•President, Chief (Engr.) TOKUNBO ODEBUNMI Explains
Abeokuta Club members are in a happy mood right now. They are busy planning a big celebration to mark the Club’s 50th anniversary which comes up in August. The club is a Social and Cultural club which became a movement shortly after its inception. Today, Abeokuta Club has become one of the leading social clubs in Nigeria. The clubhouse is based in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and it has quality membership. The Club is 50 and the leadership is planning big to mark that milestone age.
A few days back, the President of the club, Chief (Engineer) Tokunbo Odebunmi spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Head of City People TV, SUNDAY ADIGUN, on how the club plans to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
Let’s congratulate you on the forthcoming 50th celebration of the club. What is the plan like?
Thank you very much. We thank God for an opportunity like this because it is a great privilege to be the President when the club is celebrating this anniversary. The club has made tremendous progress in the last 50 years, to the extent that the one-week activities are inadequate to really celebrate this club.
I feel very honoured to be the one in charge at present, during the 50th anniversary. We have a lot of plans. We want to do an Anniversary Lecture/Interactive Session. The head Lecturer or Speaker will be Prof. Wole Soyinka. Part of the discussants will be Femi Falana, Rev. Tunde Lemo, Dr. Adeoye, and Chief Sunday Oduntan. Mr. Fola Adeola will be the Chairman of the occasion. Many other dignitaries will be attending including, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede. They will all be talking to different topics. Prof. Ishaq Oloyede will be talking to things that has to do with the development of the Youth. Those that are into Finance will be talking to Economics. Those that are into Energy will be talking to Power Generation and the challenges. Those who are into Law will be talking about Constitutional issues as it affects Nigeria.
What will be the main topic?
We are looking at the Nigerian economic situation: The journey so far. The topic we are looking at is The Prospects and Challenges of Good Governance in Nigeria. We believe that we have not really enjoyed good governance and we can do better. And as a cultural group, we should be at the forefront of all that is happening in this country. So, we are going into that conversation, to bring to the fore for the benefit of the public, for the benefit of the Government, and for the benefit of those sectors that contribute to the development of Nigeria, in terms of Good Governance.
So, we identified some people who will be Speakers. Like I said earlier on, Prof. Wole Soyinka will be the Lead Speaker, Femi Falana will speak on Governance, Structure and Development. Prof. Ishaq Oloyede will speak to Education & Human Capital Development, Dr Reuben Abati will speak to Security & Foreign Policy & International Relations. We are also looking at Pastor Tunde Lemo speak to the topic: Small & Medium Enterprises & Economic Growth in Nigeria.
We are looking at Barrister Sunday Oduntan to come and talk about Steady Energy Generation & Distribution. As a Catalyst for Economic Development.
We are also thinking if we can get Dr Adeoye to speak to Industry & Production As Catalyst For Youth Employment.
So, we are just looking at topical issues that we can speak to, that will interest the General Public. And a lot of people will take something away from it. Those are the plans for the Lecture & Interactive session of the celebration. We plan that by Tuesday, the 2nd of August precisely which is the actual birthday for the 50 years Anniversary, we would do the Lecture & by the 3rd Wednesday, we would commission some mega projects in the club that are due for commissioning, that we have developed to commemorate the anniversary. We would commission them. At the same time, we would do an awards ceremony to appreciate the founding fathers of this club, all those that have laid down their lives and have contributed tremendously to the development of the Abeokuta Club. We feel we should pay them back, and appreciate them through awards. It may be Posthumous. It may be life. It could be through their representatives.
We would try and identify all past Presidents, all past General Secretaries, and some of our Elders who have contributed tremendously, towards the development of this club. We would look at them. There are some people who put their hands together to do the allocation of this plot of land, for us to build on several years ago. Some people put their resources down to develop the initial structures that we are all enjoying today. Those are the kinds of people that we feel we should call together and honour.
Those are the programmes that we have for Friday’s award ceremony and on Saturday, the 6th of August will be the Grand Finale of the entire anniversary, under the Chairmanship of Kabiyesi Alake, the paramount ruler of Egbaland, who is our overall father in Egbaland. We have a lot of programmes on that day like the new initiates who will be inducted on that day. So, many other things will be concluded on that day. We would have a traditional Egba cultural band that will come and grace the occasion with cultural Egba traditional music. We want to identify all Egba artistes who have contributed to the development of the music sector in the country. And they have paid their dues. We also want them to come in and participate on that day. In summary, that is what we plan to do.
Along the line, I have information that our Tennis Section is planning to do a Tennis competition with 4 clubs within Ogun State. I am aware that Abeokuta Golf Club is also planning to put together a Golf Competition to commemorate our 50th Anniversary. It is just like a week-long programme. We are all happy to be members of this club and we are proud to be members.