During a recent visit to United States of America, where he had gone to attend the graduation ceremony of the Howard University, the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo was hosted to a reception by some natives of Ondo living in the country.
In his address to the gathering, which also had other eminent Nigerians, such as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, Dr. Orobola Fasehun, a retired diplomat and senior United Nations consultant and former NADECO chieftain, retired Col. Raphael Iluyomade, in attendance, the monarch had observed that three years to the centenary anniversary of Nigeria’s amalgamation by the British colonial government, the country faced enormous challenges, with regard to its political leadership and the provision of sustainable development.
Kiladejo noted that with the successful conduct of the 2011 general elections, widely adjudged free and fair, it was clear that Nigeria would gradually be counted among the comity of nations where every vote counted and governments were accountable to the people.
Reminding the gathering about the need for Nigeria to speed up its admission into the league, even as the country approaches 54 years of independent statehood, he said, “We are at an important juncture in Ondo and Nigeria in general, which challenges all of us to move our community and our country forward into the league of developed nations.
“All exisitng indices point to the fact that Nigeria faces numerous daunting and inter-related development challenges, including the creation of enduring political institutions, nurturing acceptable leadership and achieving sustainable economic and social development.”
The oba praised the indigenes of Ondo town and other Nigerians for being good ambassadors of the country and urged them to do the best they could to assist their country and their various communities.
Reviewing his reign in Ondo, Kiladejo said that since he ascended the throne, he had made the promotion of peace the thrust of his policies and that the peace, which prevailed during the last elections, reflected the outcome of that effort.
He acknowledged the success of the natives of Ondo resident in America and observed that their achievements reflected in their contributions to the development of the community.
He welcomed and congratulated the clubs that had started development projects in Ondo, citing the efforts of the Ondo Unity Forum in America and other affiliated clubs, such as the Ondo Unique Association. He praised the annual scholarship award scheme of the Ondo-Ekimogun of Southern California.
The king informed the gathering that back home, the people of Ondo had celebrated 500 years of the Osemawe Dynasty in July 2010. According to him, the celebration had included a seminar on 500 years of Ondo history, which would be published in a book. As a result of the celebration, the Ondo State Government had approved the construction of a museum in the town and the designation of Odun Oba in Ondo as a state tourism festival.
One of the highlights of the celebration, the Osemawe recounted to his US audience, was the launching of the Ondo City Vision 2015 programme. In addition this, the state government had commenced several projects that would assist in the realisation of the 2015 City Vision project, which include the dualisation of major roads around Ondo, the rebuilding of Moferere Market, the opening of the Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre, the construction of Mega Schools.
Kiladejo said plans were on the way for the construction of a Trauma Centre and a Mother and Child Hospital on Laje Road in Ondo.
In his welcome address, the president of OUFA, Mr. Banji Awosika, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, commended the Osemawe’s leadership of the Ondo community.
Awosika noted the many initiatives of Kiladejo in the areas of health, physical development, the historic celebration of 500 years of Osemawe Dynasty and the launching of Ondo City Vision 2015, which was meant to transform Ondo into a modern city with revived neighbourhoods, industrial areas, parks as well as the greening of the city.
He welcomed the development projects being undertaken by the administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo and appealed to the monarch to appoint some natives of the town in the Diaspora to the committees planning the Ondo City Vision, as well as to the membership of the Ondo Development Committee.
But Awosika lamented the declining quality of education in Ondo Kingdom and expressed concern over the poor performance of school children in the area.
He therefore announced that the OUFA had launched a mentorship programme for Ondo schools in which individuals, as well as clubs affiliated to the association, would adopt a school each and improve the learning environment.
Kiladejo’s son, Dr. Adekunle Kiladejo, who was one of the graduating students of Howard University, Washington DC, was awarded a Doctor of Medicine degree, during the graduating ceremony of the institution.
-Empowered Newswire, USA