Sobi Rock: Where Muslims, Christians converge to worship one God, same time
The popular saying among sons and daughters of Ilorin is that Ilorin and despite the fact that Sobi Rock had been in existence before Ilorin came to be. The meaning here is that Sobi rock in Ilorin is predominantly identified with Ilorin.
An age long praise song about Sobi rock rendered by the Magaji of Sobi community, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Ajadi, while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, gives credence to the recognition accorded the sprawling and magnificent creature.
"Sobi befits Ilorin, Ilorin befits Sobi just like Mapo Hill befits Ibadan land.
Sobi alamira, omo afi asa p'erin.
Omo m'ekulu toletole.
Omo a b'ogun Ile, ki a to bíogun ode."
The Magaji said that Sobi rock became so famous, through his forefather, who came from Igbaja. "Elese oba Igbaja, Ajiboro was an hunter. He was on hunting expedition to this place. He actually cleared his way to the place and not that he planned to settle at a particular place. He met some people here though", he said.
Sobi rock, located at Alagbado area of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, also provides panoramic view of all sides of Ilorin from its topmost spot. It is thus not surprising that the place was of significant importance during the old times war periods.
Aside from the historical background of Sobi rock serving as an abode and strategic spot for warriors in many ancestral wars fought prior to founding of Ilorin the gigantic and sprawling rock is believed to possess spiritual essence.
Many people that had visited or still visit the rock to offer prayers to God over one issue or the other concerning their lives and family attest to the conviction that their prayers are answered. It was also gathered that eminent personalities visit the rock for prayers for election victory and political appointment.
One of the people that frequently visits the place for prayers, Mrs. Agnes Farayola of All Nations Church, while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, said that she was living in the northern part of the country when she was told to visit the place for prayers. She attested to spiritual power of the Sobi rock, saying that her prayers were always answered.
"My faith and belief are derived from the fact that Jesus Christ climbed mountain to offer prayer. I didn't just decide coming here for prayer. I was living in the northern part of the country before God mandated me to always visit a particular rock in Ilorin for prayers. I've seen a turn around in my life since I started coming here about 15 years ago. I believe that Jesus Christ dwells here and working for those who believe. And those who come here for evil also meet their waterloo.
"Muslims and christians come here for prayers when they know God answers prayers here. Christians started coming here before the muslims, particularly when they realised that prayers are answered here. Many important personalities in politics, business and what have you visit here for election victory, appointment and the rest.
Also speaking, one of the spiritualists that stay around the rock who belongs to a white garment church, Prophet Bolaji Joseph attested to efficacy of powers on the rock.
"Faith is the key word here. Prayers are answered right here even before one leaves. One can stay for five minute and meet God. Some people are told to visit here for fasting and prayers that will last for certain number of days. God does wonders here to the extent that requests from God are given with faith.
"Muslims that come here are with the belief that prayers are answered here. We all believe we worship one God. I stay here to pray for those who come to me. I tell them all I see and they are told all to do and they go to do it to better their lives. Muslims also come here in groups to offer prayers", he said.
Characteristics of the Sobi rock include marked white lines at some parts of the rock leading to the topmost spot. These lines provide direction for easy way to climb the rock. One is also expected to remove foot wares at the base of the rock before climbing it. This practice is obeyed by all visitors to the place and it says a lot about regard and neatness of the rock surface.
Another feature is that of different marked hollow spots on the rock. It was gathered that the hunters and warriors used the spots to grind edibles like pepper, and so on in the olden days.
Prophet Michael Ayodele Aroja from Ekiti state also said that he had been climbing the rock since 1979 to offer prayers because of his faith in God, who he said, had been answering his prayers. "It's rock with Godís spirit," he said.
Prophet Aroja, who narrated an experience to describe that the rock place was beyond the ordinary, said that seven people once came to the place with devilish intention of causing havoc in live of another fellow. He said that thunderstorm killed two out of the people while the remaining fled the scene.
"It was talk of the town that year. Even the military men visited the place then. I was one of the people they met to tell them what happened. Even the Emir of Ilorin heard about it and people far and near came to see for themselves. It was during the regime of ex-governor Mohammed Lawal. They had come to perpetuate evil charms against someone when thunder killed two of the seven people!", he said.
"This rock is different from all other rocks, not that it's higher than all other rocks in Ilorin, but because itís spiritual. Many pregnant women had come to deliver on the rock, particularly those that had suffered long years of being in pregnancy. People come from as far as Rivers, Kano, Kaduna states, Ghana, and other neighbouring West African states to pray here.
"We all believe in one God, be you muslim and christian. Individually, people come here to take their portion and offer prayers. People come here on their own volition and conviction. Empty barrels make loud noise. We donít advertise here. With faith, miracles do happen here. Anyone that's told to meet God on Sobi rock is divinely blessed", he said.