Monday, 30 January 2017

THE BEAUTY OF ABEOKUTA - THROUGH OLUMO ROCK

Dr James at the entrance of Olumo rock

'Abeokuta' means ‘under the rock’, It lies below the Olumo rock, home to several caves and shrines. Olumo rock was said to have been discovered by a hunter 'Adagba' who retreated with his wife to the safety of the rock whenever the need arise. Adagba later invited three other friends of Egba reconnaissance hunters to appreciate the rock and its surrounding fertile wooded savannah and the presence of Ogun River, after consultation from 'Ifa' divinity, they settled there. In 1830, Shoeke, a hunter and leader of Egba refugees migrating from Ibadan area founded the town of Abeokuta which means “beneath the rock”.

Dr James standing just in front of the rock site

Dr james in front of entrance to hidden room on the rock


Dr James with a grinding stone used for cooking by the people of Egba, 
while they were on the rock


The rock was later named “Olumo” which had two levels of meaning. The first is “Olu” (God) “Mo” (Molded) the second is “Oluwa fi mo” (God has put an end to our wandering and suffering). Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the Egba people who found refuge at the Olumo rock during the inter-tribal wars in the 19th century. The rock provided sanctuary to the people of Egba land against the enemy - warriors from Dahomey (now present day Republic of Benin) as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advance leading to eventual triumph in war, It is natures massive monuments made of indigenous material. The town of Abeokuta eventually grew as these new settlers spread out from this location.

Dr James squatting between two rocks, 
a narrow passage of escape on the rock

Dr James feeling on top of the world,
 standing at 137 meters from the base of the rock


There is a story about a rock shaped like a snake. It was said that some powerful enemy of the Egba inhibitors on the rock had turned into a snake and climbed the rock with the hope of discovering where the people were hiding. The Rock deity in defense of the people then struck the snake with lightening and the snake turned into stone. The Rock protected the people.

The mythical snake that was struck by lightening and turned to stone


View of Abeokuta from Olumo Rock

The door to the house of the ancient abode of the priestess


It's 137 meters from the base of the rock, the original shape from a distance appeared as a female mammoth guarding her brood. It can be said to be the symbol of unity and freedom of the Egba’s and all the residents of Abeokuta, like the American status of Liberty. Within the rock, I saw carvings, cowrie-studded statues, the ancient abode of the priestesses who live in huts on the rock, an assumable over 300 years old tree. An old woman, said to be 134 years old.


The control engine of the elevator covered with cobwebs

one of the old trees on top of the rock, used as a shrine



Dr James exploring Olumo Rock


Pointing down from Olumo rock

From the top of the rock I saw the whole of Abeokuta, with very prominent buildings like the first Church in Nigeria, N.T.A. Abeokuta, Baptist Boys High School, The family house of late Chief MKO Abiola, the Central Mosque, Sanatan, Ogun River Ogun and others. Olumo rock was turned into a tourist site in 1976 and thus commission in February 3rd 2006 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, it is now open to National and international tourist, with tourist attractions like a museum, restaurants, water fountain and an elevator (which is presently non functional) that will provide even the climbing-challenged a wonderful view of the surrounding city

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