By: Adeboye Ado
The annual new yam festival of Oka-Akoko in the Akoko Southwest Local Government Area of Ondo State, took another dimension yesterday, as prominent sons and daughters of the agrarian community recieved meritorious awards for their selfless service and immense contributions to community development.
The occasion also featured the award of annual bursaries to 30 undergraduates from low income families in Oka. N50,000 each was given to the recipients, to support their educational pursuit.
Aside, 29 prominent sons, daughters and other worthy personalties, who have impacted the society, were bestowed with meritorious awards.
Prominent among the honourees were former Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Ajayi Borroffice, Brig. Gen. Jones Arogbofa (Rtd), Most Revd. Jude Arogundade, Dr. Olusegun Ategbole, Hon. Adejoro Adeogun and Akinrogun Alaba Yusuf.
Speaking at the grand cultural event, the Olubaka of Oka, Oba (Dr.) Yussuf Adebori Adeleye, 80, described the festival as a symbol of cohesion, while he appealed to the residents to return to their deserted farms in order to avoid starvation next season.
Oba Adeleye who lamented the conspicuous relocation of commercial banks from his town, noted that all efforts to return the financial institutions have proved abortive.
The agile first class monarch, who recently marked his 80th birthday, explained that the managements of Polaris and First Banks premised their decision to vacate Okaland on security threat.
Faulting the rationale behind the relocation, Olubaka said Oka has been peaceful without any form of violence, while he urged prominent sons of the community to be of help in inviting a commercial bank into the community.
He, however, commended residents for eschewing violence and degrading behaviors.
Earlier, the Chairman Planning Committee of the festival, Elder Omosola Alfred showered encomium on Oba Adeleye for his sterling qualities, which he described as top-notch.
“Your leadership qualities brought about peace and development we are witnessing in Oka and its environ. God will continue to enrich your wisdom”
“Futhermore, this year marks his 80th birthday that makes this year’s Oka Day festival conspicuous, unique and outstanding,” Omosola said.
While receiving his award, Sen. Ajayi Borroffice, extolled the residents for their unwavering support during his 12 years tenure as a lawmaker.
Prof Borroffice, who maintained that he enjoyed the support of the masses while he was at the National Assembly, promised to continue to support the development of Oka land.
On his part, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Revd. Jude Arogundade, thanked the people of Oka for conducting themselves properly.
The Bishop, however, implored Borroffice to ensure the speedy completion of Iwaro-Ebo road so as to ease patients predicament in accessing the hospital in the area.