Tourism Development: Ikorodu Sets For Rebirth of Cultural Heritages, Tradition

-Ikorodu Rebirth Foundation to set the pace with Asa carnival, documentation of culture and traditions.

-Only 3 cultural heritages, shrine/monuments in Ikorodu division listed in government gazette out of 86 in Lagos State

By Kunle Adelabu

The campaign by the Lagos State Government under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, for the preservation of monuments and heritages in the state for tourism development is yielding desire results with Ikorodu division sets for cultural rebirths.

The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture under the leadership of Chief (Mrs) Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, had on Thursday, October 27, 2016, parleyed with the major stakeholders in the state on how monuments and heritages in the state could be preserved and developed into tourism.

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Iledi-Osugbo Abalaye, Ajina in Ikorodu was built in 1810 and rated as Grade III for its traditional value

In attendance at the one day event which took place at the gallery of the Lagos State Council for Arts & Culture, were owners/managers of historical and cultural heritage sites, monuments, beaches and others. They gathered to examine the challenges and feel the pulse of stakeholders viz a viz the responsibilities of the State Government through the Ministry, in preserving, protecting and restoring heritage sites and monuments in Lagos in line with the Listed Sites Preservation Law, 2011.

Speaking at the parley, Hon. Akinsola said the meeting was called to intimate the stakeholders about the binding Law on operational status of tourist sites and examine the challenges facing the sector.

According to her, Section 11 of the 2011Law provides for the preservation, protection and restoration of historical properties and cultural heritage sites/monuments in Lagos State and connected purposes.

Over 101 submissions/proposals were submitted at the parley by the stakeholders who attended the parley.

THE IMPACT however gathered that the royal fathers in Ikorodu division are mobilizing other stakeholders on the need to start collating and projecting the enormous cultural heritages, traditional festivals, natural values and monuments that are abound in the division.

Cultural heritages, shrines, festivals and other monuments all-over the world are been preserved not only as sources of histories, but in recent time adding to economic and social developments of countries and communities that are proactive.

Among the numerous ways of preserving these cultural heritages and monuments and others are through documentation, publicity and festivals. These are what other divisions especially Lagos Island, Badagry and Epe have been doing over the years, thus, the governments and international organizations recognition of historical and cultural monuments and values in these parts of Lagos State.

It was also gathered that the royal fathers and other stakeholders are not comfortable with the discovery that the Lagos State Government only recognize three historical properties and cultural heritages in Ikorodu division out of the eighty-six in the gazette for the state.

To address the seemingly cultural imbalance, THE IMPACT gathered that the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi called an emergency meeting after the return of the delegate he sent to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture parley on historical properties and cultural heritages which revealed the plan of the state government and the placement of Ikorodu division on the listing in the gazette.

The Olisa of Ikorodu, High Chief Zacheous Odusoga, is the Chairman of the committee that is saddled with collation of historical and cultural sites in Ikorodu, while Chief Niyi Banjoko, the Bobaniyi of Ikorodu, is the Coordinator for Ikorodu division.

Lagos State Government Gazette On Historical Properties & Cultural Heritage Sites

As stated in the Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette, N0. 21, Vol. 44 dated 29th June, 2011, A Law to Provide for the Preservation, Protection, and Restoration of Historical Properties and Cultural Heritage Sites In Lagos State and for Connected Purposes, it categorizes these historical and cultural values into three grades.

Grade 1 are sites of exceptional or special interest, vested in or acquired by the government and every effort shall be made by the government to preserve, rehabilitate and maintain them.

Grade II are those that are retain by the owners and for which the owners receive Government support for their maintenance.

The monuments that are listed in Grade III are sites of special interest which are listed on the premises only, without Government support for their maintenance.

Of the 86 listed sites, Lagos Island has the highest listed sites of 38 with 12 Grade I, 11 Grade II and 15 Grade III sites, Badagry followed suit with 33 sites out of which 8 were Grade I, 11 Grade II and 14 Grade III.

Epe division occupied the third position with 8 listed sites with 3 Grade II and 5 Grade III sites and then Ikeja division with 4 sites with 1 Grade I and 3 Grade II sites listed.

Ikorodu division has the least listed sites, 3 with 1 Grade II and 2 Grade III Sites listed. The 3 Sites are, the Ayangbure palace and Iledi Osugbo Abalaye in Ajina Square both in Ikorodu township. Though, it was not specified in the law which of the Ayangbure palace either the ancient one at Ajina Square or the modern palace along Ayangbure Road. The third site listed is the Ijede Spring Water in Ijede.

