Osun Govt Secures German Medical Experts to Tackle Cancer

In line with the Six Point Integral Action Plan of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Osun State government has secured the commitment of a notable German institute to assist the state on improved health care delivery.

A team of seasoned German oncologists from the Institute for Operative Medicine of the Otto-yon Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany, will be in the Osun state between Feb 1 to Feb 4 2017 to perfect plans on collaborative effort on control, treatment and management of various class of cancer in the state.

The programme will include cancer screening right from Primary Health Centre to Secondary and Tertiary health care system. Cancer is known to be third leading cause of death in this part of the world.

The Institute for Operative Medizine of the Otto-yon Guericke-University had acceded to the request of the state government to tackle headlong health challenges posed by cancer related diseases and as well render services on general surgery operation

According to a letter of acknowledgment signed by the Head of the institute, Prof. Hans Lippert, the institute will also support the state Government fully in cancer preventive awareness

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in Osun State, Dr Adeyinka Eso, said the four-day visit of the German oncologist team will afford the medical experts in the state health ministry some high level technical interaction on control and management of cancer disease at all tiers of the state health system.

City Mirror

School Feeding: Niger Govt Lauds Aregbesola over Employment of Over 4000 Workers

Niger state government on Wednesday showered praises on the Rauf Aregbesola led administration in Osun especially the success recorded by the governments school feeding policy saying the scheme had created over four thousand jobs in the state

Niger state Commissioner for education, Hajia Fatima Madugu, made the commendation at the opening of a two-day stakeholder meeting and step down training on Home grown school feeding programme.

Hajia Madugu who said “Osun state has become the best in the implementation of the school feeding policy ” explained that the objective of the Niger state government is ” to become the second best in the implementation of the school feeding system.

The Commissioner observed that the Home Grown School feeding system was the most complicated of all the social intervention schemes introduced by the federal government but said it would achieve the retention of pupils in schools in addition to creating jobs.

The focal person of the programme in the state Mrs Afiniki Dauda in her speech assured that the feeding policy would kick off in the state in the next six weeks.

In a communique at the end of the technical session the state government was advised to put in place the legal framework work that would ensure the sustenance of the programme.

The communiqué also wanted the Niger state universal Basic Education Board to come up with data of school pupils while also seeking for logistic support for the smooth running of the scheme.

City Mirror

Irepodun Town Gets New Ruler

A retired civil servant in Osun State, Prince Abdul-Wahab Adegboyega Oladunjoye, has been installed as the new traditional ruler of Irepodun town, Oke-Osun in Osogbo local government area.

During the coronation of the new traditional ruler at Irepodun market square, the head of kingmakers, Pa Liasu Odediran, declared that the nomination, selection, appointment and installation of Oladunjoye as the new king for Irepodun town followed the due process.

Odediran added that the processes fulfilled all the necessary conditions in accordance with the tradition and custom of the people of the community.

Also, the chairman of Irepodun community, Pa Sulaimon Akande said the new traditional ruler was acceptable to the entire people of the town and assured that the people of Irepodun town would support the reign of the new king.

Speaking shortly after the coronation ceremonies, the new king urged the state government to provide basic socio amenities for the people of the area.

Oladunjoye urged the state government to grade the road leading to the the town, provide health care facilities and post more teachers to Irepodun to curb rural-urban migration.

Osun Advertises Request for Expression of Interest for Competent Aggregators

The state government of Osun has advertised a request for Expression of Interest for competent aggregators to activate market-driven agricultural value chain in the state.

The Osun agricultural value chain initiative is an initiative of the state government of Osun to partner with competent aggregators to spur private sector-led and market-driven agricultural value chain development

Use link below for more details

Expression Of Interest Agric (2): http://osun.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/expressionOfInterest_agric-2.pdf

Expression Of Interest Non-agric (2): http://osun.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/expressionOfInterest_nonagric-2.pdf

Osun Lawmaker Urges Air Force to Avoid Further Errors

A member of Osun House of Assembly, Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, has condoled with families of victims involved in the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann IDP camp in Borno state by the Air Force.

