A DECADE OF PEACE PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES
BEING TEXT AT 2016 EKIMOGUN DAY CELEBRATION AND THE 10TH YEAR INSTALLATION ANNIVERSARY OF OBA DR. VICTOR ADESIMBO KILADEJO CFR, JILO III, THE OSEMAWE AND PARAMOUNT RULER OF ONDO KINGDOM
It is with immeasurable joy and great pleasure that I welcome all to 2016 Ekimogun Day Celebration and the 10th year Installation Anniversary celebration marking my ascension to the throne of my forefathers.
Today’s milestone is part of a journey flagged off with the presentation of staff of office on 2nd December, 2006, by the then Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Dr. Olusegun Agagu. It is not only a celebration of my emergence as the Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom but more of a thanksgiving to the Almighty God, our heavenly Father who is the origin and the source of kings and kingdoms. We glorify God for the journey so far and, above all, for sparing our lives to witness today’s auspicious occasion.
Having acknowledged God’s divine hand in everything, I must also acknowledge the worthy human agents whom God Himself has used to move this kingdom forward.
In this regard, I wish to thank the Osemawe-in-Council for the unalloyed support and loyalty over this last decade. Their individual and collective roles as pillars behind the success recorded in the kingdom thus far cannot be adequately quantified.
I salute the effort and commitment of the Ukule, Elegbe, Ijama, Opojis. Your impact in your respective quarters are genuinely felt and highly appreciated. The Olojas have also shown remarkable effectiveness in their various areas of jurisdiction. I must also register my acknowledgment of the honorary chiefs. I thank you all.
Worthy of special mention and our sincere appreciation is our own son, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Executive Governor of Ondo State. His emergence as the Executive Governor of Ondo State during my reign is one of the most remarkable landmarks ordained by the Almighty God. His unprecedented performance across the state, coupled with his numerous contributions to the transformation of Ondo Kingdom have no doubt raised this kingdom shoulder high. It is our joy to celebrate this icon as an outstanding patriotic son of Ondo Kingdom.
I also, particularly want to appreciate the Ondo Development Committee (ODC) whose activities since its inauguration during the reign of Oba Itiade Adekolurejo, Jisomosun III, have been beyond comparison in this part of the world. I sincerely thank you all for your unparalleled effort in propelling this Kingdom forward.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am immensely proud that we Ondos had for long realized the need for joint action and collective responsibility. This awareness has for long brought the most enduring development to our great kingdom as we have zealously taken the bull by the horns in charting the course of our communal growth. It is such zeal that gave birth to the great Ondo Boys’ High School as long ago as 1919. It is such progressive thinking that made Ondos establish the Ondo Specialist Hospital many years ago. In the same vein, all Ondos are justifiably proud of the ultra modern Oba Adesanoye Civic Centre, where this event is taking place. This is a centre built through our very productive and enviable communal effort. Each time I think of how richly endowed we are in terms of human and material resources, I am always appreciative of God for the vision and commitment of Ondo sons and daughters both home and abroad towards leaving behind an enduring legacy wherever we find ourselves.
In this connection, we must acknowledge the special contributions of the contemporary generations of Ondos in the Diaspora which are very remarkable indeed. In particular, the Ondo Unity Forum in the Americas (OUFA) and the Ondo Union of the United Kingdom. I salute you all for your contributions to the development of our fatherland.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Ever before my ascension to the throne, I had been conscious of the fact that, for any growth and development to occur anywhere, there must be peace. For happiness in a home there must be harmony.
Interestingly, peace and harmony which are essential ingredients for development have been the signpost of the progressive development in Ondo Kingdom since I ascended the throne.
From the bottom of my heart therefore and in strict obedience to my mandate as the Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom, I want to passionately thank all Ondo sons and daughters first and foremost for their unequalled hospitality, while I extend my sincere appreciation to all my chiefs for the sustainability of peace in their respective quarters and domains.
The relative calm and mutual understanding being witnessed today amongst our people and amongst the diverse groups/tribes bear eloquent testimony to the internal mobilization of the entire citizenry towards peaceful co-existence in the Kingdom. Furthermore, while commending the Law enforcement agencies for discharging their duties effectively, I also want to publicly appreciate my youths in Ondo Kingdom for always comporting themselves in an orderly manner. Their loyalty to the throne has been thrilling and commendable.
I am happy and proud of the monumental development witnessed in the last decade. Indeed the Almighty God has dealt bountifully with us in all areas of human and infrastructural growth.
Educational progress has come to us in immense proportions, so also have we taken giant strides in the areas of health facilities. Thus we can boast of numerous Mega Schools, a good number of tertiary institutions, a University of Medical Sciences and even a medical village that has put Ondo city on the global map.
