The Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism (OGSG) hosted a celebration of the 42nd edition of World Tourism Day on Friday. The state’s deputy governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, revealed news that plans are in motion to create a multipurpose creative and entertainment village. The state government intends to work with a special purpose vehicle organisation of bankers’ committee to build this village.
Ogun State has a number of tourist attractions. The state also has a rich traditional history that feeds the intrigue of these tourist sites. Olumo Rock, for example, is where the Egbas are said to have sought refuge from the relentless attacks of warriors from Ibadan and Dahomey (now known as Benin Republic). Only a few Nigerians have heard about one of the most mysterious wonders in Ogun, Sungbo’s Eredo. In the 15th century, Portuguese traders began to explore the West African Coast that stretched to the east of Ghana’s Volta River. They soon discovered the narrow mouth of the massive Lagos Lagoon and eventually, the ancient kingdom of Ijebu Ode. One Portuguese explorer who sailed into the Lagos Lagoon wrote of “a great city surrounded by a great ditch.” The great ditch the explorer referred to is the Eredo Ditch which can still be found in Ijebu-Ode today. The Eredo Ditch is part of a system of walls and ditches that some believe marked the original boundary of the ancient Ijebu kingdom. It is known as Sungbo’s Eredo, or as the Bilikisu Sungbo Tourist Complex – a collection of 5 tourist sites that is said to have been built in honor of Queen Sheba. Sungbo’s Eredo is on Nigeria’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.
In her address at the World Tourism Day celebration last week Friday, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State expressed pride in the claim that the state holds a record of the highest number of prominent practitioners in all genres of arts and entertainment. Wole Soyinka, an infamous writer and playwright, was born in Abeokuta, Ogun. He became the first African laureate in his 50’s when he was given the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1986. Soyinka’s cousin, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is another memorable indigene of Ogun State. Fela’s music was a prominent voice in Nigerian and international politics for roughly 40 years. Today, the afrobeat sound he made popular in the 60s is a driving force behind the global appeal of Nigeria’s music. Some of the most influential characters in Nigerian culture and entertainment are from Ogun.
The intent of Ogun State in establishing a multipurpose creative village is to harness the potential of its tourism sector and boost revenue. According to Deputy Governor Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the many tourist centres and businesses in Ogun State such as the Yemoji Natural Pool, Iwasi Eco-tourism Centre, Ebute Oni Tourist Beach, Olumo Rock, Itoku Adire Market, and the Eruwon Golf Resort, amongst others, have contributed immensely so far to the economy of the state.
Law, Robin. “Early European Sources Relating to the Kingdom of Ijebu (1500-1700): A Critical Survey.” History in Africa, vol. 13, 1986, pp. 245–260. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3171544.
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