21.1 C
Akure
Thursday, December 8, 2022

National Honours, the Owo perspectives

By Dr. Joel Ademisoye

Before examining and discussing the four Awardees from the ancient Owo Kingdom in the 2022 Nigeria National Honors Award, I need to briefly acquaint my readers with the history and aim of the national award, because many Nigerians aren’t aware and informed about the award. The award was birthed under the National Honors Act No. 5 of 1964, in the First Nigerian Republic, to honor Nigerians, who have rendered service to the benefit of the nation. In my view, this was a great policy and action by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), to recognize and appreciate its citizens, who have rendered services to the country. ln the year 2022, the Buhari administration has found 450 Nigerians worthy of the Nigerian National Honors.

         Owo town is fortunate and lucky to have four of its indigenes as members of the class of 2022 Nigerian National Honours. The importance of the Awards cannot be overemphasized by the quality, caliber of Awardees, their roles and services rendered to the nation. Therefore, let me debunk the myth among some Nigerians that the Nigerian National Honour Award, is for sale. There is no truth in this myth. It is strictly based on certain criteria employed to select a few hard-working Nigerians as recipients of the award. These awardees have rendered important services to and contributed their quotas to the national development of Nigeria. In my view, this Honour Awards are incentive and inspirational to the Nigerian citizens, who are yet to be honored or to receive this prestigious national award.

The list of the selected 450 Nigerians for the year’s National Awards, include the Ondo State Governor, Barrister Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotomi Ibidapo, Atuluse of Owoland and Agba Akin of Ijebu-Owo and Honorable Justice Dr. Idris Abdullahi Haroon, retired from the Judiciary in Kwara State. Congratulations to the Awardees of the prestigious National Honor Awards presented by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari. I consider the awardees to be a Pride of the Owo Kingdom and Ondo State at large.

Let me start my discussion of the awardees with a focus on amiable Governor Akeredolu, a legal luminary in Nigeria and a former National Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He had his secondary school education at the Aquinas College Akure and Loyal College in Ibadan and went on to attend the Law School at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, before joining the Nigerian Bar.

Before joining politics, I vividly recalled that Akeredolu was a partner in the Law Firm of Olujimi and Akeredolu in Ibadan. Also, he served in the Ondo State Government as its Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Thereafter, Akeredolu entered into politics and became a gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo State, where he won the election and became the second elected state governor from Owo, on February 24, 2017. Currently, Governor Akeredolu is serving his second term in office. Also, Governor Akeredolu doubles as the chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum.

I consider Governor Akeredolu as a ‘Warrior’ in the realm of National affairs and issues of political reforms facing Nigeria- particularly in the cases of federalism, equity, state rights, finding adequate solutions to the insecurity problems in the country, ethnicity/human rights- Fulani herdsmen versus farmers conflicts, National land issues, etc (Source: Abiodun Awolaja, “MAN IN THE NEWS,” Nigerian Tribune,  September 30, 2022).

Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu , SAN,CON

Without any doubt, Governor Akeredolu is a recognized political leader in Nigeria, who has been in the trenches fighting to promote and protect the interests of the Nigerian citizens in Ondo State, Yoruba States in the Southwest Region and Nigeria at large. Among the political and legal battles that Governor Akeredolu is currently fighting with the Buhari administration, is about operating the Nigeria’s federal system of government as a unitary government structure. For instance, the defiant Buhari administration, has failed to decentralize the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), by establishing the state police in Nigeria. This is why many Nigerians are agitating and calling for the political restructuring of the country in order that the country can function and perform better and work as a True Federalism. Not just the political restructuring that Nigeria needs, it also must involves the fiscal or financial restructuring of the country. Governor Akeredolu, whom I see as a True Federalist leader in Nigeria, is using his legal knowledge, political experience and understanding of the  Nigerian constitution to pressure the Buhari administration to comply with the constitutional dictates of the Nigerian federalism and its functioning structure.

