Femi OGUNLANA & Olawuyi OLALEYE
Idi-Ayin, a community under Iresaapa in Surulere local government, is presently agog as it may likely host the Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, on a temporary basis, sequel to lack of facilities at the permanent site in Ayede, Ogo-Oluwa local government as the October 21 date for commencement of academic activities approaches.
Idi-Ayin, less than one kilometre from Iresaapa on the way from Ogbomoso metropolis is headed by a traditional chief, Baale Ojo Gabriel Olanrewaju Fasunle, who confirmed that they had received signal that the federal polytechnic would take off in their community.
In similar vein, Aresa of Iresaapa, Oba Moses Olayiwola Ajiboye III, JP, enthused during a chat with The Insight that Iresaapa is ready to host the institution assuring all necessary support in their capacity will be given for a smooth takeoff.
However, Iresaapa is not alone in this bid to host the institution even as Ajaawa people, the headquarters of Ogo-Oluwa local government, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure it becomes the host if possible on a permanent basis, on the ground that it is the chief town in the council area.
This is coming on the heels of the striking out from the equation, the Government Technical College, Ogbomoso (GTCO), which had earlier been announced as the main temporary site. It was formerly reported that the Oyo state government under Engineer Seyi Makinde, had given the nod for the use of the GTCO, but when the Technical Team from the Federal Ministry of Education (FMOE) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) visited last month to inspect the permanent site at Ayede and assess some venues recommended as take off for the temporary sites, GTCO was conspicuously omitted from the itinerary, raising concerns that the release of GTCO as a temporary site was all a hoax or perhaps the state government reneged for reasons yet unknown.
The two centres thus visited by the Technical Team were Baptist Secondary Grammar School, BSGS, Ajaawa and the National Youth Development Centre, Idi-Ayin, NYDC, near Iresaapa.
The need for a temporary site or temporary sites arose when it became obvious that the permanent site at Ayede cannot be ready before October 21, when the Federal Government announced that academic activities would commence.
Stakeholders in Ogbomoso desirous that this date is not missed like it happened in the case of several other federal institutions in the past, when some did not begin five years after approval even at a temporary site for lack of infrastructure, had set up a technical team headed by Senator Ayoade Adeseun, who is credited with initiating and facilitating the institution to Ogbomoso zone during his sojourn in the National Assembly, to facilitate the commencement of the institution at the announced date.
The committee’s term of reference thus included identifying and recommending temporary sites for the institution. The stakeholders’ forum was under the chairmanship of Dr. Saka Balogun and membership included most of the known Ogbomoso’s first eleven in terms of clout and status, today.
The Senator Adeseun-led technical committee had identified a number of facilities in the zone it believes could be considered for takeoff. These places are GTCO, NYDC and Community Grammar School, Ayede. Other places such as Millennium Model Secondary School, Owode and the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, Onipaanu were considered as students’ hostels.
Ironically, BSGS, Ajaawa, was not one of the places considered by the Ogbomoso Stakeholders’ Forum technical team, and so, how it zoomed into reckoning is still baffling to the stakeholders.
In fact, The Insight gathered that if not for the strong presence of members of another committee set up by Ogbomoso Stakeholders’ Forum dubbed the Local/Implementation Committee of the Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, led by the Minister for Youth and Sports Development and who is Agbaakin of Ogbomosoland, Chief Sunday Dare, and has Barrister Olusegun Adekunle, a retired Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, as Secretary and others like Professor Josiah Ajiboye (Executive Secretary, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN), Professor Adesola Adepoju (Director General, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, FRIN, Ibadan), Professor Mrs. Alice Jekayinfa (a retired academic) and Ambassador Akin Oyateru (a retired diplomat), the Federal Technical Team would have been stopped from inspecting any other centre aside BSGS, Ajaawa.
Also, the not-so-good treatment the team allegedly received during their stay in Ibadan, where they had hoped to meet with the governor (but couldn’t) and the open disagreement that ensued between Ajaawa and Ayede during the hosting ceremony of the team were issues that could have angered members of the team, which could have warranted unsavoury circumstances, the fallout of which would have been to later beg and appeal at Abuja, but thank God there was an influential team from Ogbomoso, whose presence was placatory and so, helped the situation.
It was found out that some Ajaawa traditional and political heads had lobbied the Oyo state government to have the institution located in the ancient town. It is recalled that Engr. Seyi Makinde, Oyo state governor, at the inception of his administration, when written by the FMOE on the proposed polytechnic, had recommended Ibarapa zone for its site before Ogbomoso aggressively staked the claim of the earlier approval given to Ayede in 2011, which eventually sailed. That rebuff of the governor could have elicited animosity towards Ogbomoso and sabotaging efforts sprung.
The forces that wanted the institution got stuck in Ajaawa reportedly made strenuous efforts, deploying huge financial resources, to nick the goal and indeed tried to prevent the team from visiting any other competing site. Earlier, the moment the approval of the polytechnic was announced, Ajaawa community had moved to erect a billboard that conspicuously reads partly, “Ayede, Ajaawa,” which was erected at strategic locations. Such claim, “Ayede, Ajaawa,” was not previously in existence. Ayede ordinarily is an Ijeru town in Ogbomoso.
It was also gathered that a high level meeting was held comprising traditional rulers in Ogo-Oluwa local government in which it was resolved that matters of development would be taken more seriously in the council area with a firm decision to ensure that the federal polytechnic takes off within the council area and not anywhere else. One of the consequences is increase in prices of lands in some parts of the council area in anticipation of hosting the institution.
Meanwhile, The Insight learnt that members of the FMOE/NBTE technical team were impressed when they arrived at the NYDC, Idi-Ayin in Iresaapa, with some of the team members reportedly exclaiming, “This is an ideal place, what else are we looking for?”
The National Youth Development Centre (NYDC), Idi-Ayin, belongs to the Federal Government, and was another facility facilitated by Senator Ayoade Adeseun, when he was a federal legislator. The facility sits on a 63 hectares parcel of land with some buildings already at the centre. It enjoys electricity and water supplies. The project was not completed but fortunately, Chief Sunday Dare had facilitated release of funds for restart of works of at the site, the centre being under the Ministry he oversees. Indeed, the first tranche released is N95m (ninety five million naira), a development that had returned contractors to the site. This is meant to be the first phase.
It needs be stated that the Ogbomoso technical committee was propelled by a philosophy to ensure that the “benefits accruable from the siting of this institution in Ogbomoso Zone should as much as possible spread among all the five local governments in the zone.”
According to Barrister Dapo Atanda, the Secretary of the Technical Committee constituted by the Ogbomoso Stakeholders’ Forum, “The first port of consideration was the available facilities in the host community and the only candidate site is Ayede Community High School, which belongs to the Oyo state government.
“It has three blocks of three classrooms each making a total of nine classrooms, a four-room residential building with a stand-alone toilet, and is served by a borehole, has strong mobile telephone signals even though it needs to be connected to the national grid for electricity supply. It is the Committee’s conclusion that courses such as General Studies and Pre-ND courses will be most appropriate for takeoff at this location.
“We also considered the National Youth Development Centre, Idi-Ayin, which is a Federal Government-owned facility that was facilitated for Ogbomoso by Senator Ayo Adeseun during his sojourn in the National Assembly.
“The facility boasts of nine average size buildings, consisting of 13 classrooms and a small administrative block. It is fenced and has a borehole. Electricity is available and is connected to the national grid. The place is accessible by all weather roads and has strong mobile telephone signals. While some of the structures had been completed others are not. However, under the auspices of the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, work has resumed at the site to complete the work before October 2021.
“The Committee recommends courses such as Science Laboratory Technology, Environmental Sciences/Design Courses i.e. Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, Estate Management etc and Business Studies to commence at this facility.”
Continuing, Dapo Atanda, who also played a significant role in the final siting of the polytechnic in Ayede, said, “The Government Technical College, Ogbomoso (GTCO), which was recently remodeled extensively by the Oyo state government, and located in Ogbomoso South local government area, has some structures that can be adapted for the use of the polytechnic without adversely affecting GTCO. It has several facilities; electricity, easy accessibility, strong mobile telephone signals etc.
