From BAMIGBOLA GBOLAGUNTE, Akure
TS history, culture and tradition are very distinct. Its features and location are equally striking, making Alade, a sleepy community in Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State, a town to behold.
Alade is one of the communities that make up Idanre kingdom. It was founded as recently as 1928. The town is distinguished due to the history of its foundation as all its indigenes are Christians.
No other religion exists in the town. This is because the founder of the town was a prominent Christian leader in the area. Only Christians are natives. There are no Mosques or other traditional worship centres.
Located in a serene environment, the town links Akure, the state capital with Idanre where the popular Idanre Hill is located. There is no way one can get to Idanre Hill without passing through Alade. It is one of the towns that make up Idanre land. It is centrally placed among other communities surrounding Idanre.
According to the traditional ruler of the town, the Aladeokun of Alade, Oba Olusegun Ayodele Akinbola, the town was founded by Pa John Akinbola, who incidentally was his paternal grandfather after a crisis between Christians and Muslims at Oke-Idanre.
He said the people of Alade were living in Oke-Idanre before but when there was a crisis between Muslims and Christians in the town, the Christians agreed to vacate the town for a new settlement, hence their movement to the present day Alade:
“There was a serious crisis between Muslims and Christians at Oke-Idanre, a few metres from here. Our forefathers did everything they could to settle the matter but to no avail. My grandfather who was a prominent Christian leader then suggested that Christians should vacate the town and he led them to where we are now.
“The name Alade was given to the town because there was a market where our people left called Alade Market. They felt the name of the market should be given to the town. My grandfather gave the name to the town and everybody agreed. That is the name we bear till today.
“After the town was founded, the Late Bishop S C Phillips of the Anglican Communion was invited to pray for the town. He laid the foundation of the palace. Christians started coming from different parts of Idanre land. Today, we have a fairly big population and we relate as brothers and sisters because of our one religion.”
“Bishop Vinning was later invited to organize the town. We can conveniently say that the town was set up by two renowned Anglican priests. The roles played by these two clerics could not be underestimated and the records are there.
“Although there were attempts to introduce new religion by those who came to join us in recent times. We did not encourage the idea because we have a history, which we need to protect. We practice Christianity religion and we are known for that in Alade.”
Bishop Phillips who formally pronounced the location as a town and made all necessary arrangements for its recognition by all agencies of government. The traditional ruler of the town has a prescribed authority within his domain like other traditional rulers in Yoruba land.
Alade is known for farming and trading. It has a history of crops production with many food crops. Many natives of the town are farmers, while a good number of them are also traders.
Oba Akinbola who ascended the throne 21 years ago said the first set of settlers facilitated the founding of markets and schools, adding that he had also facilitated the establishment of schools and medical centres.
He said plans are underway for the establishment of a tertiary institution: “When this is done our community will develop and there will be economic development for the people of the town.”
A walk round the Alade town shows that there are churches in almost all its compounds and streets. Among the churches are Anglican Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Baptist Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Christ Apostolic Church and Celestial Church of Christ.
Many indigenes of the town are also founders of different churches in different parts of the country, even as others have excelled in their various fields including politics, engineering and business.
An indigene of the town, Mr Cosmos Adewale, said: “We grew up to know that we are all Christians in this town. We were told that our forefathers were all Christians as well. We marry ourselves and give birth to children who also continue with the Christian faith.
“As Christians, we believe in love for one another. That has been the major factor that led to the development of the people of this town and the town itself. This is a community where love exists and where there is no iota of hatred among the natives.”