By Femi Adediran, Abeokuta
In a manner reminiscent of Prophet Mohammed’s (SAW) farewell message to Muslims during his last Hajj, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, on Tuesday warned his subjects during the annual Ojude Oba Festival that they should vehemently resist any attempt by money bags to impose an incapable and unqualified candidate on them as his successor after he must have joined his ancestors.
Oba Adetona told the people to reject candidates he described as incapable and unworthy to be his successor, insisting that Ijebuland must not be set backwards.
The Monarch who spoke at the annual Ojude-Oba festival, sponsored by Globacom, held at the Awujale Pavilion, Ijebu-Ode, also warned that the process of selecting his successor must not be politicised.
According to the Monarch, Ijebuland needs a capable and viable Monarch who would surpass his achievements and move the region to an enviable position instead of someone who would set the region backwards.
Oba Adetona also called for a successor who would further unite the people of the region, saying “nobody knows when I will join my ancestors, I want to urge the entire people of Ijebuland, especially the kingmakers to be wary of selecting money bags who are not worthy of the crown.”
The 85-years-old Monarch who ascended the throne of his forefathers 59 years ago, said, “When I eventually join my ancestors, please go for a capable successor. Reject any candidate that will put Ijebuland into retrogression.”
His words, “Do not politicise the process of selecting my successor. Do not go for people that will draw Ijebu backwards.”
“If the next ruling house do not present a viable candidate, please reject them and go for the next ruling house with capable candidate.”
“Do not go for Money bags that will destroy the achievements Ijebuland has recorded so far.”
“Call on God for direction when picking my successor. Ask God to guide you. My prayer is that Ijebuland will continue to grow from strength to strength, Oba Adetona said.
The Monarch who lamented the deplorable state of roads in Ijebuland, accused the administration of the immediate past Governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of marginalising his region.
Governor Dapo Abiodun in his address commended the Monarch for using the festival to unite the Ijebus, saying “The Ojude Oba festival has grown to become a major communal activity that brings about the general development, not only to the Ijebu community, but to the entire Ogun State.
Governor Abiodun lauded the Monarch for his fatherly role in fostering peace and unity in both the region and the State in general.
His words, “It is no gainsaying that the Ojude Oba festival has grown to become one of the most popular socio-cultural event in the entire South–West region of Nigeria and indeed a global tourist attraction.
“It (Ojude Oba festival) showcases the cooperation and collaborative tendencies of the rich Yoruba culture. Our Administration will continue to support this great festival as we are desirous of sustaining and promoting culture, tourism and the lessons of the positive development that would be engendered through our collective efforts.”
“As an Administration, we understand the fact that no meaningful development can occur without the collaborative efforts of all and sundry. We understand that, for any development to take place, the people have an important role to play by contributing meaningfully and positively. We therefore seek the support and cooperation of our people at all times in our quest to build a solid foundation for the future of our dear State”, the Governor added.
Governor Abiodun disclosed, “Our Administration and Federal Government are working out agreement on the reconstruction of the three major roads crying for assistance: Ijebu Ode-Epe Road; Abeokuta-Sango-Lagos Road; and, Sagamu-Ogijo-Ikorodu Road. Indeed, we are finalising the details of the completion of the uncompleted portion of the Epe – Ijebu Ode road.
“As part of the collaborative effort with the others, we have reached an advanced stage with Lagos State on the establishment of Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission, which will serve as a platform for collaborative development programmes”, Governor Abiodun said.
The Special Guest of Honour, Sir Kensington Adebutu in his speech described the Monarch as a “royal colossus who for well over half a century has remained consistently consistent thus dependable, forthright, indomitable, tenacity personified, a rallying force and indeed a role model for any and all royal fathers, who want to leave indelible footprints in the sands of time.”
The high point of the event was the colorful parade by the “regbes regbes” (age grade) and the fascinating horse riding by the Balogun (warrior) families where the various horse riders showed their dexterity in horse riding.
Among the dignitaries that graced the colorful ceremony were: Governor Dapo Abiodun, his Deputy, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, former Governors Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Biyi Durojaiye and Senator Gbenga Kaka.