#Tourism: Tales From Ibadan's Highest Hill


This may sound very strange but it still remains a place of cultural relevance and a site of rich history in the city of Ibadan. Oke-Are is “a land inhabited by great people of honour” so said one of the elders of the land - Alh. Mudashiru. K. Are as he welcomed us. At first, he hesitated to state basically the struggles that brought about Oke-Are a larger part of the town hosting Oke-Sapati and other tourist attraction centers present. Most of the inhabitants were elderly ones, the only language with which they could respond to questionings were they did not obliged is through the ‘Yoruba Language’, of which the local assent was prominent emphasizing the pride they had in their language.

The evident white rocks on the hills of Oke-Sapati has a number of reasons for which it is valued and seen as one of the glamorous element, the functions of the rocks ranges from spiritual to educational purposes. During our visit, Pelumi, a 300-level student of the department of Geology at The University of Ibadan spoke with us concerning their field trip - “myself and my colleagues are from the department of Geology at University of Ibadan, we have come here for a field aspect of our work which is to study the depth and strength of different rocks around Oke-Sapati using a Clinometer”.

Pelumi operating the Clinometer

 Around the hills of Oke-Sapati in Oke-Are is an adjourning area called - Layipo which houses another historic site to behold by all and a place of excitement for young ones.  Bower’s Tower, a magnificent structure with a height of about 15 meters and a well decorated base, although this site which has been abandoned for a while, is still a classic site that Ibadan is very proud of. Out of concern, further enquiries were made to know the reason for the abandonment.  A respondent who simply introduced himself as Bayo said “years ago when we were much younger, Layipo was a very dense forest where elders and the leaders of the land only had access to while children and women vacant such premises”.  Bayo wanted to tell us more but couldn’t so he referred us to an elderly man-of-God believed to have been one of the first settlers on the land and with richer wealth of wisdom.

Bowers Tower "Layipo"   

Bowers Tower - Now a shadow of itself

If prayers are been answered in just one spot in the city of Ibadan, definitely it was on the Hills of Oke-Sapati, over 200 religious denomination gathered in cliques to pray fervent prayers and exhibit aggressive display as they poured out their heart to the Lord in expectation of answers to prayers. In a chat with one of those who were present at the hill to pray, Miss Bola said “it is on this hill that prayers are believed to reach heavens and answers are made manifest”.  Another respondent said “in our religion, it is believed that God listens only in a solemn area, where He can hear you voice your requests clearly”.

One of the African Christian churches on the hill 

Abdul Fatai Oloyede - a visiting student from Oyo lamented the poor facility and the depletion though he did not forgot to mention the contribution of Ajose Unity C.S.D.A. borehole projects amongst others. Miss AbdulKareem was kind to share with us that “the development around other part of the town has taken the attention away from this area to other colourful halls and event centers in Ibadan.” After that, she directed us to an elderly woman, who gave us a bit of unclassified details of the Location. She shared with us on how the traditional leader- Are fought for the land round and round about the hills as far as University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital UCH, Bodija (a famous market in Ibadan). 

Ajose Unity C.S.D.A Project
She shared with us how police jealously guarded the area against theft and other in humane activities. And then she dropped the bombshell - what exactly led to the christening of the area- “the white men tried making motorable roads around this area but after some many failures then abandoned it, this led to people calling the place OKE-SAPATI, the hill of abandonment but ironically it has become a selling point in Oke-Are area of Ibadan, Oyo State.”

 It will be wrong for one to regard Oke-Are and its environ as a village, though farming is slightly practiced, this has not displaced the triumph of technology advancements - about 5 telecommunications mast are sited around the center of the Shepherd’s hills not to mention the over hundred that are sited  at the neighborhood around the hills. The missionaries brought about the name SHEPHERD HILL which the yorubas modified and rechristened - OKE-SAPATI.

St. Theresa Seminary is another site to behold - the large expanse of the seminary itself is awesome from the landscape, the flowers, the rocks, the steep slopes, the precious flowers and its appealing quarters.

St. Theresa Seminary

It may shock you to know that its these same hill that housed the former premises of Galaxy TV Ibadan before it moved to its present site, but the structure of the then television station is still well maintained and a site to excite tourist.

Former premises of Galaxy TV Channel 57 Ibadan
At Bere, one of the entrances before ascending a part of Oke-Sapati (the highest hill in the city of Ibadan), there are numerous blocks/shops arranged along the road in which were stocked books, books and books. These suggest that the people of this area had a proper value on books and its relevance. I walked into one of the many shops there - God’s Will bookshop where I purchased a book entitled - “IWE ITAN IBADAN ATI DIE NINU AWON ILU AGBEGBE RE by Late Oba Isaac Akinyele (a former Olubadan of Ibadan). 

Panoramic View of Ibadan from the Hill

At the apex point of the hills, one could easily see the north, south, east and west of the city as far as 50kilometers without using binocular or other magnifying equipment. It’s on a part of this hill you will see what WoleSoyinka saw when he wrote his poem ‘Ibadan’.

This article was written and edited by ALLI S. Abiola and 'Seyi Adebote.

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Anonymous said...

the world must read this.

and I vow to do more of this for the love of tourism...

Oga Alli S.A... my due respect!!!


ALLISAY said...

#itsallisay Boss... Thanks for d love.