Among the wonders of the world is Iyake, a suspended lake situated in a relatively remote Ado-Awaye community of the Oke-Ogun region in Oyo state hanging atop a hill that is hundreds of feet off the ground.
There are two suspended lakes in the world; the hanging lake in Colorado, United States and of course Iyake. What, however, makes the latter more appealing is its splendour, myths and arrays of natural wonders surrounding it.
Rumours said nobody has ever dived to the end of the lake, with a large number of unproven opinions saying it leads "to the other end of the world."
In fact, residents of Ado-Awaye believe that a white researcher once came to establish the end of the lake but he could not make a return back to the earth. He died there!
The lake, according to history, was discovered in 1500AD by the Dihormy refugees who are now head of the kingmakers for Alado of Ado Awaye.
The wonders and their myths
Iyake does not hang on the mountain alone as a wonder. The relatively calm lake which has never dried and always maintained the same level in both raining and dry season is surrounded by jaw-dropping works of nature that residents describe as extraordinary.
Coming from the ground up to the hill is Isage. It is a mysterious rock vertically standing on its tail, giving an eye-catching view of the Ado-Awaye as it spreads to the neighbouring communities including Iseyin and Okeho, a town covered by rocks.
Isage is not just a tourist attraction. The rock, because of how it stands, has been mystified. Wrapped with white clothes, people visit it to pray as it is believed it has an intercession power between worshippers and God.
Esè àwon àgbà
Another wonder of Iyake is Ese awon agba (the giant footprints of the elders).
These are pothole-like contours believed to be the footprints of the ancestors who discovered the mountain and the Iyake lake many centuries ago.
A tour guide who took Legit.ng to Iyake said for years, ancestors of Ado-Awaye dwelled on the mountain and the potholes are some of the historical remnants confirming their presence.
The elephant tree
The elephant tree is another wonder of Iyake. Although a tree with leaves on it, it has a striking structure of an elephant.
Apart from the noticeable eye, the tree has a truck-like branch. It was gathered that the tree has passed through the years without its formation changing.
The verge of death
The verge of death is a sloppy side of the mountain. Tourists are advised to take caution there because falling from it can lead to death.
Agbomofunyake, literarily translated as "the one that takes a child to Iyake" is a small hole beside Iyake. It is believed to be part of the lake.
The myth behind it is that if mistakingly stepped on by someone, it will throw the person into the Iyake lake. This is the reason it is covered with a log of woods to separate it from the ese awon agba.
Iyake's spiritual healing
Due to the mysterious presence of Iyaki hanging lake, Christian worshippers often visit it for spiritual cleansing.
It is believed that Iyake has the spiritual power to heal. So, people across faiths visit the lake for healing. In fact, some white-garment Christians periodically visit the lake and stay there for days in search of answers to their prayers.
According to a tour man, the lake heals infertility, though all these claims have not been scientifically proven.
Segun told Legit.ng:
"Sick people who come to this lake drink it and get healed. Barren women who drink this water also get healed of their barrenness and carry their children. It is a lake with spiritual power.
"As you can see, the water is clean, pure without particles despite being close to trees shedding leaves during dry seasons."
The Tourism side of Iyake
Just like the hanging lake in Colorado, Iyake is largely seen as one of the tourist centres in Oyo state. It annually draws people from wide and near to have a gaze at the wonderful work of nature in it.
Tourists and nature enthusiasts come to have a reading or gather in December to celebrate Christmas and other festivities.
However, despite the resource and revenue which the lake is capable of generating, Iyake has long been a product of neglect from the Oyo state government.
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The lake is managed by individuals who identify themselves to the tourists as sons of the land.
A neglected diamond in the hand of government
According to findings, Iyake is capable of generating millions of naira for the government of Oyo state but its location has often been taking it away from the keen attention of the government.
During the reign of former governor Oyo state Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala and his successor late Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, there were several attempts to renovate the pathway leading to the lake and give it a deserved glamour. This could not be materialised due to political and other reasons.
Further appeals are still being made to put Iyake at the centre of government attention. The accommodating residents of Ado-Awaye pray the current state government led by Governor Seyi Makinde will prioritise the Iyake project and make it one of the best tourist attractions in Oyo.
Speaking with Legit.ng team that visited his palace, Alado of Ado-Awaye, Oba Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi, Makuledoye II, appealed to the government to make Iyake lake like Olumo Rock in Abeokuta Ogun state.
According to him, Iyake represents the history and uniqueness of Ado-Awaye. And wide attention on it will draw development to the community.
"Imagine the revenue government will be generating if the government listens to our yearnings and helps us make it a modern tourist centre.
"What the Ogun government did with Olumo Rock is what the Oyo state government can do with the suspended Iyake lake. We hope one day they will listen," the monarch said.
As it stands, Iyake is still calling for wide attention to fully establish its natural potentials.
It is an overlooked treasure in the hand of the government which is left to rot due to years of rehearsed promises. With its unique naturally-gifted values, Iyake is capable of generating millions and contributing massively to the development of Oyo state.