Akure is beautiful. Not in the conventional way in which cities are expected to be, but in a way that celebrates the essence of human life. Simplicity and Serenity.
When I navigated my way out of the hoard of passenger prostitutes and walked out of the park to get a cab heading to Old Garage, heard the five passengers behind me who had been seduced by the charms of a cabman declare they were heading to the same place and the cab driver quoting 'Old Garage is N2500' to these unsuspecting passenger, I knew I was home.
When, after a few seconds of haggling, selling them tales of how he would pass through Arakale to Nepa to Alagbaka, then Oja Oba before moving down to Old Garage, they agreed to pay N2500, I knew I was home. When I walked towards them, told them we were going to the same place and that it’s a straight curve from Ondo road to Old Garage and it is N50 each, the look of defeat on the driver's face and our exchange of understood smiles told me that I truly was home."
Her roads are straightforward and simple to understand, even to a navigation klutz, the physical representation of what life is like inside her. Her buildings are full of modern structures wedged in between ancient styles, the symbol of her struggle to join the 21st century whilst keeping her history.
She asks you where you want to go, and it’s N50 to N100 in her blue and yellow cabs, wherever you might be heading to.
In Akure, the passenger is king. We might choose not to take a cab because it is ugly or rickety. Other times, it could be because someone is already sitting in front. I once occupied the front seat of a cab and a passenger flagged it down, the cab stopped a few yards away from her. The cab quickly reversed to pick her up.
If you think that's ridiculous, it’s because the driver knew she wouldn't move an inch. In Akure, cabs stop in front of the passenger. If you don't, there are plenty of others who will. We are not in a hurry. We do give up our throne temporarily when it’s raining or you are heading to Ijoka - but when sunshine returns, the commuters take back their throne.
In Akure, with N80,000 - N100,000 you will get your own self-contained apartment; 150,000 and a 2-bedroom apartment is yours, 3 bedrooms if you are not particular about highbrow areas. With 200,000 - 250,000, you own a 3-bedroom apartment; and if you happen to be flush with cash, a 300,000 yearly rent will get you the entire house and the landlord's free will.
On days you don't feel like cooking after you move in, you will be spoiled for choice with local restaurants. From Iya Ifeoma's alchemy at Arakale road to the classy potions of Captain Cook Opposite First Bank Alagbaka, you will not run out of great places to feed the god in your belly. Should you desire special delicacies of the Ondo people, your answer awaits you in Pounded Yam Village at Champion junction. A fitting location because after a trip to Pounded Yam Village, you will leave feeling like a champion.
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Akure understands even those who seek serenity and quiet have occasional days in which excitement and adventure are at the top of their desire. On days like this, it provides you with Idanre Hills, 30 minutes outside Akure. A magnificent work of nature that plays host to mountaineering games once a year. Her options also include Erin Ijesha Waterfalls, 45 minutes outside the city. When you are done feeding your sense of adventure, she's always home to welcome you.
We have a mall, a couple of parks and a few clubs, a few 3-star hotels and a badass roundabout that doubles as a photography studio, but these are not what makes Akure beautiful. We are not the city you come to when you are searching for distractions and daily escape from the complexity of busy life.
We are the city you come to when you seek serenity. The loving wife you come home to after a long day at work. People say Akure is boring, same can be said for peace of mind and the feeling of satisfaction.
It’s the feeling of certainty she gives. It's knowing you will be at work at 8am if you leave your house at 7:30, wherever you might live. It's knowing the woman who has sold whatever roasted food is in season at Araromi's junction (opposite Skye Bank) for over 10 years will be there to satisfy whatever roasted meal you desire.
While you are here, Akure might change her looks. The old house you've known for 20 years might get demolished and be replaced by a shopping complex but underneath all the aesthetical changes - at its core, Akure is the city that will never change. And that is why you are here.
Welcome to Akure.
Written by Adeola Seun
Adeola Seun ,humanist. Big believer in common sense. Arsenal lover.