15 Dec 2020

Ibadan dreams bigger, honours Salami, other prominent indigenes

In a bid to re-assert Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, as a leader in development, its leaders of thoughts have mapped out some strategies. Under the aegis of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, they recently in a week-long programmme held conferences and launched projects that can advance the city’s economy and socio-culture. The climax of the event was conferring on three prominent sons of the land the Most Distinguished Ibadan Indigenes award.

One of the awardees is the Vice Chancellor, First Technical University, Ibadan, with others being the Group Managing Director of First Bank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan; and the Chief Operating Officer, NNPC, Engr Yemi Adetunji. The state Governor, Seyi Makinde, also received a most distinguished award based on his contributions to the ideals of the association.

The event, where the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, was the father of the day, was the thrust of the grand finale of the CCII’s weeklong programme. While it was the climax of various other cultural, educational and renaissance-oriented programmes, it also marked the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Third Ibadan, with the two earlier led by legends that include Lagelu having been defunct due to incessant warfare and other developmental challenges. The celebration of Salami, a thoroughbred scholar, administrator and prolific writer, as well as Adeduntan and Adetunji, is thus like an acknowledgement of the kind of heroes that the new Ibadan needs. The President General, CCII, Chief Yemi Solade, noted this in his speech at the event held at Liberty (now Obafemi Awolowo) Stadium, saying their choice was based on landmarks achievements.

In his acceptance speech, the First Technical University Vice Chancellor thanked the leadership of the CCII for considering him worthy of the honour. According to him, it is a pleasant surprise, based on the fact that he never saw it coming.

Salami, who was accompanied by his wife, Prof. Abiodun Salami, management, staff and some Tech-U students; as well as associates/well wishers from various institutions such as the Cedar Generation Gospel Outreach and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said, “I thank God, He who lifts people up as He chooses. As a scholar, God has given me a lot of honour, but the one I’m receiving today is exceptional.

“I did not know it was coming. I didn’t lobby for it. I learnt that there are about 255 socio-cultural associations or groups in Ibadan, with the CCII as the central body. I must confess that I am not a member of any of them. So, if it was a matter of lobbying, I wouldn’t have got this award at all. If it is about money, I don’t have money. I only have books. I am, therefore, honoured and very grateful as I am considered worthy of it”.

“I congratulate the Olubadan on the success that Ibadan has continued to record. Ours is a land of history. We have the history of the first stadium, first television station and the first high-rise building. Now in Oba Adetunji’s time, we have added another first. That is the First Technical University, where we are developing brains and training hands, giving our youths sound academic, entrepreneurial and vocational education.”

Also speaking at the programme, Adenekan restated his commitment to the development of the city.

According to him, he has always identified with Ibadan because he is a proud indigene to the core.

Meanwhile, the 2020 edition of the CCII week had earlier featured the presentation of a book, Ibadan History and Civilisation; unveiling of ‘Portraits of Ibadan Late Heroes’, foundation laying of the Oba Saliu Adetunji Guest House, Foundation Laying of the Ibadan Hall of Fame and the Foundation Laying of the Ibadan Monuments and Archive Centre.

There were sessions/lectures on various issues that could lead to the continued development of the popular and populous city.