Oyintiloye, in a statement in Osogbo said that the death of the innocent civilians in the accidental bombing was painful and regrettable.

While wishing those who were wounded in the bombing quick recovery, he commiserated with the Government and people of Borno state over the sad development.

Oyintiloye, who is the House Committee Chairman on Information and Strategy, urged the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the military not to allow the sad incident to weaken their morale in the fight against the insurgency.

According to him, the fact still remains that everybody is pained with the loss of innocent lives at the camp but the fight against the terror group, Boko Haram should be sustained.

Oyintiloye, (Obokun-APC) said that the victory of the Nigerian Army in clearing the Sambisa forest, which is the hideout of the Boko Haram, was a strong signal that the end of the terror group had come.

While commending the NAF and Military for their sacrifices in protecting the territorial integrity of the nation, he urged them not to allow the mistake of accidental bombing to occur again.

“The accidental bombing of IDP camp in Rann in which innocent civilians lost their lives is regrettable and it is my prayer that God will console the families of the victims.

“I want to commend the NAF and the Military for their effort in bringing lasting peace to the nation but they should please always coordinate their operational strategy well to avoid this kind of sad occurrence again,” he said.

Oyintiloye also called on Federal Government to provide all the necessary help to those who were injured and the families of those who lost their lives.

A fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East on Tuesday fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, during which many people were killed.

Aregbesola: Saint Or Sinner?

State of Osun has come off the perennial phase of delayed salary payment at the tail of last year. It was a cheering news for the people of the state and the government. That the Governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola cleared all the outstanding salaries and arrears owed to the state workforce in the face of economic downtown and recession after a protracted union faceoff with the government is worthy of note.

It is more so because Osun is not the only state in Nigeria plagued by delayed salary occasioned by low price of crude oil, but it has become the most violently attacked government and governor. At the last count a few hours ago, 15 states out of 32 have trouble sorting out their wage obligation. That Osun has been singled out for vitriolic media attacks and constant labour unrest gives the impression that there could be other motives behind the unnecessary focus on Ogbeni or pure politics of bitterness.

The reason might not be unconnected with the personality of the governor in question whose political ideas and ideologies stance on tripod: the people, development and institution building. The trouble began for Ogbeni in 2010, when he inherited virtually a dead state with an empty treasury. Osun was one of the most indebted state in Nigeria at the time he assumed office.

The arithmetic is simple. Since allocation does not come to the state in sacks, all the borrower banks easily deduct their money at source. Sometimes they clear off the entire allocation due the state because the loan is hinged on the allocations from the federal government as
collateral! This is how Ogbeni was caught in the bind. Having subscribed to socialist democracy and welfarism and a buffer for progressive governance in the current administration across the country, there was no doubt that Nigerians wanted in Ogbeni a miracle worker in the real sense of the word.

Political ideologies shape the way individuals understand the world and how thought and action are connected directly to actual governance process in the life of any nation or state. If borrowing money from financial institutions to service the wage bill of a few civil servants in the face of economic crunch is viewed as failure of government, then the unschooled thrift collector knows a thing we do not know about financial management. If the wage bill of a few civil servants have to erase the monthly federal allocation and the internally generated revenue of the state, then the government has failed in its other contractual obligations to people, like roads and hospitals and schools and agriculture and human capital developments.

Straddling between wage commitment and other compulsory demands on his government, Ogbeni struck the bull’s eye when he said: “just last month, we spent N6.5billion out of N10 billion on salary. The human management science says that the cost of mobilizing workers to work which is called running or operation cost is one and half the cost of labour but because that is the ideal cost for mobilizing workers, if you understand what that means. Mobilization of workers means if you are engaged to take care of this place. Let’s not go very far, your salary is your salary, it is your income.

“The tools we need to work here must be provided by your employer and everything pertaining to your work here. The only aspect of your wage that is related to your work that will not be reimbursed or that is assumed to be included in your wage is the cost of movement from your house to your place of work, when you get to your place of work, every other things that the job requires of you is at the cost of the employer.

