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MYSTERIOUS ERIN IJESHA WATER FALL

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Erin Ijesha Waterfall is one of the greatest gifts of nature in the world which testified that there is no end to God creative mysteries.  It is not a gainsaying that the waterfall is one of the wonders God has endowed the human race with.

The waterfall is 2km off Erin Ijesha town, Oriade Local Government and lies 20km East of Ilesha on the Ilesha-Akure Road in Osun State.
There are different versions of stories to the establishment of  the waterfall, according to a source, when it was first discovered, the waterfall was said to have a look of a mysterious creature so no one dared move near it for fear of being swallowed up.

It was believed to be a living spirit with several openings through which water gushed out; a very tall and huge spirit whose height reached to the high heavens. The inhabitants , thereafter, named the fall “Olumirin” meaning another god whose power over the whole area was only similar to Akinla, the Founder of Erin Ijesha town.

While some school of thought believed that the waterfalls exude from a big pot located at the top of the ridge, on the other hands, some quarters also disclosed that the final ritual rites for any crown king is to climb the first layer of the ridge to the seventh one.

However, the fact remains that this work of nature is beyond human comprehension.
As earlier said, Erin Ijesha waterfall popularly known as “Olumirin” has about seven layers (steps) and only few visitors can climb beyond the second layer. The area can also well serve for mountaineering exercise and also provides water to the community. The breeze at the waterfall is cool and refreshing. The water flows among rocks and splashes down with great forces to the evergreen vegetation around.

The general appearance of the natural surrounding is extremely interesting, while the full flow of the waterfall could be seen during the rainy season. Amazingly, it doesn’t look like anything out of this world until you begin climbing the levels of the ascending plains of the waterfalls.

The view at all the levels is wonderful and the freshness of the water is energizing but wait until you reach the last and seventh level as a torturous climber which is the most intriguing.
Visitors to Olumirin Waterfalls go away not only appreciating the work of nature, one also find it difficult to understand how Nigerian government could possibly be sitting on such a goldmine as a tourist centre without making  conscious efforts to explore and, indeed, dig up the waiting gold.

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Research painstakingly conducted by Mega Icon Magazine shows that the waterfall is situated within latitude 7°30’ and 8°45’ North and longitude 4°31’ and 5°East, it is one of the very few water bodies where fresh prawns thrive and which has some feel of wildlife with thick forest.

The gigantic ridges constitutes a conspicuous eye-catcher for every traveler along the Ilesa-Akure expressway, as it towers into the distant skyline, forming a spectacular backrest for the sleepy towns of Erin-Oke, Erin-Ijesha and Erinmo respectively.

For most tourists and fun seekers, climbing up to the third level can best be equated to climbing through the snowy steeply Mount Everest.

Furthermore, the view at all the levels is wonderful and the freshness of the water is to strengthen the visitors. However, the place to be is the seventh level, though it is stressnous to climb, but definitely the most intriguing. Not only does it lie at the peak of the falls, it also hosts a settlement where many of its inhabitants have lived for several decades.

First time tourist at the waterfalls on several occasions unconsciously starts to number the waterfalls from the last drop (the base of the ridge) as it is the first of all the falls to be encountered when visiting; whereas the numbering is supposed to be from the top. Nevertheless, going by layman’s standard, the seventh drop of the waterfalls is the origin and the first waterfall.

The first cascade plummets through a narrow opening in a cluster of luxuriant tree trunks blanketed in dark green leafage, down a steeply folded rock face of about ten meters in height. Like a rain of a million limpid pins, the showers descend and inundates huge boulder reposed at its plunge pool below.

Fallen logs of wood laid dank in the pool and out-flowing stream channel. The air hung muggy with a heavy smoke of splashed water droplets. The sight sparks the first fire of excitement that pervades the veins of any visitor at the falls. The refreshing ambience is further thickened when one ascends the steep rocks to explore the other stages of the waterfalls.

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The second cascade is the most gigantic of all, with the waters diving down a 40m-high cliff. The copious plunge is most spectacular in the rainy season when the stream channel is at its flooding levels. Its plunge pool forms a shallow swimming pool for visitors at the site who are lucky and brave enough to get to the second fall.

Before the climb up, the waterfalls is quite intimidating and assiduous, as there are no steps constructed or clear paths made up the ridge slopes, except depressions and projections on the surface, as well as roots and branches of huge trees, forest climbers and shrubs along the paths, which serves as hand and foot holds for the adventurous tourist.

Nevertheless, the ascent of the enormous ridge is most rewarding, as one is treated to dazzling and panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape, depicting the true natural beauty of the Nigerian landmass.

Another great attraction at the waterfalls is the Ajebandele Abake village, a rustic enclave located at the top of the colossal ridge. The name “Abake” is a Yoruba word which is a combination of two other Yoruba words: “Aba” “Oke”, meaning “the village on the top”, suggesting the location, of the small village.

A tourist ascending the ridge from the waterfalls will have to climb for about two hours before getting to Abake settlement. The village is said to be in Effon Alaaye local government, Ekiti State, hence ,the villagers refer to their settlement as Effon Alaaye. The village basically consists of twelfth century mud houses and the main occupations are farming, gari processing (using local method), cocoa cultivation and moi moi leaf cultivation as they are found in great numbers on the ridge.

The inhabitants of this village are accommodating, they make one feel happy when they see people beating the heights of the enormous ridge in order to visit their remote enclave.

