12th Igbaja Day: Community Unites for Historic Celebration and Major Development Project

By Olakunle Oyedunmola

The 2024 Igbaja Day celebration was a ceremony that will for years to come, remain a reference point not only to Igbaja sons and daughters but to other Igbomina towns far and near, as well as to neighbouring Yoruba towns and villages.

Igbaja a very prominent Igbomina town is said to have been founded by a hunter and warrior, Elese Adiyelefon, who migrated from Oyo-Ile with a large crowd of family members, supporters and associates to Afin.

He arrived the place called Igbaja with traditional Oyo objects such as Omoloju, Sango, Ida (sword) and Egungun Elewe
The influence of modern religious beliefs embedded in Islam and Christianity have however gradually eroded confidence in the indigenous African traditions and religions which propelled their sense of community in the past.

In fact, reports suggest that less than 10 per cent of the Irese population, today, still engage in the rites associated with the original traditional values which bond them together in the old.
However, in a turn of events, some over ten decades ago, the Igbaja community, in spite of the modern religions re-blended and started celebrating festivities around their various religions together with social clubs, associations, group unions among others emerging. Thereafter, a unifying body, of all the social clubs, associations, unions and others also emerged.

The unity body was named Igbaja Progressive Union, otherwise known as the Igbaja Progressive Union National Executive Committee, IPUNEC headed by a president general, who at the moment is Pastor Toyin Alabi.

The Igbaja Progressive Union (IPU) recently celebrated the 12th anniversary of Igbaja Day with a grand event that saw the unveiling of a N200 million developmental project for the Igbaja House in Lagos State.
The celebration, held in Igbaja, Kwara State, attracted dignitaries from across Nigeria, including the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdul-Rahman AbdulRasak, and several traditional rulers from various kingdoms across Nigeria.

His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Ahmed Awuni Babalola Arepo II, the Elese of Igbaja-Irese Land, expressed his profound gratitude for the success of the event, which he described as one of the best editions yet.
The obviously elevated Elese said, “I want them all to continue to work together as they’re doing and move the land forward.”

While appreciating the support from sons and daughters of the land, both at home and abroad, the First Class monarch prayed for their continued protection and guidance.
The Royal Special Guest of Honour, Oba AbdulWasiu Omogbolahan Lawal (CON) Abisogun II, the Oniru of Iru Land, Lagos, also lauded the event and prayed for continuous blessings on Igbaja Land.

Other notable figures, such as the Asiwaju of Igbomina Land, the Arogundade of Lagos, who is also the Baba Oba of Offa Kingdom, and Founder and Chairman Board of Trustees of Al-Hikmah University, Alhaji (Chief) (Dr.) Abdulraheem Amoo Oladimeji, thanked the dignitaries for their presence and support.
Oladimeji specifically commended the Elese of Igbaja-Irese Land, the Oniru of Iru Land, and Governor Abdul-Rahman AbdulRasak for their contributions and support towards the event’s success. “I pray Almighty Allah will continue to bless and guide them towards a successful tenure,” he added.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Secretary to the State Military Government, Chief Peter Olorunnisola, who served as the Father of the Day, described the celebration as a significant improvement on previous editions.

“This programme is marvelous; we have never seen its kind. It is a great improvement on the past, and we are happy about it,” he stated, emphasising the importance of continuous involvement from Igbaja’s sons and daughters both locally and in the diaspora.
Another prominent Igbaja son and father of the Day is Barrister Ayanda Fajenyo, who expressed happiness at the success of the event. He prayed the future events will be more successful.

A prominent Igbaja daughter, Alhaja Muibat Folashade Aribidesi, a retired CBN senior staff and computer guru, described the celebration as special and well-attended.
She lauded the efforts of the committee and all indigenes for their dedication to the town. “This is an interesting programme, and we give glory to God for this opportunity as many of us are alive to witness this. Of course, we have been doing Igbaja Day, but today’s own is special,” she said.
Mrs. Arinola Falilat Aroyehun, a committee member and retired banker, acknowledged the significance of the event and advocated for more frequent celebrations of Igbaja Day. “This is a big one for us in Igbaja, it is a very big one, we ought to celebrate many more of this type,” she stated.
The President of the Pathfinder Club of Igbaja, Alhaji Sidiq Toyin Fatai, emphasised the special nature of the event and praised the committee’s efforts and contributions from the town’s indigenes.