For instance, under the Governor Akeredolu political leadership in the Southwest Region, he has mobilized, organized and empowered all the state governors in the Southwest, to establish the Amotekun Security Networks in order to safe guard and provide adequate security for the people of the region. Similarly, in Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu, has left no stone unturned, in fighting for the rights of the people, when he issued an Executive Order and ordered the Fulani herdsmen with their cattle to vacate the forest reserves in order to register with the Ondo State Government.

Recently, I found Governor Akeredolu in another troubling area and in a battle with the Buhari government, when he raised the issue of the double standards in the approval of AK-47 guns for the security networks in Katsina State, while denying the same request for the Amotekun security networks to acquire and carry the same AK-47 guns to protect the citizens of Ondo State in putting the feet of the Buhari administration to fire by raising and opening of the issues of unequal and disparity treatment between the Katsina and Ondo States governments in the public domain.

Considering the strong leadership and bold actions by Governor Akeredolu in holding the ‘bull by the horn,’ challenging and honestly calling out the Buhari administration in violating the Nigerian constitution, rights of the Nigerian citizens and openly playing ethnic politics or ethnic cards, whenever the commission of injustice is observed, I see Governor Akeredolu as a defender and protector of the Nigerian constitution and a champion of the human rights, principles of fairness, equity and rules of law in the multi-ethnic, religious and cultural Nigerian society. Governor Akeredolu as a fighter for correcting the anomaly in the Nigerian political system, its incongruent functioning and abuse of government powers by the federal government in Abuja, he deserves the National Honor Award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), which was awarded to him by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.

High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, OON, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, Entrepreneur, Investor and Businessman.

Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, OON

What a historic and memorable moment that you shared the same stage with other three  awardees from the ancient Owo Kingdom! This writer considers Chief Aruwajoye as one of the many Patriotic Nigerian citizens to be honored by President Buhari and as a shining example of a good citizen of Nigeria on the hill. The list of your significant contributions to Nigeria, is inexhaustible and in fact, too long to enumerate and catalog here. Nonetheless, I would like to just mention some that I have knowledge, for the sake of brevity.

Chief Aruwajoye entered the employment of Agip Oil Company, early in life after his graduation from the University of Ibadan, with a BSc in Geology degree. During his employment career, he worked in several departments, acquiring specialized and practical knowledge and skills in the oil fields. Also, he undertook the several technical and management trainings in Italy and United States, just to cite a few countries.

He achieved the historic feat, of becoming the First Nigerian Deputy Managing Director of the Agip Oil Company in 2006. Chief Aruwajoye, with his brilliant career and impeccable records of performance at Agip, he retired in 2007 from the company. A 33-year incredible, unblemished career records and excellent service to the Agip Company. By extension, Chief Aruwajoye have served the National Interest of Nigeria in the oil sector of the country’s economy.

Also important, he has represented and served well the nation by attending international conferences and meetings, such as the NEPAD in the United Nations in New York City in 2002 and the Conference on the Koyoto Protocol on Climate Change in Milan in December, 2003 (Source: Citation for High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards).

Following his retirement from the Agip Company, Chief Aruwajoye have established some companies, chairman and CEO of Frontier Oil Ltd, a marginal field producer and Springview Co. Ltd, a logistics company and a Board-member of some companies, through his ownership and operations of these companies, he is providing a huge service to the nation and as an employer of labor, offering the job opportunities for many Nigerians, especially the Nigerian youths.

Coming to Chief Aruwajoye’s geographical area of Ondo State and hometown of Owo Kingdom, he has made  huge marks, while providing a Community leadership for the Owo Is One Association (OIOA).

I recalled that High Chief Aruwajoye, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, in filling the gap in leadership, which existed in the Owo Community, before 2012 or there about. He employed selfless efforts, personal influence, financial means and material resources to motivate, mobilize and organize other religious, organization leaders and Owo people to establish the Owo Is One Association (OIOA), a Community Organization, dedicated to catering for the interests and welfare of the Owo community and its people. Hence, the members of the association made High Chief Aruwajoye, the leader of the group by appointing him the National Coordinator (NC).

