Welcome to the capital city of Oyo State,
comfortably seated on the South-western part of Nigeria. Welcome to the largest
City in West Africa. Welcome to the land of great Yoruba warriors and legends
like Lagelu, Bashorun Ogunmola, Anlugbua, Bashorun Oluyole and many more.
Welcome to the city of peace and harmony.
Ibadan is blessed with beautiful sceneries,
tall buildings, robust agricultural resources, rich cultural heritage and best
amenities for the residents to enjoy.
Ibadan was found around the early 1800s as
a military camp and headquarters for the warriors in Yorubaland. It has 16
local government areas and countless streets, villages, settlements and areas
that dot its length and breadth. All of these habitations have historical
backgrounds attached to them.
Therefore, I’ve picked 15 places out among
them because of the educative and interesting features in their accounts. 

1. Olugbode

The name of the then King of Ibadanland
(Olubadan, meaning ‘Lord of Ibadan’) was Oba Oyeshile Olugbode (1851-1864). He
was on the throne when one missionary named David Hindrer came to Ibadan in
company of his wife Anna, in 1851 with Christian religion.
David Hindrer had previously taken the
religion to Abeokuta in Ogun State, before coming to Ibadan. He was well
received by Oba Olugbode at his palace located at Ita Baale, Olugbode area.
After that, David went to settle at Kudeti area under Ibadan South-east local

2. Oja-Iba

Oja-Iba is the first indigenous market in
Ibadan city. It was formerly known as ‘Oja Iba’ but it later changed to ‘Oja
Oba’, literally meaning ‘the King’s market’. Oja-Iba is located around Ile-Iba
in the South-West local government area of the state.

3. Bowers Memorial Tower

Popularly called ‘Bower’s tower’ by the
Ibadan residents, this tower is graciously seated on the head of the highest
hill in Ibadan, Oke-aare. The most captivating feature of this hill is that a
tourist can stand at the peak and see the whole city lying in its majestic view
with the aid of binoculars. The hill has other names like ‘Igbo Agala’
(Forest); ‘Army General Hill’ or ‘Oke Sapati’ (Shepherd Hill). ‘Sapati’ is an
adulterated translation of the English word ‘Shepherd’ into Yoruba language.
It was erected in 1936 as a monumental
edifice to honor the travelling commissioner for the whole interior of
Yorubaland and first British resident in Ibadan, Robert Lister Bower.
This tower possesses an eagle’s eye view of
the beauty of Ibadan city. A spiral shaped staircase that takes visitors to the
head of the tower was constructed inside the building.
In case you are used to Ibadan slangs, you
would have heard the popular parlance ‘Ibadan lo mo, o mo laipo’ (translation-
You only know about Ibadan city but you don’t the circle). This saying has a
different meaning to many people, especially the non-indigenes. Ibadan has been
put in disrepute due to this slang because people thought the word ‘laipo’
means being ‘cunning’, ‘deceitful’ or ‘indirect’. The impression the outsiders
have about the natives is that they are not straightforward.
However, the literal meaning refers to the
spiral shaped staircase built inside the building. It also means that you have
not known any important place in Ibadan if you have not visited Bower Memorial

4. Ose-meji

One of the most paramount historical sites
in Ibadan is Ose-meji majestically situated at Oja-oba. Ose-meji is very
significant to the rich cultural heritage of the Ibadan people, because this is
the exact place where the popular Oke Ibadan annual festival holds. Oke Ibadan
is a hill deified by the community because of the traditional belief that it
brings peace, protection from the enemies, fertility and agricultural bumper
harvest to the land. This is a ritual that has been practiced for centuries.
The priests responsible for this rite are called ‘the aboke’ priests, and they
are usually supported by the people of the community.
Apart from this festival, the ‘aboke’
priests are also responsible for ordaining and sanctifying any Olubadan before
the official public ceremony. The ritual is performed on this hill and
attendance usually consists of the prospective king and the priests.
The main item used for the rite is ‘ewe
akoko’ (the fertility leaf-Newboudia laevis). The leaf is placed on the head of
the ordained king as a sign of acceptance by the gods of the land.

