Aare Afe Babalola
Prior to the Kiriji War of 1877-1893, the 16 independent Kingdoms in Ekiti hardly did anything together and so they were easy prey to the rampaging Alaafin during the intercine wars. But later, Ekiti became a Division for the purpose of administration with Headquarters in Akure dur- ing which time the Obas were under the control of District Officer (DO) who then caused them to meet on the platform of Pelu-Pelu Obas.
With the creation of more states from the old Western State, Ekiti became a Division of the then bigger Ondo State after which we fought for the creation of Ekiti State.
As a major stakeholder in Ekiti project, I had the privilege of being the one who drafted the memo for the creation of the State which I personally presented and defended before Mbanefo Panel in Akure for the creation of Ekiti State which we relishly call “The Land of Honour” and “The Fountain of Knowledge” today.
As a matter of fact, the founding fathers of Ekiti State had a clear idea of the Ekiti they wanted. But the question will naturally arise today as to whether we are having the Ekiti of our dream. Indeed some will ask where we were, where we are and where we want to be in the nearest future.
Relying on its compactness, homogeneity, common language (okun o, o ra o), industry, quality education, large number of highly educated people, tropical climate, fertile land and Ikogosi Warm Spring, the objectives of the Elders was to make Ekiti State a showpiece to all other states in Nigeria.
But despite our collective efforts to see Ekiti state created and nurtured to become the showpiece among the comity of states in Nigeria, regretfully and up till now, Ekiti has not achieved the noble and patriotic aims and aspirations of the Founding Fathers. Twenty-one years after its creation, Ekiti state remains a landlocked, motorway-locked, airport-locked, railway locked, industry-locked and power-locked, a development which adversely affect economic development in the State.
As you all know, there are no motorable roads, no industries and no infrastructures while the Airport approved by the Federal Government on March 13, 2009 for the state was politically frustrated as a result of which the sum of N680 million which had been budgeted for the take-off of the Airport by the Federal Government was never utilised. The Airports in Bayelsa, Delta and Gombe approved by the Federal Government at the same time have been completed or almost completed.
Security Economic Development:
It is a notorious fact that no state can develop if there is no peace. Indeed, security of life and property were taken for granted in Ekiti before the creation of the State and in fact until a few years ago. Before the creation of Ekiti State, the plate number for Ekiti was WP (Western Power). It was common in those days for one to stop if he noticed that any vehicle with Registration Number WP was in distress. We loved one another without measure. All these have been badly affected by party politics. Hitherto, Ekiti was known for respect for elders with their seniors remaining Oga for life. The young hardly looked at the senior in the eyes while lie telling was totally alien to our culture. It was an abomination.
Unfortunately, lie telling has become the order of the day. Hardly can you trust any politician.
With the coming of politics, things have changed. Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Niger State once said that, “if you want to be a politician, you learn how to tell lies”. To underscore the veracity of Dr. Muazu’s postulation, his statement was re-echoed by Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. When a man/woman is dubbed a politician in Nigeria today, he is perceived as a man/woman bereft of morals. But should this be so? I believe that a politician must be a man of honour.
I make bold to say that indeed, politics without moral is a disaster.
The July election:
For some times now, the media, both Print and Electronic, have been awash with very disturbing and worrisome news. There have been allegations and counter allegations among political gladiators trading words of violence and using guttural, unprintable and damaging languages on one another all in the name of politics.
It is unthinkable and unacceptable that hoodlums could disrupt the APC Primaries in Ado-Ekiti. I find it intolerable that supporters of any political party would chant unprintable words on candidates of the other political party. As if that was not enough, there was this recent violent attack on Ikere Road at Ado-Ekiti when former Governor Kayode Fayemi was coming to the state to flag off his campaign. On that particular day, five people were reportedly fatally wounded from gun shots fired by a policeman. I was so disturbed by the incident that the following morning, I had to visit Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) and the others who were receiving treatment at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) and our own ABUAD Multi-system Hospital.
At EKSUTH, the following conversation took place between me, the CMD and MOB. I was visibly disturbed when I saw MOB, a healthy, dynamic and active young man lying on the hospital bed breathing through Oxygen and eyes closed. Before I could utter a word, surprisingly, MOB opened his eyes and said:
MOB: Baba, thank you for coming.
Afe: I am happy you can talk and even recognize me.
MOB: Baba, is this Ekiti you fought for?”
