From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
It was jubilation galore and celebration of dream come true for the people of Ipokia, in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, when Governor Ibikunle Amosun turned the sod at the site of the newly created Ogun State Polytechnic (Ogun Poly), Ipokia.
With pomp, the indigenes of the town trooped out en masse to witness the birth of a higher institution the town had craved for since the 80s. Therefore, Friday, September 15, will remain indelible in the minds of Ipokia people and its environs.
On the government side, the polytechnic, which was created as a result of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, being upgraded to Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology, deserved all the attention, hence, the synergy between four ministries – Works, Housing, Education and Urban and Physical Planning – to ensure the nascent institution took off without hitch.
The government, led by the governor relocated to Ipokia a week prior to the ceremony. This was to enable government search for a suitable location for the new school. And after three days of combing through the forest, 500 hectares of land was earmarked for the institution at Ijaye-Okembo area of the town.
On the D-day, top government functionaries and their political counterparts as well as traditional rulers, converged on Ipokia for the historical event. Youths, students, artisans, social clubs and important personalities also graced the events. In similar vein, erudite scholars of Yewa Awori extraction including Professor Emeritus Biyi Afonja and Professor Alabi came to witness the occasion.
Adding pep to the event was the intermittent rendition of folklore songs and scintillating dance steps by Ajangbode Troupe from the town.
Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Modupe Mujota, observed that the establishment of the new polytechnic was a strong indication of equitable distribution of projects in the state.
The Adele Oba of Ipokia, Ambassador Isiaka Abolurin, lauded government for locating the school in the town. The polytechnic, according to him, would usher in the much-needed socio-economic development of the Ipokia people.
While observing that the town has large expanse of land capable of hosting any other facilities the school might need, Abolurin, added the school has put smiles on the faces of Ipokia people. He promised that the town would give all the necessary support to make it a success.
Chairman of Ipokia Elders Forum, Alhaji Segun Adeosun, described the event as a major milestone. He thanked the governor for making the dream of Ipokia people come true and promised that efforts would be geared towards making the polytechnic a shining light.
Former chairman, Governing Council, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Professor Biyi Afonja, noted that the renowned record label owner and business man, late Bolarinwa Abioro, would be turning with joy in his grave, for the fulfilment of his age long dream.
He recalled how Abioro and other well meaning indigenes of Ipokia, came to meet him in Ibadan while serving as Commissioner for Education in the Western State between 1973 and 1974, to inquire what it would cost them to have a secondary school in Ipokia town.
Afonja who said he told that N40,000 would be needed to build a secondary school, added the fund provided by Abioro and others, gave birth to Ipokia Community High School. He called on the well-to-do individuals in the town to emulate Abioro and support the polytechnic to stand.
For the Chairman, Yewa Think Tank, Professor Alabi, the prayer an elder of the town offered in 1964, for Ipokia to have tertiary institution, had been answered by God. He recollected how a particular political conference was brought to the town all the way from Lagos, which according to him excited the elder who prayed that the town would be blessed with an institution that would attract people to the town. He also solicited the support and cooperation of the people in ensuring the new poly thrives.
The Olu of Ilaro and the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, urged the people to cooperate with government by accommodating the students of the institution. He further urged the traditionalists to moderate traditional practices, particularly Oro, in order not to scare the students away from the new polytechnic.
He said the establishment of the polytechnic “is a call to service and challenge to Ogun West people” to contribute their resources for the development of the school. He promised to build a hostel and lecture room in the school, calling on other well meaning individuals to follow suit.
Amosun pledged that government would work to meet the mid November deadline given by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) for the provision of basic infrastructure in the polytechnic. He said no existing villages within the institution would be demolished to give way for the new polytechnic, just as he promised that farmers whose crops were destroyed would be adequately compensated.
He said government had in 2016 sent a bill to the House of Assembly for the upgrade of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, to Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology and the establishment of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia. The bill was passed and signed into law in March.
The school will have campuses in Imeko and Idi Iroko. He said the establishment of the polytechnic “was a further realisation of the need to have more science based tertiary institutions in Ogun State to meet up with the new industrial hub status of the state. The polytechnic was also a culmination of our administration’s desire for even spread of socio-economic development and to produce professionals in technical education.”
The governor, who expressed optimism that the new polytechnic will change the landscape of Ipokia town and enhance the socio-economic of the indigenes, solicited for the contribution of well meaning individuals for the development of the school. He cautioned that traditional practices should be moderated to accommodate staff and students seeking admission into the school.
A native of Ipokia, Sola Odugbayi, expressed joy at the project, which he termed “unprecedented.” He said the institution has put the town on the world map noting the indigenes of the town would now have brighter opportunities to seek and get higher education, without going far. He lauded the governor for breaking the jinx of locating a tertiary institution in Ipokia, after years of failure by past administrations.
For Ahmed Adeosi, Ipokia youths who resort to commercial motorcycle riding will now have better alternatives and chances to further their education.
Jamiu Oladega, a borehole driller, was excited. He noted that with massive construction about to commence on the site, indigenes of the town who are artisans, will be productively engaged. He called on government to construct a bridge that will connect Ipokia to Badagry in Lagos State, while Idi Iroko-Ipokia Road and the epileptic power supply should be fixed also.
A trader, Victoria Oladele, said the institution would provide a veritable platform for her children to have higher education. She added that though she is an illiterate, she would do everything possible to ensure her children get tertiary education noting that Ogun State Polytechnic, has berthed at the right time in Ipokia.