His leadership of OIOA is strong and with bold visions and implemented programs to foster peace, security and development in Owo/Ose communities. For instance, Chief Aruwajoye’s visionary plan gave birth to the Owo/Ose Initiative, which is a paradigm shift in the thinking and relationships in the political arena and development areas. For the lack of space in my writing, this writer is handicapped in sharing the long list of significant contributions made to the Owo Kingdom by the OIOA under the leadership of Chief Aruwajoye. He fostered a good working relationship with the Ose community.

Also, you might recalled the historic role played by the OIOA and Chief Aruwajoye, NC, in the motivation, mobilization and organization of meetings for Owo people at the Mapo Hall in soliciting their political support, get out to vote efforts for and election of the then candidate Barrister Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in the gubernatorial elections in Ondo State. At the end of the day, the votes cast by the Owo people for the election of their son, Governor Akeredolu, were overwhelmingly high and unprecedented in the history of gubernatorial elections in Owo town and Ondo State in general.

In the realm of peace in Owo community, the OIOA under the leadership of Chief Aruwajoye, the association, arguably, is in the forefront and a leader in the resolution of crisis and conflicts in the Owo community. For example, the association intervened in the strike crisis by lecturers at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, under the Alhaji Ekungba Committee of Investigation, which undertook a research into, produced and submitted a report on the crisis.

 Today, the NC of OIOA, continues to serve the Owo people by working with The Olowo of Owo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, in the efforts of promoting social and economic development in Owo Kingdom. As a result, Kabiyesi Oba Ogunoye III, established the Owo Development Council (ODC) and appointed Chief Aruwajoye as the Chairman of the Committee on Culture and Tourism, an assignment to promote and develop the culture and tourism in Owo Kingdom.

Chief Aruwajoye has a special place in his heart and love for the Owo Youths by engaging them, which has led to the OIOA’s establishing the Owo Digital Academy, a computer training center, temporarily located at Owo High School, for the youths in the Owo community.

Last, but not the least, Chief Aruwajoye, a proud alumnus of Imade College Owo (ICO). Public disclosure: Aruwajoye was my senior at the college. It must be revealed that the Chief, is a prominent member and a financial donor to the IMACOSA, the old students association of the ICO.

Before Chief Aruwajoye’s retirement from the Agip Company, through his employment connection and the Agip Oil Company’s Social Responsibility to the Nigerian citizens, he facilitated the building of a block of classrooms, sunk a water borehole and became an iconic member of the Donors of One Million Naira Club at Imade College Owo.

Against the backdrop of important, enormous and widespread services rendered and contributions made to the development of Nigeria, I sincerely believe that High Chief Aruwajoye, deserved the National Honor of OON, conferred on the eminent sons of Owo Kingdom in Ondo State, Nigeria, by His Excellency,  President Muhammadu Buhari in the glorious year 2022.

Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotimi Ibidapo, OON, Atunlase of Owo Kingdom and Agba Akin of Ijebu-Owo.

Chief Rotimi Ibidapo, OON

A Business Tycoon with the primary business interests in oil and gas operations in Nigeria and Namibia. Chief Ibidapo, is a former student of New Church Grammar School in Owo. Thereafter, his higher educational attainment include the following: Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing from Federal Polytechnic, Ado- Ekiti; Executive Master of Business Administration from Metropolitan School of Business and Management (SEMP), United Kingdom; Basic Omega SPS and Managing Diversity training at Western Geophysical in Houston, Texas; Advance Masters Class from the CWC School of Energy, Brazil; American Petroleum Institute (API) Non destructive Inspector in Ultrasonic levels I, II and III at The Ocean Corporation in Houston and Doctor of Science in Business Administration from Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Chief Ibidapo owns a conglomerate of companies around the world, such as, the Noble Pacific International Drilling West Africa Limited; Derotech Group of Companies; Derotech Offshore Services Limited, Namibia; RRB Home Health Service, USA; Famadec Power Engineering Inc., USA and Alpha-Shea Integrated Producing Company Limited, Owo, just to mention a few of them (Source: Citation for Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotimi Ibidapo culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards). For example, in his hometown of Owo, Chief Ibidapo owns the Alpha-Shea Integrated Producing Company Limited, a five Star Best Western Midas Hotel in town, arguably, the best hotel in Ondo State. In the context, Chief Ibidapo, a CEO of many companies in Nigeria, is a generator of employment opportunities for thousands of the Nigerian youths. Unequivocally, through his oil and gas business, Chief Ibidapo is immensely contributing to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and improving the welfare and quality of life Nigerians through the discharge of salary obligations to the employment of workers who are hired in his companies.

