Ikogosi Warm Springs: Still unexplored goldmine

Ikogosi Ekiti is a serene town in Ekiti West Local Council of Ekiti State and bounded by towns such as Ilawe Ekiti in the East, Ipole Iloro in the West, Erijiyan Ekiti in the North and Igbara Odo Ekiti in the South. Ikogosi Ekiti is also surrounded by hills which shield it from attacks.

Like other Yoruba towns, Ikogosi also derived her genealogy from Ile-Ife and settled in the present place which hosts the famous and popular Ikogosi Warm Springs. The springs have attracted successive governments, from the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Ekiti State Government to foreign governments as a tourists’ centre of note.

Entering Ikogosi Ekiti, one could feel the nature of life; cool and quiet with normal activities. The road is tarred and clean in green environment. There is a security post at the other side having the road to Ipole Iloro as demarcation in-between the admin and the rooms and the chalets.

There also are 91 rooms and chalets with roads adoring the surrounding. The chalets and the reception are strategically structured to give clearer visibility.

The Tabloid.net gathered that an American, Reverend Johnson McGee discovered the nature wonder. McGee was a principal of Ekiti Baptist Boys High School and later, Ekiti Baptist High School, Igede Ekiti in Irepodun Ifelodun Local Council of Ekiti State from January, 1956 to July, 1959. McGee together with his family stayed on top of a hill called Oke Esu, along Igede and Iyin Ekiti road as Reverend overseeing the First Baptist Church, Igede Ekiti.

McGee took a step further and left together with his family for Ikogosi Ekiti where he discovered the warm springs. He could not find it easy to have a modern touch of the immediate environment of the meeting point of both cold and warm water due to the supernatural atmosphere of the place. In view of this, he had to meet with elders of Ikogosi to appease the spirit of the source before he could stay.

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Managing Director of Ikogosi Warm Springs, who is also the custodian of the source, High Chief Ayodele Ademiluwa, the Asaoye of Ikogosi Ekiti, took time to conduct our correspondent round, narrating and showing him the strategic locations at the source.

There are cold and warm springs at the first stage where they both meet. The meeting point is the source. The colour of the warm one is a bit brown while the colour of the cold one is a bit yellow. To further demonstrate this is a palm tree and a tree, very close to the source by the left hooked and fussed together having crossed stems. The mystery is that the palm tree shares the colour of the warm stream while the tree shares the colour of the cold stream. Again, the cold stream has fishes while the warm stream doesn’t have fishes. The cold stream overflows during the raining season but there is no way overflow can occur in the warm springs. It will never take or accommodate it.

Ademiluwa informs, “These two sources were discovered by me, and I made it known to the Oba-in-council and the elders which has been part of the historical perspective confirming the sources of the springs.”

Chief Ademiluwa asserted, ‘Both the water and the trees there are practically for caring hypertension and other diseases. During COVID-19 pandemic, we boast that we have solutions through these sources’.

In the early 70s, the late social critic, then Principal of Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, Ogun state, Dr Tai Solarin, was on excursion with his students. He could not get enough accommodation for his students and, in protest, made his students to operate outside the rooms as against McGee’s directive which Solarin branded as apartheid on Western Nigeria’s soil.

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Solarin’s action attracted the attention of the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon’s government. Gowon, therefore, built chalets at the Ikogosi Warm Springs to show his regime’s commitment.

Military Governor of the former Ondo State, Navy Commodore Bode George tried his efforts to ensure there was government presence.

Also, the first executive Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo laid a modern foundation of Ikogosi Warm Springs. He renovated the existing colonial structures and furnished it. It was his administration that the state government was producing Gossy Water from the springs.

Governor Ayo Fayose, who took over from Adebayo in 2003, was not as interested. Chief Segun Oni, however, showed a genuine interest when he succeeded Fayose in 2007 by making frantic efforts to revitalize the warm springs. But his administration could not carry out most of the planned efforts due to the court cases that sacked his government.

Governor Kayode Fayemi has not hidden his interest in tourism. In his first time as Governor of Ekiti State, he renovated the dilapidated structures. He injected over N2 million into Warm Springs, reviving the production of Gossy water and ensuring direct government participation.

Fayose’s second term did not change the situation rather insisting ‘Government doesn’t have business in business.’

But Fayemi’s second term sees Ikogosi Warm Springs as a project that should not go into extinction. He rescued it from dilapidation with different approach. The government is now running Ikogosi Warm Springs in partnership with Irin Ajo Travels and Tours represented by a Canadian, overseeing the place with little or no participation.

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Conversely, the resort is transforming to an eye sore. The premises look unkempt. Roof of the chalets at the right hand towards the reception, has been blown off without any attention. Police post at the opposite is covered by bush.

Electricity is a major factor that affects the proper functioning of activities there. Generator is used to power the bar for a short time. The adult swimming pool looks alive but the children swimming pool doesn’t; it is empty and dry. Most of the walkways have collapsed and some impassable.

Unless one gets to the entrance axis, there is no network reception; tourists are cut off from the world. This discourages people and makes the place boring and unattractive to, investors and developers. Though MTN tents are being put around the swimming pools, it makes a little difference in poor reception.

 

 

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