At Omu-Aran day, cultural glitz, colour, glamour fuse
Ancient Igbomina town of Omu-Aran, headquarters of Irepodun Council of Kwara State, gleefully showcased its rich cultural heritage on Saturday, October 19, 2019 when its fifth Omu-Aran Day ceremony held with fanfare. From far and near, indigenes of the town, with pomp and pageantry, joined their royal father, His Royal Majesty Oba Abdulraheem Oladele Adeoti, Olomu Efon II, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, in aso ebi (a common ankara attire), to usher in their guests, led by Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to the Government Secondary School, Omu-Aran venue of the event.
In a rare display of governmental solidarity, the governor came alongside his deputy, Chief Kayode Alabi. Taking a bureaucratic view of their presence at the occasion, a retired permanent secretary in the state civil service, Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim, humorously said on his Face Book Wall that "what the attendance of the occasion by the governor and his deputy means in governance is that the entire government structure had moved to Omu-Aran for the whole day."
Governor Abdulrazaq, thus, made history of being the first Governor of Kwara State to grace the event, which debuted on October 3, 1987.There was also an array of eminent Igbomina and Ekiti (Kwara) traditional rulers led by the Chairman of Irepodun Traditional Council and Olupo of Ajasse-Ipo, Oba Sikiru Sanni, Woleola II.
The chief launcher of the occasion was the former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Hon. Babajide Obanikoro, member Lagos State House of Assembly representing Eti-Osa, while Sen. Lola Ashiru (Kwara South) was Chairman.The Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Dr. David Oyedepo, who is an indigene of the town, was Spiritual Father of the Day while member of House of Representatives for Irepodun, Oke-Ero, Isin and Ekiti, Kwara State, Hon. Tunji Olawuyi Ajuloopin and Hon. Bisi Yusuf of Lagos State House of Assembly were chief host and co-chief host respectively.
Resplendent in fashionable uniform attires, members of the Omu-Aran Development Association (ODA) and various men and ladies and youth clubs in the town danced to melodious music and talking drums to the admiration of their guests.There were cultural displays by many cultural groups led by the famous Igbalajobi Dancing Troupe.
In his welcome address, the National President of ODA, Chief Bisi Adeyemi, appreciated the presence of the state governor and his deputy at the occasion, which he explained, was primarily packaged for developmental fund-raising.Chief Adeyemi, who is the Akeweje of Omu-Aran and former Registrar of Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State, said that the community has a long history of self-development, despite being a council headquarter since 1968.
Among its achievements, he said, were four community colleges, township road network, a multi-million Naira City Hall complex, four police posts and barracks; a ring road, first phase of Olomu Palace, police patrol vehicles and a thriving micro-finance bank. From the proceeds of the current fund-raising, he said that the community planned to build a JAMB Examination centre, complete its ongoing ring road project and build the second phase of the Olomu Palace.
Chief Adeyemi appealed to the state governor to urgently rehabilitate the town’s 35-year-old water dam to reduce the problem of acute water shortage and complete the abandoned township roads.He said that although the town was blessed with a world-class private university - Landmark University – it deserved state and federal tertiary institutions with its more than 20 public and private-owned colleges, population and status as the state’s third largest town.
The ODA president expressed the hope that the present state government would be more accountable, transparent and equitable in the distribution of social amenities and employment among towns and villages in the state.
In his own speech, Gov. Abdulrazaq said that he was impressed with the track record of Omu-Aran not only on self-help projects but also on investment in education of its citizens who, he noted, are making great exploits in various professional fields.
Abdulrazaq recalled the pioneering efforts of one of the eminent indigenes of the town, the late retired Brig.-Gen. David Bamigboye, the first Military Governor of the State and assured that he would build on his legacies.He assured that his government would complete all the abandoned road projects in the town and rehabilitate the old water dam without further delay.
More than N45 million was realised at the occasion. Among the highest donors were Asiwaju Tinubu, N10 million; Hon. Tunji Olawuyi and associates, N10 million; Hon Bisi Yusuf, N5 million; ODA, Lagos Branch, N5 million; Sen. Lola Ashiru and Engr. Sunday Babalola, N2 million each and Information Minister Lai Mohammed, One million Naira.
In his vote of thanks, the chairman of the Central Planning Committee, retired Maj.-Gen. Yemi Abidoye, thanked state governor and all the donors for their continued support for the community.Gen. Abidoye assured that the community would continue to count on the government and its well wishers to make life more comfortable for its citizens.
. Adebayo, the Eesa of Omu-Aran, was formerly, the Executive Director (Marketing/Lagos Operations), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Kwara State Commissioner for Information, Youth, Sports and Culture.