The anniversary of Alare of Are-Ekiti marking his 21st years on his ancestors’ throne was another watershed in the history of the community. RASAQ IBRAHIM reports the thrills and glamour that characterised the historic event.
It was celebrations galore at Are-Ekiti, Ekiti State, as the Alare of Are-Ekiti, Oba Jacob Boluwade Adebiyi (Olofinkinmilehin III) celebrated his 21st coronation anniversary. He ascended the throne of his forebears in 1998.
Among those who attended the epoch-making event were first-class traditional rulers, eminent Nigerians, captains of industry and members of the political class. They came from all walks of life to celebrate with the traditional ruler.
The weather was clement; as many who are indigenous to Are-Ekiti and other residents thronged the exquisite King’s Court to celebrate with Oba Adebiyi Boluwade.
The occasion would always remain indelible in the memory of the celebrator and his subjects because of its significance.
Never was there a time in the history of the town when indigenes and residents witnessed such huge crowd of personalities at one function.
For the people of the town, it was a joyous occasion characterised by merriment and fanfare.
It was also a re-union for all sons and daughters of the community at home and in the Diaspora who came to celebrate with their king.
Governor Kayode Fayemi led eminent personalities to the coronation anniversary, which took place at the exquisite King’s Court. The governor’s presence and those of other personalities added glamour to the ceremony.
Other eminent personalities who attended the event included the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Commissoner for Local Government and Rural Development, Prof. Adio Folayan, the member-elect representing Irepodun/Ifelodun Constituency 1, Hon. Akeem Jamiu, Rev. Dr. Jide Ajayi, top government officials, captains of industry and community leaders.
Aside these, there were also many first-class traditional rulers among who were His Imperial Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, who was represented by Oba Adekunle Adebowale; Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Alara of Aramoko, Oba Adegoke Adeyemi; Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Ademola Ajakaiye and a host of others.
For the Alare , the event was a showcase for appreciation of God’s grace and mercy for giving him the opportunity to realise his dream of becoming a monarch.
He felt fulfilled that Are-Ekiti had grown in leaps and bounds in terms of infrastructural development, economic prosperity and educational growth.
Beaming with smiles, the elated Alare appreciated the presence of everyone who attended the event, especially Governor Kayode Fayemi.
The monarch sang along the congregation and complemented it with dance, in which his chiefs joined. The monarch and his chiefs made a spectacular show in the house of God.
The Alare told the gathering that he had prepared a special address which he would not read as he didn’t want to bore the guests with a long speech, adding that he merely wanted to appreciate God for His bountiful mercy and for making the day a glorious one.
“I give glory to God for this grace. The longevity on the throne was due to His grace and the people”, he said.
Oba Adebiyi thanked Governor Fayemi for his tremendous efforts at effecting rapid development in all nook and cranny of the state and in Are-Ekiti in particular.
He revealed that within the 21 years he has been on the throne, the town has witnessed geometric progression in terms of infrastructure, basic social amenities, economic and educational development.
He commended prominent Are-Ekiti sons and daughters for their invaluable contributions to the sustainable growth and development of the town.
He, however, called on them not to relent until the town attains its pride position among the towns in Ekiti State and Nigeria as a whole.
“The development and growth of our town should be a necessity for all indigenes both at home and in the Diaspora.
“I urge everyone to embark on establishment of industries which are catalyst for job creation for the teeming unemployed youths and effect developmental changes.
“My people cannot thank you enough, Mr Governor. You have been helpful always and we pray that God will continue to support and bless you.
“I appeal to all sons and daughters of this noble town to support the Fayemi-led administration in return for his good deeds during his first term.
In his speech, Fayemi, who was the special guest of honour said Oba Adebiyi’s ascension to the throne has brought rapid socio-economic growth and development to Are-Ekiti in particular and Ekiti State in general.
The governor revealed that the monarch has demonstrated exemplary leadership style in piloting the traditional affairs of the town for the betterment of its people.
He described the monarch as an exceptional royal father whose rapacious penchant for truthfulness has endeared him to many and etched his name in the mind of the people.
Fayemi promised to be supportive of any developmental agenda of the community targeted at accelerating the living standard of residents.
He added that the monarch never shied away from the truth not minding how you feel about him. And this has endeared him to many.
“I have come today to celebrate with our royal father not because of my supporters or members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in this town. The governor is for all traditional rulers and people of the state.
“I assure Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area and Are-Ekiti in particular that more infrastructural development will be witnessed during this second term.
“More notably, Are-Ekiti to Iworoko Road that needs immediate resurgence will be rehabilitated. And 5km road projects that had not been completed will be completed.
“Work will soon commence on the construction of some ring roads which include Iworoko-Eyio-Igede and Ado- Ekiti-Afao. And Are-Ekiti is not an exemption.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to create job opportunities for the unemployed youths, saying not everyone can secure government and white collar jobs but his government will empower them.
“I have to thank the celebrator for his support from time immemorial. And I pray Almighty God to grant him excellent health, prosperity and many more years to continue his immeasurable service to the people of Are-Ekiti and Ekiti in general”, Fayemi said.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi said he identified with the celebrator for witnessing the landmark.
Ogunwusi wished him more fruitful and prosperous reign, saying Yoruba race would continue to benefit from his wise counsels and experience.
The grand finale also featured other activities that included conferment of chieftaincy titles on some personalities.
Those conferred with chieftaincy titles were Chief Tope Fagun as Bobajiro of Are-Ekiti; Prof. Benjamin Ozumba and his wife as
Gbobaniyi and Yeye Gbobaniyi of Are-Ekiti.
Others were Surveyor Idowu Richard and his wife as Aare– Akorewolu and Yeye Aare- Akorewolu of Are-Ekiti and Chief Nathaniel Uzomah and his wife as Bobagunwa and Yeye
Bobagunwa of Are-Ekiti.
Speaking with one of the elders in the town, Rev. Jide Ajayi described the monarch as agent of societal development, saying the history of modern Are-Ekiti could not be complete without him.