It was with a group of 11 students; Jessica Asirowa,Temi Oyetayo,Tracy Esu, Babatunde Odukoya, Ik Eze, Chisom Ikeocha, Raphael Chinwuko, Ugo Emecheta, Tuale Ajuyah and Faridat Kadiri , drawn from the college English Literature and Geography Classes and their two teachers; Mr . Adeleke and Mr Abrahams, that we set out on an excursion on the 10th of February, 2014.
Within an hour of our take off, we were already in Ososa , the home of the legendary Hubert Ogunde, the man said to be the father of modern theatre in Nigeria. The students were not disappointed, as they were taken round the expansive compound of a man you can truly call ‘a theatre mogul’. One cannot but marvel at the vision of this man. In line with this vision,we learnt the government is planning to turn the place to a museum.
From the entrance, you can see the highly artistic sculptures, telling stories of Ogunde ‘journey through life’; from that of his favourite wife Adesewa to that of his mother.
We had the privilege of visiting different sections of theatre life. The rehearsal hall, costume room, theatre effects room and finally the burial place of the great man himself. What an enriching time, but we had to move to our final destination for the day; Kwara -state.
It was a rather long trip, but never a dull moment! The beautiful scenery of virgin lands kept us company and we could not help but marvel at how blessed Nigeria is as a country! Thank God, we got to our destination safely; our hotel was on the serene outskirts of Ilorin. We crawled to our beds.
It was with even more excitement that we set out the following day, 11th of February. Our destination; Owa Kajola. We thought it would be a stone’s throw from Ilorin, but it was not so. Though we set out a bit late, 11pm, it took about 2 hours to get to Owa Kajola Water Falls. We paid homage to the king of the village and we signed the mandatory register for visitors. Now the next hurdle was getting to the water falls itself.
The walk started slowly and it continued and continued for close to 1 hour (distance of about 3 kilometres!). Through hilly and rough terrain we all persevered. It was really a tough test of our endurance and in the end when we caught a glimpse of the pristine scenery that engulfed the water falls, we heaved a sigh of relief that it is worth it after all! Right before us, lurking faintly behind some foliage is a beauty to behold; a waterfall rising to about 200 metres with the water cascading lushly down to a pool below. The serenity around was refreshing. We were so deep in the delight of our surroundings that we forgot the distance of the return trip, but it wasn’t as bad as we had thought. We got to our hotel safe and sound.
We set out on the third day at 11:30am with our eyes set on 3 tourist locations; Asa Dam, Dada pottery and Esie Museum.
Dada pottery is located in the heart of Ilorin. We were able to see the making of different shapes of pots. Though a highly rustic setting, one could not but marvel at the dexterity of the women here. Being in the heart of Ilorin itself with the emir’s palace and the central mosque nearby, the pervading Islamic practice of women covering all parts of their body was in place and to most people, we looked like aliens from another planet!
Next we headed to Esie National Museum. We could see a well-managed government institution comparable to what you find in developed countries of the world. What you would probably find interesting about this historic place is the rich history behind the stone carvings of about 1,500 , which were discovered in the present location in 1778 . The belief of the indigenes is also interesting. To them, the sculptures were formerly human beings before being cursed and turned to stones by a god. This has however been debunked by archaeologists who claimed that the sculptures were actually carved by humans, but they could not give further details, concerning the origin or motive behind them. After what has been an exciting date with history, we took our leave and headed straight to our hotel.
On our departure day, as we made our way back to Lagos, we decided to visit our last tourist spot: Imoleboja rock shelter in Kajola. Though we could not find any tour guide to take us round this ancient monument, the rock is palpable and enigmatic enough to tell its own story. It covers close to an acre of land with a narrow pathway that runs through the rock. This was where we all walked through. It must have been a haven of sorts during wars, many centuries ago. We had an exciting time, posing for different pictures.
Finally, we are heading back to Lagos. In the words of Raphael Chinwuko, ‘the excursion is an epic feel of nature’s unprecedented pleasure’.
Ogun and Kwara trip