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Day IWC in Diaspora forged common ground for Ikale nation

By Oluwaseun Akingboye, Bureau Chief US & North America
03 December 2023   |   10:12 pm
Indigenes of Ikale, an ethnic group in the Southern part of Ondo State of Nigeria, have been rooting for a common front to push the frontiers in politics, commerce, economics, military, entertainment and all facets of human endeavour as a formidable nation. It is one of the major ethnic groups in Ondo State occupying a…

IWC President, Olayinka Ibitoye

Indigenes of Ikale, an ethnic group in the Southern part of Ondo State of Nigeria, have been rooting for a common front to push the frontiers in politics, commerce, economics, military, entertainment and all facets of human endeavour as a formidable nation.
It is one of the major ethnic groups in Ondo State occupying a total land area of 19,700sq kilometers with about 1,900,000 population. The Ikales occupy mainly Ikale and Irele council and predominantly spread in some settlements in Odigbo LGA.
They are also found in Ayede, Ayila and Ijebu Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, sharing boundaries with both Ogun and Edo states.
Ikale is one of the dialects of the Yoruba Race with distinct towns in Irele LGA: Ode-Irele (the headquarters), Ode-Omi, Ode-Ajagba, Iyansan, Akotogbo and Ujosun (the last four were formally grouped under Benin Confederation).
While towns in Okitipupa LGA included: Idepe-Okitipupa, Ikoya, Ode-Ayeka, Igbodigo, Igodan, Ode-Erinje, Igbisin-Oloto, Ode-Aye, Erekiti Luwoye, Ilutitun, Igbotako, Iju-Odo, Omotoso, just to mention few.
They have borders with Odigbo people in the North, Edo State in the East, Ijaws, Arogbos, Apois and Ilajes in the South; and Ogun State in the West where some of their kindred communities like Mobolorunduro, Ayila, Ayede are situated.

