2016 Ogidi Ela Day festival of honour, award

•French Ambassador lauds Ogidi community
•Tunde Ipinmisho, Gani Adams, Faleke, Omotosho, Diana Cheng bag awards

The grand finale of the 2016 Ogidi – Ela Day held on Saturday 18 June at the Community hall ground Agegbe, Ogidi Ijumu, Kogi State will remain evergreen in the memories of those who witnessed and participated actively in the spectacular celebration of communal revival for development.

This year’s celebration assumed a distinctive identification not only because it was packaged with extra cultural tonic and a special night out for the youths who were entertained by 9ice, but most specifically the community giant act of bestowing honour on Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, Fellow, Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), one of its products who has distinguished himself exceptionally in unalloyed commitment and selfless service to the community.

It was in the spirit   of making a generational statement  to all and sundry  that Ogidi is the only town in Nigeria which holds Nigeria’s biggest cultural event in the month of June which   motivated the Ogidi Community in  packaging  a  weeklong  event  which commenced on Sunday June 12 with a church service that  was seconded on Monday by  the kicking off  of Ogidi Day inter – quarter’s novelty match which   was consummated  with the appearance of  New Yam on Wednesday, for  final of the  Inter Quarter’s  Match  held on Thursday with events  loaded for  Friday which started with  a medical outreach for the people,  sponsored by Ogidi Development Union and Ripples Foundation Medical Outreach, Jumat service at Ogidi Central Mosque, expedition to Oroke Oda Mountain,   Ahunko (Bonfire) at Oju Ala, with prayer and thanksgiving night at the residence of Mr Ibrahim Allah, President, Abuja branch, Ogidi Development Union.

Thus, the souls, spirit, minds and the psyche of the community were lubricated, polished, ignited and set burning with passion for the grand finale on Saturday 18 June, 2016.

According to Mr Shuaib Ipinmisho, “This is a great day in the history of this town. As you can see, by 11am; almost all our invited guests are here at this beautiful venue for this great occasion. It is the handiwork of God and the love for our town”

And the list of invited guests who travelled from different parts of the country to associate with the people of Ogidi was endless.  Although Honourable James Abiodun Faleke, Chairman, House Committee on Customs who is the chairman of the day was not physically present, he sent a powerful delegation, comprising   Otunba Gani Adams, Global convener, Oodua Progressive Union, (OPU); Mr Eniola Bello, Managing Director, Thisday Newspapers; Engineer Oluseyi Omotosho, CEO, New Moon Nigeria Limited; Prince Olushola Akanmode, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the President; Chief Benjamin Olowodola, CEO, Goshen Printmedia Limited.

A magical display
A magical display

A prominent Nigerian and  daughter of the town, Chief Nike Okundaiye of Nike Art Gallery, came with a powerful delegation which include the French Ambassador, Mr Denis Guaer,  a popular folklore musician, three cultural groups and media practitioners and also hosted an art  exhibition which was declared opened by the French Ambassador .

The excitement of the visitors, guests and the people was ignited by the colourful and ceremonious  entry of  the Ologidi,  Rabiu Oladimeji Sule, to the venue with cultural groups displaying gymnastic feat  accompanied by loud blasting of traditional music and songs.

The spectacular event commenced as the different groups paid homage and pledged loyalty to the king in their own unique dance and styles which elicited applause from the excited guests.

In his welcome address, Mr Eniolorunda Kayode Ralph, President Ogidi Development Union,  described the 2016 Ogidi Day and New Yam festival as “another cultural statement made by the people of Ogidi for not only the progress and development of Ogidi Ela people, but for the advancement of cultural tourism heritage of Nigeria.’

Mr Eniolorunda, who appreciated the guests for the their show of love to the community commended the king and the people for their resolved commitment to the progress and development of the town

“Ogidi Ela and New Yam festival Day has remained a watershed of development and advancement for our community. And this year is so special and unique as we are honouring one of the most prominent indigenes of this town, Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, who has served this town, as the President of Ogidi Development Union, for good nine memorable, meritorious, remarkable, wonderful and enviable years. We are proud of him. Also, we are going to bestow chieftaincy titles on those who have contributed immensely to the development of this town and give awards to deserving personalities for their interest and support for this town and the festival.”

