Nigeria: The Heart of Africa Part Two
I’m gonna talk about another place in my country called Badagry in Lagos State, bordered to Togo [a West African country] there is a lot of history attached to this place, of which I cannot speak of now in detail. But worthy of note is that Badagry served as a gateway for many liberated African slaves. Badagry is a land of coconuts; there we have an Island called Topo Island. Like I said the rest is history and imbibed in the traditions of the Yoruba.
Apart from Badagry, the historic city of Abeokuta in Ogun State of the Yoruba’s is also a site to behold. An ancient city indeed. The town is set amidst a group of granite rocks of pre-Cambrian formation, the central one of which is the famous Olumo Rock. Abeokuta meaning “Under the Rock” derives its name from the Olumo Rock. The rock is regarded sacred in Abeokuta’s history as the place where the first dwellers found refuge from their attackers. To many communities in this area the Olumo rock is not just a monument of faith in unity but also a symbol of the Nation’s Strength and Unfailing attention of the Supreme Being who led their ancestors through the perplexities of life. There are Festivals and ceremonies related to the Olumo Rock. All around this ancient town of Abeokuta there is this ambience that keeps you close to the beauty of the past, it’s almost surreal, there is a restaurant and a gift shop [selling local accessories] operated in conjunction with a Traveling Agency and the Olumo Art Movement respectively in association with the Federal Ministry of Tourism. Also there are so many ultra-modern hotels such as the Ogun State Hotel, real classy.
There are myths and beliefs associated to the state of Ogun. There’s this shrine called the Birikisu Sungbo Shrine [what a name, I know, but you’ve read worse, right] which existed as a mere tomb of a noble woman believed to be of the descent of the Queen of Sheba [yeah, the same Queen of Sheba you know] there’s a lot said about this ancient noble woman called Birikisu, but here’s one of repute, she was believed to have supernatural powers, now check this out, she was believed to have dug pits around the village with a mere needle. On her tomb no weed has ever been known to grow and on the spot where she was washed before being buried, I don’t know if that is still the present condition of her burial ground, weed less I mean. Anyway, this is of significance; women according to the culture of the place are forbidden access to the real tomb. Sorry ladies. The traditional custodian in the village for security reasons keeps the key to the tomb. However, history has it that an expatriate woman over-stepped the boundary for the female sex, and died immediately after stepping on the tomb. I told you the Yoruba’s are a real superstitious bunch.
There is a Yoruba State I wanna talk about, Ondo State; they are blessed with a variety of tourist attractions some of which I cannot describe, in fact I’m summing up just about everything I’ve since been saying. In the village of Ikogosi in Ondo, there is a Warm Spring situated in a valley, and from the surrounding hills rises the Warm spring of which the village is famous. The spring is said to cure some diseases like rheumatism and guinea worm. The immediate premises of the springs are covered by tall, evergreen trees, also cold springs emerge from the hill and merges with the Warm Springs at a confluence where they both form one continuous stream. Ondo state has the Idanre Hills, another marvelous tourist attraction in the State. Located in Idanre town, the hills steep-sided, smooth, dome-shape, present an awe-inspiring sight. Each of the hills is named after historical figures prominent in the social-cultural evolution of Idanre. There are suitable accommodations on top of the hill for tourist, visitors, pleasure-seekers. Not a bad at all experience to be atop the 600 hills of Idanre. In truth, a divine experience. Like I said Ondo state is DA BOMB, ok maybe I didn’t say that in those exact words, but you get my point anyway.
There is the Ebute-Oni Tourist Beach, the approach to the waterside is made of very beautiful scenery, the vegetation around is of the deciduous species; purely divine. There are chalets around to house prospective visitors, its sortta like a holiday resort with sport infrastructure all around. Also is the Yemoji Swimming pool, don’t be disappointed, it’s not your conventional swimming pool. It is a natural swimming pool carved out of the cool stream of Yemoji, around this area are recreational centres mainly for tourists and visitors and pleasure-seekers. Here there is access to several high-class hotels in Ijebu-Ode less than 10 minutes from the pool. There are other unnatural stuff, but aesthetic nonetheless, like the Suna cultural hall, Imodi in Ijebu-Ode where ancient traditional art works in brass, beads and ornaments, etc adorned in the olden days are available for viewing.
Let me talk about another state: Plateau State. This state enjoys a weather and climate typical to the temperate zones of the world. This characteristic and the state’s hospitality have in many ways distinguished Plateau state as the No.1 tourist haven. Its attractions include both the natural and cultural heritage, like some museums. The capital of Plateau state Jos, has a Wildlife Safari regarded as just about the most developed man-made wildlife; and it covers 7sq.km enclosing hills, streams and villages with picnic sites. There is about 43 km network of safari track. As one drives through one would notice the variety of the wildlife animals like the Zebras, horses, crocodiles, ostriches and other exotic birds.
In Jos, there is the highest ranges of mountain in Nigeria like the Shere Hills; mountaineering, pleasure driving and sight-seeing is popular here. Also there is the Assop Falls, an ideal picnic area, a beautiful waterfall area, totally divine. There is also the Wase Rock, a large and impressive rock that has attracted the attention of renowned and expert Geographers, geologist and mountain climbers. According to records Wase Rock is one of the only 5 of its type in the entire planet. Not Bad, huh. At the top of the mountain is spring water, which is produced as bottled spring water. And there is another one---the Kurra Falls, the area has numerous lakes and streams, a place recommended for total relaxation because of its serenity and pleasant climate, ideal for hypertensive, obessed and nervous people as spoken by the pros. Other attractions include the Ipole-Iloro Falls, the Oka Hills, Ebomi Lake, etc. All around Jos abound recreational activities, especially clubs and hotels. A lot of night activity there.
I wanna talk briefly about Rivers State. In the case of Rivers state as the name implies, is richly endowed with nice scenic distinctiveness of lakes, beaches, and coastal areas. Also beautiful landscapes and rich culture, then of course rivers [I mean that is why they call it Rivers State]. In Rivers state there are beaches which are so densely populated you would think you were the only one there. Highly recommended are the beaches at Brass, Bonny and Opobo. Bonny Island facilitates water sea-ports of all types. There is so much to say about Rivers State, and much as the entire country.
In a state called Cross River abides a divine haven, called the Obudu Cattle Resort, the resort is nature at its best - waterfalls, green hills and rolling green landscapes. Animals like gorillas, birds, Cattle grazing, and exotic animals are found there. Indeed a heavenly picturesque. Just taking walks through this divine environment casts a spell enchanting. There are accommodations and cultural activities of the entertainment sort for visitors and tourists in this area.
I don’t think I’ve done too badly, if I may say so myself. But again I must add; this article is in no way near to the number of sites of beauty in this country, there are so many other places, states and their sites I neglected to mention, I mean some people think of the Bahamas, Solomon islands, I mean even Kenya when they wanna travel; but few know the secrets interlocked within the bosom of Mother nature as found here, and to those who unravel the aura of suave Magnificence and Glory found herein - the essence and the significance and the Fulfillment becomes their lot, for all time...for they have found Nigeria...they have found the heart of Africa.