When in August 27, 2017 after the swearing-in ceremony of the current Executives of Ikorodu Oga Development Association, a member of the said Executive walked up to me looked at me straight in the face and asked, “Otunba Abiru do you think, that within now and November 11, 2017, we can make meaningful impact bearing in mind that we have two and a half months to go?” if I were you sir, I would approach the kabiyesi & seek audience with the eminent people of this town and advise them to skip this year’s celebration to avert embarrassment” smiled and told him that, yes, you have a point but went on to let him know that the concept of impossibility is unknown and alien in the lexicon of Almighty God, the omniscient and omnipresent and reassuringly, patted him on the shoulder that the Oga Day celebration this year is a task that must be done.
This morning, Mr. Governor, kabiyesi, distinguished ladies and gentlemen looking at the blueness and the splendor of the Sky with the array of beautiful dressed men & women in an ambience of peace and serenity, I cannot but give glory to God for giving us the opportunity to be among the lucky ones to witness this occasion, I therefore re-echo the popular aphorism that with God everything is possible.
It is indeed a day of joy and pleasure to stand before you this morning to welcome you to the Grand Finale ceremonies of the 26th Edition of Ikorodu Oga day/carnival, it is a weeklong event worthy of celebration and for those of us who have been following the trends of events ever since we came on board, it could be said without any equivocation that we have in great measures succeeded in repackaging and rebranding the most popular socio cultural event in Ikorodu Division.
Our achievements cannot be measured on the prisms of physical infrastructure but in thousands of minds that we have been able to restructure, mentor counsel and guide aright to the path of honor, diligence, industry and self- reliance. It is an incontrovertible fact that the Youth constitutes over 60% of our population and therefore critical and relevant to the survival, growth and development of the town. With the benefit of hindsight we have discovered that our youths had for long been neglected, hence the reason for having in our midst hundreds of vagrants, miscreants, urchins and most devastating of all, cultists. Considering the enormity of problems before us and in order to lay a systemic foundation for the succeeding administrations, our theme for this celebration is “CULTURAL REBIRTH, A VERITABLE TOOL FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT” while our maxim, OUR YOUTH, OUR FUTURE. Culture in this instance should be seen as an encompassing phenomenon. You will all agree with me that in recent times Ikorodu has been negatively portrayed and we all have the responsibilities to prove the detractors wrong by doing things that will positively enhance our image so that serious investors can be attracted and by extension engage the idle Youths in productive activities. Ikorodu Division is peaceful and infact of all Division’s in Lagos State, Ikorodu, being a fast growing community is undeniably the most accommodating and peaceful despite the unfavorable media hoopla in recent times. History has shown us that at a point in time in the life of a Nation or town, there will be a period of anxiety, worries and challenges.
Badooism which was a thing of the past was ours and on this note I must commend the dogged determination of His Excellency, all Kabiyesis in Ikorodu Division without forgetting the efforts of the Nigerian Police and the vigilance groups in the community (Onyabo) for bringing the scourge to an end. We can now sleep with our two eyes closed, snore and perhaps dream of an Eldorado, Lagos State is indeed working.
At this juncture, we must do everything to sustain the peace and therefore call on the Corporate organizations operating in the division to partner with IKODASS so that together we will get to the promised land. Though, most of the Corporate bodies have not been forthcoming in our request to them, this could be excused on the basis that they must have concluded their budgets as at time we approached them for financial assistance or sponsorship of our programmes as the case might be, we hope that our request which will get to you early enough in the coming year would be generously considered. It is through what you give to us that we will spend to constructively engage the youths and do other necessary things that will engender security, prosperity and peace of the town, which obviously will rub on the performance oi your Organizations. You will agree with me that the prosperity of your companies is predicated on the peace and security of the place they are located.
I also want to use this medium to appeal to ours sons and daughters both within the country and in Diaspora to see IKODASS as partners in progress and not as a group of beggars asking for aims. Our success is your success. We must forget the past and move forward in the interest of our town and our children.
Those of us that are richly blessed should spend out of the God’s given gifts for the development and progress of the town, IKODASS is not in a position to dictate how you spend your money but if some people had not done what they did at the time they did it, our Ultra-Modern Town Hail will not be in place today. Our wealth and position are given to us by Almighty God for a purpose. We must at all times be conscious of the fact that when the poor is awake, the rich also cannot sleep.
I enjoin you to identify with the lofty ideals of the Association and be involved in its activities. Let us jointly scale up this celebration to a level of Tourisms which invariably would buoy up the economic prospects of our town. Aloofness will profit no one as you cannot be an oasis of success in an ocean of despair, hopelessness & poverty.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is sad to observe that the Association has not been able to offer scholarship or bursary to deserving indigenes of the town for the last two years, due to paucity of funds. How do we want to get the allegiance of these kids if we are not there for them at the time of their need? In our efforts to show to the growing kids that we care, twenty of them will be offered bursary at the instance of MODASS and it is hoped that with your continued support, this will be a yearly ritual to help our youth and students. Let me assure you without any fear of contradiction that any money given to IKODASS will be judiciously spent and accounted for.
