The first point of contact on arriving at Agodi gardens was the gate man who directed me to the main entrance where entry tickets were sold. I’m not sure if baba was trained on customer service but I was impressed at how organized the whole process went. Visitors were offered multiple options of either cash payment or via a POS machine. And like most tourist attractions in the country, #500 was the entrance fee here too.
While a group of guys took full advantage of the neatly trimmed lawn to play a 4-a-side football, another group comprising just ladies got together to celebrate a birthday in an amazing fashion. I wished I could join them but my liver failed me.
The flesh was willing to remain within the 150 acres garden but my spirit yearned to see more of Ibadan before the day runs out. So I hopped on another bike heading destined for round-about as this will enable me join a cab or a tricycle which will take me to Bodija where I was told I can get nice Amala for lunch.
The Cocoa House
After traveling for close to 6 minutes, I saw the legendary Cocoa building and immediately commanded my biker to stop, sorting him with a rough #100 note. A Shoprite was located within the same facility but I doubted it’s still in operation, so i placed better focus on the skyscraper.
I could still remember few facts about the historic building as I reached for my phone to take some shots.
*The 26-storey building located in Dugbe was completed in 1965, 5 years after Nigeria’s Independence.
*It was built from cocoa proceedings as the country earned so much from the crop at that time.
*The building is the first sky scraper in Nigeria and was once the tallest in Africa.
*it Got burnt in 1985 but renovated in 1992.
“Egbon E jor, e gbe mi lo sibi ti mo ti le ri amala gidi je ni Bodija.” I hinted the bike man how badly I needed a good Amala for lunch, hitting the passengers’ seat in the process with my palm. “Ha dandan ko no ko lo si Bodija.” He advised, insisting there’s somewhere around the corner where they sell doper Amala aside Bodija, so I obliged but threatened jokingly not to pay him if I get disappointed. He in turn smiled confidently as the bike tyres propelled us downward a sloppy streets of Dugbe. That was all I needed.
On getting to the restaurant, he told me to go in and eat while he’d wait outside to hear the result.
To say the least, I’ve never eaten such a sumptuous meal in a while. I scooped hurriedly the content of the stainless plate, defying the hotness of both soup and fish. I was almost stepping out before discovering water should be drank during/after a meal.
A grin was all I needed to pass a satisfactory message to my partner who returned the same gesture. He volunteered to take me around from the famous Bower’s Tower to Oke Mapo and back to my hotel in ring road. I promised to give him #1,000 and he happily kicked his bike to life directing the front tyre towards Oke Sapati.
We Soon Got To Bower’s Tower
He warned me to hold him tight while he replicated same to his bike as the three of us ascended the hills of Oke-sapati. Our funny ascension reminded me of the biblical Elijah and his Chariot, only that there was no fire. While at it, I wondered how the engineers who constructed the road managed to get their heavy machines to execute such a daunting task. Torrents of horrible thoughts ran through my head but I rebuked them all with the blood of Jesus.
We finally got to the topmost part of the hill where houses with funny postures stared at us. I needed no help in telling we’ve gotten to the destination so I asked him what the place was originally built for. He made me understand that it was in its prime an amusement park where people come to relax but met its doom after falling out of love with the government.
“Can I sha see all the brown roof if I make it to the top of the Tower?” I cut in. He replied yes, so I told him to wait while I approached the only man within the building who was obviously the one in charge.
After few lines of salutation, Baba made me understand that the tower was built in memory of CAPTAIN ROSS L.BOWER, the first resident and travelling commissioner of Interior Yoruba land. This was after I had injected #200 inside his feeble palm. This was the required compulsory fee to be paid before gaining entrance to the tower itself.
My muscles (esp. those in my laps) ached badly while I descended the tower so I instructed my biker to take me straight to the hotel. I needed a sound sleep. They kuku said something about he who fights to run.
On our way back, he pointed to me a bungalow with unattractive paint as the building where Galaxy television is located. It became clear to me why the TV station churns out poor quality works.
We also passed by Mapo hall where he asked if I’d be willing to see but I declined. the pains were unbearable. But like an unrepentant masochist, I was somehow enjoying it.
This time I took my bath on getting back to the hotel because I wasn’t ready to go outside again for the day since we’d be returning to Lagos the next morning.
Back To Lagos
Night came like there was emergency and before I could ask what was going on, morning had crept in too in its usual regalia. It was a smooth sail as we checked out around 10 am that Sunday, boarded a bike to Challenge where we waited for 2 other passengers to join in before the driver zoomed off to Lagos.
I did a mental permutation of my next trip and concluded after few minutes it has to be the suspended lake in Ado Awaye, Oyo State.
When was the last time you visited Ibadan? Please share your experience in the comment section so I can learn a thing or two from you too!