Abeokuta is the largest city and state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna; 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of Lagos by railway, or 130 kilometres (81 mi) by water. As of 2006, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 449,088.
Here are some outstanding facts about Abeokuta
- Abeokuta means ‘under a rock’, signifying the protection which the Olumo Rock offered the Egbas during attacks.Since the discovery of Olumo Rock, no one has fallen from it. Not even once.
- Eastern side of the Olumo Rock in Ikija, Abeokuta
- The first church in Nigeria, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, is in Abeokuta.
- The first Baptist Church in West Africa and the first local government in Nigeria (Abeokuta South) are in Abeokuta.
- The first University in Nigeria should have been located in Abeokuta but due to infighting, it was established at Ibadan as the University of Ibadan in 1948.
- The first secondary school in Nigeria was sited in Abeokuta before it was relocated to Lagos as CMS Grammar School due to unknown reasons.
- The first hospital in Nigeria, Sacred Heart Hospital, is in Abeokuta. It is still functioning.
- The first bridge in Nigeria (Sokori Bridge-1903) built by a Nigerian (Mr. John Adenekan) without European supervision is in Abeokuta.
- The first Newspaper in Nigeria (Iwe Iroyin) was founded in Abeokuta in 1859.
- The first president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the first woman to drive a car was from Abeokuta. They both married each other. They were also the first male and female admitted to Abeokuta Grammar School.
- The first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria (Justice Adetokunbo Ademola) was from Abeokuta. He was the son of the longest reigning monarch (Alake) in Egbaland.
- Okukenu Sagbua I, was the first Alake of Egbaland. He was enthroned on August 8, 1854. His descendant, Okukenu Sagbua IV is the current Alake of Egbaland.
- Alake Gbadebo I, was the first monarch in Nigeria to visit England on a state visit. He spent 20 days at sea-May 5-25, 1904.
- The first time a white man came to Abeokuta on January 4, 1843, everybody (both young and old) left their homes and market places to catch a glimpse of Henry Townsend, the white man.
- During the American Civil War (1861-1865) which interrupted the U.S cotton trade to Europe, Abeokuta exported cotton to England.
- The most influential woman in the history of Egbaland and the first Iyalode of Egbaland was Madam Tinubu. Tinubu square in Lagos and Ita Iyalode in Abeokuta are named after her. She died in 1887.
- In 1893, the Egba United Government was recognized as an independent nation by Britain. She had her own laws. Many developments were made until 1914, when she was amalgamated to form Nigeria. The Sokori Bridge was constructed in 1903 and Abeokuta Grammar School was founded on July 16, 1908.
- In 1925, Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti (1855-1930) Fela’s grandfather, became the first Nigerian to release a record album after he recorded several Yoruba language hymns in gramophone through Zonophone Records.
- The most enlightened clan among the Yoruba tribe are the Egbas. Her chiefs had been interacting with the Queen of England as far back as 1868 which continued till a century later. English and Egba monarchs did exchange gifts.
- The only South Westerners ever to rule Nigeria are from Abeokuta (Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan).
- It is widely believed that Egba women are more independent than any other Yoruba tribe in the country e.g Eniola Soyinka, Elizabeth Adekogbe and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
READ ALSO:- BRIEF HISTORY OF ABEOKUTA