Vision meets action: Oba Ghandi Olaoye, prominent indigenes meet on new Ogbomoso
The Soun of Ogbomosoland His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III has received an economic blueprint for the birth of a new Ogbomozo from the Ogbomosoland Consultative Council (OCC).
The historical event which came up Tuesday at the palace in Oja’gbo was attended by many members of the socio-cultural organization with some high chiefs in attendance including the Areago, High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin, the Abese, High Chief Kasali Yusuf and the Iyalode, High Chief Mrs. Oluwakemi Ogundare.
OCC was founded by the immediate past Soun, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, in December, 2020, to provide an effective platform to galvanize development in the community, and in its short history has made many positive and critical interventions.
In a congratulatory address delivered by Ambassador Akin Oyateru, its PRO, it is noted the ascension of Oba Ghandi is generally acceptable to the people of Ogbomoso, home and abroad, averring this is shown by the deluge of congratulatory messages received by the Oba. “The ceaseless congratulatory messages in various media are indicative of the pervasive joy permeating our beloved ancient city,” the message stated.
The group, under the leadership of Dr. Saka Balogun and Gen. Oladayo Popoola (rtd), said it was focused on formulating strategies for sustainable economic development “that will place Ogbomosoland on an enviable pedestal.”
The association submitted the strategies for the economic regeneration of the city would include “massive investment in industrialization, value addition of natural resources, technical training and skills acquisition, empowerment of critical sections of society, re-inculcation of social values, enhancement of dignity of labour, promotion of peaceful coexistence and harmony.”
It disclosed that towards actualizing this goal it had articulated a blueprint dubbed “Ogbomosoland Development Programme Agenda,” that will help to drive the transformation agenda.
Partnership with the monarch was therefore sought so that the city could become “that bright and shining star in the guinea savannah that beckons alluringly to all those who seek honest gain through sweat and industry that genuinely empowers, so that Ogbomosoland might live its manifest destiny and be great again. In this regard we stand ready to embrace true partnership to power this vision to laudable realization.”
This aspiration of the association is in tandem with the Oba Olaoye’s as evident in his own agenda that he also enunciated at the event, which also saw him being invested as the Grand Patron of the body.
The Oba emphatically laid bare the need to harness the huge human resources he noted abound in the community, saying, “Ogbomoso land is indeed blessed with highly successful and resourceful sons and daughters spread all over the country and in the diaspora. We must therefore harness this vital human resource to our advantage.”
He lauded late Oba Oyewumi, his predecessor, for his foresight in constituting a platform such as OCC. “I must commend the vision of the late Soun for bringing this OCC model to reality because It has helped tremendously to channel our efforts in the right direction and has also developed a good network that has become our net worth. I plan to retain the model and even make it work better in keeping with the emerging realities.”
He added, “My overarching vision for Ogbomoso is to create the enabling environment that would attract huge, modern and sustainable development in an even manner. In this process we shall strengthen our areas of comparative advantage by investing to develop key value chains in our human and natural resources. In addition, we shall create new opportunities for investment through the deployment of technology, knowledge and skills.”
To demonstrate he was ready for the daunting task, he informed he had likewise formulated a development plan for making Ogbomoso a model city in the coming years. “To this end, I have also stimulated an economic blueprint document which I hope would meet yours at critical points for the benefit of our people.”The Soun advocated peace and harmony as prerequisite in attaining the dream, asserting, “Let me use this opportunity to reiterate my message of peace, unity, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence to all and sundry. For the avoidance of doubt, Ogbomoso is our homeland and I have become the father of all sons, daughters and our guests who have chosen to settle in Ogbomoso. I assure every one of my protection in all legitimate circumstances and that no one will be discriminated against.”
He now informed, “I plan to hold further consultations with the OCC in due course, with a view to exchanging ideas and injecting policy options and new areas of concentration into its operations and strategies. May the almighty lead and guide us.”
This is as the monarch used the occasion to present (a fraction) of his 25-year development plan, intimating the gathering that immediately after his selection as Soun-elect last year he commissioned a versatile firm to articulate his vision which “first track” is now ready. “But the development plan is still work in progress,” the consultant echoed.
According to Soun the overall goal is to turn Ogbomosoland into a model city in the next 25 years, which will mean integrating it into the 21st century. “It is an herculean task but it is achievable.”
He recognized that certain critical infrastructures will need to be put in place including stable electricity, improved water supply and good roads.
Already, Oba Olaoye is gearing efforts towards enhancing these critical infrastructures. An Abuja-based electrical engineer, Olusola Akintola, was invited to speak on the possibility of improving electricity supply in the city.
Engr Akintola underlined that with or without the much vaunted 132/33kv at Temidire/Ajeja, improved electricity supply is a possibility saying his company which is now taking up the responsibility in collaboration with the DISCO at the instance of Kabiyesi, is working to replace obsolete electricity infrastructures in the town, ensuring widespread metering of households and so on. “In the the next three to six months, we will begin to feel the effect,” Akintola who disclosed he had tried the project in Abuja with positive results assured.
The consortium that articulated the 25 year development plan in collaboration with the Soun highlighted the roadmap to rebuild the city into an economically buoyant and physically alluring place.
However, Kabiyesi said he needed his people to drive the vision with him, that he needed them to buy-in and contribute their quota to realizing the vision. “We must all work in our spheres of influence to drive the task.”
His Majesty affirmed the development of his domain is what he is committing the rest of his life to hammering that failure was not what he envisaged. He disclosed Ogbomoso people in the diaspora will be engaged saying the diasporan Ogbomosos include those residing in Oyo, in Ilorin, in Iseyin, in Ejigbo, Ibadan and do on and those overseas.
He pointed out, “The money to develop this city is not in this city, it will come from those in the diaspora, through foreign direct investment. We will develop critical sectors, we will encourage our people. People I never knew are from Ogbomoso have been calling me to express their commitment. It has been amazing. I have received several goodwill and congratulatory messages indicating people place so much hope on my leadership. I cannot afford to fail. We must succeed. We mus build tremendously on the legacies of my predecessors.”
Oba Olaoye, who spoke passionately and eloquently and with infectious conviction unveiled many strategies and what had been done to change the narrative thereby soliciting the people’s support and cooperation even as he emphasized on people needing to change their mindset, which he said measures have been developed to effect this over time.
He said the goal is achievable “since we are not building a country or a state but just a town. I have set my hand on the plough I will not look back. I used the term plough because I recognize what we are setting out to do is difficult like tilling a hard soil but I won’t be deterred. All I need is your support. We will put in the system that will make things work ”
The meeting ended with a renewed resolve to rebuild the ancient city. An harmonization committee was subsequently constituted.
“But this is the first track,” the Kabiyesi reiterated, stressing that the whole development plan is still being worked out and expressed intense desire for everyone to inject ideas into the project. “All we need are people, land and ideas. To develop a place these are the three major things needed,” he submitted.