by Olutayo Irantiola
There are certain factors that aid development in any community. Many times, it is assumed that only political power can better our lots and assuage the challenges that we are daily confronted with in all spheres of life.
Interestingly, there is a need to look inward if we have the intent to grow. Many people have sought refuge in Lagos and some other cities of the world not necessarily because they do not like the pastoral life of their homestead but because they want to have access to facilities that aids businesses and would make life comfortable for them.
Having said this, there is a latent power for growth in any community when people see to its development. There is nobody that is exempted because in one way or the other, everyone is a forerunner to someone. Assisting in the area of education, gainful employment, siting of industries, provision of social amenities amongst others.
For instance, Nnewi, as a community, in South- Eastern Nigeria became renowned because it’s the countryhome of the late Gen. Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. After him, various artisans like Chief Innocent Chukwuma has built Innoson Motors; Mr Cosmas Maduka has built an enviable brand through Coscharis Motors and there are many more businesses that started from there and today, it is being referred to as the Japan of Africa.
I would also bring it closer to the Ijebu. They are everywhere in Lagos but they do have not desserted their homestead. The Kuku library in Ijebu, the Otunba Tunwase Pediatric Hospital and many more individualistic projects that have changed the lot of the town for good. Asides, the age grade associations that glamorises the annual Ojude Oba Festival have become formidable associations to change the fortunes of her members.
If I would bring it closer a little more, Iseyin has been put on the literary map in Nigeria because of the efforts of Dr. Wale Okediran who started the Ebedi Residency Programme in his house. Every quarter, there are new residents coming to engage with the people of Iseyin, teaching their students and telling the world the stories of their encounter with Iseyin.
The Centenary celebration in Okeho has brought the people of this community together. The celebration garnered a lot of willful donation in cash and kind that made the event spectacular and afterwards, various groups have emerged with various developmental projects. At the moment, the task ahead of us is to bring to completion the siting of the Okeho Study Centre of the National Open University of Nigeria.
This project has brought to the fore the need for everyone to see to the purposeful development of Okeho, our own homestead. Regardless of our locations on earth, occupations and quarters where we are from, if we all collectively engage in healthy developmental competition, within a little while the whole town will develop significantly.
Every project must address the peculiarity of the town. Every person must do something worthwhile to ensure that the existing infrastructure gets better for everyone. We cannot fold our hands assuming that help will always come from the government to develop our tourism, human capital development amongst others.
Lastly, the fear of continuity of any investment done in Okeho is dependent on many factors. One, the succession plan of the investor, two, consciously developing the love of the community in our children. Anywhere one loves is always a few metres away.
True growth and development will actually come from within; yours might not be monetary, it could be support for your kinsmen. Join the train of those making history and not just marking history in this short span of human existence.