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Ibadan monument lies in ruins.

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SEVERAL administrations  appears to be paying lip service to boosting tourism in Oyo State. Tourist sites are either abandoned or underused.

Bowers’ Tower hijacked by weeds.

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.

Entrance to Bower’s Tower, Ibadan.

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.

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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.

Tattered roofs.

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.

Poor access road leading to the tourist site.

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.

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“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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Aje festival 2021: Ooni charges govt. to direct economic policies at Nigerians

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The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has charged the federal and state governments to direct economic policies and other laudable programmes at the entire citizenry.

Ooni Ogunwusi, the Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) gave the charge during the 2021 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua palace, on Monday in Ile-Ife globally accepted ancestral home for Yoruba race and all the descendants of Oduduwa home and abroad. .

The Ooni who lauded Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government over several economic programmes and policies like the, recent employment of 774,000 Nigerians across the country and other interventions also advised the government to do more for the Nigerian masses by using cultural tourism as a veritable means for economic revolution.

“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty. To do this, the government must look at cultural tourism as a veritable tool for revolutionizing the economy before its too late. The Ooni decried.

While explaining the basis for the Aje Festival celebrations, the African foremost monarch who is also the Natural overall father for the Oodua race worldwide explained that it is a unique way through which the Yoruba people globally remember the deity which is known for wealth and riches.

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“Aje is a deity which is known for wealth and riches. Its annual celebration as you have witnessed today is to acknowledge its relevance to us as people, especially its indispensable nature to us.

“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje, all of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.

“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people, we only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem.” The Ooni noted.

Coordinator of the annual Aje Festival, Princess Oluwatoyin Kolade expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria without even pre publicity. Toyin Kolade, the Ilesa born international trader and great philanthropist gave all credit to Ooni Ogunwusi for the opportunity given her to contribute to cultural development of the Oodua race, pledging her continued loyalty and commitment to the development of the prestigious Yoruba cultural heritage.

“My father the Ooni is loaded with productive dynamism and great innovations for our race and African continent as a whole, especially in the area of cultural tourism revolution. He appointed me as his cultural ambassador in charge of Aje festival 4 years ago and with his unflinching support I have so far enjoyed, this Aje festival which was merely a local affair before 5 years ago has today become one of the important Nigeria cultural festivals with participants from all over the world. This Ooni is God sent, Wallahi!! “. Toyin Kolade said.

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The Oore of Otun-Ekiti & Paramount Ruler of Mobaland, Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, the Obaro of Kabba Oba Joseph and Onisale of Isale who led the delegation from Republic of Benin were among the traditional rulers joined other dignitaries including Nollywood stars like, Iya Rainbow, Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero) and others to witness the event while the Fuji music maestro, Abass Akande (Obesere) thrilled the guests.

AJE OLOKUN the goddess of wealth is among the loved ones out of the 401 deities(Irunmoles) that formed the first dynasty of mankind known as Ife Oodaye. These deities are still being celebrated in lle-lfe and globally till date.

The main capacity and strength of the goddess of wealth is to provide sufficient wealth and greater economic benefits for whoever worships the Almighty God through her.

AJE can be found everywhere; waters, air, land, trees, fire, among others. It is a deity synonymous with cowries which were being spent globally before the advent of present currencies.

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Ori- Oke Mokola, For The Records | By Toye Arulogun

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The city of Ibadan is being saturated with billboards of “Ori Oke Mokola” transformation by Goldberg, one of the lager brands from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc. On the A frame boards which can be sighted in some locations is the picture of Governor Seyi Makinde proudly displayed amidst the text announcing the transformation of the “tarmac” on the open space of the car park of the Cultural Centre.

For the records, the Goldberg Village which was the brand name of the proposed reconfigured recreational space called Ori Oke Mokola was a Nigerian Breweries proposal approved by Late Governor Abiola Ajimobi as recommended by the Oyo State Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism at the twilight of the unprecedented second term of the Koseleri Governor.

The transformation of Ori-Oke Mokola was to be at no cost to the Oyo State Governor while Nigerian Breweries bears the full cost of the makeover of the popular joint.