“Courses we recommended for this place include Engineering Courses i.e. Mechanical, Civil and Engineering, Transportation Courses and Computer Studies.
“There was also the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Skill Acquisition Centre at Onipaanu, also owned by the Federal Government, and another project that was facilitated for Ogbomoso by Senator Adeseun. It has an extensive complex purposely designed for skill acquisition and training. a large administrative block, a number of classrooms, two laboratories, kitchen and cafeteria complex, borehole and power supply, accessible by all weather roads, two hostel buildings (of 90 bed spaces each) and strong wireless signals of the different telephone networks, is recommended by the technical committee for hostel accommodations, dining/cafeteria complex and siting of buildings for administrative functions.”
In the meantime, the Federal Government took a further step towards booting the institution into life by constituting the Governing Council and principal officers for the institution and others that were also recently established.
Ayede Poly has the following as members of the Governing Council: Professor Dakas C.J. Dakas (Chairman), from Plateau state; Dr. Muyi Arowosafe from Kwara state; Chinwe Mabel Chigibo from Enugu state; Hon Abdulmuminu Hassan, from Bauchi state; and Mrs. Muslmat Salau, Oyo state.
For the principal officers, Dr. Taofeeq Adekunle Abdulhameed is appointed as the pioneer Rector, while Mr. Akin Odesola is the pioneer Registrar. Mrs. Rasheedat Oladepo is appointed Bursar and Mr. Samuel Oke Ogunniyi is Librarian.
Dr. Taofeeq Adekunle AbdulHameed, an engineer, hails from Iwo, Osun state. He holds PhD (Technology Management); M. Eng (Electrical Engineering); M.Sc. (Technology Management); M.Sc. (Industrial & Production Engineering), MNSE, FIMC. He was a former Dean of the School of Engineering Technology and until his appointment as Rector, Fedpoly, Ayede, the Chief Imam of Federal Polytechnic, Ede.
Akin Odesola until now was Deputy Registrar, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso and has been a gospel musician since 1988 under the label Tunmise Music. He studied English Language and Literature at the University of Ilorin.
Following the above appointments in addition to (reliable) information that the main temporary site will be located at NYDC, Idi-Ayin, The Insight visited the centre for an on-spot view, subsequently speaking with the duo of Aresa of Iresaapa, Oba Moses Olayiwola Ajiboye III and Baale Idi-Ayin, Chief Ojo Gabriel Olanrewaju Fasunle. Enthusiasm and joy were written all over them as they responded to questions.
Baale Fasunle, the first to speak and who insisted that Aresaapa should be the one to receive us, disclosed; “Yes, we are preparing to host the federal polytechnic, traditional rulers under our father, Aresa of Iresaapa, Oba Ajiboye, over sixty of us, have held meetings in which we agreed that it was an opportunity that will bring development to our domains. We discussed the imperative of unity among us on the matter. It is prayer answered.”
Adding that the communities in the area are preparing for the project so as to avail themselves maximally of the benefits, he said, “We have told our subjects with relevant qualifications to get them ready so that they can be considered for employments.”
He said lands are available for whoever needs it, insisting however, “all lands are God’s.”
Asked to recall the historical antecedent of Idi-Ayin and mention some of his achievements as Baale of the community, Chief Fasunle revealed that the name of the community was derived from an old tree called “Ayin,” which grew there under which people rested while going to and fro.
He informed that the area was given to his progenitor, Fasunle by the Aresa about three generations ago for farming, saying, “We are descendants of Iresa. Fasunle was a farmer and Babalawo and his settlement is what became Idi-Ayin.”
Baale Fasunle, who was installed in June 2020 following the passage of Baale Emmanuel Adebayo Isola, stated that the community even before now had been making efforts to secure approval for a government secondary school, maternity centre and police post expressing belief that the new development will hasten the approval just as he added that lands have been earmarked for the projects.
