The ancient town of Imesi -Ile, Osun State, was agog last weekend as it played host to notable Yoruba sons and daughters who thronged the historic town to celebrate the 131 years anniversary of the proclamation of peace between Ibadan and Ekitiparapos at Kiriji-Mesin battlefield on the 23rd September 1886.
As part of activities marking the notable peace treaty, a burn fire night held on the eve of Kiriji/Yoruba Unity Day celebrations. The lighting of The Torch of Liberty was done by OPC leader, Otunba (Dr) Gani Adams. The night symbolizes the dropping of weapons by warlords and their warriors who agree to set them ablaze. At the war site, Otunba Adams prayed for the repose of the fallen heroes of the battle and prayed that the peace they bought with their lives will not evade Yoruba land.
On the D-day proper, a special summit on Yoruba Unity took place inside the Imesi-Ile town hall, the summit had in attendance the Royal host, HRM Oba Enoch Ademola Akinyemi, Owa Ooye of Imesi-Ile. Otunba Gani Adams, the National Coordinator of Odua People’s Congress,Arole Mabinuori Adegboyega Aare Latosa, (Dr) Adetoyese Olakisan, Oba Ogboni Agbaye, Hon Olalekan Omole, Chairman Obokun East LCDA,Otunba Ojo Williams, President, Kiriji Cultural Foundation,Sir Engr. David Oni, President, Imesi-Ile Progressive Association,Amb Yomi Fash Lanso,Chief Femi Davies among other notables.
The Summit Session chaired by Otunba Gani Adams, sponsored by Dr. Benedict Alabi, he presented a paper on “The 1886 Peace Treaty as Bedrock of Yoruba Nationalism”. The trio of Dr (Mrs) Adeola Faleye,of the Faculty of Arts, OAU,Ife,Dr.Ogunfolakan (Faculty of History,OAU,Ife)and Dr.Bayo Faforiji a retired Lecture were the panelists.
In his opening remarks, Otunba Gani Adams identified the need for the indigenes of Imesi-Ile to be proud of their town, according to him, “the historical relevance of Imesi-Ile can only be further projected and appreciated if the people of Imesi-Ile come out in thousands to celebrate the Kiriji/Yoruba Unity Day, by my estimate, the population of Imesi-Ile should be over seventy thousand, if we have over 10,000 in attendance, the world will become curious and will join in the celebration which will further boost the economy of the town”. He also pointed out the need for the government to support and participate in cultural activities. The Kiriji treaty spot he said should be packaged in a way that it will attract both local and foreign tourists. He called on Yoruba to take the messages learnt from the 16years of civil war and the peace treaty of 1886 as a focus for Yoruba unity and see the present clamor for restructuring along regional line as the only way out of the present socio-economic woe of the nation. Yoruba’s he said are blessed and have no reason to be in poverty.
Aare Latosa,in his contribution called for further unity among Yoruba’s, he suggested that the celebration of Kiriji peace treaty should be celebrated in other historic places such as Igbajo, Oke-Imesi, Imesi-Ile, and Ibadan. He pointed out that Yorubas need to go back to the basics which is fully entrenched in our culture and tradition, the Ifa oracle he said has been adopted by United Nations as a science and not a religion. Aare Latosa expressed joy that Ifa is the only tablet which can speak on the past, present and future, unlike the Bible and Quran who are documents of the past. Yorubas he concluded is a truly blessed race. We should play down on things that separate us and rally round things that unite us.
Other speakers like Oba (Eng.) Enoch Ademola Akinyemi, the Owa Ooye of Imesi-Ile, appreciated the turnout of personalities, he told the gathering that the peace treaty celebration is not for Imesi-Ile alone, but that of all Yoruba’s, the treaty spot he revealed is a potent land where prayers are answered, according to him, if Yoruba’s unite and make a proclamation on the land, so shall it be. He praised Otunba Adams for his support over the years and his love for Yoruba race. He also supported the recent call for the need to restructure Nigeria. Oba Owa Ooye announced that the whole of Imesi-Ile threw its weight behind the Ibadan Summit which called on the need to restructure Nigeria towards regional line. No doubt peace and rapid development will come our way if we restructure the country.
The Summit adopted a communique after the deliberations which was supported by all present.
After the summit, a guided tour of the Kiriji/Yoruba Treaty spot took place spiced with cultural displays and festivities.