My friends and I spent the New Year break in Offa town. It is located in Kwara State (middle belt of Nigeria) and home to about 120,000 inhabitants. It is a town brimming with rich cultural heritage, bright and industrious people and beautiful landscapes and architecture that we were very excited to experience. Thanks to the foresight of their ancestors, Offa indigenes are very well educated. Schooling was prioritised in the state; and now they have a number of renowned educational institutions such as the Offa Grammar School (One of the oldest grammar schools in the country) and Adesoye College.
Some interesting facts:
Offa is also the hometown of the famed Moremi, a legendary Yoruba Queen who played a paramount role in liberating her people from enslavement by a neighbouring kingdom.
Offa is also known for its Agriculture. Maize, cassava, sweet potato are only a few of what is grown here. They are also heavy farmers of poultry products and the town puts out massive quantities of these annually.
There are 2 major religions practiced here, Islam and Christianity. There are never any religious clashes because of their educational standard.
We got a chance to tour the Olofa's palace which is located close to the center of the town. The grand residence has grounds that are quite expansive and particular attention is paid to the greenery, making it very lush and reminiscent of a paradise getaway.
There is a sense of community within the palace and everyone here is regarded as family. Sounds of excited children learning Arabic in the courtyard danced rhythmically through the air. Peacocks being the official mascot of Offa, strut around the palace grounds in their full majesty.
The structures are ornately decorated and are a constant reminder of the significance of the ground we were standing on. The palace doubles as a rich history book on Offa culture that dates back to the 14th century and it houses the tombs of all the past kings who have sat on the throne. These tombs gave us insight into the happenings since 1397.
The depth of knowledge we gained was incomparable and I remain filled with pride that our cultural heritages run deep and date back so far.
We also went explored the Offa Central Mosque, which is right beside the palace. The ancient Mosque was under some renovation, but we were able to look around and climb to the rooftop.
The palace is magnificent indeed but still pales in the presence of the Olofa himself. Kabiyesi Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, who we were opportuned to speak with is a wise and soft-spoken man with vast knowledge. He made us feel very welcome in his abode and we were all very eager to learn from him.
He emphasises togetherness and the importance of family and friends, such that each person does whatever is within their power to uplift others. This ultimately results in a support system powerful enough to withstand anything. He is very forward thinking and being an advocate for tourism, has embarked on multiple projects to attract Offa indigenes and visitors to the town, e.g The Ijakadi Festival and numerous others.
The people of Offa have unbridled hospitality which they willingly extend to visitors. They want people to visit their town and state and share in what Offa has to offer. I for sure will be going back, it is now home for me.
To learn more about Offa and it's people, click HERE and don't forget to share and leave a comment!