UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 2015
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE OF THE OSEMAWE OF ONDO KINGDOM
Omo Ondo dede,
It is a pleasure for me to be here in Dallas Texas to meet with Ondo indigenes, other Nigerians and American people.
I am thankful to Ondo Unity Forum in the Americas, which is a federation of Ondo Clubs and the affiliated Ekimogun Association of Dallas Fort Worth which made this reception possible. Collectively and individually, you have contributed immeasurably to the grand and royal reception I have received since my arrival. Your warm hospitality extended to me and Olori is indicative of your continue attachment to Ondo Kingdom and its culture. This hospitality is in many ways a much appreciated repetition of the good reception organized for me by Ondo Unity Forum in the Americas (OUFA) in 2011. Once again, I thank OUFA and several Ondo Clubs and individuals who organized that historic reception.
I congratulate many of you for being good ambassadors of Ondo and Nigeria. My presence here is to meet with you. Through this august meeting, I plan to brief you on developments in Ondo Kingdom, especially Ondo City Vision 2015. This year 2015, is the year of the Vision. Before doing this, let me cast a retrospective look at our history to be able to merge the past with the present in a seamless historical flow.
An independent and major Kingdom in eastern Yoruba land, Ondo Kingdom was an autonomous Kingdom for almost four centuries before 1900 when Britain Subsumed the Kingdom under the protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Yet, notwithstanding sixty years of British Colonial rule and tepid efforts of westernization, the essence of Ondo culture remains the same. Briefly, this is the continuation of the Osemawe kingship and I am the forty-forth Osemawe since its inception in 1510. Major festivals which developed overtime continue to be celebrated annually. Among these festivals are the Odun Oba (Kings festival), Ogun and other minor festivals. I am proud to say that Ondo culture continues to wax strong. Indeed, our culture is the anchor on which our community, society and identity is based. Our culture which places emphasis on respect for elders, honesty and integrity as well as hard work is a powerful tool to interpret the world and it is equally a veritable map for us to navigate the world.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized culture as a critical tool for development. It specially placed emphasis on the importance of teaching mother tongue so that the rich variety of languages in our world may continue to be spoken. While recognizing the use of English for communicating across ethnic and national lines as well as is in the work place, the continued use of our dialect and language is imperative for the survival of our culture. I urge you to continue to use your mother tongue and dialect in your home and to pass this to your children.
The 2015 is the year of Ondo City Vision the object of which is to proclaim and designate Ondo as a city in Ondo State so that our community can be suitably addressed as Ondo City. Conceived in 2010 by the Osemawe during the celebration of Five Centuries of Osemawe Kingship, Ondo City Vision aims to modernize Ondo making it a sustainable city in the 21st century and beyond.
We envisioned that we must live in a community with a well planned environment, using a well coordinated and accelerated approach. This is the thrust of the “Ondo City Vision 2015” project. It started with a SWOT Analysis of the existing system from where we worked out the required platforms of development. These are;
- Infrastructure Development and Government Liaison Unit
- Education with emphasis on ICT
- Commerce, through a Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industry and Agriculture
- Cultural Renaissance Unit with emphasis on revisiting, modernizing and promoting all aspects of our culture
- Funding and Corporate Social Responsibility Sub-Committee
- Project Coordination and Implementation and
- Proclamation Committee
It happened that we have the right political environment in which our son, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, CON is the Executive Governor of our State, Ondo State. His Excellency has been very supportive. This explains the enormous success that has been achieved.
Notable progress can be seen in the following areas of our development:
- Dualization and Lighting of major roadways within the city.
- Modernization of many markets above national standards.
- Upgrading of many schools to Mega Schools supported by free school buses for the students.
- Establishment of the new Ondo State University of Medical Sciences by the Government.
- Upgrading of Adeyemi College of Education to a Federal University.
- Registration and Operation of Ondo Kingdom Chambers of Commerce , Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OKCCIMA).
- Ongoing establishment of a Heritage Museum at the old town hall.
- Private initiatives in Hotels and resorts construction.
- Tree planting and landscaping of the city and environs.
- Mobilization of many groups and associations within and outside the country to improve on the Social Capital of the community.
- Planned development of modern residential estate.
- Planned development of industrial estates and entrepreneurship development centres.
We also have had the support of the recent Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Mrs. Mobola Johnson (Nee Akinnola) who assisted in the provision of four (4) ICT Centres and the ongoing development of an e-library in Ondo Town.
Our vision is one of dynamic movement to achieve the sustainable development of our community. We are just starting, our goals are high and we are appreciative of the intensity. We do not intend to be shy of climbing, rather we shall continue with determination.
I appeal to you as individuals as well as Club members to support in any way you can the achievement of our vision. Several Ondos as Clubs or individuals donated to the Ondo City Vision. I urge those of you that have not done so to please contribute generously. I can assure you without reservation that every kobo will be accounted for. (Ref. www.ondocityvision2015.org)
Several Ondo Clubs in America also funded and some are still funding development programmes in Ondo Kingdom. I note with gratitude and deep appreciation the development activities of the following clubs:
- The over one million naira annual scholarship given by Ekimogun Association of Southern California to Ondo students.
- The construction of a 7 million naira Laundromat to Ondo Specialist Hospital by Ondo Unique Association of New York.
- Supply of furniture to Jubilee Secondary School, Oke Aluko by Ekimogun Association of Dallas Fort Worth.
I read in a publication of Ondo Unity Forum of activities planned by other clubs. For instance, I know that Ondo Elite Club of Rhode Island, Ondo Progressive Association of New Jersey and Ondo Ritz Club of Maryland, Washington D.C. are each planning to offer scholarships to students in Ondo Kingdom.
The Osemawe appreciated these laudable efforts and calls on all clubs and individuals to scale up their development activities in Ondo Kingdom and Nigeria. Equally, I appeal to each Club and individual to collaborate with OUFA and to inform OUFA of your development activities. Through collaboration and joint efforts, there will be greater coherence in the development of Ondo Kingdom. In this context, I invite the Ondo Clubs and individuals to select projects under Ondo City Vision 2015 which they may wish to implement.
As part of acknowledging the importance and contribution of Ondos in diaspora to Ondo development, I am contemplating on how Ondos in the diaspora can be represented on Ondo Development Committee.
In ending my speech, let me salute each and everyone present. To the Ondos, Ekimogun, Omo alade-igbo, omo amu ide mu emu, an ma se o. a ko ire dele o.
To Other Yorubas, Omo Oduduwa modupe lopolopo Iwaju la o ma lo
To other Nigerians, thank you
To our American friends, I am grateful for your presence
May the Lord bless Nigeria and America. Amen
I am thankful for your attendance and support.
His Royal Majesty,
Oba Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, CFR
MB.ChB; DRH, CPHQ, FAGP, D.Sc, LLD.
The Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom.