By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Osun and Oyo state governments have charged Yoruba both home and in the diaspora to continue to maintain the prevailing peace and unity among the entire race.
The two neighbouring state governments gave the charge at the year 2021 Kiriji Day celebration in Imesi Ile, Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State to mark the remembrance of the fallen heroes that fought during the Kiriji war that lasted sixteen years in Yoruba land.
Speaking at the event, Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola said that the day commemorates the unity, peace and progress for which the longest war was fought in the history of Yoruba land.
Represented by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Obawale Adebisi, the governor emphasized that the event ought to be celebrated in the entire South Western part of the country, noting that the Kiriji Peace Treaty site in Imesi Ile, is a world heritage site which if properly managed, is capable of generating appreciable revenue for government.
He then appreciated the residents of Imesi Ile for being proactive in ensuring that the site comes into limelight, encouraging them not to relent in their collaborative efforts with the state government to further promote the site.
Also speaking at the occasion, Commissioner for Information and Culture, Oyo State, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun commended both Oyo and Osun state governments for embracing the promotion of Yoruba culture, describing them as lovers of peace and unity.
He eulogised Oyetola for giving the site a facelift pledging that Oyo State government will do everything possible to showcase the war site in her cultural promotional endeavours.
In his remarks, the President, Yoruba Peace Treaty Site Association, Kiriji, who also doubles as the Otun Owa Ooye of Imesi Ile, Barr. Ojo Williams appreciated the people of Imesi Ile, and the two-state governments for their spirited efforts at perpetuating the historic site.
He, therefore, urged the government to expedite action in developing the site, saying that it can be a money spinner as well as a source of employment for the teeming youth of Osun State.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Senior Special Assistant to Osun Governor on Culture and Tourism, Mr Opesina Raimi stated that Kiriji remains a symbol of togetherness for the entire Yoruba.
He admonished the Yoruba, both at home and abroad to imbibe the spirit of oneness which the celebration connotes.
Also speaking, warlords from Ibadan, Oyo State, Jagun Balogun of Ibadan, Chief Abiola Arulogun and Mogaji of Ibadan, Chief Mogaji Akere stressed that the purpose of the gathering was a reminder of the peace treaty signed by the warlords in the year1886, that there would be no more war in Yoruba land.
The duo charged the entire Yoruba to continue to maintain peace and unity.
Highlights of the event were visitations to some designated places within the site such as: Ogedengbe seat where Ogedengbe normally sat during the war, Ogun Strine where traditional prayers were offered, the spot where Aare Latoosa died during the war and “Fejeboju” river where the warriors barthed and drank during the war.
The new cenotaph at the spot where the peace treaty was signed was also unveiled, while trees were also planted to commemorate the event.