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The Marginalization Of Oke-Ogun And The Criminal Silence – By Ismael Taiwo

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The Marginalization Of Oke-Ogun And The Criminal Silence Of Mediocre Political Representatives

Oke-Ogun, a distinctive region in Oyo State with vast and enormous human capital and natural resources has been suffering from underdevelopment from the time past. Successive governments in Oyo State have treated Oke-Ogun as the backwater of the State to which political leaders only go for votes at election time alone.

Oke-Ogun, an area that is dominated with vast resources, a region that is richer than some African countries. Talking about solid minerals, tourism, agriculture and human capital, Oke-Ogun is naturally endowed in Nigeria. Virtually all sectors, the region is distinct. Despite the huge resources abound the region, the people of Oke-Ogun have been living in abject poverty for a long period of time, many lives have been cut short due to avoidable diseases, the future of many promising youths have been jeopardized due to lack of proper and qualitative education, roads linking Oke-Ogun together are death traps for motorists, those who invest heavily in agriculture to search for greener pasture have been trapped into the catastrophe of marauding Fulani herdsmen who take delight in sending their cows to feed on farm settlements at the detriment of the farmers.

Oke-Ogun region has been shortchanged and marginalized politically and economically. Oke-Ogun people have been cheated for so long by those who see themselves as imperial lords at the helms of affairs of Oyo State power house. A lot of developmental projects have been more concentrated in either in Ibadan or other regions leaving Oke-Ogun region untouched or in palliative despite the fact that the federal allocation as opined in the constitution should be shared by all irrespective of tribes, region or location. You will agree with me that 80% of federal allocation is expended in Ibadan while the remaining 20% is shared by other regions.

The continuous marginalization has subdued the people of Oke-Ogun into believing that they are spectators in the power game of chess in Oyo State. Many have lost interest totally into believing that government is produced by the people and is meant for the people. Oke-Ogun people are industrious, hardworking and honest but their distinct nature of human capital viz-a-viz enormous resources are dying virtually everyday. Who do we blame? There is no need to look elsewhere to cast aspersion on successive governments in Oyo State for serial marginalization of the region but to look inward and mete culpability on the so-called political representatives who serially betray the interest of the people they represent under the altar of pecuniary gains and to maintain their political largesse from their respective imperial masters. Some political marauders who claimed to be representing the people of Oke-Ogun but only turn deaf ears to the plights of the people when they eventually find themselves at the corridor of power are major impediment to Oke-Ogun progress. These people have forgotten that they can enjoy their largesse today but tomorrow of their unborn generations shall definitely go vinegary due to their criminal silence when the need to rise to the plights of the people is very urgent. I make bold to assert that the current set of political representatives in Oke-Ogun are mediocres and do not represent the interest of Oke-Ogun people. These people are accidental political leaders and are disastrous to the development which we all crave for Oke-Ogun land.

Some of them do not even understand the strength of the political powers they possess, many have continuously sold their conscience on the altar of pecuniary gains leaving the people they claimed to be representing in abject poverty.

Successive governments in Oyo State have always been depriving Oke-Ogun region the developmental projects that will spur development in the land. There is need to look inward and uproot self-centered political leaders and stakeholders that have made themselves agents of marginalization to the Agodi warlord governors. Few years ago, Gov. Ajimobi while campaigning in Oke-Ogun promised to establish a technical university but chose to divert the institution to Ibadan having got his political mandate from the people of Oke-Ogun. This was done against the wish of Oke-Ogun people despite the hues and cries of Oke-Ogun people for a university that will enable educational advancement in the region. This is totally condemnable and an attempt to keep the people of Oke-Ogun under the perpetual hegemony of political gladiators in the State.

While the university project is currently going on in Ibadan none of these shameless political leaders has raised an eyebrow. Surprisingly, the criminal silence of the so-called honourable members representing the people of Oke-Ogun at the Oyo State House of Assembly is called for sober reflection. We have subjected ourselves into accepting mediocres as our representatives ranging from the deputy governorship position to other political representatives. It baffles one’s mind when you see a Deputy Governor from Oke-Ogun who always deputizes in silence while the State Governor continues marginalizing the people he claims to represent. What about the shameless and mediocre representatives we elect as our leaders? What should perturbs sensible minds is the connivance of these political representatives in the “Operation Marginalize Them” as launched to the people of Oke-Ogun by the successive governments in Oyo State. It will interest you that most of those who represent the region at the State House of Assembly from the Deputy Speaker to other members are youths who should be vocal and radical enough to stand against oppression, suppression, subjugation and marginalization of Oke-Ogun.

Who is marginalizing who? Is it the successive governors in Oyo State or the mediocres elected as Oke-Ogun representatives? The people of Oke-Ogun should brace up and decide their fate themselves. This is high time we stopped vicious cycling of mediocre political representatives who aid and abet their imperial masters to shortchange the people of Oke-Ogun. We must make it known to ourselves that freedom is not freely given even in Freetown, it can never be in the agenda of the oppressors to determine the liberation of the oppressed, the oppressed will stand firm and demand for the liberation. Malcom X posits “that no power bows for any power unless the former is superior than the latter”. We must say enough is enough to the continuous dehumanization, intimidation, subjugation and marginalization of Oke-Ogun people.

Ismael Taiwo (T.COOL), President, National Association of Oke-Ogun Students, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

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