By Henry Odeh
No fewer than 50 thousand residents of Igbeti town in Olorunsogo local government area turned out in excitement to join The Executive Chairman of Oyo State Mineral Resources Development Agency, Abiodun Oni, who returned home from all official engagements for the 2021 Easter celebration.
Speaking on the significance of this year’s celebration and the massive turn out in the face of covid-19, some of Igbeti residents, politicians, and tourists who spoke with sunrisebulletin.com explained that 2021 Easter celebration was unique in the life of most residents for various reasons including Governor Makinde’s decision to allow local government election hold as slated for May 15.
They maintained that the absence of elected local government chairmen and councilors for almost 8 years (2011 – 2018) towards the twilight of the last administration caused Olorunsogo major setbacks in term of development.
They noted that Igbeti town is the most endowed local government in terms of solid mineral deposits and tourists attraction sites which if well harnessed could place Of Igbeti on global map among tourism destinations in the world.
They maintained that Igbeti alone is blessed with no fewer than 16 historic hills the highest which is Iyamopo Hill reputed for its sacredness owning to some history and myths associated with the Hill.
Mr Aderogba, one of the tourists said: “Iya Mopo is a goddess turned into a Hill. Like a new bride, Iya Mopo stands out beautifully at about 350m in the village of Igbeti, that is about 3 hours Lagos drive and 5 minutes drive from Old Oyo Park known largely for its marble export.
“Every year on Easter Monday, as a tradition, the locals visit the place en masse to promote tourism. History has it that she was the goddess of pottery.
“In the same Igbeti is yet another beautiful story of the Agbele rocks which is used as the symbol of Oyo state tourism board today.
“These naturally occurring rocks formation looks like it was carefully laid on each other and according to myths, the rock is a figure of a woman who stole yams dried openly in the sunlight.
“Unknowing to her, they were owned by a powerful priest, she became a permanent figure just like the biblical wife of lots.
“Igbeti also is surrounded with sixteen hills, making it a beautiful call for adventure.”
Adeyemo Paul Olushola, a politician and PDP stalwart Olorunsogo, while speaking with sunrisebulletin in Yoruba language explained that the history behind Iyamopo Hill transcends many generations before him.
“The history behind Iyamopo Hill is something that is beyond my knowledge because it has been in existence since the time of our great ancestors and been celebrated by those practicing traditional religion.
“But as true sons and daughters of Igbeti, we come here at least once every year to celebrate together and refresh the spirit of our bond in oneness regardless of politics or religious differences.
“We usually use the occasion of Easter celebration to come together for fascinating adventure on this Hill. People who have been away or reside across other parts of the country and the world usually come home for this important celebration.
“The history of Iyamopo is long and interesting one because God used Iyamopo to bless Igbetiland. Visitors who come here always want to have a hiking experience of this being the highest of the 16 high Hills surrounding this town.
Sunrisebulletin correspondent, Henry Odeh, who also joined the hill hiking adventure in Igbeti, further gathered that Easter celebration in Igbetiland is not about Christians alone as it has culminated into an all religions annual festivity being celebrated by Christians, Muslims, and Traditional worshippers.
Iyamopo Hill hiking according to one of the hikers, a veiled Muslim woman, is such an interesting and fascinating one that even the elderly, pregnant women and physically challenged do not want to be left out and be told the story, and would therefore, defy their age and physical conditions to join others on the hiking adventure.
Speaking on his return home to Igbeti as against celebrating in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state where Easter celebration is expected to be most enjoyable because of the presence of social and recreational facilities and activities, Abiodun Oni noted that Easter celebration is always a period to enjoy nature and its splendor amidst the people at home.
Oni explained that Easter Monday celebration in the minds of all sons and daughters of Igbeti both home and abroad, is unofficially “Iyamopo Day” because it provides an opportunity for what he described as ‘special reunion’ regardless of religious and political linens.
Excited Oni, who was in company of PDP Chairmanship, Vice Chairmanship, and the 10 Councilorship candidates including local government party executives in Olorunsogo local government joined no fewer than 50 thousand others on Iyamopo Hill hiking.
He assured that the state government through agency will create a robust synergy with the local government to harness the abundant mineral resources available in Igbeti via development of critical infrastructures that will boost healthcare, entertainment, and recreational, facilities which will in turn improve on the council’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Earlier, Abiodun Oni, led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members who thronged his Igbeti country home for the Easter celebration to Okin Hill otherwise called in Igbeti, Galilee, for a thanksgiving after successful completion of local government primaries which produced Honorable Akanni, Juliana Oluwakemi as the party chairmanship candidate in the forthcoming May 15 local government election.
Speaking on behalf of the state government, Oni who went memory lane said that Governor Seyi Makinde, despite being an Ibadan man has a long history with Igbetiland, recalling their childhood memories together in the farm.
He explained that Governor Makinde may be misjudged and misinterpreted from certain quarters because of what he described as ‘Makinde’s unique approach to governance and paradigm shift’ to adequately position the youths for leadership roles and responsibilities but maintained that the motive is genuine and in the overall good of Oyo state.
He berated the spirit of what he further described as ‘self first, self next, and self last’ in politics and urged party members to place service to humanity above all other interest adding that such mindset is what usually births genuine togetherness that leads to collective achievements in human endeavor.
The former House of Representatives candidate in the 2015 National Assembly Election, appealed to party leaders and members in Olorunsogo local government to eschew all forms of acts capable of creating disaffection, disunity within the party and urged the people to continue to support the governor through relentless prayers in his giant strides to make Oyo state a truly pacesetter state.