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February 22, 2024
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Ijemo Rock: An untapped tourist attraction in Ogun

Just like the Olumo rock, a major tourist attraction in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the Ijemo rock has potential to attract fun lovers across the world and boost the state’s economy, but lies fallow, Gift Barry-Oba reports

To reach the rock, a stairway with one hundred and twenty two steps must be climbed. Welcome to the beautiful Ijemo rock that lies on over a thousand hectares of land in one of the communities in Egba-Ake, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

 

The location known for its rocky landscape is near the Alake’s  Palace and St. Peter Cathedral, Ake, the first church built in Nigeria. 

Standing on top of the rock, the lift of the famous and ancient Olumo rock can be sighted, gazing from the left hand side  the Sapon market and on the right hand the Itoku market can be seen.

According to historical records, between 1820 AD and early 20th century, the people of Abeokuta witnessed political unrest, caused by external assault from Dahomey, Ibadan and invading colonial masters’ direct rule, as a system of government.

It was recorded that Egba indigenes took refuge under the Olumo and Ijemo rocks.

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But today only Olumo rock has gained prominence and attention. With its surrounding lush history, Olumo rock will never cease to bring tourists to wonder at how rocks can tell stories on their own. 

The Olumo rock attracts thousands of visitors, tourists and fun lovers across the world yearly and thereby contributes to the state’s economy.

On its part, the monumental Ijemo rock is exceptional, not only because of religious importance associated with the site, but also the systematic arrangement of rocks lying on top of each other, and shelter in which people had lived before.

In order to drive the potentials of the Ijemo rock, the Egba Heritage Foundation, recently took officials of the government led by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Sesan Fagbayi, on an assessment tour to monumental rock.

Alhaji Nurudeen Oyedele, a trustee of the Egba Heritage Foundation, told OgunWatch that there is a need for the government to give the Ijemo rock needed attention to attain its full potential as a tourist attraction. 

“We want the government to see what we have seen, to get the eyes of everyone opened to other tourists potential we have in the community so that with little development it will bring us a lot of recognition and finances to the government,” he said. 

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He called  for a collaboration with the state government so as to  develop the rock and boost the community’s standards.

“The role of the government is to facilitate it. Whatever thing we do if the government adds to it, it gives the impetus to raise beyond the proposal stage. State government controls tourist attractions in the state just like Olumo rock that’s why we brought them here.

“And we want  them realize that Abeokuta as the name implies means under the rock when our forefathers came they hid under the rock so for it to be called Abeokuta there have to be many rocks and we have several rocks so they should develop them gradually, add substantial revenue, promote and project the name of Ogun state and Abeokuta to the outside world,” Oyedele added.

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The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism noted that the state government was prepared to advance and raise awareness for Ijemo Rock.

Fagbayi stated that an evaluation tour had been conducted with the executives of the Egba Heritage Foundation (EHF) and that plans were in place to maximise the newly found rock’s tourism potential.

“We have embarked on a familiarization talk and the essence is to have another opportunity for a tourist site in Egba.

“This is very surprising to everyone. 

“We have been seeing the rock from the express (road ) and we didn’t know it was as massive as this. We have Olumo rock so if we can utilize this too it will be the second rock that tourists will have interest in.

“We would try our best to push this across to the governor, Dapo Abiodun because his belief is that if we think of relaxation anywhere in the world it should be Ogun state. And he will be passionate to lay hands on it. So we would push our reports to him,” he said.

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