2019 IEDPU Conference: An event like no other

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One thing that is, however, abundantly clear is that, by common consent of all serious stakeholders, the Union since the creation of the “State of Harmony”, is rightly seen and acknowledged, even at governmental level as the voice of the voiceless people of the Emirate.


By Abubakar Imam

The city of Ilorin and its environs will between Wednesday, 25th and Thursday,26th December, 2019, play host to a galaxy of dignitaries, outstanding compatriots and members of the apex socio-cultural organisation of the good people of the five Local Government Areas constituting the Ilorin Emirate from all-over the country and beyond.They are billed to attend the 54th edition of the Annual National Conference of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union(IEDPU)!

The event will be holding exactly a year after the opening ceremony of the preceding one was mindlessly disrupted by faceless quislings.The success or otherwise of this forthcoming conference will, among other things,call to question the position(s) and relevance of the Union in the thinking or world-view of the people of the unique Emirate.It is also bound to put to test the organisational wherewithal of the over 7 decades old Union, otherwise called the “Ilorin mafia”, particularly among those people my senior compatriots referred to as “ero”.

One thing that is, however, abundantly clear is that, by common consent of all serious stakeholders, the Union since the creation of the “State of Harmony”, is rightly seen and acknowledged, even at governmental level as the voice of the voiceless people of the Emirate.

It is important to say that it is in realisation of that simple fact that those who are in control of situations at present are leaving no stone unturned at telling the world that what happened last year was not in our character. That it was a strange occurrence, which would never be allowed to happen again.

That was why the Union’s current leadership under Alhaji Yahaya O.Ahmed; the unassuming Ag.National President, who is an accomplished Banker and a Member of the respected Alimi Royal dynasty,constituted a 15 man National Conference Planning Committee headed by a retired technocrat; seasoned physical planner and former Chairman of the old Ilorin Branch of the Union, Alhaji AbdulRauf Babatunde Issa; otherwise known as Hajj Young,to plan and execute the “make or mar” programme.

The Committee, which compartmentalised itself into different sub-committees, had been tirelessly working day and night to organise an hitch-free conference that would make members and other stakeholders to completely consign the last year’s unfortunate episode into the morgue of history.

Flowing from the truncation of the opening ceremony of the last episode and realising the tight financial situation the Union found itself this outgoing year; the Chairman of the National Conference Planning Committee, Hajj Young with the other hardworking members of his Committee took the assignment with absolute seriousness.While the Chairman has never missed any of the Committee’s meetings, he has also been hopping from one region of Nigeria to the other to specifically mobilise members and their friends on the need to participate fully and functionally in the annual gathering of all the good people of Ilorin Emirate from far and near!! For instance, the Chairman was at Abuja with the Union’s Ag.President and the National Secretary Prof. Abubakar S.Mohammed (Afunku), to convince some of our compatriots on why they should support the Union in her march at re-branding herself.The visit yielded positive dividends.Two of those they met offered reasonable amounts of money towards the success of the Conference. He was also at Onitsha, the commercial nerve-centre of the Eastern region, during which he attended the Zonal Convention of the Southern Zone of the Union hosted by the Onitsha Branch located at the birth-place of the father of the serving Governor of Kwara State,and the Emirate’s and nation’s most senior elderstatesman, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho AbdulRasaq, OFR, SAN.

As if that was not enough, he also traveled to the “tin city” of Jos, Plateau State; all in his bid to spread the gospel of participation in the forthcoming National Conference of the Union to our brothers and sisters and their friends sojourning in the Northern part of Nigeria, who also attended or sent representation to the convention.The Chairman and other compatriots, including the Union’s Vice-President, Central Zone, Alhaji Babatunde Kolawole, almost lost their precious lives to two different vehicular accidents, which they miraculously survived.

And on return to the home of his ancestors Ilorin, he,again,had to go back to Abuja on the directive of the Ag.National President just to deliver an urgent message targeted at ensuring the success of the Conference.He presided-over the meeting of the Committee the very day he returned to Ilorin from the federal capital city. Is it not real patriots that work like that?Can we deny such a patriot the opportunity of serving his community at higher levels soon or in the nearest future?