As a philanthropist, Chief Ibidapo is a good donor, who gives donations to and supports causes- ranging from the educational institutions like his Alma Mater, where he built a block of classrooms and supplied furniture and teaching equipments, assistance to the Federal Medical Center Owo (FMCO); Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA); Security Agencies (Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police) in many towns across the country- Akure, Owo, Ikorodu, etc. In Owo town, Chief Ibidapo is a well known ‘People’s Person,’ who gives money out generously to the poor, underprivileged and widows. Chief Ibidapo is a fun loving guy and a social-elite, who honors and supports personal invitations to attend a weddings, burial ceremonies, if invited to the occasion. Obviously, I think that Chief Ibidapo is an active builder of the Nigerian economy, who deserves a recognition and be a recipient of National Award of the OON. Owo people are proud of your services and contributions to the community and the national economy. Without any reservations, I believe that you deserved the national recognition, which is why His Execellency, President Muhammadu Buhari bestowed the OON Award on you.

Dr. Idris Abdullahi Haroon, OFR, a Cleric, Teacher, Administrator and a Jurist.

Justice idris Abdulahi Haroon, OFR

A retired Justice of the Sharia Court in Kwara State, Dr. Haroon, whose mother is from Owo, started his primary school education at Al- Adabiyyah Elementary Islamic School, Owo, 1959-1962. Subsequently, in 1964-1968, he moved to Ilorin, Kwara State, to attend the Higher Islamic Institute, under the tutelage of the famous Islamic Scholar: Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen Al-Adaba. Also, in furthering his Arabic and Islamic Studies, he attended the famous University of Benghazi in Libya, for the first degree in 1970-1974. While in Libya, Justice Haroon served as the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1972. Later on, in 1981, he obtained a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan.

In 1974, Justice Haroon, began his productive and illustrious teaching career at the Abdul Azeez Attahiru Memorial College, Okene, Kogi State. Later, he worked at the Kwara State College of Education from 1976 to 1990. While at the college, he served as part-time lecturer at University of Ilorin and Ahamdu Bello University Zaria.

Fast forward about the career path of Justice Haroon. In 1990, Haroon changed a career path from the education to the judiciary, when he transferred to the Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, to become the Deputy Chief Registrar. While in 1992, he rose to the post of a Chief Registrar; in 1994, he was appointed a Kadi of the court. Interestingly, in 2010, he reached the top position of his judicial career as the Honorable Grand Kadi of Kwara State and retired on December 30, 2013 (Source: Citation for Justice Idris Abdullahi Haroon culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards).

In my observation and comments about the Nigerian National Honor Awards, after the 58 years of its existence, it has gone through the wildness of a political crisis of enormous proportions, a Civil War, many military regimes, but the National Award has stood the test of time and survived the onslaught of many crises and it is still meeting its aim of honoring the Nigerian citizens, who offered and rendered the great service to the nation. I see the awards as a source of recognition, encouragement and inspiration for the Nigerian citizens to want to render more services to the nation. On behalf of the awardees from Owo, The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ogunoye III and the Owo people, I hereby express our sincere appreciation to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for honoring the four awardees in the class of 2022 from  Owo Kingdom.

