Ekiti State is one of the six major Yoruba states in Nigeria. It is located in the south-west geopolitical zone of the country, and carved out of the old Ondo State in 1996. Ado-Ekiti is the capital town of the state. There are 16 local government areas in Ekiti State, and these are Ado-Ekiti, Aiyedire, Efon, Ekiti-East, Ekiti Southwest, Ekiti-West, Emure, Ido-Osi, Ijero, Ikere, Ikole, Ilejemeje, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ise-Orun, Moba and Oye.
There are several travel destinations in Ekiti State and many places of interest to visit, but we shall only be examining a few of them here:
1. Ikogosi Warm Springs
The Ikogosi warm springs in Ikogosi, Ekiti West LGA is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Its popularity stems from the fact that it is a confluence of hot spring and cold spring meeting at a point and then flowing down as a single stream.
The Ikogosi warm springs is situated in a dense forest that extends over a hilly landscape, with tall trees around the confluence of warm and cold springs providing a tall canopy that can host tourists and other visitors to the springs. The state government recently renovated the springs and made it very suitable for international visitors to see, while maintaining its cultural and natural features.
2. Ewi of Ado’s Place, Ado-Ekiti
If you ever want to learn the history of the Ekiti peoples with historical artefacts to substantiate what you hear – then the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti is the place to be. The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti is the traditional king of Ado town, and Ado town being the capital of Ekiti State confers some prestige on the king of Ado in the state government seat of power.
The Ewi of Ado’s palace is an architectural masterpiece that tells the story of the past. The ancient edifice speaks of royalty in centuries past, and it is a testimony to the cultural heritage of the Ekiti people. It is a place to visit whenever you are in Ado Ekiti, and a mini-museum in itself – replete with fascinating history.
3. Fajuyi Memorial Park
You must already know that Ekiti State was carved out of Ondo State in 1996, and Ondo State was part of the old Western Region of which late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi was the governor, when General Aguiyi Ironsi was the Head of State. However, Col. Fajuyi together with Gen. Ironsiwere both killed during a military coup.
Fajuyi was buried in Ado-Ekiti, and subsequent governments made his burial site a memorial park and a recreational spot to perpetuate the memory of the late governor. The park is very large and a tourist attraction to visit – it has a fountain , children playground, mini museum, tower, restaurant, drink bar, and opportunity for water sports among other games. Anyone can use the park for religious retreats, seminars, student workshops, and social engagements.
4. Erin Ayonigba Fish River, Erinjiyan-Ekiti
This is a sacred river in Erinjiyan-Ekiti, with lots of sacred fish that must never be killed or eaten. It is forbidden for anyone to attempt catching the fish for consumption because there is a legend in the town – that the fish will never get done however long it is cooked on fire.
There is a myth in Erinjiyan-Ekiti, that the river was actually a woman who in the olden days turned into the sacred river, with the colony of fish in the ancient river being her children. Killing the fish is forbidden, and it is said that whoever manages to kill any of the fish would die in poverty. The reputation of the Erin Ayonigba sacred river precedes, and tourists want to see the river and the sacred fish swimming freely in it.
5. Oroke Ewo War Centre, Ilupeju-Ekiti
Legend has it that the armies of Ilorin attempted to invade Egosi kingdom in Ekiti during the 18th century, and the mysterious outcome of the war made the site of battle an historical point of reference today – in fact, a tourist attraction.
According to legend, Ali was the warlord of the Ilorin people; but he met his match in Olayagba, Oloseru, and Elewere among others who led the Ekiti people. The Ekiti warlords used their magical powers to turn Ali into a stone called Odidi mode, with his big drum and camel and seat all turning into various stones that can still be seen today. These are said to have been preserved at the site of battle, and tourists can see these stone-figures by themselves if they visit Ilupeju-Ekiti.