Ogun State is a state in southwestern Nigeria. Created in 1976, it borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo and Osun states to the north, Ondo to the east and the Republic of Benin to the west. Abeokuta is the capital and largest city in the state. The state’s nickname is “Gateway to Nigeria”. It was created in February 1976 from the former Western State. The 2006 census recorded a total population of 3,751,140 residents.
However, an indigen of Ogun state would describe it as a peaceful, silent, beautiful geographical zone filled with beauty of all types ranging from people to landmarks, but Tourist centers can never be overemphasized or over hyped.
Here’s my Top Tourist Centers list.
1.) Olumo Rock:
You cannot mention Centers of attraction in Ogun and ignore the beautiful, historic Olumo Rock that has been standing since the 19th century and has effortlessly stayed top of any list at every point.
Your visit to the city of Abeokuta would be incomplete without stopping by at the “fortress of Abeokuta”; Olumo Rock. It is no surprise that this rock is located in Abeokuta, as the name “Abeokuta” itself means “under the rock”.
Olumo Rock has long served as a rock of offense and a fortress for the people of Egba Land, since the 19th century. At Olumo Rock, you would be treated to attractions like natural tunnels, unusual trees, natural cantilevers, gardens on the rock, broken pathways, monuments of the belief system of the rock’s primeval settlers, three escalators at the characteristic height of the rock as well as an aerial and atmospheric view of the antique city of Abeokuta, from the apex of the rock. You don’t want to miss these attractions, do you?
Olumo Rock, which stands at a height of 137 meters above sea level, is a bit easier to climb than the Zuma Rock which stands at a height of 725 meters. There are in fact man-made stairs carved into the rock, making the climb fairly easy even for less fit visitors to this tourist location. There is also the availability of an elevator, in the event that you want to take the easy way up to the apex of the rock, albeit it comes at a cost. From the apex of the rock, you would be afforded a panoramic view of other tourists’ locations in Abeokuta like First Church of Nigeria, the Central Mosque, the River Ogu as well as the family house of the late Moshood Abiola. Hotels in Abeokuta within minutes’ drive from the rock include Gateway Hotel and Olumo Guest House.
This beauty has undergone years of structural changes, adapted to the trends and in years to come would still be referenced for her beauty.
2.) Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL)
Despite the fact that this institution is relatively new the word of it has gone far like a widespread fire and for a good reason too. The library is a resemblance of the presidential library system from the United States. The concept of Presidential Library started in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of America who donated his official documents for national use.
The country passed into law in 1955, the Presidential Libraries Act to formalize this project for national archive of all American Presidential documents and materials in office.The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library was conceived in 1988 to immortalize him and it was actualized after he became the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Library is adorned with a pool, bamboo groove, hotel, conference center , amusement park, art gallery, museum and restaurants. On an average people who visit the place spend up to 3hrs in the environment.
3.) Centenary Hall
Located opposite the Ake’s Palace, the Centenary Hall in Ake’s area of Abeokuta was constructed in 1950 to commemorate the one hundred years that Abeokuta had been in peace after the last inter-tribal war. The building of the Abeokuta Memorial Centenary Hall emanated from His Majesty Oba Ladapo Ademola II, KBE, The Alake of Egbaland to commemorate the Centenary (100 years) of Egba settlement in Abeokuta. This idea was wholeheartedly supported by the Egba Authority at a meeting held on Thursday, 2nd January, 1930.
The Design for the Hall was drawn by Mr. H.A. Porter, Senior Architect from Public Works Department Headquarters, Race Course Road, Lagos while on tour of Abeokuta. His sketch plan was forwarded to the PWD Headquarters, Drawing Office, Mr. Robert Charles Kotey, 2nd Class Draughtsman and a native of Accra, Gold Coast Colony (now Ghana) with the first architect Mr. T. Scott who prepared a detailed drawing for the foundation plan so that the work could go ahead. On Mr. Porter’s return from Abeokuta, all working drawings were prepared by Mr. Kotey. All half inch and full size details were then prepared by Mr. Kotey working under the direction of Mr. Porter. Mr. Kotey prepared all tracings, the lettering over the side entrance and other small details under Mr. Scott.
Mr. Kotey did the work splendidly (both original and tracing) and Messrs Porter and Scott were very pleased with Mr. Kotey. It was therefore placed on record the excellent services rendered by the three officers in designing and other architectural matters connected with the Hall. The Hall and courtyard occupied land area of 3,196.038 meters.
4.) June 12 Cultural Center.
Everyone knows about the June 12 Presidential election that was annulled by the military but not everyone knows about the Cultural center that was renamed after it. Not much is known about this institution unless one visits it however The centre is an impressive architectural piece. There is a hall at the centre where various events hold. A prior notice is also required before one would be able to visit the Facility.
5.) Omo Forest Reserve.
Located in Ogun State, about 135km north-east of Lagos and some 20km from the coast, Omo Forest Reserve lies within a tropical lowland rainforest and it has the most complex and productive vegetation type in the country; estimated that it supports about 8000 species of plants.
The large forestland is named after the Omo tree, which is indigenous to the area. The Omo river lies somewhere within the 132,000 hectares of land, which make up the forest reserve.
Within this expanse of land is a 460-hectare forest block, to the south of the confluence of the Omo River, which has its tributary in the Owena River.
The Omo Forest Reserve houses over 200 types of tree, 125 species of bird and several mammals, including many endangered species such as chimpanzees, elephants and white-throated guenon monkeys. This makes it not only an area of outstanding natural beauty, but also an area of great conservation importance.
The forest’s biodiversity is threatened by poaching, logging and uncontrolled farming. In order to support efforts to conserve the forest, the local community is being educated about the importance of conservation.
To get the best view of the reserve visitors climb Beetle Hill. Organised trips include a 45 minute drive to the hill’s base, or a two and a half hour walk, and a 25 minute climb to the top. Trips usually include a picnic lunch, so don’t worry about bringing your own food and weighing down your backpack.
The reserve has an elephant camp where guests can watch the beautiful elephants, nature trails, stay in clean but basic cabins or tents and enjoy an evening campfire and BBQ.
6.) Arakanga Forest Reserve.
Not much is known about this beauty apart from her location, Sources say the treasure in her is the reason for the Hush, some say there’s a spirit that compels those that enter the reserve to “tell no soul” but one thing is certain you’d never known until you visit.
Now you’re thinking “Maybe the gentle, boring Ogun is not so boring after all” one thing us certain however, Ogun is travelling on the fast lane for now and I think it is well deserved that all her years of work is finally paying in dollars.
Oh, my sources also say Shoprite is already constructing a mall in the state.