OFFA MESI CAP BECOMES THE SYMBOL OF UNITY CAP OF OFFA PEOPLE
The panegyric name of Offa is the tail feather of Peacock (Iye iru Okin) or Iyeru-Okin. The significance of peacock feather tail to the name of Offa as a town informed founding fathers of Offa Mesi, among whom are Professor M.O. Oyawoye, to propose the idea of a cap that would be uniform of identity by Offa sons and daughters at home and in the Diaspora. This brought about the idea of choosing the colours of peacock tail feather which include blue, brown, black, white and green. Offa Mesi members blazed a trail in the field of wearing the fabric cap. As the cap became popular many Offa people derived pleasure in wearing the fabric as cap and head-gear and women put it on waist as over-all, apart from being used as headgear.
Alas! With time, some people began to give negative impression about the people that donned the attire. They castigated them as being rebellious to the traditional ruler of Offa, His Royal Majesty, Oba Mufutau Muhammed Gbadamosi Ilufemiloye, nay, Late (Oba) Mustapha Olawore Olanipekun Ariwajoye II. This attitude was quite antithetical to the intention of the crème de la crème of Offa Mesi that sacrifice their time, wisdom and wealth for the progress, unity and cohesion of not only Offa sons and daughters but of also all people in Offa, regardless of their States of origin. In addition these Offa Mesi elders, some of whom are princes and princess, would never show lukewarm attitude to the royalty of Olofa being dragged in mud. The negative attitude of the castigators, culminated to the extent of harassing a few of those that wore the cap to the Olofa’s Palace. Infact, it dawned on Offa Mesi that the over-zealous personality attackers were riff-raffs that only wanted to play to the gallery. This issue generated heated debate at Offa Mesi meeting that the Executive Council members booked an appointment with His Royal Majesty.
OFFA MESI EXECUTIVE MEETS OLOFA OF OFFA
As characteristic of Olofa in his eminence, the executive members of Offa Mesi were hosted in the splendor of Olofa’s magnificent Palace. After the traditional greeting by Offa Mesi to His Majesty, Olofa of Offa, and the prayer was said, the president of Offa Mesi,Chief Lamidi A. Tolani extolled the virtue of Olofa which generated the various developments in Offa town within his five years tenure as Olofa. Precisely the achievements included:
- Magnificent turn-around of Olofa’s Palace with the touch of architectural master piece.
- The ultra-modern renovation of Offa Central Mosque.
- Constructing O.D.U Secretariat Complex in a State of the arts posture.
- Influencing the siting of National Open University in Offa.
- Creating enabling environment for the opening of Vehicle Licensing Office in Offa.
- Initiating the establishment of Kara Market to generate additional revenue for all and sundry in Offa.
- Successful winning of Federal Ministry of Education’s approval for the Summit University in Offa during Olofa’s time.
- Creating socio-cultural advancement of Offa through the institutionalization of Ijakadi Day as an annual fiesta.
- Donating patrol vehicles to security agencies in Offa to boost the security outfit in Offa; among others.
The President of Offa Mesi reiterated the fact that Offa Mesi had never and would never see itself as the alternative Association to Offa Descendants’ Union. Rather, he stated that “Egbe Offa Mesi recognizes Offa Descendants’ Union as a big sister whose incalculable contributions to the socio-cultural, political and economic developments of Offa cannot be denied by any stretch of imagination”. He added that majority of the pioneer members of Offa Mesi had at one time or the other served ODU in different capacities and many of Offa Mesi members are still active members of Offa Descendants’ Union.
THE VISION OF OFFA MESI
The President, Alhaji (Cheif) L.A. Tolani in tandem with the immediate past President, Chief Y.F. Oyeyemi intimated Kabiesi that the Egbe focuses its attention on the following organizational aspirations. It shall:
- be concerned with the economic, social, educational, cultural and political progress of Offa as a town, in general, and its people in particular;
- encourage the prevalence of peace and love in Offa
- ensure that Offa obtains, in every legitimate way, anything due to it, in accordance with due process, based on fairness and justice
- remain a veritable vehicle of development for Offa, a virile non-religious, non-political organisation, ready to carry out Olofa’s order in the development of Offa Kingdom.
THE MISSION OF OFFA MESI
To realize the vision above, Offa Mesi institutes various committees headed by Chairmen who from the integral part of its executive committees.
The committees are:
- Education Committee
- Information and Publicity Committee
- Offa Development Committee
- Offa Interest and State Rights Committee
- Offa Resources and Management Committee
- Organising Committee
- Political and External Affairs Committee
- Youth Guidance and Career Counselling Committee
- Offa Reconciliation and Peace Committee
FATHERLY ROLES OF PROF. M.O. OYAWOLE TO OFFA MESI
At this point, it needs to be stated as narrated by both the President, Chief L.A. Tolani and immediate past President, Chief Y.F. Oyeyemi, that Professor M.O. Oyawoye is indubitably the major benefactor of our Egbe. He finances our organization and stands as our major mentor and aids us in different capacities and spheres.
His fatherly roles and assistance notwithstanding, he allows Egbe Offa Mesi to operate independently. He neither teleguides or dictates what the Egbe should do or should not do. He is so magnanimous in his relationship with the Egbe that no member can perceive or agitate that he ever shows any sentiment to the resolutions in the Egbe.
If we are to talk of individuals that love Offa and are ready to spend their last dime on Offa and its citizenry, Professor M.O. Oyawoye would surely be among the units.
OLOFA TASKS OFFA MESI
His Royal Majesty, the Olofa of Offa humorously said from the explanation so far given, he could say Offa Mesi is ‘born again’ and he wanted the Egbe to justify its claim by being truthful in reconciling the disagreeing individuals and groups in Offa because Offa people should be seen as an indivisible unit as far as collective responsibility is concerned. He emphasized that as Offa is endowed with sophisticated human and economic resources, he wanted every son and daughter of Offa to utilize their endowments for Offa and its people.
At the end, Offa Mesi presented sample of Offa Mesi fabric to Olofa who later prayed for Offa and the Egbe. Later the Egbe Offa Mesi Executive Council members had photographs with Olofa and his High Chiefs and senior Palace staff.
OFFA MESI CAP NOT SEEN AS REBEL OUTFIT
Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi celebrated his fifth year in the throne of his fore-fathers, on 2nd May 2015 Offa Mesi was fully represented on the occasion which was marked with prayers. Offa Mesi like other groups that graced the occasion greeted the celebrant (Olofa) in a traditional way.
To the astonishment of Offa Mesi, Olofa of Offa, his Chiefs and Palace staff were in caps made from Offa Mesi fabric. Olofa later gave the pronouncement that the cap had become Offa cap and any Offa citizen or friend had the right to wear the outfit. Thus Offa Community is proud to be the second community in Nigeria to have a traditional uniform. It (Offa) is second to Tiv community in Benue State in term of traditional attire that cuts across the community. Thus Olofa welcomed everybody to OFFA TUNTUN.
Alhaji R.A. Adeyemo
Chairman, Information and Publicity Committee