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Ewi Of Ado Allays Fear Over Udiroko Festival

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The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi  III has made clarification on the confusion trailing African culture, tradition and festivals which had been labelled fetish, insisting that the ‘Udiroko Festival’ has nothing to do with rituals, fetishism and idolism.

Oba Aladesanmi, also informed that the festival is purely the celebration of the cultural essence of the  Ado people dating back to the establishment of the kingdom, adding that “through the Udiroko Festival,  Ado people generally rejoice that another milestone is covered  or reached in their life’s journey; they have safely scaled the past year over to the new year”.

” No deity is worshipped in Udiroko and no idolatry and secret ceremony is performed. It is a ritual free festival predicted on our historical, cultural and traditional values in Ado-Ekiti”, the monarch explained.

Speaking further at a well attended  world press conference organized in respect of the Udiroko Festival,  which was held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja on Wednesday, ushering in the 2019 edition of the festival billed for August 12 – 20, the far famed custodian of culture,  noted that the most dominant, traditional features of the olden day’s Udiroko festival are still in place  in a modified form and, inline with the dictates of modern civilization with all the events associated with its celebrations  published for everyone to see.

Ewi of Ado, Oba Aladesanmi flanked by the DG, Ekiti State Council Of Arts &Culture, Ambassador Ojo Lanre at the world press conference

Ewi of Ado, at the event which was attended  by stakeholders and bigwigs  in the tourism industry,  tour operators, festival/event consultants, marketers and  Journalists, emphasized that the festival is a cultural phenomenon that strikes at the foundation of the systemic existence of Ado Kingdom and its people.

Unveiling this year’s theme of the festival – ‘Enforcing And Sustaining The Solidarity Of History, Culture And Tradition’, the revered monarch disclosed that the essence of  the press conference is to further , through a more macro strategy put the ‘Udiroko Festival’ on a global platform to better its lot and usefulness to the cultural being of the Ado-Ekiti people.

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“I wish to emphatically state that the foregoing articulation of the historical pedigree of the Udiroko Festival and its celebrations over  the years in Ado-Ekiti is for the purpose of further educating the general public.  This is done with a view to fostering its acceptability as one of the components  that form the tripod – history, culture and tradition, upon which the systemic existence of the Ado people is predicted, and which has been so from the inception of the Kingdom”, he added.

Ewi Ado in Council at the world press conference in Lagos

The Ewi of Ado, Oba Aladesanmi, however expressed optimism that the well cherished festival would gain further international recognition that would propel it amidst its cultural peers in other kingdoms and climes within and outside Nigeria.

The story of ‘Udiroko Festival’

‘Udiroko’, which literary means under the iroko tree became significant in the history of Ado Ekiti people and to the people as well , right away from the establishment  of Ado -Ekiti through conquest in the early 1300AD by the third, Ewi Awamaro, the second successor of Ewi (Elewi) Biritiokun, the first Ewi who left Ile-Ife like his fifteen other brother Princes of Oduduwa to establish their own respective kingdoms in 1200AD.

Udiroko is a euphemistic expression of the significant  of the first meeting  of the Ado people under the Iroko tree to celebrate the founding of Ado Kingdom under the Paramountcy of the Ewi who, thereafter gave a Royal Proclamation of the first gathering under the Iroko  tree as the first day in the Ado-Ekiti Calendar year.

The commemoration of this first meeting under the Iroko tree (Idi Igi Iroko) with time , semantically developed into Udiroko as it is known and celebrated today. During the first meeting under the Iroko tree, it was decided that such a gathering  shall continue to be held at the same time/ period every year.

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This decision was made with the approval of the Ewi because of the significance of the meeting to the people and its enhancement of the opportunity for the yearly appraisal of the events of the previous year and determination of what to do in the next year.

This festival marks the first day in Ado-Ekiti traditional calendar and now a pride of cultural togetherness of the Ado people.

Also speaking at the event, the Ekiti  State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with the people of Ado-Ekiti to rebrand the Udiroko festival, by globalizing its celebration and seeking for marketers for the festival.

Governor Fayemi, who was represented by  the state Director-General, Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, further disclosed that the collaboration between the state government and the Ado Ewi in Council was to make the festival become self-sustaining and involve Ado-Ekiti indigenes in the Diaspora, as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti.

Director-General, Council for Arts and Culture, Wale Ojo-Lanre addressing the audience at the world press conference

According to  Ojo Lanre,  the council has the full mandate of the government of Dr Fayemi to promote culture as well as core values in order to evolve a State that manifest the vision of its founding fathers; adding that this explains the passion and commitment of the Council towards a collaboration with communities to transform their festivals into a prosperity instrument for the people.

“There is no doubt that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti has joined the list of monarchs who have at one time or another addressed a world press in a bid to market their festivals to attract global attention and tourists. Osun Osogbo, Olojo and Ojude-Oba festivals have brought the Ataoja, Ooni and Awujale respectively to Lagos on similar purpose. Today, these festivals are bringing economic prosperity and attracting investment opportunity to those who own them.  By this commendable initiative, Udiroko has become a festival for the cultural and tourism public, the manifestation of which would become noticeable in subsequent editions.

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“Since it is within the compass of our purview to inject critical innovations into the original manners of celebrating festivals in Ekiti, we initiated this world press conference in furtherance of the strategic marketing of some Ekiti festivals. We have noticed the energy and vigor with which the Ewi and the people of Ado prepare and celebrate Udiroko annually hence our decision to partner with Ado Ekiti people to rebrand the festival, Globalize its celebration, Seek marketers for the festival so that it becomes self-sustaining, Clear the air over petty controversies and stigmas that threaten its sustainability and Involve Ado-Ekiti indigenes in the diaspora as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti State”, the DG continued.

