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SOURCE: Olowa's Palace

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am highly delighted to be in your presence this day again, and it is indeed a great pleasure for me. Permit me to acknowledge and appreciate the members and executives of Igbara-Oke Citizens in the Americas, ICA, Inc., particularly the President, Prof. Rufus Oladipo Elemo, and every committee member for receiving me and my entourage on our arrival into this country, and for organizing this epoch-making event.
I called this epoch-making event because this would be my first visit as a monarch to this convention, and it is always a delight to be back and felicitate with you on this great occasion, as you all know that I am a familiar face at this bi-ennial Convention, and to the glory of God my coming this year is in the capacity of a monarch, the Paramount Ruler and Prescribed Authority, Olowa of Igbara-Oke kingdom. I also thank you for this honour and the privilege given me to address this gathering.
As my custom, I always begin by giving honour to whom honour is due, that is The Almighty God. It is by His grace that we are alive and it is Him that has preserved our lives and granted us safe trip far and near to this venue. To Him alone be all the Glory.
Before I move on, I would love to appreciate and commend your supports and contributions towards my ascension to the throne of my forefathers and the roles you all played towards the successful outing of my First Year Coronation Anniversary and Thanksgiving service. I also want to thank you for all efforts at ensuring better life for our people at home, particularly the young ones and the aged. I cannot thank you enough for all these and many more.
I bring you warm greetings from the Council of Chiefs and the entire indigene and non-indigene residents of our beloved Igbara-Oke kingdom. They send their congratulatory messages, and they hoped that this conference will yield more dividends for you all. I want you to know that whatever happens here, the impact is felt at home, and I am glad to tell you that the people back home are proud of you and they pray for you always.
Without gainsaying, Igbara-Oke Citizens in the Americas, ICA, Inc., is the leading body that has united sons and daughters of Igbara-Oke in the United States and other North America countries. The organization is also an important and integral part of our beloved Igbara-Oke and must be so recognized. With this status, I must say this, more are expected from you.
The love and the interest you have shown in rebuilding and transforming our beloved town to be the envy of other towns and cities are commendable. Being one of and the leading associations of Igbara-Oke descendants that have been supporting the progress and successes recorded by the Igbara-Oke Development Council, IDC back home, I hold you on high esteem. As I do say, there is no doubt, “Posterity will cherish and bless you for all these good works.”
The relative peace we enjoy in our town can be attributed to the love of God and His Presence in everything we do. We all know that nothing thrives in the absence of peace and tranquility. And it will interest you to know that most of the successes recorded so far are as a result of the love peace and unity, which I often advocate for at every gathering and event like this.
As I felicitate with you today, it is also important for me to intimate you with happenings and various developments that has heralded our country home, Igbara-Oke kingdom in the last one year of my ascension to the throne of my forefathers. This, I would love to share with you here.
Before I begin with that, I would like to make few submissions as regards today’s event. Our gathering here is as ordained by God and He made everything beautiful in its time. This year’s convention caught the attention of many indigenes and lovers of our town and the kind publicity was beyond the reach of many of us seated here. Many had wanted to attend this convention, but the challenges of getting appointment at the US Embassy for visa application before the date of this event deprived many. That was one of the reasons I believe that the resolution and outcome of this gathering will play a bigger role in helping to build our country home.
As I congratulate you on the various successes recorded in the last couple of years, I know it has not been so easy, but thank God we are celebrating the success stories, and I am very sure that you have learnt different lessons taught by all these events. Considering these enormous challenges, I am optimistic that it will make you grow and wax stronger.
As the custodian of culture and tradition, I have been able to put in force the necessary measures for us to observe and perform all our traditional festivals and every rite as the need arises in the town. The Council of Chiefs, Baales and Olori-Omos in all quarters have seen the importance of these deities and other cultural heritage that was bequeathed to us by our forefathers in the day to day activities of our endeavours. We have been able to foster religious tolerance, and often contribute positively to their developments.
