Iganna land originated from Sabe —Ogunjimi •Commends Sabiganna's vision, development efforts •Says we regard Alaafin as our father, mentor

Elder Gabriel Olaniyi Ogunjimi
Iganna Day 2017 happened to be about the best successful one in the last few years.  On account of this, a crew of Heritage Echo newspaper decided to find out what exactly made the celebration thick from the Iganna Community Development Council chairman, Elder Gabriel Olaniyi Ogunjimi. For details come along with us.

We are here to share the joy and congratulate you on the success of Iganna Day 2017 celebration; but before then sir, can we know you personally and some interesting things about you?

Thank you and you are warmly welcome to my residence here in Oyo Alaafin.  I’m Elder Gabriel Oluniyi Ogunjimi, chairman, Iganna Community Development Council.  I was also the Chief Royal Father for Iganna Day 2017 celebration.  You see, I thank the Lord Almighty for the peaceful and success of the Iganna Day. It was about the best so far. It gave us real joy because guests invited from all parts of the country and even beyond honoured our invitation.

We had guests, I mean people from Moriwi in far away Republic of Dahomey.  These people are direct descendants of Iganna land. They came for the celebration. We also had guests from Egbado, Sabe people from Egbado. The town called Moriwi leads to Ijio.  Really as you observed, Iganna Day 2017 gave us great joy!

Sir, what is the essence or the real reason for the annual festival or celebration or get-together.  I mean what do you want to achieve from it?

Precisely, the indigenes, in collaboration with our Kabiyesi, HRH, Oba Soliu Oyemonla Azeez Agunloye IV, Ayefemiloye I, the Sabiganna of Iganna kingdom organised the celebration to raise fund for the development programme of the land.  Secondly, the Day enables all our children home and abroad come together once a year.  They all know that we always mark the Day on every third Saturday in November here in Iganna.  So all of us, wherever we may be, come down on the day for the celebration.  None of our children will ever fixed any social ceremony or event for that date.

The date has not changed since.  We raise fund for our developmental projects because we  don't expect government alone to do everything for us. 

Another advantage of the programme is that it's brings religious unity.  Everyone, irrespective of his or her faith, come together and share the joy of the day together.  Now Police Area Command had been granted Iganna.  There are three divisions in  Iganna which comprises Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Ilero, Iwajowa and Iganna.

All these local governments are now in the Command Area of Iganna.  The arrangement is to ensure adequate security round Oke-Ogun and even beyond.

On the Iganna Day, let me say that money realised from the celebration every year is always used to finance the Area Command building project.  If you see the project beside my office in Iganna, you will be surprised.  

During the celebration, we always earmark some money for the progress of our Oba's palace project.  At least we send something in for the palace project every year whatever we can afford.  This is why Sabiganna Hall is progressing.  We also earmark some  amount for running around.  We have government within the government in Iganna land, and the Lord has been helping us.

Sir, if I may ask, where exactly did the people of Iganna originate from?

I said it earlier that Iganna land originated from Sabe in Benin Republic.  According to history, Onisabe was the number 6 among Oduduwa’s children.  When the issue of who became the oba came, Ifa Oracle picked his senior brother and instead of quarreling over the issue, Onisabe decided to leave the town (Sabe) and came to live with Alaafin of Oyo then. When they were coming, after Ijio, there is a land belonging to Iganna after the town and they settled there.  Where they settled was where Sabiganna's palace was built at the site where Onjo's palace was then.

All the area called Isale Alubo in Okeho now was part of Sabiganna's palace then. Safa, was the first king Sabiganna. He said Father Yakubu is now entitled to become Sabiganna because his father was the first Sabiganna.  That is why we have come to meet our father here and God has been blessing us.  The Oyo kingdom was extended to Sabe in Benin Republic then. So if you go to Sabe today, Iganna town is still there.  These people always identify with us in Iganna and we recognize them too.  That was how the relationship started.

What binds you with Alaafin of Oyo?

You see, we are the sons of Okanbi.  Okanbi gave birth to seven children.  Alaafin was the father of all other children.  After sharing the assets of Okanbi, they forgot to give Alaafin anything because he was then in the war front.  In other to compensate him, they decided to give him all the land and that is why all Obas in Oke Ogun regard Alaafin as their father and mentor as well as the head of all Obas in Yorubaland.

If we want to celebrate any festival, once we inform Alaafin, he would find time to come. He always gives us whatever we need whenever we come to him. As I see Alaafin, he follows history and tradition in doing things or treating issues in Yorubaland. He is very meticulous and accurate. So if the government takes history into consideration in taking decisions on traditional issues, there won't be any rancour among the people in Yorubaland.

We love ourselves so much in Iganna land that people always refer to us as: Iganna ko loso, ko laje, omo odo ni nwon fi lu rawon. This however doesn't mean we hit ourselves with mortar head, but it means when we quarel, we settle it instantly and forget the issue. That is why they refer to us like that.  So anywhere we meet ourselves, we always feel at home. We are always proud to be Iganna indigenes!

Sir, what are the challenges you are facing in Iganna now?

Just as you know, every town has its challenges.  In Iganna, roads are our major problem.  Our roads are bad. Also we need higher institutions here like a university or polytechnic.  On roads, the first road from Iganna to Okeho is horrible. Road from Iganna  to Ado-Awaye needs government's attention too.  Though we have some secondary schools, we need more. We commend Governor Abiola Ajimobi for the patial separations of local government with the creation of Iganna LCDA.  This has given us relief now.

Pipe borne water is being enjoyed in the town. We are grateful for this. No religious crisis or problem here in Iganna. All those religious bodies relate peacefully here and that is why there is unity among them.  Villages around us,like Fegun, Elekokan, Agbagi and others are developing as expected.

They have developed into standard towns.

The issue of unsteady electricity is general. Our LCDA is working. Our Kabiyesi, the Sabiganna is a man of God, who loves development, I commend him for his vision. We are proud of him. He is a senior monarch because he is a member of Oyo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs.  Our people are also committed to the progress and development of Iganna land. I thank them.

What is the next development plans you have for Iganna land?

According to our plans, as a community, we need a commercial bank and higher institutions. We have it in mind for our town to become a city within the rural areas in Oyo State.  May the Lord help us.

We want to build a NYSC lodge in the town where to accommodate NYSC members posted to our town.  We want to complete our Town Hall too.

Will you appreciate the indigenes for their love and support so far?

Let me start by appreciating and commending all the people of Iganna land both at home  and in diaspora for their love and support to our development plans.  Also I want to thank the Sabiganna in-Council as well as the members of Iganna Development Council for working with me.  Also, I want to appreciate Chief Olaomo and Dr. Olabisi in particular for their commitment.

Equally I will appreciate the Patriots Group, which I'm a member.  They are very supportive.  I thank the artisans, the traders in the town and the NURTW members in the area.

Equally, I will use this medium to appreciate my wife, Mrs. Abigael Ogunjimi for her support and understanding.  To the youths in Oyo State  I want to advice them to be up and doing. They should face their studies and work squarely because they are the future leaders and our hope for better tomorrow.  Also the political office holders should always fulfil their electioneering campaign promises to the people.

We are looking up to them. We must join hands to further move Iganna land forward socially, economically and politically.


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