IEDPU's award fiesta for Saraki, Lawal, Adisa, Gobir, others
Ilorin, an ancient city historically, is a conglomerate of multiple of cultural backgrounds. It is a town that plays host to ethnic nationalities from different parts of Nigeria and a few African countries.
Despite diverse cultural inclinations of the people that resident in the city, it remains a centre of attraction to all other neighbouring towns. The location of the city between the North and South, both sides of the divide of Nigeria is advantageous to its existence.
The city is known with many attributes like every other major cities in the country. What however distinguishes Ilorin among others is its uniqueness that cannot be equalled to any other.
As an ancient town, there are many versions to its existence and first settlers. This therefore makes it a multicultural community. Unlike other communities that descended from one progenitor, Ilorin played host to many progenitors who all in their various endeavours in the ancient period, carved niches for themselves. Though many of them had since gone to the next world, their impacts transcended and outlived them.
The distinction of the city is seen in the uniqueness of different tribes that came together to make it what it is today. In Ilorin, there are people of Fulani, Gobir, Kannike, Nupe and Yoruba origins among others.
Because of its uniqueness, it stands at a vantage position as a major determinant factor within the political landscape of Kwara on one hand and Nigeria on another.
However, what cannot be wished away in the history of the ancient city is a sense of unity, purposefulness, cohesiveness and peaceful co-existence among the people of cultural diversity.
Being a city that hosts renowned Islamic scholars, the tradition of the city apart from vocational skills and entrepreneurship, is Islamic education, which focuses on the Quran and rudimentary knowledge of Islam.
And this has incontrovertibly cemented the relationship among various households of the city despite different cultural identities. Like what is typical of African setting, Ilorin is also known with clusters of buildings with principal aim of promoting intra and inter-family relationship.
Due to importance placed on Islamic education, every household made sure their children attend Arabic school (Ile-Kewu). In fact, this flair for arabic education by forebears placed the city at disadvantage position in the beginning in terms of western education as most of its contemporaries leveraged on the window of education brought by the colonialists to expose themselves and be conversant with what the whites have come with them.
In the bid to get relevance and be exposed to western ideas, some parents of Ilorin origin despite opposition ab initio, took advantage of the education by the whites to educate their offsprings. Understably, the fear of the progenitors sprang from negative tendencies likely to accompany the educational system.
However, the diverse cultural backgrounds of Ilorin city has remained a blessing in disguise for the people with pervasive unity of purpose and sense of communality leading to the establishment of different socio-cultural organisations to raise the bar of the ancient town higher.
One of such organisations is Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU). Floated in Kano in 1949, the union has undergone series of transformations and has had its name changed at different times with a view to meeting up with the ideals of the founding fathers.
And as an apex socio-cultural body of Ilorin community, IEDPU has remained in the forefront of promoting oneness and unity of the ancient city regardless of status of the citizens. No doubt, it has become a strategic umbrella union that annexes every household in the community to sustain the concept of unity that has existed over the years.
Aside from prominent Islamic scholars that made Ilorin what it is, there are several successful business moguls, bureaucrats, technocrats, military top brass, politicians and the rest of them who made impact and inscribed their footprints on the sands of Ilorin.
The numerous achievements of these distinguished personalities drew the attention of IEDPU to single them and wrap their names in skins of honour.
On Sunday, 27 December, all roads led to the National Secretariat of the union along Geri-Alimi, Ilorin where the grand finale of the 50th annual conference of the union was held.
The week-long event came to a climax with admittance of many Ilorin indigenes who made mark in their carriers into the hall of fame of the union. At the event, some eminent Ilorin indigenes were also awarded posthumously. This also attests to the popular saying among the Yoruba that "The day man dies, he becomes a statue since there is no living saint".
Among the awardees were late Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Zulkarnaini Gambari Mohammed; late strong man of Kwara politics, Dr Olusola Saraki; former Chief of General Staff, Supreme Headquarters, late Major General Tunde Idiagbon; former Minister of Works, late Major General Abdulkarim Adisa; former Governor Kwara State, late Rear Admiral Mohammed Lawal; former super permanent secretary, late Alhaji Yusuf Amuda Gobir; first Waziri of Ilorin, Mallam Muhammadu Gobir; late Sheik Muhammad Habeebulah Kamaldeen Al-Adabby, late Sheik Adam Abdullahi Al-Ilory, late Balogun Alanamu of Ilorin, Alhaji Sa'ad Alanamu, late Justice Saidu Kawu and late Alhaji Mahmud Babatunde Baker. These set received their awards posthumously.
Other eminent Ilorin indigenes who received award at the ceremony were former Minister of Environment, Architect Tayo Alao; former commissioner for Education in Kwara State, Hajia Halimat Yusuf; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Alhaji A.G.F Abdulrasaq and pioneer grand khadi of Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, Justice Abdulkadir Orire.
In his remark, the IEDPU National president, Alhaji AbdulHamid Adi, eulogised the awardees for contributing positively to the upliftment of ancient Ilorin town.
He said the recipients were selected base on merit while the award given was meant to appreciate them and urged other successful Ilorin indigenes to emulate them.
Speaking with newsmen at the ceremony, a one-time Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant and son of late former Governor of Kwara State, Mr Akeem Lawal, expressed gratitude to the IEDPU for acknowledging his father's contribution to the growth and development of Ilorin community.
Akeem Lawal, who received the posthumous award on behalf of his father, said the honour portends good tidings for the late former governor's family.
He noted that the IEDPU has become a viable platform that reunites all Ilorin indigenes irrespective of where they find themselves.
The ex-Kwara PDP gubernatorial aspirant urged the union to continue to sustain the legacy of its founding fathers and promised that the Lawal's family would not renege in supporting the cause of Ilorin.
Also speaking, former Minister of Environment, Architect (Hajia) Tayo Alao, described the award as very laudable and praised the IEDPU for considering her worthy of the good gesture.
In the same vein, Alhaji Yakubu Layi Gobir, who received a posthumous award on behalf of the family of his late father, Alhaji Yusuf Amuda Gobir, said the honour was a manifestation that the impact made by his father on Ilorin community did not go unnoticed.
He stated that the IEDPU has performed the expectation of its founders and urged the incumbent executives of the union to consolidate on the gains recorded especially in the areas of job creation and educational development among indigenes of the ancient town.
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