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Carnival, as Okeigbo gets new monarch after eleven years

By Victor Akinkuolie
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P ersonalities from all walks of life last  weekend stormed the historical town of Okeigbo, a notable ancient community in Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government area of Ondo State to witness the coronation ceremony of Oba Lawrence Oluwole Babajide,   as the sixteenth ruler and the fifth Olu-Oke of Okeigbo town.

The carnival-like ceremony was witnessed by the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, his deputy, Barr. Agboola Ajayi, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs Omolola Fagbemi, members of the State House of Assembly as well as permanent secretaries from various ministries.

Others that witnessed the occasion were traditional rulers within Ondo, Osun and Ekiti states led by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ile-Ife, politicians within and outside Ondo State, indigenes of the community home and in Diaspora as well as other notable personalities from different parts of the country.

Speaking while presenting the Staff of Office to the new monarch, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, described the ceremony as an epoch making and landmark event in the history of his administration.

The governor explained that the stool became vacant since 3rd July, 2007 after the demise of the last holder of the title, late Oba Dr. Timothy Oluwole Fasawe while rejoicing with the new king and the entire indigenes of the ancient community, especially the kingmakers over the success of the programme.

Akeredolu also congratulated them over what he called their level of understanding, peaceful selection and the maturity displayed by the people of the historical town during the selection process. He reiterated the readiness of his administration to continue to instal kings in communities where there are vacancies across the state.

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The Governor however solicited for the cooperations of the traditional council in the state in resolving all chieftaincy matters  in the state and promised to continue to better the lots of the traditional rulers.

“We would ensure that no community  remains without an Oba, we will continue to recognise all age-long rulers and ensure that we continue to do what is right. We will not install any Oba in the governor’s office, we will come down to your community and present the staff of office to you.

The Governor emphasized the need for more cooperation between the indigenes of the town and the new monarch, saying  this is necessary in order to make peace, harmony and development to reign in the town.

Akeredolu, while proclaiming Oba Babajide as the new Olu-Oke of Okeigbo amidst encomiums urged him to extend hands of fellowship to all others who contested with him.  The Governor equally  called on them to put aside all the differences that arose during the selection process, noting that it is only God that puts somebody in position.

He called on the indigenes of the town to always allow the development and wellbeing  of the people of the town to remain paramount  in their minds. Akeredolu also  called on the sons and daughters of the community to come back and invest in their father’s land, so that the community will continue to take its position in Yorubaland.

The Governor used the occasion to mention some of the developmental projects currently embarked upon by his administration in the community to include, construction of about two kilometer road in the town, renovation of primary schools’ buildings and the resuscitation of the age-long Igbo-Eledumare among others.

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Speaking earlier, the Caretaker Chairman, Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government, Mr Temidayo Akinsuroju, congratulated the new king as well as indigenes of the ancient community over the choice of Oba Babajide.  He described the monarch as a good administrator with experience while expressing optimism that his reign in the community would bring more development to the town.

The Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo council boss  later prayed for the new monarch as well as more progress, development and peace to continue to reign in the town, Ondo state and Nigeria as a whole.

In his reaction during the installation ceremony, Oba Babajide, thanked the people of his community, especially the kingmakers for counting him worthy to be their king. He promised not to disappoint them by carrying them along in all activities relating to the development of the community.

The highly elated monarch  while unfolding his plans for his kinsmen, promised that the pursuit and sustenance of peace and development would top his priority.  He lamented over what he described as low spate of development in the ancient community in the past, but promised to collaborate with the present administration in Ondo state in bringing more development to the town.

Oba Babajide used the occasion to asked for the creation of a local government with the headquarters in Okeigbo town, he equally solicited from the government for tarring of more township roads in the town as well as  enhancement of agricultural potentials through granting of loans to farmers in the community.

Oba Babajide, a Nurse by profession and former Head of the Nursing Education Department at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife,  said that he would address the problem of unemployment and among the youths in the community by engaging them in entrepreneurial skills and empowerment.

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