You’re Excellency,
The Governor of Osun State.
You’re Royal Highness
Oba Sikiru Ibiloye II
The Oluresi of Iresi Land.
Other Royal highnesses present,
The I P U Executives present,
Other invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today’s gathering is an epoch making occasion in the history of Iresi. It is a moment where all the sons and daughters of Iresi are brought into think tank event to examine whether we have any inheritance culturally from our forefathers, and if we do, what are the cultural inheritances and how do we make use of them for our social growth.
What is Socio-Cultural heritage?
Firth let us look at the word Social: the ability to enjoy spending time with other people. It is connected with society & the way the society is organized, living naturally in groups rather than alone, living together in a friendly manner that will bring reforms which will bring benefits to the group, socially and politically.
Culture: this is the customs and beliefs, arts, way of life and social organization of a particular group. These beliefs, their children are thought to respect. It is the belief and attitude about something which the people in an environment share.
From these explanation we can deduce is socio-Cultural heritage to mean the attitudes, organizations, beliefs of our forefathers, which allows them to be able to live together with each other naturally and as one; activities which promote their growth and benefits inherited.
Modernization: this is the act of making modern, the act of making new development, and the act of changing the old system into new. The integration of a new development into old system of living.

Some examples of Socio-Cultural heritage are:
1. Ojude Oba in Ijebu Ode
2. Iwude ceremony in Ilesa
3. Oranmiyan in Ife
4. Imolepe in Ikirun etc.

Some examples of Socio-Cultural activities in Iresi are:
1. Egungun festival
2. Marriage ceremonies
3. Oroke Festival
4. Iresi Day-a yearly event.

Some of the historical places in Iresi are:
1. Agbinran
2. Odo Amu
3. Wonrere
4. Igbo Ebekun
5. Igbo igbale etc.

Let me analyze each of the Socio-Cultural activities mentioned above.
1. Egungun festival: Each of the compounds in Iresi has their own named egungun. The celebration coincides with the harvesting period in the year, when there is less work to be done in the farm. The women in each of the compound buys common dresses – new ones with which they are going to dance with their Egungun round the town on a day and date allotted to them.
The festival is always filled with pump and pageantries. People living outside the town always come home to watch the occasion. The youths with their own individual egungun parade the town every evening creating funs and sharing food and drinks together.
2. The Marriage Ceremony: Was always colourful then. When the bride and bridegroom have discovered each other and have brought their families to agree with their marriage, there will be introduction and engagement ceremony preceding the ‘Ekun Iyawo’ in the night from where the bride goes into the bridegrooms house after parading herself round the whole village, with her colleagues, young boys and girls going with her.
When she finally arrive at her husband’s house. Several ceremonies will be carried out day by day until the seventh day when all ceremonies will be over. It is then; the husband is allowed to sleep with the wife.
It is always a pride and most girls keep their virginity then until they get married so as not to shame their parents and families. Then, there were little records of divorce or broken homes. There would have been thorough investigation about the couple’s families etc before they are allowed to get married.
3. Oroke Festival: Is a ceremony celebrated by only the ‘Omo Owas’ they are the families who have their decendancy to the throne i.e. becoming the king of Iresi. It is a festival that brings Iresi Indigenes especially the Omo Owas home and abroad to Iresi. It si the remembrance of their forefathers. It is always marked with great celebrations, cooking variety of foods and dancing.
The ceremony is use to teach their young female children about the culture or their family and the need to keep to them. They made them realize the dangers they will face when they get married if they defiled themselves before marriage.

Loses: although there are some perceived loses in the integration of life in the past with the modern life now, but the values and advantage surpasses the loss.
The incoming of civilization made our people to believe that those social-cultural activities are primitive and should be done away with. Unfortunately, there had not been a good replacement for the teaching of morals among our youth.
That is why all the vices prominent among our youth to day no bound. We have cultist activities, yahoo yahoo, homosexuals, lesbianism sexual immoralities, stealing, armed robberies, suicide bombing, rape, pride, arrogant, loss of sense of belonging etc.
The advent of modernization/civilization had so much influenced our youth in a negative way. There not been complete integration between our culture, social values and modernization.
What is prominent now among our youth are borrowed cultures and imitations which are not done correctly. This had terribly affected their mode or dressing, total disrespect for elders, criminal behaviors and total disregard for the rule or law.
Our women now have formed the culture of communicating with their children irrespective of heir age ONLY in English. Have we at anytime seen the English people commutating with their children in Yoruba or other foreign language?
It is time now that we should sit round the table like the organizers of today’s programme and think about the way forward. Except some drastical steps are taken to salvage our culture from total collapse, there might be no future for our generations to come.
Our social-cultural heritage can be successfully integrated into modernity if we do not give borrowed cultures superiority over our own cultures. The ball is in our court to ponder on what must be immediately done and start now.
I wish all the participant Marry Xmas in arrears and Happy New Year in advance God be with you all.
4. Iresi Day: It is new socio-cultural gathering that is recently taking place to bring the sons and daughters of Iresi together again, where all the socio-cultural activities engage in before are fading away one by one. It is a one week programme where many educative and recreational programmes are lined up for the youth. Funds are raised for developmental projects in the town; individual indigenes that have contributed in one way or the other to the progress of the town are honoured. It is a yearly event.
There are tremendous values derived in the activities mentioned above the olden days

1. Apart from uniting individual together, it promotes sense of belonging among them. There is hardly no way that Iresi indignes abroad will not come home in a year for one or two of the ceremonies. It enables the people to know more about each other, what you do for a living and how they can assist each other.
2. The Egungun festival is used to provide relaxation for the people after their hectic work in the farm. It was a means of social engagement with each other.
3. The marriage ceremonies embarked upon in those days had seriously prevented defilement of the ladies, broken homes, immature ladies getting married and unwanted pregnancies. Couples are been taught the tenets of marriage and are being thoroughly investigated by both sides before they are allowed to marry each other. The advantages derived then are innumerable.
4. These activities do promote patriotism in the individual. Everybody is committed to promoting the values that bring about unity among the people. People are concerned about their community and the town.
5. All the historical places mentioned above can be developed into tourist centre. This will provide jobs for the young ones and sources of revenue for the town. Many of the historical artifacts can be kept in the museum so that our great grand children could see them and appreciate the life lived in the past and be able to compare it with the present.