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Tinubu confers 2nd highest national honour, GCON on Awujale

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President Bola Tinubu on Friday conferred the second highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger on the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, for his immeasurable and invaluable contributions to national development.

President Tinubu gave the honour at the 90th birthday ceremony of the paramount ruler held at the Oba Sikiru Adetona School of Governance, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

“Because Oba Adetona has honoured our country and humanity with his many years of meritorious service, I therefore, on this special occasion of his 90th birthday ceremony, confer on him the second highest National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON)”, President Tinubu said

The President, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, also announced that the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos has been directed to take over the management of Oba Sikiru Adetona School of Governance which the royal father bequeathed to the university.

The President described Awujale as an extraordinary royal father and hero of Nigeria’s democracy who is adored all over the country for his sincerity of purpose and courage in the face of any adversity threatening national development.

The event also featured the presentation of a book “Reinventing Governance in Nigeria: The Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona Model” as well as the Oba Sikiru Annual Professorial Chair lecture delivered by Prof. Akinsola Agagu.

Agagu spoke on “Changing Nigeria’s Governance Narratives”.

Speaking on the monarch, President Tinubu said, “Kabiyesi Adetona deserves all the accolades we can accord him because he earned them.

“In the last 64 years, Kabiyesi had served the people of Ijebuland with a clear vision and rare dedication. It is not surprising that his kingdom and people have continued to thrive.

“While we rejoice with the highly revered Oba Adetona today, it is important to say that what we are celebrating is much more than his 90th birthday. In Oba Adetona, we are celebrating courage, dignity, honour and a life that is only committed to duty and service.

“In times of adversity, Oba Adetona showed kingly and firm character. He stood his ground and confronted oppression during our struggle for the restoration of democratic rule between 1992 and 1999.

“If democracy is blossoming in our country today it is because patriarchs like Oba Adetona stood on the side of the people”.

He disclosed that as a result of many years of meritorious service to the country and humanity, “the Federal Government has decided to bestow the second highest national honour of Grand Commander of Order of Nigeria, on Oba Adetona as a reward for his selfless service to the fatherland”.

Speaking earlier, the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, described the paramount ruler as a bundle of talent, and an incorruptible monarch who is fiercely committed to justice, fairness and upliftment of the nation.

Abiodun celebrated Oba Adetona for being a foremost promoter of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence saying that his legendary acts of giving and various philanthropic activities have always made him to be such a rare royal father.

He said the 90-year-old monarch represents the beauty and candour of the unrivalled and ancestral heritage of the Ijebu nation praying the Almighty God to further preserve the traditional ruler for many more years to come.

The programme had in attendance former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his wife, Mrs Bola Obasanjo, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Former Governors of Ogun State; Chief Olusegun Osoba, Sen Gbenga Daniel as well as Sen Ibikunle Amosun.

In his welcome speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Ayodeji Agboola, described Oba Sikiru Adetona as a rare royal father and the greatest individual benefactor to the institution.
Prof Agboola explained that the monarch had in 2014 as part of activities to commemorate his 80th birthday endowed a professorial chair in governance in the university and that this professorial chair which was inaugurated in 2016 now worth over N1 billion.

The Vice-Chancellor added that the donation of the multi-billion naira school of governance with state-of-the-art facilities will forever remain an enduring legacy of Oba Adetona towards entrenchment of good governance not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.

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