Tourism

Elémìnígèdè Lake in Ekiti

Nigeria
The Mysterious Waters that Breathe!
As I traveled in the rickety cab, I was kept awake by the melodious drumbeats of Ebenezer Obey’s “Board Members” song. The soothing vibration of guitar strings struck by the adroit fingers of the aged ace musician got me enraptured. I reminisced the days as a young boy travelling with my dad to the village, often singing and dancing to Ebenezer’s songs throughout the journey. My dad always took this same road (though dusty and untarred at the time) with the same snaking turns through the same hamlets and settlements into the far interiors of Ekiti land. The road-side yam sellers are still there, always beckoning to passers-by to stop and patronize their displayed produce now filled with tomatoes, cocoyams, pineapples and oranges.

I never cease to marvel at the fascinating roads with its intimidating domes of granite inselbergs soaring into the skies above the thick forest vegetation that run along the country-side roads. The seemingly small cloak of ever-green vegetation capping the steep hills had always caught my eyes making me imagine the amazing panoramic views from the summit of those hills.

The journey from Ado-Ekiti had taken nearly twenty minutes. After a brief ascent, the road descended gently into a fairly levelled area bringing into view sparsely separated ancient mud houses and children skillfully playing with sticks and used motorcycle tyres. This community, known as Igede-Ekiti, lies as the backdrop for the mysterious waters with supernatural powers.

Continuing down a gentle slope, we approached a sharp bend that revealed a body of mud-brown water which stood in tranquility amidst a lush bottomless valley that sprawled into an endless expanse of captivating vegetation. The 150m long and 80m wide body of muddy water has been there for centuries, yet has never been known to run dry nor shrink in size. The people of Igede village believe the water possesses supernatural powers and named it “Eleminigede”, which means “the waters that breathe”. The locals also believe that the lake sustains the life of the Igede community. Though small, the lake is the spring source of one of the major rivers in the area and was regarded as sacred by the people for centuries past. It was also said that an annual festival was held in honor of the supernatural powers that protect the lake from drying up.

The cultural significance of the Igede town has been elevated by the presence of both the Eleminigede lake and the great Osun River. With increased attention from the government and interested private investors, this haven of cultural significance can be a potential cultural and spiritual tourist destination in Ekiti state.

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