October 20, 2021

UCJ-UNILORIN

Official Website Of Union Of Campus Journalits, University of Ilorin.

Discovery from Ages: Esie: The Oldest Museum in Nigeria

3 min read

By Abdulrasheed

There are a lot of treasures in Africa that are so fascinating. Some of these treasures are eye-opening into the existence of the African Traditional religion.

In Africa, there are a lot of beliefs and stories of several gods and goddesses which make them unique and interesting to explore. Exploring them is not only the main goal, sometimes but the lessons and business behind it are also matters of interest.

A town in the West African part of Africa, is called Esie in Kwara State of Nigeria, which housed a museum called Esie museum, which is not unrelated to the gods of their lands. There are numerous stories behind the advent of the objects in this museum are not to be looked away but one of the most famous and interesting parts of the stories should never be left untouched as the tombstones that are there were said to be humans before.

Esie museum contains above 1000 white coloured statutes which are soapstone, these soapstones are till date mystery for the discovery and the story behind it is related to the gods of Esie land. The gods are said to not only watch over the people who worship them but also stand against those who rebel against their lands too. This was the matter in the case of the people who turned Stone in Esie, they stood against the rulers and violate the people of Esie and they faced the wrath of the gods of Esie.

A source of the story claimed that the soapstones are originally humans, these humans turned soapstones after they wrote to the Elesie of Esie who is the Chief of Esie land that they want to settle in his land, but the Elesie refused to send anyone to receive them, which prompt them to settle at the outskirt of esie land.

After a long time, the Cheif of Esie gets to know that these people are becoming a threat to the security of their city they are even going to rebel against the Elesie. This frosted the Cheif and his cabinets, to think about a way out for they couldn’t tolerate the actions of these rebels.

This is when the Elesie the Chief on behalf of the people of his land called onto the gods to intervene, indeed the gods were on his side, they intervened and over a thousand settlers including their king become statutes.

In 1945 these stones are collected to a museum which is now known as Esie museum, which is the oldest museum in Nigeria. It is reputed to have the largest collection of soapstones images in the world. In modern times, the Esie museum has been the centre of religious activities and hosts a festival in April every year.
Although some of the statutes have a broken limb arm and so on, the Esie stones are easily identified as male or females and their king is easily recognised with his cap and well look which is outstanding compared to others. The Esie stones are indeed mystical and they truly represent the uniqueness of African religion.

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