Afe: Certainly not. This development was not part of our plan for Ekiti State I turned to CMD and said: Doctor what are the prognosis?
CMD: I assure you sir that there is no serious damage. All will be well.
Afe: Please give MOB the same assurance.
CMD to MOB: Sir, do not worry, all will be well.
Afe: MOB, you hear what the Doctor said: Have faith in the Doctor and faith in God. Even if a doctor gives you any drug and you do not have faith, it may not work.
MOB: Thank you sir.
Afe to MOB: You will leave this hospital hale and hearty sooner than later
Afe to CMD: Please send the hospital bill to me, I will pay and I have since paid the bills to Ekiti State Teaching Hospital.
I left the place and visited other victims. I gave them encouragement and assured them that a similar thing will never happen again.
Upsurge in criminal activities
In the recent past, there has been an upsurge in criminal activities in Ekiti State including robbery, killing, stealing, destruction of properties and kidnapping in Ekiti State.
In April, some armed bandits invaded a First Generation Bank in Ifaki-Ekiti, in Ido-Osi Local Government Area of the State, killing innocent Nigerians, including Policemen, bye-standers and a pregnant woman. The state has known no peace since then.
The state was trying to recover from the pain and the shock of the Ifaki-Ekiti incident when about mid-May, men of the underworld struck again in Ilawe-Ekiti, Headquarters of Ekiti South Local Government Area, again killing a Policeman and people who were in the Bank to transact their legitimate business.
For three days running in May, there was a serial robbery attacks along Efon- Alaye and Iwaraja road as detailed below:
In the last two weeks in Ado-Ekiti, there had been killings at Oke Bola, OkeOri Omi, Mathew Street, EnuOdi and Nova Road as well as Akikankan.
The situation was so disturbing that I had to write the Army, the Police, the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Governor Ayodele Fayose and some Royal Fathers in Ekiti State, calling their attention to the menace and offering suggestions on what to do to stem the ugly tide.
The focus for election:
Come Saturday, July 4, 2018, Ekitis will be going to the poll to elect their next Governor. I want to use this medium to appeal to politicians to focus on the development of the state rather than indulging in personal attack, character assassination and recruitment and deployment of thugs.
They should focus on the fact that Ekiti is landlocked, road-blocked, airport-locked, railway locked, industry-locked and power-locked. These are the critical issues that should dominate their campaigns and strategies. What should be the concern of politicians is how to develop Ekiti State and the elders should advise them in this regard. It is the duty and responsibility of both the voters and the candidates to assist in doing all we can to make Ekiti a peace-loving state and a toast of its peers throughout the country.
Blueprint for the Development of Ekiti State:
The following matters are what we should concern ourselves with as a people and as a state in our consideration of a Blueprint for the development of Ekiti State.
• Why is it that all Federal Govern- ment Roads in Ekiti are in the State of abandonment?
For example, the Federal road be- tween Ado-Ekiti and Otun has not been completed after about 20 years of commencement of work on the road, the Federal Road between Ado and Ikare is in the state of disrepair. The same goes for the Road between Ikere and Akure.
• Why was the Airport which was ap- proved for Ekiti State abandoned?
I attach the list of 44 Airports in Nige- ria with some states having more than one Airport.
• Why is it that there is no industry at all in Ekiti State?
Note that Oduduwa textile Industry established during Awolowo regime has been scrapped.
• How much was voted by Federal Government for rehabilitation of Fed- eral Roads in Ekiti this year.
• Why is it that there is no Rail line in Ekiti State? (Before Independence, the Road from Lagos to Ibadan, to Ilesha, Ado-Ekiti to Ikare was designed to con- nect the South with the North through Lokoja, the confluent of Benue and the Niger, was the then the Headquarters for the Colonial businessmen.
• Why is it that the Road from Ilesha to Lokoja was not improved and linked with the Road to Abuja at Okene.
• Why is it that a rail line is not con- structed from Ibadan through Ilesha, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare to Abuja instead of the proposed rail-line from Lagos to the East along this coastal line?
• Why is it that a rail-line is not con- structed from Oshogbo to Ado-Ekiti to Akure to Benin to Asaba and to Enugu either in conjunction with or as a sub- stitute for the road from Akure to Benin to Asaba to Enugu which was the road used by the Colonial Masters to convey goods from Osogbo (the Rail Port) to Asaba through Armels Transport?
• How much did the Federal Govern- ment vote for Federal road maintenance in Ekiti State in the last four years and for which roads?