Going by the description of the listed Ayangbure palace which is regarded as fine architectural masterpiece, it implies that it is the modern palace.

Historical Properties and Cultural Heritages/Monuments in Ikorodu Division

The none inclusion of the ancient Ayangbure palace (rebuild by the current Ayangbure) in Ajina, Ikorodu and others in the listed sites leaves so much to query. The palace according to oral tradition is close to 500 years old and was the first seat of Oloja of Ikorodu before the seat of power was transferred to the modern palace during the reign of Oba Alagbe.

Considering the features of 86 sites listed in the gazette, other monuments like Ajina market, Awopa shrine at Ajina, Madam Ota house at Itunmaja, Eluku groove, Lasunwon compound (especially the Lasunwon shrine axis), Balogun Jaiyesimi and Mabodu (Elephant’s building) House (the first upstair in Ikorodu) at Sheriff, Ikorodu, Igboseke, Ile-Elena, Chief T.O.S Benson burial ground, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya burial ground among others.

There are also Patriarch Bolaji Methodist Church, Ita-Elewa, Ikorodu, African Church Bethel Cathedral, Aga, Ikorodu, Ikorodu Central Mosque, Oba-Ale, Obun-Oke Mosque (the first mosque in Ikorodu) and  District Officer’s office beside GRA, off Ebute road.

Ikorodu is also endowed with important and culturally significant rivers like Iyewa, Eri-Ijomu, Etunrenren and Ota river/shrine among others. There are also festivals like Noomu Arere, Asa, Agemo etc.

In Igbogbo, there are Adeboruwa palace, Iledi-Osugbo Abalaye, Alale, Ushendo, Yewa river (Igbogbo), Meri Shrine, Osha-Oja, Igunnuko among others.

adeboruwa-palace-igbogbo-13

According to a reliably palace source, it was gathered Oba Semiudeen Kasali has put in place a team to collate and document traditional, historical and cultural sites/monuments.

Ebute Iga which according to oral tradition founded by Asajon Ifadunmo Otuyelu in the early 1500 AD is known to be the gate way of Ikorodu division from the Island and the host of one of the earliest historical markets in the division.

While other parts are just started collating the traditional sites and cultural monuments, Prince Kosoko, who was recently installed as the Alashe of Ebute-Iga, has been collating and documenting these historical values for over a decade.

According to him, the ancient town of Ebute –Iga which is located largely along the Lagos Lagoon and River Ogun tributaries, is very rich in culture and traditions with 23 major masquerades, 5 traditional religions, 15 important deities , 5 festivals , 11 historical sites and 8 tourist destinations

According to Prince Kosoko, the traditional religion that has been with the town from time immemorial are Liwe, Awo-Opa, Ita, Ija Luwa, Oshugbo, Oba Luwaye, Ogun Ijase, Aje Ebute –Iga, Olokun, Ikulaye, Ala Lee, Elegba, Sogo, Osha-Nla, Oju Nbeju, Esu-Oja and Egungun Conclave

prince-kosoko-alashe-of-ebute-iga

Prince Abiola Kosoko, Alashe of Ebute-Iga

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Liwe festival at Ebute-Iga, Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area of Ikorodu Division.

The deities are Adelakun, Elekuru. Kelegbe, Igunnuko. Ikoto, Agbondoju-Olokunrun ( Alomoye bi Agbado), Obademiji, Ayanka, Yoginje, Elekunde, Afebioye, Ologbojo, Serekode, Jayeobajeje, Arolagbade ( Ayeosenikanse), Erin Akoko ( Elese Osu ), Gbeboloja, Epo, Arewodeola, Omolere, Paramole, Apanimayoda and Amolese

The historical sites are, First Mosque in Ikorodu Division built in 1850AD, Apapa Tuntun, Alashe Palace, Liwe Conclave, Oba Luwaye, Odu Agba, Ito Olori, Ito Eese,Ikulolaye, Oja Ebute Iga (Ebute Iga Market) , Bobby Benson Hotel and 1953 UAC Office.

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Ebute-Iga Central Mosque built in  1850

Tourist destination according to Alashe Ebute-Iga are, Nigeria Port Authority, Origin Gardens Zoo, Origin Museum, Lagos State Park & Gardens, Voice of Nigeria, Dangote Flour Mills, Ikorodu Ferry Terminal, Aginju Eko Reserved and Apapa Tuntun.

There are important historical centres and festivals in Imota, Ijede and other parts of Ikorodu division like Ranodu palace, Osugbo, Agemo and Ageme in Imota, while in Ijede there is Ijede Spring Water, Oshugbo, Remireke and water which is a very important factor in tourism development among others.

