GHANAIAN PRESIDENT, MAHAMA VISITS HIS ROOT, OFFA, KWARA STATE
OLOFA OFFA CONMGERS HIM WITH CHIEFTANCY TITLE OF
AARA ATOLASE OF OFFA LAND
The ancient city of Offa was agog with excitement on Saturday, 24th October 2015 as the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahaman paid homage to his root in Offa, Kwara State. He was received by the Olofa of Offa, His royal Majesty, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Okikiola Esuwoye II at his Palace.
The Ghana cultural troop made up of dancers and drummers as well as the Palace drummers and singers added glamour to the occasion.
The President, who spent a good part of his youthful days in Offa with his father and step mother in the seventies, expressed satisfaction at the development the town has witnessed since he left several years ago. Receiving the President, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Gbadamosi who could not contain his joy and happiness said that the Ghanaian leader is a true son of the soil who would always be welcomed into the community.
Oba Mufutau in his majesty and grandeur led his august visitor into the magnificent Esuwoye Hall, where he performed traditional rite on President John Mahama and thereafter conferred him with the chieftancy title AARE ATOLASE OF OFFA LAND.
According to Oba Gbadamosi, “the title simply means that President Mahama is the President of all others that are ensuring the nobility of Offa kingdom”.
His royal Majesty went on to say that “His Excellency, the President and I have discussed and he has accepted the terms and conditions based on Offa tradition. Hence have conferred the title on him”. He declared.
In his response, President Mahama extended warm appreciation to God Almighty, the Monarch, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Okikiola Esuwoye II, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, and the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali among others, for making the visit possible.
In his words, “I should have returned to Ghana yesterday but I actually found it necessary to visit my home and to interact with my kith and kin. Though I have recounted the history to Kabiyesi, that many years ago knowing the business acumen of people of Offa, their business take them far away across the world and so a very strong branch of the Balogun family of Offa have established itself in Kumasi, Ghana. The Family had a beautiful daughter and my father at that time was a very youngman. He was a member of the parliament in Nkrumah’s Government and a minister of state.
He Added that “my father’s eyes fell on this beautiful daughter of Offa and one thing led to another thereafter Aunty Nusi Balogun became my step mother and that was how Balogun and the Mahama Families of Ghana developed a relationship. For many years I was here in Offa with Aunty Nusi and I know the town very well”.
Going down memory lane, President Mahama recounted on the days he spent in Offa in late seventies to early eighties. “It happens that my father came to Nigeria because the government in which he was a member of Central Committee had been overthrown therefore he relocated to Nigeria. That was how I also came to Nigeria and was living with Aunty Nusi.
In those days, Ijagbo town and Offa were separated, the town was at the outskirt of Offa. There were bushes everywhere and you have to trek some distance before you reach Ijagbo. However, today when we were coming, I didn’t even realize that we were in Ijagbo, It was just continuous all the way to Offa the communities have merged”.
The President thanked the people of Offa for the reception given him, and the Olofa of Offa for the chieftaincy title.
I want to thank his Royal Majesty, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Okikiola Esuwoye II for the honour and I say that I am proud of the title and anywhere I go I will spread the nobility of Offa kingdom. I do feel very much at home and whatever I can do to advance the fortune of Offa kingdom I will do. I have become part of the Kingdom and a member of the King’s scout. I will continue to come and visit whenever opportunity presents itself from time to time”.
The high point of the visit was when the monarch together with his Chiefs and other dignitaries walked with the president from the Palace to Balogun compound a distance of about five hundred meters where he laid a wreath at the tomb of his late step-mother. He thereafter spent time with some family members at Popo (at Onibode compound) and Ejiwumi area which are at two different venues. A special Luncheon was help for him at Avalon, a four star hotel to round up the day’s event subsequently.
Among the Dignitaries that accompany President Mahama from Ilorin include Secretary to Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, Vice Chancellor Professor Abdul Ganiyu Ambali, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Professor Nike Ijaya Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Professor Gabriel Olatunji all from University of Ilorin.
Written by Teslim Adeyemo and Onikola Oyawoye