“It is this that the human management science says that one and a half the cost of labour is the ideal and our own material condition could not permit us to operate at the ideal level. Let’s now say you want to operate at the sub-ideal level, half the cost of ideal of labour is one and a half times the cost of labour in the ideal form.

“You know in the normal natural form it is not half the cost of labour that you need to spend to get labour to do the work for which labour is employed. It is a science, I’m not giving you anything extraordinary but lets now say its half, half the cost of labour of N6.5billion would be N3.25billion, add N3.25billion to N6.5billion is N9.75billion, you can say it’s N10billion. It is that the people for which the workers are actually employed have. So, we must review therefore our wage structure – the number of people that must be employed to work for the state.

“If you take out the critical mass, this state must not and cannot afford the number of staff that is costing N3.6billion, N3.7billion at the same time, I am saying all of these because I know you are a thinker and don’t let anybody bamboozle you whether they can pay or not. The question you must ask is can that state even support this wage bill and then sustained it?

“It’s crazy because at the end of the day, the civil servants have to serve the people when the resources of the people cannot even sustain the civil servants, where do we have the money to serve the people and by the way, I have just picked the financial aspect, lets now go to the human aspect and proportion of the human resource. How many people take this huge money, 40,000? Lets now for the purpose of extended consideration say that each of the 40,000 have ten dependants and you must factor it in because those dependants are citizens of Osun, 10 x 40,000 is 400,000, 400,000 divided by 4,000,000 × 100 is 10%.

“What logic as human consideration will accept a situation where 10% of the population takes everything. So am not in anyway embarrassed or perplexed by the uninformed condemnation or accusation or denigration on the basis of not been able to pay. Look we are simply an unserious,
unproductive, clearly backward nation and people. Otherwise there is no justification on the basis of reasonable human assessment of performance and development to reduce a government evaluation of an administration to payment or non-payment of salary.

“What will happen to the 90% of unserviced people who do not have relationship with the workers? Finally, will even the workers not use the roads we are constructing with the money. Will they not use the schools. Will they not use all the other facilities like the ambulance that was provided to the extent the workers are still part of those that will benefit from the programmes of government, fiscal capital or service. What we must do is find a balance between the reasonable cost of labour and provision for development”?

One thing Ogbeni traducers can’t confiscate away from him or have accepted as the Gospel Truth is his landmark achievements which Osun citizens and many farsighted Nigerians described as thirty-years of development in a period of eight-years. Comrade Amitolu Shittu known for his bluntness and forthrightness and citizen of Osun says Ogbeni is a generational leader who is mandated to fill the void of absence of governance in the state and nation.

Comrade Shittu listed some of the achievements of the governor to include: 40,000 Youths Employed under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme; 5,000 Youths trained and empowered in information communication technology under the Osun Youth Empowerment Technology
(OYESTECH), over N2.4 billion injected to the economy as allowances for the OYES Volunteers, 123 kilometres of waterways (streams, arteries, canals) dredged to keep the state flood-free, 750,000 school students provided with school uniform coupled with empowerment of 3,000 tailors, 150,000 students provided with computer tablets (oponimo), an electronic learning tool preloaded with 17 subjects, 54 textbooks, and past questions of JAMB, WAEC AND NECO of the past 10 years, introduction of bi-monthly environmental sanitation exercise under the O’CLEAN Initiative to keep the state clean.

There is the beautification of the 185 km Oyo Boundary (Asejire) to Osun-Ondo Boundary (Owena), trucks provided for a Public-Private Partnership waste management model in the state, Primary School Funding Grants increased from N7.4 million to N424 million a year, 240,000 children feed daily with nutritious meals under the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme coupled with empowerment of over 3,000 caterers.

Also, Secondary School basic funding grants from N171 million to N427 million per year, Tuition Fees in State-owned Tertiary Institutions reduced by 30%, security of lives and properties being guaranteed with provision of 25 Armoured Personnel Carrier, over 100 security patrol vehicles and one helicopter for surveillance, 2 state of the art police stations built, Internally Generated Revenue(IGR) increased from N300 million to N700 million without increasing tax payable by citizens, setting up of Omoluabi Conservation Fund with a N4.2 Billion reserve, Osun Debt Management Office established.

