by Kayode Awojobi
I was chanced to be amidst some people, recently and in my typical way of introducing myself, I mentioned my name and added that I hail from Okeho, an integral part of Oke-Ogun. To my chagrin, one of those present asked me if the town I just mentioned is part of Nigeria, but I made it known to him that Oke-Ogun is part of the present day Oyo State and he eventually made it known that he has never heard of my very own town and the region.
Is Oke-Ogun really a part of the current government in this noble country or has it once been a part of this country named Nigeria? Has Oke-Ogun really benefitted from the dividends of democracy as it ought to be in the last nineteen years when the country returned to democratic rule?
For ages, Oke-Ogun people are known to be self-reliant who had worked for the betterment of their region without any interference of the government, this group of assiduous people had contributed to the growth and development of Oyo state and Nigeria, at large. However, we have not really benefitted from our hard work and they are yet to garner commensurate support for their contribution to the state.
It seems that we’ve been positioned as the second class citizen of Oyo state, interestingly, the region is made up of 10 local governments out of the 33 local governments in the state. It’s saddening that we’ve always being jilted of several social amenities, infrastructural development and countless of other dividends of democracy that we should all benefitted from.
This region which doubles as the food basket of Oyo State and our ingenious crafts like Aso-Oke (woven clothes) and Koko Irin (iron pots) amongst others have gone beyond the shores of Nigeria is surrounded by unmotorable roads. These roads have become death traps and it has disconnected the region from economic properity. It is unimaginable that the road that connects the region to Ibadan, the state capital is ridden with potholes, for how long will we all be suffering in a country we all fought for her independence?
It is a known fact that there are some notable people who have represented this region in the top echelon of this country who had not had great impact in their very own home land and the region at large. There is a need for a crop of selfless leaders who are not interested in their pockets alone but are bold enough to represent the generality of Oke-Ogun people and change the perception of people about the region.
In addition, the region has representatives in both the State House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate but they are not usually aggressive in the pursuance of motions and bills that would alleviate the plight of our homeland. As we await the 2019 polls, everyone seeking elective office must know that they must be ready to change the status of our homeland from wasteland. We are suffering than expected in this part of the nation, the young ones from this region can boldly say that we are suffering neo-colonization in Nigeria and we need independence through the efforts of the political class.
All the roads in the region either State or Federal roads needs urgent intervention and the topography of the region which has a lot of tourism potentials should be maximized. The Old Oyo National Park is becoming a shadow of itself. If these roads are constructed and made motorable, people from across the world would be delighted to visit this region researching and documenting our rich history for posterity and pedagogy.
The gateway to social emancipation needed in Oke-Ogun is social amenities, with this our artisans would return to the crafts and leave unworthy causes like okada riding amongst others. When there is electricity, people would be empowered, and the supposed joblessness in the region would be out of the issues that needs critical attention in Oke-Ogun and the nation at large.
As another electioneering year approaches, we need to have a new set of political leaders who have the interest of the people as their sole aim, we do not want a situation when we would rally round for our votes and they would become residents of the state capital waiting for another four years before coming to the region for votes.
We have a noble cause at hand and we need to maximize the opportunity. As a region, we have a preconceived notion of producing the next governor of Oyo State. If we desire to win by two third of the total vote cast in the state, by pushing a unity front, we already have a third. However, at the moment, virtually all the towns and hamlets now have aspirants, the votes within the 10 local governments would be scattered and there is no assurance of victory. The drum of unity that sounded in the region then has been lowered, I doubt it if the drum is not yet tore. Are we without unity in Oke-Ogun?
If the past and current generations have failed us in this region and made us an epitome of mockery in this nation, we, the upcoming generation, must not fail the generation yet unborn, we must strive and work towards the betterment of this region, we must claim our birthright again and showcase the glory of this region to the whole world.
Oke-ogun is a nation on her own, we must fight the good fight by securing our own independence from a nation where have long being enslaved, it high time we stood to our feet, strong as solid rock, and change the lot of the region as a whole, because our future is in our hands, no one will fight for us, we will fight for ourselves and for our right.
Oke-Ogun is great, Oke-Ogun is blessed, Oke-Ogun people are not daft, Oke-Ogun people are not cowards, we are also an important fragments of the globe that needs attention as other people. We have being rubbed in time past, it is a time to make changes, and we must be strong and very strong!
Kayode Awojobi is a bilingual poet cum writer, he was an On Air personality of OOU FM and he is a graduate of Mass communication, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.