By Ante Ajeluorou
Prominent Yoruba leaders two days ago in Ile-Ife tasked all Yoruba to embrace peace and promote unity among themselves so as to fast track development in all parts of Yoruba nation. In particular, Oba (Dr.) Adedapo Adewale Tejuoso enjoined all Yoruba to stop all wars and needless bickering and rivalries capable of derailing meaningful progress. Oranmiyan Festival had ‘promoting Yoruba unity through her history’ as theme and is packaged by Flabsy Travel and Tours Ltd. It ended yesterday.
In particular, three Yoruba leaders governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, the Ooni, and Tejuoso made the call at the opening ceremony of Odun Oranmiyan or Oranmiyan Festival at Oduduwa Hall, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where Oba Tejuoso delivered the festival lecture titled, ‘Oranmiyan: What is a Name?’ Tejuoso, said Oranmiyan, who ruled on three thrones, as Alaafin of Oyo, Osile of Oke-Ona in Egba and the 6th Ooni of Ife, left lasting legacies for the Yoruba people. He described him as nation-builder, bridge-builder of understanding and an excellent leader, who deepened the institution of monarchy in Yorubaland.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijiwade, highlighted the importance of understanding history in sustaining and strengthening bonds of unity and harmony and not division. He also stated, “Knowing the past helps us to understand the culture of today. The celebration of our cultural heritage helps us to sustain our own cultural identity”, and commended the governments in Yoruba states in “assisting in maintaining the cultural identity and strengthening the emotional, cultural and spiritual bonds that bind them to their origin, Ile-Ife, the Source”.
Sijuwade cautioned against the bastardization and politicisation of Yoruba tradition and culture and enjoined children to recognise, respect and appreciate their cultural heritage. He also tasked tourists to visit Ife to see the symbols of ancient Oranmiyan paraphernalia of office including his Opa Oranmiyan among others.
Also, the governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Olelakan Adeoti, commended festival consultants, Flabsy Travel and Tours Ltd and Ife people for celebrating Oranmiyan. While speaking on ‘Celebrating Yoruba’s common heritage, forging common front’, Aregbesola stated that celebrating culture should serve as bond of unity and rally point for all Yoruba people, noting that in celebrating Oranmiyan, “we’re identifying with the character of Oranmiyan, who had adept leadership qualities, virtues of compassion, which leaders of today should emulate”.
Aregbesola said it was these qualities in Oranmiyan that made him to adopt him as his campaign symbol and which enabled him to defeat his strong enemies during his tussle for governorship. He also noted that celebrating Oeanmiyan would bring enlightenment to young people and tasked all Yoruba people to use the festival to fortify the walls of unity and forge a common tie. He harped on the importance of using festivals in Nigeria to accelerate economic development by developing all tourism sites and actively promoting same so as to attract tourists from all over the world.