It has an area of 963 km² and a population of 145,166 at the 2006 census.
Memorable Dates in Irele:
1886. Irele-Ondo intra-tribal War took place.
1892. Another Irele-Ondo intra-tribal War took place. Irele people won and Irelejare was named in memory of the victory of the folk.
1896. Methodist Church and School were established at Gboroye Oko.
1897. Major Evart arrived at Oloto and called for Abodi from Ikoya. When Major Evart arrived from Lagos in 1897, he made his headquarters at Igbobini, a village in the Ijaw Apoi District, which is about three miles from Okitipupa the present administrative headquarters of Okitipupa Division. During the following six months Major Evart visited nearly all the Ikale Districts, and subsequently made Igbobini his administrative headquarters for sometimes. Folk from Ikale and Ondo attended his court there. A few months later, Major Evart relocated his headquarters to Ondo.
1900. Major Evart assembled all the Traditional Heads of Ikaleland and mandated them to appoint one of them as leader, so that he, Major Evart, could go to that person for consultation. They accepted this suggestion and unanimously appointed Abodi Adetuwo, who was by far the oldest in age among them at that time.
1916. A Native Court was opened at Ikoya.
1916. The First Ikale Native Court was opened at Ikoya in 1916 under the presidency of the Abodi of Ikoya. Almost at the same time sessional courts were established at Ilutitun and Igbotako in the Osooro District, at Ode-Irele, Ode-Omi, Ode-lyansan for the Idapometa District and Okitipupa for the Ode–Idepe, Ode-Erinje, Igbodigo and Ode Ayeka for the Idapomarun District. Each Oloja or Baale as was the case in Ode Irele, lyansan, Aye, and Igbotako, was the Vice-President of the Sessional Court in his own District.
1902 Major Reeve Tucker, who succeeded Major Evart at Ondo, introduced a system of quarterly meetings of all the Chiefs (Oloja) with the Abodi at Ikoya to discuss matters of general importance to the Ikale. This innovation by the British Administration led to the formation of what the Ikale described as Abodi-in-Council. It was a council of all the Chiefs (Oloja) and the Abodi. In their decisions, the Abodi normally signed for himself and the other Oloja. Since that time, the Abodi had been recognised as the head of Ikale Native Authority, but he did not have the assistance of any Central Executive Council. This rendered his activities rather difficult as he depended largely on the Oloja, because he was quite unable to come to any decision without consulting them. There was no Central Executive Council for the Ikale until 1935 when the Ikale Native Administration was formed with its seat at Ikoya. The Western State Government instituted a Commission of inquiry into the position of the Abodi of Ikoya in relation to other monarchs in Ikale when the locality was heated up over the issue of the assumed supremacy of the Abodi. The Abodi-in-Council constituted the Native Authority for the whole Ikale District for many years. Meetings were held as occasion demanded. Among other things, the Council discussed matters affecting Ikale as a whole. The Abodi was the President of the Council and the Odogbo of Omi was the Vice-President. All the other Oloja were members of the Council. There were Subordinate Native Authorities in each of the Districts. Each had its own Executive Council presided over by the Abodi in case of Ikoya, and by the Oloja in each of the remaining Districts. These councils were the Native Authorities in their respective areas. Other members of the Subordinate Native Authorities were the Ijama or Aghoronla (High Chiefs). Effective British Administration could be said to have started in 1900 when a British Protectorate was declared over the whole of Southern Nigeria. Sometimes in or a little before 1900, Major Evart assembled all the Traditional Heads of Ikale land, and asked them to appoint one of them as their leader, so that he, Major Evart, could go to that person for consultation. They accepted this suggestion and unanimously appointed Abodi Adetuwo, who was by far the oldest in age among them at that time. Before that new arrangement, the British Administrators had to be carried in hammocks from one town to another passing through rough bush paths and thick forests. This was too cumbersome for the British Administrators. This new arrangement was designed to check or remove the difficulty and cumbersomeness in the old system. It must, however, be pointed out that the appointment of Abodi as the head of all the Traditional Heads in Ikale land was based on two reasons. He was at that time the oldest among the rulers and it must be remembered that great respect is often paid to old age in Yoruba land. (Source: An extract from the Memorandum presented by the Ikale Community resident in Ibadan to the Commission appointed by the Western State Government to look into the position of the Abodi vis-à-vis the Oloja in Ikale land). The leadership thus conceded to Abodi Adetuwo was such that the Abodi could not exercise any authority over them and neither had he any overriding voice in any matter. The Ikoya Court was of B Grade while the Sessional Courts were of Grade ‘C status. The Abodi and the Oloja were members of the Native Court at Ikoya. All other members of the sessional courts could not sit as ex—officio members of the parent court, except as onlookers. —–(Source: Basorun Stephen Adesoji, 1975).
