Celebrations as Ekiti elders induct ‘Agbalagbas’ into Octogenarians’ Class

By John Odunjo

“We are here today to celebrate. We are admitting a number of senior citizens who are 80 years and above into the Octogenarians class. We are also renewing our faith as one and to enjoy at the end of the year which we have been doing regularly”

As part of celebration of the festive season, the Ekiti Council of Elders recently inducted some of its members who are 80 years and above into the Blue Cap Category (Octogenarians’ Class).

The elders’ happiness on the festive occasion was boldly written on their faces as they wined and dined, while the new entrants into the Octogenarians’ Class came with their families to celebrate the august moment.

Those inducted during the ceremony, which marked the fourth induction into the elders’ Blue Cap Category are a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Paul Alabi; a business mogul, Chief Julius Ajayi; an engineer, Sir Gabriel Ayo Ojo; a technocrat, Chief Sola Olagbemi; and an educationist, Chief Samuel Ojo.

Others are an ex-civil servant, Prince Micheal Fabunmi; a laboratory scientist, Mrs Ibiyinka Ojo; a socialite, Mrs Grace Ajakaye; and a community leader, Chief Adedara Ogunseyin while a fellowship award was conferred on the Chief Imam of Ekiti State, Dr Jamiu Kewulere.

The Council, which comprised elderly citizens from 60 years and above ranks members from ages 60 – 79 as Agba; ages 80 – 89 as Agbalagba and ages 90 and above as Arugbo.

The elders’ Council also on the occasion, which featured dedication of the elders’ Resort Buildings, named the Wellness Centre of the Elders Resort Centre after its president, Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi, in view of the development he has brought to the council and as well named the center’s hall after the late Mrs Dorcas Fayemi, mother of former Governor Kayode Fayemi.

The Council’s President, Oluwasanmi, a 91-year-old professor of plastic surgery, said, “We are here today to celebrate. We are admitting a number of senior citizens who are 80 years and above into the Octogenarians class.

“We are also renewing our faith as one and to enjoy at the end of the year which we have been doing regularly”.

Oluwasanmi challenged Nigerians to work hard and shun idleness to lead better lives as he advised citizens to embrace regular exercise to stay healthy and enjoy long lives.

The nonagenarian said, “Part of the secrets of living long is regular exercise. I walk. I don’t believe in the life of laziness and sitting idle with the hope that everything would be done for you. You should walk (exercise) every time. Nobody is too old to walk”.

Oluwasanmi harped on the need for the country’s leaders to, through their policies and programmes, leave lasting legacies behind and prioritise interest of the masses, saying, “The need to have good names that will outlive you is non-negotiable. Good names are better than gold and silver.

“The message for President Bola Tinubu, Governor Biodun Oyebanji and other governors and leaders is that nothing is permanent. The position they are in is for some time. As such, they should focus on what will better humanity, what they will be remembered for.

“It should not be about leaders riding in expensive cars, flying about in jets and choppers, living in expensive residences and amassing wealth when the citizens are wallowing in poverty, when citizens cannot send their children to school, when citizens cannot feed daily and are suffering. The leaders should look the way of bridging the gap so that everybody can be almost on the same level,” he said.

No doubt, the non-partisan Council, which has been in existence since the Western Region days but formally inaugurated with the 1996 creation of Ekiti State, has been playing critical advisory roles to the administration of the state in addition to significant contributions in various ways to growth and development.

The Council’s General Secretary, Elder Niyi Ajibulu, who expressed joy that the elders were having causes to celebrate, said the Council’s cardinal objectives included “the strengthening of the unique Ekiti identity and core values and promoting lasting peace and growth of the state.

Others include “helping to reorientate the youths towards acquiring functional education; as well as collaborating and cooperating with similar organisations in and outside Ekiti State for the general advancement of the Yoruba race”.

In the earlier editions of induction into the Blue Cap Category, the Council had in 2018 inducted 14 members; seven in 2019 and 11 in 2021.

The Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Prof. Adekunle Ajayi, was the guest of honour at the event graced by many eminent dignitaries.

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