OLUMO ROCK

OLUMO ROCK THE REFUGE OF EGBA LAND

FOCUS: OLUMO ROCK LOCATION: ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE, NIGERIA. SIGNIFICANCE: THE ROCK WAS THE PLACE WHERE THE PEOPLE OF EGBA LAND FOUND REFUGE DURING THE INTER-TRIBAL WAR BETWEEN THE EGBA AND DAHOMEY (PRESENT DAY BENIN REPUBLIC) MEANING OF OLUMO: OLU=GOD, MO=MOULD. (GOD MOULDED) METER ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 137 METERS YEAR OF THE WAR THAT LED TO THE DISCOVERY OF OLUMO: 1830-1833 OLUMO ROCK is located in the city of Abeokuta (present capital of OGUN STATE), south west Nigeria. The rock which served as a place of refuge to so many people of EGBA LAND during the INTER-TRIBAL war against DAHOMEY (present day Benin Republic), now serves as an interceder for humans during prayer to some of the rock believers. According to history, the EGBA people founded and settled at Olumo rock during the INTER-TRIBAL war between the EGBA tribe and DAHOMEY tribe (present day Benin Republic). The IFA oracle was consulted when the Egba people were looking for a place to seek refuge and after the IFA oracle has been consulted, the IFA priest told them to go to the Rock to hide underneath it. Initially, the rock was discovered by Adagb, a brave hunter. History have it that the region where the rock is situated was a forest, then he invited them all right after the IFA priest had given them the words of the Oracle. After the war, the people consulted the IFA oracle to ask if they could still stay at the rock region or leave but after another IFA consultant, the IFA told them they could stay. When the people from other tribe saw the EGBA people alive after the war, they asked where they had been during the war, and they replied they have been UNDER THE ROCK which is interpreted as “ABEOKUTA” Yoruba language. It was from this statement the capital city and dwelling place of the rock got it’s name from. • GARDEN OF LISABI This garden was named after the brave and great warrior who helped the people of EGBA LAND gain independence from the Old Oyo Empire and was also involved in the war against the DAHOMEY tribe. In this garden, there are two different trees namely; • The Flamboyant tree (Pansheke Tree in Yoruba): The tree produces a case full of seeds. When dry and shaken, it produces a sound “sheke sheke”. It is known as the Pansheke Tree in Yoruba Land • Dongoyaro Tree (Neem Tree in English): It is known for its medicinal purposes. • THE OLUMO SHRINE. This is the place where sacrifices are being made once annually. OLUMO ROCK serve as a symbol of oneness in the EGBA Kingdom because it was under the rock that the people of EGBA all took refuge. It is during this festival that the paramount ruler of Abeokuta (Alake of EGBA Land) pray for the Nation at large, the EGBA Kingdom and also for the tourist who visit the rock site yearly that there would be no casualties during their visit. During this festival, a black cow is used to make sacrifices to the gods. Some traditionalist also visit the shrine to pray for the quick response of their heart desires and when their prayers has been answered, they come back to pay their pledges as promised which will serve as a sign of thanks giving to GOD and Olumo Rock who they believed had interceded for them with their request. During the festival, only two people are allowed to enter the Sacred room to make prayers and they are the paramount ruler of Abeokuta (Alake of EGBA Land) and the Chief Priest of Egba Land. It is recorded that there are four rulers in Abeokuta namely:,  Alake of EGBA Land ( Paramount Ruler)  Oshilo of Oke Ona  Agurs of Gbagura  Olowu of Owu  UNDER THE ROCK. Right under the rock, there is a grave that belongs to Chief Sunni (Osi Of Itoko Land). He was the third in command of the King. It was also said that Chief Sunni was the tour guard during his time. During that time, the community was in charge of the rock welfare. He also took up the responsibility of telling the History and and events of the rock to people who had visited the rock site during his time. After his death on the 21st of January, 1956, he was buried at the back of his house according to the tradition that says “Whenever a chief dies, he or she should be buried at the back of his or her house” The rock had five rooms constructed in them and four out of the five rooms had collapsed. Under the rock also, they had to cook on the ground surface of the rock. Most times, they grind and pound on the surface and as a result of that, the ground surface became deep.  THE ELDERLY PRIESTESSES The elderly priestesses are the worshippers of a deity named “Orisa Igo”(the deity of Long Life). Every March annually, the start their festival and the duration of the festival is 30 days. They also serve as divinities most especially for barren women.  OJUBO OBALUAYE SHRINE. This is the shrine of the deity that controls small pox and measles.  SOPONA (Deity of Karma)  AKOKO TREE: The leaves of this three is used during coronation of kings and chiefs. This is because the significance of the leave is that during the raining season, dry season, harsh weather or friendly weather, the leaves never go dry. The Yoruba believe is that since the leaves are used for coronations, the king and chiefs will continually be durable as the akoko leaves.  Baobab Tree: The tree is useful for its medicinal features to the people. Once you place a container full of water in front of the tree and pray, after three days or returning to the tree to pick the water container, it would have turned to herb after which the herb is used to bath the ill person starting from the neck because it is forbidden to bath the head with the water. If a person bath with the water starting from the head, the head will become bigger than the rest of the body. Another physically interesting fact of the Baobab tree is that “No one can get his or her arm round the tree”  THE SCULPTURE OF PAST WARRIORS. The sculptures are used to remember notable people during the time of war.  THE PEAK OF THE ROCK. The peak of the rock gives a clear view of the city of Abeokuta. It was recorded that a group of people came to the peak of the Rock and started digging thinking they would see some natural resources but to their surprise the rock cracked in another part, then pox and blood started coming out which was simply interpreted as this is a sacred place, stay off. There are some notable places in the city seen from the peak of Olumo Rock. The followings are examples of places seen:  The first church in Nigeria (St. Peter Cathedral) built in 1842.  The tie and dye production center in ABEOKUTA  NTA, Ogbe, ABEOKUTA 1st Transmission Station in ABEOKUTA  Old Baptist Boys High School (the school attended by the former president of Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo), Noble Prize for Literature Award Winner (Wole Soyinka), Father of Afro Beat (Fela Anikulapo Kuti).  1st mosque in Abeokuta (Central Mosque Kobiti)  Sodeke Memorial Cenotaph. (Sodeke is the first man to accept Christianity in Abeokuta)  Ogun River  Late Chief M.K.O Abiola Family House. There are many interpretation to the word O.G.U.N  Ògún- God of Iron (Yoruba Belief)  Ogun- War  Oògùn- Medicine  Ogún- Inheritance  Ogún- Twenty  O gun- Long  Oogùn- Sweat  Oogùn- To Climb

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