1908. Lajagun War at Igbotako took place.
1916. Ikuemonisan’s skirmish with Osooro took place.
I916. Methodist Church Eleja was opened at old Gbeleju. This was through the efforts of Pa Emmanuel Akinbuwa.
1917. Olowomuwagun was installed the thirteenth Oloja of Irele.
1918. A forest reserve was created in Irele measuring 18 miles by 7 miles from where woods of all descriptions were produced for export and used for furniture making and building of houses. This was through the efforts of Jawosinmi Ogunbato the son of Eerinomo who became the fourth Gboroye. Irele forest reserve appears the only one in the whole Ikale land.
1922 January 5th, Oba Feyisara Odimayo was born. His mother was named madam Lolo and hailed from Erinje.
1923. The U.N.A. Church was opened at Bamoyegun.
1924. Cherubim and Seraphim Primary School, Irele was established.
1926. Oloja Adepeyin was installed the Olofun.
1930. The present location of Irele was occupied with the mass movement of the people from the various Egunre.
1830. Memorable WAR:
Madubuwa War was a memorable development that led to far-reaching decisions in the history of the town. It took place in 1830. Two versions of the story are prevalent in the town, as the one published by the colonial master may not be considered credible enough compared to that of the people at Irele. I have presented the two versions in order to allow readers an unhindered access to the versions. The War was stirred up as a result of the death of a woman named Madubuwa who was married to a man at Igbodigo or Erinje. Madubuwa was the child of (Chief Gboroye) or Akinyomi. She invited her kinsmen one day about her intention to perform a ritual for her Ori (personal god). Many people left for the ceremony and the following morning, she saw her kinsmen off. Having bade them bye, she met a suitor who had made unsuccessful overtures over the years, and he was pissed off with the fact that Madubuwa hosted her kinsmen who he considered her lovers. A row ensued and he killed Madubuwa there and then. As the folk that went to celebrate with Madubuwa arrived home, they learnt about the ugly incident and had to organise a reprisal attack. It was during the reign of Oloja Akingboye.
The second version claimed that Chief Gboroye, according to the assessment report published by the colonial masters in 1927, was said to have had a daughter named Madubuwa who was married to an Igbodigo man named Opesanmi Isowa. They had a daughter named Olojuniri who was married to one of the slaves of Chief Gboroye named Logbo. One day, Olojuniri went to Igbodigo to see her mother. On her way back, Okoro attempted to seduce her. Her husband Logbo was following behind unknown to Okoro. A serious fight ensued between them. Logbo was killed and his family went to the house of the mother of Madubuwa and killed her and her children. When Chief Gboroye (Akinyomi) learnt that his daughter was murdered, he organised an army and attacked Igbodigo village under Erinje where Okoro’s people were living and razed it to the ground after killing a large number of people. The War was known as Madubuwa or Okoro War.
Lisa Latima’s mother was named Origbule Lowo. Origbule Lowo was the wife of Akinyomi who gave birth to Monitehin, Naiyesemore, Madubuwa, and Lisa Latima. Lisa Latima was betrothed to a man at Ganju. She was however living at Erinje along with her husband. Lisa Latima soon learnt that an attack was imminent when Madubuwa, her aunt, was murdered. She picked her kids as well as the kids of her neighbours in an effort at evading the attack. She began to sing in order to arouse the attention of her kinsmen who could have attacked her if her identity was not clearly demonstrated.