The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi mobilised and galvanised all parties and stakeholders whose input and presence of minds are needed at ensuring the project see the light to site inspection ceremony on Wednesday 28 March, 2017.
According to the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Prince Toye Arulogun “the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi emphatically urged us to ensure the consultation and participation of all perceived stakeholders in this project viz; the Military, the families of the deceased officers, the museums and monuments, House of Assembly, Aguyi Ironsi–Fajuyi Foundation and the Lalupon Community”
Adhering strictly to the directive, Prince Arulogun made sure that representatives of all the appointed stakeholders were present including Ambassador Thomas Aguyi–Ironsi, who represented the Ironsi family, Agbaakin of Ibadan land. Oloye Lekan Alabi who represented the Adekunle Fajuyi Foundation, Honourable Niyi Adeoye, Chairman, Oyo State House of Assembly Tourism Committe and members of the committe, Mr O Olorunipa, Curator, Ibadan National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Dr Basher Olarewaju, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and the full representation of Onilalupon–In– Council and members of the community.
Revealing the essence of the day, Prince Arulogun pointed out ‘Today marks another milestone in the lubrication of the chord of unity and brotherhood between the western part of the nation and the Eastern side of the country. It is the continuation of the brotherly love exhibited by the late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi who was the Governor of Western Region to his boss, the then Head of State, General Aguyi Ironsi who was about to be killed while the latter was on an official duty to the region by insisting that, the murderers must kill him alongside his guests.”
The Commissioner said “This rare show of love, care and affection which led to Colonel Fajuyi paying supreme price has not only saved the two ethnic nationalities from eternal contempt of distrust and loss of confidence, but has substantially helped to cement the trans – ethnic relationship and confidence building between the two groups”.
Prince Arulogun said “Thus, history beckons on the Oyo State government not only to keep the record of what happened 50 years ago on the shelves of library and academic vaults, but to step up at enhancing the exact spot where the event took place not only as a point of historical reference, but also to showcase to this generation and generation yet unborn the site where the West – East brotherhood was consummated and planted.”
He revealed “According to Governor Ajimobi who said that we are duty bound to showcase the spot where gallantry was displayed by Nigerian military officers, where loyalty was showcased at its best and where trust was brazenly extolled not minding paying with their souls. This is the reason why we are here today”.
Prince Arulogun informed “To show that God Almighty sanctioned and approved the planting of a memorial garden here on the plot , we gathered that all attempts at selling the land was never successful . Also , the indelible blood stains and the bullet holes which are visible on the palm tree which stands like a colossus after 50 years are all testimonies of the goodness of today’s event.”
Prince Arulogun who commended all the stakeholders for the attendance specially lauded the owners of the plots of land where the army officers were murdered “not only for offering the land to the government with little compensation, but for not insisting on selling the land at all cost”.
The park and garden, prince Arulogun revealed “is an emphasis on peace, unity and oneness of the nation”
Reinforcing the above Oloye Lekan Alabi who commended Senator Ajimobi for doing that which is good at the sight of the Lord and welcomed by the spirit of the people said that generations yet unborn will not forget this act in a hurry”.
“It is heart warming that senator Ajimobi is not only immortalising these heroes here, but sowing the seed of trans-generational historical knowledge as many children will not only be aware of the characters of the dead heroes, but also read about their values which they exhibited and represented”
Oloye Alabi said that, he would adequately communicate the proceeding of the day to the Fajuyi family.
With emotion laden voice, Ambassador Aguyi –Ironsi said he was short of word to convey the gratitude of the Aguyi -Ironsi family to the Governor of Oyo State and the people the State who deemed it necessary to establish the Ironsi – Fajuyi Memorial Garden Park.
Ambassador Aguyi Ironsi while speaking demanded for a bottle of water which he poured on the ground “I hereby offer my dead father a drink before I take a sip on the ground on which he was killed for peace, unity and togetherness of Nigeria”.
He thanked the good people of Lalupon ‘for their love for the dead heroes and the willingness at releasing the plots of land for the project”.
The Curator of Ibadan Museum, Mr Olorunipa called on the community to be more hospitable, friendly, warm and ready to welcome visitors and investors as they have never seen before urging that Lalupon would soon be a tourist town to behold.
Speaking for the community, Chief Oribayo Okeyode commended Governor Ajimobi for his developmental strides and sense of gratitude particularly his decision to immortalise the dead heroes by building a tourism park in their community.
He assured the government and the families of the dead heroes of the protection of visitors and the structures that would be put in place.
After the speeches, Prince Arulogun led the visitors and guests on inspection of the Palm tree which harbours some bullet holes and blood stains of the dead heroes.