MOREMI HALL OF FAME: TIMELY RESTORATION
Moremi Ajasoro (originally Omowumi in Offa) was born a princess and died a queen. But her worldwide fame wasn’t because of her noble birth but her heroic feat in the liberation of her people from the marauding ugbo invaders.
But while Moremi is celebrated in Ile-Ife and all over the world, the same cannot be said of her birthplace, Offa. Aside from an all-female secondary school established in 1981(it has metamorphosed into a mixed school), no monument was erected in her honour not even an electric pole was so named after her.
The historic shrine (Onimoka) in her honour was left to rot due to negligence and dearth of veneration. An attempt to reconstruct the shrine was met with stiff opposition steeped in the clash of faiths. As the shrine lies in ruins so was the memory of Moremi in Offa. It was becoming a farce to push the fact that Moremi hailed from Offa; that rights seemed to have been lost to Ile-Ife.
This was the situation until the ascension to the throne of Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II in 2010. A compromise was reached with all interest groups on the ruins of the Moremi shrine and a Hall of Fame to be named after the heroine, Moremi and to be erected on the same spot as the ancient shrine in her honour was conceived.
Today, the trilogy of monuments is complete in the King’s square. The modern palace, the refurbished and expanded central mosque, and the Moremi Hall of Fame. The Hall of fame is a two-floor edifice with the basement purpose-built for shops to dispense fast foods, cultural and sundry items. The first floor has provisions for a cinema room, library, gallery, and offices. While the last floor is dedicated solely as the Hall of Fame to deserving personalities.
The Moremi Hall of Fame is a timely monument that will make the statement that Offa has truly not forgotten her heroic princess, Omowumi.
Itafa Olayemi Olaboye