OPINION: Turning Ogbomoso Cultural Heritage into Wealth By Prince Kabir Olaoye

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Prince Kabir Olaoye

Introduction The world is changing. Royalty is no longer an armchair business. Global rules for sustainability reasons a bottom-top model for gap fixing solutions. We must start from the grassroots and work it up to the highest authorities. Royalty wields great influence on the people at the lowest level. We are the closest to the pains and sufferings of the people. We are the first source of succour and happiness of our people. We must indeed make these to bear in the struggle for a better life for the people. That is why I have sat down to look deeply at opportunities that may be gathered to bring about that required change in Ogbomoso and upgrade the city and its people to be at par with global strategies. I have worked assiduously in the course of my own personal development to hook up with all forms of elemental ingredients of life’s sustainability. I have seen that what we require are simple but arduous. To bring a quick development to Ogbomoso, we must preach love, unity of purpose and *kinship*. Every son and daughter of Ogbomoso must have that sense of belonging. They must see serious movements in the economy of Ogbomoso and the general polity to trigger their own involvement in the process. We need business and investment attractions. We need to gain that confidence that we will inject energies into the sectoral structures. We need to attract governance by seeking the popularity of the people’s decisions, their hopes and aspirations. These are tasks that bring about the fabled development. These are my ideas and thoughts on how it can be achieved. In these uncertain times, the broader society must make a sincere commitment to engaging in acts of proactivity and innovations as a means of living out the faith in the community. Individuals, companies, groups, organizations, institutions and even governments must be rallied to pursue the elements herein stated and make a sincere commitment to community-building and social engagement. What are the action plans?


1. Supporting and developing community-wide plans aimed at expanding economic opportunities for young persons and women specifically in the areas of commerce, cooperatives, and self-sustainable practices.


2. Actively participate in programs that reach out to help those in the most need — the hungry, the homeless, and the unemployed.


3. Assure that every inner city and rural young person can look forward to an adequate education.


4. Encourage schools, colleges, and universities in Ogbomoso area to include the teachings of entrepreneurship and self-sustainability in their curricula and programs.


5. Take specific actions to deal with the problems of drugs, alcohol dependency, teenage pregnancy, and family violence in our community.


6. Advocate the removal of all weapons from our streets and support causes that promote freedom, justice, and peace.


7. Help extend human rights, dignity, health, and economic well-being to all persons.


8. Actively oppose groups that promote hatred and violence and other forms of insecurity in our communities.
9. Sponsor and participate in programs that encourage interracial, intercultural, and inter-religious goodwill and unity.


10. Read out the riot act of our determinations, and strive to make them an integral part of the life of our community.

It is important to live in the present, working assiduously to make good in this fast-paced,globalized country and also have our eyes trained on the future. For one cannot set store on events of the past and lose the greater possibilities of the future. My honest intention is to make important forays into our bequeathed heritage and seek to promote sustainable growth to our land in the present, even as we also believe that there is more in store for us in the future. To achieve this, we would need to be smart, hardworking and truthful. I strongly emphasize on proactivity, because individually we have what it takes to measure up to some of the best communities in South West geopolitical zone and indeed in Ogbomosoland, and the humility with which to navigate the complexities of a fast-evolving society as it concerns this part of the country, negotiating and serving in a manner that would encourage Ogbomosoland emerge as a community where citizens are fulfilled, are living good lives devoid of disease and want, where poverty is eradicated and the commonweal is applied for the benefit of the larger populace, not for the opulence of a tiny clique. My approach is to seek the development of a new philosophy for the people that will look inwards into our cultural bequeath, promote a conglomeration of the individual acumen of my people, recognise the developmental gaps in the system and attract all son’s and daughters of Ogbomosoland back home to take part in a new order of growth, sustainability and relevance. Overview of Ogbomosoland Ogbomosho (also known as Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́) is a city in Oyo State, south-western Ogbomosoland, founded in the mid 17th century and with approximately 245,000 as at 2006. The majority of the people are members of the Yoruba ethnic group. Yams, cassava, cashew, mango, maize, and tobacco are some of the notable agricultural products abundantly available in the region. Population and Demography Ogbomoso is the second largest community in Oyo State, occupying an area covering five local government areas. Ogbomoso North LGA is the hub of the region.Its climate is Savannah and it is bounded North East by Ibadan, in the North West byOsogbo, inthe South West by Ilorin and in the North East by Oyo.
The physical and economic growth of the town began in 19th century; when there was an unrest through-out the Yoruba land due to inter ethnic wars and Fulani Jihad. This brought more than 140 communities to seek refuge in Ogbomosolandbecause of its strong defense. Most of these people took permanent residence in Ogbomoso, and by the end of 19th century, a continuous built-up compact settlement was evolved from the hamlet, covering an extensive area of land. The rapid growth of the town is also induced by the advent of missionary and establishment of schools. The deportation of indigenous Ogbomosolandn by Ghanaian government in 1969 also brought physical and economic growth to Ogbomosoland. The establishment of LadokeAkintola University of Technology in Ogbomoso is said to have induced its phenomenal growth since 1991. The Urbanization process resulted from the development mentioned above led to the demographic change over time. The total population distribution of the LGAs are shown below: LGAs
Population at 2006 Census
Projections for 2016

