Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Ile-lfe an ancient city in Yoruba land south-western Nigeria was discovered in 500 AD. It was where the founding deities of Oduduwa and Obatala began the creation of the world as directed by the paramount deity Olodumare.
Historically, Olodumare the supreme God ordered Obatala to create the earth but on his way to carry out the duty he drank a palm wine and got intoxicated. That was how Oduduwa took the three items of creation from him, climbed down from heaven on a chain and threw a handful of earth on the primordial ocean, he then put cockerel on it so that it would scatter the earth for him to create a land where lle-lfe will be built. When the newly formed land was built he planted a palm nut in a hole where it sprang a great tree with sixteen branches that represents the symbolic clans of the early lfe city. The intrusion of creation by oduduwa gave rise to the everlasting conflict between him and his brother Obatala which still exist till today during the Itapa New Year Festival. In spite all these, Oduduwa was the ancestor of the first king of Yoruba land while Obatala was the first person to create humans out of clay.
Immigration from ancient Near East
Another origin of Ife has it that Oduduwa the son of Lamurudu a prince from near east who migrated with his people and the cult objects from Arabia to the central Sudan where he found the town of Ife. Oduduwa and his followers left their homeland as early as the end of 17th century BCE. It is also believed that Yoruba’s were the product of intermarriage between a group of invaders from the ancient near east and indigenous inhabitants of the forest. They also have a relationship with ancient Nok culture of the savanna and is been recognized by similarities in their artistic and technological techniques of the two.
Origin of the regional states
Oduduwa who had sons, daughters and a grandson, went on to find their own kingdoms and empires, namely lla Orangun, Owu, Ketu, Sabe, Popo, Oyo and Benin. Oranmiyan, Oduduwa’s last born was one of his father’s principal ministers and overseer of the ancient Benin Empire after Oduduwa granted plea from Benin people for his governance. Oranmiyan decided to go back to lle-lfe after a period of service in Benin; he left behind a child called Eweka which he had with indigenous princess. The young boy went on to become the first legitimate ruler of the second Benin dynasty who ruled what is now the present Benin kingdom. Oranmiyan later went on to found Oyo Empire that its height from the western bank of the river Niger to the east banks of river Volta. And it served as one of the powerful Africa’s medieval states before its collapse in 19th Century.
Traditional setting of lle-lfe
Ooni the direct descent from Oduduwa is counted as the first Yoruba Kings. He is considered to be 401st deity (orisha) the only one that speaks on issues affecting the kingdom. It was agreed eight years ago that the Ooni be the head of the Oba council and he is acknowledged as the first class Oba making him the king of all kings among the Yoruba’s and it acquired him international stature.
Ife is known as the city of 401 deities, very year traditional worshippers celebrate one of the deities and the festivals last more than one day. It also involves priestly activities and theatrical dramatization in the rest of the kingdom. The most salient festival is the one that demand the participation of the king it includes Itapa festival for Obatala and Obameri, Edi festival for Moremi, the lgare masqueraders, and Olojo festival for Ogun. During these festivals they offer prayers for the blessing of their own cult group and ile-lfe city.
Ife developed a major artistic center in 700 and 900 A.D important people were depicted with large heads because the artists believe that Ase was held in the head. Ase is known as being the inner power and energy of a person. Their traditional rulers were also depicted with their mouth covered so that the power of their speech would not be too great.
There also were a substantial settlement size between 9th and 12th centuries with their houses featuring potsherd pavement their ancient and naturalistic bronze, stone and terracotta sculptures which showed there artistic expression between 1200 and 1400 A.D were known worldwide after this period, production declined as political and economic power shifted to the nearby Benin kingdom.
Ile-lfe the cradle of Yoruba’s, the city of survivors, spiritual seat of the Yoruba’s, where the dawn of the day was first experienced, the source, the head of the whole universe, the land of the most ancient days, the home of divinities and to the people of lfe “ILURUN” that is the gateway to heaven.
Friday, 22 June 2012
Oyo Empire was established by Yoruba people in the 15th century and was one of the Largest Empire in West African state. The empire succeeded lle-lfe as the dominant kingdom in the area after 1700. They were also most politically important state in the region from the mid 17th to late 18th century, holding sway not only over most of the other kingdoms in Yoruba land but also in some other nearby African states like Fon kingdom of Dahomey in republic of Benin.
