It was glamour, pomp and pageantry at Ilese Town in Ijebu North-East Local Government Council of Ogun State where some creme de la creme of the society converged to honour the traditional head of the town, Alayeluwa Oba Oluremi Owolabi Obayomi, Aladepe II, Elese of Ilese, at the celebration of the 16th Annual Convocation of Ilese Ijebu People.
The event, held Saturday last week in Ilese town, was attended by several dignitaries from far and near.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the 2021 Ilese Day Celebration were Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor of Osun State; Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, represented by his top aide and ally, Otunba Seye Famojuro, who led a delegation to the event; Dr. Taiwo Oluwatoyin, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, who was represented by Oluseye Adeyemo; Hon. Abayomi Faji, member, Ijebu North-East in the Ogun State House of Assembly; Foluso Badejo, Chairman, Ijebu North-East Local Government; Chairman, 2021 Ilese Day, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), who was represented by Alhaji Musbaudeen Oyewole Oyefeso; Chief Launcher, Hon. Korede Osunsanya; Otunba Femi Odumosu, Chairman, Ogun/Osun River Basin; Ilese Development Council Chairman, Otunba Segun Demuren; and Chief Kayode Afolabi.
The celebration, which was aimed at rekindling the decade-old re-union being championed by the Elese of Ilese, supported by eminent sons and daughters of the town, among them a legal icon, Otunba Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), the Ilese Development Council, political stakeholders, friends and associates from all walks of life, took place at the town’s hall with the grand finale at the Ogun State College of Health Technology Playground, Ilese.
The annual festival is always crowned with a beauty pageant where beauty, fashion and intellectual capability are tested.
It is also flavoured with resplendent carnival where students of both primary and secondary schools engage in cultural dances kinetic, acrobatic and mimetic displays, as well as, street entertainments.
Describing himself as a son of Ilese, at the event, Prince Oyinlola, the Chairman, Reconciliation Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South West, appreciated and associated himself with the community development drive of the sons and daughters of Ilese Town, stressing: “Without mincing words, I can boldly tell you that I am an Ilese son.
“I have been part and parcel of Ilese for ages.
“I am proud that the Elese has always considered me worthy of invitation to this town’s developmental activities.
“I am always glad about the developmental strides, which you people here have been embarking on through execution of physical projects.
“This goes to show that you believe that government alone cannot provide all amenities needed for all the people in your community.
“I will continue to support you in whatever capacity I am privileged.”
Excited by the declaration, the monarch thanked Oyinlola for his continued support over the years towards the development of the town, while urging the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to do more for the town in terms of infrastructural development for the well being of its residents.
He said: “I commend Governor Dapo Abiodun for his spirited efforts in the prosecution of laudable and people-oriented socio-economic programmes across the state.
“I rely on Your Excellency’s assurance that priority attention is given to the completion of Ijebu-Ode- Ilese portion of the old Lagos-Benin Road so as to mitigate the untold hardship, including in particular the health hazard posed by the dust from the uncompleted road being inhaled by our people, and as well provide them a new lease of life.”
Governor Makinde, through his representative, also commended the Elese and people of Ilese for promoting unity and developmental relationships among the residents and associates beyond the town.
He promised through Famojuro: “Governor Seyi Makinde is with you in spirit and will always be ready to support this town anytime.
“Governor Makinde recognizes Otunba Kunle Kalejaye (SAN) as a sterling legal professional and true son of Ilese who has its growth and development at heart always.
“My boss will always extend his hand of fellowship to you and your subjects.
“Long may you reign Sir.”
Justifying the objective behind the project, Kalejaye, who is one of the strong promoters of Ilese Day celebration, said: “The carnival dance competition, kinetic displays and beauty pageant among our youths in Ogun State and others from other states in Nigeria, is meant to promote friendship, unity, and peace, inter-personal relationships, sharpening of intelligence of our future leaders.
“We celebrate it annually to foster development of this town.
“We could not celebrate it last year due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“We thank God we are here this year.
“Next year’s will be more colourful and rewarding by God’s grace.”
The competitors were rewarded with trophies given to the best performers as Osoteku Otolomo, who emerged Miss Ilese 2021, went away with N500,000.
The Ogun State indigene and undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University was flanked by her predecessors, including: Queen Lilian Oparaodu (Miss Ilese 2011/2012 from Imo State), Ojikutu Omolara (Miss Ilese 2019-2021 from Lagos State), as well as the 2021 1st runner-up, Afolabi Mariam from Ogun State, and 2021 2nd runner-up, Awolalu Ruth, from Ondo State.
M. Bayo, the Beauty Pageant Coordinator, said the 2021 1st runner-up went away with N300,000, while the 2nd runner-up clinched N200,000.
According to Bayo: “The contest is an objective one where nothing but merit is considered by the panel of eminent judges.
“To show its unbiased intent, it was an Igbo lady that won the 2011 contest.
“It is an event meant for national integration and promotion of peace, unity and intellectual skills.
“It commenced about 11 years ago and the community shall continue to celebrate it annually.”