The day started on a low note. The parking lot in Victoria island, Lagos, where we had hoped to leave our cars while we take off to Ibadan in the tour bus wouldn’t open till 9AM that morning. We had to find a way to have all vehicles parked and secured. Second, some of our tour participants were running late. Thirty minutes behind schedule and we were finally able to sort everything out and start out on our way. With the ongoing special Holy Ghost Service at the Redeemed Camp on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, we had to take the longer, but less busy Lagos-Epe-Ibadan route.
I was excited to be on this trip and with new faces. We only had 2 returnees from previous trips onboard. I quickly set the ball rolling with general Introductions and briefing on the trip. The Ice was broken and a cloud of warmth enveloped the tour group as everyone started chatting and making fun. In just a little while, the whole bus was set aflame with lively discussions ranging from food preferences to Nigerian politics and continued till we arrived at Ibadan.
At Mapo Hall
Our first point of call was the ancient Mapo Hall. Built in 1929 and commissioned in 1932, this structure has been maintained by the people of Ibadan for 86 years. Mr. Ademola, one of the workers at the hall, acted as our guide gave a brief history of the building. He explained that the hall was the early seat of Administration during the colonial and post colonial times in Ibadan, noting that the remarkable massive columns bedecking the frontal part of the hall flamboyantly affirm its vernacular architecture.
He showed us an old Nitel public card-slot telephone box hanging passively on a wall, bringing back memories of the pre-GSM era. He showed us the refurbished interior of the hall and it was absolutely beautiful, exuding the subtle splendor of mixed ancient colonial architecture and modern day styles. Photography buffs on the tour group were already awe-struck and had begun clicking away at their cameras. At the roof top of the hall, we were treated to the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the ancient cityscape of Ibadan. It’s characteristic brown roofs spread and sprawled, racing into the distant horizon, kissing the dull blue skies at the skyline. From the rooftop, we could pick out the popular Ibadan Central Mosque, the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan, the government secretariat and the notable roundabout of the Oja-Oba (King’s Market) where the statue of legendary warrior, Balogun Oderinlo stood. We could also see the old Cocoa house- the oldest and first sky-scrapper building in Ibadan, jutting gracefully out of the tight collage of rust-brown roofs.
– Mapo Hall, Ibadan
– Interior of Mapo Hall
– Old card-slot type public telephone at Mapo Hall
– Old money safe at Mapo Hall.
…and what do we find in the safe? Bottle of beer! Hahaha… loll
– Panoramic view of Ibadan from the top of Mapo Hall… brown roofs everywhere!!!!
At the ancient Irefin Palace
Our next stop was the Irefin Palace. The Irefin palace belongs to one of the Royal families of Ibadan. Luckily, we met Chief Irefin at the palace, who gave us a brief history of the clan and the ancient enclave of Ibadan itself. He explained that the Irefin clans were warriors in the days of old who settled in the Ibadan area known then as a resting settlement for travelers. As he spoke, one could hear the sadness in his voice at the way things had turned out for the royal families of Ibadan. He lamented the pervasive loss in touch of the new generation of Nigerians with the original culture and tradition of the land. He talked about how money is now used to usurp the true owners of traditional titles and the state of their homeland. He further reiterated this by bringing out ancient diaries showing old records of events at the Erefin Palace. While one could see that efforts were made to keep the old place as it is, it was very obvious that various parts of the building needs structural reinforcement. We were led out from the presence of the Chief to a few rooms in the palace such as the clan’s ‘spiritual powerhouse’, the entrance to the judgment room where misunderstandings within the clan are resolved or punishment meted out to the iniquitous, and more. It is worthy of note to mention here that a part of this house was used in the popular old Nollywood movie Saworoide. We left the ancient palace wondering why we are so poor in preserving our cultural heritage.
– Irefin Palace, Ibadan
– Irefin Palace, Ibadan
– Chief Irefin narrating the history of Ibadan to us, at Irefin Palace, Ibadan
– Chief Irefin
– Trekkers trying to read from the ancient diary at the Palace.
At Agodi Park and Garden
We began to waft and weave our course through the city in search for Agodi Park. At some point, we stopped to ask for directions the park, and we experienced the popular, age-old joke about Ibadan people’s inability to describe directions. The young man we inquired from asked us to continue along the road on which we met him, and that we would encounter a junction ahead and after which we should still continue onwards till we see the gate and sign post of the park by the road side. We followed his description, got to the junction he told us about but it was a T-junction with the road going either right or left. We finally resorted to Google map on our smart phones and were able to make our way to the beautiful park. Lush lawns and shaded benches beckoned on us. We walked through the park, taking in every bit of its charm. However, we couldn’t stay long enough because we were already running out of time.
– Agodi Park, Ibadan
– The waterpark at Agodi Garden, Ibadan
– Agodi Lake
– Tube boats at the edge of the lake
Amala and Gbegiri-Ewedu delicacy at a local restaurant
We then proceed down to one of the most popular local food restaurants in the whole city of Ibadan, known as “Ola Mummy”, sitting right behind the popular Bodija Market. At this point, the tour group couldn’t wait to have a taste of the delicacy of Amala, Ewedu and Gbegiri – for which the restaurant is well known. Lifestyle/Personal Blogger, Berry Dakara, who was one of our trekkers on the tour, had said she wouldn’t be eating at the restaurant, finally decided gave the delicacy a try albeit a little morsel and (we can’t help but bring out the adventurous you)
At the end of the day, it was a fun filled trip with great company. Not surprisingly, the conversation on the way back still centered on food. I came to the conclusion that this group of trekkers was a bunch ‘foodcentrics’. Cakes and Berry, Ahmed, Victoria, Theophilus, Lisa, Rume, Efe and Lore- it was a great pleasure exploring another side of Ibadan with you all!!!
– A plate of Gbegiri-Ewedu soup Yummy!!!
– Plate of Amala
– Amala and Gbegiri-Ewedu soup with beef.
Photo Credit: All photos that has no Naijatreks logo on it are works of Berry Dakara.
This article was written by Adedolapo George
Adedolapo George is a vibrant member of the Naijatreks Team. She is a Zoologist, Social Media Manager, Foodie and Photographer. She is an avid learner and traveler. Seeing the world beyond the stereotype is her ultimate motivation for whatever she does. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.