A picture tells a story just as well as, if not better than, a lot of written words. The mythical Ogunjokoro Iron Mass is as complex as the numerous stories a picture would tell. Located just outside of the Old Oyo walls, in modern day Kwara state, “Ogunjokoro” or “Omo Owu” has a rounded base and a pointed edge typical of a Yoruba calabash.Just 60cm in height with a base radius of 15cm, this metallic object is roughly the size of a cement block, measuring 50 kg in weight.
This Iron mass park is situated at Gbodomi, close to Ipaye district of Moro Local Government Area of Kwara state. The place is open to visitors all year round and is accessible by road. This iron mass is shrouded in mystery as no one really knows how it got to its position. Mythically it can be lifted by anyone – even 3-year olds – but once it’s weight is underestimated, the person who commits this “crime” experiences difficulty in lifting it.
These are a few myths about how this metallic object came into existence
- Oral tradition has it that the name Ogunjokoro came into reckoning out of a struggle between a blacksmith and a powerful warrior known as Ogun who wanted to elope into the world unknown with the object. After a long struggle, the warrior left with the handle of the object while the blacksmith had the other portion of the heavy metal now known as Ogunjokoro.
- An account has it that the object was worshipped by the followers of Ogun, who is generally called the god of iron in the Yoruba Kingdom. It formed a means of connection to the god of iron.
- Oral tradition also has it that several abortive attempts had been made by some visitors/tourists to cart away the Ogunjokoro. The mystery behind the difficulty of lifting it had prevented its theft. You would need a clear conscience that’s devoid of doubt to lift it.
- Other stories about the origin of the Ogunjokoro revealed that it was named after a renowned traditional warrior who according to oral tradition disappeared at the spot of the object.
Ogunjokoro and the tales surrounding it makes it an highlight of Kwaran tourism. Hopefully I would be there soon to explore this myth.