1st September, 2010
After a stressful journey through the forest, we approached Irosun, a remote village in Badagry area of Lagos State, South West Nigeria. Suddenly, our stress turned to vivaciousness as the atmosphere busted to life, while just from the blues, a tall masquerade appeared dancing frantically with local women singing after him and the men beating the drums in unison to the amazement of all.
Although cut off from civilisation, the locals appeared happy and welcomed us with open hands. The Lagos State Ministry of Rural Development had gone to the village to hand over to them a solar electrification project as the area had been without electricity for over 400 years because there was no way the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), could reach this remote village.
Many of the houses in the village are still made of thatch and palm fronds, while the moonlight life there reminds one of early days in the village several years ago, as the people spent enough time to play all sorts of local games.
With the solar electrification of the area, they now have street light and where to charge their phones.
Having seen that they have special guests coming to hand over solar electrification to them, they decided to entertain them in the rural way by drumming and dancing.Â The women danced their heart out in their local attires.
Akinolu Owolabi, a 22-year old student of Kankan Junior Secondary School, was born in Irosun.Â According to him, the village had never had electricity but that since they now have solar electrification, their lives have been made better.
With a population of about 2,000, the villagers still hold sway to their traditional way of worship. They celebrate the Ogun festival once in a year, where they make sacrifices to the god of iron. However, some of them are Christians.
The village is surrounded by a thick forest but a beautiful scenery to behold.Â Coconut trees littered everywhere, as the people could never be short of feasting on them every moment.
Mr. Peter Adeogun was born in the village but resides outside the community because there are no social amenities to make life worthwhile.Â Once in a while, however, his heart is drawn to visit his roots and after struggling for years, he graduated as an engineer.
According to him, the major occupation of the people are farming and weaving. He added that the village had been without electricity since the 17th century, but added that with the presence of solar power, the people could now charge their phones at night and play around as street light have been installed
We need a town hall and school in this village. Our children trek 12 kilometres daily to school in another village. We also need the real electricity in our village. This solar electrification is not inside our houses, we need light from PHCN so that each house can have light,â€ he stated.
Despite all the shortcomings, the Irosun people looked very happy. They are not troubled by the hustle and bustle of city life asÂ Â they live simple and quiet life and seem contented with what they have.
Another village in a remote area of Badagry is Pashi, which is far inside the bush than Irosun.Â Nobody knew it ever existed until it got the solar electrification project from the state government.
Like Irosun, Pashi has rich cultural heritage, which was displayed when government officials visited the village as they entertained the visitors with masquerades.
Likewise, other villages visited, such as Boglo, Ilado and Odofin, all in Badagry, have common cultural heritage that could not be eroded easily.