One of the nature’s gifts to Offa community, especially some households in Shawo Ward is Gogo natural spring. It has its water source from the rock landscape that borders it. It is situtated between Ansaru-Islam Primary School and Olugbense Primary school around Osunte-Isale Ade axis.
This scenic water spot has been a living host to some of us as children in the late 70s. This water destination was usually flocked by all and sundry all year around to fetch water for drinking, washing etc because it is the only perennial spring and sole drinkable water supply source in the area at that time. The mental pictures of those glorious and gracious days are still fresh in my graphic memory. It never runs dry; typical of a famous reading class in Chemistry Dept, A.B.U. Zaria, called “Sea Never Dry”.
It is not unusual that few myths surround its origin and existence. Gogo, as it’s fondly called, was believed to be a very caring and motherly spring, meaning ‘Abiyamon” in yoruba context. One of the nearest neighbours to Gogo spring said that it (Gogo) doesn’t like people fighting around the spring while fetching water. It does separate the fight by coming out in a form of snake and people took their flight immediately.
Another myth associated with it is that some women used to clear the leave droplets and other debris from the water surface twice a week now based on divine instructions from the spirit of Gogo. Also, Gogo doesn’t like people entering its water zone with slippers or shoes. Today, a typical sign of a mini shrine is noticed around the water side based on the believe in the spiritual instructions from Gogo.
It was also speculated that, the Gogo spring is where the legendary Oba Olugbense was taken to after his rescue from the inferno that gutted the palace by princess Emiola Iyaipo.
This piece will never be complete without huge appreciations to the passionate communal strides of heads of household (Baale) in Oke Oro, Isale Ade, Osunte etc who used to mobilise volunteers for cleaning and expansion of Gogo spring’s surface in the peak of very dry season around March/April in early 60s to late 70s when Gogo used to be the only lifeline or saving grace.
Gogo, as a name in lexical context, is strongly believed to have its origin from the Nupe language, depicting a Matriarch, or Matron. In hausa, it means the eldest and caring woman or Head of Admin, women folks. More historical research will reveal the details behind the
adoption of Gogo as a name for the natural spring in a non-Nupe community.
Today, Gogo natural spring is still functioning as a perennial water source as ever for some of the residents in the area especially those with limited access to water supply from boreholes. Though, the rising popularity of borehole in our community has however dwarfed the great sense of indispensability of Gogo natural spring but it still has its glorious and gracious place in our lives.
In a closing remark, learning more about our heritage is not only beneficial but also a form of continuous assessment for students without which students may not fully achieve their God’s given potentials. It will be wise and nice not to forget Gogo natural spring, as its water nurtured some of us like the plantain tree that nurtured the cocoa tree to maturity.
Maruf Olalekan AJENIFUJA