Ondo Kingdom was in a joyful mood on 7th December, 2013, as the people rolled out drums to celebrate this year’s Ekimogun Day, an annual event that brings together all sons and daughters of Ondo at home and in the Diaspora to the kingdom.
This year’s celebration marked the 26th edition, and the colourful event saw His Royal Majesty, Oba Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, Jilo III, Osamawe, Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom, his wife, Olori Comfort Olayinka Kiladejo, High Chiefs – Ukules, Elegbes, Opojis, Ujamas, Olojas, and the entire people of Ondo Development Committee (ODC), dressed in traditional Ondo attires, in a colourful procession from the palace of the Osamawe to the Oba Adesanoye Civic Centre in Ondo town, the venue of the event.
The festival witnessed massive homecoming of several sons and daughters of Ondo kingdom, filling the large expanse of the Civic Centre in their numbers, in colourful attires that distinguish the typical Ondo indigene from any other Yoruba man.
According to the Orunbato of Ondo kingdom and Chairman, Ondo Development Committee (ODC), Chief Gbenga Akinnawo, ‘Ekimogun’ is an ‘Oriki,’ a name used to eulogize the Ondo people when they left their progenitor to settle in their present place of abode (Ondo town).
He pointed out that in the bid to celebrate togetherness, confirmation of unity and ways of developing the Kingdom, the people initiated the idea of Ondo Development Committee (ODC) 26 years ago and termed the celebration, “Ekimogun Day,” which has been celebrated consistently since its inception.
Chief Akinnawo informed that the prelude to the grand finale of the festival had witnessed a five-day event in the community, which included traditional fashion parade, novelty football match, essay competition among secondary schools, youth cultural carnival, and other competitions.
Highlights of the event were paying homage to the Osamawe by traditional and honorary chiefs, neighbouring communities, clubs, societies, market women, youth organizations, match-past by private and public secondary schools in Ondo town; just as it also featured merit awards on two illustrious “sons of the soil,” who have excelled in their various fields of endeavour, namely, Sir Professor Ibi Ajayi and Mr. David Olasehinde Akinbohun.
It would be recalled that as a prelude to the Ekimogun day, Oba Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, Jilo III, Osamawe and paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom, had bestowed royal awards on some eminent and distinguished citizens of the kingdom, including, the Vice-Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Professor Femi Mimiko; Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson; Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu; Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN); Dr. Olakunle Akinboboye; Professor Ibitayo Akinwande; Engr. Raymond Akinyele; and renowned Nollywood screen diva, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde.
The event also witnessed cultural entertainment, featuring sonorous renditions of songs and beautiful dance steps by the Obitun Dance Group of Ondo Town, which kept the audience in an elated mood throughout the day.
Some of the notable guests at the event were Senator Ayo Akinyelure, Senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial District; Ondo State Commissioner for Finance, Chief Yele Ogundipe and his Health counterpart, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju; Caretaker Committee Chairmen of Ondo West and Ondo East Local Government Areas, Hon. Abiola Makinde and Hon. Adewale Akinlosotu, respectively.
The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), South-West Zone, was represented by the Head, Research and Documentation Department, Mr. Chris Sodje, Head, Corporate Affairs Unit, Ogaga Anakpoha and Miss Folashade Oladejobi of Orientation and Cultural Affairs Department.