Residents of Ilara-Mokin, in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, on Sunday, trooped out to honour and celebrate heroes that participated in various wars in the 19th century to defend the Oyo empire as part of activities to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
According to the residents, the most refreshing of the wars was the Kiriji war that ended in 1877 and in which one of their prominent warrior sons, Igodan Ajabi-Elewa participated.
The Alara of Ilara-Mokin, Oba Abiodun Adefehinti, who led other residents and indigenes of the community to the Igodan Ajabi-Elewa memorial square where they laid wreaths at a stone where Igodan pierced his sword through after returning from the war, said the event was to remember those who served the community locally.
BusinessDay reports that relics of charms, amulets, and war clothing’s used by Igodan Ajabi-Elewa and other warriors were on displayed for public view.
Adefehinti said “We are doing this to remember those who have served us loyally, consciously and brought peace and harmony to the community. We should continue to remember them from time to time.
“I advise youths to learn from the past history and in any capacity they found themselves, they should seriously and consciously make sure that their community move forward from time to time. They should leave legal and normal life so that everything will be alright.”
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While Ayodele Alomaja, President, Ilara-Mokin Youths Association, said Igodan Ajabi-Elewa was beheaded during the war but had to behead a woman and placed on his head.
“We traced our heroes especially those that fought during the Kiriji war which ended in 1877. The war was introduced by Fabunmi Okemesi and this Igodan Ajabi-Elewa was one of the heroes.
“When he was coming from the war, there was one particular arrow on him and when he got to his home, he nailed the arrow on his hand to a particular stone and it immediately entered the rock where it is still standing today. All the instruments he used to conquer the war then are still there and that is why we say that we must celebrate him.
“So we cannot just forget him, because he fought for the freedom of Yoruba. Igodan Ajabi-Elewa was the first traditional army that fought for us in Yoruba land.”
Meanwhile, Ondo State Government has disbursed N16 million in interest-free loans to over 86 wives of departed heroes and wives of Legion to commemorate the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
This is as it donated the sum of N2.5 million to Nigerian Legion through an emblem appeal fund asides from other donations by individuals
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who made the announcement of the donation in his address at the final parade and laying of wreaths to celebrate the 2023 armed forces remembrance Day on Sunday in Akure said the loan money would be through the Micro Credit Revolving Interest-Free Loans to assist in resuscitating businesses which might have suffered setbacks over the years which would have been the primary responsibilities of their husbands.
Governor Akeredolu, represented by his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa added that members of the State Executive Council had also donated N1million while the state civil service donated N4 million as part of an appreciation for their service to the nation.
The governor who said the nation would forever be indebted to the men that had laid their lives for the country, said the gesture will spur those living to know that their services would not be forgotten.
One of the beneficiaries, Victoria Adekunle, told newsmen that this was her third time of collecting the loan and appreciated that government have them in mind.
Caroline Faposi also appreciated the government and said she had been progressing since she had been given the loan and they had been returning it as and when due.