Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday presented cheques to compensate owners of the land to be used for the proposed Ironsi-Fajuyi Memorial Park and Garden at Lalupon, Lagelu Local Government Area of the State.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Moses Alake Adeyemo, at the presentation of the cheques held at the Exco Chambers of the Governor’s office, Ibadan, noted that the establishment of the Ironsi-Fajuyi Memorial park in Lalupon is government’s gesture at promoting inter-tribal unity and love within the nation, as seen in the way late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi laid down his life for his boss, late Major General Aguyi Ironsi.
Governor Ajimobi said that the government is determined to establish a tourist site and erect a national monument to immortalize the two gallant Nigerian heroes and leaders, Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the First Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria and Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the first Military Governor of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria who were both assassinated on July 29, 1966 for their sacrifices for the unity of the country.
The governor explained that tourism development would give economic freedom to the state and the country as a whole, saying that his administration is committed to a holistic transformation and repositioning of the cultural tourism potentials of the state.
According to him, “We are ready to make Oyo State as a destination of choice for tourists, improve socio-economic activities, create employment opportunities and boost Internally Generated Revenue. It is informative to add that there are numerous tourist sites in Oyo State such as the newly developed Agodi Gardens, Captain Bower’s Tower, Ado-Awaye suspended lake, Irefin palace, Alaafin’s palace, Adegoke Adelabu’s Home, aged long Tortoise at the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, amongst others.
Governor Ajimobi stressed that the government would continue to utilize the presence of the tourist sites in the state for its overall development, adding that this would surely improve the socio-economic characteristics of the state through job creation, increase income and revenue and most importantly attract tourists to Oyo State.
In his earlier remarks, the state commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun pointed out that the park, after completion, will not just be a South West affair but a monument to be celebrated and visited by the whole nation, stating that the project would uplift Lalupon town and the state as a whole.
In their responses, the Balogun of Lalupon, Chief Gbadeyan Omoniyi, representatives of the cheque recipients, Colonel Femi Idowu and Mrs. Folashade Adeyemo expressed their appreciation to the state government for considering it worthy to compensate the owners of the land.
Chief Ominiyi noted “I thank God that the state government is fulfilling its promises of compensating the land owners and for its initiative to honour our heroes. We believe that the project will be beneficial to both Lalupon community and the state.
In his own words, Colonel Idowu added, “Our mother wanted to build a church on the land but because of the noble intention of the Oyo State Government and the respect being given to our matrys, our family has decided to secure another land for the church project. We thank the state government for this worthy cause and promise that the family will support government’s action.”
Mrs. Adeyemo said, “I used to go to the land to play not knowing that the place will become a tourist centre. I wanted to get a loan to build the land but I did not secure one. I did not even know that the land will be used for something that is of national importance. The land was sold twice by land grabbers but the community helped me in re-claiming it. I thank the state government for this noble effort.”
It will be recalled that during the 50 years post-humous anniversary of Late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi held in Ibadan, the State government had promised to establish a memorial park in his honour at the very spot the former Military governor and his boss, late Major General Aguyi Ironsi were killed in Lalupon 50 years ago.