•How much is actually paid monthly by Federal Government as allocation to Ekiti State?
•Why are our qualified professionals migrating in droves to other states?
• Why do we have spiraling unem- ployment in the state?
• Why is Ikogosi Warm Spring, the only one of its type in West Africa not developed as a major Tourist Centre of note to earn millions of Dollars to both Federal and State Government?
• Wont it be better to ask for restruc- turing of the country and return to 1963 Constitution (with necessary modifica- tion) to enable States to manage their own affairs and develop at their own state as it was under 1960/63 Constitu- tion?
I beleive that the above questions will provoke enough debate on why Ekiti State is either performing well economi- cally OR why it is not. Genuine and unbiased answers to the questions will help us in preparing a blueprint on the development of Ekiti State.
Once more, I welcome you to this august meeting and wish you successful deliberation. I thank you profoundly for the opportunity given me to chair the event. I hope that I have not bored you too much. If anybody is offended by any of my remarks, I offer no apology as I enjoy absolute privilege to express my opinion under Section 39 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
• TEXT OF THE ADDRESS BY THE FOUNDER & CHANCELLOR OF AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO EKITI, AARE AFE BABALOLA, CON, SAN, AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUMMIT ON THE BLUEPRINT FOR EKITI STATE DEVELOPMENT IN ADO-EKITI ON THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2018.
Okwe Obi, Abuja In its bid to complete all ongoing and abandoned water projects in the country, the Federal Government said it will takeover the construction of Farin Ruwa Dam in Nasarawa State. Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr Musa Ibrahim, made the disclosure when he received a delegation from Nasarawa…
— 20th July 2018
About 20 per cent of Nigerians are reportedly “at risk from one form of flooding or another,” the National Economic Council (NEC) was told yesterday. READ ALSO: Abeokuta flood: We’ll provide relief materials to victims – FG The NEC, led by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, comprises the 36 state governors and Minister of the Federal…
— 20th July 2018
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the family of the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, of refund of £200,000 incurred as medical bill in London, a top government source told Daily Sun, yesterday. The president gave the assurance when the Ekwueme family, led by Oko Kingdom’s traditional ruler, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, paid…
— 20th July 2018
“The NNPC had remitted N147 billion into the Federation Account in May, which the governors faulted and described as a far cry from the expected revenue which does not reflect the current economic realities and prices of oil in the international market.” Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja Governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum met…
— 20th July 2018
Adewale Banjo Lagos State Government has said it will commence the removal of trucks and tankers from highways and bridges from today. The state, yesterday, set up a joint operation, involving security agencies and stakeholders in the maritime sector, to remove all containerised trucks and tankers parked along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway commencing from today. READ…
Entertainment— 17th July 2018
Metro Model and mum Mara Martin walked the catwalk while breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter, Aria. Breastfeeding is a natural, normal part of life. It’s a shame that many women have been made to feel ashamed to do it in public – which is why it’s so refreshing to see breastfeeding being represented (and celebrated) on…
South-West Report— 11th July 2018
… As 192 Battalion officers clean up Ogun community Laide Raheem, Abeokuta In commemoration of the Nigerian Army Day celebration on July 6, men and officers of 192 Battalion (Rear), Owode-Yewa, recently embarked on a massive environmental sanitation exercise at Atan Junction, along Sango-Owode-Idi-Iroko Road in Ogun State. The soldiers, who were led by their…
Abuja Metro— 18th July 2018
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja Sometime in May 2015, six staff of Radio Nigeria had a brush with death on the Musa Yar’Adua Expressway, popularly called Airport Road, Abuja. The car conveying them home, after a stressful production hours, had rammed into another vehicle while the driver was receiving a telephone call. According to the most senior…
Oriental News— 15th July 2018
Peter Anosike The President of United Igbo Traders of Nigeria (UNITRAN), Chief Chris Eberego Ezeh, has given reasons why Enugu State is relatively peaceful. According to him, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has created a new phenomenon in governance that has engendered peace. Speaking in an interview with Sunday Sun, the Ukehe-Igbo Etiti, Enugu State-born business mogul…
Features— 20th July 2018
Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo Hunger and starvation are imminent in Jalingo, Taraba State, and its surrounding communities. With cases of Fulani herdsmen sacking communities and maiming farmers, the only future that holds after the present tragedy is hunger. Experts estimate that tones of stored produce have been destroyed in the wake of the exploits of herdsmen…
Literary Review— 7th July 2018
Gold rush and a bucket of tears Henry Akubuiro The last thing I imagined when I saw Ambrose Madu’s book, Raising the Dust Crime: Who is Involved? was a work of fiction. It didn’t sound like one. I thought it was a book on either law, criminology or psychology, not until I leafed through the…
Lifeline— 20th July 2018
He recalled that the state government had been doing its best to de-silt drainages in Onitsha to allow floodwater to flow into the River Niger. Cosmas Omegoh Some residents of Onitsha in Anambra State have been lamenting the recent drowning of four bankers in the area. The deceased were swept into the Obodoukwu drainage channel…
Education Review— 16th July 2018
Fred Ezeh, Abuja The Federal Government has confirmed that, barring any last minute change, it will host regional conference on education, in Abuja, later this year. The conference would afford all stakeholders the opportunity to showcase success story in the development of education in their respective countries. Government said a desk office had been raised…
TSWeekend— 6th July 2018
Tosin Ajirire Lagos came to a standstill on Tuesday, as Afrobeat king, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, hosted President Emmanuel Macron of France to an epic show at the Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos. In this exclusive interview conducted shortly before the show, the musician opened up on why the French president’s visit has vindicated his dad, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti….
