History Of The Famous Olumo Rock
When you think of a tourist site in Ogun state, Olumo rock is the first site that comes to mind. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Nigeria. Olumo rock sits in the heart of Abeokuta – a name which means ‘under the rock’. It serves as home to many caves and shrines. Olumo means “all the troubles and sufferings were over”. Olumo rock was turned into a tourist site in 1976 and was commissioned by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in February 3rd 2006.
Olumo rock is still very much honoured among the Egbas, as it stands as a symbol of unity and protection to the natives of Abeokuta at home and in the Diaspora and the caves ruins there still serve as a reminder of the survival strategy adopted by the people. Every year, sacrifices and prayers are offered in an ancient shrine situated on the upper part of the rock by the Alake of Egbaland, who is the ruler of the Egbas on behalf of the people and for the whole country and the entire Egba people, as well as for the tourists that visit the rock. Since the discovery of the rock, no casualty or fall has ever been recorded in the course of climbing the rock.
Beyond serving as a place of refuge in time of war, Olumo Rock is believed to possess some healing powers as it serves a spiritual purpose to the residents of the town. Some traditional healers usually fetch the water that flows from the top of the rock to the base for the purpose of curing various ailments.
The rock consist of statutes that represents the Egba past heroes and symbols of the Egba warriors whom are “Iliesha Abi Agbongbakala, Agagba the great hunter” and “Okonkenu the first paramount ruler in Egba land”, “Jagun Jagun the sharp shooter and general in command” and symbols like “cowries” which represented money used at that period of time.
It was noted that, during the raining season Olumo rock produced water that could be used by local herbalist to cure sickness and diseases but it stopped producing water 50years ago, close to this point was a tomb behind the house of a chief called Sonni Osi-Toko who died on the 23rd January 1956 at 122yrs.
At the apex of the rock one clear view of the first Church in Nigeria “Saint Peters Cathedral”, N.T.A Abeokuta, Baptist Boys High School, the family house of late Abiola, the Central Mosque, Sanatan, River Ogun, also an Iroko tree that is believed to be over 200 years old. The tree neither withers nor sheds its leaf throughout the year. It flourishes throughout the seasons, whether dry or rainy season.