At the beginning, I knew I needed to unite the Council of Chiefs, due to different tussles as regards ranking and seniority among them. To the glory of God, we are now a united family that is bent on the development of our land. This chieftaincy tussle is not only in Igbara-Oke, this also affects some other domains in Ondo State. I think this was one of the reasons the state government sanctioned and suspended the installation of minor chiefs by the Traditional rulers or celebrations of any chieftaincy title in the State.
I am happy to let you know that having received the clearance for some selected chieftaincy title; we can now install and celebrate Aroye for the following Chieftaincy title in our domain as approved by the State Government:

1. Aro
2. Ejemu
3. Odolofin
4. Ojoko (Olua Worshiper)
5. Olugbalesun
Without mincing words, our humble town is gradually taking back its original position and gaining attention from both the state and federal government in terms of infrastructures and industrial developments. With your supports and contributions, we have been able to put our town on the global map.
I must commend the membership of Igbara-Oke Development Council, IDC, for their good jobs in sacrificing their time and valuable resources towards the development of our town and empowering our teaming youths. The leadership of Mr. Siji Ijogun in his capacity as the chairman of IDC has shown high level of commitment, transparency and integrity in the affairs of the organization. He has set the benchmark and I must say that I am proud of him and his team of executives.
The Road Rescue Project that was initiated by the Organisation in which every son, daughter and lovers of Igbara-Oke, both at home and abroad contributed their resources was indeed a success. I must say that it was this action that our sons and daughters took that caught the attention of the Ondo State Government to look onto our direction and approved the Five (5) Km township road within Igbara-Oke. Work has begun on those roads. If we had kept quiet, this may not come to our direction. Once again, I thank you for speaking out.
We cannot keep quiet, we must continue to laud our community towards development of human capacity building and in the areas infrastructures and industrializations. Apart from the works on our roads that is on-going, we have also spoken out our minds, when the water storage tanks in our town ceased to flow. This again caught their attention, and I was made to understand that the Ondo State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency, RUWASA, has gone into the town to check and have repaired few of the broken and blocked pipes that channel water to various locations in and around our town. Although, some places have not been touched, but I am assuring you that we will not stop until everything has been properly done.
Also, I am glad to tell you that your donations channels to supports the health facility in Igbara-Oke has gone a long way to help improve the standard of health delivery at Igbara-Oke Health Centre, otherwise known as Igbara-Oke General Hospital, and other Primary Health Centres. The medical ward I donated couples with different equipments you donated have been of tremendous help to that centre. That is why, at the recent ratings of hospitals in Ondo State, Igbara-Oke General Hospital was adjudged the best on two different occasions. This is indeed a morale booster for us to continue to put our best to help in the service of our people and mankind.
Work is currently on-going at the site for the construction of proposed Rice Mill factory. The factory is expected to be producing over 39,000 metric tons annually. The project is a Public Private Partnership. We all know that this project will in no small measures help in the areas of direct and indirect employment opportunities for our youths.
Igbara-Oke as a nodal town is strategically located and borders two states, Ekiti and Osun. It is an entry point into Ondo State from these two states. With this, the employment opportunities associated to this industry when it commences operations will not be limited to Igbara-Oke, Ifedore Local Government Area and Ondo State alone, but migration of people from neighbouring states will also help boost the economy of our town.
With the location of our town, as a border town, there are many factors we have to contend with especially, migration of people into our town, security and boundary challenges.
Although, we have been able to check the numbers of migrants with the supports and cooperation of our Baales at their various Satellite towns, and Olori-Omos in every quarter, and we are looking at other measures that will soon be put in place to help check illegal migration of people into our domain.
The security of lives of our people and their properties are very paramount to us and we are doing our best at ensuring the safety of every citizen, both old and young. I know we often read from the tabloids and other online media the rate of kidnappings and all sorts of social vices being perpetrated by the people of the underworld, particularly the Fulani Herdsmen. It is of this, I want to commend the efforts of one of our sons, Engr. Dr. Niyi Ijogun who facilitated the deployment of Police Monitoring Team, PMT, otherwise known as X-Squad posted to Ondo State to be stationed at Igbara-Oke, and provided for them different equipment for their smooth operations.