Mythological Origin of Oyo Empire
The origin of Oyo Empire lies with Oranyan (who is known as Oranmiyan), the second prince of the Yoruba Kingdom of lle-lfe. Oranyan made an agreement with his brother to launch a punitive raid on the northern neighbors for insulting their father Oba Oduduwa the first Ooni of lfe. On their way for the battle, the bothers quarreled and their army split up, Oranyan’s force was too small to make a successful attack, so he wandered the southern shore until he reached Bussa. On getting to the shore he met their local chief who entertained him and also provided a large snake with a magic charm attached to its throat. The chief instructed him to follow the snake until it stopped somewhere for seven days and disappeared on the ground. Oranyan accepted the advice which leads him to find Oyo where the snake stopped. He made Oyo his new kingdom and was the first Oba with the title of “Alaafin of Oyo” (Alaafin which means the Owner of the Palace).
Oyo in 1300s-1535
Historically, Oranyan the first Oba of Oyo was succeeded by Oba Ajaka, the Alaafin of Oyo. But later Ajaka was removed from his post because he lacked Yoruba military virtue and he also allows his sub-chiefs too much independence. The throne was then conferred upon his brother Sango who was deified as the god of thunder and Lightning. Not so long, Sango’s death occurred which lead to the return of Ajaka to the throne more warlike and Oppressive. However, Ajaka’s successor Kori managed to conquer the rest of what historian’s referred to as the metropolitan oyo. The heart of metropolitan oyo was the capital of oyo-lle (which is known as katunga or old oyo or oyo oro). The two most relevant structures in Oyo-lle were the Alaafin palace and his market. The palace was at the center of the city close to Oba’s market called ‘Ojo-oba’. Around the capital of oyo-lle was a tall earthen wall for defense with 17 gates. The relevant of the two structures signifies the importance of it to the king.
The Imperial Period 1608-1800
At the end of 14th century Oyo Empire suffered military defeats in the hands of Nupe people led by Tsoede. In 1535 Nupe occupied Oyo and forced its ruling dynasty to take refuge in the kingdom of Borgu. Oyo went through 80 years exile dynasty after their defeat from Nupe. They re-established Oyo Empire as more centralized and expansive than ever. They created a government that established its power over a vast empire. In 17th century they began a long stretch of growth, they never embraced all Yoruba speaking people, but they where the most populous kingdom in Yoruba history.
The major key element to Yoruba’s in rebuilding Oyo Empire was a stronger military and a more centralized government. Taking a cue from their Nupe enemies whom they called “Tapa”, they rearmed with armor and cavalry. Oba Ofinran, Alaafin of Oyo succeeded in regaining Oyo’s original territory from Nupe. When the new capital was constructed (Oyo-Igboho) the original one then became known as old Oyo Empire. The new Oba of Oyo-Igoho Oba Egunoju conquered all the Yoruba land after that, Oba Orompoto led attacks to obliterate the Nupe to ensure Oyo never threatened by then again. During the reign of Oba Ajiboyede he held the first Bere festival an event to celebrate peace in the kingdom and that remained after the fall of Oyo Empire.
Political Structure of the Empire
Oyo Empire developed a highly sophisticated political structure to govern its territorial domains. Historians have not determined how many structures existed prior to the Nupe invasion. Some Oyo institution are clearly derivative of early accomplishment in lfe after reemerging from exile in the early 17th century, they took a noticeably more militant character.
Alaafin of Oyo was the head of the empire and supreme overlord of the people, he was responsible for keeping tributaries safe from attack, settling internal quarrels between sub-rulers and also mediating between those sub-rulers and their people.
Alaafin was responsible for appointing certain religious and government officials, who were usually eunuchs. These officials are known as llari or half heads, because of custom of shaving half of their heads and applying what is believed to be magical substances into it. Hundreds of llari’s where divided among the sexes, the junior members of the llari did menial tasks, while senior acted as guards or sometimes messengers to the other world via sacrifice. All the sub courts of Oyo Empire have llari that acts as both spies and taxmen. They were appointed to visit and sometimes reside in Dahomey and Egbado Corridor to collect taxes and spy on Dahomey’s military success so that Alaafin of Oyo will get his cut from the tax.