Immediate past President, late Chief Ekudayo Aiyebo

The Ikale’s self-consciousness does not just start and end at home but reverberates in the diasporas as they easily locate themselves through their unique dialect and culture, which has become a strong bond for the people over the years.
In the United States of America, these people are not left behind as this motive was the driving force behind the 2023 Annual Convention and Dinner Night of Ikale World Congress (IWC) held in Philadelphia, USA recently.
IWC, which is the major umbrella body for Ikales, is an offshoot of Ikale Progressive Association (IPA) in New York and New Jersey. To push its frontiers globally, the IPA President, Odimayo Akindutire, reached out to other Ikales in North America in 2006.
Akindutire reached out to notable Ikales like Prince Olurinde Akinsola and Dr. Salewa Olafioye for the formation of an all-encompassing Ikale Association to be known as Ikale World Congress after the end of the year gathering in New York.
Amongst other IPA foundation members there were: Mr. & Mrs. Omowole, Mr. Babatunde Omolola, Mr. & Mrs. Babatunde Ogunwolere, Chief (Dr.) & Chief Mrs. Iyiola Aiyeku, Mr & Mrs. Kola Akindutire and Mr. & Mrs. Ayo Lijirin.
Others include: Mr. & Mrs. Babatunde Basorun, Dr. & Mrs. Benson Akingbemi, Mr. & Mrs. Adelokiki, Dr & Mrs. Odimayo Akindutire, Dr & Mrs. Olokungbemi, Mr. and Mrs Abiodun Adelokiki, Mr & Mrs Bamgboye,
It berthed the first inaugural convention held in Maryland which was fully attended by Ikale indigenes from different states in the US and Canada, while an IWC Board was inaugurated and Dr. Olafioye was named the first Board Chairman.
There were three affiliations of Ikale World Congress called chapters, namely: New York, Texas, and Maryland but four additional local chapters were later created in 2008 at Dallas, Missouri, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
IWC elected its first executive members in 2009 at Houston Convention, having Akindutire as President, Prince ‘Dokun Faduyile as General Secretary, Mr. Sam Ademola as Treasurer, Mr. Anthony Adelokiki as Social Secretary and Mr Tunji Ogunmola as Publicity Secretary.
Aside putting the ethnic group on enviable pedestal with their contemporaries like the Ondos, Akures, Akokos, Ilajes and Ijebus, the IWC conscientiously seek unalloyed unity of purpose for developmental progress amongst the people.
The register of Late Chief Ekudayo Aiyebo, who is the immediate past President of the Congress, is described as the Golden Era by members due to his indelible legacies and efforts to harness the growth of the association.
While speaking with the first IWC, Prince Faduyile, he noted that late Aiyebo invested so much time and energy in the congress, making frantic efforts to build on the legacies of past leaders and creating a sustainable path for coming generations.
“Late Chief Ekudayo Aiyebo legacy cannot be easily forgotten in the history of Ikale World Congress. He is such a courageous leader who served with humility, love and compassion. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish his tenure before he passed on to glory in December 2022.
“He invested so much time and effort in understanding the aspirations, challenges, and personal development of each member of IWC.
“He actively cultivated an atmosphere of peace and tranquility within the organization, made phone calls across to all the members to discuss the importance of unity, peace and progress of the organization.
“He discourages conflict and seek resolutions through dialogue, understanding, and compromise. As a peace ambassador, he initiated a financial donation to Ikale members who experience brutality during the Ago-Alaye farm crises.”
The Pioneer Secretary added that “He served as the Chairman Ikale Security Observers Network. Chief and his executives achieved the sponsorship of the rehabilitation of the High Court in Okitipupa, Ondo State.
“Chief Aiyebo visited all the monarch in Ikale, on behalf of Ikale world congress to promote unity and peace among others.
“He was able to meet with the Abodi of Ikale land, HRM Oba George Babatunde Faduyile; Jegun Idepe Okitipupa, HRM, Oba Michael Adetoye; Rebuja of Osooro, HRM, Oba Gbadebo Bajowa; Majuwa of Ilutitun, HRH Oba Earnest Idepefo, and a host of others.
“Chief Aiyebo leadership style creates a lasting legacy built on compassion, empathy, and a genuine commitment to the betterment of individuals and the broader Ikale community,” he said.
Pushing the frontiers further, the newly elected IWC President, Mrs Olayinka Ibitoye, iterated the need to bring younger people onboard in the bid to develop the Ikale nation at home and diaspora, saying it is a viable agents of socialization from one generation to the other.
Ibitoye, who emerged at the 2023 Annual Convention held in Philadelphia, USA three months ago, also noted that only peace and love can make the Ikale people in their various abodes at home and Diasporas to become a powerful nation.
She leveraged the success of the association in the nearest future on the involvement of younger generation, affirming that it is the only way to enhance continuity and consolidation on past achievements.
According to her, “The mission of IWC is to collaborate with one another with love and work tirelessly with passion to facilitate sustainable projects that generate traffic, as well to enlightening the Ikale citizens and enhance development across the region.
“Objective of the Congress is to promote unity among Ikale people worldwide; to preserve and promote Ikale cultural heritage, and to provide humanitarian assistance to Ikale communities worldwide.”
The Guardian reports that the IWC convention was first held in Maryland in 2006 and later rotated to Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia, just to mention a few, while the Biripo Music Maestro, Chief Omotola Emaye and band, announced the 2023 Convention.
Ibitoye, who succeeded the fifth elected President, Late Aiyebo, mentioned that the convention provided a platform for members of the organization to network, exchange ideas and collaborate on projects or initiatives that advance their shared missions.”
Aside networking, she noted that that IWC also provides platform to promote education and training, community building, mobilization and advocacy to influence policy makers and organize grassroots campaigns on issues affecting the nation.
Speaking on her emergence as the 6th elected IWC President, she lauded members for “voting me in as the new President of a new IWC. We have learnt a lot from our short existence on how to do things in the right way. I want to thank those who have sacrificed a lot to lead us so far.
“I do not want you to think all the problems we had initially as an association is peculiar to IWC. It is what I can call teething problems. Today, IWC is just better because we learnt from experience.”
She added that “I am committed along with the rest of our executives to take us to higher heights. While we will strive to do projects to benefit our people at home, we will do this carefully with consideration to what we all support, what provides maximum benefit to our people free of any politics.
“We would look into forming a younger arm of IWC for the purpose of preparing our younger ones taking over in future. I will finish by thanking the organizers of this convention and our special guests,” she said.
Other elected executive included: Mr. Modupe Oluwadahunsi, Vice President; Chief Omotayo Alle, General Secretary; Barr Samuel Akingboju, Assistant Secretary; Mr Seyi Obagbemi, Treasurer; Chief Isaac Monehin, Financial Secretary; Mrs Yemi Akinsola, Publicity Secretary; Mrs Solape Olafioye,
Social Secretary.
Recounting the special interventions for the people back home, she mentioned that the Congress pooled resources together to mitigate the effects of the October 20, 2020 ENDSARS Protest by rehabilitating some public facilities destroyed by the angry youths in Okitipupa LGA and environs.
According to her, the renovation of the building included the Magistrate Courts I and II, Okitipupa, which started on January 9th, 2022 and within the space of two months, had reached a commendable stage till their final completion.
Ibitoye, alongside other IWC members, confirmed that the aforementioned projects that also included scholarships and medical outreaches, were led by late Chief Aiyebo, who was so passionate about the Ikale development and the welfare of the people.