This team of Mobile Police Force reports directly to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, in Abuja on the security situations in Ondo State and they ensure that all perpetrators of evils are brought to book, and they have been doing a wonderful job since their deployment last year. Also, other security agencies in our town are working day and night to ensure safety of all and sundry. On security, we are always on top to act fast.
You and I knew that the issue of boundaries is the duty of the government, both the federal and the state, and Igbara-Oke being a progressive town is working with the governments, and efforts are on-going to regain our lands without any kind of communal clashes or bloodshed.
As a reminder, let me mention briefly the issue of Wema Bank Plc in Igbara-Oke. I want to appreciate your efforts at making it possible for us to retain this bank at our domain for now. Permit me to say this, I want us to work out some modalities that will best fit at retaining this bank and have another commercial bank at our domain for easy access. If we can come together, I believe we can also work towards the establishment our own microfinance bank. This will go a long way in helping our people, particularly the aged.
I will not also forget to mention our proposed higher institution, we have all done great job, and we have received different commendations from people that visited the town and Palace, and from average people passing through the town to Ibuji or Igbara-Odo. I know we can do more for it to be completed and by working on our contacts in the government for its adoption.
On my own part, I have made series of efforts at ensuring the commencement of academic programmes at the institution, and at different occasions had the privilege of meeting with the Minister of Education and have written to the National and State Assemblies to help consider and sign into law the adoption of the structure which is suitable for a higher institute of learning. The Federal University of Technology, Akure has been approached too to commence a programmme. I am glad to let you know that the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure and his team have come to inspect the structure and were pleased at what they saw.
Although, the institute is being occupied by the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba for a sandwich programme, degree in education. The centre is now refers to as College of Education, Igbara-Oke Campus. The institute had their maiden Matriculation last month in June.
While I round-up my address, I want to charge you to continue to live in love with one another. I am aware that we have some of our sons and daughters who are not member of this great association. I want to appeal to you to help reach out to them. Though, everyone may not see and believe in your cause and belief, but I want you to preach the gospel of love and unity to them for the sole interest our country home, Igbara-Oke.
There is need to design a developmental road-map and template for our country home. We need everybody to come on board and put heads together for this cause and set up a yearly agenda and achievable goals for the sole of building a viable Igbara-Oke that will continue to be an envy of other towns not only in Ondo State and Nigeria, but in the world. I see a bigger picture for our homeland. There is nothing bad if we can have Igbara-Oke registered in the heart of the world via our industrious and technological prowess.
I will continue to count on your supports and contributions in the course of this journey at making our own Igbara-Oke great again. Igbara-Oke belongs to us all, and it requires our collective responsiveness and participation to the matter of her growth and development.
As I conclude, I want us to remember that the future of Igbara-Oke lies in the hands of our youths. The youth of today are the inheritors of the institutions we are building today. That is the reason I always crave for youth participation in the process of development in our town. The youths are our future hope and our pride.
Since I ascended the throne, the youths have been giving their total supports and are always available at all times to work for the development of the town. Back home, I see majority of them to have engaged themselves productively in farming business and this has help create employment opportunity for them and it helps to reduce the rate of crimes.
I want to at this stage propose the establishment and incorporation of Youths Wings of Igbara-Oke Development Council, IDC, and that of every other associations, society and clubs of Igbara-Oke descendants all over the world. It won’t be a bad idea, if we have “Igbara-Oke Youth Council”. When we build our youths, we build our town and our nation.
Once again, I want to thank you for this opportunity and your rapt attention. I wish you a fruitful convention.

God bless you all.

His Royal Majesty
Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede FCIM, MBCIM
Ilufemiloye, Ogidi III,
Paramount Ruler and Prescribed Authority,
Olowa of Igbara-Oke kingdom