It is will great happiness and gratitude to God that I welcome you all to the Inauguration Ceremony of 20 Working Committees of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) for the Executive Year 2017-2019.
I regard this event as the official flag-off of the Empowerment Phase in the life of the CCII with the first three (3) phases of Creation, Consolidation and Relevance successfully achieved by my predecessors in the past 35 years.
With the caliber and enthusiasm of people we have assembled to serve Ibadanland, today clearly marks a significant turning point in the life of the CCII and the story of the CCII will never be the same again as from today. Today we are taking on the responsibilities of a “Community Government” to our Socio-Cultural mandates with these responsibilities, your CCII will be uplifted and glorified beyond being confused with any other group in organization or focus. Your CCII will be rightly positioned and absolutely confirmed as the Voice, the Face and the symbol of the Ibadan people and their heritage.
The spirit of freely giving to Ibadanland ran profusely in the minds of our forefathers. By 1886 Ibadan had become the most powerful town in Yorubaland and the protector of the South West Nigeria. “Sodeke se tire laarin Egba, o ba tire lo, Ogedengbe se tire laarin Ijesa, o ba tire lo, Ogunmola se tire laarin Yoruba, o ba tire lo “Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole – D.O. Fagunwa, page 57.
Our forefathers worked for Ibadan to become the largest city in West Africa and 3rd in Africa. They established the most organized Chieftaincy arrangement among the black race. As Liberal Minds – our forefather freely gave – the UI land, the UCH land, and many others – all for the development of Ibadanland.
The exploits our forefathers created the enabling environment for Ibadan to be the home of the 1st University, 1st TV Station, 1st Stadium, 1st High rise building, 1st dual carriage road, in some cases not just 1st in Nigeria but in Africa.
Before we knew it, Ibadan had become the Business Hub of Southwest Nigeria, – the Lebanese, the Indians and the Multi-nationals were coming. People from Lagos used to travel to Ibadan for night life and enjoyment.
The rest of the Yorubaland used to look up to Ibadan for leadership and direction on regional and national issues. Calling Oyo the “Pacesetter state” in Nigeria is simply telling the history of Ibadanland and if Oyo State eventually loses this status, we need not put the blame on anybody else but we, the current generation of Ibadan people.
As at today, the people who fight the cause of Ibadanland are very few, the efforts are not coordinated and no specific goals are ear-marked for collective pursuit.
We still relish in the conquest of our forefathers almost 150 years after – “if what you did yesterday still looks big to you, then you haven’t done much today”! – How come we don’t have Ibadan State? How come we lost our national Political might? The late Governor Bola Ige told us point blank in 1980/81 – that “it was in fact Ibadan Indigenes that have neglected Ibadan, not the Government of Oyo State”.
Ours is still the largest indigenous city in Africa. We are the real Gateway to the Northern part of Nigeria. The on-going Lagos/Ibadan Expressway and the new Lagos/Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line will on completion make it possible for Ibadan to serve as residential town to the Port City of Lagos.
We have 99.0% hard-core land out of which 80% is still available for Agriculture, Industry and Housing. We have about 15 Agricultural Research Centres, Cost of living and labour in Ibadan is one of the cheapest in Nigeria – “Indeed it is not what you don’t have that limits you; it is what you have but don’t know how to use”
We, all Ibadan Indigenes, are now under the duty to connect our tomorrow with our yesterday and today. The purpose of this Conference is to decide on what this generation of Ibadan people will be remembered for?
We must create a coherent and sustainable Roadmap for Ibadanland. Are we to focus on, one, some or all of the following; Agriculture, Industry, Infrastructure, Sports, Education, Culture, Housing, Human Capital Development, Youth and Women Empowerment, Politics, Good Governance? Can we make Ibadan a Mega-City within the next 25 years? What can we do again that will be the 1st or Best in Africa in order to position ourselves as the bona-fide children of those great warriors of Ibadanland?
Because our journey on this 4th phase of the CCII is about Economic Empowerment for our people, we have selected two eminent relations of ours (one through the father and the other through the mother) to serve as the Chairman and Special Guest of Honour respectively for this occasion. I most heartily welcome Asiwaju Olumide Osunsina and Otunba Seyi Makinde and seize this opportunity to express the appreciation of all of us for your support all these years to the CCII and your love for Ibadanland through your massive investment on this land.
Each time I am called upon to handle issues relating to the development of Ibadanland, I realize that the easiest way to put the message, the challenges and the responsibilities across is to refer to that epic Allegory by D.O. Fagunwa – Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole.