“The Pathfinder Club is all about professionals coming together for the betterment of the community by leveraging their experiences, contacts, and resources to develop Igbaja,” he explained.
Fatai highlighted the club’s achievements in health and education, including the operation of a 24-hour Cottage Hospital serving Igbaja and surrounding communities and providing scholarships for secondary and tertiary students.

Alhaji Sidiq Fatai further explained that the club aims to leverage members’ experiences, contacts, and resources to develop Igbaja, which he fondly described as “our small London.”
Chairperson of the occasion, Alhaja Fatimo Sanni-Omotoso, a business mogul, expressed her gratitude for the event’s success and prayed for future Igbaja Day celebrations to be even grander.

The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Dr. Doyin Rasaq Ogunleye, the immediate past president of Igbaja People’s Forum, IPF, also expressed his appreciation to everyone who contributed to the event’s success, especially the indigenes and committee members. “I’m very happy and I appreciate everyone, most especially our indigenes that came from abroad.
We had so many people that came from the United States of America, Canada, the UK, France, and other places just to attend this programme, and I am very impressed,” he said.
Dr. Ogunleye also praised Governor Abdul-Rahman AbdulRasak for his prompt arrival and active participation in the event.

“I am very impressed by the governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdul-Rahman AbdulRasak, for even coming earlier than expected. He was one of the first people to arrive at the hall, so I was really impressed. We thank him for coming and staying for so long at our programme,” he remarked.
Ogunleye emphasised the importance of unity among indigenes, stating, “We should always come together; there is nothing we cannot achieve if united. You can see how beautiful it was. So we should just dedicate and commit ourselves to the community. I hope other communities can learn from us; we have done so well.”

Reflecting on the financial aspects of the event, Dr. Ogunleye stated, “We had over N50 million in our account, collected from members, indigenes, and even some people outside the country.
At the main event too, we had a very good day, but I cannot tell you exactly how much we had. However, I am sure we should be going above N100 million right now. We may not reach the N200 million target, but I’m sure, by the grace of God, we will execute the project. Those who promised us, we have to pursue the funds and start our project.”
A highlight of the programme was the installation of honorary chieftaincy titles to several indigenes in recognition of their contributions to Igbaja.

Among those honoured were former Minister for Information and Culture Alhaji Olayiwola Mohammed, General Abdulwahab Eyitayo (the Are Jagun of Igbaja), Engineer Adeyemi Adeshina (Gbobaniyi of Igbaja), Owoniyi Olaitan Nurudeen, Alhaji Abiodun Ikolaba (Asoju Oba), Alhaja Fatima Sanni-Omotosho (Iya laje), Alhaja Muibat Olagunju (Yeye Meso), and Erelu, Alhaja Bukola Oladimeji-Oye.
The event demonstrated the community’s progress and commitment to development, with a resounding call for continued unity and support among Igbaja indigenes.

The celebration of Igbaja Day not only highlighted the town’s rich cultural heritage but also underscored the collective efforts to drive development and improve the quality of life for its people.

The presence of prominent figures, including the Executive Governor of Kwara State and various traditional rulers, added significance to the occasion, reaffirming the community’s importance on the national stage.

The launch of the N200 million development project for Igbaja House in Lagos also marks a significant step forward, reflecting the community’s ambition and determination to achieve greater heights.

One cannot but say that the 12th edition of Igbaja Day was a memorable celebration that showcased the strength, unity, and progressive spirit of the Igbaja community and also set the stage for future development initiatives, with the active participation and support of its indigenes home and abroad

Dignitaries presents are: His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdul-Rahman AbdulRasak (CON), Oniru of Iru Land, HRM Oba AbdulWasiu Omogbolahan Lawal (CON) Abisogun II, Olu of Ofaro Land, HRM Oba Abdulraheem Ayilara Asunmogejo II, Olupo of Ajase Ipo, HRM. Alh Oba Barr. Ismail Bolaji Yahaya Muhammed Atoloye Alebiosu, Olomu of Omu Aran, HRM Oba Abdulkaheem Oladele Adeoti Olomu-Efon II, Oloko of Okoirese, HRM Royal Highness Oba Victor Oluwafemi Olawuyi among others.

About Correspondent

Check Also

Kaduna Orders Probe into Alleged Brutalisation of Dan Balki Commander

By Lami Victor, KADUNA | The Kaduna State Government said it has ordered investigation into …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *