The historic Mapo Hall, Ibadan, today, became a beehive of political activities raised to a top notch. Reason, all legs proceeded there for the flag-off of Governor Seyi Makinde’s re-election campaign. To lend more drama to the occasion were aggrieved five governors of the People’s Democratic Party, also known as G5 who arrived at the venue at 1 pm.
The G5 members were led to Mapo by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. On his entourage are Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu; Benue State, Samuel Ortom and Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Also present were party faithful from 33 local governments of the state: Akinyele, Afijio, Egbeda, Ibadan North, Ibadan North-East, Ibadan North-West, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan South-East, Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa East, Ido, Irepo, Iseyin, Kajola, Lagelu, Ogbomosho North, Ogbomosho South, Oyo West, Atiba, Atigbo, Saki West, Saki East, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Ibarapa North, Olorunsogo, Oluyole, Ogo Oluwa, Surulere, Orelope, Ori Ire, Oyo East, Ona Ara.
The Mapo Hall Venue
Mapo Hall is the colonial-style Ibadan City Hall on top of Mapo Hill in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Mapo Hall was commissioned during the colonial era by Captain Ross in 1929.
As recorded by Robert K. Home in his work, Of Planting and Planning: The Making of British Colonial Cities, it was designed and constructed by engineer Robert Jones. Officially Robert A. Jones (1882–1949), “Taffy” was a Welsh man who worked in southern Nigeria between 1910 and 1944 and was seconded to Ibadan Native Authority in 1923 as a road engineer, where he remained until his retirement to Wales. He is also ascribed as being the engineer who built Manor House in Iseyin.
The cost of construction was £24,000 and construction took four years between 1925 and 1929. The foundation stone was laid in June 1925 by Capt. W. A. Ross (The Resident, Oyo Province) and it was completed and declared open by His Excellency, Sir Graeme Thomson during the traditional leadership of Oba Shiyanbola Ladugbolu, the Alaafin of Oyo and Oyewole, the Baale of Ibadan.
The Neoclassical architecture of the hall, is a constant reminder of early British influence in the administration of Ibadan as part of the Oyo Province. The hall serves as an important landmark that could be seen from most part of the city, especially from the other six hills between which the city spreads out. Labour was provided by the natives, probably by the prisoners held here as tax defaulters and other slaves.
Over the years, the hall had played host to major political and social events in the city, shaping the socio-political direction of Nigeria in general. As contained in Zik: a selection from the speeches of Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Sixth Annual Convention of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons was held here on 5 May 1955 an it was here that Nnamdi Azikiwe delivered his presidential address. In May 1967, the Western Leaders of Thought also met here and it was here that Chief Obafemi Awolowo outlined his thoughts on the ongoing Civil War in Nigeria and stated that “I can see no vital and abiding principle involved in any war between the North and the East.” In Campaigning for the 1983 elections, Chief Awolowo also held a campaign rally here in 1983 where he made the famous quote – “Kaka ki Kiniun se akapo Ekun, kaluku a ya se ode ti e l’ototo ni,” meaning that the Lion would rather hunt separately rather than be the bag bearer for the Tiger. It was also here that the former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, chose to crown 24 new kings in Ibadan land.