Only very few members of the Union would be surprised with the “positive restlessness” of that illustrious patriot. He is renowned as an hardworking and committed member of the Union who has always been giving to the organisation.His records of services and sacrifices are there for all to see and emulate.

Last year, the Planning Committee of the Conference, which I have the honour of serving as the Secretary under the Chairmanship of the Union’s Chief Scribe, Prof.Afunku, drew more than N.1million to service her several meetings. I knew so much because I was given the privilege of administering the Committee’s finance.But this year, that cost was personally bore by the man everybody call Hajj Young.His conviction was because he believed that we must back our membership and services to the Union with financial commitment.He had previously, with the support of his “twin-brother”, Alhaji Abdullahi Kale Yusuf, a scion of the famous Alkali Ikokoro family of Oke-Aluko, and another friend of his, the former National Legal Adviser of the Union, Alhaji S.B.Sambo,from the Agano family of Oke-Sooto axis of Pakata, footed the bill of the floor tiling of the Union’s erstwhile National Secretariat at Pakata.He, again, and following the relocation to; and consequent occupation of the present Secretariat of the Union, as initiated by the honest leadership of the late Alhaji Ahmad Hameed, who was the President of the Union between December, 2004 and January, 2009, it was the same Hajj Young who led the same duo of Kale Yusuf and S.B.Sambo to jointly pull resources together to pay for the construction of the ceiling POP that is still being enjoyed by all at the Geri Alimi Building of the Union.

It was, therefore,not a surprise that the easy-going Ag.National President always beckoned on the Chairman of the Conference Committee to be the voice of the Union whenever they are on conference-related mission. Hajj Young reportedly spoke eloquently before the many Ilorin big-wigs at Abuja, including his submissive younger brother and image-maker of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu. He was also the Speaker at Jos; as he was also one of those who had the privilege of addressing the delegates to the Northern Zone Convention.He did the same at the Onitsha Convention of the Southern Zone earlier.

Even when the Union’s delegation met with the “confirmed” Chief Launcher at the forthcoming National Conference, Mallam Saliu Mustspha, it was the same Hajj Young who addressed the handsome philanthropist relying on his armoury of characteristic charisma and persuasive skills to the advantage of the Union.The extremely charming Businessman was said to have been so impressed and captivated that he not only promised to honour the Union’s invitation by being at the event in person but also promised to empower the Union with an utility vehicle, a promise that the erstwhile Gubernatorial aspirant has since faithfully fulfilled.

Hajj Young, who is being assisted by other patriots including the very effective Director of the Institute of Information and Communication Technology(I.I.C.T) at the Kwara State Polytechnic Ilorin; who is also the Union’s Recording Secretary-Alhaji Muhammad Taofiq Lanre Akewusola, has succeeded in securing the commitment of many of our big fish to be at the event. Ambassador Babatunde Ayinla Nurudeen, an illustrious son of Ilorin from the Pakata Area of the city and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the ECOWAS Commission, has accepted to be the Chairman of the opening ceremony scheduled for the Forecourt of the Palace of the Union’s Grand Patron and the Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness, Alhaji(Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR; under whose auspices and guidance the event is holding.The Chairwoman of the event is the newly-inaugurated Chairman of the Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Alhaja Habibat Anike Yusuf, a Japanese-trained technocrat and fascinating daughter to the famous Oju-Ekun family of Ilorin. Alhaja Yusuf had accepted the Union’s invitations several weeks before she was nominated as the first female Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission.

The hardworking Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, is designated to be the Distinguished Guest of Honour at the event, which will be the first to be staged since he became the 7th democratically elected Governor of the State and the 3rd from Ilorin Emirate, while the very youthful and extremely eloquent budding Islamic scholar and popular Radio and Television Presenter,Ustaz Lukman Isale-Koto, is preparing to hold the audience spell-bound with his amazing manner of presenting thought-provoking lectures, as the Guest Speaker.

