Nigeria: IFfe People Are Peaceful, Says Ife Chief

15 February 2002

Ife, Osun — THE President of Ife Club and the Balogun of Ife, Balogun Bisi Omidiora (OON) has said that majority of Ife people are peaceful and peace loving notwithstanding the recent experience that tended to give Ife a bad name.

Balogun Omidiora said this at the Annual Presidential Luncheon of the Club held at his Apapa GRA residence to honour two of their members who were awarded the Nigerian National Honours and another foundation member Chief Agbo Odeyemi who was recently elected the president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In his speech, while welcoming the guests, Balogun Omidiora remarked that “ours is a city of unequalled hospitality, love and total accommodation of strangers sometimes at the expense of our blood and people.”

According to him, “the unfortunate publicity to which Ile-Ife was exposed by the press recently must be viewed from the background of the presenters of intolerant politics and violent political bickering.

“Politicians and youths of our country whether in Ife, Owo, Shagamu, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Taraba, Benue have become more belligerent and a “warrior type” who had chosen to settle their scores and seek solutions to their problems by sheer political force and violence.

“The legacy of the military and the ensuring military have engulfed our youths of today and their army of “unemployed” in every part of the country leading them to violence and wanton destruction of properties and lives.”

Drawing parallel from what was happening in Ife with the tense situation in the rest of the country, he said “if the Head is unwell, the whole of the body must be weak. A peace at the cradle symbolises peace within the whole nation, a fact duly recognised by our President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo by his timely and continuous intervention in the protracted Ife/Modakeke crisis and his present utmost concern for the on-going political rancour and mayhem in Ile-Ife.”

Balogun Omidiora lamented the attitude of some of the Chiefs who are not indigenes “who took the advantage of the openness and generousity of our Kabiyesi The Ooni of Ife, to come to Ife and collect high sounding chieftaincy titles and then turn their backs against the source in time of trouble and avoiding Ile-Ife like a plague.”

He drew extensively from the book of late Dr. O. O. Fagunwa “Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmole” to call for the need for utmost patriotism from the members of his Club and the people of Ife whenever they may be.

Among the dignitaries present at the occasion were Mr. Ola Vincent, former Governor of Central Bank, Chief Olatunde Aluko the Chairman of Island Club, Chief Wole Adeosun, Osi Egbaland, Chief & Mrs Jibola Ogunsola; Chairman of Punch, Chief Tayo Akpata, Chief Olusola Faleye and his wife, Chief S.A.

Jimoh, Chief Soetan, Senator Yinka Omilani, Chief & Mrs Niyi Oyediran MFR, Chief Nike Akande former Federal Minister of Industry, the editor of Vanguard Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and executive director of Tell Mr. Ilori.

Others were Otunba & Mrs Oyin Jolayemi, Chief J.A. Olopade, Dr. & Mrs Gaby Williams, Mr. & Dr. (Mrs) Owolabi, Mr. Diran Oyeleye, Chief Sola Dada, Prince and Princess Yanju Olagbegi, Olori Eniola Laoye, Prince & Mrs Yere Adeyemo among many others.

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