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“BILIKISU SUNGBO” Putting the Cart before the Horse.
By: Chief Femi Robinson.  
 Published  June 20th, 2012

I hear from the grapevine that efforts are now being made to “beautify” Oke Eri to make it a tourism destination. Part of the effort is to make the destination easily accessible and to bring development to the community. While I welcome the plan to “beautify” Oke Eri, I cannot but say that such action without proper documentation and research to prove who “BILIKISU” was, with archeological evidence will be criminal.

We know that a very powerful white woman came to Oke Eri to seek for powers and wisdom to rule the world. Some say she was the wife of King Solomon. Some even link her to the Haile Selassie, the great Ethiopian leader. A lot of research is still going on to determine who this great lady believed to have built this great wall is.
Sungbo's Eredo has been connected with the legend of the Queen of Sheba which is recounted in both the Bible and Koran.

In the Old Testament, she is described as having sent a caravan of gold, ivory and other goods from her kingdom to King Solomon. In the Koran she is an Ethiopian sun worshiper named Bilqis involved in the incense trade who converts to Islam.

Legends of the contemporary Ijebu clan, link the Eredo to this fabled woman, a wealthy, childless widow who they know as Bilikisu Sungbo. According to them, the monument was built as her personal memorial. In addition to this, her grave is believed to be located in Oke-Eiri, a town in a Muslim area just north of the Eredo. Pilgrims of Christian, Muslim and traditional African religions annually trek to this holy site in tribute to her even as at date. The impressive size and complex construction of the Eredo drew worldwide media attention in September 1999 when Dr Patrick Darling, a British archaeologist then with the University of Bournemouth, surveyed the site and began publicizing his bid to preserve the Eredo and bring the site some prominence.

There are better ways of bringing a tourism destination to prominence with out tampering with archeological evidences. Countries like Kenya, South Africa, Australia and others precede development of their tourism destinations by creating awareness of possible finds through research and documentation of the destination. They did not begin by bulldozing the destination to open it up to the public.

To the world, “Oke Eri” is like a crime scene with a lot of evidences to be discovered. We owe it to the world not to destroy evidences so dear to it because we want to build new roads, houses and hotels.
Some of us know what to do. There are others who do not realize that some actions they take could rewrite the history of our people.

The name “BILIKISU SUNGBO” tells me “BILIKISU” sleeps in the bushes. “Oke Eri” tells me the destination was known as the “Mountain of Testimony” and “Ewe Je” tells me “Plants Tell”. These information confirm to me that there are still stories to tell.

In writing the movie “Bilikisu” for International tourism development the writer merges the past with the present with the aim of exposing some hidden and forgotten historical, cultural and agricultural potentials of our people.
The movie will seek to promote a better understanding of the trado-medicinal practices of old and the use of herbal drugs in countries with forests blessed with plants.

The writer believes in the preservation of our cultural artifacts and wonders what will happen to them if there is no documentation before they are pulled down. We must discover “Bilikisu” in her naturalness before we start construction of roads and infrastructures that will wipe away archaeological information of our past. The use today, of discovery movie series and making of fictional movies are aimed at documenting information about things, people and places. It is also used to attract investments in Tourism destinations.

The making of the movie “Bilikisu” involve the use of the palaces and historical destinations in Ogun State. It will also involve the use of the Ago Iwoye University Teaching Hospital and General hospitals in the State.

“Bilikisu” is a total tourism movie to Ogun State like “Cleopatra” is to Egypt. There are great Investment opportunities in being part of making the movie. Be part of the “Making of Bilikisu”.



Chief Femi Robinson.

Former Village Headmaster.

08033054080.


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