BRIEF HISTORY OF OFFA IN KWARA STATE

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BRIEF HISTORY OF OFFA IN KWARA STATE

OFFA is a major town in South West of the Niger in Nigeria. It is located in the South Eastern part of the Kwara State. The town was founded by a hunter: Olalomi Olofagangan, sometimes in the 14th century. The people of OFFA are descendants of Oduduwa and speak Yoruba, one of the three major languages in Nigeria. History has it that Olofagangan left Oyo and settled in several places until he finally arrived at the present location of OFFA.

Olofagangan was a hunter and his first settlement was near a river called Maika. As a frontier town in the old Oyo Empire, OFFA featured in intra and inter-tribal wars and defended itself against the Nupes and the Fulanis. Olofagangan died at OFFA Eesun in the course of his migration.

OFFA as a town was eventually derived from Olofagangan: a name formed from the weapons Olalomi Olofagangan utilized for his hunting activities. The weapon is a bow and arrow called OFA in Yoruba language. Olofa was regarded as the head of the people of Ibolo dialect (accent) of the Yoruba language. Ibolo dialect speakers comprises of people of the surrounding towns and villages within the state of Kwara, and the neighboring Osun State.

The Offatedo of osun state, Iyana Offa in Oyo State, Offa in Cote devoire, are all emanated from Offa. Presently the stool of Olofa is in contention. The prominent knighted chiefs of Offa include Esa, Ojomu, Sawo, Ola and Balogun. The praise name of Offa is "Ijakadi Loro Offa", a Yoruba phrase meaning "wrestling is our game". The city's mascot is the peacock bird which is one of the most prominent exotic avian species in the region and also because the town is a beautiful place.

The people of OFFA celebrate a host of annual festivals including Onimoka and Egungun, Onimoka, the most famous of these festivals is celebrated by OFFA people, gathered at the town square, to witness a blindfolded man slice a yam tuber into two equal parts, with miraculous precision. A high point during the festival is a ceremonial wrestling contest between the Olofa and Eesa – one of the chiefs. Another important aspect of the Onimoka festival is the celebration of Moremi deity. Legend has it that Moremi was married to the Ooni of Ife from conquest. Olofa offer prayers for peace and prosperity, perform rituals, and make offerings to the spirit of Moremi.

Egungun (Masquerades) festival is celebrated with youths in colorful masks and robes entertaining the people by making rounds at various locations in the town. They are rewarded with cash gift for the performance. The Egunguns also offer prayers and blessing to their benefactors and the town in general.

Offa in one of her eulogy is being address as the home of sweet potatoes. Cattle, goats and sheep are also raised in the environs. The key religions practised in the town are:- Islam, Christianity and Traditional religions. Offa is on the railway line from Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, and Offa served as the railway terminus before the line was extended north to Kano and Nguru.

Tertiary institutions in the town include:
*Federal Polytechnic, Offa, established in 1992.

*The Kwara State College of Health Technology (established 1976

*Nigeria Navy School of Health Sciences.

Offa has more recently become well known in Nigeria for being home to Adesoye College, one of the most prominent private schools in Nigeria. The school's proprietor, Chief Adesoye is also the founder of Okin Biscuits. Both institutions have brought him and Offa fame throughout Nigeria.

Offa is centrally located in the midst and middle of many neighboring towns like Erin Ile in the south, Ijagbo in the north, Igosun and Ipee in the east and Ilemona, Irra, Ikotun and Ojoku in the west. Other towns surrounding Offa are Igosun and Igbo Idun. Offa has other notable missionary and community school such as Ansar Ud Deen College, Offa community Secondary School, Olalomi Comprehensive College, Iyeru Grammar school just to mention but a few. Offa is the second largest town in Kwara State. After Ilorin the state capital then Offa.

In addendum, Offa means "arrow" in the Yoruba Language. Also Ilorin means "the sharpening of iron for military weapons", Offa and Ilorin being military towns of the Old Oyo Empire were military outposts of the Old Oyo Empire.
 

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