According to Merriam Webster dictionary, Totem is something (such as animal and plant) that is the symbol of a family, clan and tribe. However, in the Yoruba race totem could also be an object or natural phenomenon such as rain, thunder which is a symbol peculiar to towns.&nbsp; The term <strong>ORILE</strong> (re mi do) according to the Yorubas also means origin or foundation; it is of huge importance in the tracing of a pedigree. Therefore the <strong>ORILE</strong> is not a name, it denotes the family origin. 
    Although, its real meaning is shrouded in obscurity, some believes its connotes descendant from the object- myth, while others say the object are or characterise the&nbsp; ancient gods of the family, giver of the child, earthly blessings, or that the family is connected to it. 
    The number of totems is large, as its represents every believable objects, from Opo *do mi* (pillar/post), Ojo *do do* (rain), Ogun *do mi* (god of war) Agbo *do do* (ram) etc 

As it is often the practice of a married woman to take the name of her husband, she is not allowed to take his totem, children takes the totem of their father except in rare case where they take that of their mother, this happen mostly when the child is being brought up by the mother’s family, or when the mother’s family totem is stronger or nobler than that of the father.

The following are some distinguished totems:- 

Erin – Elephant: the totem of the original line of the kings

Ogun – god of war: the totem of the original line of Basoruns

Opo – Pillar: the totem of the noble Oyo family

Okin do mi – love bird: totem of the Olofa and the Oloro

Ojo – (rain) Ologbin

Agbo – (ram) Ajagusi – father of Erinle

Eri Oloyan

Agbe or Ade Olukoyi

Iji Onigbeti

Edu Onigbayi

Iko Onigusun

Ogo Ijesa

The orile just like the oriki distinguish an individual, the orile however also helps in tracing the family line. The oriki is always used with orile, it helps express or understand admiration/endearment, as orile when used alone might sound meaningless.

Examples of how oruko(name), oriki(attributive name)  and orile(totem) are use in conjunction:-


Oruko Oriki Orile

Fagbemi akawo Ogo

Adegbite Isola Okin

Adegbola Ayinla Opo


Oruko Oriki Orile

Morenike Akanke Ade

Folakemi Asabi Iko

Adebisi Abebi Iji

Adejokeiyabadan’s blog




Adejokeiyabadan at the entrance of the village family house

I went to bed hoping for the break of a great new day. Indeed Thursday 1st of January 2015 started on a great note as expected of anyone as it is the beginning of a new Gregorian year. Yeah! It is the first day of 2015. I woke up very early not because I was trying to start a good habit of waking up early in a new year, but this is a day I have been looking forward to in the past few months. 

I will be visiting my village (ABA OLOSUDE) at IGBO ELERIN.

Omo ale Ibadan ni ile, ni ki loko.

It is said that only bastard of Ibadan will claim to have a compound and no village. As a genuine daughter of the historical city of Ibadaland, I am of the <strong>ADETORO CLAN</strong> of <strong>ABA OLOSUDE</strong>, <strong>AGBEDE VILLAGE</strong> at<strong> IGBO ELERIN</strong>.

Every first day of the year, the entire <strong>ADETORO CLAN</strong> converge in the village to celebrate their existence together. This has been a tradition of the family since time immemorial. The older generation told stories of how they gathered together in the village on the eve of the New Year to attend worship places together for cross-over services into the New Year. Alas! 2015 was no exception. 

It was my first in that village (though it wasn’t my first time visiting a village/living in a village, as I had spent a summer at my maternal village when I was in elementary school). I have looked forward earnestly to this day, I was going to see my wonderful grannies, which I last saw during the Sallah celebration, I will be getting loads of eko (cold pap) &amp; palm oil, I will be meeting new family members. I am anticipating a reunion of beautiful and wonderful people of <strong>ADETORO CLAN</strong>. 

So, I woke up at 5:00am filled with excitement having slept at 3:00am, to catch the first bus to the village, as the male folks had left for the previous day, mummy, my little sister and I am to join them today in the celebration. Hey! Did that just crossed your mind, that the bus to her village is timely, that she had to wake up early to catch the first bus. SMH! for you. 
As expected during the festive period, there was an outrageous hike in transport fare; however, I was willing to pay any amount this day. I can’t wait to see my extended family, our vast farmland, I can’t wait to visit the mystic <strong>LEGUDU RIVER</strong>, I can’t wait to see grannies palm oil processing sites.  I surely can’t wait to be in my village. 
Bearing this in mind, I kept my phone battery fully charged, with thoughts of different poses of selfies to be taken at the various places I will be visiting. Settling in the bus, I sat back relaxed, enjoying the cool breeze, while being aware of every village on the way, I occupied myself with reading of billboards and sign posts on either side of the road, (a travelling habit form childhood). The one hour drive from the park to <strong>AGBEDE VILLAGE</strong> was bumpy and smooth; the road was a reflection of what we suffered in the metropolis.    

Adejokeiyabadan’s blog