FEATURES: Their Culture, Their Pride

Seven sons of Ekiti were honoured by a socio-cultural group, Ekiti Parapo, Lagos Chapter, last Saturday with Icon of Corporate Nigeria Award for their service to humanity. The event was held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. OLATUNDE ODEBIYI reports.

The yearly Ekiti Day organised by a socio-cultural group, Ekiti Parapo, Lagos chapter, held last Saturday at the Oranmiyan Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.

For Ekiti indigenes in Lagos, the event was a homecoming and a time to commemorate their cultural heritage and to bring together those of living in Lagos.

The event also featured a fundraiser for the development.

Ekiti Parapo is a non-political but socio-cultural group, for Ekiti indigenes in Lagos.

The Oranmiyan Hall sparkled. It was decorated in red and green. Chairs were stylishly set round the rectangle shaped tables which had various designs that enhanced the beauty of the hall.

The ushers, in their green Ankara tops on black trousers, happily led guests in traditional attires into the hall.

Ekiti dialect and English were the languages of the day.

As soon as the guests sat, the event began with the recitation of the national anthem. It was followed by a prayer.

The President of Ekiti Parapo, Lagos, Chief Kola Akomolede, thanked the guests for honouring their invitation.

A live band entertained guests with various Ekiti songs.

The duo of Chief Ojo Erugale and Tolu Oguntoyinbo anchored the event.

The award, Akomolede said, was to recognise the achievements of those who have contributed to the development of the state.

‘’Ekiti people should come together for the purpose of developing our state, nobody can do it for us, and we have to do it ourselves.

“We are rich in human resources and we have great numbers of professors and professionals in the country but we must translate it to the development of our state, because Ekiti State receives the second least allocation from the Federation Account,” he said.

He urged the awardees not to relent in their good gestures.

In his keynote address, Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi thanked the group for its support to the state.

Represented by his deputy, Prof Modupe Adelabu, Fayemi spoke on the eight-point agenda of the state, which are: governance; infrastructure development; agriculture; education and human capital development; healthcare service; industrial development; tourism development; and gender equality and empowerment.

He told the group to get involved in issues affecting the state.

“Let us not continue to fold our hands. It is high time we as individual citizens of Ekiti State, Ekiti social groups and all stakeholders got committed to the development of our dear state and start to see government as ours and not just about the governor, or the deputy governor, or the political office holders,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the day, former Ogun State governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba, hailed the organiser for the colourful event.

The event continued with donations for the development of the state and the completion of a cassava processing factory which was started three years ago.

The chief launcher, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, urged Ekiti investors in Lagos to also invest in their own town – Ekiti. He made his donation after which others followed.

Atiku congratulated the awardees, urging them not to rest on their oars.

The awardees were; Chief Sam Bolarinde; Chief Oladeji Fasuan; Rt Revd Peter Awelewa; Otunba Kunle Olasope; Mrs Funke Fatogbe; Dr Ola Orekunrin and Mr Folu Ayeni and wife Bose, who were represented by Mr Olumide Ale.

After receiving the plaques, an Ekiti indigene and graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Tayo Oyeniyi, presented a big card to the governor.

One of the awardees, Chief Oladeji Fasuan, described the award as unique.

“It is coming on the heels of many others but I cherish this completely because of the fact that the people recognised what is happening.

“Ekiti is worth struggling for, you cannot be isolation, and you must be able to elevate your society and make your contributions to the development of your community. The award tells us to be more committed and contribute more to our environment, Fasuan said.

Chief Sam Bolarinde said he felt honoured being among the recipients.

‘’I don’t know what I have done to deserve this award. I love the recognition and its going to make me work harder and do better things for Ekiti,’’ he said.

Mrs Funke Fatogbe said she was grateful to the organisation.

‘’It encourages me to do much more for my state and I am proud to be an undiluted daughter of Ekiti,’’ she said.

Present at the event were former Governor of Ekiti State Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; the Chairman of Island Club, Prince Ademola Dada; patron and immediate past president, Sir Remi Omotosho; Prof Babalola Borishade; Shina Awolewa, Jumoke Akintoye; human rights lawyer Femi Falana; Prof Afolayan Ojo; Dr Gbenga Owojaye; Chief Ayodele Otitoju; Mr Kehinde Olaitan; Prince Toyin Ajibade; Mr Ayo Obilana; Tosin Okosi; Omotayo Olotiji and Bola Omoniyi, among others.

This article was first published in The Nation