No fewer than 144 students from the Department of Sociology and Social Work from the University of Lagos on Saturday had a tour of tourism sites in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Some of the students told the News Agency of Nigeria after the excursion that it was meant to expose them to the culture, tradition and heritage sites of the ancient city.
They said it would help them to appreciate and further understand what “Inter Group Relations,” an aspect of their course in school, was really about.
NAN reports that the students were taken on tour of the National Museum, the Ooni’s Palace, Ile Ase, Oranmiyan, Oduduwa, Moremi groves and a host of other tourists’ destinations.
One of the students, Favour Yinka-Ojo, said the visit to the ancient city had satisfied her curiosity to know more about the town.
Yinka-Ojo said she had been able to clear her doubts and ascertained that those stories about the ancient city were actually true and not false or jokes as she had thought in the past.
The undergraduate, who was amazed at the tradition and culture of Ife, advised tour operators to intensify efforts in projecting the city as a tourism hub for both local and international tourists.
She said: “I have seen lots of artefacts in the museum, Oranmiyan and Moremi groves.
“Seeing these groves makes me believe the stories surrounding them.
“We have a very rich history and cultural heritages, which must be well promoted for international recognition, and in turn to generate huge revenue for the country.”
Also, Moyosore Odugbesan said everything she had seen at the museum and within the palace had complimented everything she was taught in school.
Odugbesan said: “Truly seeing is believing.
“We can now relate these things to our junior colleagues in school to create the thirst in them to know more of the linkages that exist between Ife and other parts of the country.
She said: “The museum is accommodating beautiful aspects of our cultural heritage but they are not well maintained.
“Government must ensure proper preservation of these artefacts in the museum; the entire museum galleries were stuffy, not conducive at all and I feel such atmosphere is dangerous for the artefacts.”
Similarly, Mubarak Olaleye, who hails from the state, but said she only had the opportunity to do so through the tour session was amazed at the beautiful culture of the ancient city.
Olaleye had been exposed to the traditional method used in tackling problems of infertility in women, cultural practises in the olden day .
He said: “I never knew that my state of origin is this blessed and rich in culture until now.
“I look forward to visiting more regularly because there are lots of tourism assets to be tapped here.”
Sarah Owoka, a Social Worker student from the institution, said the history behind the ancient city and most of its deities were mysterious.
Owoka said the histories had helped visitors to the sites to appreciate nature more.
She said understanding different stages in the process of technological advancement exhibited at the museum was quite educating and entertaining.
Dr. Augustine Agugua, a lecturer in the University and course convener of the tour, said the students were meant to understudy the linkages existing between Ife and other places in the country.
He said the ancient city occupied significant cultural linkages in the history of Nigeria and Yoruba race
According to Agugua, these linkages can influence or inform issues that border on cultural renaissance in Nigeria and Africa.
He said: “The tour was to enable the students leverage on maintenance of cultural links and history
“Oyo, Benin, the Eastern and Western parts of the country have linkages with Ife town; these linkages are what we want the students to understand in tackling their course in school which has to do with inter group relations.
“It is a mind blowing tour, entertaining and educating; the experience gathered here will prompt us to organise another one soon which will warrant the students to tour the city in four days.
“Then, they will go on a tour of the Obafemi Awolowo University, which is also a tourist site on its own.”