The Owa Ajero of Ijero Kingdom, Oba Joseph Adebayo Adewole, has called for cultural tourism revolution for the restoration of values, ethics, good neighbourliness and patriotism.
“It is high time we started to stoke cultural tourism revolution in our land so as to repel the aggressive erosion of our pristine socio-cultural tourism heritage from foreign vogue. And one of the steps is by the designation of a day by a town to rev up the burning coals of cultural heritage,” he said.
Oba Adewole, who made this call in Ijero-Ekiti, Ekiti State last Saturday during the 20th Ijero Day hosted by the Ijero Progressive Union (IPU) under the leadership of Prince Tolu Onisile and packaged by the Ijero Day 2016 Central Planning Committee and Ajero -In –Council, said: “We are in time of great changes. The Western value has been orchestrated among our people and children in a way that is depicting our traditional culture as outmoded. This is not right and not good for the society. Hence, we need a radical approach to enable our children, this generation and generations yet unborn to see, feel and embrace the pristine traditional cultural-tourism values of the race, not only for identification but for eternal growth, development and survival of the heritage.”
Oba Adewole added: “I am grateful to the Lord Almighty for making Ijero Day celebration possible and successful in the last 20 years. I thank all the products of Ijero from the chiefs to the infants born within the kingdom for their unalloyed commitment to the cause of Ijero Day. I also thank all the friends of Ijero, those worthy and distinguished non-Ijero products who have contributed immensely and financially to the development of Ijero in the last 20 years. I am particularly happy that Ijero Day celebration has lived up to its expectation both in ensuring the revitalisation of our socio-cultural tourism values and acting as a platform for development.”
He disclosed that “Apart from the cultural tourism essence of today’s event, it is also a day set aside to honour agents of development who are going to make themselves and who have made themselves instruments of growth and advancement in Ijero Kingdom.”
Oba Adewole further said: “It is to the glory of God that the good people of Ijero Kingdom have decided to bestow a chieftaincy title of Otun Gbobaniyi and Erelu Gbobaniyi of the kingdom on Dr Oluwole Oluleye and Mrs Patty Oluleye. Dr and Mrs Oluleye have demonstrated unalloyed love and fondness for Ijero people and their interest despite being indigenes of Efon Alaye. Thus, this quintessential man of integrity and wife deserve to be indigenised as Ijero people.”
He appreciated the Alayemore of Efon, and Oba of Odo Owa ‘for being special royal fathers gracing the event of the day in their majesties.”
Reinforcing the Ajero’s speech, Prince Tolu Onisile, National President, Ijero Progressive Union, showed gratitude to the guests for being part of the Ijero developmental struggle and urged all to contribute to the construction of the new palace which he hoped “we will be able to raise enough fund this year to complete the project bearing in mind that this is going to be the last Ijero Day to be organised by my EXCO after a four-year tenure “.
He congratulated Dr Oluleye and wife and other awardees for being found worthy of the titles and awards from Ijero kingdom, Mr Omoboriowo Rotimi, the chairman, planning committee, after emphasising the cultural tourism assets of Ijero, said “Ijero is a land of colourful and highly fascinating festivals. Except the Rio carnival in Brazil, no other festival can match Ogun Festival in Ijero kingdom in glamour, splendour, beauty and methodological arrangement.”
The Ijero Day attracted distinguished personalities and icons of Efon Alaye who gave impressive support and solidarity to the new Gbobaniyi and Erelu Gbobaniyi, who are indigenes of Efon.
The Are of Efon, Dr Kunle Olajide, who led the Efon delegates including the Ekiti State Commissioner for Environment, Hon Bisi Kolawole, Chief O Jeje, Ajiroba of Efon and others who spoke glowingly of Dr Oluleye and his wife, said Ijero had done well and bestowed honour on whom it was due. According to Olajide, “Dr Oluleye is a pride and Oluomo of Efon home and abroad.”
On his part, the chairman, Ijero Local Government, Hon Abiodun Dada, said “Ijero Day celebration has brought unquantifiable development to the kingdom. It is a day which we all looked to and I congratulate Kabiyesi, IPU, planning committee under Mr Omoboriowo, the title recipient of the day and all for being here today.”
Hon Dada assured the people: “The state governor, Dr Ayodele Fayose, has a special interest in the development of Ijero and has mandated us to be prepared in joining efforts to make Ijero a model city. We at the local government are there for the fulfilment of the aspiration of the people and we shall not rest on our oars until all have tasted the dividends of democracy.”
The chairman of the launch, Otunba Adeleke Apapa, President, Scapat (group of companies), commended the people of Ijero for “Your collective endeavours at adding value to your society. I have noted this unique characteristic in many of you who I have had dealing with, through Omoboriowo. And that is why this town is not only witnessing a sequential development, but its indigenes are daily accomplishing in their endeavours.”
Dr Oluleye, whose outstanding profile and that of his wife were celebrated before their installation as Gbobaniyi and Erelu Gbobaniyi said: “We are grateful to the king and people of Ijero kingdom for this kind gesture of bestowing titles on me and my wife. We promise Ijero not only our love, but also to be instruments of change, development and improvement . We are not in the habit of announcing whatever we are going to do now. But we will do them incognito. And we will appreciate the king and people accepting them incognito without making it public. This is one of the virtues I learnt from my late father. We appreciate and thank you all.”
Others who bagged the Ajero’s awards were Mr Sunday Gabriel Asaolu, Legal Practitioner of the Year and Chief Abbey Fagboro, Best Broadcaster of the Year, expressed their gratitude to the Owa Ajero, IPU and Ijero indigenes for being steadfast with the celebration of Ijero Day which is “ a cultural tourism event which has become the medium of development, networking, empowerment and socialisation.”