Alaafin who was the supreme overlord of the people was not without checks on his power. The Oyo Mesi and Yoruba Earth cult known as Ogboni kept the Oba’s power in check. The Oyo Mesi spoke for politicians while Ogboni spoke for the people backed by power of religion. Alaafin power in relation to Oyo Mesi and Ogboni depends on his personnel character and political astuteness.
Oyo Mesi- They were seven principal councilors of the empire (state); they constituted the electoral council and possess the legislative powers to carry out their duty. The seven councilors are the Bashorun, Agbaakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku, and Ashipa. They represent the voice of the nation and also had the chief responsibility of protecting the interest of the empire. Alaafin also takes council from them when matters’ affecting the state occurs. Bashuron the head of the council always consult the oracle whenever the new Alaafin is going to be appointed, this is because they believe that Alaafin is appointed by gods.
Ogboni- They represent the popular opinion backed by the authority of religion and the view of Oyo Mesi which is moderated by Ogboni and most interestingly there are checks and balances on the power of Alaafin and Oyo Mesi. Ogboni was a powerful secret society comprised of freemen noted for their age, wisdom, importance in religious and political affairs. The members enjoy immense power over the common people due to their religious station. In a testament on how widespread the institution was, is the fact that there were Ogboni councils in all the sub-courts in Yoruba land
The fall of Oyo Empire
The end of 18th century marked the beginning of Oyo Empire’s down fall. In 1789 Oba Abiodun who was killed by his son brought about a series of constitutional upheavals, dynastic intrigues and local particularism that weakened the empire. In 1796 Oba Awole was ousted by the government in llorin that centered on the revolt initiated by Afonja, (Are Ona Kakanfo). The revolt led to the secession of llorin a Yoruba state that played a crucial role in the destruction of Oyo Empire. At his rejection by the council, he cursed the empire as he prepared to commit suicide he said "My curse is on you and your disloyalty and your disobedience, so let your children disobey you. If you send them on an errand, let them never return to bring you word again. To all points I shot my arrows, you will be carried as slaves. My curse will carry to the sea and beyond the seas. Slaves will rule over you, and you their masters will become slaves. Broken calabash can be mended but not a broken dish; so let my words be irrevocable."
As the empire tore itself apart through political intrigue, its liege began to take advantage of the situation to press for independence, under the leadership of Lishabi they massacred llari station in their area and drove off Oyo punitive force.
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Olumo rock is located in Abeokuta the Ogun state capital. The rock dates back to the days when songs of war dominated the airwaves in Yoruba land, that’s was in the first quarter of 19th century when Oyo empire was falling apart from pressure of Fulani attacks from outside and fraternal conflicts from within.
In 1830, shoeke, a hunter and leader of Egba refugees from Ibadan area founded the town of Abeokuta which means “beneath the rock”. The rock was later named “Olumo” which had two levels of meaning. The first is “Olu” (God) “Mo” (Molded) the second is “Oluwa fi mo” (God has put an end to our wandering and suffering).
Historically, Olumo rock was discovered by a hunter famer named Adagba and he found the rock to be a natural place of refuge from wars and threat of wars. Adagba retreated with his wife to the safety of the rock whenever the need arise. Egba reconnaissance men (consisting of three hunters) who met with Adagba where brought to the rock and were convinced that their search for a new secure home base is over. With the surrounding fertile wooded savannah and the presence of Ogun River, they believe that they have arrived at the promise land. Confirmation of the suitability of the site by Ifa divination was needed to seal of approval.
Olumo rock is natures massive monuments made of indigenous material, with the highest point at 137 meters from the base of the rock. From a perspective angle, it looks like “behemoth” in a sitting position; it also appears as a female mammoth guarding her brood. In metaphysics, the fact of its indigenous formation can be said to be its strength as a refuge, a hideout during the process of sitting in their new settlement which is the present day Abeokuta.
