Thursday, October 25, 2012

The 331st good thing about Lagos: Seeing a bit of Ibadan

(Just noticed that I wrote this last fall, but never published it.  It was listed as a draft in blogger.  So here is my delayed blogpost about our trip to Ibadan.)
Well, I'm very glad that I've finally caught up with my blogging to the current season.  I'm only a little over a month behind!  I had been back in Lagos just a week in September when we joined a Nigerian Field Society trip to Ibadan.  I had driven through Ibadan before, but hadn't seen any more than the crowded streets.  The objective of this trip was to visit a few of the historic buildings in Ibadan.  It was an architecture tour, really. 
We started out meeting in Lagos in Freedom Park, which is a nice new park which is built on the site of a historic prison.  I hadn't been there before, so it was nice to get a look at it. 
 These are reconstructed prison cells that are now used when they have market days as stalls for the vendors.
 This is one of the old gates.
 There are sculptures, green areas, ponds and fountains, a history museum and an amphitheater.  It's really quite a nice oasis right in the middle of a very busy part of Lagos Island. 

 The drive to Ibadan was scheduled to take 1 1/2 hours, but actually took almost 3.  We finally made it to Mapo Hall, a public works building and former city hall that dates from 1926.  It was kind of incongruous to me to see this Greek temple architecture in Nigeria.
 Inside it's now used for public events.  The blue is from the plastic panels they are using in the roof skylights.
 There was a great view of this huge city from Mapo Hall.  At the time of Nigeria's Independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest city in Nigeria and the 3rd largest city in Africa, after Cairo and Johannesburg.  It is now the 3rd largest city in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano.  It is the capital of Oyo State.  The University of Ibadan was the first university in Nigeria and is still an important educational institution.
 This Saturday was a busy market day.

 Off in the distance we could see Cocoa House, the tall building where cocoa futures are traded.  Wikipedia says it was the first skyscraper in Africa.
 At Mapo Hall the guide there got out some of the ledger books from the early days at the city hall.
 The ledger had correspondence in Arabic and English.  I thought it was interesting that all the letters I saw were headed with "My Good Friend,"
 The roads were tight and crowded and we drove through a lot of very primitive looking and run-down areas. 
 At one stop we went by boys who were getting water from the local faucet.

Many roundabouts had monumental sculptures surrounded by neglected landscaping.

We next visited Bower Tower, a tower built in 1936 to commemorate Captain Bower, the first colonial resident.  It was used for military surveillance.
The hall next to the tower had some nicely carved wooden doors.

 The tower had a very tight double helix staircase inside.  One side of the helix was for going up and the other for going down.

I forget the name of this church, which was right next to the historic home which was our next stop.

We visited Hinderer's House, the home of early missionaries, from around 1853.
Although the home is a heritage site, it's now privately used,
and seems to be quite neglected.  I wouldn't want to go up in this shed part hanging off the end of the 2nd floor!
This was an old barracks building next to Hinderer's House.
I always enjoy seeing the alphabets painted on the walls of schools.  "R" is always for "rat" on these alphabets. That's not the typical choice in alphabets in schools in the US!
We were told that this tree was there before the house was built on this land and they believe it's around 300 years old.  It looked like it was in a lot better shape than a lot of the newer sites in the city.
There's a lot more to be seen in Ibadan, but that was all we had time to do on a day trip -- the drive home took even longer than the morning drive to Ibadan.  As we left the city there was a downpour and the streets were flooding.  We passed through some very muddy places and saw trucks tipped over on their sides after they had tried to go around traffic jams and didn't stay upright. The traffic on the Ibadan expressway is notoriously awful.  It's always an interesting adventure to get out of Lagos!


lovintheempteenest said...

What a wonderful blog you have created on Lagos over the past few years!

lovintheempteenest said...

You have recorded such a wonderful account of your stay in Lagos over the past couple of years. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

R is always for Rat because there aren't many rabbits in Nigeria... most people have never seen one up close. Funny observation though :)

uthman Ayokunle said...

adventure indeed!