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When Asin-Ekiti welcomed their new monarch

Published by Tribune on Thu, 13 Oct 2011

THE event could pass for the coronation of their monarch. And, truly, as members of the community pointed out, it was the traditional coronation of their king. They also said his political coronation, also known as the receipt of 'staff of office from the state governor,' would come up at a later date. But the event of Saturday, October 1, 2011 had all the trappings of any meaningful coronation.From the morning of that day, visitors to the community would readily know that a notable event was taking place and the preparation of the palace gave verve to that thought. Earlier in the day, the new Alasin received indigenes and other visitors at Erepupu after the traditional rites of his becoming the king were concluded at Upole or Ile-Asin on September 29. They had come to pay homage and to congratulate him on his ascension to the throne of his ancestors.The community revels in its long history which, dates back to Ile-Ife. According to Oba Abraham Babalola, before the people were led to settle at Upole-Asin, where they lived for several decades by Peepe and Imodorin, both descendants of Oduduwa, they had sojourned at Igbo-Erin, Igbo-Olusin and Igbo-Ola. The people 'finally settled at their present site at Ikole road in 1928 in solidarity with other Ekiti towns to form the present Egbeoba kingdom,' the monarch explained.Oba Babalola pointed out that 'Upole-Asin remains the permanent site of our traditional heritage. This is where our traditional rites are performed such as the installation of the new king for the town, Imodorin festival and others.' The people relish the memory of their forebears, Imodorin and Peepe, who Oba Babalola described as 'great warriors', for leading them to secure settlement.'Imodorin, the junior of the two brothers, became the first Alasin of Asin-Ekiti. He was the first of the eight previous kings of Asin while Peepe transformed into a very popular deity mentioned in traditional tributes in Yoruba land, 'Peepe ule-Asin,' Oba Babalola stated. He added that 'Imodorin festival became a prominent event in Asin, usually celebrated in April of every year. It sometimes coincides with the 'Asin Day' celebrated as an annual event.'Thus, the ascension of Oba Babalola II as the ninth Alasin of Asin-Ekiti attracted the sons and daughters of the community from far and near, as well as their friends to the celebration at the community. They were also celebrating the peaceful selection of the Alasin, a necessary ingredient for the sustained growth of the community. The people said they were also revelling in the fact that they had an accomplished educationist and administrator, who was an employee of the Education District VI, Lagos State, as their traditional ruler thus, underlining the fanfare that followed the welcoming of the king to the palace.The arrival of the king at the palace for the reception heightened the celebratory activities of the large crowd. The hunters released gunshots; the traditional music group was further energised; the men and women screamed but the women of the palace went on their knees and burst into the cognomen of the royal majesty.Addressing the gathering, the General Coordinator of Asin Patriotic Front (APF), Dr Olanrewaju Ayejuyo, congratulated the community for the peaceful and successful selection of the new Alasin, and expressed the 'total support of the APF, and indeed the entire community for our traditional ruler.' Dr Ayejuyo said Asin had come a long way in the quest to arrive at the choice of Oba Babalola as the monarch, hinting that six persons began the race to the throne.With the process concluded and a king emerging, the APF leader said 'women, men, please, support the king. If you have more than one thing, use the extra to help in the uplift of our Asin. Do not do otherwise as that would mean curses on such person.' He charged the people to note that 'the growth of our town is in our hands; we must join forces and ensure that we move forward.'Ayejuyo, who eulogised indigenes of the community, including Mrs Titi Orimoloye and Mrs Comfort Ayeni for their zeal for the growth and peace of Asin and their patriotism, said 'we solidly support our king and we will use our resources to keep supporting him.' The community leader expressed joy that 'we have no matter in court,' adding 'there is no cause for us not to relish today which is Asin's day of joy and celebration.'A member of the APF executive, who did not want to be named 'because I'm a civil servant,' said the body was renamed Egbe Gbobaniyi after the members set the pace in 1995 by buying 'a brand new car for the Alasin, not knowing that one of us would eventually be crowned king.' He reiterated the commitment of APF to the development of the community and called on 'all our members all over the world to sustain their efforts so that we can continue to play prominent role in the community.'The regent of the town, Grace Adedunke Olatuyi, also expressed gratitude to God for the successful emergence of Oba Babalola., after holding forth for 13 months. 'I am happy for the peaceful emergence of the Alasin. It is actually a relief for me and I heartily congratulate the king and the community for the feat,' she said.Princess Olatuyi charged the people of Asin to continue to be united so as to move the community forward. 'I also want the people to shun bickering and backbiting and be united. We must also support the king on the throne for that is the symbol of our town.'The women of the palace took the first turn to pay homage to the king. Groups, in no particular order, such as the Egbe Gbobaniyi, Egbe Omolere, men of the palace as well as all the Egbeoba Chiefs, who came as one body in a remarkable show of unity and solidarity, also paid homage to the new Alasin. The women groups were colourful while the hunters, in paying their homage, displayed dexterity with their guns.The speeches were sparse when compared with the amount of time the multitude at the reception, both high and low, devoted to the dance floor in reaction to the traditional music, which was in abundant supply. The people's joy was unfettered, and educational attainment did not stop sons and daughters of Asin-Ekiti, including a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology in the University of Ibadan, Dr S.S. Babalola, from dancing to the traditional music. Dr Babalola was more at home with the music supplied by the Palace Women, who played two huge drums and sang Asin-Ekiti praises and the new Alasin's cognomen in exultance with stately dance steps.The royal speech by Oba Babalola in reaction to the huge and elaborate reception was more of prayers for the progress, unity, peace and security of Asin and the entire Egbeoba kingdom. And the resounding response to the prayers showed vividly that the new Alasin and his subjects were in one accord.
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