many centuries, waves of immigrant groups seeking haven settled in Ado-Ekiti and several other Ado communities. Many of these immigrants were refugees, they left their old homelands in parts of Ekiti, Akoko, Owo etc. where their leaders lost out in chieftaincy contests. Some were war captives, these were brought in droves by Aduloju and his lieutenants from their slave wars of the 1870s and 1880s in parts of Owo, Ose and Akoko. They were settled in Ado communities where they increased the local population, and enriched the culture with their lineage names and festivals in similar circumstances, citizens of Ado communities left their fatherland and settled in a few places in the neighbourhood up to Ijesaland. Ibadan sacked many Ado communities in 1873 and made a huge haul of prisoners of war and other captives who eventually settled in Iwo, Ibadan and some Remo towns such as Iperu and Makun Sagamu. However, Ado communities especially the mother town offset part of their losses with a large number of slaves and prisoners of war from Owo, Ose and Akoko. Religion Among the most conspicuous of the great changes were the introduction and expansion of Christianity and Islam. Christian missions especially of the CMS, Roman Catholic, Baptist, African Church and Methodist, later the Cherubum and Seraphim and Apostolic Church took root and expanded during the 20th century. Each of these Christian communities established numerous churches such that by 1970, the CMS (Anglican) and the Roman Catholic had grown so fast that they had become dioceses with their headquarters and seats of bishops in Ado-Ekiti. The two missions had three grammar schools, the number increased to five in 1990. The growth of Christian communities was very rapid between 1970 and 2000; new missions and denominations Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical and Episcopal arose, swelling up existing communions. Altogether over one hundred churches were recorded in the city in the year 2000. The Muslim community did not lag behind, the faith spread. The central mosque was built about 1930 and thereafter, a number of mosques were built in Idemo, Umayo, Isato (Irona), Ogbonado, Okesa, Oke-Ila etc. The Ansar-Ud-Deen emerged in the early 1940s. As a matter of fact, the number of mosques and the number of Muslims who have performed the Hajj can readily come to hand as indices of expansion. The number of mosques increased substantially with the growing number of well-to-do Muslim who build mosques as annexes to their private homes; by the year 2000, more than forty mosques could be counted in the city. By 1960, only Alhaji Akorede had performed the Hajj but the number of Alhajs increased in the 1970s and steadily increased in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

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