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Friday, August 26, 2016

Ikale: A community battling siege of stark underdevelopment

Editor’s Note: Ikale, one of the major tribes of Yoruba race, is located in the southern region of Ondo state. As one of the leading towns of the state, Ikale land is also one of the most endowed lands in Nigeria. Yet, relative to her vast potentials, the community remains underdeveloped.

In this report by AANU ADEGUN, NAIJ.com traces the source of the challenges facing the great people of Ikale

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Omotosho power plant. Located on their land, yet the people last enjoined electricity over two years ago.

Witches and wizards are widely recognized as agents of destruction in this clime of Africa. They are alleged to be notoriously averse to success and development. For every category of misfortunes, witches and wizards are mostly purported to be involved. And it is these dreaded extra-terrestrial beings who have been accused of having a greater influence in the injured growth of one of the most blessed lands in Nigeria, Ikale.

A heated argument on the roles of witches and wizards in the underdevelopment of Ikale land among passengers of a commercial bus recently travelling to Okitipupa roughly underscores the harmonized mind-set of indigenes and non-indigenes of the land. The rib-cracking and thought-provoking incident witnessed by NAIJ.com reporter proved to be an eye opener on the immense potentials of the area otherwise known as Ikale land.

According to a passenger, who wished to be addressed as Odofin, it is the fault of witches and wizards that the land has not made meaningful progress given her potentials.

“It is them,” he declared. “It is those useless witches and wizards. Or do you think they don’t exist? Ikale has a whole has no business being in this terrible state of underdevelopment if not for their powers. We don’t need to deceive ourselves, we are under their bondage in Ikale land,” he added.

Another passenger, whose didn’t give his name but shared the same view, added, “I actually don’t believe in witches and wizards, but sometimes, when I sit down and think about Ikale, I used to knock myself on the head for my silly idea of not believing in witches’ existence. Look at it this way, Oluwa Glass Company is located on Ikale soil and where is it today.

What of Okitipupa oil palm PLC with its millions of palm trees? What of the cassava processing company?

“Let us even assume that NTA, water corporation, Fire station, and the radio station is not functioning because of the bad management of Nigerian government, what of the fact that a power station was located on our soil and for the past 2 years, we are yet to enjoy electricity for a second? What of the University? For the past 8 years, the institution is still not better than a glorified secondary school. Whenever I remember all these, I begin to agree with people who linked the underdevelopment of our land to the handwork of witches and wizards,” he said.

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Oluwaglass, negected and overgrown with weeds

NAIJ.com investigations proved true the above submissions that major establishments in Ikale land are moribund and in extreme state of disrepair. Indeed, virtually all the establishments that are universal drivers of development established in Ikale land are no longer functioning.

Oluwa Glass, which was once one of the foremost glass-producing companies in Nigeria and had capacity to provide employment for over 7,000 staff and locally generate 60% of its raw materials, is now completely dead.

Oluwaglass, negected and overgrown with weeds

Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc has thousands of palm trees, over 13, 000 hectares of land and can locally generate 98% of its raw materials and has capacity to conveniently employ over 20, 000 people, given the immense economic value of palm. Sadly, this company is also in a state of comatose.

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Abandoned Okitipupa oil palm plc

The cassava processing company with its huge employment and service potentials is also a failed company. The Ondo State University of Science and Technology established by the Late Dr. Olusegun Agagu cannot be considered as a functioning higher institution of learning nine years after its establishment. Children born in the last two years in Ikale land have not experienced supply of electricity for a single second as a result of the total disconnection of the area from the national grid despite the presence of Omotosho Power Plant on their land.

It is no wonder the indigenes and non-indigenes of Ikale have the strong notion that this is a land under the tough grips of witches and wizards.

However, NAIJ.com, in an effort to unravel the mystery surrounding the failure of every establishment in the area, visited the palace of Okitipupa monarch, his Royal Majesty, Jegun of Idepe Okitipupa, Oba Obatuga Obatoye and he made some remarkable revelations.

According to the respected monarch, the issue of failed establishment cannot be attributed to the powers of witches; rather it is the systemic failure of governments over the years.

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Oba Obatuga of Idepe Okitipupa
He said, “No. I don’t subscribe to the notion that witches are behind the failures of establishments in our land. Don’t we have witches in Lagos? Are there no developments there? Don’t we have witches all over the world? The truth is that government is not a good manager of resources and most of their establishments are politicized.

Assuming all these establishments are privately owned, then the owners will guide them jealously.
“But now, politics has set in and this is the reason why things are not working. You will also notice that failures of establishment are everywhere. Even the situation of light has worsened everything.

These things are man-made and not caused by any extra-terrestrial powers. I know my efforts concerning restoration of light but it was all frustrated with lies, deceits, and betrayers. But hopefully, God will take control of every situation in this land”, the king said.

Speaking with NAIJ.com is also the respected Anglican Bishop, Ebun Ogunele, Bishop of the Diocese of the Coast. According to the respected clergy, “Witches exist and they are everywhere but they are not responsible for the situation of this land. The problem is with us people. Some people are just greedy, selfish and wicked. They don’t care about others and that is why we find ourselves in this situation.

“And it is not even in our land alone, the level of selfishness has really eaten deep into the fabrics of our country. Though it is painful that despite the fact that this land has unlimited potentials- fertile lands, large deposits of bitumen, good establishments, man power and friendly terrains, it is yet to enjoy any of these resources,” the bishop said.

All things said, and witches aside, Ikale is a land under siege of underdevelopment and in urgent need of redemption. Hopefully, one day, things will change for the best of the people of this great land.

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