In addition, the rock functioned as a tower of strength for Egba in their wars to defend the new settlement. Symbolically Olumo is the single most important representation of Egba nationalism, it is the unique monument inseparably associated with their heroism and freedom. It is to them what status of Liberty is to Americans, it never fails to fascinate both the young and the old with its sheer size, configuration and several chambers located inside the belly of the “behemoth” in which its brood was hidden from the danger of incessant assault in the past. However Olumo rock became the symbol of unity, freedom of the Egba’s and all the residents of Abeokuta.
Domestic and international tourist now explore the special features of the rock which include the gardens on the rock, the natural tunnels and cleft path ways, the natural cantilevers and overhangs, the unusual trees, relics of the belief system of the early settlers on the rock. There is also three heavy escalators now installed at the 3 natural heights of the rock, covering a total of about 20 floor of a high rise building, tourist also experience a scenic and panoramic views of the ancient city from the highest peak of the rock.
Monday, 18 June 2012
Obudu mountain resort is both a ranch and a resort located in Obaniku Local government area of Cross river state, South-eastern Nigeria on the border with Cameroon. The resort was established as a ranch in 1949 and was formerly managed by Protea hotels, but is now been managed by African sun Limited which renamed the ranch from obudu cattle ranch to Obudu mountain resort.
The resort is situated on a plateau elevation of 1,575.76 meters or 5,200feet above sea level on the Oshie Ridge of the Sankwala Mountains, which is approximately 110 kilometers east of Ogoja. It is about 332km from calabar (4-5 hours drive from calabar) and about 35 minutes drive or 45 miles and 65 kilometers from the town which is the nearest town to the ranch/resort and 45 miles from Cameroon. The resort is on a hilltop of about 7m (11km) of winding road, from the base of the hill. It has about 22 bends in its meandering road up its hill on the most exciting ride about half way the stretch. This is believed to be the highest peak in the world.
The resort has a temperate climate of about 26C to 32C between November and January, while the lowest temperature is moderate to cool with rainy season occurring from June to September. The plateau is spread over an area of 40 square miles, with a cool and pleasant climate that has no threat of mosquitoes, but offers a total contrast and a welcome respite from Africa’s tropical heat, with idyllic tranquility, numerous mountains and country side views, making it the ideal for a tour adventure. Obudu mountain resort is a natural attraction site that has cluster of attractions.
Facilities: Obudu mountain resort offers a variety of facilities and services for the use and enjoyment of the tourist visiting the resort. This includes:
Accommodations which is in form of chalets and bungalows, and it has self-contained suites varying in size from 2-bedroom lodge to mountain villas. The resort has 116 rooms which range from Standard Double chalet, Superior Double chalet, African Bungalows/ Huts, Club suite/chalet, Executive suite, Royal suite, Presidential Suite, Governor’s Lodge and Mountain Villa’s. Other facilities include a fully equipped gymnasium, two floodlit tennis courts, Table tennis tables, squash court and a 9-hole golf course.
Attractions: Obudu mountain resort is mostly natural attractions but there are some man- made attractions added to enhance its attractive nature and pull value. The ranch/resort has many different varieties of flora and fauna which includes; cattle/ horses, water fall, Golf course, the ancient Anape village, the cable car (one of the longest cable car system in Africa and in the world, it is 4 kilometer long.), A water park with swimming facilities and water slides for children, teens and adults and over 2,000 species of birds. The magnificent scenery and spectacular bird life is a must watch for visitors and tourist. The bird life viewing tours can be taken on foot or on a bicycle.
Becheve nature reserve (Canopy walk): it is a walkway, situated in tress that allows visitors have close-up views of the different species of bird in their natural habitat high above the ground.
Gorilla viewpoint camp is among the main attractions of the resort and is about 13 kilometers from the main hotel, it consist of Gorillas living together in their natural habitat.
Cameroon viewpoint is a place where people have a clear view of Cameroon the neighouring African country sharing the same boarder with cross river state and it can be viewed from the resort.
Accessibility: the mountainresort has a very good road network leading to the site; it has a helipad and a small airport for access by air. The helipad is called the Bebi airstrip and it is a shuttle flight mode of transportation from Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt through Calabar to Bebi. The bebi airstrip has spared most tourists the trouble of going through the long drive of over 5 hours from calabar the state capital to the resort.
