ONE of the Eurocentric writers once described Africans as a bunch of people with no past, no history and no future. This jaundiced view was blindly bought hook, line and sinker by many Europeans for donkey years until historical and empirical evidences exposed the fact that Africa is not only the cradle of humanity, but the nerve centre and origin of global civilization and development. This challenge has tickled the sensibilities of Africans at researching into their communities by browsing through their history of existence raising questions about the activities of their progenitors.
And this has paid off severally and still revealing the fact that Africans are not only people with glorious past, but wonderful and proudly intelligent progenitors.
For Chief Nike Okundaiye, one of the world’s most respected artists and traditional textile designers, her place of birth, Ogidi Ijumu, Kogi State, Nigeria has something to tell the world about the heritage of her people and ingenuity of her progenitors. Her quests and telescoping into the past revealed an astounding testimonies and unravelled evidences of a superlative existence and ingenuity of the progenitors and founder of Ogidi on the Hill of Orunro (Peace at last).
History has it that, the progenitors of Ogidi during the migration from Ile–Ife settled in Ogidi, but had to contest with various invasions which forced them to relocate and settle on the hill of Orunro, where they exhibited their ingenuities and lived. The evidences, artefacts, objects, relics and articles of splendid existence dating back to several hundred of years are found on the hills of Orunro which Chief Nike Okundaiye backed by the people of Ogidi are preserving and protecting for this generation and generations yet unborn.
A visit by the Tribune Tourism Magazine to the top of Orunro Hill revealed a conscientious effort of Mrs Okundaiye at preserving the evidences of a wonderful and memorable existence of her progenitors on the hill before the coming of the European or the western civilization.
Mrs Okundaiye revealed “What we found on the hill are confounding. We found evidences and relics of a complete life of what you can call a modern life bearing in mind the time and circumstance of those days. The relics of the palace, the market, how they preserve water, the implements which were used to add value, the way they sleep and so on. We are talking of people living in hundreds of years now.” She pointed out “what we are doing there is preservation of our heritage without bastardasing its true form. We are preserving the relics for the people of Ogidi, for the history of Ogidi, for Nigeria and the inquisitive world to see that here in this town our progenitors lived comfortably and existed well.” Mrs Okundaiye revealed “what you see is what we found there with little or minimal touch. They used stone to build their houses. All the stones there were the ones we found. You can see that impact of elements on them. They are hundreds of years in existence.”
Ogidi seems to be a unique town blessed with special aura of attraction in that area as it parades apart from this ancestral evidence of a proud past, some relics of a robust social interactions with foreigners during the colonial days, one of this is the water project initiated for the town 50 years ago by a Canadian Catholic priest. The relics of existence of the progenitors of Ogidi which dated to hundreds of years back is not only an attestation that Africans are genius, but have a firm grip and lived well and better before the pollution by the Europeans with the so called “civilization and modernity.” Going by the relics, the objects, the history and the fact that there has been a very minimal human activity or impact on the hill which has enabled all the properties of existence to enjoy proper preservation, Orunro Hill, Ogidi is qualified to be among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.