By Ikenna Aniagboso Amidst noble presence of traditional royalties as Obis and Obas and the beautiful smiling faces of Lolos and Erelus,
By Ikenna Aniagboso
Amidst noble presence of traditional royalties as Obis and Obas and the beautiful smiling faces of Lolos and Erelus, the drums were rolled out and hips swayed to the enthralling melodies of African music, heralding a perfect blend of African culture and tradition.
This was the setting for a special reception for Gov. Willie Obiano in faraway Ado-Ekiti, marked by prayers, traditional rites, music, dance accompanied by special cuisine and above of all, the joys, peace and goodwill during the historic event.
The event spoke volumes about the difference in cultures and yet unifying the different but similar cultures of Igbos and Yorubas.
Tales long told of the ‘Idu n’Oba’ and voiced by the revered Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nn’emeka Achebe and more recently re-echoed by Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, gives credence to long standing affinity between the two peoples – Igbos and Yorubas — who though torn apart by socio-political and economic forces but remain bound by cultural and traditional ties, forged by their progenitors.
There is now the need more than ever before for a move to revive and re-engage these cultural, traditional and social ties; this is being spurred by many noble men on either side of the divide.
If this is ever given a chance to succeed, it would help to bring down the walls of mutual suspicion, and many years of religious and political intolerance.
In the past abuses were hurled across the cyberspace by largely uninformed and inexperienced youths. It was in celebration of an uncommon bridge builder that the Obis and Obas converged in Ado-Ekiti.
Born in the sprawling hills and valleys of the ancient kingdom of Aguleri, but forged in the mould of such nationalists like the great Zik of Africa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo etc, Gov. Obiano has come to ignite a new relationship that would seek to re-define a more cohesive Nigeria.
From a humble yet noble beginning, he has grown into a giant – an Iroko — that offers comforting shade to many of his followers.
Over the years he had maintained both in private and public life the philosophy of hard work, goodwill, peaceful coexistence, prudence in management of scarce resources and yet remains charitable.
He has also built bridges. It is, therefore, not a surprise that he was nominated for conferment of a chieftaincy title by, Oba (Dr) Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe (Aladesanmi 111) and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and his council members.
Interestingly, the nomination and conferment did not come via toss of coin. It was the result of a consencious search. In many cultures, African and Western, candidates are nominated for honorifics, in recognition of their contributions to humanity or for outstanding achievements in any field of endeavour.
It was no different in Ado-Ekiti – the nascent Yoruba kingdom with rich cultural heritage and traditions, impressive agricultural profile and academic excellence.
Ado –Ekiti is the seat of the government of a state with the highest number of professors in the country; it deservedly earned for itself the befitting sobriquet – `the Fountain of Knowledge’.
It was from this enduring traditional and academic legacy that the nomination came. With the standard of assessing the title holder exhausted, it became a pleasant surprise when the winner emerged.
No doubt his intimidating profile played greater roles in determining his choice. He has achieved immensely, doing great work of charity by knitting its fabric wherever there is a tear, and yet remaining humble.
He has been a holder of many titles as a result of his sense of humanity. In his ancestral home, Aguleri had honoured with a title of Akpokuedike (when a warrior is summoned), he has sponsored many businesses; awarded many scholarships to indigent students and executed people-oriented projects privately even before becoming a Governor.
Indeed his response to challenges of the people, especially the poor and the needy, has been without compare.
This cuts across ethnic and tribal divides. Recognising this rare trait, President Barack Obama of the U.S., awarded him, the President’s Volunteer Service Award on December 2013, thanking him for helping to address the most pressing needs of his community.
On his emergence into public service, he continued to upturn the apple cat to blaze new trail – indeed, breaking old records and setting new ones.
He has earned a lot of accolades, prominent among which was the prestigious Zik Prize for Good Governance that he won in 2015.
Others are, the 2016 Vanguard Newspapers Governor of the Year, the 2016 Leadership Newspapers Man of the Year, the 2016 Silverbird Man of the Year, the 2016 Sun Governor of the Year and many others.
They also include recognitions by religious bodies and civil society groups.
So, the converging of Ewi-In-Council, the Obis and Obas at Ado-Ekiti alongside some Igwes, Oloyes, High Chiefs, Otunbas, the elegant Lolos and Erelus, the regal princes and princesses, the Ohaneze, the good people of Ado-Ekiti and the retinue of friends and well wishers was not in vain.
They had gathered to witness a conferment of the title of Aare Amuagun of Ado on a humble yet accomplished man; and Erelu Amuagun on his ever supportive wife.
Reflective of his philosophy, determination, humanitarian disposition, excellent leadership qualities, exemplary lifestyle and love for culture, the title Aare Amuagun literally translates to a pace-setting leader and one who lives an exemplary life.
This simply summarises the emergence of Chief Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano, Akpokuodike Aguleri and Aare Amuagun of Ado Ekiti.