- Igbo-Ora categorises itself as the world’s twins capital and twin-births as its core natural resource
- Per 50 multiple births in 1000 live births, the town competes with India in twin-births.
- Igbo-Ora is an agrarian community that shares a border with Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state and another one with Abeokuta, Ogun state capital with less than 2 hours drive to Lagos Nigeria.
As the sun glimpses from the North, the cock crows in a sleepy town of Igbo-Ora in Ibarapa Central Local Government, about 97 km from Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, and 45.8 km from Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.
The two cities - Ibadan and Abeokuta serve as the gateway to Nigeria’s commercial nerve center - Lagos, and other states in Southwestern Nigeria.
Igbo-Ora is an agrarian community with its people mostly farmers, and houses a tertiary institution, the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH).
Unlike other communities in Nigeria with endowed natural resources, such as oil, gold, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and vast arable land, the people of Igbo-Ora class their natural resource as the multiple twin births.
Igbo-Ora: This city where twins rain
Igbo-Ora is currently made up of 7 distinct and autonomous communities with its major occupation as farming. The communities are only separated by founders (progenitors) and places after the Dahomey invasion. The joy of the town is in its’ peculiar twin births, described as a natural gift and resource from God.
The monarch, Olu Of Igbo-Ora, Oba Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, told Business Insider SSA that the community is referred to as twin capital because of the large concentration of multiple twin births. “It is factual that for every 1000 births in the community, there are about 50 multiple births (twin births).
Oba Jimoh said though there’s no official record of twins in the community at the moment but it is established that for every 1000 births, about 50 will be twins, referring to a widely circulated old record.
“There is no official record but research confirmed that out of 1000 births, about 50 births are twins. Twins are in other communities and states as well, but Igbo-Ora is where there is a large concentration in the world.”
He said WHO and other universities have researched the mysterious issue of twin births in Igbo-Ora community.
Prince Akinyemi Akintayo, son of the late monarch of Pako Kingdom - one of the towns making up Igbo-ora and the custodian of twins in the community said his late father propagated the community to the international scene.
He said the twin festival is beyond merriment but about the cultural heritage of the community. He also align with prophet words that there are no scientific backing to the cause of multiple births in the community.
What causes twins birth in Igbo Ora
When Business Insider SSA visited the community, the people of Igbo-Ora expressed diverse opinions on the phenomenon of giving birth to twins in the community. Some believe it is by divine arrangement, how they handle and treat newborn twins.
Hussein and Hassan Dahusi, both 68 years old and the oldest twins in the town, said, “It is a blessing for us here and possibly it may be as a result of our food.”
In an interview with Business Insider SSA, Prophet Ojelabi Sunday Olusola, one of the originators of the World Twin Festival, listed three factors as responsible for the birth of twins in the community - diet, hereditary and divine intervention.
Prophet Ojelabi says based on the UN, WHO's findings and some university's research, the reasons for the birth can be traced to either hereditary or diet.
Dietary factor - Cassava flour, Okro leave, and water
The elder statesman said the green leaf has a chemical composition that made women who eat it ovulate more than other women who don’t.
Divine intervention - an overwhelming factor beyond human thinking.
The Prophet said this factor complicates other factors posing many WHY questions to other people that don’t eat in the community. He also queried why people of other communities are not giving birth to twins despite buying the Okro leaf and Yam flour from Igbo-Ora.
“We regard it as the blessings of God, one, no one can solve yet.”
"So there are three factors for the birth of twins in the community and those are the points I have itemised.”
“What we need to do is to universalise and internationalise the twins' phenomenon Igbo-Ora by asking the United Nations to declare a "Twins Day" and make it a tourist attraction.”
What are the tourism potentials
To further bring the community into the limelight and improve the community’s economy and attract tourists, the community has packaged an annual twins festival to showcase the rare privilege of Igbo-Ora in multiple twin births. The community leaders said the government also has a big role to play in helping it to achieve its aim.
World’s twin festival - the plan to gather the largest set of twins in the world
The community has initiated a festival to continue to celebrate twins and showcase its natural resources and kindness of God to the people of Igbo-Ora.
Many records have confirmed Igbo-Ora as the city of Twins, so it is important for us to celebrate the blessings we have in this town, Olu Aso of Iberekodo, Jamiu Adedamola Badmus, tells Business Insider.
“There is no compound in Igbo-Ora that you will not find at least 5 twins in it and there’s no family without twins,” he said.
He said there is no idol or atonement done for giving birth to twins in the country.
At the elaborate maiden edition in 2018, according to the organisers, about 5,000 twins graced the occasion which was fully supported by the government. In 2019, during the festival, no fewer than 10 women gave birth to twins during the ceremony, Olu Of Igbo-Ora said.
The festival includes a twins parade, singing, cultural display of twins heritage and Effigies as well as food - beans and porridge yam with palm oil.
Other flashpoints from Business Insider SSA’s trip to Igbo-Ora
- The only town competing with Igbo-Ora is India's Kodinhi. Kodinhi is also another village with mysterious twin births. Though reasons not officially known but doctors' reports linked the phenomenon to chemicals present in Kodinhi water.
- The town is still using the statistics figure from a British gynecologist, Patrick Nylander, who understudied the town between 1972 and 1982. According to the study, Nylander put the record at an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1000 live births in the Southwest. A record the villagers believed they have surpassed.
- To date, no scientific proof of the birth of twins in Igbo-Ora.