One of the leading traditional rulers in the country, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye Ill, the Olowo and Paramount ruler of Owo Kingdom has said that the only way the country can regain her lost glory is to restore the value system of old.

The foremost and prominent monarch made the assertion today when he delivered the lecture on Culture and Tradition of the Yorubas to the 2022 Batch ‘B’ (Stream II) prospective corps members at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State.

According to Oba Ogunoye, who sits atop the largest palace in Africa with approximately 1000 rooms implored Nigerians, especially the youths to go back to the virtues which made the country the toast of the world.

In his words, ‘Nigerians are known for virtues such as honesty, hard work, industry and resilience to overcome all challenges but the trend wherein the present generation have resorted to cutting corners or engaging in sharp practices have debased those values and the results are what is pronounced in every facets of our life’.

“As youths that have been mobilised to serve the nation, you need to promote cultural awareness and pursue vigorously campaigns that will take us back to the glorious era when honesty was the hallmark”.

He continued, ‘in those days, if you purchase goods and agricultural products, you put a corresponding amount of money where you took those goods but reverse is the case today and I want to admonish you as leaders that will take over the administration of this country in the foreseeable future to reverse this trend for the benefit of all’.

The first class traditional ruler who is the thirty second (32) Olowo to ascend the throne of his forefathers said that all hands must be on deck to prevent our culture and tradition from going into extinct.

“It has become worrisome that the younger generation are not as aggressive as our fathers in preserving our legacy but rather prefers to move with civilisation thus relegating our culture and tradition to the background”.

“I want to let you know that no culture is superior to another but we need to preserve our cultural heritage so that the generations yet unborn will have identity to identify with in the comity of nations”.

“Yorubas are distinct ethnic group in Nigeria today and our people cherish respect and greetings a lot. I want to advise you to accord them that respect and be humble, and if you do so, I am assuring you that you will enjoy your stay in their midst. We love visitors and strangers who will not deride our culture and those things we hold in high esteem and sacred”.

The Monarch who retired as Permanent Secretary in the services of Ondo State Government said that Owo Kingdom is a land of honour and peace and one of the earliest kingdoms in the country.

“We have festivals that have international recognition and one of such is the Igogo festival which is celebrated with pomp and pageantry and people from all walks of life gather at the ancient Owo Kingdom to identify and celebrate with us”.

Giving the historical perspective of the ancient kingdom, the highly celebrated and revered king said that Owo Kingdom has a very strong link with Ile-Ife which is regarded as the cradle of the Yorubas.

He also expatiated on the architecture, religion, politics, commerce, regalia, sculpture, dialect of the great people of Owo and enjoined the prospective corps members to study their host communities, integrate properly and settle down to the task of nation building.

The custodian of Owo heritage lauded the NYSC management for the establishment of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme and encouraged the prospective and serving corps to embrace the intervention.

“You may not want to agree with me because majority of you want to work in offices but I want to charge you to take advantage of the SAED programme and learn one or two skills to make your future a guaranteed one. Agriculture is the way forward and any professional can make a lifetime living by subscribing to it and other subsets of SAED from the orientation camp and throughout the service year”.

The event witnessed the performance of ‘Umoba Ologho’, the palace music troupe that is exclusively meant to entertain only the imperial majesty.

The State Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Nnenna Ani eulogised the Olowo of Owo Kingdom for the rare honour he has bestowed upon the patriotic Nigerians by agreeing, and personally coming around to deliver the lecture supported by the Olowo in Council.

Mrs. Ani informed the cerebral Kabiyesi that the prospective corps members have been disciplined and well behaved since they reported to camp six days ago.

The State Coordinator, while appealing to the corps participants to listen attentively and benefit from the words of wisdom of the king added that they should see and count themselves lucky to have the rare privilege of having in their midst a first class traditional ruler who participated in the Scheme in Jigawa State to give them a lecture on Culture and Tradition of the Yorubas.

The monarch donated handsomely to support the camp activities while the prospective corps members presented gifts to His Imperial Majesty Oba (Dr.) Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye Ill and the Olowo in Council.

Kayode Animasaun

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