By Adeboye Ado
History was made last Saturday as Akungba varsity community in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State, celebrated its annual yam feast labeled Akun Day festival, held at the town’s long deserted City-Hall, which has been under construction since three decades.
Residents were taken aback after the Monarch of the University Town, the Alale of Akungba, Oba Isacc Sunday Adeyeye, Ajimo III, pronounced the festival “Akun Day 2022″ as an upgrade on previous ones.
This year’s theme Security for Community Development, took another dimension with the array of prominent guests who graced the event.
Akun-Day which is the sole occasion that symbolically represents unity and love among the sons and daughters of the fast growing community. The activities for the week-long event were: Draughts game and Football competitions, Beauty Pageantry and Bursary Awards for Indigent students among others.
Akungba-Akoko which housed a 21st century higher Institution, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), was founded around 1314 A.D. Her first settlers were said to have migrated from Ile-Ife and led by Prince Ibaju, who later became the first Oba Alale of Akungba kingdom. Before finally settling down.
Before the peaceful reign of over 15 Monarchs, history has it that Akungba town eventually derived her name from that spectacular age-long bush-burning exercise “A- kun-gba” (meaning: we cleared the bushes and burnt the refuse).
Over the years, the population of Akungba has increased tremendously since 1963 Census coupled with the relocation of Adekunle Ajasin University to the town. As at now, the population of Akungba by 1991 Census was put at 63,000.
Currently, the varsity community is projected to have about 600,000 population of enterprising and hardworking indigenes and residents.
Aside, Oba Adeyeye was joyful at the massive turnout and cooperation of both indigenes and non indigenes who contributed their widow’s mite to ensure the event became cynosure of all eyes.
Speaking at the occasion, the Monarch thanked the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for giving the nod to some life-changing social amenities such as road dualisation and waterways dredging, to uplift the community.
Alale also extolled the virtues of a member representing Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, who donated a lump sum and pledged to champion a cause that would lead to speedy completion of the gigantic City Hall.
Praising other big guns who chipped in financially, the Royal Father urged well-meaning sons and daughters at home and in Diaspora, to eschew infighting, bitter feuds, that could undermining of constituted authorities among other degrading aspect of nature.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the Director General, National Council For Arts And Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, OON congratulated the Alale of Akungba for once again hosting a successful edition of the Akun-Day Festival.
Runsewe said, “I am confident that this year’s edition will undoubtedly surpass your previous outing. We are indeed pleased to see the continued and sustainable growth of this festival over the past years”
“The Council is indeed proud to have been associated with this laudable initiative since 2019, which is in line with Council’s core mandate of supporting Cultural platforms as a viable tool for preserving, promoting and presenting the best of the living arts and culture of Nigeria”
“This Festival continues to serve as such worthy platform for marketing of the rich Cultural Heritage of Akungba. In light of the above, I wish to affirm once again that The National Council for Arts and Culture remains proud to be part of this epoch event and legacy, as it continues to attract national and global recognition”
He continued: I therefore urge the good people of Akungba Akoko land to wholeheartedly embrace and nurture this noble vision conceived under the leadership of His Royal Majesty, the Alale of Akungba and continue to support HRM’s efforts towards sustaining this dream for posterity”
Runsewe added, “I therefore appeal to all stakeholders and key players in the culture and creative industries, as well as the organized private sector to come on board and offer the required funding, and support to make the Akun Day Festival one of the biggest, colourful and impactful events on the Nigerian festival calendars.