Others are building of the largest commercial apiary in Sub-Saharan Africa for refined honey production, over 1,765 hectares of land cleared and prepared to support farmers, Rehabilitation of farm settlements in the state Over N1 billion committed to support farmers, Building of super highways to connect Osun to Lagos and Osun to Kwara States, 81 township roads covering 128km have been upgraded all over the state.

Again, there is the Ede Water Works capacity increased from 13% to 100% capacity, over 3,000 permanent teachers employed into the state education sector, 300 km roads have been built across the 30 Local Government Areas and Ife East Area Office, Modakeke, Osun Ambulance Service Authority Established with 400 youths trained as paramedics, 9 State Hospitals and 12 comprehensive health centers have been rehabilitated in the state; 74 Primary Health Centers built, Osogbo Railway Station undergoing massive rehabilitation.

That is the quintessential unusual governor of Osun. He is of the view that balance of governance and spread of its dividend supersedes parochial mindset of a few who judge/evaluate governance performance on the basis of delayed wages or otherwise.

GEMS4 Backed KASMO Black Soap Begins Production

Kasmo Black Soap, a product line backed by Growth and Employments in States 4 (GEMS4) – A DFID funded programme, has begun production in the state of Osun.

GEMS4 is a DFID funded programme that will link and expand market for unique wholesale and retail products from Osun into larger local and international markets.

Recall, Governor Rauf Aregbesola had in October 2016, signed a memorandum of understanding with GEMS4 to help local producers of wholesale and retail product access larger markets.

Black soap, main raw material for Kasmo soap, is popularly known as Oshe-dudu. It is a key market activity for women in south-western Nigeria. However, the women are unable to take full advantage of the market opportunity as they are only able to sell their products twice a week on traditional market days.

Last year, GEMS4 began negotiations with giant soap manufacturers KASMO while also visiting the women in the major black soap producing communities in the state to get their buy-in as well as introduce KASMO to them.

By September, KASMO had invested funds to retrofit the production line dedicated to the production of black soaps and packaging. The new black soap production line at full capacity created 44 new jobs at different stages of the production process including sorting, packing, mixing and loading of equipment with raw black soaps.

Also, GEMS4, facilitated access to other market opportunities for the women producing the black soap, through the identification of alternative markets, as well as capacity building for the black soap suppliers. So far, 300 women have been signed on. GEMS4 plans to sign 3000 black soap makers in the state of Osun by the end of 2017.

About N500,000 worth of black soap from women soap producers has already been purchased by KASMO to test run the market with its own DUDU KASMO SOAP

With GEMS4 support, Kasmo is expected to increase its capacity for raw material uptake from the rural women, thereby increasing women’s ability to produce more and by effect increasing their turnover/incomes. The programme will continue to track impact and improvement to the livelihoods of women soap makers in the state of Osun.

As the Centre Goes Osun Way

The Roman Emperor Pliny is often quoted to have observed that “out of Africa, there is always something new”. We can take liberties with this position and say that out of the Osun State in Nigeria’s south west we have seen a host of policy thrusts and initiatives now being adopted at the centre.

Recent examples include the launch nationwide of the conditional cash transfer which is aimed at tackling long term structural poverty. We also have the free schools feeding program through which the state government has provided nutritious school meals to thousands of its students. In the case of the school meals program there is a clear economic synergy. The program is interwoven to increase food production and thereby elevate living standards in the rural economy. These programs represent a fundamental social advance. They are also one of the few evidence available of the provision of “ a dividend of democracy”. For a change, to paraphrase a lyric from the sixties rock band The Christians, there is now the making of a harvest for the people. And about time too!

Much of the policy thrusts came out of the seven point’s agenda, the manifesto upon which the present governor of the state Rauf Aregbesola was elected. However, in the implementation of the agenda, the fingerprints of a coordinating agency of the state government – The Bureau of Social Services (BOSS) which the Aregbesola government specifically set up as a special purpose vehicle can be detected in these path breaking social intervention thrusts.

