For the people of Adeyipo village in Lagelu Local Government area of Ibadan, Oyo state, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre (AHRLC), is a gift from God. Therefore, any achievement of the library is a cause for celebration in the village. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports that this was the situation recently when the community was thrown into celebration when the Osun State donated a truck to the library to support its cause.
ADEYIPO village in Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo state had cause to rejoice recently as the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre (AHRLC), which is the only link to civilization that the village enjoys got recognition and assistance from the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Adeyipo village is a community that is near to civilization geographically but is in reality alien to civilization as the only achievement that the village can boast of aside the fact that it has produced many accomplished sons and daughters is the presence of the AHRLC.
Indeed, if not for the AHRLC, Adeyipo may not be heard off by anyone aside the indigenes as it still operates below civilization and is dependent on the library. Getting to the village itself is not child’s play. A journey to Adeyipo village is like a travel back in time; looking down from Olorunda aba village in Lagelu Local Government Area, one will actually see nothing but an area just opening up to civilsation and development but when one moves father down, the story begins to change as it begins to look like a journey to nowhere, but after ten kilometers of bad dusty road, spanned by thick bushes on both sides and one that cannot accommodate two cars at a time, you suddenly emerge in what could be termed an anomaly in that terrain; beautifully laid out buildings amidst well sculpted lawns, a beautiful garden and a well swept orchard and courtyard in the middle of corrugated lawns and mud huts.
To the poetic minded, this village can be described as three rows of a little over thirteen corrugated iron sheets of rural mud edifice sleeping peacefully under the bright afternoon sky on an endless vast of nature at its best. This is Adeyipo village, the location of great films; Mainframe’s White handkerchief, The narrow path, The wind of change and Eru Amukun amongst many others and more importantly, the home of the largest African studies library in Africa with over 100, 000 volumes, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Center (AHRLC), following only, the North Western University in the United States which has 250, 000 volumes and is the largest African studies collection and the School of Oriental affairs in the University of London that has 200, 000 volumes.
In spite of this, the unfolding dream of the AHRLC is the only thing that sustains the village. It is therefore not surprising that any achievement recorded by the library is a cause for celebration by the community who daily give thanks for the positive developments the library continues to bring their way.
And when the library recently received a donation of a Ford Ranger Vehicle with Registration Number KTU-227EY for its use, in the promotion of research and the cultural heritage of Africans on the Continent and Africans in the Diaspora; America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean Islands, the reaction was not different.
It was celebration and jubilation as the people could not hide their joy that the village can now lay claim to a vehicle as a result of Aregbesola’s magnanimity. The delivery of the car is in fulfillment of the governor’s earlier promise during his visit to the Centre at Adeyipo on January 19, 2016, when he noted that ‘the efforts committed to the library which he described as an amazing place is not only remarkable but also very significant and important to the Yoruba race.
Aregbesola had expressed the interest in being a part of the project which is sustenance of the Yoruba culture and heritage, indicating that his interest is both personal and official.
“This place is a very inspiring location for culture and black heritage. I am impressed that something this huge is hidden in this place and I am further encouraged that the Yoruba culture and heritage is always going to be sustained for future generations so that we do not lose sight of who we are as a race,” Aregbesola had stated then.
Receiving the gift on behalf of the Management and Board of Advisors of the African Heritage Library, Dr Bayo Adebowale, a Associate Professor in English Language and the village head who is also the Director/Founder could not hide his joy that the governor did not forget his promise.
Dr Adebowale who took delivery of the vehicle in the company of the Chief Librarian, Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade and the Secretary of the Centre, Gbemisola Edun, described Aregbesola’s gesture as rare, adding that it is a proof of the dynamic and charismatic nature of the governor.
According to him, Aregbesola’s initial visit was a surprise as they had thought it was mainly a political statement when he promised to visit considering the bad road and how far to civilization the village is.
“We didn’t actually believe he would come because there is no media here to publicise such and you can see that our road is not even friendly to visitors. But he came and also fulfilled his promise even when we thought he had forgotten. This is an unprecedented act of generosity and we promise to use the vehicle to serve Nigeria and Africa ‘more purposefully and more efficiently,” Dr Adebowale said.
The African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre at Adeyipo is the home of the first rural-community-based African Studies research library in Africa with over one hundred thousand volumes of books on African studies, across all disciplines.
The Centre, a member of the UNESCO Network of Associated Libraries (UNAL) has succeeded in making library services relevant to the grassroots people and has now become a place of teaching and research, a place of culture, of information and intellectual exchange
It is also the only reason why Adeyipo village is heard about and the source of providing amenities like water, entertainment and academic opportunities for villagers