Ogbomoso North
198,859
279,400

Ogbomoso South
100,379
141,000

OgoOluwa
65,198
91,600

Ori Ire
149,408
209,900

Surulere
140,339
197,200



The sex distribution is fairly even: Male 50.1%, Female 49.9% while the age distribution is as follows: Age 0-39 is 80%, 40-69 is 17.8% and 70+ is 2.7%. The population distributions depicted above exudeexuberances and vibrancy. This is a strength of the region. Education Ogbomosho has three degree-granting institution of higher learning. LadokeAkintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is named after an illustrious Ogbomosho son and former Premier of the old Western Region, Ogbomosoland, Samuel LadokeAkintola (SLA). LAUTECH is ranked at the top of the later generation universities in Ogbomosoland. It awards degrees in science, engineering, technology and medicine. The Ogbomosolandn Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Ogbomosoland and the first to offers degree programs in theology, sociology and philosophy in Ogbomosoland. The Seminary serves the Baptist Church in Ogbomosoland, The Ogbomoso Baptist Convention (NBC), which also has its headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Bowen University Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso- (BUTH) A first-class Christian Teaching Hospital marked by excellence and godliness for the training of doctors and other medical professionals. It was originally established in March 1907 as a missionary medical facility and through the years developing into the Baptist Medical Centre and later transformed to a Teaching Hospital in 2009. BUTH now boasts of over 400 Bed Capacity, over 800 Staff and Students, Multidisciplinary Facility, Family Medicine Residency Programme, Nursing and Midwifery Courses, 50,000 Outpatients and
10,000 Inpatients, fully Accredited Training Programmes which includes; B. Sc Anatomy, B. Sc Physiology and MB/BS. Economy Ogbomosho has about 257 surrounding villages and emerging towns which amalgamated to the rulership of Soun. The major economy in the land is Agriculture: Cashew plantations are widely distributed across the land, Mango plantations are widely distributed also. Ogbomosho is one time the largest planter of cassava across the globe. The people of the land also engages in trading, in rearing of domestic animals like goats and sheep. Also, a very prominent veterinary hospital exist in Ogbomosho for vaccination of livestock. The people are widely traveled. Other industries include trading, banking, small-scale manufacturing and constructions. There are two radio stations namely Parrot FM and Ajilete FM, and a television station, NTA Ogbomosho. Inadequate government investment in infrastructural facilities and policy guidance for local initiatives have undermined economic growth and development of the town. The location of the town on terrain unattractive to manufacturers and investors, with the road network being poor. Cityscape The main street in Ogbomosho is the Oyo-Ilorin road. One of the prominent landmarks is the central mosque, which towers over the traditional walled compounds of private houses and the parts of the old wall that remained. Ogbomosho has other mosques, several churches and houses the headquarters of the American Baptist Church of Ogbomosoland and its theological seminary. The closest airport to Ogbomosho is Ilorin Airport which is approximately 42 miles away. Notable people
 Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, a lawyer, politician, aristocrat, former western region premier. He was murdered during the Ogbomosoland first coup of January 1966.
 Maj. Gen. OladayoPopoola OFR. Former Military Governor, Oyo State . Former Military Governor, Ogun State . Chairman/CO, Daybis Ltd.
 Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, former military governor of Kwara State
 Christopher Adebayo AlaoAkala, Former executive governor of Oyo State.
 Lt. Col. ShittuAlao, former Air Force’s Chief of the Air Staff.

