Judge not a book by its cover, but by its content, goes the saying. I recently defaulted on this saying. However, in my case, it was not a book, but a trip.
On Monday 11th August, 2014, I was notified about a planned tour to Ekiti state, Southwest Nigeria. It was a planned field trip for both great Historians and Geographers in the faculty of Education of the university of first choice, and nation’s pride, University of Lagos, Akoka, in the department of Arts/social sciences, to serve as a means of exploring the historical corners of the wealth and geographical terrain of Ekiti state. A few weeks to the day of departure, I was filled with a sense of anticipation, due to how the trip will enhance my performance in one of my courses, which is CULTURE AND TOURISM IN INDEPENDENT AFRICA.
On Thursday 4th September, 2014, it was the departure day, filled with much anticipation. It was not only the day everyone had been waiting for, it was also the day I was expecting Ekiti to give me dividends for my money and prove right my hunch.
We started our journey to Ekiti nearly two hours later than the agreed time by 8:30am, as a result of some logistic difficulties. Exactly 30minutes later, we got to the Ogun state border, the Gateway state. At 9:15am, we got to the Redemption Camp, the national camp grounds of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, significant for its place as one of the largest congregations of Christians in the country.
All seemed to be going smoothly, until about 9:30am, when we experienced our first traffic jam, exactly an hour into the journey. 30km ahead, we encountered another stretch of traffic at Sagamu. At 10:15am, we had a stop-over at Isara-Remo, Ogun state for a short break. 45minutes later, we reached Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. Ibadan is renowned in world history as the Seat of the Alaafin of Oyo the religious and cultural head of the Yoruba and the city itself, the capital of the Old Oyo Empire. After about fifty minutes through the old city we reached Osun state, the citadel of Yoruba civilization.
Relief was our dominant feeling when we entered Ekiti state at 2:15pm, and at 3:20pm, we arrived Ado-Ekiti, the capital city of Ekiti state and our destination. Touted as the land of honor and often times, the fountain of knowledge, having produced the highest number of professors and academics in Nigeria. Ekiti state offered a serene view of nature’s goodness, highly blessed with the existence of rocks, hills, mountains, streams and historical leftovers, Ekiti is indeed beautifully enchanting, due to the richness of the land, and the people’s spirit of accommodation. The city of Ado-Ekiti was littered with hills, and from our vantage point we could see the iconic red roof of homes, shops, schools sitting in Ado-Ekiti’s valleys.
Our first point of visit was the renowned Fajuyi memorial park in Ado-Ekiti, inspired by the heroic contributions of the late Lt. Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi. The Ekiti state government, under the administration of Governor Segun Oni gave the park a facelift. It was a serious picture section when we got to the park, as students turned the park into a photo studio in appreciation of the martyrdom of Fajuyi, who was the first military Governor of the defunct Western Nigeria. He died on the 29th July, 1966 when Nigeria experienced the 2nd military coup d’etat alongside J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi, the former military Head of state. We also visited a mini-conservatory in the park some of Fajuyi personal effects, such as his ceremonial uniform, a pair of boots, his hat and a ceremonial sword. After sometime there, we departed for our hotel accommodation at about 5:00pm. We were lodged in a hotel not too far from Fajuyi memorial park, named Park view hotel, also in Ado-Ekiti. Treated to a one star suite, the hotel offered convenient room service, an inter-continental restaurant, a bar, ambience and qualitative customer services delivery. We were lodged in quartets (4 persons in a room) and the night was splendid.
Second day in Ekiti was quite demanding, but enlightening. Our first destination for the day was to Ekiti state university. We got to the school at about 9am. During our road tour around the school, we visited faculties such as those of law, management studies, social sciences, art and of more interest to us, education. The sub-dean of the faculty of education, Dr. Joseph Ojo Babatunde gave us a tour of the faculty, established in 1982, alongside the university, the faculty is administered by a hundred and sixty staff, and twenty three professors. These achievements were the highest in the whole university. We also visited the faculty’s library, conference room, lecturers and professors offices, sub-dean, dean and faculty officer and its twins halls, each having a sitting capacity of 750, summing to 1500 sitting capacity, with the current Vice-chancellor; Professor Patrick Oladipo Aina, and the dean of education; professor Isaac Abiodun Ajayi. According to the sub-dean, the departments that make up the faculty of education include:
-Guidance and counseling
-Human kinetics, and health education
-Education foundation management
-Institute of education.
Having toured the faculty, we went to the famous Ikogosi warm spring Resorts. En route Ikogosi, we came across The 1st Aare of Efon kingdom house, Efon-Ekiti; the Efon LG secretariat; the high court and chief magistrate (Efon judicial division); Apostle Babalola School established in 1979, and we also lucky to drive past a colorful masquerade parade. At 1:45pm, we got to Ikogosi Ekiti, the host town of Ikogosi warm spring resorts. The resort is home to a rare natural occurence, two streams side by side, one warm, the other cold with a source that stretches across the length and breadth of the state. The Ikogosi warm spring is the famous fascinating center of our tour to Ekiti, and was believed to have its source from the Olosunta rock shrine in Ikere-Ekiti.
We also visited the Olosunta rock shrine in Ikere-Ekiti, which according to myth, stood as an idol for the people of Ikere-Ekiti LGA. Legend has it that the rock was the first settlement of Olukere, the founder of Ikere land. The tour ended for the day, and we headed back to our hotel to lay our heads ahead of the long journey back to Lagos the next day. On our return to Lagos, we saw the Irewole LG secretariat at Ikire, the Asakire dam, the Nigerian Brewery, Ibadan branch; the Sat Guru Maharaji compound, Oluyole LG secretariat, Oluyole motherless babies home, and so many other places.
In all, Ekiti had indeed, proved itself as a haven for historical and geographical profoundness. Our 12hours of journey to and from Ekiti had not been a waste in any way, as we were enthralled throughout our stay. As we headed back for Lagos, one thing kept echoing in my thoughts; if wishes were horses, I would ask that I be given the opportunity to re-visit Ekiti, because I never could have had enough of the place on my visit to the beautiful land of honor.
Written By: Adewale Onagbesan
Student of History at the University of Lagos