If Nigerian Breweries has completed the project at cost to the company, why the overt celebration with GSM’s picture on a project initiated by the Ajimobi government or is Nigerian Breweries playing to the gallery?

If so, the corporate giant and its Dutch headquarters need a review of its corporate social responsibility policy and steer clear of local politics.

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For the records again, the Akala administration started the dualisation of Queen Elizabeth road while the Ajimobi government completed it, yet you would never find it in any compilation or compendium on the many achievements of the only government with a two term mandate in Oyo State.

Government truly is a continuum but credit should be given to whom it is due, especially when it has not cost the borrowing government of Governor Seyi Makinde a dime, except the signature of the immediate past governor of Oyo State….unless a fresh proposal and approval happened. And even then…..

 

 

Toye Arulogun 

Immediate Past Commissioner for Information, Culture & Tourism,
Oyo State

 

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The untold story of legendary Obadoke Aare Latoosa | By Arowolo-Are Jubril

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Like many other Ibadan war lords and rulers, Mohammad Obadoke Aare Latoosa  was a native of Ilora, near Oyo. His father was Ore Orisa Oyatoosa while the mother bored Oyatooki. Both were river goddess worshippers. 

Being young and adventurous, Obadoke left his parents’ Bantu house of Okutuoje compound at Ilora for Ibadan in search of greener pastures.

Although, an altercation with a prominent Oyo ruler was said to have prompted this move.

On his arrival in Ibadan, Obadoke settled at a place around Oniyanrin-Nalende axis ( in the present Ibadan North Local Government), where he engaged in palm wine selling.

Obadoke was reputed to be versed in the knowledge of palm tree planting that he could tell the harvest period and profits with faultless precision!

Then, his palm wine selling exploits connected him with Beyioku Akere one of the promising warriors in Ibadan land. Akere later introduced him to Ogunmola who held the title of Bada under Iba Oluyole during the period.

During their meeting, Obadoke Oyatoosa’s bravery, confidence and war situation exploits impressed Ogunmola and he drafted Oyatoosa into his private army for which he later became the captain.

In the bid to have Obadoke Oyatoosa closer to him, Ogunmola settled him at a hill top which was then a dreaded forest that harbored a dangerous human eating lion! The choice of the hill top (now Oke Aare) was not particularly the making of Ogunmola who thought Obadoke could not survive the deadly animal. But Oyatoosa opted to settle in, regardless of any kind of threats!

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However, within the next few days, Obadoke caught the lion alive and took it on his shoulder to Ogunmola who was dazed with Oyatoosa’s bravery.

It’s interesting to know that Obadoke cut off the lion’s head and adopted it as one of his symbols of authority!

Having settled well at Oke Aare, he got married to Osubunmi, Ibeji and Moriola in succession but the unions were fruitless until after about 16 years when he had Sanusi as the first child. This happened after reverted to Islam and he believed that the change in religion influenced the birth of his son. There after, Obadoke adopted the name ‘Mohammad’ (Momodu in Yoruba pronunciation), with the aid of the then Emir of Ilorin, Abdul Salam who had earlier conquered Katunga, the capital of Old Oyo Empire with the fall of Afonja.

Since then, Mohammad Obadoke Oyatoosa never looked back. He was fully involved in many territorial conquests as the captain of Ogunmola’s private army from where he rose through the ranks until he got the ultimate title: Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land.

He started on the leadership line with the title of Are-Ago Balogun during the reign of Baale Oyesile Olugbode, (1851-1864), Otun Seriki during the time of Bashorun Ogunmola, (1865-1867) and Otun Balogun during the short reigns of Balogun Beyioku Akere (1867-1870), and Baale Orowusi Awarun Ososo (1870-1871). Akere as the Balogun during the reign of Bashorun Ogunmola was to assume the Baale position after Ogunmola’s demise but he, (Akere) deferred it until after he must have won Oke Ogun war. Although, Akere won but he died after his victorious return and few days to his installation.

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To be continued…

 

Arowolo-Are Jubril,  journalist and media consultant, sent this piece from Ibadan, Oyo state.

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