The eponymous BOSS is in itself coordinated by a Director- General, Femi Ifaturoti, a lawyer who is propelled by an philosophical belief in social intervention policies as a decisive element in the execution of the social contract which binds government with the people.

Under his beady eye, the agency has developed the framework to carry out its overarching responsibility to supervise, monitor, evaluate and report the performance of all the heads of Ministries,Departments and Agencies (MDA’S). A key mechanism used by the coordinating bureau has been the design and implementation of a framework for public value assurance.

The task requires paying meticulous attention to details. They have set the parameters for determining good governance which includes embracing democratic principles, developing apparatus and implementation, and finally ensuring that all the components stay on course to guarantee public service delivery which can only be measured by its impact on the off- takers which is defined as the citizens.

The quasi- independent agency of government is not just involved in project monitoring, but also measures the social impact of the activities of government. Its evaluation unit for example, can apply its performance measurement templates as evaluation parameters.

In the process they have developed the framework for the federal government to use as a prototype for its social intervention programmes.

A good example here is the federal government’s conditional cash transfer which is aimed at tackling long term poverty and is just taking off. The BOSS model pioneered in the state of OSUN has a prototype which drives the beneficiary. This is achieved by the design of a targeting mechanism in conjunction with the custody of a Beneficiary register for all the social safety net programs in the state.With the country belatedly developing social safety net programs, the data base is crucial for effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. The work of BOSS in OSUN state has provided for the federal government a veritable framework.

As the federal government commences the disbursements of N5000 stipends to poor and vulnerable households in nine states the BOSS model has been pressed into play. The pioneering work done in the state of OSUN is now the operating model. Of note is the development of the community- based targeting (CBT) mechanism.

The CBT exploits the personal knowledge that community members have of each other, so that the community itself takes responsibility for identifying vulnerable household’s and individuals. The CBT approach is a combination of three major actions (a) geographic targeting (b) community sensitisation (c) data collection and validation (proxy means and testing) exercise and entry into the database.

The same data driven methodology propels other initiatives such as the much admired school meals program.Apart from the federal government, Kaduna state is also using this mechanism as a social intervention programme.

The BOSS himself(the pun is intended) Femi Ifaturoti through this agency has demonstrated, not least to donors such as the World Bank that a social intervention agency can effective in delivering on its mated objectives, but that it can also be transparent. It is a testimony to the ongoing debate in economic circles about government as social entrepreneur and innovator.

From this perspective, Femi Ifaturoti is adamant that government can be both innovator and social entrepreneur, “Governance after all, is about the welfare of the generality of the public. We are acquiring appropriate world class software to complement our process flow which has been designed as a hybrid, borrowing from the western, oriental and African democracies to evolve our own unique forms”.

As the country initiates more social programs BOSS will continue to be pivoted having initiated and pioneered so many schemes. It deserves a credit in the evolution of Nigeria’s social safety nets.

Nelson Mandela Freedom Park: Emerging Beauty for Tourists, Residents

Though it started small at the at the popular old garage in Osogbo, today, it is s a long expanse of sprawling beauty, spanning a huge land mass from the old garage through old Ile Epo Olaiya to the old Fakunle in Osogbo, giving the sleepy town a new look expected of a city.

This long stretch beautifully sculpted and designed, encapsulates the culture, history and essence of what Osun stands for in a modern and standardized mode. Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, a recreation spot that can be described as an unraveling profile in tourist beauty.

Though the area was part of the central business district, it never enjoyed the beauty and attention of that should characterize a city center; it was previously synonymous with ramshackle structures, destitute and beggars and car parks as well as street traders long the edges of the road, proliferation of miscreants and hoodlums and a very dirty and haphazard arrangement, giving the place the look of a ghetto.

Today however, the recreational and aesthetic beauty of the park is a testimony of a huge turnaround in planning, beautification, aesthetics as well as cultural history and social facilities, making it a regular point of call for different classes of citizen and creating an opportunity for a night out in a safe environment among the people.

