Egbe Omo Ibile Okeho: That the lot of Okeho may change

by Abolade Adewale

Every society has a model that has aided her growth and development asides from the existing traditional institution. That of Okeho is not any different; the community is organized along the lines of the conventional leadership as a town and at the various quarters that make up the entire town. As time evolved, there was a need to engage the emerging ‘power brokers’ in the scheme of leadership, and this led to the formation of Egbe Omo Ibile Okeho, loosely translated as the Committee of Indigenous People of Okeho.

This group was founded in 1935 by the late Revd J.O. Adesina, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Isia, Okeho, he did not hail from Okeho but loved the town. Other founding members of the founding executives are Pastor Moses Afolabi Okesiji, Mr. James Bankole, Pastor J.A. Ayanlowo, Mr. John Oshin and Mr. M.K. Adelakun, and the Onjo had a representative among the group. However, for the political conflagration that engulfed the town, the group ceased functioning in 1951 and was later resuscitated in 1968.

The group has always championed a lot of development initiatives for the community. Some of these include the construction of the Okeho Town Hall, lobbying the government to get electricity into the town, construction of maternity centre, and school buildings, amongst others. One cardinal strength of the group is its ability to link all the sons and daughters of Okeho within and outside Okeho.

With lots of developmental strides recorded in the last seven years under the leadership of Alh Azeez Lakanla, a new set of executives led by Dr Kasali Alarape Salawu, Chairman, was inaugurated today, 222nd July 2023 in Okeho with enormous responsibility that is expected to change the lot of Okeho.

There are many aspirations of the last executives with all sons and daughters of Okeho that we look forward to the new set of executives to help us complete. Some of these include- the completion of the Okeho-Iseyin road and the reconstruction of the Okeho-Iganna road, Okeho-Ilua road, amongst other towns that leads to the border communities where our indigenes do business in the past.

With the near completion of the Magistrate and High Court premises in Okeho, we need the executives to work assiduously in revamping the General Hospital and getting the political elites to make the hospital constructed by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari functional.

While the great desire of Okeho is to have tertiary institutions, there is a need to win the support of the government for the commencement of academic studies at the Oyo State College of Health Sciences and Technology that has been promised to the community since the administration of the late Governor Abiola Ajumobi. Also, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) must begin operations optimally.

One of the humongous tasks ahead of this new executive is to integrate children of Okeho born in the local and international diaspora into the community. There is a significant disconnect between the desire of their fathers for Okeho, which is not in the children; there is a discontinuity of the love of Okeho in the family. This is the fastest way for Okeho to become a desolate community now and soon. Let’s do a little mental calculation, the number of people marrying from Okeho from the early 1990s keeps reducing by the day, and the rate of divided loyalty is increasing tremendously. We need to devise a strategy in which youngsters will want to be in Okeho for festive seasons and add youthful dimensions to the Okeho Day celebrations.

There is a need to create a strategy for building loyalty in children growing up in Okeho. The need for sustainable human capital development is very crucial. What is the academic support for indigent students growing up in Okeho? Can we locate these stars, nurture them and ensure they gain their rightful place in the society? They will be the ones to drive the next developmental agenda of Okeho.

Also, for those interested in learning crafts, can we develop craft learning hubs (vocational training centres) within the town to start getting these crafts into the hands of those who need them? In addition, digital handicrafts should be encouraged as the world keeps tilting towards them. We need to get our people on web3, metaverse amongst others. This will help to reduce urban-rural migration and give global access to Okeho indigenes.

With the first residential estate underway, Commonwealth Estate, Okeho, we need to encourage the promoters of the scheme by subscribing to it. The next big deal for Okeho is to motivate her sons and daughters to invest in recreational and sporting hubs for the town. It is time for us to start working on developing the Okeho Recreational Club, the Okeho Golf Course, Okeho Stadium, and Okeho Tennis Club. 

We have been too serious in Okeho; we need some recreational facilities to put us on the world map. We have great examples, like the Hassabarry Golf Resort, Saki, Elizade Smokin Hills Golf Resort, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State and Miccom Golf Hotels and Resort, Ada, Osun State. These facilities alone will encourage indigenes to bring their fields to town to enjoy weekend getaways that will seriously impact our economy.

The challenge ahead is enormous; however, the will and zeal to move Okeho to the next level will propel the achievements that the next set of executives of the Egbe Omo Ibile Okeho will record.

Let’s carry the development of Okeho from the hefty point; with God on our side, we will emerge indeed as a town set upon the hills!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.