The Chairman of the occasion, Prince Julius Adelusi   in his welcome address  noted that the festival aimed at  encouraging young people  to embrace the culture and tradition of  Ado Ekiti.

L-R DG Wale Ojo Lanre, Prince Adelusi and Prof Akindele sharing ideas at the world press conference

“Ekiti man is known for  integrity  and upholding values and this has been of great help in  life”, Adelusi submitted.

In a related development, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Professor Sunday Akindele assured  residents. tourists and indigenes that the committee has put in place adequate security measures.

The event, also had in attendance, prominent Ekiti indigenes , including Senator Raji Rasaki, Hon Sola Elesin, Deputy Chairman APC Ekiti state, Hon Femi Bamisile, Chairman Ado Ekiti Local Government,  Engineer Ayoola, President Adk Ekiti Progressive Union, Hon Sola Fatoba, among others.

 

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Business

Makinde spends 74 hours with state officials drawing plan to transform agriculture

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IITA, AfDB salute Makinde’s vision

At a retreat in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to chart a path for transforming agriculture, Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde set a record in governance, by spending more than 72 hours with his state officials designing an implementation plan for Oyo state agribusiness.

The governor also promised officials of the state that the administration will give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the state.

“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the state the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” Gov Makinde said at the retreat that was facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 15-19 August.

Gov Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the state. He said the state would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investor confidence.

Since assumption of office on 29 May 2019, Gov Makinde has pledged to transform the narrative of agriculture with the view to making it the pillar of the state’s economic development. The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the state.

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Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery commended the governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.

“I have never seen such a commitment from a governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the state to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria,” he added.

Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied division with the African Development Bank said the commitment of the state to agriculture was a step in the right direction.

“Let me also commend you (the governor of Oyo state) for organizing this very important meeting, and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state,” he added via skype.

Dr. Fregene urged the state government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state.

“For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business,” he explained.

According to the AfDB director, the Bank would be willing to support the state in its quest to transform agriculture.

The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a vision for the state in agriculture, identifying the obstacles to the vision, developing strategic actions to deal with the obstacles to the vision, and developing an implementation plan.

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Adebowale Akande, Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the state to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.

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Pass all requests for meetings with me through Abba Kyari, Buhari tells ministers

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told incoming ministers that all requests for meetings with him should pass through his chief of staff, Abba Kyari.

Mr Buhari said this in his closing remark at a presidential retreat for minister’s designate in Abuja.

“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,” Mr Buharisaid,

The president’s speech at the event was sent to PREMIUM TIMES by the presidency.

Mr Kyari has been criticised by some Nigerians including members of the ruling party, APC, for his influence over the president.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is one of those who have complained about the powers Mr Kyari wields in the presidency.

After Mr Buhari’s re-election in February, some APC members protested against the re-appointment of Mr Kyari, a longtime ally of the president.

The president, however, reappointed him to the position.

Read Mr Buhari’s full speech to the ministers-designate below.

Protocols

After two days, we have come to the end of a successful retreat. However, you will agree that our work is just beginning.

2. These last two days have been very instructive for me personally, because I have had the opportunity to know many of you new Ministers-Designate better. I was also pleased to see that you have all equally enjoyed debating and deliberating on the various challenges before us over the next 4 years.

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3. Ladies & Gentlemen, majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare.

4. Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people. As I mentioned yesterday, this Administration inherited many challenges from our predecessors to mention a few:

· A country in which 18 local governments in the Northeast were under the control of Boko Haram;

· Decayed infrastructure in which our rail lines and roads had severely deteriorated;

· A rent seeking economy that depended largely on oil revenues and imports;

· Significant unpaid pensions, subsidy debts, legacy contractor debts. I can go on and on.

5. In our first term, we laid the foundation to rebuild our country. We recaptured those 18 Local Governments previously held by Boko Haram, whose activities are now limited to sporadic attacks against soft targets. Our investments in road and rail infrastructure are without precedent, and many of you can attest to this. We also focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialization. Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind.

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6. Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days. Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.

7. We have discussed solutions relating to addressing Insecurity; Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Security for Petroleum products and Electricity; Transportation and Critical Infrastructure; Industrialization and SME Development; Human Capital Development; Social Inclusion; Anti-Corruption; Housing Financing and Consumer Credit.

8. Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am therefore charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.

9. You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognizing that four years is not a very long time. For the new Ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older Ministers and former Governors in the cabinet.

10. In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

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11. I would like to thank the Office of the SGF for coordinating this successful Presidential Retreat. I would also like to thank the National Assembly leadership, the Party Chairman, Chairman of the Governors Forum, and resource firms, for the active engagements and contributions.

12. Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Politics

Kogi Assembly Moves To Impeach Deputy Gov, Asks Chief Judge To Set Up Panel

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The Kogi State House of Assembly on Tuesday directed the Chief Judge in the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to set up a seven-man committee to proceed with the impeachment of the deputy governor, Mr Simon Achuba.

The State House of Assembly  gave the directive during its  plenary in the legislative chamber of the Assembly complex in Lokoja, the state capital.

This followed a motion raised by the Majority Leader of the House, Abdullahi Bello, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta state constituency.

The lawmaker cited Section 188 (4) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended to support his motion.

Bello further explained that he raised the motion following the allegation of gross misconduct levelled against the deputy governor by the House.

He maintained that  the failure of Mr Achuba to respond to the allegation within the 14 days given by law warranted no further debates, but for the next step to be taken.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Muhammed, from Ankpa State Constituency I, also seconded the motion.

Thereafter, the Speaker called for the voting of members in support and against the motion.

Nineteen out of the 25 members of the House voted in support of the motion.

The Speaker, thereby, directed the clerk of the House to communicate the directive of the lawmakers to the judicial arm of government in the state.

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