Before examining and discussing the four Awardees from the ancient Owo Kingdom in the 2022 Nigeria National Honors Award, I need to briefly acquaint my readers with the history and aim of the national award, because many Nigerians aren’t aware and informed about the award. The award was birthed under the National Honors Act No. 5 of 1964, in the First Nigerian Republic, to honor Nigerians, who have rendered service to the benefit of the nation. In my view, this was a great policy and action by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), to recognize and appreciate its citizens, who have rendered services to the country. ln the year 2022, the Buhari administration has found 450 Nigerians worthy of the Nigerian National Honors.
Owo town is fortunate and lucky to have four of its indigenes as members of the class of 2022 Nigerian National Honours. The importance of the Awards cannot be overemphasized by the quality, caliber of Awardees, their roles and services rendered to the nation. Therefore, let me debunk the myth among some Nigerians that the Nigerian National Honour Award, is for sale. There is no truth in this myth. It is strictly based on certain criteria employed to select a few hard-working Nigerians as recipients of the award. These awardees have rendered important services to and contributed their quotas to the national development of Nigeria. In my view, this Honour Awards are incentive and inspirational to the Nigerian citizens, who are yet to be honored or to receive this prestigious national award.
The list of the selected 450 Nigerians for the year’s National Awards, include the Ondo State Governor, Barrister Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotomi Ibidapo, Atuluse of Owoland and Agba Akin of Ijebu-Owo and Honorable Justice Dr. Idris Abdullahi Haroon, retired from the Judiciary in Kwara State. Congratulations to the Awardees of the prestigious National Honor Awards presented by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari. I consider the awardees to be a Pride of the Owo Kingdom and Ondo State at large.
Let me start my discussion of the awardees with a focus on amiable Governor Akeredolu, a legal luminary in Nigeria and a former National Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He had his secondary school education at the Aquinas College Akure and Loyal College in Ibadan and went on to attend the Law School at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, before joining the Nigerian Bar.
Before joining politics, I vividly recalled that Akeredolu was a partner in the Law Firm of Olujimi and Akeredolu in Ibadan. Also, he served in the Ondo State Government as its Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Thereafter, Akeredolu entered into politics and became a gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo State, where he won the election and became the second elected state governor from Owo, on February 24, 2017. Currently, Governor Akeredolu is serving his second term in office. Also, Governor Akeredolu doubles as the chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum.
I consider Governor Akeredolu as a ‘Warrior’ in the realm of National affairs and issues of political reforms facing Nigeria- particularly in the cases of federalism, equity, state rights, finding adequate solutions to the insecurity problems in the country, ethnicity/human rights- Fulani herdsmen versus farmers conflicts, National land issues, etc (Source: Abiodun Awolaja, “MAN IN THE NEWS,” Nigerian Tribune, September 30, 2022).
Without any doubt, Governor Akeredolu is a recognized political leader in Nigeria, who has been in the trenches fighting to promote and protect the interests of the Nigerian citizens in Ondo State, Yoruba States in the Southwest Region and Nigeria at large. Among the political and legal battles that Governor Akeredolu is currently fighting with the Buhari administration, is about operating the Nigeria’s federal system of government as a unitary government structure. For instance, the defiant Buhari administration, has failed to decentralize the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), by establishing the state police in Nigeria. This is why many Nigerians are agitating and calling for the political restructuring of the country in order that the country can function and perform better and work as a True Federalism. Not just the political restructuring that Nigeria needs, it also must involves the fiscal or financial restructuring of the country. Governor Akeredolu, whom I see as a True Federalist leader in Nigeria, is using his legal knowledge, political experience and understanding of the Nigerian constitution to pressure the Buhari administration to comply with the constitutional dictates of the Nigerian federalism and its functioning structure.
