Anambra: Yoruba Community Celebrates Unity, Successes In Second Home (Photos)
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The expression “home away from home” resonates with the satisfaction of sojourners who have, by providence, found peace and comfort, excelling in their places of residence.
Anambra, one of Nigeria’s five southeastern states, has earned this description from individuals of various ethnic backgrounds. Notably, the Yoruba community, represented by professionals in trade, commerce, civil service, academia, security, media, and business, has embraced Anambra as their second home.
Many of them are into thriving private practises, echoing the same testimony about the loving, accommodating nature of the people of the state.
Little wonder, during a maiden end-of-year party organised by the Association of Yoruba Staff at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, calls for unity and peaceful coexistence reverberated from the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, the venue of the event, with a repeated call on all of them to continue to contribute to the growth and development of the state.
This is in line with the Igbo adage, which says, “Ebe onye bi ka o na awachi.” In Yoruba, it is simply translated as “Ibi abangbe lanse” meaning that we take care of where we live.
Yoruba’s in top-ranking positions in Anambra
Two prominent Yoruba public servants in Anambra, Pastors Adebayo Ojeyinka and Samuel Ojeleke, shared their positive experiences. Both expressed gratitude for the warm reception and opportunities Anambra has provided.
Pastor Ojeyinka, the best National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 1995 batch corps member, is the Director, Public Service, in the office of Anambra State Head of Service.
“The Yorubas are known for their selfless service and dedication. That’s the culture we brought to this place, and all of us here have succeeded in our endeavours. So, if we gather to celebrate our achievements and the victory that the Lord has given us, it is worthwhile,” he said.
Pastor Ojeleke, also the best corps member of his 1996 batch, is the Director, Building Construction and Maintenance, Anambra State Ministry of Housing.
“You can imagine us staying back in the service of the state, and we are allowed to grow to become directors. It is a story to tell for people to understand that Nigeria is a good place”.
“I’m so delighted to belong here. I count myself as one of the leaders in Anambra State. We need to do this yearly. I can see that Yoruba people are very great,” he concluded.
The two former corps members are among the recipients of excellence service awards on the occasion, along with other awardees including the Commissioner of Police, Mr Aderemi Adeoye, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Adeoye Irelewuyi, Alfred Ajayi, a Controller of News with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, and Mr Dele Ajayi of TVC.
The Commissioner of Police encouraged Yoruba residents to contribute positively to the state’s development, emphasising the need to partner with the Anambra State government.
“Partner with the Anambra State government to lift the state to a higher pedestal. Let us continue to coexist peacefully with our hosts and contribute to the socio-economic development of the state in all its ramifications.
“This honour will encourage me to do more to provide security for all and sundry,” Adeoye said.
In the view of the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Adeoye Irelewuyi, opportunities abound in Anambra, but visitors must remain law-abiding to reap the fruits of the land.
“I so much cherish this honour from my own people. It will spur me to do more in my area of calling to keep our roads safer,” said Mr Irelewuyi.
Testaments of the accommodating nature of Anambra people
A young builder, Benjamin Oyefemi, whose company develops the Victoria Gardens in Awka, highlighted Anambra’s potential for investment, encouraging people to invest in the state.
“Let’s not run away from investing in this place. Anambra State is ripe for investment, and the governor will give all his support to everybody who is ready to invest in this land. Let us own land and houses in this state.
The Chief Host and Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Charles Esimone, lauded members of the Association of Yoruba Staff.
“At times, I wonder if excellence is in your genes. You people are reliable, competent, and hardworking. As your father here, I advise that you keep the flag flying”.
Prof. Esimone urged them to sustain professionalism and shun tendencies that could destroy their good reputation.
Dr Taiwo Abdulahi, Chairman of the association, debunked negative security reports portraying Anambra State as unsafe, noting that they are at peace with their hosts and have no cause to worry. He also attributed their flourishing careers to the accommodating nature of the people of the state.
“This is not our home state, but we have produced two directors here. It’s a sign that we are accommodated here. They have given us the space to excel in various fields. All ethnic nationalities can attest to the fact that Anambra is a peaceful state”.
“Our people should continue to be at their best in whatever legitimate things they do. Let them place their good name above other things,” Abdulahi admonished.
Oba Abdulrazak Olahan, the head of the Yoruba community in Awka, the state capital, was the Royal Father of the day.
“We thank God for today. I am very happy that today was a success. Please, my people; a good name is better than riches. We must not sacrifice virtues on the altar of money. Let us continue to coexist peacefully with our hosts,” Oba Olahan advised.
The Yoruba Students Association, headed by Folarin Akinbode, a 400-level Chemistry Education student of UNIZIK, encouraged prospective students to seek admission in Anambra.
“It’s a great thing to be here. Some people think we are gathering for an evil purpose. No, we are for peace and unity. We are here to portray the good virtues of the Yorubas”.
“I encourage prospective students to seek admission here. The people here are loving and accommodating. This is a land of opportunities. Just keep being good,” Akinbode advised.
Reporting by Alfred Ajayi; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu
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