Being The Welcome Speech Delivered By Ogbeni Adeniran, Festival Coordinator, Oyeladeniran Foundation For Community Development At The 5th Iresi Socio-Cultural And Economic Festival Held at Palace, Iresi, Boluwaduro Local Government, State Of Osun

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this fifth Annual Iresi Socio-Cultural and Economic Festival powered by the Oyeladeniran Foundation for Community Development. I am particularly thankful to our Special Guest of Honour, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Executive Governor of the State of Osun, the Royal father of event, Aragbiji of Iragbiji Land, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ayotunde Olabomi, the Royal Host, Oluresi of Iresi, His Royal Highness, Oba Sikiru Adeseun Ibiloye, and the Chairman of the Occasion, Otunba Ganiyu Adams, for being part of the event every year despite their tight schedules.


I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Osun State Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola for his moral and financial support; the Osun State Hospital Management Board for providing the ambulance and medical personnel, and Ministry of Youth and Sports for technical support and guidance. Their invaluable pieces of advice made this year’s occasion better and more successful than the previous ones. I must express my high appreciation to all permanent secretaries of these ministries for their kind efforts and cooperation. My sincere appreciation also goes to all the Iresi indigenes home and abroad as well as other participants at the Festival and the gentlemen of the press.


Oyeladeniran Foundation for Community Development (OFCOD) was established in memory of late Mrs. Oyeladun and Mr. Adeniran Awoniyi. Both of them in their own small way, contributed their quotas to socio-economic development of different people that came in contact with them and communities where they lived while their sojourn on earth lasted.


The Foundation, which was inaugurated by governor of State of Osun Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on 31 December, 2011 aims at re-awakening the socio-cultural heritage of the Adeniran family, Iresi Community as well as that of the Yoruba Nation that made our forebears utilize the values of self-worth to engage in self-help to become self-reliant, self-sustaining and self-sufficient without resorting to fraudulent practices and corruption that seem to control the sensibility of the contemporary people.


Starting from the early 70s to the present day, the drifting of many from the rural areas to the urban centres in search of the fabled “greener pastures” has turned the otherwise industrious youthful workforce to liability typified by socio miscreants. Many of these folks grow to their old age without creating an index of socio-economic success while many are unable to create a successful home. This has led to the pervasive corruption being experienced in our dear country, Nigeria, with many taking to violent crimes and other anti-social behaviours in order to live unearned lives of affluence.


Within Iresi Community, most youths no longer want to engage in Traditional trades to earn a living. Many take to commercial motorcycle riding business popularly called ‘okada’ and other menial jobs, which could hardly sustain them. this lazy, exuberant engagement only ditch them deeper into socio-cultural shame which they try to cover up by taking to other social vices like ingestion of alcohol, addictive narcotics among others. Furthermore, apart from okada business, the other booming ‘industry’ in the last two (2) decades is the production babies! Of course the babies are born with no bright future because of future of their parents has been truncated already. Most of these youths have their parents’ farmlands and traditional trades, but they are too lazy and lethargic to go into these seemingly hard but profitable ventures to earn decent living.


It is against this backdrop that Oyeladeniran Foundation for Community Development (OFCOD) deemed it right to engage e youths of Iresi Community in developmental efforts towards rehabilitating those who have been infested with this social malaise and putting them on the track for socio-economic success through individual and team effort.


Basically, the pre-occupation of Iresi Socio-Cultural and Economic Festival is historical excavation of the lost paradise of the Yoruba civilization and an attempt to provoke a cultural rediscovery for the purpose of comprehensive development of Iresi Community and its indigenes. Apart from the aforementioned objectives of the Foundation cum the Festival, the long and medium term plan of the OFCOD Foundation is to get both the federal and state government to buy into the idea ans assist in the redesigning and remodeling of Iresi town, to make it a tourist destination in the State of Osun particularly, and by extension in Nigeria. This has the potentials to attract investors within Nigeria and big time farmers to explore our land and the resources available in the town. We will also make available agricultural cooperative society which will provide loans for new farmers that want to establish a farm and existing ones that want to upgrade their farms. Mortgage and loans will be facilitated for owners of old and dilapidated buildings to redesign and build them into stronger and modern structures.


We are also making efforts to ensure that Iresi attracts assistance from government and high net worth individuals to provide constant supply of power and clean potable water through regular maintenance of power infrastructures in the town and provision of water boreholes. We are going to do this by encouraging the state government to re-construct the mini-dam within the town and find a way of connecting homes with it by making the already laid pipe-borne water more functional.


It is no gainsaying that Iresi Community is blessed with many untapped natural resources that could be harnessed to develop the town and by extension the state and the country as a whole.  Oyeladeniran Foundation is therefore making frantic efforts to expose all the historical sites in this community by ensuring that the places are beat up and provided with facilities that would make them appropriate for tourism. We desire to construct staircases from the bottom of the hills to the top and if possible, provide escalators so that it would be easier for non-athletes to climb to the top of the hills. Also, we are planning to create directional guide to the tourism sites on top of the hills.


As part of our efforts to give Iresi a facelift and set it on the map of the world, Oyeladeniran has plans to facilitate the building of a cultural centre around the king’s palace which will serve as a theatre and an event place where large meetings could be held. One of the Primary School fields is also planned to be turned into a conventional mini-stadium for sporting events. We are also planning artists and writers’ villages on suitable hills and plateau that Iresi is blessed with. We currently encourage trades and product exhibition that will provide every participant opportunity to display their wealth of experiences for example blacksmiths would present that they have been able to fabricate, cottage industries would display the best of their goods, farmers would be able to bring the produce from their farms etc. The same goes for other artisans. All those who engage in immovable products would be encouraged to bring their photographs like builders, constructors, tree planters etc. Some selected technically competent inspectors would be sent to visit the site of those immovable products and establishments.


As a measure that products are not allowed to waste, attendees at the events would be encouraged to buy the produce displayed by different categories of exhibitors and whatever products are left may be bought by the Foundation. Otherwise, we create markets for selling them. to this end, some of the exhibitors may be asked to bring the products to Lagos or urban centres so that we can market it for them. We cannot say we would be able to buy everything produced but we will encourage them to go into productive ventures while we encourage the government to create storage facilities and markets for their products. Winners of prize money would be encouraged to invest the money no matter how little in whatever they desire and show what they have done with it the following year.


Prize winners and participants would be constituted into Heroes and Ambassadors respectively. They would be encouraged to meet at regular intervals together or separately to fashion out engaging projects among themselves for which the Foundation will look for the opportunity of assisting them with moral and material needs as they would require. Direct engagement would also be established with the government of the State of Osun to ensure that at least, one project is implemented in the town on yearly basis.


Meanwhile, we need to inform you that funding of the festival activities is mainly served from the members of the trustees of the foundation. A couple of cash donations also come from a few friends of the family. Apart from Alhaji Gboyega Oyebola, the chief of staff, the president of IPU Alhaji Bashiru Yusuff and Mr. Adeoye Ajala also made modest cash contributions for which we must always be grateful for.


Nonetheless, the foundation requires more donations in cash and kind to achieve all aforementioned lofty goals. Such support can be made directly or facilitated through any suitable means.


Finally, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our partners; First Faculty Ventures, International Breweries, Intercontinental Distilleries Limited and Brymors Hotels for their tremendous support.


I thank you all coming to celebrate with us as we look forward to a memorable Festival.


Debo Adeniran

Festival Coordinator

31st December, 2015