From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
it was celebration of traditions and exhibition of the rich cultural heritage of Ayetoro, at the grand finale of the 2017 Ayetoro-Yewa held at the football pitch of Comprehensive High School.
Drumming, dancing, cultural displays and booming of guns rent the air, while superlative performances by Sango and Egungun dancers, drew great applause from the audience.
The grand finale was also used to dole out scholarship awards to 60 indigent students. Similarly, furniture were donated to selected schools, while free medical treatment was made available.
The organisers also used the auspicious occasion to launch a N250 million development fund.
The Alaye of Ayetoro, Oba Abdul Azeez Ishola Adelakun, supported by other monarchs including the Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Olubara of Ibara and Oba Jacob Omolade, was resplendent in his all-white attire. He beamed with smiles as different organisations, social clubs and natives of the town, filed out to pay him homage.
The event, which serves as an annual meeting point for the sons and daughters of the ancient town, to celebrate and mull the way forward, also serves as an avenue to gather in unity. And Ayetoro, being the economic and political headquarters of Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, made the celebration a unique one.
Besides, the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, has been like a magnet that attracts the who-is-who in government circle, within and without Ogun, to Ayetoro Day.
The celebration chaired by Senator Lanre Tejuosho was attended by political bigwigs, top government functionaries, including the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tolu Odebiyi.
Chairman, Central Ayetoro-Yewa Day Organizing Committee, Elder Kunle Amosun, said the event was principally to project Ayetoro-Yewa culture and mobilize the indigenes for the development of the town.
According to him, this year’s edition which had commenced on Monday September 6 with traditional rites, also witnessed inter primary schools football competition, quiz competition, motivational talk, marathon race, humanitarian visitation, cultural evening, Yanrin Night and award of different categories to deserving indigenes and friends of the town.
Amosun, however, informed the gathering that fund raised at the 2016 edition of the event, had been utilized to take the remodelling and rebuilding of Alaye’s Palace forward and increase the investment of Ayetoro in the proposed Ayetoro Microfinance Bank to N2 million.
While commending the state government for its giant strides in Ayetoro, the planning committee chairman, urged the government to intervene in the road network in the town.
“As we commend our governor for his many giant strides, may I use this opportunity to appeal to him for more intervention, especially on our road network.
“We want you to please complete the Olodo-Ayetoro road started by your government before the expiration of your tenure. Similarly, the Ayetoro-Igan Okoto road, Ayetoro-Saala Orile road and a number of our intra city roads need to be repaired now that rain has gone.
“In addition, the General Hospital, Ayetoro needs a face lift and upgrading with functional ambulance, X-ray and scanning machines. We also appeal for the renovation and upgrading of some of our schools, especially The Technical College, Ayetoro.
“This particular school which is very critical to technical development of our state is falling apart. Your urgent intervention is needed”. Elder Amosun submitted.
Senator Tejuosho commended the indigenes of Ayetoro for putting together an event that unites people of the town.
He described Ayetoro as a lucky town whose indigenes, serving in Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s government have given a good account of themselves. He further noted that the town was serene, peaceful and conducive for investment, particularly in agro-allied business, urging well-to-do indigenes of Ayetoro in Nigeria and the Diaspora to come home and invest in the socioeconomic development of the town.
He, therefore, preached unity, love and cooperation with other towns in Yewaland to make sure Ogun West person succeeds the incumbent governor in 2019.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Taiwo Adeoluwa noted that Ayetoro has been a partner in progress to his administration assuring the people of his government continued support for the development of the town.
Amosun, who reiterated his readiness and sincerity in handing over the reign of government to a Yewa Awori person in 2019, submitted that it is the leaders in the zone that will be saddled with the responsibility of determining the governorship candidate among the contenders.
How Ayetoro evolved
The history of the ancient town will not be complete without mentioning Aibo settlement, founded by Prince Asade from Oyo. There were 12 homesteads around Aibo namely Idofoi, Kesan, Saala, Emado, Olowu, Ilogun, Joga, Imala, Owo, Ketu, Agboro and Igan Okoto.
When these 12 felt their existence was being threatened by Dahomean invasion, they all agreed to merge into one big town with a central authority to defend themselves and wade off invaders. The founding fathers decided that Taiwo Olowo who had migrated from Orile Ilogun to Lagos and became wealthy as well as influential be requested to lead them to kickstart the new town. But Olowo rejected the request on the ground of old age, and told the delegates that they should contact Chief Abass Faremi, also a wealthy man and influential colonial merchant in Badagry.
In 1900, Seriki Abass, otherwise known as Faremi Williams, led the founding fathers to the present location of a new town, Ayetoro. He also obtained government’s recognition of the existence of the town in 1902. Igan Okoto people settled in Ayetoro for a short period of time, but later returned to their homestead. The remaining 11 towns with Aibo (the host town) stayed with their leaders.