Friday, 20 March 2009

The land of Rusty roofs

After Lagos, Ibadan is probably the most famous 'city' in Nigeria. Famed for its rich place of history, its one of the oldest citiAfter Lagos, Ibadan is probably the most famous ‘city’ in Nigeria. Famed for its rich place in history, it is one of the oldest cities in West Africa, with many legends surrounding it.

Ibadan is the capital of Oyo state, part of the old Oyo Empire. It is the third largest city in Nigeria by population (after Lagos and Kano), and the largest in geographical area. At independence, Ibadan was the largest and the most populous city in Nigeria and the third in Africa after Cairo and Johannesburg.You could almost imagine that these old buildings have been around since those days of old. Knowing its colourful history, I was very eager to see what the city had to offer.

First off, we went to the University,the first in Nigeria, established in 1948. We arrived just at the right time, as the University in its finery,still had all the tell tale signs of celebration, seeing as it had just passed its 60th year anniversary. It was during exams and you could see the students going off in groups to read. Walking through brought back memories of my own days at the Imo State University. It had a state of the art library and bookstore, like any modern university should. It was everything a university is supposed to be and more and for about 2seconds I wished that I had attended UI. Luckily, the IMSU Imo stars spirit returned to reclaim my allegiance.

You couldn’t visit UI without seeing the Botanical Zoo, which I also heard was the first of its kind in Nigeria. Even though the lions were sleeping when we got there, the other animals were active enough to keep us entertained.

Your visit is incomplete without tasting the famous meal of Amala and gbegiri ati ewedu, which is made from yam flour and soup made from beans.

I went to a restaurant called Straight Down in Yoruba, and apparently it got its name from the fact every time you asked for directions to the place, people would tell you to “Just go straight down.”

With the delicious smells wafting from the restaurant as I arrived there, I have to say my hopes were raised for a good meal. I was not disappointed as the Amala pelu Gbegiri ati Ewedu was a delight to the senses. In my haste, I must confess I may have missed the mark with a few droplets of Ewedu soup. Blame it on Ibadan, I say.

Bower towers was my next stop. At the top of the tower, a magnificent view of the city greets your eyes. With a sea of rusty roofs as far as the eye could see, it was definitely unforgettable.

The OjaOje is also another place of interest and you will learn here how the people of Ibadan trade and interact. There's plenty to buy or just see. Right next to it is the splendid Olubadan’s palace, which is the seat of power to the monarch.

In all, the ancient city of Ibadan did not disappoint me because there was plenty to see and I had the pleasure of tasting Ibadan-style Amala with Gbegiri ati Ewedu.

So I’ll leave you with the famous Ibadan greeting: S’alafiani!


StandTall-The Activist said...

You are still in Naija? Great.

I love this thing about Ibadan, the fact that buses wont rush you off like they do in Lagos. You kind of take your time to get off...

Anonymous said...

hey Oluchi. great things I Am reading... It is just a pity you are no longer updating. rob