It was an historic day laced with culture, tradition and gratitude in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital last Thursday as the immediate past Nigeria's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola led the extended family members of the late Balogun Ilugun and Otun Egba, Chief Buraimoh Tairu Olaleye to receive the four Egba historical monarchs.

The visitation was led by the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Okukenu IV.

Other Egba Obas with their high chiefs, sons and daughters were the Osile of Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, the Olowu of Owu, Oba (Prof.) Saka Matemilola, Otileta VII.

The Gbagura people were also represented by the Akogun Ido, Chief Shakirudeen Adenekan, who led retinue of natives following the passage of the last Agura, Oba Sabur Bakre last year.

Wife of the Alake, Olori (Dr.) Tokunbo Gbadebo and the three beautiful wives, of the Osile-Egba, who dressed in the same attire were also in attendance.

The event was the "Hero Of The Year 2024 Visitation, which was pàrt of several activities to mark the 37th Lisabi Day Celebration.

Lisabi Festival is the historic festival and cultural heritage event celebrated yearly by the Egba people in Abeokuta.

This is in honour of the legendary warrior, Lisabi, a hero of the Egba liberation struggle from the dominance of the old Oyo Kingdom.

The festival usually brings together Egba sons and daughters at home and from across the universe who converged on Abeokuta to honour their progenitor.

The activities usually include traditional libation at the Lisabi ancestral shrine, in the outskirts of the state capital; booming of gun at the historic Olumo Rock at Ikija, Ayo Olopon competition, scholarship awards among others.

Isola's progenitor hailed from Ilugun, an Oke Ona Area in the gateway capital that has produced four Otun Egba since the Egba settled in Abeokuta in 1830.

A great warrior and prominent chief said to have been loved by his people, Lunloye, then Balogun of Ilugun of Oke Ona was the pioneer Otun Egba.

Lunloye was succeeded by Delokun, also the Balogun Ilugun before he became the second Otun from Oke Ona Egba.

There was an interregnum for many years after the passage of Otun Delokun until in 1907 when the lots fell on Chief Isola's grand father, then Balogun Ilugun, who later became the Otun Egba until his passage in 1913.

His tenure has been described as very eventful as he was said to have played many significant roles in the development of Egbaland.

Among this was being a signatory to the agreement made on November 18, 1909 between His Excellency, Sir Walter Egerton, Knight Commander of the Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Colony of Southern Nigeria.

This was for and on behalf of His Excellent Majesty Edward, the Seventh of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as well as all of the British Dominions beyond the seas, One part and the Alake and authorities of the Egba Nation, of the other part.

Isola's grand father's picture is among those that adorn the hall of fame at the Centenary Hall, Ake- Abeokuta.

Former Nigeria's envoy's late grand father has been described as a very dependable chief and reliable lieutenant to the Oba Gbadebo I during his tenure as Alake Egba.

The Egba Administrative Bulletin of January 3, 1929 reported the late Egba chief as a man who held the position of Otun Egba with dignity.

Aside Isola, other descendants of the 3rd Otun Egba are Dr. Wale Adeola, the late Imam (Dr.) Fatihu Folarin among several others.

In their separate remarks, the Alake, Osile, Olowu called for more unity among the major sections of the Egba so as to fasttrack developments in their respective quarters.

Oba Gbadebo was full of praises for the family of the 2024 Lisabi Hero led by Nigeria's immediate former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Tayese of Egbaland, Chief Isola.

The apex Egba monarch described the event as most successful celebration of the festival in the past 18th editions under his reign as Alake of Egbaland

To enable Egbaland to sustain its strong legacies of fore-fathers in areas of sound education and other human capital development, particularly skills acquisition, the paramount ruler emphasized unity among the four divisions of Ake, Oke-Ona, Owu and Gbagura respectively.

For continuous socio-economic development of the Egba nation, the Osile of Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Tejuoso reassured Alake and other divisions that Egbas would continue to be more united saying there is no more room for disunity among the people and traditional institution

While expressing delight at the gathering, Oba Tejuoso disclosed that rifts that often caused mis-understandings in the past are being gradually addressed.

"We are gradually blocking the cracks on the wall so that we can continue to be stronger as Egba people"

He added: "any lizard walking on the wall will fall into the fire if care is not taken", he said in Yoruba amid thunderous applause by guests.

Earlier, the Olowu of Owu-Abeokuta kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola had expressed concern over what he described as perceived disunity among Egba people.

This he said had seriously affected socio-economic development of Egba-nation, particularly Abeokuta which according to him, should be competing favourably with Nigeria's commercial city of Lagos

The Olowu stressed the need to always use the celebration of the annual Lisabi Day cultural festival to focus more on what will strengthen the unity among the Egba and not those divisive tendencies

"We still have a lot of work to do, we should strive for more development of Egba-nation, particularly Abeokuta that should be competing favourably with Lagos in terms of physical infrastructure and others

"Egba in diaspora should come to fastrack development of Egbaland" ,he emphasized

Speaking on behalf of the family of this year's Lisabi Day Hero, Chief Isola appreciated Alake and entire Egbaland for recognizing the contributions of his grand father to the progress of Egba-nation while promising to sustain the rich heritage of the forefathers of the Egba kingdom

High point of the event was unveiling of the statue of Chief Tairu Braimoh Olaleye at the family home

Guests who dressed in an "Ankara" "Aso Ebi" specially sewn for the occassion were serenaded by Abeeden Olatunji, the replica of the late doyen of Sakara, Yusuf Olatunji.