As Osun state rounded up its 30th anniversary celebration with awards presentation to distinguished citizens, prominent Nigerians especially sons and daughters of the state on Thursday converged in Osogbo, capital of the state to felicitate with the government and people of the state.
Eventhough the former governor of Osun state who is now the minister of interior was not present at the ceremony but it had in attendance former and sitting governors across Nigeria, including: Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ogun State Governor, Dr. Dapo Abiodun who were represented; former Governors of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Oyo State Governor, Otunba Alao Akala; Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake; first class traditional rulers, including the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi who was represented; Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alfred Achebe, among other dignitaries.
This is even as the Governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, charged citizens to pull their collective strength to work, irrespective of their political differences and sentiments, for a greater tomorrow, saying that state-building is a collective enterprise.
Recall that the State had earlier announced that the Banquet and Awards ceremony would be the grand of the series of activities lined up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of Osun, where 28 distinguished and prominent citizens of the State would be honoured.
Describing the event as symbolic, Oyetola, who ensured a minute silence was held in honour of the first Civilian Governor of the State, the late Isiaka Adeleke, said it was deserving to pay tributes to the illustrious men and women who have held sway as leaders of the people.
He said: “We are here today because you all provided direction and showed distinct leadership in a manner that has earned our State its deserved recognition and reputation over the years. We are grateful to you all.
“This banquet and awards is designed to recognise and celebrate our distinguished citizens and friends of the State whose phenomenal contributions in the various fields of endeavour have made Osun proud and have helped to build the Osun of our founding fathers’ dream.
“They are eminent individuals whose contributions and legacies have inspired our people, especially our youths, to believe in our dear State and continue to fly its flag high.
“Twenty-eight persons have received awards in four categories at this event as follows: 11 recipients of Lifetime Achievement Award, 10 recipients of Osun Distinguished Citizen Award, 2 recipients of Legacy Award, while 5 persons got the Osun Merit Award.
“Knowing how blessed we are with the gift of highly-illustrious and accomplished men in all facets of life, we have resolved to continue to honour the best of us. This, we believe, will motivate our teeming youths to aspire high and achieve greater heights.
“On behalf of the government and the good People of Osun, I thank our awardees for their monumental contributions to our dear State, the nation and the world, and for leading lives that inspire us and our posterity to build a greater Osun.
“State building is a collective enterprise. Therefore, we all must, more than ever, pull our collective strength to work irrespective of our political differences and sentiments, for a greater tomorrow.
“We must consider it an urgent task to galvanise our diverse strengths, goodwill and resources to chart a pathway that delivers the Osun of our dreams. That is the least we owe ourselves and the generations coming behind us. We cannot afford to fail.
“I call on all to rise and let us build a better Osun that is reflective of our true potential as the cradle of humanity.”
Governor Oyetola also urged citizens to continue to collaborate with the government to achieve sustainable development promised and already being delivered.
He continued: “Let us drink and toast to our collective success and the avowed resolve of our administration to build a solid structure for trans-generational development in Osun.
“The journey to building a stronger and more prosperous Osun continues with greater resolve and hope from here. I invite you all to come on board”, he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, commended the government of Osun on the awards, describing it as a welcome development because of its potential to ignite high hopes and hunger for diligence and excellence in the youths.
The honourees, under the Osun Lifetime Achievement Award, included: Chief Bisi Akande (former Governor, Osun State), Pastor Enoch Adeboye (General Overseer, RCCG worldwide), Sheikh Abdur’rasheed Hadiyatulla (President, Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria), and General Ipoola Alani Akinrinnade, rtd. (former Chief of Army Staff, Nigeria from October 1979 to April 1980, and then Chief of Defence Staff until 1981 during the Nigerian Second Republic).
Others in the lifetime achievement category are: Asiwaju Hammed Omidiran, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, Prince Tunde Ponle, Professor Olu Aina, Chief Akinwande Akinola, Engr. Joanah Olu Maduka, and Chief Dr. Benjamin Adigun.
The State, under the Legacy Award category, also recognised Dr. Folorunsho Alakija (Chancellor, Osun State University and dynamic philanthropist), and the late Madam Susanne Wenger (a culture and tourism icon).
The Osun Merit Award honourees included Emeritus Prof. Ademola Oyejide, Chief Nike Okundaye, Professor Oye Gureje, Professor Isaac Adewole, and Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN.
The Osun Distinguished Citizens Award honourees included Pastor Matthew Asimolowo, Alagba Yemi Elebubon, Brigadier General Leo Segun Ajiborisha (retired), Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, Asiwaju Khamis Olatunde Badmus, Prince Lawal Obelawo, Chief Moses Inaolaji Aboaba, Mr. Adewale Adeyemo, Mr. Kola Adeniji and Mr. Mike Awoyinfa.
Chief Bisi Akande, in appreciating the honours done past leaders, commended the government of Osun for recognising the services and labours of the former governors.
He observed that the journey into the position of power was filled with the good and the bad as the past governors have experienced series of challenges while in power such as labour unrest and difficulties in payment of salaries of workers with the state’s meager resources.
He congratulated and commended past governors for meeting these challenges despite the meager resources that accrued to them from Abuja and called on the people of the state to continue to offer the necessary support to the Administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola in order to take osun to an enviable height.
“I congratulate my colleagues for having served the State and I congratulate the people of the State for having reached this height. I pray Osun will continue to grow from strength to strength and I pray all the past leaders will never have reasons to regret the services they have rendered to the State”, Akande said.
One of the high points of the event was the decoration of the former Military Administrators and Governors of the State since its creation in 1991 by the incumbent, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Governor Oyetola was in turn decorated by former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.