Obudu mountain resort/ranch is an internationally known attraction which attracts tourist from different parts of the world. It has also served as a good source of income generation and job to the local community. The largest home for Gorillas and chimpanzee in Africa.
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Owo is a town located in Ondo state of Nigeria dated 1400 and 1600 AD the capital of Yoruba city state. The town derived its name from the first ruler Olowo named Ojugbelu, because of his pleasant manner; it earned him the name “Owo” which means respectful.
Olowo of Owo
Historically, the origin of owo was traced to the ancient city of Ile-Ife, which is known as the cradle of Yoruba culture. Histories also claim that the founders were the sons of the Yoruba deity called oduduwa, the first ruler of lle-lfe. Art history and archaeological records indicates that owo has strong affiliation with Ife culture and they have maintained the virtual independence from Benin kingdom. The culture of the two kingdoms (Benin and owo) flows in the same direction with their art objects.
15th century terracotta of owo
In 1969-1971, Ekpo Eyo an archaeologist excavated owo site his major findings where terracotta sculptures dating 15th century. It was discovered that owo has the largest palace in Africa which is now a national monument. The palace has 100 courtyards and each one has a specific function and was dedicated to a particular deity, the courtyards is designed with paved quartz pebbles and broken pottery. The pillars supporting the veranda roofs are carved with statues of the king mounted on a house or shown with his senior wife. The palace is twice the size of an American field and is been used for public assemblies and festivals.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Nok is a village located in Kaduna State Nigeria, 160 kilometers northeast of kwoi in Jema Local Government Area. It was discovered in 1928 during a tin mining operation in the area lead by Lt-Colonel John Dent-Young. Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 B.C. and later vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD. Its social system is thought to have been highly advanced. It is the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta. The culture eventually evolved into Yoruba Culture of Ife based on its similarities seen in the artwork from the two cultures.
Title: Nok culture-Nok_terracotta_figurine
In 1932, a group of 11 statues in perfect condition was also discovered in Sokoto. And that is how status from kastina was brought to lime light, although there were similarities to the classical Nok style.
In 1943, another series of clay figurines was also discovered by accidental mining which lead Bernard and Angela Fagg to a systematic excavations that revealed many profitable finds dispersed over the area, much larger than the original site. The number of terra cotta objects discovered in 1977, mining excavation amounted to 153 units, mostly from secondary deposits.
Title: Nok culture-nok female head
Nok sculptures depict animals and humans; their function is still unknown, because scientific field work is still missing. The terracotta figures are hollow, coil built, nearly life sized human heads and bodies that are depicted with highly stylized features, abundant jewellery, and varied postures. Some of the artifacts have been found illustrating a plethora of physical ailments, including debilitating disease and facial paralysis. Other associated pieces include plant and animal motifs.
Title: Nok culture
Historically, little is known of the original function of the pieces, but analysis includes ancestor portrayal, grave markers, and charms to prevent crop failure, infertility, and illness. Based on the dome-shaped bases found on several figures, they are been used as finials for the roofs of ancient structures.
In addition, two archaeological sites, Samun Dukiya and Taruga, were found containing Nok art that had remained unmoved. Radiocarbon and thermo-luminescence tests narrowed the sculptures’ age down to between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, making them some of the oldest in West Africa. Because of the similarities between the two sites, archaeologist Graham Connah believes that "Nok artwork represents a style that was adopted by a range of iron-using farming societies of varying cultures, rather than being the diagnostic feature of a particular human group as has often been claimed."
Title: Nok culture-nok site
Conclusively, archeologists have found human skeletons, stone tools and rock paintings around the area, not to mention their main act. The inhabitants of Nok Village are known to make some of the oldest and culturally intriguing sculptures found in Africa. This has led to discoveries that the ancient culture of Nok has been around for over 2500 years. When strolling through the village your senses will be delighted to rediscover an amazing group of people culturally and socially.
