Gentle metallic tunes from the rickety cab radio thumped softly at my ear drums, making glad my heart as I nodded to Ebenezer Obey’s "Board Members". The melodic vibration of guitar strings struck by the adroit fingers of the aged ace musician got me enraptured in reminiscence as I remembered those days when as a small boy, when I enjoyed travelling with my dad to the village; and through the whole length of the journey he blasted Ebenezer’s songs. He took this same road (although dusty, rugged and untarred at the time), these same turns, snaking through the same hamlets and settlements, into the far interiors of Ekiti land. The rustic road-side yam sellers are still there; they have been here over the years, always beckoning to passer-bys to stop and patronize their displayed farm produce. Over-time, they have added tomato, cocoyam, pine-apple and orange to their product assemblage.
It is fascinating to travel these roads. I have never ceased to marvel at the bold bulges of massive granite inselbergs soaring into the skies above the thick forest vegetations walling the road. The aerially-distant and ‘small’ shroud of verdant vegetation capping the steep-sided gigantic mounds had always caught my eyes and my mind, making me imagine how awesome and amazing the panoramic views from the summit of those hills would be.
The journey from Ado-Ekiti had taken nearly twenty minutes. After which on a brief ascent, the road descended gently into a fairly levelled area and ancient mud houses began to surface at the road side, first separated by less-than-a-kilometre-long bushes, then gradually transiting into a built up community with rustic children running up and down; with sticks they joyously and skilfully beat used motorcycle tyres, rolling them with speed along dusty foot tracks through a shambolic set of ancient bucolic houses.
This community, known as Igede-Ekiti, like many rural settlements in the area appears to have developed laterally along the main express road. After driving for about two minutes down the road which has now taken a subtle down-slope, bringing us to a sharp bend at which a body of mud-brown water stood in tranquillity on one side and a lush bottomless valley laid on the other side, sprawling into an endless expanse of captivating vegetation. The 150m long and 80m wide body of muddy water had been there over the centuries. Shrouded by a constellation of palm trees, the calm blanket of waters glistened blindingly in the noon sun. It had never run dry and had never shrunk in size. The people of Igede believe it possesses mysterious and supernatural powers. They call it "Eleminigede", which can be translated as "the waters that breathe". The locals also believe that the waters sustain the life and existence of the Igede community. The lake, although small, is the spring source of one of the major rivers in the area and had been regarded as sacred by the people for centuries past. It was also said that there is an annual festival in the community, held in honour of the supernatural powers protecting the waters. This mysterious lake has elevated the cultural significance of the Igede town within the Ekiti enclave. It is also of popular knowledge that the spring source of the popular and spiritual Osun River is located in the forests of Igede-Ekiti.
These two cultural landmarks automatically places a beam light on Igede-Ekiti as a potential cultural destination of great importance in the state, and with increased attention from the government and interested private investors, this haven of cultural significance can be harnessed for inestimable touristic benefits in the near future.