IREP Leads Others In Promotion of Ikorodu Cultural Heritages.

3-inauguration-of-irep-at-the-ayangbure-palace-ikorodu

The IREP – Ikorodu Rebirth Foundation, a socio-cultural group initiated by Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Opomulero of Ikorodu, has concluded arrangement to stage the first-ever Asa carnival in Ikorodu.

The planned festival will also feature the unveiling of Asa statue at Ikorodu garage roundabout, the preservation of a book on Asa, titled, ‘Asa Arokolo: The Turning Man on Delicate Stilt Sticks’ and documentary film on this rich aspect of Ikorodu cultural heritage.

On …., 2016, the group visited Oba Kabiru Sotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu to update the royal father on the progress on their activities. In attendance were members of the Ayangbure-in-Council, Osugbo, Council of Baales, ruling houses, honourary chiefs, scholars and opinion leaders among others.

At the briefing, Hon. Agunbiade stated that IREP has achieved over 70% of what it set out to achieve after the group was inaugurated by the Kabiyesi in November 2015.

His words, “It is with sense of duty and honour we inform our highly revered royal father, chiefs and leaders in Ikorodu that we (IREP) have embarked on research both within and outside Ikorodu on Asa. We have met with the custodians and elders to get their accounts of this aspect of our rich culture and I’m glad to inform you that a great deal has been achieved within a year.

old-ayangbure-palace-15

Ancient Oloja (Aynagbure) palace rebuilt by Oba Kabiru Shotobi

“We are in the process of completing the book, the commissioned Asa statue is also ready to be mounted after securing necessary approval from about seven ministries in the state and we shall be viewing the documentary film put together by this team. All these shall be unveiled on the festival day.

“We deem it fit to present all these before you so that we could have your input where and when necessary. More so that your majesty actually inaugurated the body. We felt it would be a good opportunity for the custodians of Ikorodu culture and tradition to see what we have achieved so far and for them to make input before we conclude on works and fix a date for the proposed Asa festival.

“This is just the first phase of IREP projects. After this, we are still going to be looking into other aspects of Ikorodu cultural and traditional values for the purpose of documenting and preserving them for tourism development and future.

iledi-osugbo-abalaye-14

Iledi-Osugbo Abalaye in Igbogbo

Oba Shotobi in his reaction stated that honours are not bestowed on individuals because of money, adding that Hon. Agunbiade has proven that with his contributions to the legislative, political, economic and social development of Ikorodu and Lagos State in general.

“In Ikorodu, honours are usually bestowed on deserving individuals and not for monetary gains. This our son in whom we are very proud of, have been able to prove since he has been given the mandate to represent us and more so, since he has been honoured as the Opomulero of Ikorodu.

“Barely a year ago, this group came here for royal blessings before embarking on the assignment and with great commitment and dedication, they are back today to brief us about what they have been able to achieve so far.

bobbys-hotel

Bobby’s Hotel, Ebute-Iga is an historical place and one of the few monuments that reflects the social life in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

“What IREP is doing will help us in preserving our history and documenting it for proper understanding. This group deserve our commendations and will help in great deal to help in the rebirth of our values and heritages. We are currently documenting all our cultural and traditional heritages for listing with the state government and this group would play a big role in advancing Ikorodu’s interest in this regard.”

Oba Sotobi also appealed to custodians of Ikorodu’s culture and tradition and other stakeholders to align with the trend of things in opening up the community and reforming some aspects of the culture and festivals for the purpose of tourism development.

ajina-market-square-16

Ancient Ajina market is a major feature of Ajina square. The market played very prominent role in the social and economic arrangement of Yoruabaland in the pre-European period and during the colonial era. The market is still very much relevant to modern social and economic arrangement of Ikorodu people

“We have been collecting all our cultural and traditional heritages for the purpose of listing in the Lagos State government gazette. We are not doing it behind the cover because it’s all about Ikorodu’s development which is why we are making it open. We are appealing to everyone with knowledge of any site or monument that qualifies to be listed to come forward.

He also appealed to the eminent Ikorodu personalities present to give their support to IREP especially regarding materials and information needed in the course of preserving and documenting Ikorodu history.

Sir (Otunba) Ayodele Elesho, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), IREP – Ikorodu Rebirth Foundation, also speaking commended the efforts of the group in reviving Ikorodu culture and tradition.

He regretted the abandonment of various aspects of Ikorodu’s culture in the name of religion and modernization and called on the custodians for reform of certain culture and festivals where necessary.

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