Our women now have markets of international standard which they can be proud of. Our township roads have also received commendable attention through the unflagging effort of the Ondo State Government.
The historic celebration of 500 years of the Osemawe dynasty in 2010 was not only a joyous source of pride to us all, it also acted as a catalyst for the emergence of many other valuable elements of growth in Ondo Kingdom.
Topmost of these elements was the proclamation of Ondo City on December 5, 2015, during the last Ekimogun Day celebration. Other manifestations of the City Vision include the establishment of the Ondo Kingdom Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Agriculture and Industry, the establishment of ICT Centres in the Kingdom, the construction of the City Gates and so on.
Some issues in progress currently being handled by the Infrastructure Committee include water supply to Ondo City and Ondo City Master Plan.
What is even more enduring is that the proclamation of the City status has further renewed and heightened the focus of Ondo sons and daughters on growth effort for the kingdom.
I must say that all our people have been involved at various levels, be it individual, committee or club. Permit me here to make mention of members of the Anniversary Committee, the Ondo Club 75, the Zenith Club as well as individuals like Otunba Noah Fadayomi, Mr. Steve Akinretoye and others whose indefatigable efforts have yielded all the numerous positive results that have made Ondo Kingdom a place of pride to us all. I thank you all.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF EKI FM. 100.9
One of the positive results of the Ondo City Vision came in the establishment of Eki FM, a proud achievement for all Ondos. For this I once again commend the Ondo Development Committee. This community-owned radio station is of world standard and the first of its kind around here. It is yet another testimony of our commitment to our city status. Interestingly this radio station is complemented by two other radio stations also in Ondo City, namely M & C 106FM and Kakaki Radio Stations. I joyfully applaud their respective owners.
THE OSEMAWE’S ACHIEVEMENTS AT THE PERSONAL LEVEL
At the level of personal recognition, I am highly delighted to put before you through God’s favour that I have received the under-listed honours within this period:
- Appointment as Chancellor of a University
- The award of Doctor of Science (DSc.) and Doctor of Law (LLD) degrees from two reputable Universities.
- The conferment of Commander of Federal Republic (CFR) (which is the highest honour ever bestowed on any Oba).
- The conferment of the Honorary Citizenship of Dallas, USA, amongst many others, too numerous to mention.
It is with utmost joy that I now dedicate these awards to all Ondos, home and abroad.
While we thank God for the attainments so far recorded, there is no denying the fact that we have also faced several challenges, prominent amongst which are youth unemployment and epileptic power supply, particularly in Ondo Kingdom. These are issues crying for attention and to which we must not turn a blind eye.
I have observed also with dismay the emergence of the land grabbing syndrome (Omo onile) which is fast becoming endemic in Ondo. A committee has been set up and is working with the Osemawe-in-Council to tackle this menace, head on.
PROJECTIONS FOR THE NEXT DECADE
It is my resolute desire to make a judicious use of our present in planning for the future of incoming generations. With God on our side, this will surely be achieved. In this regard, a committee will soon be set up to map out what should be the focus of Ondo Kingdom in the next ten years.
Furthermore, the industrialization of Ondo Kingdom remains an issue of paramount importance to us, just as we are committed to the actualization of the Housing Estate Project. Additionally, the Ondo Development Committee is being mobilized to look into the acquisition of the moribund Nigerian Romanian Wood Industry (NIROWI) for the purpose of establishing an Industrial Park in Ondo Kingdom.
Let me conclude by congratulating each and every one of you, my dear people, on the double joy of this glorious day, the joy of the 2016 Ekimogun Day celebration and the joy of the 10th year Anniversary of Osemawe’s ascension to the throne. We glorify the Lord God and I thank everyone who has worked assiduously towards the success of this day. Your labour and patriotic zeal, either as individuals or at committee level, are very much appreciated. AIO A GBE DEDE WA O
I affirm and I know you will agree that Ondo Kingdom as personified by the Osemawe will continue to be the arrowhead of sustainable development especially with the active support of all and sundry. My plea therefore is for tolerance, mutual understanding and stronger commitment, jointly and individually, in our aspiration for a better and more glorious future. It is only peace and unity that can guarantee the much desired development. As we all pursue this laudable goal, I wish all Ondos at home and in the Diaspora more blessing, greater prosperity and sound health. I also earnestly enjoin all to continue to remember “our home”, knowing fully well that we have no other place other than ONDO to call our own.
Thank you and God bless.
His Royal Majesty,
Oba Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, CFR.
BSc. (Hons.); MB.ChB; DRH; FAGP; Hon D.Sc; Hon. LL.D.
The Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom.