HISTORY OF YAGBA PEOPLE
Yagba is a major group originating from North Central region of Kogi state, Nigeria. Yagbas are a major group in Okunland in terms of population, land size and in the number of local government areas. There are (3) three local government areas which are Yagba East, Yagba West and Mopamuro LGA, formerly Northeast Yagba with headquarter at Makutu Isanlu, ODO Ere and Mopa respectively.
The other local governments where the Yagbas make up a good part of the population are Ikole and Oye LGA,s. Aiyede in Oye, Ipao, Irele, Oke Ako, Itapaji and Iyemero in Ikole LGA of Ekiti State are all Yagba Towns. These towns could have made up a south west Yagba LGA if merged with Koro and Eruku in Kwara State, as the people are in all respects, Yagba.
The Major towns in Yagba are Aiyede, Irele, Ogbe, Egbe, Isanlu, Mopa, Ife Olukotun, Ejuku, Ponyan, Ipao, Effo-Amuro, Awoyo, Ilae, ODO Ere, while the earlier settlements are Akata-Ere, Awoyo and Ilai respectively. Altogether, there are about 75 towns, villages and hamlets in Yagbaland, all Yoruba speaking from Ile Ife and the old Oyo.
Samuel Johnson (1921) in his history of Yoruba’s mentioned the Yagbas as the most North easternly tribes of Yoruba, they are distinguished by three long tribal marks on each cheek far behind, converging to a point at the angle of the mouth.
The tribal marks can only be seen among very old people now as it is no longer the vogue. There is only one stroke difference in the tribal marks between the East and the Western Yagba people.
The Assistant District Officer (ADO) in charge of Lafiagi Division in his report titled ” The Separatist Movement in Yagba District of Pâtégi Emirate and dated 1/6/32.
” The Yagba appear to be an offshoot of the Yoruba tribe speaking a dialect of the Yoruba tongue. Formerly they consisted of a number of units independent of each other and recognizing no central authority. They suffered severely from Nupe, and Yoruba raids and had it not been for the British occupation, they would probably have disappeared as a separate race a century ago.