THE crisis trailing the traditional stool of the Ataoja of Osogbo may have deepened as the embattled monarch, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye II, shunned the annual Osogbo Oroki Day celebration at the weekend.
The event is a rallying point for all indigenes of Osogbo during which matters concerning the development of the town are discussed and funds raised to achieve the set objectives.
Some ruling houses alleging foul and impropriety had challenged the process for selection and installation of the monarch in court, and two separate rulings had been given by the judiciary restraining Olanipekun from parading himself as the Ataoja.
The latest Oroki Day was the first in recent time celebrated without a sitting Ataoja in attendance. Olanipekun was appointed and installed the 18th Ataoja of Osogbo in September last year by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.
Speaking at the event, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State urged the people to use the platform to enhance community development projects. Aregbesola, who expressed gratitude that the event was held under peaceful atmosphere, recalled his harrowing experience when he was attacked and narrowly missed being killed by some people suspected to be political thugs during the 2006 Oroki Day.
He charged the people of Osogbo to use the event to celebrate the cultural values and beliefs of the town, adding that the 2011 edition was more peaceful and eventful than the past ones.
While assuring the people of the town that Osogbo would witness transformation and development under his administration, Aregbesola craved continuing support and cooperation of the people to enable his administration fulfill its six-point cardinal agenda to banish hunger and poverty, tackle unemployment, restore healthy living and communal peace.
He also urged the people of the state to pay their taxes to assist the government in fulfilling its obligations, assuring that the taxes would be made friendly so as not to put undue burden on the citizens.
The Deputy Governor, Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, who is an indigene of the community, noted that the 2011 Oroki Day celebration was aimed to re-write the bad image of the town after that of 2006, which ended in violence.
She said: “This is an event of joy. I give thanks to God because it is unique. It provides unique opportunity for us to come together as one family. We should, therefore, use the uniqueness to support the current administration because it is the government that loves the people of Osogbo”.
She enjoined the people of the state to key into various progressive programmes and policies of the government in making Osogbo a befitting state capital. Laoye-Tomori lauded the administration for the channelisation of streams and rivers in the state to avert flood.
Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Muiz Banire, appealed to the leadership of Osogbo Progressive Union (OPU) to elicit the contribution of all indigenes of the town both at home and abroad towards the transformation and development of the town.
CULLED FROM THE GUARDIAN.