LAUTECH: Ogbomoso, when silence is not golden!

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Adewuyi ADEGBITE


Ogbomoso, since the old Western region is the second largest town in the region after Ibadan, though as Yoruba used to say, “Ile ti pa ewura da, awon orisa keke wa n so wipe, Sango o pon omo re”. The exploit of Ogbomoso in Yoruba history cannot be over emphasized. For the records, Ogbomoso gave Yoruba the pure Yoruba dialect, the language used and lingua franca in Yorubaland and beyond. This pure Yoruba originated at Orile Igbon, which is the oldest settlement in Oyo state today.
Also, out of about 27 oriki/orile, about 15 originated in Ogbomoso while we find people bearing about 25 out of 27 oriki/orile in Ogbomoso. Culture of drumming, especially, Iya Ilu, gangan with the exception of Sekere originated in Ogbomoso.
Beside the above, in the pre-colonial era and in the old Oyo setting, Ogbomoso had three out of the four provinces. The headquarters of these provinces were at Igbon, Iresa and Ikoyi. The fourth province was headed by Iwo. That means, minus Oyo territories from Ilorin to Oke Ogun, and Iwo territories, Ogbomoso controlled all the lands outside Ife, Ijesa and Igbomina in Kwara, and Osun today. Ibadan and part of present Oyo were owned by Egba.
Besides, in the military setting of the empire, the first sets of warriors were produced by Ogbomoso in Olugbon, Aresa, Olukoyi, Alapa, Olofa etc. When Oba no longer went to war, and Kakanfo was introduced, Ogbomoso produced about 8 out of real 13 – Egba and Akoko never produced Kakanfo in the Old Oyo setting. Kakanfo is for pure Oyo.
In addition, two structures or civic administrations are in Yorubaland, Ife structure and Ogbomoso structure. Ife structure was iwarefurefa. This was taken to Oyo before it was changed to Oyomesi. The other is civil chiefs – Areago, Jagun, Ikoloba, Bara etc which originated at Orile Igbon. All structure in Yorubaland originated from the time with modifications.
In the colonial era, Ogbomoso played prominent role. During the Second World War, Ogbomoso participated actively and of note was Baba (Oba) Afolabi Oyewumi – the father of the incumbent Soun and the Soun of Ogbomoso between 1924 and 1940. Ogbomoso is the home of the Baptists and Baptist denomination spread to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and beyond through Ogbomoso. Post colonial exploits in Nigeria featured Prince SLA Akintola, Chief J. O. Adigun, Chief Victor Lajide, Chief S. O. Ogundipe and others. Civil war heroes like Col. Shittu Alao, Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle, Col. A. Adeniran etc showcased Ogbomoso’s prowess.
I can go on to showcase the contributions of Ogbomoso to the Nigerian project but for space. However, with all the feats, what has Ogbomoso gotten to show for it? One cogent reason is that the town has no one to fight for it. There are some organizations purportedly representing the interests of the town. We have Ogbomoso Parapo, Ogbomoso Community Foundation, Pivotal Club, O’ First Group, Ogbomoso Descendants Development Association, Ogbomoso Front etc. Among all only Ogbomoso Parapo has performed the role. Today, the organization is doing well especially the home branch led by my brother Saka Aremole. However, Ogbomoso Parapo cannot perform the expected role of mouthpiece because its tentacles are circumscribed. The stratum of administration is confined mainly to Ogbomoso North. Ogbomoso Community Foundation is elitist and more or less functions outside the town. The stalwarts unlike Ogbomoso Parapo home branch are not residents. These elitist organizations cannot represent the interest of the town. Also, our politicians cannot be expected to fight for the town. Most of them are after personal aggrandizement. Politicians who can fight for the town must be professionals who have resources to fall back on if the bubble burst. How many of our politicians are in this category? So politicians cannot and will not fight for Ogbomoso. The above narration shows the precarious situation Ogbomoso is. The ongoing debate over multi-campus status for LAUTECH where there is no concerted and united voice to oppose the evil move of Engineer Seyi Makinde government to cripple Ogbomoso economy is the reality of the precarious situation the town and its people are.

No sane person needs to be told that LAUTECH is the lifeline of Ogbomoso economy. Adverse effects which the dismembering of the school would cause the town are better imagined. In a saner clime, opposition to the policy would be vehement from Ogbomoso. Here we are. Apart from few individuals who voiced out through national dailies and social media and press releases from the offices of the Soun of Ogbomosoland and Hon. Adejumo, other stakeholders kept mum in the face of imminent threat to the town’s wellbeing! Ogbomoso Descendants Development Association which made efforts to oppose the policy had it belatedly. The bill to legalize the multi-camps status had passed second reading at the State House of Assembly. According to a source, the president of Ogbomoso Community Foundation wrote a letter to Engineer Makinde to rescind his decision. The member representing Ogbomoso North in the Assembly was said to have spoken against the bill in the floor of the house. Also, we read it on social media that the Majority Leader in the house also spoke against it.
Unfortunately, we still have some critics among us in Ogbomoso who are still justifying the multi-campus system for LAUTECH. One is not surprised because poverty has turned many into something else and can sell their mother for peanuts.
My position is that LAUTECH controversy is a test for Ogbomoso people. There is no doubt that the state government would achieve its aim because it has seen the town is vulnerable. She is a lame duck. It is quite unfortunate that our people at LAUTECH whose means of livelihood are at stake and directly affected by this multi campus policy kept mum. Their silence is understood, they always want others to fight their wars for them. Lovers of Ogbomoso have to rise up to the challenge on how to reposition the town’s defence architecture.
Each town in the federation has a means of fighting its cause. Professionals and intelligentsias do that for many towns. Those in Ogbomoso cannot do this. Some have alienated themselves from the town, while some who identify with the town are timid. Also, some are paying lip service to the plight of the town and can be seen in this LAUTECH imbroglio. The town’s organizations have shown they are incapable because some hunt with the mound and run with the hare. I heard that Kabiyesi Soun invited some politicians to his palace few weeks ago to put heads together to save the institution. I am still waiting for the result. Many of our politicians are out for personal aggrandizement and cannot work for the town.
Ibadan’s cause is being championed mostly by CCII (Central Council for Ibadan Indigenes). The organization is succeeding because it is peopled by non-politicians and men who have seen all and are rich. Also, the organization is independent and not controlled by any centrifugal or centripetal forces. Take the issue of UI Vice Chancellor as a case study. Ibadan people showed their displeasure over the fact that no Ibadan man has ever been appointed a VC despite the good Ibadan does the university. Today, an Ibadan man, Professor Ekanola is the Acting VC and he is likely to be confirmed. When the federal government named railway stations along Lagos/Ibadan railway after some Nigerians and non-Ibadans were there, they rose against it, though not successful, they registered their displeasure. This is what Ogbomoso has failed to do on LAUTECH and the future is pregnant. Methink instead of writing letters, newspaper adverts have to be sponsored by either Parapo or Ogbomoso Community Foundation to show the displeasure of the people to government policy on LAUTECH. This advertorial would be signed by the leadership of the organization on behalf of the town. I believe this would have gone a long way to tie the hands of government and save the prestige of the people who claimed that the town has never been conquered. The bravery of the people and veracity of the claim that the town is invincible have been called to question by the LAUTECH imbroglio

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