For instance, under the Governor Akeredolu political leadership in the Southwest Region, he has mobilized, organized and empowered all the state governors in the Southwest, to establish the Amotekun Security Networks in order to safe guard and provide adequate security for the people of the region. Similarly, in Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu, has left no stone unturned, in fighting for the rights of the people, when he issued an Executive Order and ordered the Fulani herdsmen with their cattle to vacate the forest reserves in order to register with the Ondo State Government.
Recently, I found Governor Akeredolu in another troubling area and in a battle with the Buhari government, when he raised the issue of the double standards in the approval of AK-47 guns for the security networks in Katsina State, while denying the same request for the Amotekun security networks to acquire and carry the same AK-47 guns to protect the citizens of Ondo State in putting the feet of the Buhari administration to fire by raising and opening of the issues of unequal and disparity treatment between the Katsina and Ondo States governments in the public domain.
Considering the strong leadership and bold actions by Governor Akeredolu in holding the ‘bull by the horn,’ challenging and honestly calling out the Buhari administration in violating the Nigerian constitution, rights of the Nigerian citizens and openly playing ethnic politics or ethnic cards, whenever the commission of injustice is observed, I see Governor Akeredolu as a defender and protector of the Nigerian constitution and a champion of the human rights, principles of fairness, equity and rules of law in the multi-ethnic, religious and cultural Nigerian society. Governor Akeredolu as a fighter for correcting the anomaly in the Nigerian political system, its incongruent functioning and abuse of government powers by the federal government in Abuja, he deserves the National Honor Award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), which was awarded to him by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, OON, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, Entrepreneur, Investor and Businessman.
What a historic and memorable moment that you shared the same stage with other three awardees from the ancient Owo Kingdom! This writer considers Chief Aruwajoye as one of the many Patriotic Nigerian citizens to be honored by President Buhari and as a shining example of a good citizen of Nigeria on the hill. The list of your significant contributions to Nigeria, is inexhaustible and in fact, too long to enumerate and catalog here. Nonetheless, I would like to just mention some that I have knowledge, for the sake of brevity.
Chief Aruwajoye entered the employment of Agip Oil Company, early in life after his graduation from the University of Ibadan, with a BSc in Geology degree. During his employment career, he worked in several departments, acquiring specialized and practical knowledge and skills in the oil fields. Also, he undertook the several technical and management trainings in Italy and United States, just to cite a few countries.
He achieved the historic feat, of becoming the First Nigerian Deputy Managing Director of the Agip Oil Company in 2006. Chief Aruwajoye, with his brilliant career and impeccable records of performance at Agip, he retired in 2007 from the company. A 33-year incredible, unblemished career records and excellent service to the Agip Company. By extension, Chief Aruwajoye have served the National Interest of Nigeria in the oil sector of the country’s economy.
Also important, he has represented and served well the nation by attending international conferences and meetings, such as the NEPAD in the United Nations in New York City in 2002 and the Conference on the Koyoto Protocol on Climate Change in Milan in December, 2003 (Source: Citation for High Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards).
Following his retirement from the Agip Company, Chief Aruwajoye have established some companies, chairman and CEO of Frontier Oil Ltd, a marginal field producer and Springview Co. Ltd, a logistics company and a Board-member of some companies, through his ownership and operations of these companies, he is providing a huge service to the nation and as an employer of labor, offering the job opportunities for many Nigerians, especially the Nigerian youths.
Coming to Chief Aruwajoye’s geographical area of Ondo State and hometown of Owo Kingdom, he has made huge marks, while providing a Community leadership for the Owo Is One Association (OIOA).
I recalled that High Chief Aruwajoye, Ogbeni Oja of Owo Kingdom, in filling the gap in leadership, which existed in the Owo Community, before 2012 or there about. He employed selfless efforts, personal influence, financial means and material resources to motivate, mobilize and organize other religious, organization leaders and Owo people to establish the Owo Is One Association (OIOA), a Community Organization, dedicated to catering for the interests and welfare of the Owo community and its people. Hence, the members of the association made High Chief Aruwajoye, the leader of the group by appointing him the National Coordinator (NC).
