PIJAlance Magazine
The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.

Ancient Esie Town Where Residents Turn Figurines


They are inter-alias praised thus:

Èlésiẹ ọwọ́,
Ara Èlésiẹ ó kún mákin,
Ará odò ọrọ.
Ìsàlẹ̀ Esiẹ ni ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ gbé ń ṣe ọsọ.
Ilé baba yín ní wọn ń hù gbẹgi.
Ọmọ olodo ṣe gbẹ́ndẹkẹ,
Ọmọ olodo ṣe gbẹ́ndẹ̀kẹ́,
Ọmọ ẹrù tó mọ ọwọ wẹ níí bá olówó jẹ́un,
Èyí ti o mọ ọwọ wẹ, ọ̀tọ̀ nii wọn jẹun l’esiẹ,
Ọmọ ère kunlẹ lègungun, ọmọ ère kunle wọn l’esiẹ,
Ère kunlẹ, a ó rí ẹlẹjọ mọ.
Gbogbo ẹlẹjọ níí tú gbẹgi Kírì.
Ọmọ Èlésiẹ talẹ, wọn tá ère,
Èlésiẹ ó rí ère wo mọ, ojú dá pau…..

Anyone brought up in the Yorùbá ancestries or town close to Esiẹ town are told the folklore of how over 1000 residents of a whole town turn to figurines. As expected, there would be additions and subtractions, as each tale teller wants to stand distinguished from his contemporaries.


We told stories of how Esie town over 1000 residents  turned to figurines. While NO ONE till date could ascertain what the cause(s) was (were), the aftermath is there for all to see: they all turn to ère!


Popular myth had it that in years back the residents of the town committed a grave offence and thunderstruck turning the people into stones”, Wikipedia says.


No one can be too sure.


Èsiẹ, an ancient Ìgbómìnà town in Irepodun LGA of Kwara State, North-Central Nigeria has since been christened Ìlú Àwọn Ère (Town of Figurines). The shocking part was that these figurines were all caught respectively doing varieties of things. Indeed they were all going about their daily activities before all of them turned to figurines. Unique examples include some figures that stand and one portrays a musician playing a pipe. Soldiers have quivers and arrows at the back and helmets in the shape of a bird. Some female figures carry curved swords, which indicates that Esie women held political power (Meyerowitz 1943). There is a great deal of variety in headdress types, including cone-shaped hats, pyramids-shaped hats with square and hexagonal bases, and decorations including tassels, chevrons, rosettes and leaf-like ornaments.


Read Also:How Popular Sayings, Ìbàdàn Lọ Mon Ọ́ọ̀ Mon Layipo Emerged


It has since be a centre of interest for researchers, archeologists and related persons in related fields to know the story behind the Esie town figurines.


Another important aspect of this Ìgbómìnà town is that, there are people who come from this town that are either now live in suburbs around Èsiẹ or scattered over Yorùbá lands. What is yet remain unclear is that, did all Èsiẹ township people become ère or the now people of Ìran Èsiẹ somehow ‘escaped’?


Yorùbá elders have made an idiom of it, ó dúró bí èrè Esiẹ (he/she stands like Èsiẹ town figurines).


Today, the town has become a big museum. The museum was established in 1945 to house one of the greatest treasures ever bequeathed to mankind Esie. It is the the first museum in Nigeria.



Questions are on as to how Iran Elesiẹ got heterogeneously settled in different places in Yorùbá land till date.


Moreover, how is the present day Esie come to be.


As it was in ancient life of the Yorùbás, people ALWAYS migrate from one place to another for different reasons. These reasons included greener pasture, position tussle and war.


Read Also: How Yoruba Fought the longest Civil War and Lost Independence to Britain


A example of this was a time in the ancient city of Esie. This had happened before the whole town turned to figurines.


The royal stool again become vacant and two brothers were the only legitimate heirs. However, the kingmakers preferred one of them. In order to appear transparent and credible they asked that the two brothers go and seek for Iwo Irula (dried okro farmers plant) in a certain forest.


They had however given the direction it could be found to their preferred candidate who was thus able to come earlier with the Iwo Irula.


The other candidate subsequently found out about the foul play and decided to leave Esie with his household members and followers who believed he was unjustified deprived of his birthright to throne.


He settled at Iree in the present day Osun State.


Royalty or display of affluence-cum-opulence, he and his people rode a total number of sixteen horses to Iree. This was later used to christened where he settled in Iree – Ilé Baba Ẹlẹsin (The Horse-Owner Compound).


In latter days, they would ride some horses to the farms (which was a magnificent act) while leaving some at home.


Again, people add this to their oríkì:
Àwọn Ẹlẹsiẹ,
(Esiẹ ancestry)
Ọmọ Ẹlẹsin mẹ́rìndínlógún;
(Progenitors of the owner of sixteen horses)
Mẹjọ nbẹ nílé
(There are eight at home)
Mẹjọ nbẹ loko
(Same number at the farm)


This had happened before the ancient Esie become ‘a town of figurines.’

The Ẹlẹ́ṣin Compound People of Iree are from Ìsàlẹ̀ Esiẹ.

They are praised:

Ìsàlẹ̀ Esiẹ, ọmọ odo ọrọ

(Downtown Esiẹ, progenitors of wells of wealth)

As narrated, Òkè Are (Are Mountain) is where their farmstead was. And there were probable fears that the Ancient Esiẹ people might trace them to Iree, so they chose the other side of Are Mountain as ‘asylum’, just like the ancient Abẹ́òkúta.

This was an example of how people left the ancient Esiẹ before the ‘wrath’ came upon it. If not for these migrations, who knew what might have happened to Iran Elesiẹ?

It would have been annihilated?

Taofik is a Mass Communication lecturer, trained journalist, freelancer, editor, researcher, corporate communications and public relations expert. He has Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State and currently a Bsc student in the same discipline at Summit University, Offa, Kwara State. Taofik teaches Mass Communication at the Polytechnic, Ojoku, Kwara State. He is a guest-contributor for PIJAlance Magazine.

1 Comment
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