5. Eleyele hill

The pivotal ground on which the genesis of
Ibadan was hinged cannot be credible if Eleyele hill is left out. Located
behind Eleyele Waterworks, the hill was a major object used to write the
indelible history of the people.
Story has it that the Ibadan settlement was
divided into 3 phases viz: the first settlement; the second settlement at
Awotan in Apete area (a name derived from Olubadan Apete who reigned from
1952-1955) under the Iddo local government and the third settlement at the
present settlement located in Oja-oba.(18th century)
The first phase was called the first Ibadan
settlement. The original settlers who were the indigenes engaged in wars. There
were many warriors among their men. However, a misunderstanding arose among the
surrounding clans and the soldiers tore the King’s crown in anger. After the
incidence, they fled the territory.
The second settlement did not last for long
as the indigenes soon got into trouble again. This was during the military
reign of Lagelu, a legendary Ibadan pioneer and warrior. According to history,
a masquerade was seen as a heavenly deity sent by Olodumare (the Supreme God)
from heaven to come and protect the people. Naturally, tradtion demands total
reverence for such an idolised entity. But one day, during a masquarade
festival, an argument erupted between the Ibadan people and the masquerade, and
in a twinkling of an eye, the contention degenerated into a free-for-all. In
the midst of the heat, people fought the masquerade and tore its
regalia/garment. The real face behind the mask was exposed and disgraced by
women and children who made jest at the victim.
NB: In Yorubaland, it is a taboo for women
and children to set their eyes on the masquerade. During any masquerade
festival, they are usually tucked indoors throughout the procession until it is
The news reached the ears of the Alaafin of
Oyo, Oba Awole and he didn’t find it funny. As a reprisal, he sent warriors to
attack the culprits and avenge the poor masquerade of the injustice done to it.
Sadly, the Ibadan natives lost the battle
to Alaafin’s army and they were left with no choice than to escape to the third
settlement currently known as the present Oja-oba. The war-striken party was
led by Lagelu himself.
In continuation, Lagelu founded another
land in a nearby hill and through the assistance of his followers, they
survived by eating fruits, snails and corn cereal that is called ‘eko’ in
Yorubaland, using snail shells as cups. That was the genesis of the popular
saying that ‘Ibadan, a je igbin, je ikarahun tun fi fo’rin mu’ (meaning- Ibadan
people are devourers of snails and shells, then they still used the snail
shells to drink mashed corn meal). The new refuge was called ‘Eba’dan’ and as
since metamorphosed to what we now have Ibadan.

6. Anlugbua Chain: Idi-Ape

The story behind Anlugbua chain is somewhat
blood chilling and blood clotting, yet fascinating. Anlugbua was a very
powerful warrior who was greatly feared and respected in his kingdom. Then
something happened between him and the kingdom which enraged him. The reason
behind the feud was sketchy but the incidence that followed was clear.
Anlugbua decided to leave the society and
dwell in the underground. Before he did this, he called his kinsmen together
and informed them of his plans to relocate. Then he assured them that he would
always be available to help them out in times of war and enemy invasion. All
they needed to do was to pull a long chain that he would attach to his body
when he goes down under. The tail end of the chain would be nailed to the edge
of the hole where he would bury himself.
Through his exceeding supernatural powers,
he entered the underground and buried himself beneath the sands at his
compound, with his chain tied around his waist.
Then one day, some youths among Anlugbua’s
kinsmen were discussing something and it came to a point when one of them
jokingly dared Anlugbua’s promise. The errant man went to the spot where the
great warrior had buried himself and pulled the chain, still doubting the
authencity of Anlugbua’s oath to come out and rescue them from war calamity.
Alas! Anlugbua kept to his words, came out
in full force, ready to mercilessly draw the blood of anyone who dared lay his
hands on his beloved people. Unfortunately, he was disappointed to realize that
he had been played by the caller. In boiled anger, he beheaded the offender at
the spot and swore never to heed the calls of his kinsmen again. Afterwards, he
returned to his abode and since then, no matter the intensity of the call from
yonder for help during raging war, Anlugbua refused to answer them, till date.
Anlugbua chain is still dangling at the
edge of his underground habitation centuries after. The place can be found at
the present CAC Headquarters, opposite Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
(FRCN) at Idi-ape Bashorun road under the Ibadan North local government.

