Celebration galore as Ootunja-Ekiti indigenes return to ancient land
History was yet again recorded in Ekitiland, Ekiti State, recently, with the historic return of indigenes of Ootunja-Ekiti to their ancient land. The occasion climaxed with the foundation laying ceremony of a multi–million naira Oba’s palace.
The event, chaired by the Alaaye-Oke Ayedun, His Royal Majesty Oba Olufemi Aribisala, Obembe 1, was graced by prominent royal fathers in Egbe-Oba land, which include the Olusin of Usin- Ekiti, HRM Oba Samuel Adedeji Oluyemi; Elesun of Esun – Ekiti, HRM Oba David Ogunsakin; Obaloke of Igbona-Ekiti, Ekiti, HRM Oba Johnson Oladele Adeyemi, with the chief host, the Olootunja of Ootunja–Ekiti, HRM Oba Joseph Adedeji Adelola Fagbamila II, as well as dignitaries from all walks of life.
In his speech, Oba Aribisala, who thanked God for the historic event, commended sons and daughters of Ootunja on the initiative and prayed for speedy completion of the new palace.
He urged the indigenes to take full advantage of the new town through massive building of houses on the land, urging them to stop buying land elsewhere, but instead build on their land.
Also speaking, the Olusin of Usin, Oba Oluyemi, expressed joy that the great decision to return to Ootunja ancient land was during their lifetime.
While lauding the initiative, the monarch said, “it would put an end to all forms of injustices, hardship and punishments experienced by sons and daughters in their present location in Ikole-Ekiti.”
The Olootunja of Ootunja, Oba Fagbamila, recalled that Ootunja migrated from their land to Ikole during the reign of his grand father, Oba Fagbamila 1.
In his presentation, the President of Ootunja Sons and Daughters Association (OSDA), Emeritus Professor Peter Adeniyi, who gave reasons for the return of the indigenes to their ancient land, said their current abode in Ikole, “does not define who we are nor represent our values. The location is an embarrassment. Our forefathers migrated to Ikole land between 1922 and 1926.”
He described the foundation laying ceremony of the new Oba’s palace as very epochal and historical as none of the present generation of Ootunja sons and daughters could claim knowledge of when the foundation of the current palace was constructed.
Adeniyi further stressed that the impact of their migration to Ikole land has stunted the growth and development of Ootunja town, compared to other villages that did not move to Ikole land.
He gave several examples to buttress his assertion such as schools, market, and hospitals, among others, adding that Ootunja virtually lost everything.
According to him so as not to continue to adjust to an uncomfortable situation and to re-establish “our identity and dignity, as well as create a strategic pathway for a new Ootunja of our dreams, we decided to return to our own land where no one can intimidate us, treat us as second citizens, prevent our growth and development.”
The former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Ado-Ekiti argued, “we want to create a better environment for our children and children unborn to grow and live.”