On March 21, 2023, at 10 am, the time scheduled to kick-start what was meant to be a reunion gathering of Osogbo indigenes, there was a sign that the meeting might be starved of anticipated attendance.
But the Chief host, the Asiwaju of Osogboland, Ajadi Badmus maintained his usual cool in the midst of members of his organising committee, who had arrived his Ile Ogboriefon at the GRA, Osogbo as early as 7: 30 am.
Shortly thereafter, however, in twos and threes, the invited guests were strolling in and taking their seats. Before 11am, the meeting arena was half-filled. And less than an hour afterwards, the compound was near overflow.
Expected personalities, drawn from the academic community, business class, public service, political circle, youths and others had taken their seats, after which the invaluable Alhaji Oyesiku Adelu, the compère of the event, formally flagged off the programme first with a request for prayers, followed by a recitation of the Osogbo anthem, a song chorused with energy and traditional flavour.
Stepping forward was Badmus, who held a sheet of paper from which he read his prepared keynote address, which was short, concise and instructive.
The Asiwaju, who reiterated his love for Osogbo, expressed his appreciation to the gathering for their response to his invite to rub minds together for the interest of the town. He acknowledged the current state of the town, especially its immediate history, but expressed his optimism in a brighter future of the town.
To further remove the veil off his hope, he referenced his 2017 book titled ‘My Point’, wherein he recalls some major events in the town spanning the 1970s through 80s, 90s and the millennium.
“There is no doubting the fact that as at this morning, we face a challenge of harmony in the town. But there is also no doubting the fact that the challenge we face is surmountable. I am happy to say it to you with pride that God has endowed us with the capacity to overcome any challenge we face in this town. It is on this note that I am making a passionate plea with all of us to look at the future of our town instead of burning energy on our past.
“Of course, our past is our history; it is the vehicle which took us here and which will take us to the future. In a clear term, however, moving forward from our past is most important to me, and the reason for my invite to you. May God continue to help us in our efforts to make Osogbo better than it was,” he prayed.
Other speakers unanimously called for true unity in the town and implored all stakeholders to put the interest of Osogbo ahead that of their respective individuals.
Professors Benjamen Adeleke and Richard Olaniyan, in that order, expressed their pains over the fractured Osogbo despite its potentials, both declaring that they would always be proud of the town.
Olaniyan revealed that he had been a beneficiary of the name and image of Osogbo within and outside Nigeria in the 60s and 70s. Hence his commitment to its growth in his capacity as an academic.
“It is a painful irony that our sons and daughters show love to one another outside Osogbo but do otherwise back home. No town can achieve development with this culture. We have to do all we can to change that culture from here and leave a legacy which will live after us after we would have all departed,” he said.
Also speaking were President of the Osogbo Progressives Union (OPU), Justice
Kunle Adeigbe (rtd); Alhaji Lateef Olayanju, Dr Isaac Oduola and Alhaji Bayo Jimoh, who drew attention of the gathering to a distinction between politics and community development, using Ilesa, where, Jimoh revealed, he schooled, as case study.
The former Group Managing Director of the Odu’a Investment Company Limited also urged everyone to be closer to their family compound. “On the OPU matter, our elders would resolve it,” he noted.
One after the other, speakers like Alhaji Muniru Raji also took the floor with Raji alleging that personal interest of some individuals is the clog on the wheel of the progress of the town and tasking the elders to begin preparation towards securing for Osogbo indigene a governorship ticket after the Ademola Adeleke administration in the state.
A member-elect of the House of Representatives, Dr Adewale Moruf pledged that he would use his new office to restore the lost glory of Osogbo by bringing back the tie and dye industry.
Moruf’s presence was complemented by two newly elected members of the Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Olaide Kolawole and Honourable Dele Lawal, both of whom are sons of the town
A legal Practitioner, Mr Kunle Rasheed (SAN) spoke through phone call from Abuja and expressed his flaming desire to join hands with patriotic elements to move the town forward from its current stagnation.
Dr Kamoru Kadri rounded off the meeting with assurance of issuing a communique under 24 hours. True to his promise, the communique was released, containing resolutions of the meeting.
The communique, signed by Badmus, clearly highlighted 10-point agenda aimed at an enduring peace in the town.
Also in attendance included Professor Waheed Yahaya, Professor Soliu Ameen, Professor AbdulFatai Makinde, Professor Moruf Adeleke, Dr Hassan Moruf, Dr Sikiru Adetoro, Dr Modyinat Adeyemo, Architect Bamidele Ojo, Architect Goke Omigbodun, Alhaji Taofeek Sanusi, Alhaji Abiola Abioye, Alhaji Akeeb Ibrahim, Mr Kunle Alao, Alhaji Akeem Badmus among other concerned sons and daughters of Osogbo.
Abioye, who arrived Osogbo few minutes into the all-important meeting, appreciated the turnout recorded and, thus, remarked that Osogbo would get it right soon in its search for a more cohesive town to live its status as the seat of Osun State Government.
“I saw the worry in the face of Baba Asiwaju on his seat. I saw him thinking of all he would do to ensure his reign, as our Asiwaju, witnesses greater accomplishments in the town. And we shall support him because he is a sincere father to us, especially to those of us who directly passed through him in the 80s,” the financial expert enthused.