Why Ile-Ife should not be politically complacent, by Rotimi Makinde

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To say all is well in Ife politics is to be economical with the reality of today’s politics.

In starting, I take this opportunity to pay my tribute to such brave sons and daughters who paid worked hard and sacrificed to secure the freedom and peace that we enjoy in Ile-Ife today. I salute their bravery and the sacrifices made by those frontliners in Ife politics.

The list is long, but permit me to mention the likes of late Sir Adesoji Aderemi, Chief Fani Kayode, my uncle the late Michael Omisade, Chief Abiola Ijiwoye, Chief Gunju Adeasakin and members of the generation of Sen. Christopher Iyiola Omisore, Sen Bamgbetan, Prof. Wale Ladipo and our set – Sen. Babajide Omoworare, Adeoogun,Fashogbon, Makinde and now our dear Hon. Bimbo Ajilesoro.

I also express my deep gratitude to all the freedom fighters who suffered hardships, imprisonment and even death for a similar cause for the people of Ile-Ife. To avoid unnecessary damage to my good intention, I would simply mention Hon. Olagbaju (Misty). May their souls rest in peace.

Today, Ile-Ife is reckoned among the front-ranking ancient cities in the world in various indicators including history, respected traditional stool, land mass, mineral and natural deposits, access to education, ease of doing business and tourism, to name a few. It is blessed  with good monarchs one after the other…Oba Ademiluyi, Adesoji Aderemi, Okunade Sijuade and lately  the flamboyant Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi who, in all ramifications,  is rewriting the history of the cradle of Yoruba race with all that God gave him.The palace of Oduduwa is probably the best in Africa

Ile-Ife has witnessed marked improvements in its economy in the last five years . In fact, in a little over five years, many studies have indeed confirmed that close to a million people have lifted themselves out of poverty in line with Ooni Ogunwusi’s vision .

Having said that, it has become pertinent to point out that Ife indigenes cannot afford any form of complacency but to key into mainstream politics if we want to consolidate on all these feats and maximize our God-given gifts . There is need to widen the development capacity and bring in more opportunities to indigenes for socio-economic development of our birth place.

This, I believe, will be better achieved by aligning  ourselves with mainstream politics in Nigeria. it is all doable. To begin  to do this effectively is to begin to see ourselves first as brothers and sisters seeking the progress of our heritage, people working for unity and progress of Ife. The current reigning cultures of pull-him-down and envy are anti-progress. They won’t take Ile-Ife to any good height.

For instance, Hon Barr Adeogun and Hon. Fashogbon went into the House of Representatives on the platform of opposition party, hence they were only able to make little impact. The situation was the same with me. I was blindly shut down as opposition member when indeed I was getting radically closer to being made a principal officer. Now our young and vibrant Hon. Bimbo Ajilesoro is today working within his limited power as opposition member of the House.

To think he can perform wonders is to be myopic in political knowledge. I feel sorry for the young man. He cannot personally make a dime for himself. Now, the question is: What exactly is wrong with us as Ife people? How exactly do we think we can occupy good position at both the state, Senate, House of Reps or state assembly if we continue to  push backward those who have crossed the bridge which makes us start all over again each time? Sen Iyiola Omisore, who is our highly respected leader as at today, was only able to occuppy that exalted position ever attained by an Ife as Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, only because he was returned to the upper chamber on the platform of the ruling party. That was the best in the history of Ile-Ife that prompted tremendous transformation in OAUTH and in the metropolitan city of Oduduwa. Quote me anywhere….

At this juncture, I think we have to begin to consolidate the gains of the past, and at the same time, we have to take effective measures to speed up political realignment and the breeding of capable youths, people with serious determination for a better Ife. The delivery of key projects to Ile-Ife is our right as an integral part of Osun State. We are not just a city but a formidable community that no serious  government would want to toy with. Our voting power is good enough for us to negotiate for modern market, modern museum and good roads to reopen our network with a community like Modakeke. We are rich in population, manpower and, above all, we are probably contributing the largest economic input to the survival of Osun State. What is killing us is lack of affection, respect for one another and above all, failure to enable weaker sections of our society to benefit equally. If we are able to take a new political path, it will be easier to achieve inclusive growth and the entire people and stakeholders in our dear Ile-Ife will be better for it.

Hon. Rotimi Makinde represented Ife Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.

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