Exciting activities at Erin-Ijesha waterfalls tourist resort includes: Swimming, base jumping (new potentials), rock climbing; bird and game watching to mention but a few.

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It is necessary that more tourist facilities such as good road, electricity supply, escalators etc., if provided will place Olumirin Waterfalls on the pedestal of one of the choicest tourist resorts in the World.

Presently, the people of Erin Ijesha are
frequently paying a glowing tribute to the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who has committed himself to develop the tourist centre to the admiration of the world  by constructing steps from the entrance up to the second layer, building of tourist Chalets and working tirelessly to give the environment a befitting facelifts and other construction works still ongoing.

Most interesting thing is that when one is descending from the seventh layer, the inhabitants of Abake village will definitely presents you with various farm produce as gifts and the moi moi leaves which indicates and confirms one’s victory of completing the ridges successfully.

Visiting the awe-inspiring falls, known as Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls is a life time experience and is open to tourists throughout the year. Similarly, the water is said to be capable of healing many ailments such as headache, stomach-ache and skin diseases.

People are said to come from all over the country to fetch the water, which they use for curative purposes.
Thinking of where to spend the weekend after a hectic hassling and bustling week? Are you a tourist seeking fun and adventure in a land as blessed as Nigeria? Then Erin Ijesha Water Fall is a place to visit for a whole new experience with nature, it makes you to appreciate the work of nature more than ever, it is a mystery, strange but true.

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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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Ibadan 125 room-Irefin Palace to rival London’s Buckingham Palace, Oyo govt. boasts

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Oyo State government has disclosed that the historical Irefin Palace in Ibadan has been positioned to rival the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom as the State has entered into agreement with private partners to promote notable tourist sites.

The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun stated this recently while playing host to the Irefin Royal Family of Ibadan at his office.

The family held an historical significance of being the descendants of Oba Onirefin who built the biggest palace of 125 rooms in the history of Yorubaland, during his reign between 1912 to 1914.

Late Oba Onirefin was noted for his philanthropic efforts, especially in promotion of education as he was said to be the highest donor to the establishment of the popular Ibadan Grammar School where he donated 100 pounds and the land upon which the school was built.

Olatubosun boasted that the Seyi Makinde led government has turned away from the old style of neglecting tourism as a means of generating internal revenue and has adopted the public-private-partnership model to develop and promote major tourist sites in the State.

“We want to work with the Irefin Royal Family to bring more attention to the tourism potential of the palace and the significance of it to humanity, the palace is not just a structure, it symbolizes love, it symbolizes philanthropy.

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“The late Oba Onirefin was a giver and lover of educational development, that is why the State government will support the family to promote the palace to be as famous as the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, look at the number of people that troop to the U.K to see the palace among other sites, it will generate goodwill for the government and promote the tourism industry in the State.”

The leader of the family who doubled as the Coordinator of the Irefin Historical Palace Foundation, Prince Omokayode Ayinla Irefin said the family was happy with the stride of Oyo State government towards promoting the tourism sector in the State.

Omokayode said the Irefin Palace Heritage Tourism Development Foundation has entered into agreement with a foreign partner to train youths that are interested in tourism and send them abroad for the practical aspect of the job.

He, however called on other notable families in the State with historical potentials to emulate the Irefin Tourism foundation so as to diversify the State’s economy and gain more from foreign input into tourism.

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Oyo govt. expresses readiness to partner investors for tourist sites development

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Oyo State Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatubosun has hinted that the state has tourism potentials that could yield enough income and also generate employment if private investors and corporate bodies could collaborate with the present administration to develop the tourism sites.

The commissioner who stated this during a courtesy visit by the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) to his office last last Monday, also added that the present government in the state was committed to partnering with groups, associations, corporate bodies and individuals who are into the development of culture and tourism potentials.

He said this was due to the fact that the state is blessed with diverse traditional elements and tourist sites which when utilised and harnessed, would attract investors, provide employment and increase the IGR of the state.

“It is no news that Oyo State possesses more traditional elements that always attract foreing and local interests as well as tourism sites that when, harnessed, will bring enough fund to the State and booster its IGR, countries like Israel, Kenya, Italy and others do not rely on petroleum to survive, they use tourism to drive revenue.

“We are replicating same in Oyo State and it shall be successful with conscious collaboration of corporate interests and organizational support for the government in the areas of revamping, redesigning and facelifting our major traditional programmes and tourist-attractive sites, Ado-Awaye suspended lake is one site that has no equal in Africa, even United Nations should show interest.

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“Governor Seyi Makinde has shown great interest in building the tourism industry to become a revenue-generating sector in the State, that is a quality of a leader that sees into the future and sees potentials for solutions where others are lamenting,” he said.

The Commissioner further assured the association of the state’s readiness to partner with the them in promoting the culture and tourist potentials around while also working together to promote the activities of the association through the Ministry’s various media platforms.

In his remarks, the Vice President Southwest Zone of FTAN, Otunba Ayo Olumoko, who spoke on behalf of the team expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception they got from the Ministry, saying that the association has been in existence in the past 23 years and has chapters of the association in all the 36 states of the federation.

Olumoko said the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the state government, through the Ministry, of their efforts at sanitizing the tourism industry in Nigeria and put in place a structured executive body in each state to oversee its activities in line with the mandate of the association.

He promised a robust relationship with Oyo State government through the Ministry so that activities in the tourism sector would not be hijacked by miscreants.

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