Of Oke Ogun and array of historical writings that you don't know

By Ogungbile Emmanuel Oludotun

Evidently, Oke Ogun of Oyo State, my mother's region, is one of the materially richest part of Nigeria, one that has a lot to contribute to the development of Oyo State and Nigeria. The resources of the region, according to experts, shows that the area is richer than some African countries, including Botswana which is rich in diamond and is one of the most prosperous African countries. In solid minerals, Oke Ogun has no equal in Nigeria. In almost all sectors of agriculture, the region is beyond comparison. There are large deposit of Marble, dolomite and others in Igbetti, Olorunsogo Local Government and in Oriire. Tourmaline is in Komu, Itesiwaju, Tantalite in Sepeteri, Quartz in Itesiwaju, Columbite, talc and several other minerals in all parts of the region. Intriguingly, there's also a major tourism boost for the Oke Ogun people which people hardly talk about. Oke Ogun is blessed with overwhelming historical writings which could be dubbed as tourism. In tourism, the same region is blessed with the Ado Awaye suspended lake, of which there are two in the world, Igbo Oba in Kisi, Ebedi Hill in Iseyin, Asabari Hill in Saki, Akomare Hill in Igangan and many other natural tourist attractions waiting to be developed.

As Akin Aderibigbe, a foremost research icon once described, that Oke Ogun is a destination with a vibrant culture that illuminates travel intenerates and pristine paradise of naturl environment. Therein, the historic living sites or buildings showcase the material culture, In effect, art features prominently in all aspects of the people's and indeed indigenous Yoruba life because of its aesthetic, social, political and religious functions. It's ravishing that this historical values gives credence to the established fact that most Yoruba artistic works are cultural, technical and spiritual. Hence, for the sake of publicity, this piece shall take a dive into some of these less talked about tourism centers in Oke Ogun. It is therefore plausible to begin the inventory of the state's with the general discourse of the location of mysterious river Basaori at Saki.

According to well fed research, Basaori River is loçated at in Saki, is under the command and control of High Chief Apeeki of Saki land. Records has it that in the ancient times; people who lacked material wealth could go to Basaori to lend any materials from the River goddess, which must be returned, yet at a point people started to renege on their pledges and the goddess stopped giving out the items. She has now changed from giving out material wealth and instead offers spiritual support to those in various needs such as childlessness, success in business, good luck etc. History has it that It is a taboo for the members of the Apeeki family to drink the water from the River or bring it home. Basaori has a two room apartment located at the belly of the rock and a water channel where water flows continuously all year round.

Another one is the royal forest at lgboho in Oorelope Local Government which is one of the hictoric legacies of the Old Oyo Empire. Igboho was the second settlement of Alaafin after the destruction of Oyo Ajaka by the Fulani Jihadist. Igbo Oba was carved out as a sacred grove where human activities were forbidden. The migration to Igboho meant that the royal fathers could no longer be buried in Bara which was the traditional burial ground for the Alaafins and hence they have to settle in Igboho. The forest is home to the tombs of Alaafin Ofinran who was brought to lgboho to be buried by his successor Alaafin Egunoju. The second, Alaafin Egunoju the according to Samuel Johnson (1897) died at Aafin quarters in Saki where he sought for refuge and was also brought to lgboho for State burial. The other as two Alaafins that were buried at the grove were Orompoto and Ajiboyede.The Royal Forest which has a natural ambience of an historic monument with the rows of the symbolic Iroko, Ose and Akoko trees has been preserved as a sacred grove.

The ancient walls of Koso, the capital city of the old Oyo Empire is also situated in Oke Ogun. Aremu (1999) in his research posited the preservation of the walls is instructive in that they can provide information not only about the settlement that is enclosed, but also about why, when, and how the wall was built. One of the unique walls in the old Oyo Empire was the ancient Koso wall. The fortification of enclosing walls around cities in the pre-historic era is common features in large African political centres. Koso wall is a multiple wall system built of mud and consisting of both outer and inner walls. The innermost wall which Akin Aderibigbe investigated varies in length from 3 km to 4.5 km in different location at the site. Aremu, in his writing also highlighted that the innermost wall consists of three categories; standing mud walls, mud walls from ground level and heap or raised ground. Koso wall enclosure, like other West African walls, was built for different purposes.The construction of city walls was to counter aggressions and protect communities from invaders.

Oke Agbele is another site with historical background in Igbeti, According to historians, the structure came into existence in the early 19th century when a powerful and popular woman in the town with a baby on her back went to a rocky side of the town to steal yam flour where the Igbeti people usually dry their yam flour by sunlight. However, on discovering that she has been sighted by the night guards, she instantly turned into a rock in order to avoid shame and embarrassment.

Ogidigbo ile which means a spectacular thick forest is the name of three distinct quarters in Saki land. The first Ogidigbo is located outside Saki metropolis and is between Ajaku and Enu Ojiyo. The second is the Ogidigbo Ololekan now called Ogidigbo lle near llua while the third is the symbolic market located at the centre of the town. Ogidigbo lle is an ancient quarter in Saki whose sprawling landscape of rocky ranges juxtaposed with Savanna grassland is a beauty to behold. Located between llua and Oge

Ogidigbo lle is the cradle of Saki Township, which has been long neglected despite its cultural and its historical significance. The landscape provides the evidence of where the Okere dynasty began. It is the location of the first Koyal palace built in the 16th century and where the first Monarchy in Saki; Okere Akinbekun and his two sons Okere Osooru and Okiribiti ruled over the town. Consequently it home to the tombs of the Akinbekun dynasty, inciuding other great but unnamed men and women have contributed to the greatness of Saki.

History has it that it was immensely to the greatness of Saki land, sometimes in 1712 AD that Okere Otiti (AD 1675-1745) moved the palace from Ogidigbo lle due to lack of adequate space to a more convenient place near Oke lboji. Ogidigbo lle was from the ancient times famous for it market called Apata Oja, which served as the main commercial hub of the elephant tusks. The ancient palace which is currently being restored and preserved as the first tourist centre by this author received the greatest support from His Royal Majesty Late Oba Kelani Olatoyese Olarinre Il and few well-meaning sons and daughters of Saki.

One cannot exhaust some of the least known tourism ground in Oke Ogun, each town has it specifics which are least known by outsiders. Least, some of the famous once are still existing such as the Ado Awaye suspended lake, the only suspended lake and the second in the world, Ikere gorge dam of Iseyin, Old Oyo National park, and a host of others which are situated in this enriching region. Howbeit, it saddens me that most of these tourism sites needs attention and should be used for recreation and economy enhancement. The Federal and State Government should pump funds into this tourism industry in Oke Ogun to make the people identified with the world.