Balogun hosts Ijebus, royal fathers, clerics at New Year thanksgiving service
• As Aragbaye Thrills Crowd
Penultimate Tuesday marked another epochal moment for Otunba Olasubomi Balogun, the Founder of FCMB Group Plc, Head of Ijebu Christians and Olori Omooba of Ijebuland, his family, friends and the entire Ijebuland to congregate and celebrate another New Year.
Indeed, the turnout at the Tunwase Court country home of Otunba Balogun for the yearly congregation was a demonstration of oneness, unity and peaceful coexistence the New Year thanksgiving service he organises yearly has brought to the people of Ijebuland. The celebration gets bigger, better and merrier every year. This year’s celebration attracted people from all walks of life from within and outside Nigeria.
The inter-denominational event, which has turned the Tunwase Court to a yearly congregational point, also boosted the economy of the town for two days as visitors arrived for the event a day or two before the D-day in order to be part of it and prayer sessions that started at 7.30am. What else would tourism bring, if not economic opportunity to get more at a short time?
The event has become not only the gathering of the family of Otunba Balogun, but also the Ijebu reunion and thanksgiving point of unity. For the first time in the history of the event, this year’s thanksgiving service experienced a boost with the invitation of the popular Yoruba gospel artiste, Evangelist Funmi Aragbaye, whose music has become an inspirational rendition and anthem in many homes.
Evangelist Aragbaye’s performance was enthralling and spirit-moving as it attracted all and sundry to the floor to offer a dance offering to the Almighty for making them see another wonderful year. One of the participants, who is also a travel writer and an ardent fan of Funmi Aragbaye, Mr. Okorie Uguru, said, “this is one of the best Yoruba gospel artistes I cherish for her composition. She is my best for all times and the only Yoruba gospel musician I have collections of her album in my archive.”
In his usual inspiring speech, Otunba Balogun said his praises were not enough for what God had done for him and promised that he would continue to touch lives and do his best to serve his Creator in all ramifications. He thanked the clerics, royal fathers and people of Ijebuland for rallying round to celebrate with his family, praying that God would continue to strengthen and promote unity among them to keep on living as a family.
Acknowledging the fact that the event in the last one decade had continued to witness increased number of participants, the FCMB Founder revealed that for the 2020 edition of the programme there were visitors from Ibadan, Lagos, Ondo and America, expressing the hope that next year’s event, with the support of the Ijebus, will be more memorable.
He also expressed gratitude to a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who has been a regular face at the event, as well as Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Dr. Sunny Kuku, royalties and clergymen across different denominations.
While admonishing the congregation at the New Year thanksgiving service the Methodist Bishop, Diocese of Ijebu, Rt. Reverend Isaac Bola Osunjuyigbe, called on all to join in the repositioning of Nigeria. Reverend Osunjuyigbe said: “There is need for those in positions in Nigeria to start making statements that will make the country better. There is no one God cannot use to make a nation greater. In the Bible, He used many people we least expected to do great things. Today, I tell you God can still use us all in one way or the other to make Nigeria great again.
“In every position you find yourself, do something meaningful to make people feel your impact. We also have to pray for and support those in position for them to be role models and leave a lasting legacy likened to some of our nationalists that contributed immensely to Nigeria’s growth.”
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