The foregoing are our cultural bequeath but how can we turn these into Wealth? Ogbomosoland as a Smart City
A smart city is defined as a city that engages its citizens and connects its infrastructure electronically. A smart city has the ability to integrate multiple technological solutions, in a secure fashion, to manage the city’s assets-the city’s assets including local infrastructures, information
systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, law enforcement, and other community services. The goal of building a smart city is to improve the quality of life by using technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet citizen’s needs. Technology is driving the way city officials interact with the community and the city’s infrastructure. With the emphasis on inclusivity, we shall have an effective eGovernment in place. Leaders must interact with the citizens and vice versa seamlessly and transparently. All decisions that affect the generality of the people must reach the people before hand. Youth Employment We shall initiate the creation of 1,000 sustainable jobs for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 in each wards by looking inwards and pursuing the following opportunities:
 Environment (recycling, treeplanting, erosion-control, active redecoration and painting of public spaces)
 Security and Paramilitary (Vigilante) service for public law and order
 Tourism sector (tour companies and tour guides)

Obaship Reforms
 Re-consideration of core local authorities to complement the efforts of royal father in the region
 Accountability and transparency across all started of leadership
 We shall Encourage the integrity of the obaship tradition and in as many ways as possible try to separate the roles of traditional rulers from politicking

Anti-Corruption
 Launch zero-tolerance on corruption campaign and Encourage unbiased and speedy prosecutionof offenders
 Fast-track establishment of local anti-corruption courts dedicated to the prompt dispatch of cases.
 Encourage corrupt people actually seethe deterrents and consequences by following through with stiffpunishments.
 Embark on mass reorientation ofvalues
 Engage thought leaders on aspects ofour culture which promote corruptiontowards gradual readjustments (e.g expensive traditional obligations andpractices)

Environment
 Treat the environment as the last bastion of development and employment creation.


 Encourage that the Ecological Funds aredeployed for intended purpose of ensuring our environment is clean, safe and up to interlocal standards, and for disaster control.
 Educate the public as to the importance of the environment and its effect on other aspects – health, security, tourism, sustainability etcCollaborate with relevant departments of our tertiary institutions and vocational colleges to comeup with a majorhands-on strategy for the curbing of environmental problems
 Launch a program for the transfer ofknowledge to local technicians and youth, on the manufacture of solar panels and other components

Education
 Encourage standards of basic education improves
 Encourage moral instructions and civiceducation in all primary and secondary schools
 Encourage basic ICT training in all publicprimary and secondaryschools
 Encourage inter-school competitions to groom talents that will be useful for Ogbomosoland at local level in all sports
 Encourage the teaching of practical Agriculture and ownership of small to large farms by secondary schools and universities subject to availability of land

Power
 Innovative ideas to Encourage balance between industrial and rural electrification capabilities
 Rigorous encouragement of alternative energy solutions in different areas of the economy.
 Make Ogbomosoland the solar-power hub for Oyo State and train Ogbomoso youths on the manufacturing of solar panels and othercomponents
 Enhancing of independent power generationand distribution on clusterbasis
 Review of current power value-chain to address inefficiencies and complaints from all stakeholders including GENCOs, DISCOs, and especially, Industries and Households.

Human Capital
 Emphasis on Human Resource as themost important resource in theland.
 Investment in human capital especiallythe vulnerable youths
 Encouragement of innovative ideas inall aspects ofliving
 Encouraging handshake between humanresource development strategy andeducation.

Finance
 Encourage made-in-Ogbomosoland goods but gradually decrease the restrictions of access to foreign exchange forlegitimate use – this will eliminate the ‘black’ market to an in significant level.
 Encouragement of beneficial and non- exploitative PPP financing andprivate capitalinflows
 Encouragement of foreign investors without cheapening the regionthrough myriads of wasteful foreigntours.
 Encouragement of Ogbomosoland to keep their investments in Ogbomosoland. Presently Ogbomosoland investments head out of the region while we then seek investments fromforeigners.
 Consolidation of all localbiometric schemes for better expendituretracking

Diversification
 Encouragement of economic self-reliance as the bottom line in economic diversification
 Learning from diversified economies around the country as to how the gameof globalization isplayed
 Encouragement of Economic Complexity (value-addition to our products) inorder to generate needed foreignexchange
 Encouragement of made-in-Ogbomosoland products through the creation of a new class of spenders (15-24 years old youth are the focus of our employment generation – they buy local)

