Ancient Igbomina town of Omu-Aran in Kwara State was agog with festivities from January 29 to January 31, this year, as the premier socio-cultural group in the community, The Omu-Aran Social Club, rolled out the drums in celeberation of its Golden Jubilee.
The town literarily stood still for the three-day cannival in honour of the club which has impacted greatly on its socio-economic development. The golden jubilee celeberations kicked off with a royal courtesy call on the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Oladele Adeoti, Olomu Efon II and his council of chiefs.
The club members, led by their President, Alhaji Mohammed Niyi Abioye, the Nigerian ambassador-designate to Pakistan, were resplendent in immaculate white attire as they majestically filed into the Olomu Palace to pay the traditional homage to the royal father and the entire Olomu-in-Council.
“We are here to seek your royal blessings as we set stage for our Golden Jubilee anniversary celeberations,’’ Alhaji Abioye said, adding: ‘’five decades ago, we began our journey with modest ideas and lofty goals. Today, we have all the cause to thank God that those dreams have, to an appreciable level, become a reality.
“There is every reason, even for a country, how much more a club, to mark a golden jubilee anniversary. We cannot but benchmark our achievements at this threshold and also draw a new roadmap for the coming years,’’ he stated.
Alhaji Abioye, who is a retired director in the Kwara State civil service, said that despite its modest achievements, the club was determined to ‘’break new grounds and chat a new course in line with the new world dynamics and shift in global paradigm.’’
Oba Adeoti welcomed the club members after marathon prayers in the Christian and Islamic ways by the chiefs and enumerated the contributions of the club to the progress and development of the town.
The Olomu particularly commended the role of the club in unifying the town during a perennial chieftaincy crisis in the 1980s and early 1990s which almost disintegrated all the clubs and socio-cultural groups in the town. ‘’The Omu-Aran Social Club was the only club that did not allow the crisis to infiltrate its ranks,’’ Oba Adeoti recalled.
The Olomu attributed the stability of the club in the last 50 years to the quality of its membership and leadership and urged other clubs in the town to emulate it.
Among the club members are retired Maj.-Gen. Yemi Abidoye, former Commander of the Ordnance Corps, Nigerian Army and ECOMOG Sector Commander in Liberia; Engr. Sunday Babalola, a retired Deputy Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR); Ambassador Oluwole Idowu, the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon and Chief Jide Adebayo, a former Acting Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and former Information Commissioner in Kwara State.
They also include Alhaji Bisi Salami, former General Manager of Sterling Bank PLC and Chairman of MUCENTY Hotels, Omu-Aran; Dr. Kayode Salau of College of Education, Ilorin; High Chief Sola Olaniyan, the Odofin Aran of Omu-Aran and Chief (Dr. ) Biodun Owolabi of Fountain University, Osogbo, and others.
The anniversary train moved from the Olomu palace to the General Hospital, Omu-Aran where dozens of bedding materials were donated to the hospital.
Other key events were a public lecture on ‘’Igbominaland in the Socio-economic and political development of Nigeria: yesterday, today and tomorrow” and the laying of the foundation of a N200 million multi-purpose hall at Ogbo Grammar School, one of the four colleges established by the community many decades ago.
Delivering the lecture, a former commissioner and Chief Whip in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, traced the history of Igbomina participation in politics to pre-independence era and stressed that they must take their destinies in their own hands.
Akogun Oyedepo, who is a lawyer and front-line leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, recounted the exploits of pioneer Igbomina politicians like the late Chief Moses Olarewaju, first Republic Minister of Police Affairs; Senator Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo, a former governor of the state and Minister of Communications and late Pa Gbenuola Ekunrin of Oke-Ode and declared that Igbomina people ‘’should take absolute control of the politics of our area.’’
Akogun Oyedepo pointed out that whereas a total of N68.71 Billion was allocated from the federation account to the seven local governments of Kwara South between May 2003 and May 2020, there was no meaningful development in all the councils of Kwara South.’’
In conclusion, he said that ‘’even if we do not control the state resources, we should control the resources allocated to us from the federation account.’’
‘’We must constantly review our political agenda as Igbomina people and shun timidity in all political forms and guises’’ Oyedepo declared, adding: ‘’we should absolutely control the political destiny of our people and in the interest of our people.’’
At the lecture, the club gave scholarship awards to ten indigent secondary school students drawn from colleges in the town.
The climax of the Golden Jubilee celeberations was the Dinner and Gala Night at the Olomu Hall of MUCENTY Hotel where 14 eminent personalities were honoured with Merit Awards by the club for their various contributions to the community and humanity.
The awardees included Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed; the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, Esuwoye II; the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Adeoti; renowned neuro surgeon Prof. Wale Sulyman, Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church World-wide and Lagos industrialist and Chairman, LODONI Company LTD, Alhaji Saka Niyi Atunde.
Also among the awardees were former Group Managing Director of Sifax Group, Aro Adekunle Oyinloye; Prof (Mrs) Olabisi Olasehinde-Williams of University of Ilorin, Director-General of National oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Alhaji Idris Olubola Musa and Hon. Tunji Olawuyi Ajuloopin, House of Representatives Member for Irepodun, Isin, Oke-Ero and Ekiti Federal Constituency, Kwara State.
The rest were former Military Administrator of Bauchi and Osun states, retired Col. Theophilus Bamigboye; the Vice-Chairman of Kamwire Holdings, Alhaja Bolanle Yusuf; former Kogi State Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi and petroleum engineer and oil magnate Brown Emenike.
The club also inducted four honorary members at the dinner in recognition of their contributions to Omu-Aran community. They were Prof. Ademola Popoola, consultant urologist, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital; grassroot politician and Lagos businessman Alhaji Yisa Yusuf (a.k.a. YY), Dr. Tajudeen Adeyemo, Medical Director of Adeyemo Hospital, Omu-Aran and Arc. Adegboyega Awoniyi, the Principal Architect at Citadel Designers Ltd, Lagos.
The Dinner/Gala night featured cultural dances by the popular Igbalajobi Troupe and live performance by Toba Debby and his Juju Band. More than N10 million was realized as donations at the dinner.
The activities were capped with thanksgiving service at the Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul, Omu-Aran, the following day.
• Chief Adebayo is the Eesa of Omu-Aran and Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, The Omu-Aran Social Club