By Bamigbola Gbolagunte“
They are a different ball game of fireworks; not the kind of political and legal fireworks that ushered in Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as governor of Osun State. They are no inauguration fireworks either but have some semblance. The scene is breathtaking with lights of different colors blinking. The scenery reminds you of Trafalgar Square in London or the Liberty Statue perimeter in New York.
But this is no Trafalgar Square, neither is it the Liberty Statue perimeter. Welcome to the palace of the Ataoja in Oshogbo, the capital of Osun State.
Several hundreds of people gather to behold the picturesque scenery to herald the new year. Excitement was palpable in the crowd consisting of the young and old, the male and female.
It is not only the Ataoja’s palace that is attracting hundreds in Osun State on this new year day. There are similar scenes in Ikirun, Ila Orangun, Ile-Ife, Ilesha, Ikire, Ejigbo and Ijebu-Jesa. This is a special initiative of the governor, foudly called Ogbeni Aregbesola, to let the people of Osun Sttate know that January 1, 2012 is no ordinary day.
It is a way of telling them that it is a day that calls for celebration as merely being alive to witness it merits rolling out the drums. And to quote the state commissioner for information and strategy, Mr Sunday Akere, the fireworks represented a unique occasion and underscores the uniqueness of the Aregbesola administration.
The fireworks in the Ataoja’s palace were for the enjoyment of the people of Osogbo, Olorunda, Irepodun and Orolu local government areas of the state.
In Ikirun, the fireworks were displayed at the palace of the Akinrun of Ikirun for the people of Ifelodun, Boripe and Odo-Otin local government areas, while they were displayed in Ila-Orangun for the people of Ila, Boluwaduro and Ifedayo local government areas and in Ikire for the people of Irewole, Isokan and Ayedaade local government areas.
The people of Ilesa West, Ilesa East, Atakumosa West and Atakumosa East were not left out in the display as the fireworks which spread to all the towns and villages in the area were displayed at the palace of the Owa-Obokun of Ijesha land in Ilesa, while the people of Ife zone had the fireworks displayed at the Enuwa palace of the Ooni of Ife.
“Christian and Muslim faithful, after the new year service, trooped out of their worship centres to have a glimpse of the fireworks they were holding for the first time in the state.“According to the Osun State commissioner for information and strategy, Akere, “The people of Osun State had a life time experience of what they
had never witnessed before.
The state joined the league of advanced countries of the world and Osogbo, the Osun state capital represented the country and Africa at large among the comity of nations to herald the new year 2012 with fire works. We have never had it so good like this in Osun. This shows the quality of people that lead us in Osun State now.”
“Akere added: “The way we started the year 2012 in Osun was unique and this shows the government unusual style of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. In state, it is government unusual by the unusual people. The year started on a unique ground and we will continue to enjoy the uniqueness of this government.
It was the first time the year would begin with fire works in the state and there was no other state aside Osun in all the parts of the country that has ever done such in the history of this country. Osun has thus recorded a mark that will be difficult for its contemporaries to meet.
The state attained a lofty height in the last one year of the Aregbesola administration.”“For lightening the new year day thus signifying a bright year ahead for the state, encomiums rolled in for Aregbesola and his government from all parts of Osun.
“The Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olayiwola Adedeji 11, who, alongside the chairman of Ifelodun Local Government Area, Hon Sanusi Olayiwola, led the fireworks displayed in the area, described the event as remarkable and historical, saying the way the new year was heralded showed that Aregbesola meant well for the state, having placed the state in high esteem among other states in the country.
“The monarch said the governor has elevated the state to a world class, adding that it was only Osun that started the new year on such a joyful mood in the country and therefore gave kudos to Aregbesola.
“Also, the chairman, caretaker committee of Irewole Local Government Area of the State, Prince Soji Ajayi, lauded Aregbesola for the initiative, saying the fireworks were unprecedented as the people of Ikire were in their best mood when they gathered together to participate indirectly with the governor to welcome the new year.
“Ajayi maintained that the governor has demonstrated high level humility and love for the people of the state by coming out personally to join the people in jubilation and celebration of the new year.““At the commencement of the firework at exactly 12:00 a.m., the palace of Akire of Ikire, venue of the programme, came to a standstill.
All the roads that lead to the palace were full of people. The event was witnessed by all and sundry. The people were filled with excitement, happiness and joy, saying that such thing has never happened in the history of the state.
“Speaking in the same vein, the caretaker chairman, Ayedire Local Government, Mr. Gbenga Ogunkanmi, described the fireworks as an event which gave the common people a sense of belonging. “According to him, Osun joined in celebrating new year globally, saying the news of the programme was broadcast on Sky news.”
“With the programme, Ogbeni Aregbesola has demonstrated that there is no religious discrimination in the state. He has also shown that being a governor is not a barrier to relating and mixing with common people in the state.
He joined the people during the fire works, this is an attribute that is not common with our leaders in this country,” Ogunkanmi stated.““The event was a good style of celebrating the new year. It was an innovation that made the new year historical and memorable.
The governor has proved to the world that you don’t have to be in Paris or London to experience the global celebration of the new year. No government has ever thought of this, it was a brilliant innovation and you can see that our people were so happy.
Those who came from far and near have something in their memory and our young generation who watched it on television have a good story to tell on the new year celebration package in Osun State.”