Ode Omu Central Mosque
Ode Omu, Nigeria

Ode Omu is an ancient town is located in Osun State, South-Western Nigeria. It is a along the highway leading to the state’s capital, Osogbo. Ode Omu was established in 1910 by the Modakeke people from Ife, who migrated from Ife during the reign of Ooni Adenekan as a result of inhumane treatment. Islam was adopted by the people of Ode Omu over the years and by the 1940s had become a dominant religion in the town. Hence, a central mosque was needed as a place for Muslim inhabitants to worship. The central mosque became an attraction for neighboring towns and villagers who visited for Arabic and Islamic education, which graduated its first students in 1953.

Approaching the town, twin minarets, multiple domes, and elaborate curves on the facade of the central mosque which is painted in a bright yellow and maroon, dominate the skyline of the town. The mosque remains the tallest standing building in the town. Ode Omu Central Mosque makes an impressive use of curves for the time period. It has a tower building that is about 15 meters tall and separate male and female prayer halls with the female space situated on the first floor. The male prayer hall is a double volume space roofed with timber trusses utilizing wood joinery techniques and spans a distance of nine meters. The female prayer hall surrounds the double-volume male prayer hall with wide-open corridors that can be accessed through staircases at the front of the mosque. These corridors can also be used for prayers. The columns supporting the corridors of the female prayer hall have an entasis reminiscent of the classical Greek columns: an ornamental capital and a large square base.

The minarets have spiral staircases which link to the female prayer hall and create access to the concrete rooftop of the female prayer hall. The tower building has habitable room spaces where the imam and clerics may stay. The mosque has three domes all of which sit on a barrel vault. There are small openings on the barrel vault and the central dome, which illuminate the female prayer hall. These openings are covered with transparent glass and have chamfered ends to prevent water from collecting at its edges. There are also small domes niched into the reinforced concrete roof.

Skilled workmen from Ilorin, a city with a large Muslim population, were recruited to build the mosque. The masons who worked on the mosque were supervised by a man called Odunlami. He built the mosque with the help of an equally skilled carpenter known as Yusuf, who was a native of Ibadan. Odunlami and Yusuf were designed and engineered the building, with the services of an architect and engineer.

The appearance of the mosque reveals a strong influence of architecture styles foreign to Ode Omu. The use of stained glass windows, the flat reinforced concrete roofs, and numerous curves suggest that Odunlami might have been inspired by Christian and Afro- Brazilian architecture styles. However, the mosque is also infused with patterns and designs that can be traced to the local architecture of Ode Omu. The construction of the central mosque was completed on the 25th day of January, 1948 with a total sum of £300,060. 

Ogunsetan Abdullah, August 30, 2020

Edited by Jola Idowu




G9QW+QC8, 220104, Ode Omu, Nigeria, Ode Omu, Nigeria
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Ode Omu
Central Mosque Odeomu
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