Down Memory Lane: Mapo Hall
Mapo Hall is the colonial style city hall, perched on the top of Mapo Hill, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. History has it that the hall was designed and constructed by Engineer Robert Taffy Jones in 1925 and is cited on the famous Mapo hill, which is the center of the metropolitan city of Ibadan. This historical hall was constructed during the lifetime of prominent Ibadan citizens which include Arch S.B. Latunde, Chief Ebada Otiti, Chief Agbaje, Chief Ogunmola and under the reign of Baale Shittu Aare.
The imposing and ancient hall can be seen from most parts of the city of Ibadan (I got a view of the hall from Bower’s Tower and from the prominent Premier Hotel). It remains the symbol of authority and unity of Ibadan people. The motive behind the construction of the town hall was to provide a central and presentable building in form of a hall for the Yoruba’s in Ibadan province where they could meet periodically for administrative purposes. Despite the renovations the hall still depicts the British colonial architectural look.
It is also known that Captain W.A. Ross C.M.E, who was then representing the King of England in the Administration of Nigeria, laid the foundation stone of the town hall. It is pertinent to mention that the project was executed through communal efforts (direct labour) that involved people in towns and villages within Ibadan. Native authority which consists of the present Oyo state with the inclusion of three towns, Ikirun, Gbongan and Ode-Omu that now fall in Osun state were responsible financially for the successful completion of the building project.
In recent times, Mapo Hall has been refurbished to wear a new look and is used for conferences. There is a mini museum which showcases relics of chains used to hold tax evaders in those days. Inside the hall are pictures of all the past Olubadan (King) that reigned till date.