REVEALED: How Ajaawa lost out to Iresaapa as temporary site for Ayede Poly, updates on recruitment, kickoff of academic activities 

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REVEALED: How Ajaawa lost out to Iresaapa as temporary site for Ayede Poly

Updates on recruitment, kickoff of academic activities

Femi OGUNLANA

The pioneer rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, in Ogo-Oluwa local government area of Oyo state, Engr. Dr. Taofeeq Adekunle Abdulhamid, has revealed why Iresaapa in Surulere local government, was chosen over Ajaawa, headquarters of Ogo-Oluwa local government, as temporary site for the institution.

The newly constructed Admnistrative building at Ayede Polytechnic temporary site Iresaapa, Ogbomoso

   ogbomosoinsightonline.com understands that Ajaawa people, with the chairman of the council, Hon Seun Ojo, who hails from there, in the forefront, intensively lobbied for the hosting right, eventually however, Iresaapa, about ten minutes drive from Ogbomoso, got the nod.

Dr Abdulhamid

   This definitely is to the chagrin of Ajaawa people, who committed a lot to the project, assured that being the chief town in Ogo-Oluwa local government, where Ayede is domiciled, it would fend off successfully the Iresaapa “challenge.”

   But, its undoing, it has been revealed, was the security breaches that permeated the agrarian community last year which almost ignited a desertion of the town.

   Speaking on Ajilete 92.1 FM station, Gambari, Ogbomoso, a sub-station of BCOS, Ibadan, in a programme (Tiwa-n-Tiwa) on Monday, anchored by Sayo Alagbe, Dr Abdulhamid disclosed that a damning security report was what knocked off the bid of Ajaawa.

   The rector, who until his present appointment was acting rector of The Polytechnic, Iresi, Osun State, explained that the report created a scare in the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and National Board of Technical Education (NBTE), leading to the second alternative, which is Iresaapa, being given the approval.

   Throwing light on the matter, he said, “Before my appointment and others as the management team, a technical team made up of Federal Ministry of Education and National Board of Technical Education had visited Ajaawa and Ayede, l did not even know l would be appointed as rector.

   “They were accompanied by our people in Ogbomoso. They visited Baptist Secondary Grammar School, Ajaawa and the National Youth Development Centre (NYDC), Iresaapa and both the secondary and primary schools in Ayede for inspection.

   “They recommended Baptist Secondary Grammar School, Ajaawa and National Youth Development Centre, Iresaapa.”

   It meant facilities in the two places scaled the hurdle and were consequently recommended by the FME/NBTE technical team.

   But the story soon changed when Dr. Abdulhamid and the heads of the other five newly established polytechnics were summoned by the Executive Secretary of the NBTE, who directed them to obtain security reports on the proposed locations for takeoff, aside discussing manpower requirements.

   Abdulhamid unveiled, “I had to write the State Intelligence Bureau Nigeria Police Force, to help me make assessment of the five local governments in Ogbomoso.

   “Part of what is written, in a letter dated 19th July, concerning that of Ajaawa, is, ‘All towns and villages in Ogo-Oluwa local government are habitable and security friendly for now except Ajaawa town, the administrative headquarters of the local government, which is currently embroiled in chieftaincy crisis that has resulted to kidnappings, arsons, killings, rituals and is hostile to security operatives.

   “And this Ajaawa town has boundaries with Oyo and Osun states. The availability of thick forests in the area contributed in the upsurge in criminal activities, and to expose new students and staff to this unfriendly environment will strongly make them vulnerable to attack.’

   “You know we are responsible to the authority, we didn’t appoint ourselves, we are responsible to the Federal Ministry of Education, to the National Board of Technical Education, to the Governing Council (and not to any other organization).

   “We now told them, ‘this is the report we received.’ They now said, ‘if you are not told, are you going to use an area said to be vulnerable?’ So, they directed us to use the second alternative on a temporary basis.”

   The rector affirmed however that the institution will return to its original site, which is Ayede, in time just as he asserted that there is no plan to turn the polytechnic into a multi-campus one, submitting, “It won’t be multi-campus. I want to assure our people that Ogo-Oluwa local government is the permanent home of Federal Polytechnic, Ayede.”