Indeed, to people that had not visited the town for a while, it is easy to get disoriented as the old ile epo Olaiya and old garage that is the first stop for many coming into town is no more the plain area that they know; there is an obvious and consistent change in the look the area wears and Osogbo is quickly shedding its ancient toga and is rapidly metamorphosing into a modern city.

The dramatic change is so obvious and defining that people who aren’t familiar with the new layout may find it difficult to find their way around the city which is now looking completely different.

And one of the things that made a difference aside the new roads is the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, which has not only beautified but has changed the terrain and landscape of the city.

As beautiful as the park is at day, the sight at night is spectacular, making the sight and sounds of Osogbo at night an attractive experience. As expansive as the park is, the roads are well tarred and the garden has lush vegetation, landscaped to create a pretty picture of modernity, culture and history.

The whole Freedom Park is completely lit at night, giving an ambience of beyond average setting and novel euphoric experience. The park comes with a big hall for restaurants, events arena and a water fountain called the Atewogbeja Water Fountain which is surrounded with seats for people to sit, relax and enjoy the undiluted beauty of a serene environment.

And despite the movement of vehicles and human activities around, the park which is yet to be completed but is already being used by residents, stands aloof in contrast to activities going on around it, forcing anyone inside to slow down and forget the worries outside.

The emerging scenery is one of lush vegetation, landscaped to give the look of an environmentally friendly place with a garden and play ground for residents and visitors while a section is constructed to serve as a venue for big events like political rallies, crusades and other social activities and a holding park for travelers who do not want to take their cars out of town, as there is a facility in place to take custody and secure their cars by the park management until they return at little cost.

The Mandela freedom park is constructed in a way that provides recreation for children and adults which features walking paths and decorative landscaping that has all the trappings of an urban infrastructure and is appropriate for physical activity for individuals and families while it can also cater for communities to gather and socialize or just relax.

The layout was planned with consideration to the needs of the physically challenged and the aged and at present, the park already playing a huge role in giving the city the shape required of a contemporary site.

The railway line cuts across the park in the center giving it a linear shape and to protect people from the hazards of crossing a rail trail, the track is protected with a see through wire fence while pedestrian bridges are constructed few meters from each other through the park for people to move from one side to the other without the fear of being run over by a train.

When completed, the freedom park beyond adding beauty to the city, serve as recreation sites for tourists as well as residents and prove that the government is interested in urban renewal, will due to the attraction it holds for people of all classes, serve as a source of income generation for the government.

Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, one of the facility managers at the park, who declined to give his name, stated that the project is part of the beautification process of the government and a bid to upgrade the status of the ancient town to that of a city and a state capital, adding that what the government is doing is not strange as it is part of a long laid plan.

“What the government is doing is not just an haphazard thing. You know in the early days, Osogbo is a district town which was planned by the white man. The projects you see now are part of a master plan designed very long ago buy was not followed by previous governments, the original plan is that the central business district stand out as an attraction in every way possible,” he said.

One of the people that came to relax at the park who identified himself as Mosun Adeola stated that she comes to the park most evenings after work just to unwind as the atmosphere is always calm.

“I don’t know when this became an habit but I found it so relaxing coming here to just sit and watch people and activities around; it is usually like I am watching a different world from mine and I like this. So many people come here regularly but I only come on weekdays because there are usually plenty of people here at weekends and I don’t like crowds.

“What the government did here is good, it’s like giving the people a new experience and we can proudly say we live in a city. I don’t know what motivated the government to do this but I believe it is a steep in the right direction. The town is looking so different and not as ancient as when we were growing up and coming back home to live is seriously looking like the best decision for me.

An elderly man who preferred to be called Pa Adenle also lauded the initiative, adding that coming to relax at the park is an highlight of his day but he added that the government should take the innovation to other cities in the state so that anywhere you go in the state will be a tourist attraction and people will not be tempted to move in huge numbers to Osogbo from other towns, causing overpopulation and its attendant challenges.

