Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Recently, the Federal Government approved federal colleges of education for six states, including Osun. But there are alleged plans to convert it to upgrading the Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun.
In this interview, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, berates the move, insisting that it is not only retrogressive but also anti-development.
He clamoured for the location of the school in his domain, Iwo, and also spoke on other issues.
There have been controversies over the Federal College of Education allocated to Osun State. What is your reaction?
That is greed. If that should be the case, why then is the Federal Government constructing the Lagos Ibadan-Expressway but is not patching it to save money?
The newly approved college of education is the new wine that must be put in a new bottle, and Iwo is the new bottle. That is why the school must be sited in Iwo. It is retrogressive to convert a proposed infrastructure to a mere upgrading of an old structure that has been surviving.
At a time that people are clamouring for development and the remaining five states out of the six that got the allocation of the federal college are planning to actualise the programme for development, it will sound illogical for anybody to reason that Osun’s own slot should be converted to the upgrading of a state college of education.
Are the people coming up with such idea trying to save money for the Federal Government? How much federal allocation is coming to Osun? The most important thing is to bring in more federal presence to Osun.
What is the justification for your locating the college in Iwo?
Over the years, Iwo has been marginalised in terms of federal infrastructure or institution. If you look around, you will discover that there is no single federal institution in Iwo. Iwo has been isolated from federal presence for a long time. All we have is divisional police station.
This is despite the fact that it was the 5th largest town in Nigeria as at 1931, after Ibadan, Kano, Lagos and Ogbomoso. It is also the most populated local government area in Osun State. If there is any time to have a federal presence in Iwo, it is now. Citing the school in Iwo is not negotiable.
Iwo people have served the current APC administration both at the state and federal levels. They have served the progressives. Iwo has been the home of the progressives like Awolowo right from the days of Action Group and UPN as well as AD and the current APC. Our people died for the progressives especially during the 1983 elections when the late Chief Bola Ige was robbed of victory in a governorship election in the old Oyo State. Iwo has always fought for the progressives.
If your case for the location of the school in Iwo fails, what will be your reaction?
I serve my people well with my money after leaving my comfort zone in Canada to become king.
I still go out to bring money, which I bring home to develop my town and my people. My people love me and I love them. I have the votes of this town in my hands. It’s the direction I show my people that they would follow. I know that Buhari has nothing to lose any more because he is leaving. But nobody should spoil things for other progressives that will come after him.
If they fail to bring the school to Iwo, we will cease to be progressives.
Are you in support of the border closure?
Those directly involved in the business, specially smuggling may not be happy but that is the right thing to do now. For how long shall we remain slaves to foreign products at the expense of our economy? We need to patronise our local products. That is the only way we can boost our economy.
If the border remains closed to achieve this, so be it. Everybody will find a way to survive.
We have a local fabric called ofi. It is produced in Iseyin in Oyo State. We now have a lot of it in Iwo. I call it ofi jeans. We have started designing it into different modern styles to promote it as our own local export brand.
However, government has to improve the technology in local rice production to increase supply and make it stone-free for consumer satisfaction.
No country can survive with 70-80 per cent importation. Buhari is trying to tell Nigerians to copy, learn and overtake. This simply means copying models from advancement, learn to do it better and take the lead in production for economic development so as not to be consuming other countries’ advancements.
How do you encourage farming in your domain?
I don’t support agriculture because that is old tradition. Development is my take any day. If you go to the heart of Abuja, Victoria Island and Lekki you can’t see farming. All you see is development all over. What we should be passionate about is the mineral resources inside the lands.
There are a lot of mineral resources in the lands that require mining. Mining is the ultimate business in this 21st century. All that I am looking forward to in Iwo is mining. We have tantalum in Iwo. We have gold. That is why I discourage my people from selling their lands because they contain mineral resources. If you appreciate the value of mining, you won’t go into farming.
All that government needs to do is bring in resources and investors that can galvanise mining and develop our economy. There was a time government didn’t know about crude oil. But when it was discovered and exploited, it became the most lucrative means of revenue. Such proactive measure in mining can take us to the next level of economic development.
Mining is the only way to build this nation. We have a lot of tourism potential in Nigeria, particularly in Osun State, which are huge revenue prospects. But they are not being maximised by government.
Nigeria is a very small country when you are talking of land mass. Nigeria is not even up to the Province of Ontario that is not the biggest province in Canada. The country is just like a state. We need industrial revolution in Nigeria. We need cities, skyscrapers. Not farming.
When we invest in mining and build mining industries and attract investors, then, development will increase rapidly. Farming consumes more lands than mining. On about 10 and 20 hectares of land, mining can give you $2billon, which amounts to about N720billion. So, let us examine our lands and see the quantity of the mineral resources we have in them.
How then can food production and security be guaranteed?
Let people that have mineral resources be farming for us. Food can’t be a problem because if you have money, you can have food in abundance. Go to the Caribbean, Mexico, you will find out that the bananas, grapes and other arable foods are produced from South America and brought to America.
Our lands are full of mineral resources. Nigeria is full of milk and honey. Let us check the lands and see where mineral resources abound and then embark on farming instead of emphasising on agriculture alone, leaving the very rich mineral resources lying waste.