By Sodiq Lawal
Despite recent renovation and beautification of Moremi Shrine, in Ile –Ife, the shrine is not yet comercialised for the tourists who are trooping on daily basis to take glance at the statue of the Yoruba grate heroine.
The Shrine Caretaker, Mrs Bidemi Ojo said this on Tuesday during an exclusive interview with Ife City News, adding that the state government of Osun are yet to approve the site and fix price for the visiting compared to other shrines in Ile –Ife where N200 gate fee is required before gaining entrance.
According to Ojo, since the renovation and unveiling of the statue by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, tourists have being trooping to the site for pleasure and seeking knowledge about the heroine, Moremi.
Ojo could not however provide accurate figure of the tourists patronage of the shrine on daily basis but explained that the patronage has increased since the renovation and unveiling of the shrine.
Ooni last year November unveiled the statue which adjudged to be the tallest in Nigeria, in honour of Moremi.
Ojo described Moremi as the real mother of freedom in the world whose legacy must not be left in the oblivion.
She lauded Moremi for dedicating her life to the liberation of mankind by sacrificing her only child and her dignity to free the people of Ile -Ife from the invasion of some terrorists thousands of years age adding that Moremi had created a landmark in Yoruba race .
Narrating the importance of Moremi to Yoruba race Ojo said” Moremi hailed from Offa , married to the then king of Ile – Ife, a kingdom that is said to have been at war with an adjoining tribe who were known to them as the Forest people.
“Scores of Ife indigenes were being enslaved by these people, and because of the slavery they were treated with disdain by the Yoruba cities, Moremi was then a very brave and beautiful woman, when she heard about the problem facing her people, she offered sacrifice to the spirit of Esimirin river so that she could discovered the strength of her nation’s enemies.
“She was then taken as a slave by the terrorists and, due to her beauty, married their ruler as his anointed queen.
“After familiarizing herself with the secrets of her new husband’s army by having sex with him, she escaped to Ile-Ife and revealed this to the Yorubas who were able to subsequently defeat them in battle.
“After the war, she returned to her first husband, Oramiyan of Ife. In order to fulfill the pledge she made to Esimirin before embarking on her mission, her son Olurogbo was given in sacrifice to the Spirit. Edi Festival is said to have then been started as a means of celebrating the sacrifice the princess made for the people of Yoruba land.
“After sacrificing her only son to the Spirit of the river, Moremi was deeply depressed and sorrow, She later turned into a stone. The stone till date is yet to be at the shrine, but will soon be at the shrine,” She narrated.
Ojo told Ife city news that prominent people, tourists, traditional rulers in and outside Nigeria always visit Moremi’s shrine on daily basis.