In furtherance of our humanitarian gesture, IKODASS despite its state of finances extended its generosity to Ita-Elewa maternity hospital through provision of mattresses and beds. The state Government is doing a lot and we all can see what the Administration has done within the last two (2) years. The Government cannot do it alone. We need to assist the Government to help us. That is the practice in the developed and other same Countries.
Considering the time we assumed office, about two and half (2/1/2) month we might not have achieved much, but we take solace in the fact that we have succeeded in restructuring the minds of the Youth in a way that will positively impact their lives and assist them in fulfilling their destinies. We have constructively engaged the Youth on Several for a, of which the dividends are being manifested. If we give our youths the opportunity to express themselves, in no distant year we will have Sebastian kurz (Austria) and Emmanuel Marcon (France) of Nigeria. The greatness of a nation is not determined by the number of skyscrapers of infrastructure scattered in every nook and cranny but in the quality of minds of its citizens. Structure without adequate provision for its maintenance is like laying a foundation on a sand cliff.
We believe in our youth and equally believe in the importance and knowledge of history as a catalyst to our socio-cultural, economic and political development. The partnership of Ikorodu Oga Development Association with Quick Discovery in the writing and public presentation of the History of Ikorodu entitled ORUSEN -The Source by a young lady called Princess Ladega is a testimony and confirmation of our trust and belief in the youth and their capacity IKODASS has resolved to continue to encourage the youths with a view to bringing out their latent talents.
One other thing that we have succeeded in doing is to restore the fast fading fame and glory of his yearly event to its rightful place and also arouse the consciousness of our people to the need to come together to celebrate ourselves, our colorful and beautiful heritage. The people in the town can confirm this assertion.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, today we are honouring two indigenes of the town who have distinguished themselves in the service of humanity one of them was the late Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi who is being given a post of humours Merit Award, and Honourable Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority leader of the most vibrant legislative House in Nigeria. These two people had done wonderfully well and they deserve the highest award of the Association which of course is the Merit Award. The year 2017 brochure contains the list of 2017 Awardees and it is hoped that it would motivate and inspire others to do more for their Community. Hon. Agunbiade whom we are celebrating today has brought to the fore the Asa culture which was nearly going into extinction, but for his determination, we can proudly say Ikorodu also has something to showcase when called upon to display some of its cultural heritage. On behalf of the Kabiyesi and the Executive members of IKODASS we want to appreciate them for what they have been able to do with their money & energy. I congratulate them most heartily. IKODASS will be ready to partner with cultural groups or individuals ready to project our cultural heritage.
Also today, we will be decorating one our new patron, Engr. Kayode Anibaba, a retired Permanent
Secretary in the Lagos State Civil Service. I want to congratulate him and hopeful wish that he will bring his experience to bear on the administration of IKODASS.
I want to use this medium to appeal to all Clubs to fully participate whenever election comes up at
IKODASS as it is through this we can have quality membership in the Executive and therefore enhance the quality of debates, programmes and projects. It is my desire that the next administration after the exit of the current one will be better in human capacity and quality of delivery.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, at this point, it is pertinent to acknowledge the generosity of Lagos State Government for its support since the commencement of this yearly event and I want to particularly express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to the incumbent Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for his generosity which is over and above what we have even been given by the State Government since the inception this yearly event in 1991. We thank you very much sir. We hope that this time next year, we will also have cause to register our appreciation to you sir.
I thank all our guests who are numerous to mention, our Awardees, all those that have been with us in the last one week, Council of Bales, the Olombas. We appreciate you. I cannot forget the advice & support of the past chairmen. You have been very great; neither will I ignore the efforts and input of the team of the Executive of IKODASS who without being paid a kobo continue to discharge their responsibilities and duties diligently selflessly. May God reward you accordingly.
Our Chairman today has been very wonderful and supportive. His commitment to the development of our town is not in doubt. Added to this is the financial support extended to us as a man with a bigheart, we cannot thank you enough sir, IKODASS will forever be grateful to you.
The support of our Kabiyesi, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi and his Olori Kudirat Abosede Shotobi has been unique. Here is a king who truly loves his people. May the good Lord continue to bless you & your wife with wisdom, strength and health to preside over the kingdom. I also recognize friends and well-wishers who supported us morally and financially. We appreciate you all. I want to thank all our sponsors for their support and pray that God Almighty will bless your endeavors.
I want to particularly and openly recognize the support of the Market Men and Women ably led by Alhaja Taofikat Allison. The support has been monumental and encouraging. I confirm to this
gathering today that this group of people are partners in the wheel of progress.
Finally, I also want to publicly appreciate my adorable wife Princess Olubunmi Abiru for her understanding and perseverance since my assumption of office as the chairman of the Association.
On this note, I want to enjoin you to please enjoy the conviviality’s of this event which is the first segment of the grand finale while hoping that after this session, you will merry with us till late in the evening when our Clubs/Societies will also take the stage at the Town Hall & its environs to continue the celebration.
I thank you for your attention.
Itesiwaju Eko lo je wa logun.
Ikorodu Oga! Ajuse o!!.