   He further stressed that 100 percent of the resources of the institution will be committed to the permanent site, “We are mandated to spend 80 percent of our resources at Ayede permanent site so that we can relocate in time. Meanwhile, I want to assure you I am going to commit 100 percent to Ayede. That is the truth.

   “The new building you are seeing is not built from our budgetary allocation. It was given to us by someone to use as administrative office (I wouldn’t want to mention names). And the person has assured us he will still give us similar project at Ayede. Ayede should be rest assured, Ogo-Oluwa should be rest assured.”

   In another development, the institution had recruited pioneer staffs numbering about 150. This created hoopla as many believed it was clandestinely done but the rector explained due process was followed while disclosing recruitment would be an ongoing exercise.

   “All what we did was in line with due process or else Federal Character Commission will not grant us compliance. We employed both administrative staff and lecturers. But it will be a continuous process, that is the first batch. That doesn’t mean we will not make further recruitment.

   “We appeal to our people in Ogbomoso and environs, we had the mandate to recruit only 150 staff, which is grossly inadequate, there was no way it could go round. Every family has two, three graduates, we even followed government’s procedure on this.

   “We considered stakeholders in the community, we favoured the host community so much that the Federal Commission Character had to tell me, ‘is it Ogbomoso Poly or Federal Poly?’”

   He now debunked the claim that the recruitment was skewed in favour of indigenes of Osun state, where he comes from. “It is pure lie. The registrar (Mr. Akin Odesola) is Ogbomoso from Oyo state. He can testify Oyo state indigenes dominate the appointment. That is the truth and among the indigenes of Oyo state, Ogbomoso people predominate.”

   While informing that the school will start with 12 programmes in five departments he disclosed the management is working strenuously to ensure academic activities start this year. “We wish to commence academic activities this year. We are taking steps towards this. But we still need facilities in preparation for inspection of facilities by relevant authorities after which we will write JAMB for placement of students.

   ogbomosoinsightonline.com recalls that Ajaawa erupted in crisis towards the middle of last year after youths accused a former contestant to the throne of Alajaawa, Gideon Oyekunle popularly known as Ade Master as the mastermind of series of kidnappings and suspected ritual killings (allegations he however vehemently denied) rocking the town. The angry youths protested and in the process security operatives attached to him, allegedly shot dead a protester, a prominent youth leader in the community.

   Thereafter, the youths went on rampage burning down about five of his houses including hotels, his extensive shrine (being a traditionalist) in a forest; he himself and his family escaping by the whiskers.

   The problem escalated as he alleged the council chairman, Seun Ojo; the monarch of the town, HRM Oba Thompson Adeyeye Oyetunji, the Alajaawa of Ajaawa; a prominent Ifa priest, who was Araba Awo of Ajaawa (now late) Chief Adeoye Ifaleye and some others as the sponsors of the mayhem.

   This provoked invasion by the police, which on three occasions were resisted by the people. The police, who stormed in commando style and plain clothed and so thought initially to be kidnappers, were almost mobbed after they were overpowered.

   On the first occasion, it was Ade Master that saved the invading policemen, as he made frantic calls and pleaded with the people not to extirpate them. This convinced the people he was behind the spate of abductions, and thus, instigated the attacks on him.

   The police went after the council chairman and the Alajaawa, but failed in getting the two arrested but others were not so lucky. The secretary to the Oba and some others were whisked away to Abuja while Araba Awo was killed during a night operation by the police. Araba Awo, however before dying was said to have bravely felled a hefty, charmed-wearing police officer too.

   The police station in the town was abandoned just as inhabitants fled to escape the subsequent incessant police raids. Desolation stared the town in the face. It took great efforts spearheaded by Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF) to restore amity in the community. OCYF got some leaders of Ogbomoso community such as General Oladayo Popoola (retd), Justice Afolabi Adeniran (retd) and Dr. Saka Balogun to intervene and mediate peace.

   That catalytic disruption of peace broke while the matter of appropriate site for location of temporary site of Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, was being decided. Unfortunately, it ruined the chances of Ajaawa, a town, which sees itself as lagging behind in developments.

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