First Published On TheFisayo.com
The Fisayo at the entrance of the Queen of Sheba’s Site (Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria)
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage”
– Paolo Coelho
My journey to the Burial Site of The Queen of Sheba, popularly called Bilikisu Sugbon by the Yoruba Ijebu clan of Ijebu Ode In Ogun State, Nigeria was a 4 hour drive – 2 hours from Lagos to Abeokuta and an extra 2 hours from Abeokuta to Ijebu Ode where her burial site is located.
All I knew about the site before my visit was what I was told by RT. Hon. Muyiwa Oladapo, the present Commissioner of Culture and Tourism in Ogun State. He mentioned all the cultural and heritage sites that are present in Ogun State that need more promotion, while stating the development plans for the sites.
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Before he mentioned this destination to me, I knew nothing about it, obviously because, like I mentioned in my PREVIOUS POST, the major thing lacking in tourism in Nigeria is branding and promotion.
I find myself sleeping on every road trip and this one was not any different, so I wouldn’t be able to describe the whole journey except for the fact that there were quite a few hills while approaching the site and the road from Abeokuta to Ijebu Ode was not as bad as I imagined it would be. It was about 3pm when we got to Oke Eri community which is a small Muslim community with a simple lifestyle and little or no access to technology.
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We got down from our vehicle to greet the Baale (community head) before heading to the destination. We were just about 10 minutes away from the tourist destination when my excitement was popped and I was told “I” as a female could not enter.
Of course this was something the Commissioner already mentioned to me before embarking on this journey but it was rather very disappointing to experience it, mostly because I did not imagine that I would be stopped from entering the the gate even if I wasn’t going to see her burial ground.
The mystery why females are not allowed to enter is one that baffles me. I was told that before the famous Queen of Sheba, Bilikisu Sugbon died, she told the community not to allow any female see her burial ground because when she needed help from women they turned their backs against her, thereby making her resent women. I was only able to take the pictures because I travelled with other male nomads who were able to enter and take some pictures.
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In the past, I was told a white woman entered and one her journey back home she had an accident and died, while another grape vine said she stopped seeing her period, I am not sure how true these stories are, but if you eventually try entering as a lady, do make sure to message me to tell me how your experience was ([email protected] or @Thefisayo on social media).
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After seeing the master plan for the future of this destination, I am positive this would be a major source of income for the community and the state if well implemented. Below is the picture of the master plan, and if you know Obudu Castle Ranch it would be easy for you to picture this; the site is planned to be as beautiful as Obudu Cattle Ranch.
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Oh and the plan includes a system that would enable ladies see the burial ground without even having to enter so I am excited about this, and I look forward to seeing the site fully established as a tourist destination and source of income for the community.
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Things to note before visiting:
- Due to the fact that the site is in a rural area, the community is presently managing it, so you would have to meet the Baale (community head) to gain access into the site.
- Hold some cash just incase you need to tip the person showing you around.
- Make sure you carry along enough drinks and snacks for the long ride.
- Have a good laugh and enjoy the journey!
Peep the Video of the Tour!
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