In the Yoruba language, ‘okuta gb’okuta leri’ simply means stones mounted one on the other.
In Ekiti State, which is blessed with human and natural resources, tourism potentials, hills, valleys and rocks of various sizes across all the 16 local government councils, an ‘Okuta gbokuta leri’ stone called ‘Otagira’ in the native dialect, exists in the Okeyinmi area, where the Odogun family inhabits.
The head of the Odogun family, Chief Lasisi Adegbite Oguntuse, who is 100 years old, said the Otagira stone has a natural base, a flat surface, two other steps on it, with other big stones around the area, a scenery that always leaves tourists to there gaping in awe.
Our correspondent learnt from Chief Oguntuse that the family occasionally makes sacrifices at the shrine, especially during the celebration of the ‘Oye Odogun’ festival, when a new Odogun, the family head, emerges and also when an Odogun passes on.
During the seven-day sacrifice, seven women dressed in white attire will carry some bottles containing special water called ‘Otun’ on their heads and dance round the stone.
The Odogun family has two lineages – Onaowuro and Asegbeoloba – in Okeyinmi who are entitled to the chieftaincy title in Ado-Ekiti.
The centenarian said, “Our forefathers met the stone formation there. My father met the stone in the hands of his father and I also met it in the hands of my father. When we came of age, we were occasionally witnessing our father making a sacrifice called ‘Orisa Isewa.’ Elderly women in white clothes called ‘Aso ala’ did and still do the dancing round the stone.
“Whenever an Odogun emerges, he will be taken to the stone to take an oath, as tradition demands, and a sacrifice will be made for the Odogun’s reign to be peaceful. We also do the Ogun (god of iron) festival at the site for our masquerades every September.”
Pa Oguntuse said Otagira was once a regular tourist attraction until the state government neglected it which affected the Ikogosi Warm and Cold Spring Resort and reduced the number of visitors to the rock to trickles. Now the site, the centenarian added, is begging for government’s attention for beautification.
He disclosed that two of the state’s governors, outgone Ayodele Fayose and the incumbent Kayode Fayemi, had visited the site, and that government officials were once cleaning the environment.
He lamented, “The place is not clean for now. People come from outside the area to dump their refuse there. Before now, government used to put waste bin for collection of refuse in the area. But not anymore. Government knows what it can do to beautify the place.”