Opinion— 20th July 2018
“Genuine change agents are scared away from politics due to the ‘cashualisation’ of vote which ensures that people have no tomorrow.” Oludayo Tade The July 14 gubernatorial election conducted in Ekiti state which produced Dr Kayode Fayemi as the Governor-elect has affirmed the precarious state of affairs in Nigeria. The behavioural manifestations of political actors…
“Those who know the Oshodi-Apapa expressway in Lagos will testify that the road is now a highway to hell. From Oshodi to Mile 2 Oke (Up), there is a road, but it leads to nowhere.” Onuoha Ukeh When the popular rock and roll group, AC/DC, released one of its greatest tracks, Highway to Hell, the…
“Unfortunately, the Ekiti broadcasting station’s criminal rascality has thrown other stations in the country into jeopardy as, henceforth, such stations are, in the future, liable to be shut down for even the slightest indiscretion.” Duro Onabule By its reputation, the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State might go down in history as about the most…
“You dilly-dally endlessly. If you do that, you are likely to forget many important details that could make a difference to whatever you are doing.” Ladi Ayodeji If you are young person reading this piece, I implore you to develop a knack for details. It will serve you well in life. I first heard the…
“The almajiri menace is a consequence of a preponderance of a deep-seated Boko Haram ideology as typified in a culture of hostile animosity towards whatever is generally considered Western Judeo-Christian heritage in the Muslim North.” Majeed Dahiru The exclusive interview granted the Voice of America (VOA) by a woman simply identified as Falmata, may perhaps…
This week, I have decided to write a follow-up to last week’s article on Nelson Mandela. Yesterday, July 18, marked the centenary anniversary of Mandela; if he were alive today, he would have been 100 years old. It was a bitter-sweet moment for me as I celebrated an ideal that once was even as I…
“Minister Kemi certainly prefers the aberration that is Nigeria to the order and propriety that is Britain. That is why I insist that she has learnt nothing and imbibed nothing from Britain.” Amanze Obi The story out there has been that Nigeria’s finance minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, forged her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge…
Vanguard comment of June 4 offered readers the following misprints: “Coming 25 years after the military junta (sic) led by General Ibrahim Babangida torpedoed the sovereign will of the Nigerian electorate….” A ‘junta’ is ‘a military government that has gained power by using force’, according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Edition for Advanced…
“Some of the hidden wisdom of God is buried in the hidden but spiritually fertilized soil of nature culminating in the spiritual dimension of human physiology.” Prof. Nathan Uzorma Protus “My only son was involved in a high jump in their school inter-house sports and had an accident in the process. He broke his ankle…
If the Lord is against multiple-marriage, would He not have included men who have two or more wives and a woman married to a polygamist among those to be punished? Sina Adedipe Having last week treated the issue of God’s statement in Genesis 2:24 raised by Steve (080-6532-7244), I now shift attention to his anonymous anti-polygamy…
“A liar is a person who tells lies, who has previously told lies, or who tends by nature to tell a lie repeatedly — even when not necessary.” Charles Dickson A long time ago, at a small family reunion, I watched as a father narrated a movie to the kids. Unknown to him, the kids…