“I am happy this is taking place in my lifetime, I never knew my hometown could become this beautiful. This development should be extended to all the cities in the state, transforming everywhere to a place people would love to live,” Pa Adenle concluded.

Other interesting facilities at the park includes a design of fruits to show agricultural prowess of the state, a monument of brief history of past leaders, both military and civilian and a monument of statues of respected Yoruba leaders including Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu among others.

2017 Obatala Festival Ends in Grand Style

This year’s Obatala festival in Ile-Ife ended in pomp and
circumstance yesterday when thousands of the adherents of Obatala
deity as well as spectators trooped to the Temple of the Obatala to
renew their covenant with the deity.

The grand finale also witnessed the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial
Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II renewing his covenant
with the Obatala while the Olufon of Ifon-Orolu, Oba Abdulmaroof
Olumoyero Magbagbeola equally did so while the two monarchs prayed for
Obatala’s protection, guidance and blessings.

Present at the celebrations were adherents of Obatala,
tourists and well wishers from both home and abroad.

In her reactions at the festival, a panamian who is a
worshipper of Obatala and a tourist, Iyalode Yeyefini Efunbolade
observed that, there is no doubt that Nigeria is the bedrock of
African traditional religions while other African countries are the
wagons for the worship of African deities.

Iyalode Efunbolade who has been worshipping Obatala for the
past 29years opined that, if African deities are worshipped and their
rules obeyed, there will be a strong nexus between them and the
mortals since all deities are interested in the spiritual and general
developmental growth of all human beings.

Mrs Efunbolade who has a typical Yoruba traditional marks,
extolled the virtues of Obatala while stressing that, she was happy
tracing her origin to Yorubaland and that as a mark of her happiness,
all her children have Yoruba traditional marks.

She was full of praises for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye
Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II for promoting African traditional religions
and for establishing a school known as Obatala School where modern
education as well as studies in Africa traditional religions are
taught. She pledged her support for the school and donates various
learning aids to them.

In her contribution, another tourist at the event, Queen
Damie, a king in the Republic of Congo, expressed her delight at the
Yoruba traditions and religions while calling on Africans in the
Diaspora to assist in developing Africa especially in the area of the
economy and African languages which are the pivot on which the rich
African traditions and religions rotate.

While answering questions from journalists, the Obalesin
Obatala, Chief Olaolu Oladuntan Okanlawon, who is the Chief Priest of
Obatala, explained that Obatala, being a deity of purity and
truthfulness is worshipped annually to renew the convenant between the
deity and its adherents, adding that, in order to avoid provoking the
deity, its followers have to be pure in mind and body.

Highlights of the festival were the procession of the
faithfuls led by the Chief Priest and the Arugba from the Obatala
Temple to the Ooni Palace back to the Obatala’s Temple where various
rites and propitiations were made.

Duke Udi Pledges Strong Osun United

Osun United coach, Duke Udi, says his priority is to build a formidable team that will be capable of gaining promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League by the end of the season, reports Sportstalkafrica.com.

Udi revealed he and his assistants had a tough time trying to get the best players among over 200 players that came from far and near to take part in the open screening had by the Omoluabi Giants last week.

“We had over 200 players that came for the screening and it was very hectic getting the very best of those that came. I am very certain that players picked will be ready for the rigorous of National League in the next few weeks,” the former Grasshopper FC diminutive midfielder told Sportstalkafrica.com.

The former Super Eagles and Shooting Stars box-to-box midfielder expressed optimism that he will build winning mentality in the club players which will improve the club fortune before the 2017 Nigeria National League season kicks off late next month.

“We want to build a team with a good defence, a good spirit, a team with attitude, character, and a team who can win games both home and away.

“We will build in the players winning mentality, which is to win at all time and by God grace we will work hard to ensure this results are achieved,” the former Rangers and Giwa gaffer said.

Asked how he hope to triumph with the task given to him by the management to secure a promotion ticket for the team to the elite league, he noted; “Every steps in life has his own challenges, I am here to add value to the team, we will build a team and increase the club in every aspect. I want to thank the management for the believing in me to serve the club and with God on our side we shall excel.”