Draw away from the hustle and bustle (and carbon monoxide) of Lagos and head to the hinterland to experience the real beauty of the land of the Oduans. These lands were fought over for a hundred years in the 18th century and upon seeing some photos and experiencing the culture, spirituality, fables and tradition it’s clear to see why.
Igbeti has a special place in Prince Olayide Yunus Oyekunle’s heart and he wants to tell you about it
IGBETI The Land of Geographical wonders and awesome rock formations.
The Travelogue to Mapo Physical/ Cultural Landscape at 2017 Easter.
Igbeti is synonymous with Rocks and Hills of various sizes and forms. The highest is Mapo Mountain, it is one of the most interesting and unique Cultural/Physical Landscape in Nigeria. It is the foremost Attraction and Tourists Destination in Oyo State. Mapo Mountain’s Physical and Cultural Importance cannot be over emphasized.
The deity called Iyamopo
In the days of the Old, Mapo mountain was synonymous with Iyamopo festival. The Iyamopo was recognized among the people as the Goddess of Fertility and Women occupation. The spiritual impact of Iyamopo on the people of Igbeti was Great as the entire people worship and adore the Goddess during the Festival, which comes up in every month of May
Aboke, the Chief Priest of Iyamopo Festival leads people in worship of the Goddess to the Ojubo, where Sacrifices are made to appease the spirit of the Goddess to seek for protection and Prosperity as well as people looking for the fruit of the Womb, and in most cases their prayers were answered.
However, since the arrival of Revealed religions, – Christianity and Islam, which was introduced to the people of Igbeti in 1918 and 1920 respectively the Cultural importance of Iyamopo Festival has drastically waned due to the influence of these new Religions. But notwithstanding the physical Landscape is a geographical wonder coupled with various rock formations. These forms new attractions to both the Local and International tourists who appreciate and marvel for the wonderful work of nature.
Recent Efforts to Promote Igbeti Tourists Attractions.
Despite the activities of the followers of the Traditional religion, other religion faith has in recent time become creative and responsive to the new trend of promoting our Tourists Attractions and Destinations which has found a fertile ground in Igbeti Physical Landscape. Okin Rock, which is about 175meter in height is about one square Kilometer. This rock has various sections where different faiths promote their Religion. A section is being used by the Traditional worshippers during Iyamopo festival, where Sango Worshippers brought lots of bowl of Amala to fetes their members and visitors. Amala is an important food delicacies prominent among the Oyo-Yoruba as a kind of Hospitality. Hence they use to sing as follows; – Bi e j’eka e ka r’oke Okin o, Oke Okin l’agbamala sii o. Meaning, if you want to eat Amala come to the Okin Rock where we put plenty of them.
Also the Christian Faith Organizations are not left behind, they have earmarked a section of this same Okin Rock and planted the Cross at the extreme edge of the rock and this area has been turned to Galilee by all the Christian faith in Igbeti and its environs where they perform special Prayers with Music and Merriments on Easter Monday by the evening, the road leads to Mapo mountain where multitudes of people will join them to pay homage to Iyamopo Cave. The place is awesome; it is better seen than described.
This is one of the peak periods when Tourists, both Local and International are attracted to Igbeti. They are led through Odo Odo Area, (About two kilometers from the city center) to climb this unique Mountain which served as the dwelling place for the people during the intertribal wars of the Nineteen Century. As the people ascend, they pay homage at different historical, Cultural and Fascinating rock formations. Some of these includes the War Stratagem made of arranged stones and mud used as barrier to ward off the enemies in those days. The remnants are still visible, the old Settlements where different lineages lived in those days are still there on the Mountain; As you are reaching the highest point of about 600 meters high, you would make gradual descent to observe the important Caves dedicated to Sango the Gods of Thunder and below further down is that of Iyamopo the Goddess of Fertility, at the opposite of Iyamopo Cave which is big as a room, you will observe another nature wonder of three Wells Called Odo Orogun Meta, the wells of the Three Jealous Wives. Two of the Wells linked together at the base, while the other stand aloof. Many people are excited wanting to climb up to enter Iyamopo cave. If you eventually succeeded to enter the Iyamopo Cave you write your name on the roof or the wall of the cave, after this exercise the journey back to the land has just begun.
Descending the Mountain is not so tedious as when you are ascending which demands a lots of energy and stress. It’s a rigorous exercise. The people eventually descended on to a flat rocky arena at the foot of the Mountain. It is an entertainment Arena where people fetes themselves with drinks and all sort of foods at this arena which was naturally created by nature is an ideal place for varied performances like dancing, acrobatic dancers, musical presentations and comedy presentations. At this arena the Photographers, the sellers of different kinds of Souvenirs and Memorabilia had a field day making brisk businesses. It’s also a great day for the transporters like Taxis, Motorcycle commonly referred to as Okada
Creating Awareness for Local and International Tourists on Igbeti as a Tourist Destination.
