Mapo Hall: History, Present State
With an arc sited atop its gates, and eight gigantic pillars hoisted in the front, the Mapo Hall stands imposingly on the historic Mapo Hills of Ibadan. The area which the hall is located also has the seat of the oldest Local Government in Ibadan which was formerly referred to as Ibadan District Council (IDC), and it had all the local governments of Ibadan (City and less city) which later metamorphosed into Ibadan City Council (ICC) and much later into Ibadan Municipal Local Government (IMG) and its now known as Ibadan South East Local Government.
For first time visitors, the socio-political melting pot of the old Western Region gives an eagle eye view of the ‘ancient city’s’ hilly terrain as Mapo Hall is strategically positioned and thus gives a clear view of surrounding areas –miles apart.
Built in 1924 by the British colonial lords, Mapo Hall, with its expansive meeting room, played host to major political gatherings that shaped the future of the then-Western region, as it hosted political rallies from 1951 onwards. As such, any political party that didn’t campaign at the prestigious hall was regarded as unserious due to the fact that the hall became a symbol of political relevance.
History has it that its great architectural design was cobbled by Engineer Robert Taffy Jones and commissioned on October 5, 1929, by Sir Creame Thompson, British Governor and then Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.
Prominent Ibadan architects like Arch S.B. Latunde, Chief Ebada Otiti, Chief Agbaje, Chief Ogunmola, were still alive when the epic center was erected.
Also, the first settlers in the Mapo Hills were refugee warriors fleeing the Fulani wars in the Guinea Savannah –they settled there in 1829.
Similarly, erecting the edifice took the form of communal efforts, that is, direct labour from villages and communities around Ibadan with the foundation being laid by Captain W.A. Ross C.M.E –he represented the Queen of England as the District Officer (D.O)
The Mapo Hall has a mini-museum where the relics of the chains used to hold tax evaders in the colonial era, are hung. There are also pictures of all Olubadan (King) that have reigned in Ibadan.
Following dilapidation, the former Governor of Oyo state, Alao Akala, swung into action and gave the historic structure a facelift in 2008, and leaving controversy in its wake. The hall still wears the look of its ancient British style architectural design.
Presently, it is home to conferences, wedding receptions, and many social gatherings in Ibadan and houses a local government in Oyo State.