Mr Eniolorun, specially commended Chief Nike Okundaiye for her passionate commitment to the development of the town, advancement of the people and enhancement of the Ogidi Ela day and New Yam Festival  adding that “ she is our pride. She is Ogidi glory and we are grateful to God for her life’.

The President of Ogidi Development Union noted that “Though, our special guest of the day, Honourable James Abiodun Faleke, is not here in person, but all of us who were here during Ogidi Day 2015 would notice that the road to Ogidi from the junction is not only passable, but motorable. This is the effort and what Honourable Faleke has done in adding value to the people of Ogidi and today’s event. We are grateful to him and his family and we all pray that his dreams will come true.”

Guests were buffeted with exciting and fanciful display of dances, songs, and music by over 16 groups which included Ogidi based and outside the state, Adunni and Nefertiti, Ayo Ewebiyi from Lagos, Ekiti cultural group, fro Ado Ekiti,  Epa from Iyah Gbedde, Urhu – Edo entertainer from Benin City, Nike Okundaiye from Osogbo.

The Ologidi of Ogidi, Oba Oladimeji Sule commended and appreciated the people of the town for their sense of unity, brotherhood and collective vision for the town calling on Kogi State government to remember the town in amenities upgrading and renewal.

Oba Oladimeji Sule and wives
Oba Oladimeji Sule and wives

In showing its appreciation, the community bestowed chieftaincy titles on, Chief Oluseyo Henry Omotosho, and his wife, as Otunba and Yeye Anifowose, Chief  (Ms )Diana Chen, Yeye Gbeluro, Otunba Gani Adams, Are Akinjagunla and Hon Faleke as Are Jagunmolu.

The community also remembered the dead who had served the community in its awards dispensation; late Chief Zacheus Elewonnubi Oloruntobi, Mallam Lawani Kesinrin and Chief Prince Olaniyi Bamidele, Seven Seven. All bagged posthumous awards for selfless service to the community.

Capping the award category was the Community Life Time Service Award bestowed on Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, who was described as “an asset of indispensible value to Ogidi Community. A gift to all of us here. A pride of Ogidi. A shining example of what a son of the soil should be. A rare motivator and organiser par excellence. Here is a man who led this community as the President of Ogidi Development Union for nine and generously progressive years. His achievements in these years cannot be estimated. The community is happy and heartily in confirming on this noble son of ours , Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, the Community Life Time  Service Award which he meritoriously deserved and eminently qualified for”.

In his response, Mr Ipinmisho gave all praises to the Lord and commended the people of the town for their cooperation “without which nothing could have done”. He promised to dedicate his life time to the service of God almighty and the community.

The French Ambassador, Mr Denis Guaer, who addressed the community and who cut the tape to declare open the Art Exhibition put on by Nike Art Gallery at the Museum built by Chief Okundaiye, lauded the people of Ogidi for being culturally minded like the French.

“I am excited by your cultural display here today. I am fascinated by the different groups of dancers which tell the world that Ogidi is not only a town, but one which has cultural heritage to show the world”.

Otunba Adams, bagged Are Akinjagunla of Ogidi commended the Ogidi Community “I must publicly acknowledge Ogidi Community uniqueness at showcasing the culture of their forefathers. I am bold to say that no other festival is being held in this grand style around this area of the state. I promise not only to contribute to this community, but to add value and enhance Ogidi Ela day and New Yam Festival via the Olokun Festival foundation next year”.

As the event rolled in to close around 5 pm with showers of blessing which nonetheless had no negative impact on the event, the youth gathered and prepared for the Youth Connect where 9ice played the songs for the old and the young till the early hours of Sunday 19 June 2016.

And in the words of 9ice, “Apart from being a star on the platform, I enjoyed the cultural package of the Ogidi day and Yam festival which I witnessed on Saturday and I am bold to say also that 2016  Ogidi day rocks, ko kan agidi”.