I took the opportunity to spend the Muslim holiday in Kwara State (again). My Offa family always welcome me warmly so I look forward to time with them. I usually only visit Offa, but on this trip, I made sure to visit Ilorin for a few days. Like Ibadan, it's an ancient city full of culture, stunning landmarks and historical goldmines - the kind of things I go nuts for.
Hiking is always a good idea - plus the Ramadan felicitations had begun to show on my waistline. We decided to go to the highest point in the city, a 2-pronged rock formation called Sobi hills. It's an impressive 394m above sea level so you get the best views available.
We wasted no time, especially since finding it wasn't difficult. Google maps took us to the Sobi community and asking around did the rest. Before long, we had started to climb.
It's a gentle climb, but just in case, there's a white line that shows you the best way to the top. The first thing we noticed were people who frequent this location for worship. They asked us to take our shoes off before climbing and I wasn't sure if this was for religious purposes or just to make the climb easier. Either ways you can do what you want, nobody forces anything on you.
Anyway, there were Christians and Muslims in various states of meditation. Everyone keeps mostly to themselves, only pausing to smile and wish you good luck. There are children of all ages running around too and the entire scene feels very warm - very community.
This Mosque-Church vibe was an interesting sight. A small church - demarcated with granite and a crucifix - within leaping distance from an area with Arabic inscription.
The aesthetics are divine - something about seeing people meditating in nature's beautiful spaces moves you.
In addition to that, the landscape gently undulates, so there are pockets of trees and grassland amongst the rocky outcrops. The greenery and the altitude combine and make the air on the mountain fresh, like the atmosphere on a dewy morning.
When we got to the top, we encountered a veiled lady (Iya Hasbunlah). She told us about the mountain and the different Ilorin landmarks you could see in the horizon.
It would be nice to have a telescope at this peak to make spotting areas easier, especially for people visiting. I also wished I was carrying cash, because our guide was very helpful.
My friends and I picked a nice spot for to relax and as I'm typing this, I'm wondering why we didn't pack a picnic. It seemed like the perfect place for one.
Anyway, it's a calming location and I can see why it's a special place for a lot of people. You really get to spent time in your mind and have reverence however you want.
On the way down, I found myself using this small community as a metaphor for how Nigeria should be. We are a group of people with a diverse beliefs, cultures and systems existing together and the theme here is religious tolerance. Conflicts over religious ideals still happen and this is harmful for development.
For us to make strides in becoming a prosperous nation, it is important to put aside the things that make us different and connect more on things that show us we are the same people.
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