Yankari game reserve is the premier game reserve in Nigeria. It is located around the Gagi River, approximately 1hour and 30mins by road from Bauchi City in Bauchi State, Nigeria. Established in 1956 the game reserve is one of the most popular game reserves in Nigeria. It was officially opened to the public in 1962 and covers 2,058 sq. km. of savanna wood land.
Title: yankari game reserve-front view
Yankari Game Reserve is filled with Elephants, Baboons, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Crocodiles, Hippopotamus, Roan Antelopes, Buffalo and various types of Monkeys. Lions are occasionally spotted as well, despite their natural camouflage. The reserve has about 550 elephants, which makes it the largest home of Elephants in West Africa. The reserve features some interesting natural attractions like a cave, natural spring, wiki warm spring, the actual animal game reserve and parks.
Title: yankari game reserve-cave
Wikki Warm Springs is one of the best attractions of the game reserves, and is brilliantly flood-lit at night. It is wonderful after a hot day’s game-viewing to relax in the warm water. The spring gushes out under a cliff, where the water is 6 ft. deep; with a bathing area that extends 600 ft in width.
Title: yankari game reserve-wikki warm spring
Yankari Again: The Park has more than 50 species of mammals, a full list is provided below. Also, more than 350 living species of birds have been recovered in the park. There is also a variety of birds, including the huge Saddle Bill Stork, Goliath Heron, Bateleur Eagle, Vultures, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and more.
Yankari has over 130 wells, all of which are interconnect. The settlement and the wells were once used as a resting place by the Trans Atlantics slave traders prior to the colonial period.
Other features include hills, Kalban Hill a flat top hill that gives tourists the opportunity to have a complete view of the park. Kanyo Hill provides a good view of the park and serves as a very beautiful picnic ground. Paliyaram Hill is a popular camp for poachers.
Title: yankari game reserve-baboon
Title: yankari game reserve-baboon
The game reserve also has a museum that houses wildlife trophies like skins, tusks, bones, horns and full mounts (stuffed specimen) of some wildlife game species of the park, an art known as taxidermy. The museum does not only serve as an attraction but also as an education centre for wildlife. Also, the relics of animals, hunting gears and traps retrieved from poachers are also on display.
Other facilities at the reserve include Tennis courts, squash courts, gas stations and accommodations with convenience stores at Wikki Camp. Yankari game reserve is a place you must see, it cannot be fully described in words.
Durbar festival is an annual festival celebrated in several cities of Northern Nigeria. It is celebrated at the culmination of Muslim festivals Eid al-Fitr(commemorating the end of the holy month of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha(as a remembrance to Prophet Ibrahim who sacrificed a ram instead of his son). It begins with prayers, followed by a parade of the Emir and his entourage on horses, accompanied by music players, and ending at the Emir's palace. Durbar festivals are organized in cities such as Kano, Katsina and Bida.
Durbar festival dates back to hundreds of years ago before the arrival of religions when horses were used by the Emirates in the combats. The festival was intended to be the parade of military soldiers of various northern regiments riding in defense of the Emir showcasing their horsemanship, loyalty and preparedness to the war. Today Durbar festival is organized in the honor of visiting heads of the state and it displays the rich northern Nigerian culture and tradition.
Title: Durbar festival
Title: Durbar festival
Title: Durbar festival
Title: Durbar festival
The festival is full of colourful procession, pump and pageantry which are led by the Emir and it features a competition between the royal Calvary, drummers, trumpeters, praise singers and wrestlers, making it a widely viewed event in Northern Nigeria. The festival also showcase the full procession of villagers as they gather at the public square or in front of the Emir’s palace where this spectacular and amazing event takes place every year. On this day people enjoy the fabulous view of horse race at full gallop across the public squares, especially the fierce riding acts by the Emir’s household and regimental guards, the Dogari.
Title: Durbar festival
Title: Durbar festival
Even the modern Durbar festival incorporates the ancient traditions of showcasing the horsemanship, glistening of swords, singing and dancing, and paying homage to the present State Governors during each Sallah period.
Title: Durbar festival-bida-durbar-festival-nigeria durmers
Title: Durbar festival-bida-durbar-festival-nigeria durmers
Durbar festival is one of the tourist attractions that a tourist cannot dear to miss because is a spectacular to behold.