Eminent Nigerians such as former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida; former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Saturday sent goodwill messages to the Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Oguntoyinbo Aladelusi, Odundun II, and the Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, on the Ulefunta Festival celebrated by the people of Akure and the installation of the newspaper mogul as the Baa Royin of Akure.
The messages came on the heels of Akure, the ancient city capital of Ondo State, going agog on Saturday as virtually all associations, clubs and groups in the city gathered to celebrate the Festival.
While Babangida said he was “happy to note” that Nda-Isaiah’s “services for a strong and united Nigeria are being recognized for and wide,” Dogara said the title was “well deserved” while Tinubu said “you are today a chieftaincy title holder in Yorubaland” and “by virtue of this, you are a member of the traditional council in Akureland, which comes with its own responsibilities.”
The leaders, who felicitated with Nda-Isaiah for having been found worthy of being bestowed with such a title by the paramount ruler of the kingdom, also wished the Deji and the people of Akure well in the celebration of the festival.
The Festival had commenced with the Deji going on a seven-day traditional leave period of seclusion and homage paid to him by all the different masquerades in the kingdom and an anniversary lecture delivered by the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The second wave of the celebration had kicked off on Friday with the gathering of the who-is-who in the kingdom, as well as friends of the people of Akure, tagged: “A Night with the Deji,” where a launch for the completion of the construction of the Oba’s palace was made.
Earlier on Saturday, the traditional rites for the installation of Nda-Isaiah were completed with fanfare with the newspaper publisher appreciating the monarch and people of Akure kingdom for finding him worthy of the conferment of title.
The carnival held on Saturday was heralded with fanfare as various groups in their colourful attires gathered at the Democracy Park of the Oba’s Market to pay homage to the king who was driven into the arena in an ancient cart of decades of age.
In his remarks, the Deji thanked the people of the kingdom for their love for him and the kingdom in general and enjoined them to work for the progress and development of the capital city of Ondo State.
Also present at the event was the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government; the Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi; Sunday Abegunde; Nda-Isaiah; General Igbayilola Akintunde; traditional rulers; and captains of industry.