Textile
 Encouragement of private sector investmentsin textileindustry
 Re-prioritization of textile sector in Ogbomosoland as avenue for conserving foreign exchange and promoting economicdiversification
 Intelligent and consistent promotion of made-in-Ogbomosoland goods, especially textiles
 Encouragement of innovations in boosting productivity and capacity in the production of indigenous Ogbomoso clothing such as Adire, Aso-Oke etc so as to make them cheaper and more widely-used.
 Propose to government and the friendly corporate world of the establishment of a Garment Factory in Ogbomosoland to massively consummate the unemployment status.

Agriculture
 Relocate the responsibility for Agricultural production to the grassrootsto concentrate on their areas ofadvantage.
 Intensify Agricultural research to obtainthe best from our localproducts.
 Incentivize Agric value-chain, especially food preservation towards reducing


wastage in season and stabilizing prices out ofseason

Health
 Expand the current structure by seekingmore facilities and personnel across the primary, secondary and tertiarylevels.
 Health Insurance for allcitizens
 Encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)in the provision ofservices.
 Encourage vigorous handshake between environmental management and publichealth systems
 Establish and encourage industrial harmony, eliminate unhealthy interdisciplinaryrivalry
 End incessant strikes and in the healthsector
 Reduce public health bill drastically by encouraging building of toilets in all houses in Ogbomosoland – to reduce open-defecation tozero
 Upgrade all primary health care centres across the region
 Halt brain-drain of medical personnel toother countries by paying living wages tothem
 Midwife the Creation 3,000 new jobs in the medical field under two years – to reduce the currentdearth of medical staff andassistants

Security
 Re-prioritization of security of livesand property as the first responsibility of government.


 Enhancement of intelligence operations to serve as first defense against internal and external aggression.
 Encouragement of citizens to assist thestate in keeping an eye on theircommunity
 Promotion of unity as afundamental requirement of localsecurity.
 Constant dialogue between all Ogbomoso peoples and groups to encourage mutual understanding as a key aspect of ensuring localpeace.

Science and Technology
 Encouragement of rigorous handshake between science and technology and educational sectors
 Encouragement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics but withbalance in the understand ofsociety
 Encouragement of innovation in all aspectof social living to promote local self- reliance
 Encouragement of research and development

Infrastructure
 Local audit of infrastructure in order to increase utility
 Promotion of maintenance culture onall infrastructure
 Encouragement of private-sector ledfinancing of viableinfrastructure.
 Protection of the citizens from exploitation from private-sector monopolies oroligopolies
 Embark on massive urban regeneration and job creation by focusing on beautification, aesthetics, symmetry, control of pollution, prevention of loss of lives, and reductionin development and maintenancecosts.
 Ensuring all public places are accessible to the physically challenged.

Industries
 To amplify the buy made-in-Ogbomosoland policy
 Incentivize SMEs through local content lawsin allsectors
 Incentivize SMEs by standardizing infrastructure to make business easierand Encourage that loans are not obtained by businesses to procure infrastructure thus putting them at advantage against external competition
 Facilitate the establishment ofPrivate-sector led industrial parks and Free TradeZones.
 Facilitate internal trade through the upgrading of transport infrastructure –inland waterways, roads, and rail systems. All transport infrastructure to have user specification in order to havesustainability
 Establishment of a mango processing company and attraction of foreign investors to reawaken our special species of mangoes


 Establishment of a cassava processing plant.

Conclusion
Having prepared a comprehensive guide which however may not cater for the entire concerns of every Ogbomoso person, I am rest assured though, that within these intentions lie seeds of good governance

that will set Ogbomosoland on the right developmental path. I do not delude myself that it will be a walk in the park, and I reiterate that for every gain, Ogbomoso people should be ready to give a little. What I have provided for, are however those critical issues that Ogbomosoland has no business lacking at this moment in history. This has also provided for critical steps and processes, that will halt the further hemorrhaging of our resources and the disenfranchisement of our human capital. Please join me on this interesting journey. I count very much on your support. LONG LIVE OGBOMOSOLAND!

Laoye, a Prince of Laoye Ruling House, is a contestant to the vacant throne of Soun of Ogbomosoland

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