The Onibala of Ibala-Ijesa in Osun State, Oba Adegboyega Christopher Ariyo served as Nigerian envoy to many countries before ascending the throne of his fathers. In this interview, he speaks on the need for sons and daughters of Ibala Ijesa to come together to develop the community among other issues of development. Excerpts:
How has it been since your installation as Onibala of Ibala Ijesa?
It has been very interesting and so far I’ve been enjoying hundred percent support from the good people of my community. Ibala Ijesa has been developing rapidly during my time and I believe that in no distant time, the community will become enviable in terms of development. Presently, my community has become another mining centre in the country due to the gold that was discovered there. I want to believe that this will be a very good source of revenue generation to our state and Nigeria as a whole and I want to thank the state government for their efforts and assistance in that direction. But like Oliver Twist, Ibala Ijesa is still in need of social amenities to keep the gold mining activities moving. For example we need good road network, construction of drainages against erosion, stable electricity supply, provision of good drinkable water, installation of more transformers, making the environment very conducive for investors to come and invest through security protection of the community by the government, among others. With the discovery of gold in Ibala Ijesa, I want to believe that we can use this opportunity to form a collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steels, Trade and Industry, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Education as well as Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to develop a strong relationship towards harnessing these our potential.
Johannesburg started as a mining village in this regard but today, it has become a very good attractive centre for the white men and that their gold mining activities had turned their entire country of South Africa to one of the economically stable countries of the world.
With the way the federal government had shown interest in the development of solid mineral in Ibala Ijesa, I want to believe that this will help a lot in creating job opportunities for our teeming youths. The establishment of gold processing centre in Ibala Ijesa will also assist the artisans in a safe manner to explore and exploit the gold resources in Ibala for their own economic advantage as well as for the advantage of the entire community, the state and federal government. For example, it will help the government to use the resources for the diversification of the Nigerian economy to one that will now have different sources of revenue generation. Therefore, it will be appreciated if the Osun State government that will benefit tremendously in terms of internally generated revenue (IGR) to boost the revenue of the state can assist by providing us with motorable access roads to Ibala Ijesa.
Furthermore, we expect training program for the men and women on how to annex and tap this potential for the entire country’s advantage. Significantly too, I am appealing to all the sons and daughters of Ibala to look back and join the government in developing Ibala Ijesa most especially in the area of property development because the workers that will be doing the mining activities would need very good accommodation.
With what you have just said regarding the discovery of gold resources in Ibala Ijesa; what is your advice to the youths?
My candid advice and message to them is to be self reliant, most especially at this period of Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the country’s economy and thrown several millions of people out of job. It is your hand-work or trade that cannot deceive or disappoint you whereas white-collar jobs can be a disappointment. So, I am imploring all our teeming youths and young graduates to learn a vocation aside their academic attainment so as to create alternative way of making ends meet. You see, I don’t believe people can copy development, so youths should think on how they can develop themselves. And since technology is based on economizing, they should be retrained in such a way that things could be better for Nigeria. Youths should use their hands and brain to create things and above all, we should all be prayerful so that things can work well for us in this nation. Nigeria is a country that is full of milk and honey if we can make use of our God given talents to make things work.
Sir, do you support the call for the government to create and assign roles to traditional rulers in the country?
Since traditional rulers are the custodians of our culture and tradition, and since they are the closest leaders to their people and know where the shoe pinches them in terms of their areas of need, I don’t think there is anything bad in assigning roles to traditional rulers. To me, this will even bring accelerated development into our societies because there no traditional ruler that will not want the quick growth and development of his community if money is entrusted to him for project execution.
For example, look at the role some traditional rulers played during the lockdown as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, some among us distributed palliative worth millions of naira to our people during that lockdown with our personal resources. Now, tell me if government now entrusts money to us to take care of our people, definitely such money would be well utilised.
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