The 2017 annual celebration of Oranyan was scintillating
The annual celebration of Oranyan in the ancient town of Oyo, no doubt left sweet memories on the minds of Yoruba sons and daughters, who were excited to attend the week-long heritage festival hosted by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111. The annual event celebrates the culture and tradition of Oyo, especially its first Alaafin, Alaafin Oranyan.
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Matters, Bimbo Kolade, praised the Alaafin for initiating the move to unite the Yoruba nation through the festival. According to him, “Oyo remains the Pacesetter state. Therefore, its government will always play its role in promoting unity among Yoruba.
“As such, it is ready to provide the necessary support towards the achievement of this aim and objective,”he said.
Oba Adeyemi noted that life and political career of the legendary founder, Oranyan, would provide a template for an effective political system or statecraft, empire building and mass political participation.
He said: ”Oranyan was an astute political leader, who inspite of all odds, created a most enduring political system in the sub-Saharan Africa.
“The archetypal monarchy embroidered with centralauthority was a product of the wizardry of Oranyan, who left the cradle of Yoruba consciousness to create a system of government whose effectiveness, creativity, relevance, suitability and appropriateness is not in doubt even in contemporary Nigeria,”Alaafin said.
He added that what Oranyan did was to create a system and not personal autocracy, pointing out that if it was a structure built around him, it probably would have collapsed immediately after his death.
The Alaafin asserted that it was indeed, a structure built on a solid foundation of ideas and the best of Yoruba knowledge system, hence its capacity to endure the vicissitudes of time.
The mornarch said the festival was held annually to celebrate the leadership qualities of Oranyan, who established an enduring political structure for civil and military administration in Africa.
“It is also to call attention to Yoruba contribution to civilisation as empire builders long before the dawn of political sophistication in other parts of the world. It goes beyond mere celebration and veneration of our heroes past, but lubricating the tunnels of harmony, ignite the touch of unity and fester peace among the Yoruba race. It is also to immortalise and showcase to the whole world the deeds and worth of an enigmatic Oranyan, one of the seven sons of Okanbi, the son of Oduduwa, who was the ”first Oba in Yoruba-land to establish an enduring empire, which spread beyond its dialectical region and lasted more than 600 uninterrupted years!”
Oba Adeyemi said while other great nations celebrate their heroes by showcasing their glorious past, Africans do not give much reference to theirs just because of the super-imposition of the two religions, Islam and Christianity and the etching of their sermons and creeds into the consciousness of Africans psyche, which have conditioned “our sense of appreciation and thinking, thereby making us see and read fetishism and primitiveness as the hallmark of our tradition and culture”.
“It is within this prism that we used to picture our past heroes and great men of valour and virtues, who should be venerated, immortalised while their deeds, acts and wise sayings compiled, documented, reserved and preserved for generations yet unborn,” he said.
The paramount ruler stressed the need for cultural tourism, which he said, is important in boosting the country’s economy and serve as a way of diversifying it from oil.
He said there is a strong need to shift focus from oil to tourism.The monarch, who called for more commitment to cultural promotion, urged Yoruba to eschew betrayal and join hands to promote its cultural heritage for economic advantage. He admonished politicians to emulate the sterling qualities of Oranyan, which made him a successful builder of many states and originator of progressive ideas.
National Co-ordinator of Oodua Peoples’ Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, stressed the significance of reviving old culture, values and tradition inherent in the ancient city of Oyo. “Oyo has remained the meeting point in Yoruba history.There is no way you can talk about Yoruba history without making adequate reference to Oyo, and Alaafin has, since a very long time, remained a force to be reckon with,”he said.
Adams called on all Yoruba to join Oba Adeyemi in his quest to ensure unity among Yoruba and bring back the values and cultural heritage of the race. Highlights of the event included cultural performances and the wearing of sacred white crown, known as ADE SESE EFUN in Yoruba language, by the Alaafin, which was displayed before the excited crowd. The crown was said to have been worn for seven times by only two Alaafins about one hundred twenty years ago.