7. Hindrer house-Kudeti

The ‘Hindrer house’ was built by the couple
missionary who first brought christianity to Ibadan, David and Anna Hindrer in
1851. The house was the first storey building in Ibadan and was erected in 1853
at the same compound where St Davids Church was built.

8. Mapo Hall

Ibadan story is incomplete without the
famous Mapo hall, a city hall in Mapo area. The monumental structure was opened
by Capt. Ross in 1929. Mapo hall was constructed on top of Mapo hill during the
colonial era.
The edice was however abandoned for
decades, rotting away in dilapidation until 2006 when Gov. Alao Akala
came to the rescue.

9. Western Nigerian Television/Western
Nigeria Broadcasting Services (WNTV/WNBS now NTA)

When the world is searching google or other
search engines for the first television station in Africa, Ibadan will surely
pop up their screens. Nobody can take the fact from the city that the
broadcasting profession got its root firmly stamped on the Oluyole soil.
On the 3rd of October,1959, Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, the premier of the Western region, commissioned Western Nigerian
Television(WNTV) and its radio sister, Western Broadcasting Service (WNBS) at
Agodi area. WNTV is what we now have the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA),
which has spread across the country.

10. Ibadan Grammar School

Oke-aare is not only blessed with the
highest hill but also serves as the former site for Ibadan Grammar school. This
is the first Christian secondary school in Ibadan, established by its first
principal , Rt. Rev. Alexander Babatunde Akinyele on the 31st March, 1913. He
was the first Bishop for Ibadan Anglican Diocese in 1952. This put Ibadan on
the same league with the other Nigerian States like Ogun, Cross river and Lagos
states that already have secondary schools as of the time.
Alex Babatunde Akinyele was a son to Josiah
Akinyele, a disciple of David Hinderer, the missionary that introduced
christianity to Ibadan in the mid 1800s. Alexander also had a brother by the
name Isaac Akinyele who was once an Olubadan and the first educated King in
Ibadanland, Josiah handed down the legacy of education and true Christian
principles to his children, and this principle helped his sons worked
diligently to attain the heights they reached in their respective endeavors.
This was evident in the creation of Ibadan
Grammar School. Located quietly in a storey building constructed with mud clay,
the school began running its educational activities in earnest with about 12
students. Today, great Nigerian men and women were recognized as the products
of Ibadan Grammar School. Examples are Chief Goodie Ibru, Dr. Mike Adenuga (CEO
of Globacoms Nigeria), Ambassador Sanu, Late Chief Bola Ige, Sen. Ken Nnamani,
Ibadan Grammar school is a member of the
AIONIAN Group of Schools created with the aim of connecting students to host
annual athletics festival.
In 1948, the school population was
stretched beyond the capacity of the Oke-aare mud house and it was relocated to
Molete, where it stands till date.

11. University of Ibadan

Apart from owning the first television in
Africa, Ibadan also owns the first University in the whole country. It all
started in 1948, precisely 17th November, when the ruling British Secretary of
State for the colonies in the person of Arthur Creech Jones, commissioned the
historical structure.
The institution was first named ‘University
of London’ because it was established as an annex to the University of London,
The growth of the school experienced a leap
in 1957 when the College of Medicine which was a structure of 500-bed teaching
hospital was built.
Then in 1962, two years after Nigeria got
its independence, University College, Ibadan became University of Ibadan (UI)
as its administration and management were taken over by the Nigerian
government. The first Chancellor was the first ever Nigeria’s Prime Minister,
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
Numerous Nigerian legends and personalities
were among those who took sips from the fountain of knowledge running in the
school, examples were the author of the great African literatures like ‘Things
Fall Apart’ and ‘There was a country’, Chinua Achebe, the first African Nobel
Prize winner and legendary playright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, former national
chairman for People’s Democratic Party(PDP), John Odigie Oyegun, a one-time
Niger-Delta activist, late Ken Saro Wiwa, Delta State governor, Arthur Okowa
Ifeanyi, the current Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, just to mention
a few,

12. Asejire Reservoir

The history attached to Asejire Reservoir
is somewhat minuscle but still noteworthy. Launched in the 1960s by the then
Oyo and Osun States administration, the reservoir ran concurrently along the
Osun River, appropriximately 30 kilometers on the Eastern side to Ibadan.

