Certainly, one thing that cannot be snatched away from the people in the ancient town of Oyo and its environs is their unalloyed love and unflinching support for their monarch known as the Iku Baba Yeye.
The reason is not far-fetched. It is because they continue to appreciate God for bestowing on them a vintage monarch with long life, good health, unrivalled knowledge and wisdom to lead them aright.
The people also appreciate the paramount ruler’s virtues, and his undisputed acknowledged visionary leadership qualities, which theysaid has brought tremendous developments not only to the ancient town but other satellite communities which make up Oyo metropolis.
Their delight stemmed from the fact that during the reign of the incumbent Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, the ancient town is fast transforming into a city with various unprecedented developments
These include establishments of nine commercial banks, old Oyo National Park, State Hospital, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) station, four local governments, and four tertiary institutions.
The tertiary institutions include state-owned Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, as well as both the Federal College of Education (Special) and Federal School of Surveying ( which are first of their kinds in Africa).
Others are the Ajayi Crowther University, and the Atiba University.
Consequently, indigenes both at home and abroad had turned the annual Eid-el-Fitri and Eid-el-Kabir festivals in the metropolis into PILGRIMAGE that must not only be observed and celebrated in their home country, but having access to their highly intellectual ruler one on one, and his unbeatable dance steps to delightful tunes by the palace drummers.
At this year’s Idel-Fitri, as early as 7 am, the praying ground at Agunpopo was filled to the brim with thousands of indigenes and residents who are predominantly Muslims, awaiting for the arrival of their monarch.
The praying time is 10am.
By 945 am, His Imperial Majesty and his entourage, including wives, and children among who was a member of the House of Representatives representing Afijio, Atiba, Oyo-East and Oyo-West, Honourable Prince Obasegun Adeniyi [Skimeh], arrived the praying ground amid joy from a large crowd of people.
After the prayer, the large crowd of people walked with the monarch’s convoy from the praying ground to Oke Olola area, a distance of about 25 minutes.
Thereafter, the tumultuous crowd barricaded the ruler’s convoy, including the police, apparently demanding that their monarch should join them in the walk to the palace, a distance of about 15 minutes.
The reason is that the people are happier not only in seeing the face of their paramount ruler, but his second to none traditional attire and radiating smile with handsome face.
At the main entrance of the palace Ode Aremo, traditional homage were paid to the monarch by a cross section of people.
These were interjected with Alaafin’s unique dance steps to delightful tunes from the palace traditional drummers coupled with panegyrics.
The royal entertainment elicited thunderous ovation and excitements from the people who are filled with joy.
In his message, Oba Adeyem admonished Nigerians to imbibing the virtues of tolerance, understanding and good neighbourliness as the baseline of transforming the country, heal our relationships, and give us the polity of our dreams.
He also called for rededication, not only to the Creator, but also to the cause of mankind, appreciate the gift of life and imbibe the virtues of tolerance, and contentment.
The paramount ruler stated that total submission to the will and command of Allah symbolizes genuine obedience, which is the basic essence of the festival.
More importantly, Oba Adeyemi said, it is a period that calls for caring for the less privileged of our society.
‘’If we sincerely love in our hearts, governance would work, electoral reforms would be easier to accomplish, funds would be judiciously utilized for the good of the larger number, leadership would love and cherish the led. That is the essence of the festival, which I recommend to all Nigerians, indeed, to all humanity, at this time’’.
‘’Love that considers others first, prefers others above personal and selfish desires, and which seeks to emancipate, unshackle and liberate’’.
He went further, ‘’indeed, the timing of the festival this year could not have been more auspicious, given that the economy is in recession with all the attendant implications for millions of Nigerians. What that suggests is that the socio-economic condition of most Nigerians this year makes it compelling for adherents of Islam to look beyond themselves and their immediate environment, especially in this holy season. The lessons of Eid el Fitri are simple: by paying attention to the plight of the poor, we invariably place the welfare of our neighbours as important as ours; by allowing others to partake of our wealth or material possessions, we honour the One [God] who made the provision in the first place’’.
This, Alaafin asserted, happens to be at the heart of all religions, but a virtue that is particularly at the heart of this festival.
‘’It is important not to lose sight of the true meaning of this special occasion and the spirit of sacrifice it represents. With millions of our compatriots now refugees in their own country, the significance of Eid,fitri this year cannot be over-emphasised. The occasion should therefore go beyond merrymaking to sharing love and material possessions not only with relatives or acquaintances, but also with the displaced, the elderly, the orphans and other people at the margin of the society, including those with special needs. It is also important that Nigerians begin to embrace and support charitable causes’’, Oba Adeyemi asserted.