the Odu’a Museum and Hall of Fame
The Cocoa House in Ibadan famous as one of the first in terms of architectural innovations in South-west Nigeria recently got a complimentary attraction. The penthouse of the 24-storey structure now houses the Odu’a Museum and Hall of Fame. The museum was conceptualised to promote the history, culture, heritage and ingenuity of the Yoruba people.
The apartment housing the museum is divided into two, giving visitors the option of choosing the museum or the hall of fame from the main entrance.
Tastefully decorated and equipped with a blend of contemporary collections, the museum and hall of fame were conceived to preserve and promote the heritage of the Yoruba and by extension educate and entertain tourists about the Yoruba people and culture. The design aims to replicate the traditional Yoruba village setting and thus evoke a sense of nostalgia in those familiar with such.
The wall of the museum and hall of fame – right from the staircase of the 23rd floor that leads to the penthouse - is adorned with artistic impressions, paintings and carvings while the vast collection of antique art and craft connect the past with the future.
Various musical instruments, especially drums used for different purposes and occasions in the Yoruba land are also on display. Another compartment showcases different types of calabashes, potteries, royal regalia, beaded staff of office and crowns as well as neck and wrist bracelets. Other items on display include a Yoruba Peace Treaty of 1886 at Kiriji-Mesin battlefield and a collection of swords.
Another section is dedicated to the Yoruba weaving and clothing industry with a flamboyant display of Aso Oke in different designs, colours and textures (sanyan, alaari, etu) sewn into dansiki, kembe, agbada and sokoto.
The last section of the museum showcases a blend of Yoruba and Western technological innovations.
On display is a gramophone, manual barbing clippers and wooden combs, televisions, typewriters, sewing machines, charcoal pressing irons, analogue telephones and a wait-and-get and monochromic camera. In the same section, there is a range of local kitchen utensils, hunting and household items.
Moving from the museum compartment to the hall of fame, the walkway displays creativity in use of different colourfully-designed tie and dye cloth (adire), which blend with the artistic impressions on the wall, the floor mats and the locally made ceiling.
At the Odu’a Hall of Fame, the gallery displays a roll call of Yoruba icons and nationalists, whose achievements in different fields have brought them recognition in Nigeria and internationally
Some of the Yoruba icons include Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Samuel Akintola, Chief Moshood Abiola, Rashidi Yekini, Chief Folake Solanke (SAN), Professor Wole Soyinka, Madam Olufunlayo Ransome-Kuti and Nojim Mayegun, among others.
In addition, the hall of fame has a mini amphitheatre where visitors can watch a series of video clips and documentaries of the lives and times of the said icons as well as other glorious moments of past heroes and heroines.
Nobel Laureate and Omoluabi Concept
Speaking during the inauguration of the complex, Nobel Laureate Professor Soyinka, commended the management of Odu’a Investment Company for promoting and developing a socio-cultural platform to rally and preserve the heritage of the Yoruba nation. The literary icon said the innovation by the management of Oduá was another first in the history of Ibadan calling on all and sundry to invest in the museum.
According to Prof. Soyinka, “The museum showcased the beginning of Yoruba technology and the ingenuity of our forbearers, but I want to say there is still more to do now that an appeal has been made to people to donate materials to enrich the arts, crafts and antiquities content of the museum.
“Let me say that it is with a thought of nostalgia that I returned to the Cocoa House and I must say I was very happy with what I have seen here. Cocoa House is one of those firsts the Yoruba recorded in Nigeria. This area specifically used to be the centre of arts and Yoruba culture
“But the negative side of it is that Nigeria went into a downward spin including Cocoa House and the University of Ibadan. The deterioration was much. Everything decayed and the famous Cocoa House could not save itself. But what we have seen so far has impressed me, from the ground floor to the top floor of this building. This Cocoa House is the contemporary Oranmiyan staff for Yoruba,” Soyinka added.
The GMD of the Odu’a Investment Company Mr Adebayo Jimoh said , “The idea of putting up a museum and hall of fame has been in the mind of the board and management of Odu’a who believe that many have lost touch with the past most especially as it relates to our culture, arts, as well as the contribution of our forefathers to the growth of our nation.
“Odu’a therefore put this museum in place to showcase objects of historical or artistic values that relate to the Yoruba nation. The exhibition of Yoruba artifacts in the museum presents aspects of socio-cultural life of the Yoruba people and no doubt will serve as an eye opener to researchers, visitors, school children and tourists who are interested in Yoruba cultural values.
“The museum exhibits ethnographic collections on Yoruba pottery, royalty, traditional musical instruments, Yoruba warfare instruments, indigenous weaving materials, arts and craft.
“The Hall of Fame serves as a centre of attraction equipped with audiovisual displays and documentaries of some distinguished individuals who have contributed immensely to the growth of the nation and also stand out in their chosen field.
“The personalities, who find their names in the Odu’a Hall of Fame, must have scaled through certain conditions. These conditions among others include the following: an inductee must be a Yoruba person, an inductee must be first in his/her areas of endeavor.
These achievements must have uplifted the Yoruba nation in particular and the Nigeria nation in general. Lastly, the Omoluabi concept must be evident in the personality’s dealings,”Jimoh added.