Thursday, August 20, 2015 1:05 pm
STEPHEN OLUFEMI ONI/ Ilorin
The Kwara State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, is miffed that Kwara State, despite all pretensions to the contrary, has remained largely underdeveloped in the last three decades.
Oyedepo, who bared his mind at the public presentation of his book entitled “Letters to the Emir”, opined that evidences of the backwardness are legion, notwithstanding the tendency to hoodwink the people that the State is developing simply because Ilorin, the state capital, is becoming highly urbanised with several houses springing up in the hitherto forest areas of the metropolis.
He said: “A visit to the rural areas will show serious decline in increase in all sectors of our rural communities. We are fast witnessing rural-urban drift at an alarming rate to the detriment of the rural communities when we all know that urbanisation at the expense of the rural poor is a distorted development.”
He noted that motorcycle, locally known as ‘Okada’, was unknown in the 70s and 80s as a means of public transportation in the state and across the country and lamented that today secondary school leavers and graduates of tertiary institutions gladly take to ‘Okada’ riding business as a career as a means of livelihood. This, to his consternation, even received the blessings of the state governments across the country which buy many motorcycles as a form of economic empowerment for the teeming youth. To the PDP Chairman, who was pissed off by such glorification, he sees the use of motorcycle as a means of commercial transportation at this age as an evidence of a backward economy.
He took a swipe at Nigerian leaders most of whom he likened to vagabonds in power, only lusting for power. He said: “Leaders are supposed to give vision, direction and focus. If we are rich in minerals and other natural resources, but deficient in leadership as is the case presently, we are therefore the poorest of men. It is sad that our leaders only pay attention to their cars, ward robes, looks, bank accounts and high places they must occupy than serving us which explains why we are in this sorry pass.”
In particular, Oyedepo rued the people’s complacency and lackadaisical attitude to the pervading bad governance, lamenting that instead of taking up the gauntlet, they resign themselves to fate because they are afraid of harassment, arrest, detention, dismissal or termination of appointments and death. By democracy, he said the leaders derive their power from the people, but regrettably such leaders who should be servants are unjustifiably mystified by the people. He said: “We say we do not want to die but through inertia we submit to slow poison of death imposed on us by wrong, wicked policies and our refusal to hold those in political authority accountable for their tenure.”
Advocating freedom and genuine change, the author opined that the change being craved is not a dinner party as change would not come easily. He said: “The drivers of the programme of freedom and change cannot be men or women of the feet of clay that melt away at the face of intimidation from the temporary custodian of political authority. The bottom-line is that if we shall have freedom, genuine change, fairness and justice, we must stand up and fight.”
Oyedepo, who said he wrote the book out of a genuine concern for the future of Kwara State, disclosed that he was motivated to write it because of the dire need to cast a vision of the direction of the political journey in the state on some followers. “The book is not a mere critique of the present social order but rather a solution-packed document that must be read and used to raise the army of liberation,” admonished Oyedepo who craved a State that “ will be truly a State of Harmony, not the present State where harmony or silence of the graveyard provides for frustration and underdevelopment.”
Reviewing the book, Chief Ayo Opadokun, who was represented by Mr. Michael Ajayi, applauded the author for being objective in his analysis of the challenges facing the state. In particular, he described Oyedepo’s courage and resolve to write the 27 letters to the Emir as “a powerful exploitation of the revolt of ethnic nationalities striving to free themselves from the ruthless exploitation of their traditional overlord,” pointing out that the issues raised are fundamental and relevant to the corporate existence of a heterogeneous society like Kwara State.
To Opadokun, the author has, through the book, spoken the minds of many people and “has surely lit the candle for us to expose the occurrence of ungodliness and profligacy in the corridors of Kwara politics and power,” adding that the challenge Oyedepo and the book pose is that rather than grumbling silently about the negative situation, all and sundry should take up the responsibility to inform, educate and mobilise various platforms and constituencies to constitutionally change the status quo.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Hezekiah Oyedepo, said the author has, by the book, set an agenda for discussions on how to move the state forward, adding that those who have the interest of the state at heart should be interested in the book. Noting that the state needs more courageous people like the author, the Chairman said all and sundry should be prepared to play their part in order to redress the situation in the state.