Ogun State is a state in southwestern Nigeria, created in February 3, 1976 from the former Western State. Ogun State borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo State and Osun State to the north, Ondo State, and the Republic of Benin to the west. Abeokuta is both the State’s capital and most populous city. It is a state covered predominantly by rain forest and has wooden savanna in the northwest, and with a total population of 3,751,140 residents as of 2006, making Ogun State the 16th most populated state in Nigeria In terms of landmass. It is also the 24th largest State in Nigeria with land area of 16,762 kilometer square. Nicknamed the “Gateway to Nigeria”, the state is notable for having a high concentration of industrial estates and being a major manufacturing hub in Nigeria. Major factories in Ogun include the Dangote Cement factory in Ibese, Nestle, Lafarge Cement factory in Ewekoro, Memmcol in Orimerunmu, Coleman Cables in Sagamu and Arepo, Procter & Gamble in Agbara, amongst others.
Festivals and Traditions
- OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL: The Ojude Oba celebration in Ijebuland, Ogun State is an annual event during which indigenes congregate at the palace of the Awujale (king) for a carnival-like celebration. The glitz and colour associated with the festival place it among the most famous cultural festivals in the country. All of Ijebu’s sons and daughters always look forward to this event. It comes up on the third day of the Eid-el-kabir celebration, and people in the Diaspora travel home to join their families and friends (irrespective of religion or political status) to celebrate
- AGEMO FESTIVAL: It is a masked or masquerade festival traditionally held in many Yoruba cities but more popularly linked with the Ijebu people of Ogun State. The festival and accompanying rituals are celebrated to honor the spirit deity Agemo, who is believed to be a protector of children and who safeguards Ijebus future through its blessing. The festival is linked with the traditional African religion, in particular, the practices of the Agemo cult and as such, issues like restriction of movement during certain periods of the festival do occur. The festival is mostly
celebrated between the months of June and August. The period of the festival takes seven days, the beginning period is fixed after a consultative meeting between the Awujale of Ijebu, and the heads of the sixteen titled agemos also called Olofas, preceded by seven days of chants by the Oro cult and the beating of drums to ‘gbedu’ music. Thereafter, sixteen agemo masquerades from different villages proceed to their shrine at Imosan, via Ijebu-Ode on an annual pilgrimage.
It is considered a taboo for a woman to see the agemo masquerade during their procession to Imosan. At Imosan, the masquerades spend three days at the Agemo shrine performing traditional religious rites and appeasement of the deity. On their last day at Imosan, a traditional ritual dance is performed, which can be witnessed by both men and women. The masquerades will then move to Ijebu-Ode to perform the final rites of the festival.
- EGUNGUN FESTIVAL: The Egungun Festival is performed annually between November and April, when there is no rain, and it is believed to help foster unity in Yoruba communities while encouraging positive behavior in the society. The trademark of the Egungun Festival is the bata drum, which is beaten without rhythm. Among the Yorubas, this ceremony has become an annual celebration to honour the dead, as well as a means of ensuring their ancestors a place among the living. When the miming and acting are over, the Egungun give messages, warnings and blessings to those who have assembled to watch them. It is common among the Egbas, Egbados, Oyo and other parts of southwestern Nigeria.
Tourists Attractions and Locations
- KEMTA ADIRE MARKET: One of the biggest commodity exported from Abeokuta is the Adire, which means ‘Tie & Dye’. The Kemta Adire Market, at the centre of Abeokuta, is home to the famous Egba women who ensure that the Adire (Tie & Dye) industry does not die by passing the intricate designing skills to their daughters. It is not unusual to see traders adorn themselves in the traditional Adire Bubas and towering headgears to match. The market is considered the largest Adire market in Africa. The market is one of the tourist attractions in the state. If you
plan on visiting, you would like to have a camera to capture the beautiful market of colors and also lots of money to buy Adire products.
- LISABI FOREST: According to history, the forest was named after Lisabi Agbongbo Akala, a warrior, who liberated the Egbas during the inter-tribal wars. It is said that he led his men through the forest. The sons and daughters of Egbaland with an annual march to the Lisabi forest celebrate his heroic exploit. The forest is also considered to be home to rare species of birds and plants. There are rumors that the warrior’s remains can be found in the forest. The Lisabi forest has over the years received both local and international visitors. It is one of those places you should have on your to-do list if you are in Ogun state.
- OLUMO ROCK: It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Nigeria, and Africa at large. It is located in Abeokuta. It is one of the interesting places in Abeokuta. According to history, the city derived its name from the rock which translates literally as “under the rock”. It is said that the Olumo served as a fortress for the people of Egba during the 19th century inter-tribal wars. Olumo Rock over the years is home to both local and international visitors. There are arts and artifacts shop around the premises and eateries where visitors can get snacks, and also relax. On the rock, there are also knowledgeable guides who share the historic stories of the rock and answer questions of curious guests. Recently, Olumo is managed by the state government and has a heavy duty glass escalator for those who can’t climb the rock. The Olumo Rock is 137 meters high above sea level.