Oba Ajiboye, Aresa of Iresaapa, similarly admitted the polytechnic is a welcome development while submitting that Iresaapa people are ready to host the institution as is being proposed pending the time its permanent site at Ayede would be ready.
Aresa said the news has triggered increase in human traffic to his palace disclosing that people who want to acquire land for residential buildings, business outfits and so on, have been paying visits to him.
He particularly stated: “In the past we were appealing to banks to open branches here, in fact that is why I made friends with some prominent people in Ogbomoso to assist us in facilitating banks to Iresaapa but it was to no avail, now it is bank officials that are scrambling to acquire lands for the purpose of building branches here. Previously, they did complain of lack of security but thank God they are the ones begging us now.”
The monarch stressed that the Idi-Ayin location is ideal saying it is on a highway, “Iresaapa is easily accessible, it is an ideal place for such institution.”
He went on to heap encomiums on Senator Ayo Adeseun asserting that the political gladiator is a different breed of politician and an unselfish individual.
It will be recalled that Senator Adeseun also facilitated the location of Navy Secondary School in Iresaapa, which Aresa revealed has added value to the town especially in the economic front.
He averred that Adeseun beyond doling out money is always focused on facilitating developmental projects adding that position aligns with his own.
“Yes, the Navy Secondary School also came to Iresaapa during my reign, we thank God, Maalu ti ko niru, Olorun ni ba le esinsin (a cow that has no tail, it is God that helps it drive tsetse flies away). We also commend Senator Adeseun, he is a great man.
“He (Adeseun) is one who is focused, who puts the progress of communities above his parochial interest, he can sacrifice anything for his people, other politicians should take a cue from this, they should be visionary and not be after their own interest alone.
“I also want to enjoin our people and traditional rulers not to be swayed by money excessively, we need to change our orientation, if you are given money you are going to exhaust it in no time, but if you insist on projects the benefits will be eternal.
“Adeseun is like late Chief Ayantayo Ayandele, Ayantayo won’t give you money during campaigns but he performed excellently every time he got to office. When Adeseun was our representative he touched almost every part of Surulere, starting with installation of solar lights, which he widely installed, and provided boreholes.
“The first borehole he asked should be provided in my former residence I insisted should be taken to my church, which also had no water source. The contractors insisted it should be in my house but I said no, ‘put it in the church, at least I have a well we are using.’
“It is beautiful to serve God, not up to three months later; another one was brought to my residence without begging anyone for it. And see the other things God has also caused to be given to us, Navy School, youth centre and now a federal polytechnic and other things.”
Asked if there were prophecies earlier that Iresaapa was in line for such developmental projects, he submitted: “We were told to continue to pray that the glory of the town would shine, that we should expect great things and that we should continue to serve God. Look at the Navy Secondary School sited here, it was approved the same time as that of the Police Secondary School in Iresaadu but that has not taken off and has even been relocated to Odanbon due to wrangling over land. Whereas on my part I told them to take as much land as they wanted.”
Aresaapa now enthused that the Navy Secondary School has been a blessing to the community. “We have benefitted a lot, it has brought development, caused boost in economic activities and employment opportunities. When students resume or close for a term and chartered buses drive in from Lagos especially, people will swoop on our market to purchase food items and other things, it is such a blessing.
“Also, they buy and slaughter cows for the feeding of students, our butchers, vulcanizers, vegetable, tomato and pepper sellers who assist them also derive monetary gains. Our people also secure jobs in the school, only recently, I gave them a list of some people for low cadre staff and they have been absorbed. Had it been it was money I collected from Adeseun at the time, would we have been availed of these opportunities? I would have exhausted the money.
“Adeseun also established a dam at Ilea in Iresaapa, where our people practice irrigation farming extensively. People come from as far as Osogbo to buy vegetables especially during dry season. This is just as Adeseun facilitated the completion of Ogbomoso-Osogbo road, and he brought a sports stadium, he is our benefactor, we will forever cherish him. And I pray Ogbomoso will witness greater peace and unity for more developments.”
He now informed they have been encouraging their people to put up structures to accommodate the expected influx of people to the town in the coming months.