13. University College Hospital (UCH),

Leaving out the University College Hospital
(UCH) from this historical list is like leaving out salt from the soup. UCH was
an establishment that came into reality after University College of London,
Ibadan built its Faculty of Medicine in 1953.
UCH is the first teaching hospital in the
country. The commissioning of the health centre was divided into two. First was
the launching by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 when the construction was still
ongoing. The second commissioning took place on the 20th of November, 1957.
Story has it that in 1952, Dr. T. Hunt
headed a group of delegates to University of Ibadan from London to examine the
just-completed faculty of Medicine. After the deliberations, it was agreed that
the enrolled students of medicine and medical professionals at the hospital
would need a state-of-the-art teaching hospital close-by. In the same year, the
project became a national affair under the then colonial administration because
it became an Act of Parliament.
The sole aim for the establishment of UCH
was to provide solid training, quality health-care and research for the benefit
of Ngerians and the West African Sub-region.
The architectural design included a 500-bed
spaces but has over the decades expanded to 850-bed spaces. According to historical
statistics, about £4.5 million was expended on the facility alone and even
though there were controversies that sprang up during the deliberation on the
project between the British government and the natives, the job was done
eventually with the support of Chief Ladoke Akintola who was the Minister for
Health at the time.
Today, the teaching hospital is situated at
Orita-mefa in the heart of the ancient city. It is well equipped with modern
medical facilities of international standard. Apart from being the first
teaching hospital, it also has the first Nuclear Medicine Department in Nigeria
which was opened in 2006.


Established by a Lebanese business man in
the 1980s, Kokodome has been reputed to be the oldest club in Ibadan. The club
is located at Liebu Bypass, close to the tallest building in Ibadan,Cocoa
It has a large pool, a standard restaurant
that serves delicious meals, especially Lebanese cuisines and the main club house
where all night lifers
catch the real fun.

15. Ogunpa River

Ogunpa is a famous highly commercialized
area in the eastern side of Ibadan, with a buzzing large market. Then the ‘odo
Ogunpa’ (Ogunpa river) comes to view.
The river harbors so many varieties of
zoological creatures such as larvae, eggs, protozoa and other aqua habitats.
Statistics showed the measurement of the river to be 22.5 kilometres in channel
length and 28.5sq ml (73.4) in drainage basin enclosure.
The historical significance of this river
is its sequence of floods from 1960 to 1980, swallowing over 200 souls in its
belly and causing damages to the residents of the metropolis. In 1960, many
people lost their homes when the river overflowed its banks. Three years later
in 1963, over 600 houses were destroyed due to the same reason.
Fifteen years later in 1978, 32 lives were
swallowed up yet again in the rage of the river, with the destruction of many
The most fatal flood arrived in 1980 when a
cat and dog rain fell on the city for almost 10 hours. Over 100 lives were
claimed in the catastrophe and countless buildings along with their properties
were buried. That incidence has been acclaimed to be one of the worst floods to
ever hit Ibadan, even the foreign audience became interested in the tragedy.
However, the major cause of the constant overflowing of the river was
attributed to the notorious habit of the residents who were fond of dumping
heaps of refuse at its bank.
In the words of Marcus Garvey. “A
people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like
a tree without roots.” This can be said of the situation in Ibadan because
majority of the youths today don’t have the faintest idea of the history that
moulded the ‘Ile-Oluyole’. However, this article is an eye-opener to indigenes
and non-indigenes alike. Ibadan a gbe wa ooo! (We shall be favoured in Ibadan).

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