The Honourable Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Senator Rukayat Gbemisola Saraki,will also be in attendance as she was six years ago during the last of the Conferences organised by the leadership of the late fearless jurist, Justice Saka Yusuf, OFR, at which she served as the Chairwoman and footed most part of the bills incurred by the Union in organising the historic event.The distinguished Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, who once served as the Union’s National Financial Secretary, and other serving members of the National and State Houses of Assembly from Ilorin Emirate as well as newly-inaugurated Members of the Kwara State Executive Council from the Ilorin Emirate are also billed to grace the occasion.

All the surviving former National Presidents and National Secretaries of the Union are also attending.High-ranking members of the Ilorin Emirate Council, holders of one chieftaincy title or the other of the Emirate,including the soon-to-be turbaned Danmasani of Ilorin,Engr.Suleiman A. Yahaya,FNSE,and several venerable senior members of the Ulama would also be there. Other respected statesmen and women of Ilorin Emirate origin and celebrated academics, including the amiable Talba of Ilorin, Prof.S.O.AbdulRaheem, OFR;the unassuming Prof.Abdulganiyu Ambali, OON; and Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, the innimitable Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, have accepted invitations to be at the event.Other leading Ilorin Emirate men and women who have served and or are still serving in one way or the other, but whose names are too numerous to be mentioned here, have had invitations extended to them and they will be there too for the greatness and progress of our people and the Emirate.

The Union is,therefore, very optimistic of a very colourful and rewarding event that will be climaxed with the launching of her year 2020 Calendar; which has been carefully produced to celebrate some of the most impactful personalities, seasoned professionals, brave military and paramilitary officers, serving and retired; as well as many other distinguished compatriots of Ilorin Emirate origin from all walks of life!

As soon as the opening ceremony is done with, the delegates from over 100 branches of the Union;will all retire to the newly-renovated Secretariat of the Union for the commencement of the working session of the conference to commence activities that will include the presentation, discussion and adoption of the annual reports of all the outgoing National Officers of the Union as well as those of the several standing Committees of the NEC and, of course, the dissection of the goodwill messages of the guests at the opening ceremony.

This year’s event is unlike that of the last year! It is set to witness the election of a new set of Executive Members for the Union.The elections will hold at Fufu; the Headquarters of the Ilorin South Local Government Area of the State.The political and traditional authorities of the area with the support of the security agencies have been contacted; and being mobilised to work round the clock with the Union in order to hold a very successful elections of Officers with the exception of the Office of the National Publicity Secretary, which may not be declared vacant; as the occupant would by that date be spending just a year out of his two years tenure, (he was unlike others, elected at the last conference held at Afon,the Headquarters of Asa Local Government Area). The anticipated new EXCO is expected to pilot the affairs of the Union for,at least,the next two years.

Yes,the activities enumerated in the last two preceeding paragraphs are for the functional members of the Union alone.But the general aspects of community development elucidated earlier are for all of us and are too significant for every progressive-minded compatriots to leave for those who are “functional members” only. It is,therefore, the responsibility of you and I to support the Union one way or the other, to ensure the success of the series of events associated with the conference.

I can assure you that the whole lot of money, favour and goodwill that will be “harvested” at the event would be expended judiciously and “for the love of our people”.

I cannot round-off this piece without reminding you; I mean the one reading this article of a message I have heard from the incumbent Emir of Ilorin, a Jurist per excellence and frontline Monarch; on more than two occasions that: “Ilorin is a unique polity. No one can do anything for Ilorin and think he will earn no reward.If you do well for; and in the cause of Ilorin, you will be favourably compensated and if you do otherwise your punishment is certain and will be adequately appropriated by Allah as solicited by the pious founding fathers of the Emirate and their illustrious successors.That is the fact of history, which is verifiable from those who are deep”.

You can give the above submission a trial by ensuring that every indigene,resident and friend of Ilorin Emirate in your contact gets to read and digest this piece without further delay and you will be blessed as you do.

Thanks a whole lot.

Imam is the National Publicity Secretary of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.

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