Located in the south-west geopolitical zone of Nigeria, Osun State is an inland state with its capital in Osogbo city. The people of the state are warm, hospitable and highly enterprising and could be found engaged in trading all over the country. The state has 30 local government areas and it is also divided into three federal senatorial districts, each of which is composed of two administrative zones.
The modern Osun State was created in 1991 from part of the old Oyo State. The state’s name was derived from the River Osun, the venerated natural spring that is the manifestation of the Yoruba goddess of the same name. The 1991 census puts the population of the state at 2.2million. The state is made up of 30 local government areas with over 200 towns, villages and other settlements. The state has a considerable number of highly urbanized settlements some of which are Osogbo, Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Ikirun, Iwo, Ede, Ila-Orangun and Ikire. Others include Ipetumodu, Ejigbo, Ilobu, Gbongan, Okuku, Ifon-Osun, Inisa, Ijebu-Ijesa, Ipetu-Ijesha etc.
PEOPLE & CULTURE
The major sub-ethnic groups in Ọṣun State are Ife, Ijesha, Oyo, Ibolo and Igbomina of the Yoruba people, although there are also people from other parts of Nigeria. Yoruba and English are the official languages. People of the state practice Islam, Christianity and paganism called traditional faith. The people of the state are mainly traders, artisans and farmers. Their other occupations include hand-woven textiles, tie and dye, leather work, calabash carving and mat-weaving.
The annual Osun Osogbo cultural festival that usually comes up in August is held along the banks of the river bearing and it attracts thousands of devotees from across the country and beyond. Visitors at the festival include nationals of United States, Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, Grenada, and other nations in the Americas with a significant Yoruba cultural heritage.
Ọṣun-Ọṣogbo Grove, the shrine of the annual rites of the deity and an important artistic centre, was declared a World Heritage Site in 2005. Osun State is bounded in the West by Oyo State, Ondo and Ekiti States in the East, Kwara State in the North and Ogun in the South. The State runs an agrarian economy with a vast majority of the populace taking to farming.
CITIES & TOWNS
Other important cities and towns include Oke-Ila Orangun, Ila Orangun, Ede, Iwo, Ejigbo, Esa-Oke, Ilobu and Ilesa.
The major occupations in the State are fishing, farming, palm oil milling, lumbering, palm wine tapping, local gin making, trading, carving and weaving.
THE CITY OF ILE-LFE
Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba Nation, is only thirty minutes drive from Osogbo, the state capital. Tourists have the opportunity of visiting the sites of the renowned Oranmiyan Staff and the Ife Museum as well as the old City Walls – these are the relics of walls built to protect Ile-Ife from being invaded by enemies.
OLUMINRIN WATERFALLS, ERIN-IJESHA
Located in Erin-Ijesha – a town nearby Osogbo, the waterfalls has about seven layers and only few visitors can climb beyond the second layer. The breeze at the waterfall is cool and refreshing as the water flows among the rocks and splashes down with great force to the evergreen vegetation around. It is an idea place for picnic and relaxation.
OONI’S PALACE ENUWA, ILE-IFE
Located in Ile-Ife, the spiritual home of the Yorubas, Ooni is the traditional ruler of Ile Ife and his palace is an historical monument that houses various important relics.
IFE MUSEUM, ENUWA SQUARE, ILE-IFE
This history museum of Ile-ife established for the purpose of collecting and preserving various relics of antiquities that were found in Ile Ife. The archaeological artifacts include many bronzes and terracotta sculptures dating back to the 13th century. The museum is right next to the Ooni’s palace.
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE IFE
Built in the 1960s along Ile-Ife/Ibadan road, the university is one of Nigeria’s “Big-four” universities. It has an imposing architectural structure, sport field, botanical garden and an amphitheatre.
ORANMIYAN STAFF (OPA ORANMIYAN)
Oranmiyan Staff is an historic object that represents Oranmiyan the third Ooni of Ife who was the youngest of Oduduwa’s sons, the father of Yoruba race. The staff which was erected at the spot where people believed to have been buried, is a 5.18m stone column (about 4-feet square at the base).
OSOGBO ARTS AND METAL WORKS:
This is one of the top holiday destinations in Oshogbo is where metals are artistically crafted and shaped to make valuable items. Osogbo residents are known to be very artistic and the city has produced very many internationally recognised artists; among them are Nike Arts, Twin Seven Seven, Jimoh Braimoh and others.
OSUN CULTURAL FESTIVAL:
This is an annual event that takes place around August and September, and it attracts visitor from all over the globe. It provides an opportunity to visit the great Osun Grove, a sacred forest along the banks of the Osun river just outside the city of Osogbo.
ATAOJA ROYAL PALACE
The palace is located in the heart of the city and its an ideal place for tourists to learn more about the city. It has a museum where all the historical facts about the establishment of the city are carefully preserved.
MUSEUM OF ARTS
Osogbo city has one of the best museum of arts in Nigeria as a result of its position in the Yoruba cultural heritage. The city is culturally and historically enriched with many artifacts relatively important to the establishment of the city and of the Yoruba race entirely.
AFRICAN HERITAGE GALLERY
Owned by Jimoh Buraimoh, one of Osogbo’s famous artists who was the original innovator of bead painting – a technique derived from the traditional decoration of Yoruba crowns, which he applied to abstract painting with results which now command high price in galleries of London and New York.
OKONFO RAO KAWAWA
Also known as jungle communication centre, the centre was established to support the communication and the naturality on spiritual level through prayers, drumming and dancing. Its an idea place for visitors interested in body, soul and spirit re-energizing.
SUZANNE WENGER’S HOUSE AND CENTRE
Suzanne Wenger an Australian artist turned Yoruba priestess who died in 2009 at the age of 94 years, is one of the people that designed some of the art edifice found in Osun groove. Her four storey building house covered with relief interwoven human and animal form in the new sacred art style. The private residence has a room downstairs of artworks for sale by some of Osogbo’s leading artists past and present.
NIKE CENTRE FOR ARTS & CULTURE
The centre had the first of many international exhibitions in the 70s. It has had exhibitions and workshops in Nigeria, Europe, North America etc. The centre currently enrols students, who are at present making a living selling their works.
GENESIS GALLERY, OSOGBO
The gallery owned by Yinka Fabayo specializes mainly in traditional and neo-traditional pieces of woodworks, wood carving and painting.
MICCOM GOLF HOTELS AND RESORT, ADA
This is a private 18 hole golf course with excellent accommodation and superb facilities such as swimming pool, helipad, tennis court e.t.c.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
- The Mbari-Mbayo Heritage
- The Palace of Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland
- Idi-Baba Cultural Centre
- Adunni Susan Wenger’s Art Works Center, Osogbo
- Erinle Shrine at Olobu Palace, Ilobu
- Mat Weaving, Ipetu-Ilesha
- Obalufon Shrine, Ifon-Oshun
- St. Joseph Workshop and Craft Centre, Inisha
- Oja Oba Market, Osogbo
- Atamora Rock Scenery, Iwo
- Ayinkunkun nigba Waterfall, Oke-Ila
- Kiriji War Site, Igbajo
- Timi of Ede’s Palace, Ede
– Come to Nigeria