Igbo Ora: The World and Nigeria’s Land of Twins…

Igbo Ora
Igbo Ora is one town in Oyo State Nigeria situated north of Lagos. The town is the headquarters of Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State. It is situated between Sagaun, Iberekedo, Idofin and Abeokuta. This farming community which has seen little development in spite of its popularity is known for two things!
First, it is known in Oyo state as the 6th largest charcoal producing town.
Then, It is known internationally as The Twin Capital of the World.
Yes, you read it correctly.  In fact, a signage at the entrance to the town affirms this claim. And to cap it up, every family there has a set of twins.
Statistics from various sources have indicated that there are about 158 twins per 1000 births in Igbo Ora. To back up this claim, a British gynecologist Patrick Nylander carried out a research in the 80’s and the results showed that there are about 45-50 twins per 1000 births. Most people believe the statistics may have doubled by now.
So what’s so special about the Igbo Ora people that made them this fertile? What is the reason for the high rate of twins in Igbo Ora, Oyo state, Nigeria?
This is one unanswered question that has been on the lip of many people as there has been not enough scientific research to determine the real reason behind the twinning rate of the Igbo Ora people. Most people have their own views about the matter.
According to an article on Neoblack, the Olu of Igbo Ora Oba Oyewale Oyerogba in an interview in 2013 said “we eat a lot of okro leaf or ilasa soup. We also concume a lot of agida (yam). These diets influence multiple births. This is the same view many of the Igbo Ora people believe in. In another oral interview with a woman from the town, she revealed that she was a twin, she had twins who also had twins. Even her twin had twins that also had twins.
I hope I didn’t confuse you with that…
But she isn’t the only woman like that in Igbo ora. As a matter of fact, the women that sell the “leaf” used for making the soup are called Iya Ibeji (mother of twins). Even though there has been no scientific evidence for the high birth rate of twins, experts believe that the reason for the high twinning rate is embedded in their genes as they descended from ancestors to ancestors. They opined that their ancestors must have eaten a lot of yams which contains certain elements that increases a woman’s chances of fertilization. But these claims have been rendered useless by the mere fact that neighboring communities who eat the yam and also make the soup haven’t been as successful as Igbo Ora when it comes to twins.
There are similar places with high twinning rates in the world. They include Kodinji in India and Candido Godoi in Brasil.
In Yoruba land, and in many parts of the world, twins are believed to possess just one soul between them. This prompts the parents of twins to carve a wooden figure otherwise called an “Ibeji” for a twin whose other twin is dead although the number of people who do that now is limited based on the fact that everyone has embraced Christianity.
I’d love to have twins; a boy and a girl. What about you? Share your views using the comment box below.

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