Ife people are ancient, originally spiritual, highly advanced artistic and agriculturalist Yoruboid-speaking people that forms the sub-group of the larger Yoruba people of West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. The Ife people are “primus inter pares” when it comes the origin and spirituality of Yoruba. They are the first Yoruba people from which all other Yoruba people emerged and dispersed to form other Yoruba sub-groups in the world. Ife people are found precisely in the city of Ile-Ife, which sits in the Southwestern Nigerian State of Osun. This ancient “Yoruba Spiritual Mecca” of a city is surrounded by hills and is about fifty miles (80.467kms) to Ibadan and Osogbo. The city of Ile-Ife is also known as ‘Ife’ or ‘Ilurun’ which means ‘the gateway to heaven’ (Eluyemi 1986:16).
Ife people celebrating their Obatala festival at Ile Ife
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