By Shola Oshunkeye
All roads lead to Erinmo-Ijesa in Oriade Local Government Area of the State of Osun, today, where activities marking the fifth coronation anniversary of the town’s paramount ruler, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Michael Odunayo Ajayi, Arowotawaya II, get underway.
The agrarian and strategic town is already in a sprightly mood and bursting at its seams with throngs of eminent Nigerians who have come to celebrate the highly cerebral former Director General of the Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry-turned-King.
HRM Oba Ajayi was over the moon as he captured his excitement at the passing of another year and commencement of a new year on the throne of his forefathers.
“I have nothing but tons and tons of gratitude to give the Almighty God, my Maker, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords on this occasion,” he told The Crest on Monday.
“In the past five years, God has made the lines to fall in beautiful places for my great people, for Erinmo, for the throne, and for me. We have enjoyed peace that flows like a river, unity that cannot be qualified, and prosperity that only God can provide.
“God has, indeed, been faithful all the way. That is why my people-both at home and in the diaspora, my Chiefs, and my humble self decided that we celebrate God’s majesty this way. To Him alone be the glory.”
The week-long anniversary celebration kicks off today, Tuesday, August 6, 2019, at 10 a.m. with a special palace court session (Ajo Ilu) followed by traditional games.
A release signed by the monarch’s media aide listed other activities for the opening day as including: a special charity event for widows, the elderly and the youths, starting at 12 noon; and an open air Christian evangelistic crusade that commences at 4p.m., local time.
Evangelist Silekunola Naomi Ogunwusi, wife of the Ooni Of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, will minister both in the word of God as well as in songs.
The anniversary continues on Wednesday, August 7, with donations to primary and secondary schools in the kingdom as well as scholarship awards to indigent students. Sports take the centre stage from 3p.m. with inter-street female soccer final followed by the Under 17 final.
Thursday opens with an interdenominational prayer session for the town, the State of Osun and Nigeria, starting from 5a.m. There will be a health walk/talk session from 9a.m., free medical check at 10 a.m., and the Arowotawaya Soccer Competition finals at 4p.m.
On Friday, some deserving Nigerians will be honoured by Oba Dr. Michael Odunayo Ajayi from 9a.m.; followed by a special Jumat service at the Erinmo Central Mosque at 1p.m., the 2019 Agidanyin Festival from 3p.m., while the day closes in a grand style with the royal moonlight bonfire as well as special reception for VVIPs.
Events lined up for Saturday, August 9, include: a grand reception, book presentation and launch, the iwuye ceremony for newly installed Chiefs, the unveiling of the Oba Arowotawaya Foundation as well as the Oba Arowotawaya Awards.
Curtain falls on the week-long programme with a thanksgiving service at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Erinmo, followed by a private luncheon for VVIPs.
For Oba Dr. Michael Ajayi, the road to the throne began on Tuesday, July 3, 2014, when the debonair Founding President of the Forum of Nigerian Professionals in Ghana was anonymously chosen by the Arowotawaya ruling dynasty of Erinmo-Ijesa, and roundly accepted by the kingmakers as the town’s new ruler.
The big icing on the cake came on Wednesday, August 6, 2014, when he was crowned the new Elerinmo of Erinmo-Ijesa and then Governor Rauf Aregbesola presented him with the staff of office.
An excellent manager of men, materials and resources, widely travelled Oba Michael Ajayi hit the ground running, harnessing his vast network, locally and internationally, to bring development to the town.
Five years on, the monarch has transformed the hitherto sleepy town into a strategic tourist and business destination in Ijesaland. Little wonder his subjects, both young and old, have rolled out the red carpet, and are clashing the cymbals, and popping champagne to celebrate the uncommon achiever.