Sunday, August 20, 2023



Bower's Tower is located in one of the oldest areas of Ibadan, Oyo State. It was unveiled on December 15, 1936, designed by Taffy Jone (who designed Mapo Hall) and named after the first British resident in Ibadan and a travelling commissioner for the interior of Yoruba land, Captain Robert Lister Bower, who brought peace in his era. 

The 60ft tall Bower's Tower was birthed on Sapati Hill. This was where he administered his government as the Lieutenant general which we call “governor” today. There is a place called “pulpit” where warriors meet with Bower. The tower which is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the largest city in West Africa has an excellent view that could allow one see the splattered brown roofs like broken China J.P Clark had beautifully described in his poem, ‘Ibadan'.

Though built in 1930s, the unique architectural creation still looks pristine and well-structured. The tower gives a spectacular glance of the four corners of Ibadan. One can view, from Oke Are hill – where the tower stands upon, the surrounding landmarks, including the popular Cocoa House, Mokola Hill, Adamasingba stadium, the Polytechnic, Ibadan, the University College Hospital and the rusty brown roofs around the town. 

However, a lot of people do not know the tower because of the poor maintenance over the years, which has made people think the tourist centre is deserted. The tower, which rises to the sky and only stands to represent tales but is far away from life around it. The tower has two entrances with narrow staircases which were explained as the architectural design that allows one singlehandedly walk through the steps alone to the height where the city can finally be seen.

The tower is a great place to visit. The main entrance which used to be the car park was functioning in the early 90s. The car park is meant to lead you to the stage where performers would come to play and gyrate to the admiration of guests. There was an administrative office which housed the workers of the tower for duties. As at 1999, it was a norm to have students from University of Ibadan to come around for excursion and sightseeing. Visitors from far and near who wanted to view the city roofs from the tower top use to patronize the place.

The tower was not really built for war but it had also served as a protective measure for the whites then. Because of the height of the building, there was very high possibility anyone standing at the top of the tower to have seen the war coming close and would have made such a person clamour for safety as quickly as possible.

With the architectural design of the tower, you go through both sides of the tower in one journey, when you are climbing up; you get to see those climbing down and vice versa. You can see those coming out from the other side of the stairways through the tiny holes on each of the step. The spiral movement birth the popular proverbial saying “Ibadan lo mo, o mo layipo” rephrased to simply mean “you know Ibadan, you don’t know layipo.”

When the step was commissioned in 1936, our forefathers then who could not speak in English described the spiral staircases by saying “se la n yipo, la n yipo titi ta fi de oke“ which means “we are just going around the stairs, going around the stairs and we have not reached the top”. 

The men would say again “a se oke lo yii Ibadan ka” (so Ibadan is surrounded by hills) and hence conclude by saying, “Ibadan lo mo,o o mo layipo” (you know Ibadan but you do not know Layipo). This was said to emphasise that even if a person knew the city well and has not been to the Bower Tower where one would ‘yipo’ (go around the tower), such a person has not known the city”.

The last renovation of Bower Lister’s tower was done by Major General Patrick N. Aziza in 1999. Other three Honorable ministers of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism that did renovation were Rear – Admiral Isaac Sunday Areola in 1996, Rear – Admiral Jubril Kayode Ayinla in 1997 and Doctor Emmanuel O. Odogu in 1998. 

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