By Leke Odumuyiwa
“…..but I have always insisted to myself that my first duty is to the Yoruba nation. We are a nation, you know. And I put that nation first, then the one called Nigeria.” -Wole Soyinka
In 1887, an Italian economist, Vilfredo Federico Pareto, happened to be looking at patterns of 19th century England. He found that most income and wealth went to a minority of the people. He also discovered that mathematically, there was a consistence relationship between groups of people and the amount of income or wealth that each group enjoyed. Simply, it was something like 20 percent of the population enjoyed 80 percent of the wealth; 10 percent of the people would have 50 percent of the wealth.
Pareto’s other finding, one that really excited him, was that this pattern of imbalance was repeated consistently in data of different periods and different countries. This repetition over and over again, was with mathematical precision. Now, generations after this landmark discovery, the observation has turned immensely useful.
The lesson the Pareto Principle has for our community is a phenomenon of how the universe abhors imbalance. This unbalanced relationship remains the reality of our community which must be redressed and it is the reason I decided to once again appeal to our wealthy and eminent citizens to come to the aid of the town and assist with their resources and intellectual endowment for the benefits of all as our dear country enters into an interesting phase and new order.
For me, a people are at their best when the connection between them is strong and when a clear sense of purpose has been achieved. Today the challenges facing Ijebu-Igbo and its environs and Nigeria by extension are immense. The political system has betrayed the youth and broken the hearts of the old, who in their youth saw better days ahead for themselves. Our social fabric is being frayed and governments continue to send states and communities into debt.
The time has come for a break from the old ways, for change and restoration of hope, for responsible government, true and complete representation. There is no problem too great that a committed and dedicated group of people cannot overcome.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Real change, positive change comes when a community chooses from itself, the best of itself, and when representation is honest and open, when there is exchange of ideas between the elected and the electorate, so that they are governing themselves – only indirectly. This is the change that Ijebu-North can make; It can provide answers on how to deal with unemployment and reduces poverty, how to deal with issues of security, how to revitalize social services, education and health care delivery.
The next phase of our community development should be an opportunity for new beginnings, for more harmonious communities, complete representation. Politicians cannot have all the answers, and representatives cannot solve all the problems, but when a representative builds a partnership with his constituents, when both parties agree to move their communities forward, communities change for the better.
Together, we will witness the changes and the advancement that our communities desperately need. Together as a collective unit, the people of Ijebu-North can begin to lay claim to better education, health and social services. Together, we will begin to create opportunities for new jobs, open the door to new ideas, better government and representation. Together, as a people, we can face our challenges. Our eminent business and political leaders must be invited to this new, exciting journey for our communities.
A few of them like Otunba Mike Adenuga (@MikeAdenugaGlo) and Dr. Oba Otudeko would make immeasurable and far reaching impacts if they are consulted and persuaded to repatriate part of their wealth for the advancement of our common good. Prof.Babatunde Osotimehin (@BabatundeUNFPA), former Minister of Health and currently Executive Director at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) whose extensive work on reproductive health, women’s empowerment, population and development strategies has improved the lives of women and girls in various communities in over 100 countries across the world should replicate these same services for the benefits of women and young people in our community.
Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, Nigerian Ambassador to the United States may also assist in facilitating student exchange programme, scholarships and assistance in academic exposure for brilliant indigent students who desire to study abroad.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (@akin_Adesina), the outgoing Minister of Agriculture and the candidate of The African Development Bank would natural do more for his community on assumption of office on May 28 because of his passion for young people and his global vision of shared prosperity across Africa.
Our out-going distinguished Senator Alhaji Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka (@adegbengakaka) did his best through initiating and completing appreciable, impactful projects only that he did not support it with facilitating employment for many jobless graduates in the town unlike his predecessor who facilitated real jobs for over 700 unemployed graduates during his tenure.
The present local government Chairman, Otunba Laide Osifeso, or whoever is aspiring to run local government administration must henceforth realise that the electrifying current of change that is passing through Nigeria must not leave our community behind. There is need for a renewed and reinvigorated local government administration. Thankfully, the Local Government Administration would get an unwavering commitment, support and collaboration from our own Deputy Governor-elect Mrs Yetunde Onanuga.
The occupier of the office must generate ideas on how to run the local government efficiently and meet the yearnings of our people. The old ways of frequent running to Abeokuta and complaining every time that there is no money for projects or financing local activities smell in the nostrils of our people. An endowed community like ours should be able to leverage on our natural resource potential and partner with our eminent citizens.
The best and brightest, both home and abroad should be brought together to come up with an economic charter, an alternative developmental blueprint which will be a sharp contrast to the ad hoc arrangement of the current dispensation, and which will indeed provide the basis for galvanizing stakeholders for impactful contributions and lift ourselves by the bootstraps in our quest for economic development and political emancipation. There should be remarkable rapport with the intellectuals from far and wide for effective deployment in the service of the people.
Mr. Chairman is to ensure for instance that Pa Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Segun Olusanya and distinguished Senator Parakoyi Olalekan Mustapha can be the three wise men that will facilitate a meeting with Dr. Adenuga and Dr. Otudeko and discuss with them about the progress of the community and sought areas they can intervene and offer assistance. If we don’t go to them, there is no way they will know the challenges facing the community. It is part of the responsibility of the Local Government Chairman to reach out and offer leadership in that area.
Our eminent sons and daughters were not made by Ijebu-Igbo. They became success story through their personal distinctions, hard-work and God’s Grace. The local government chairman who carries the burden of the whole communities should be able to lobby them through strong diplomatic persuasion and high level down-to-heart appeal on the challenges and needs of the community so that we can achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development. This will reduce the burden of the state government and free resources for other less-endowed communities across our state. The prosperity of Ijebu-Igbo will naturally flow and impacts unhindered on other communities within the local government.
A long list of eminent citizens from our community was captured in my essay titled “Who will love Ijebu-Igbo and build her a Synagogue.” and a paper commissioned to propose economic summit is already with the local government chairman. They may serve as a guide. The office of the local government chairman is urged to take it up from where I stopped.
Our people with contacts and linkages to many of our eminent personalities are encouraged to inform them about the deplorable situation of the town.
The essence of this short message is to alert and sensitise ourselves to be our brothers keeper for greater good of our community and mankind. It is to find succor from our establishment personalitie’s wealth of experience and material support.
It is my wish that this message finds everyone in strong faith and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our community with all their scintillating beauty.
God Bless Ijebu-Igbo