Yoruba people make up over 20% of the entire population of Kogi State, constituting up to one million of the estimated 5 million inhabitants in the state.
The word “Okun” is used to describe the Yoruba descendants in the state. Okun people can also be found in other Yoruba speaking states like Kwara, Ekiti, Ondo, etc.
Okun-Yoruba occupies six out of the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State, namely; Yagba-West, Kabba-Bunu, Yagba-East, Ijumu, Mopa-Muro, and Lokoja Local Government.
The Okun people in Kogi state can be found speaking various Yoruba dialects such as: Owe, Ijumu, Yagba, Bunu, and Oworo.
Some popular towns in Okun land are:
Kabba, Mopa, Isanlu, Egbe, Ekirrin Adde, Ogidi, Ayegunle, Ayetoro, Felele, Ikoyi, Egbeda Ega, Iyara, Okedayo, Odo Ere, Odo Eri, Ife, Ikoyi, Agbaja, Iyamoye, Igbo Nla, Obajana, etc.
Here is a list of some famous Yoruba indigenes that people didn’t know were from Kogi State:
Pastor Sam Adeyemi
Samuel Adesanya Adeyemi is from Yagba, Kogi state. He is the Founder and senior pastor of Daystar Christian Center in Lagos, Nigeria.
He is a renowned author, motivational speaker and an Influencer, also, he is the President of Success Power International and Daystar Leadership Academy.
He also hosted the internationally syndicated motivational series Success Power.
He is ranked as one of the successful Religious Leaders in Nigerian, and one of the most prominent pastors from Kogi.
Sam Adeyemi was born on February 3rd 1967 in a village called Ndayako, in Niger State, Nigeria. That was where he spent the first 10years of his life. He hails from Odo-Ere, Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria.
Tolulope Sarah Oluwatoyin Arotile was Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
She contributed her services to combat operations against terrorists mostly in the northern part of Nigeria.
Arotile died from a head injury sustained in an accident at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna state on 14 July 2020.
Born on December 13, 1995 to the family of Arotile of Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, Tolulope Arotile attended the Air Force Primary School, Kaduna, from year 2000 to 2005 and the Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna, from 2005 to 2011.
She died on 14 July, 2020, as a result of a heavy head injury which she sustained from a car accident inside the Nigerian Airforce Base. Even after her death, she remains one the most famous people from kogi state.
Dino Daniel Melaye is a Nigerian Activist, Businessman, Social Media Influencer, and a Politician.
He was a Senator and former member of the 8th Nigerian National Assembly, representing Kogi West Senatorial district and Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituencies respectively. He contested to become the governor of Kogi state in the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
In 2019, Dino got his first major acting role by featuring in a movie titled “Lemonade” where he played the role of “Distinguished Senator”.
Dino hails from Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu Local government of Kogi State. He claims to own at least eight McDonalds franchise across the world.
Tunde Ednut, whose real name is Tunde Olaoluwa Adekunle hails from Kabba in Kogi State, but born in Katsina State. He is a Comedian, Singer, Blogger, and one of Nigeria’s most celebrated social media enthusiasts. He is generally referred to as the “king of the gram”, because of his popularity and influence on the Nigerian social media space, especially Instagram.
Take a look at some of his awards and nominations:
Nigeria Future Awards (nominations in 2007 and 2008)
Dynamiks Youths Awards (nominations in 20007, 2008 and 2009)
Dynamiks Youths Awards (winner in 2009)
Award for the best Nigerian Comedian in the UK and Young achievers’ awards.
Ruger, born Michael Adebayo piga kelele, is a Nigerian Afrobeat singer and songwriter. He hails from Ijumu local area of Kogi state. Ruger shot to fame in 2021 after signing a record deal with D’Prince, which included a publishing and distribution deal with Columbia Records and a publishing and distribution partnership with Sony Music Entertainment’s U.K division.
Prof. Pius Adesanmi
Prof. Pius Adesanmi was born on 27 February 1972. He is a Nigerian-born Canadian professor, writer, literary critic, satirist, and columnist who hails from Isanlu, Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi State. His father was a teacher at Saint Augustine’s College, Kabba in the 70s.
He is the author of the book Naija No Dey Carry Last, a collection of satirical essays written in 2015.
In 2001, Pius Adesanmi’s first book, The Wayfarer and Other Poems, won the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize.