“Bayi ni a je oniruru enia ti a nlo si irin ajo nlA yi; nigbati gbogbo wa si duro tan ti a to lo lessee, oba gba wa ni iyanju, lehin ti on si dake, Imodoye beresi oro iso o wi bayo pe:
“Enyin ara ilu wa gbogbo, e seun ti e wa lati wo wa loni. E hu iwa bi omo enia, e se bi omoluwabi si wa; e mu ki ori way a, e mu ki aiya wa bale, e si mu ki okan wa si si irin ajo wa. Bi ko ba si ohun ti o se ese, ese ki ise, bi ko ba ni idi e ko ni dede se bayi ri wa. Gbobgbo awa ti e now yi, Oke Langbodo ni a nlo, nitori ilu wa yin a si ni. Ajo ki idun titi ki onile ma re ile, ko si bi idale ti le dun mo wa to ki a ma ranti ile wa. Bi ilu eni kere ti o dabi ite eiye, ilu eni ni ilu eni; bi ilu eni doti ti o dabi ori atan, ilu eni ni ilu eni; bi ilu eni re ehin ti oju awon olugbe re ko la rara, ilu eni ni ilu eni; awon onilu ni si ise ilu, awon ni iso ilu doti di mimo, awon ni si iso ilu kekere din la. Sugbon enikeni ti o ba wipe ilu on ki ise t’on mo, gongosu enia ni.
Nigbati o pari oro re yi gbogbo awon obinrin bu si ekun awon okunrin si fa oju won ro, sugbon on koju si wa o wipe:
“Eyin elegbe mi ti e nlo si Oke Langbodo, e se okan yin giri ki e si se bi alagbara. Ogo wo ni o wa fun eniti nse afe kakiri inu aiye ti ko si se ilu re ni ore olokan! Iyi wo ni o wa fun ole enia ti o to ti akoni okunrin! Mo fe ki e mo pe Atari ole ko to ekan alagbara, bi fari re ba duro ni iseju kan, iseju keji ni asiri re yio tu. Eha ti ri ti enyin fi fa oju ro! Sodeke se tire Larin Egba o ba tire lo; Ogedengbe se tire larin Ijesa o ba tire lo; Ogunmola se tire larin Yoruba o ba tire lo. Nje mo bi yin: a o se tiwa tabi a ko ni se tiwa? Ona ti Imodoye fi soro yi dara pupo o si mu wa li okan le, gbogbo wa fi ohun okan wipe: ‘A o se tiwa, o ya, e jeki a lo’. Beni a ko ori si ona, gbogbo enia si wo tele wa; nwon sin wa de bode kin won to fie kun pada kin won to lo si ile. Lehin igabti gbogbo won pada tan, okunrin arugbo kan tele wa; nigbati a sir in die ti o mo pe gbogbo enia ti pada tan o da wa duro o sib a wa soro bayi pe: ‘Enyin omokunrin lilo ni e nlo yi, e ma sora nipa ija, e ma si se korira ara yin; owo meji nig be eru de ori, omo ika owo mararun ni si igbe onje de enu – e fi imo yin sokan. Lati oni lo, e maser anti ile mo; ibiti ona ba koju si ni ese ito, ibiti e ba nlo ni ki e foju si; Bi awon eranko buburu ba ba yin ja, e ba won ja; bi awon emi buburu ba yo yin lenu, e yo won lenu; bi o ba si ku enyin nikan ki e tun ero ara yin pa. Bi e ba gbo oro mi wonyi, yio dara fun yin; sugbon bi e ba ko won, ojo nbo nigbati enyin yio wipe: “A! okunrin arugbo na so be fun wa.” Nigbati o wi bayi tan o fi omije pada lehin wa o ba ile lo.
We have come up with robust programmes and project for economics, political cultural Renaissance of Ibadan land. There is no room for pessimism, cynism or arm chair patriotism, let nobody discourage you that it is impossible, infact we have started already. Please remember that CCII started with only 3 Affiliate Clubs today,we have 236 clubs and still counting. It’s ka moving train for all bonafide Ibadan Indegenes worldwide to make their contributions on the journey. We are transforming CCII from having activities each day of the year. Each committee has both economics and innovation mandates. Now we are tired of chorusing the greatness of our forefathers almost 150 years ago. We need new songs and heroes in Ibadanland – thus city should become a mega city by the year 2040.