March 13, 2015

Berry and Cakes Trek to Ibadan - Part 2

Our next stop was Irefin Palace. Again, I didn't do any research ahead of time, so I didn't know what to expect.

Getting here from Mapo Hall was kinda tricky, but thanks to an old lady on the road and Google Maps, we managed to find our way. Truthfully, we were all a bit confused when we got there. It definitely doesn't look anything like a palace. There were a bunch of people outside and a wedding introduction happening inside.

Someone said this is black soap.

Dolapo had to speak with the [acting] ruler, and although he was surprised by our visit, he was very excited and welcomed us warmly.He proceeded to tell us about himself (former military man, had to fight in court to take his rightful place in the palace). He also mentioned that the palace was over 200 years old, and that the Irefins were former warriors. But he talked about how the government and family members have allowed the palace to go to disrepair. I personally feel that such places should be national treasures or heritage sites, and maintained for future generations to see.


Theo asked him what Ibadan means, and he said it comes from Eba-Odan, which means "by the road, or on the way," because people usually stopped there on the way to somewhere else. I asked him how many people live in the palace and he claimed that up to 2000 people lived there at a point (I highly doubt it). He was also asked about the ruling process in Ibadan. He said the ruler of Ibadan (Olubadan) is achieved in 23 steps... which caused a later argument between me and Cakes. Cakes said he meant there are 23 families and the ruler is chosen on a rotational basis. I said he meant that a prospective ruler has to go through 23 things to become Olubadan. Somebody please help us and tell us who's right.

Dolapo asked him one final question: What advice do you have for us, the younger generation? His answer was long, but it left me feeling teary-eyed. I mentioned earlier that he said he had to fight in court to assume his rightful place in the palace. He said the only way he was able to win his case was because he knew his history and had kept documents from the past. He showed us notes and notebooks from as far back at 1921!!! He told us that too many young people are neglecting their roots, traditions, history, and more. How do we expect to have something to show and tell our children and grandchildren, if we don't know where we come from ourselves?


Because of the event going on inside, we weren't able to really look around. I was fine with that since there were goats coming in and out of rooms everywhere. At a point I froze and refused to move cos there was a goat lying in front of the doorway. Yeah yeah, I'm afraid of animals that move :(




Yup, a well. It'd be so cool to have a collection of Wishing Well photos!

Okay, so that's Irefin Palace. I'll post the Agodi Garden pictures and our lunch in a later post :)


  1. *clears throat* Cakes understanding of the Olubadan selection sounds closest to the truth. As an Ibadan geh let me briefly explain the little i know, Not entirely sure if 23 is the exact number of the Families involved but there are 2 lines to the throne, One is the Civil line (Otun) & the other is the Military line (Balogun). Different Families fall on either line & interchange; if an Otun person is on the throne now, when he dies the head (Mogaji) of the next Family in line on the Balogun side becomes the Olubadan & vice versa. The Mogaji's in each Family(immediate & extended) are selected by the Family & the person's name is submitted to the seat of the Olubadan for approval. bla bla bla let me stop here, I hope this is not a boring read!

    1. Have I told you that I love you? I enjoy learning stuff like this.

      So what does Otunba mean? Is it like a combination of Otun and Balogun?

    2. Otunba means the same thing as Otun. 'Otun-ba' is a contraction of the words, 'Otun Oba' meaning the Kings right hand man. :)

  2. Waiting for the next set of pictures. No pressure......

  3. Awwwwww! Berry Dakara loves meeeeeeee! x2 *blushing*. Hmmmmmmm dats a good question *scratches wig*. I never really thot about that before, I know Otunba is a title for like a Chief but never really thot about the literal meaning. Otun actually means right hand, kind of like the right hand of the King( & "Osi" is left hand). "Ogun" in Balogun means war so u may be right but I'm not certain. *Note to self- ask Daddy (my encyclopedia/google for all things Yoruba History) when you see him. Lol

  4. who noticed the "OLYMPIC" notebook?

  5. Wow, if this is a palace, I definitely don't want to live in one. I think the royal family should try to renovate their palace s bit, so that it is traditional, yet presentable.

    This acting ruler seems very approachable, which is really cool, especially as he was not previously aware of your presence..

    Atilola's World

  6. Wow! If the palace is over 200 years old, it must have looked like a proper mansion way back when. I have so many questions. Since he is the acting ruler, how does he live? Does he get an allowance from the federal, state, or local government? Or does he survive on his own pension/salary/hardwork? Are all those people that live there, there on a permanent basis? Is there a specific requirement to be allowed to live there? Whose responsibility is it to maintain that palace? Hmmmm.

    Our leaders are busy squandering our money, so I doubt they are thinking about preserving our national treasures. Ndi ara.

  7. then otunba means otun oba... the king's right hand chief - just logical going by your explanation and if I know any history at all, I'd say that's the meaning of otunba

  8. You are also correct.
    A prospective Olubadan has to pass through 23 steps starting out as a Mogaji of a family first.
    The downside is that they are usually so old when it gets to their turn because the privilege of starting out at step number one rotates between families,after that it goes zig zag between the military and civil ruling lines, so you basically have 23 steps in two places.
    The upside is that everybody basically knows who is next. No tantrums,no tussle,no queue jumping lol.
    As per the steps read this of Oba Odulana.
    His ascension to the throne kick-started with his appointment as the Mogaji (Head) of his Ladunni family compound, at Oja-Igbo in 1972. In 1976, Olubadan became the Jagun-Olubadanland. Thus, with a steady rise, getting 22 steps on the ladder of Ibadan’s unique chieftaincy succession system within a period of 31 years, Oba Odulana became the Olubadan of Ibadanland on Friday, August 17, 2007."

    Read a more explanatory post here:

    Nice pictures. I have never heard of that palace. I will try and ask about it. Maybe it's one of the smaller ones.

  9. Yeah, he said there are 23steps before one can become the Olubadan. It's sad that such history lives in the weak leaves of Olympic exercise book. Meanwhile, I was on the trip and we were told that scenes from the famous Yoruba movie "Saworo Ide" were shot at the Irefin Palace, particularly the scenes where the old man sat on the staircase. The staircase did look familiar, maybe Berry or Naiatreks can share a pic of it.

  10. Quite a read in the comments. Lore, I think Naijatreks has a pic of the staircase. Anyway on titles, the King has a left and right hand man. The right hand man is the Otunba which is actually 'Otun Oba' Then there is the Osi who is the King's Left hand man. The role of the Osi is still quite unclear to me. Balogun has to do with war as said but it's actually ;Baale Ogun" meaning Chief of War. He is like the Defence Minister of the Kingdom and must be a warrior. It's really sad the amount of history we are losing. The Irefin palace is on google maps but information is accounts by people who have been there. So, Ibadan people, read up on your history


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