In 2010, the book You’re not a Country, Africa, a collection of essays, written by Pius Adesanmi won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing in the nonfiction category.
In 2017, Adesanmi won the Canada Bureau of International Education Leadership Award.
Adesanmi was killed when Ethiopian Airline flight 302 crashed shortly after take-off on 10 March 2019.
He is arguably the most successful footballer from Kogi state.
Shola Ameobi won the European Championship in 2010.
During his 14 years stay at Newcastle United, he made a total of 397 official appearances and scored 79 goals.
He has the second most appearances as a substitute in the history of Premier League. He hails from Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu, Kogi State.
During his career peak period he played for Crystal Palace, and Gaziantep BB in Turkey. He also had brief career at Bolton Wanderers, Fleetwood Town, and Notts County.
Although Shola Ameobi hails from the Okun Speaking part of Kogi state, he was born in Zaria, Northern Nigeria.
Tuned Ayeni is no doubt one of the most successful Nigerians alive. He was the former chairman of Skye Bank, and he is believed to be one of Nigeria’s wealthiest men.
He is a Nigerian lawyer, investor and business magnate. Ayeni holds board positions on various companies throughout Nigeria.
- A onetime Vice Chairman and a former Member of Council of Legal Aid Council of the Nigerian Bar Association, of Ikeja branch.
- Member International Bar Association.
- In September 2014 he was conferred with the status of Fellow of the Institute of Directors Nigeria by the Institute of Directors.
Awards and recognition
As a way of recognizing his contributions to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy, Nigeria’s Achievers University conferred on him a honorary title of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in business administration.
In September 2014, Tunde Ayeni was made Fellow by the Institute of Directors, Nigeria and the Commander of the Order of the Niger.
Ayeni had his high school education at Baptist Secondary School, Iyah-Gbede in Ijumu, Kogi State between 1981–1985, he then proceeded to Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Kwara. He eventually studied law at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he graduated in 1990 and was called to bar in 1991.
Tunde Ayeni hails from Iyah-Gbede, Ijumu Local Government of Kogi State.
Babatunde Irukera is the current Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC (Formerly Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria).
He is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, International Bar Association American Bar Association.
Irukera fought and won legal battles for the victims of drug testing in Kano by the world pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for Meningitis vaccines.
Some Children in Kano were used as guinea pigs by Pfizer, this led to the death of and many of the children and some of them end up being physically and mentally deformed.
He sued and won compensation for the families of these children and and Kano State government running to hundreds of millions of US Dollars.
He contested and lost in the 2015 and 2019 APC Governorship election primaries in Kogi State.
He is from Egbe, Yagba West, Kogi State, and a crown price to the present Elegbe of Egbe Kingdom, Oba Ayo Irukera.
John Obaro is the the founder of Remita, Nigeria’s foremost online payment service.
He is a Nigerian businessman, technology entrepreneur, public speaker and founder of SystemSpecs Nigeria Limited.
John Obaro hails from Ijumu Local Government of Kogi State, an Okun man to the core. He was born on born April 19, 1958. He had his early years in Kano and Ilorin, Kwara State, where he had his elementary education.
John Obaro has won several local and international awards
Software Personality of the Year (2016) – by the Nigeria Communication Week’s Beacon of Information and Communications Technology (BoICT) Awards in Lagos.
Leadership in Technology award – by the Africa Forum Scotland for the use of Remita.
Fellow of the Centre for African Policy, Development and Research, Scotland.
Engineer Simeon Agu Prize for Best Software Entrepreneur (2015) – by Nigeria Computer Society.
Nigeria’s IT Personality of the Year (2013) – at the National Information Technology Merit Award.
FATE Model Entrepreneur of the Year (2018) –
Top CEO awards in Lagos (2019) – by Nigerian Stocks Exchange/BusinessDay.
SUNDAY BADA is a World Athletic Champion and Olympics Gold Medalist.
He hails from Ogidi in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, although he was born in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria.
Sunday specialized in the 400 meters track event.
He clinched three sports medals at the World Indoor Championships, including a gold medal in 1997.
Sunday Bada died on 12 December 2011.
Cardinal John Onaiyeken served as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
Full name is John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, he is a Nigerian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Abuja from 1994 to 2019.
He became a Cardinal of the church in 2012 and was also President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Bishop of Ilorin.