IGBETI, no doubt is a unique Tourists Destination, the Land of Geographical wonders and awesome rock formations, and Caves among Sixteen of these rocks and hills have been culturally identified. Hence the popular saying that “Oke Merindinlogun ni nbe ni Mapo Oloye, Merin Adurobo, Merin Aberebo, Merin Akunlebo, ninu Merin t’’oku L’Oye ti ntu jade. Meaning, there are sixteen Culturally identified Rocks and Hills at Mapo Oloye, four of them are being worshipped while standing, four are worshipped while sitting down, four are being worshipped while kneeling down and in the remaining four is where the Harmattan use to come out.
It is very appalling that despite all the noise made by the governments at all Levels, Federal State and local, virtually NOTHING has been done from there end. Even the State and Local Governments that are closer to the people at the grassroots, nothing appreciable has been done meanwhile the onus lies on Igbeti Stakeholders like Egbe Omo Igbeti Toro which have been pressurizing the Local Authority to put in place the necessary infrastructure for the promotion of Tourism in the Olorunsogo Local Government Area, in order to create empowerment for the people, to no avail; in recent time the efforts of the House of Representatives member for the Olorunsogo, Oorelope and Irepo Federal Constituency, Barrister Bosun George Oladele’s efforts have been very encouraging. For the past two years, the Honorable has been creating awareness through publicity of Igbeti tourist’s attractions to the local and International visitors.
Hon. Bosun Oladele will not stop at that, he is found of bringing in Journalists from all walks of life to give an adequate coverage to the Igbeti Tourism Potentials most especially during Christmas and Easter festivities. I had the singular opportunity to be invited to address members of the Press on Igbeti Tourism Potentials and it’s promotion during the 2017 Easter Retreat on Mapo Mountain.
According to the Honourable, Easter retreat at the foot of Mapo is not complete without savouring the free food and drinks he has prepared for the multitudes of people present. Another important stakeholder is Prince Olayide Yunus Oyekunle, the MD/CEO of Folayinkus Limited a tourism / Cultural consultant, who have done an extensive research and documentation on Igbeti Physical and Cultural Landscape as well as its promotion and propagation, both locally and internationally.
Apart from the above I have also created a Group on the Face –Book popularly known as Tourism/ Cultural Ambassadors of Nigeria, with membership all over the world. Our objective is to create awareness for potential tourists Destinations and attractions all over the country and Igbeti in particular
Another set of Stakeholders that help to promote Igbeti Tourism are those in Hospitality Business, like hotel Proprietors, prominent among them are Oorelope Royal Hotel Igbeti, Tafoo Recreational Park, Igbeti, Ibukun Olu Hotels Igbeti, etc
Problems and Prospects;
Apparently the 2017 Easter of Mapo physical/Cultural Landscape was very exciting despite some inadequacies. These includes poor organization, inadequate Publicity, Poor access road to the Attraction, Lack of souvenirs and Memorabilia; Lack of trained Tour Guides; Lack of Medical Facilities for the emergency. Lack of Infrastructures, i.e Electricity and portable water at the Attraction. Uncoordinated Arrangement for Entertainment, no Competition to warrant the award of Prizes and Certificates; Lack of Government Presence was a discouragement and an embarassment.
— Igbeti.OyoState (@igbetioyostate) September 17, 2016
Despite all the enumerated problems, the 2017 Easter Retreat on Mapo was a great success judging from the feeling of Satisfaction expressed by most Visitors. The patrons agreed that solving most of the highlighted problems will attract more people to the Attractions both locally and internationally.
It has also been observed that the Businessmen need to exploit the potentials provided by this destination. They need to provide those items that will make visitors comfortable and memorable, like well-organized Entertainment Groups, production of Souvenirs; provision of Medical facilities in case of Emergencies; Presentation of Certificate of Visit/Attendance to the Tourists/Visitors who may need it as a token. Most importantly, the State and Local Governments must be serious to their responsibilities by promoting Tourism for the empowerment of the local people to boosts local Economy. The era of paying Lip service to Tourism are over. Let work the talk. Tourism is Life!
Prince Olayide Yunus Oyekunle,
M>D/CEO Folayinkus Limited.
Email. [email protected]
As you have just read, Igbeti needs all our patronage. It is one of the many breathtaking beauty spots in Yorubaland that you can visit. We will continue to do our bit to bring you photos and news on Yoruba land people , places and culture. Isese l’agba!