SEVERAL administrations appears to be paying lip service to boosting tourism in Oyo State. Tourist sites are either abandoned or underused.
These historical monuments are now in ruins. Some of these deserted repositories have been hijacked by weeds and reptiles, while also serves as abodes for hoodlums, miscreants, armed robbers, kidnappers and the likes, this is exactly the true picture of Bower’s Tower, located on the perch of the highest hill in Ibadan; the Oke-Are hill (commander –in-chief of Army’s Hill) in the orbit of Agala forest reserve, Ibadan North Local Government, Oyo State.
The said tower, generally called ‘Layipo’ by vast majority of Ibadan residents was erected in December, 1936 in honour of Captain Robert Lister Bower who served as Resident and Travelling Commissioner for the interior of Yoruba land in South-Western Nigeria.
This monument serves as a reminder to the Ibadan people in particular and the Yoruba in general, of the man who firmly established the loyalty of their forebears to the British Imperial crown.
It would be recalled that Ibadan was known to be a seat of warriors, while the Yoruba land was enmeshed periodically in war. Parts of the diplomatic dispute resolved by Captain Bower were the Ekiti-Parapo war and Kiriji war respectively.
One finds it difficult to understand how Oyo State government could possibly be sitting on such a goldmine of about 60 feet high and 11 feet square structured tower with 48 spiral stairs as a tourist centre without making conscious efforts to explore and, indeed, dig up the waiting gold.
Mega Icon Magazine visit to this abandoned, neglected historical heritage shows its wretched situation, total infrastructural decay, while tattered roofs are obvious to the eye, of the monument that could have generated revenue.
Following the total neglect and insensitivity of several governments, it is indeed, an agony of the mind to note that the historical heritage was rehabilitated over 16 years ago, since then; it has remained in an irrecoverable state of devastation and destruction. Similarly, the access road to the tourist site is also in a lamentable condition.
Highly impeccable source who confided in Mega Icon Magazine decried the ugly situation of the monument. He stated that the abandoned site has constituted security risks to the community.
Speaking further, the faultless source hinted that the tourist centre has also been turned in to a safe haven by rapists who hide in the bushy environment to lure and rape innocent ladies due to its reckless abandonment.
“One would bewildered with the ease at which Oyo State Government abandons its assets to decay still baffles many. This supposes to be a national monument or major source of revenue, but suffers neglect or underutilization”.
“It is obvious that the government doesn’t need the historical monument any longer, probably the tourism board is not aware of its existence or may be Oyo State Government are wasteful”, he stated aggrievedly.
He, however, admonished the state government to release the abandoned monument to private individuals so as to make judicious use of it.
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