He is an Okun man who hails from Kabba in Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Nike Davies Okundaye
Chief Nike Davies Okundaye is an international art and fashion icon, a professor without a degree and an artist who is driven by passion.
She owns the largest art gallery in West Africa, and have taught students of the best universities in the world.
Chief (Mrs) Nike Davies-Okundaye was born in 1951 in the small town of Ogidi In Ijumu Local Government Area Of Kogi State, Nigeria. She grew up learning the art and craft of traditional from her parents and great grandmother who were artists and craftsmen, they were also into music and specialized in the area of Adire making, cloth weaving, indigo dying and leather.
Jide Omokore is one of Nigeria’s wealthiest men. He is an Okun born businessman from Yagba, Kogi State. Omokore’s businesses include oil trading and exploration, haulage services, marine, steel, and property development, and dredging engineering.
Gbenro Ajibade is a leading character in the popular DSTV soap opera, Tinsel. He has also acted in The Wages and Gbomo Gbomo Express.
Ajibade emerged the Most Outstanding Actor/Model of the Year at the Nigerian Model Achievers Awards in 2011.
Senator Smart Adeyemi was the former President of the Nigerian union of Journalists. He was elected Senator to represent Kogi West constituency of Kogi State on 29 May 2007.
He is journalist, businessman, and a politician. He is also a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC). He got reelected as senator for the third time on the 30th of November 2019.
Smart Adeyemi is an Okun man who hails from Iyara, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Jumabee is a highly celebrated Nigerian singer and songwriter. He hails from Kabba, Kogi State.
Real name is Juwon Olorunnipa. He is the current senior special assistant to Kogi State Governor on entertainment.
Aside being a political appointee, he is also one the most famous people from Kogi state.
Jaywon, real name Iledare Oluwajuwonlo is also a Popular Singer and songwriter in the Nigerian music industry signed to Kennis music.
Some of his most popular hits are “This year”, Facebook love, Fi le be, Jawo Jawo.. Etc.
Jaywon have proven to be one of the most successful musicians from Kogi.
Dare Art Alade
Dare Art Alade He is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated entertainers. He is of Okun Origin from Kogi State. He hails from Ogga, an ancient pottery town in Yagba West Area of Kogi state.
He stated in one of his songs titled Stylee that “Darey comes from Lagos, also from Kogi”.
Dare is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, musician, and Idol series judge. His father is the respected Nigerian entertainer, Art Alade.
Raphael Adeniyi popularly called Raphael Niyi is a household name in the Nigerian Movie industry, his fan base consists of both Yoruba and non-Yoruba audience.
He is a movie actor and a director. He is most popular for his role in the popular TV series Awon Aladun De, and many other works.
He hails from Ijumu Local Government of Kogi state.
He is one of the biggest names on Television in Nigeria.
Babajide Otitoju is the present Group Controller of Current and Public Affairs at Television Continental popularly called TVC News.
He is a respected and seasoned journalist who regularly features on the daily socio-political news magazine program, Journalist Hangout. He is a Journalist, historian, polemicist, and a political analyst.
Babajide Kolade-otitoju hails from Ekirin Adde town in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi state.
Morayo (Moposh) Olowosibi
Morayo Oluwaseun Joseph is a TV presenter and Media Entrepreneur who hails from Ogidi, Ijumu local Government of Kogi state.
She is the host of the popular DSTV show, Olowosibi.
Moposh is one of the famous people from Kogi state. Although she originally hails from Kogi, she was born and raised in Offa, Kwara State.
Morayo (Moposh) got a bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics from Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
Aside her cooking skills, she’s also known for her good looks and curvy body shape.
Other Notable Yoruba from Kogi state are:
- Eyitayo Lambo
- Faith Oyedepo
- Senator Tunde Ogbehe
- Deborah Motilewa – Youngest Phd holder in Nigera
- Chief Bayo Ojo
- Senator Bolorunduro Awoniyi – founder of PDP
- Segun Adaju
- Steve Babaeko – President Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria. CEO and Chief Creative Officer of X3M Ideas
- Segun Ologe
- Tunde Aguda
- Dr. Alawode Akanke Fabunmi – First female vet doctor in Nigeria
Although the complete list can not be easily determined, these are some of the famous people from Kogi state who are Yoruba. They are called the Okun people.