His leadership of OIOA is strong and with bold visions and implemented programs to foster peace, security and development in Owo/Ose communities. For instance, Chief Aruwajoye’s visionary plan gave birth to the Owo/Ose Initiative, which is a paradigm shift in the thinking and relationships in the political arena and development areas. For the lack of space in my writing, this writer is handicapped in sharing the long list of significant contributions made to the Owo Kingdom by the OIOA under the leadership of Chief Aruwajoye. He fostered a good working relationship with the Ose community.
Also, you might recalled the historic role played by the OIOA and Chief Aruwajoye, NC, in the motivation, mobilization and organization of meetings for Owo people at the Mapo Hall in soliciting their political support, get out to vote efforts for and election of the then candidate Barrister Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in the gubernatorial elections in Ondo State. At the end of the day, the votes cast by the Owo people for the election of their son, Governor Akeredolu, were overwhelmingly high and unprecedented in the history of gubernatorial elections in Owo town and Ondo State in general.
In the realm of peace in Owo community, the OIOA under the leadership of Chief Aruwajoye, the association, arguably, is in the forefront and a leader in the resolution of crisis and conflicts in the Owo community. For example, the association intervened in the strike crisis by lecturers at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo, under the Alhaji Ekungba Committee of Investigation, which undertook a research into, produced and submitted a report on the crisis.
Today, the NC of OIOA, continues to serve the Owo people by working with The Olowo of Owo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, in the efforts of promoting social and economic development in Owo Kingdom. As a result, Kabiyesi Oba Ogunoye III, established the Owo Development Council (ODC) and appointed Chief Aruwajoye as the Chairman of the Committee on Culture and Tourism, an assignment to promote and develop the culture and tourism in Owo Kingdom.
Chief Aruwajoye has a special place in his heart and love for the Owo Youths by engaging them, which has led to the OIOA’s establishing the Owo Digital Academy, a computer training center, temporarily located at Owo High School, for the youths in the Owo community.
Last, but not the least, Chief Aruwajoye, a proud alumnus of Imade College Owo (ICO). Public disclosure: Aruwajoye was my senior at the college. It must be revealed that the Chief, is a prominent member and a financial donor to the IMACOSA, the old students association of the ICO.
Before Chief Aruwajoye’s retirement from the Agip Company, through his employment connection and the Agip Oil Company’s Social Responsibility to the Nigerian citizens, he facilitated the building of a block of classrooms, sunk a water borehole and became an iconic member of the Donors of One Million Naira Club at Imade College Owo.
Against the backdrop of important, enormous and widespread services rendered and contributions made to the development of Nigeria, I sincerely believe that High Chief Aruwajoye, deserved the National Honor of OON, conferred on the eminent sons of Owo Kingdom in Ondo State, Nigeria, by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari in the glorious year 2022.
Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotimi Ibidapo, OON, Atunlase of Owo Kingdom and Agba Akin of Ijebu-Owo.
A Business Tycoon with the primary business interests in oil and gas operations in Nigeria and Namibia. Chief Ibidapo, is a former student of New Church Grammar School in Owo. Thereafter, his higher educational attainment include the following: Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing from Federal Polytechnic, Ado- Ekiti; Executive Master of Business Administration from Metropolitan School of Business and Management (SEMP), United Kingdom; Basic Omega SPS and Managing Diversity training at Western Geophysical in Houston, Texas; Advance Masters Class from the CWC School of Energy, Brazil; American Petroleum Institute (API) Non destructive Inspector in Ultrasonic levels I, II and III at The Ocean Corporation in Houston and Doctor of Science in Business Administration from Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Chief Ibidapo owns a conglomerate of companies around the world, such as, the Noble Pacific International Drilling West Africa Limited; Derotech Group of Companies; Derotech Offshore Services Limited, Namibia; RRB Home Health Service, USA; Famadec Power Engineering Inc., USA and Alpha-Shea Integrated Producing Company Limited, Owo, just to mention a few of them (Source: Citation for Chief Prince (Dr.) Benjamin Rotimi Ibidapo culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards). For example, in his hometown of Owo, Chief Ibidapo owns the Alpha-Shea Integrated Producing Company Limited, a five Star Best Western Midas Hotel in town, arguably, the best hotel in Ondo State. In the context, Chief Ibidapo, a CEO of many companies in Nigeria, is a generator of employment opportunities for thousands of the Nigerian youths. Unequivocally, through his oil and gas business, Chief Ibidapo is immensely contributing to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and improving the welfare and quality of life Nigerians through the discharge of salary obligations to the employment of workers who are hired in his companies.
