Nigerian photographer and visual artist, Ayo Akinwande, recently shared with us exclusive images of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library that was commissioned back in early May as the first presidential library on the African continent.
Mr.Akinwande (who is also trained as an architect) was priviledged to be part of a team that documented the development of the library as it neared completion, months before its official opening. We’ve selected over 200 images from his (much larger) archive highlighting a number structures, spaces and features within the expansive complex. The first part of this exclusive 2-part feature, will showcase some of the buildings in the entirety of the complex, while the second part will focus on the main Library building itself, highlighting the intricate and impressive features and attractions inside.
THE OLUSEGUN OBASANJO PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY
The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) is described as “a historic, touristic, recreational and academic centre, which is regarded as a national archive and a place for the preservation of presidential documents and historical items associated with the office and person of President Olusegun Obasanjo.”
Located in the former president’s hometown of Abeokuta, Ogun State, the complex is also facilitated and owned by him. It stretches across 32 hectares of land (about 40 soccer pitches) and is made up of a number of buildings and facilities including the main library building, an amphitheatre, auditoriums, a bookshop, an amusement park, a wildlife park and a guest house among others. The Library itself features a museum and boasts Of 15 million documents, two million books and 4,000 Artifacts, some of which feature essential events in the Nigerian history and modern African history
According to the Library’s official brochure; ‘’At a more local level the Library will teach children and young adults the essential concepts of leadership and citizenship through the example of a former president. By upholding the critical worth of good governance, the exhibitions should inspire future leaders of Nigeria.”
Here’s a look at some of the buildings on the complex grounds captured through the lens of Mr. Ayo Akinwande.
THE OOPL AMPHITHEATRE
An open air amphitheater that could be used for seminars, plays and live concerts.
THE OOPL AUDITORIUM
A circular, 1000 seater auditorium
THE GREEN LEGACY GUEST HOUSE
A 100+ room 4-star hotel with facilities such as elevated swimming pools (Main & Children pool), a tennis court, a modern well-designed gym and sauna among other facilities.
A large, lush bamboo clearing offering “a true taste of African cuisine”
ROUNDA’S FUN STOP (OOPL AMUSEMENT PARK)
OOPL WILDLIFE PARK
The Wild Life Park, intended to accomodate exotic animals such as Lions, Elephants, and Hyena among others.
OOPL ‘ROCK OF INSPIRATION’
The ‘Rock of Inspiration’ (believed to have been a prayer mountain previously) is the highest point in the complex, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding city of Abeokuta, which get even better through the installed microscope.
OOPL BOOKSHOP OOPL ARRIVAL PAVILION
A fairly large hangar that accommodats some presidential artefacts such as Obasanjo’s first car, (a well-kept Volkswagen Beetle), A peculiar white jeep (said to be used by Pope John Paul on his visit to the country), as well as a military helicopter and a miniature warship, amongst others.
OOPL MAIN LIBRARY BUILDING
Said to be designed like “an outstretched arm welcoming visitors,’’ the Main Library building is a three story structure with man-made lake that sits opposite.
You can also watch this feature length documentary on the OOPL courtesy tagline global media ltd.