As a philanthropist, Chief Ibidapo is a good donor, who gives donations to and supports causes- ranging from the educational institutions like his Alma Mater, where he built a block of classrooms and supplied furniture and teaching equipments, assistance to the Federal Medical Center Owo (FMCO); Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA); Security Agencies (Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police) in many towns across the country- Akure, Owo, Ikorodu, etc. In Owo town, Chief Ibidapo is a well known ‘People’s Person,’ who gives money out generously to the poor, underprivileged and widows. Chief Ibidapo is a fun loving guy and a social-elite, who honors and supports personal invitations to attend a weddings, burial ceremonies, if invited to the occasion. Obviously, I think that Chief Ibidapo is an active builder of the Nigerian economy, who deserves a recognition and be a recipient of National Award of the OON. Owo people are proud of your services and contributions to the community and the national economy. Without any reservations, I believe that you deserved the national recognition, which is why His Execellency, President Muhammadu Buhari bestowed the OON Award on you.
Dr. Idris Abdullahi Haroon, OFR, a Cleric, Teacher, Administrator and a Jurist.
A retired Justice of the Sharia Court in Kwara State, Dr. Haroon, whose mother is from Owo, started his primary school education at Al- Adabiyyah Elementary Islamic School, Owo, 1959-1962. Subsequently, in 1964-1968, he moved to Ilorin, Kwara State, to attend the Higher Islamic Institute, under the tutelage of the famous Islamic Scholar: Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen Al-Adaba. Also, in furthering his Arabic and Islamic Studies, he attended the famous University of Benghazi in Libya, for the first degree in 1970-1974. While in Libya, Justice Haroon served as the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1972. Later on, in 1981, he obtained a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
In 1974, Justice Haroon, began his productive and illustrious teaching career at the Abdul Azeez Attahiru Memorial College, Okene, Kogi State. Later, he worked at the Kwara State College of Education from 1976 to 1990. While at the college, he served as part-time lecturer at University of Ilorin and Ahamdu Bello University Zaria.
Fast forward about the career path of Justice Haroon. In 1990, Haroon changed a career path from the education to the judiciary, when he transferred to the Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, to become the Deputy Chief Registrar. While in 1992, he rose to the post of a Chief Registrar; in 1994, he was appointed a Kadi of the court. Interestingly, in 2010, he reached the top position of his judicial career as the Honorable Grand Kadi of Kwara State and retired on December 30, 2013 (Source: Citation for Justice Idris Abdullahi Haroon culled from the 2022 Nigerian National Honor Awards).
In my observation and comments about the Nigerian National Honor Awards, after the 58 years of its existence, it has gone through the wildness of a political crisis of enormous proportions, a Civil War, many military regimes, but the National Award has stood the test of time and survived the onslaught of many crises and it is still meeting its aim of honoring the Nigerian citizens, who offered and rendered the great service to the nation. I see the awards as a source of recognition, encouragement and inspiration for the Nigerian citizens to want to render more services to the nation. On behalf of the awardees from Owo, The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ogunoye III and the Owo people, I hereby express our sincere appreciation to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for honoring the four awardees in the class of 2022 from Owo Kingdom.

1 COMMENT

  1. Do not be stupid. Gov Akeredolu used his connection to favour his own town.
    I think Akures will learn from this and always being in support of their own sons and daughters in playing politics.
    Shine your eyes and vote wisely.
    Enough to Chief Gbenga ojo (iralepo of isinkan )
    ARROGANCY TO THE DEJI OF AKURE KINGDOM. HIS FATHER DID THE SAME WHEN HE WAS ALIVE AND GOD RELIGATED HIM BEFORE HIS DEATH. ANOTHER KING COME AND WHO DOES NOT KNOW JOSEPH AND THE DESADANTS OF JOSEPH SURFERED. GBENGA OJO YOU WILL DEFINITELY SURFER FOR YOUR LACK OF RESPECT TO THE DEJI OF THE AKURE KINGDOM SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE BACKING OF GOV.AKEREDOLU..

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