BY HENRY UMORU AND JOSEPH ERUNKE
50 first class traditional rulers, leaders, stakeholders, elders from Osun State have written the Chairman, National Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi and the leadership to demand the inclusion of Oduduwa State as an additional state to those to be created from the South West geo- political zone of the country.
Expressing dismay that Oduduwa State was not part of the 18 states proposed by the national conference committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government, the Osun traditional rulers and leaders said the demand for the new state had been a passion for the people of the affected area since 1983.
Addressing journalists yesterday, stakeholders pushing for the new state led by Prof. Muheed Opeloye, President, Ife Development Board recalled that the request for state creation from the old Oyo State in 1983 included among others, Oduduwa and Osun States, adding that while the then proposed Osun State included Ede, Ejigbo, Ifelodun, Ila, Irepodun, Osogbo, Iwo and Odo Otin areas, the proposed Oduduwa State had Atakunmosa, Ayedaade, Ife Central, Ife North, Ife South, Irewole, Isokan, Oriade and Obokun.
Prof. Opeloye was flanked by the Alayemore of Ido Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, Prof. Steve Adewusi, member Ife Development Board, Alhaji Ajagbe Akewasola, member Ife Development Board, Prince Gbenga Omiwole, General Secretary, Oduduwa State and National Secretary, National Association of State Movement at the briefing.
He said that after the eventual creation of Osun State, the clamour for the creation of Oduduwa state never stopped.
According to him, in December 1995, the leaders from the proposed Oduduwa State submitted a memorandum to the National Conference holding at that time while the same was also done in March 1996 when traditional rulers, chiefs and community leaders from the area signed another memorandum requesting for the creation of Oduduwa State. He added that in 2009, the Osun State Council of Obas examined the agitation for the creation of a new state out of the present Osun State and found it desirable and justifiable.
He explained that the Council was satisfied that both the new and what was left in the existing Osun State will be economically viable and sustainable adding that the endorsement for the creation of Oduduwa State was signed by 50 senior traditional rulers of Osun State Council of Obas, just as he explained that the proposed state covers a land area of 8,853,22 square kilometers with approximate population of over 1.7 million people based on the 2006 census figure.
“The historical significance of Oduduwa as the progenitor of the Yoruba race and Ile-Ife as the cradle of Yoruba in Nigeria and the Diaspora are some of the compelling reasons for the endorsement by the Council’s call for the creation of Oduduwa State.
“From the foregoing, it is evident that creation of Oduduwa State will bring benefit to all the communities in the new state in terms of development, and also more beneficial to the remaining Communities in Osun State in terms of more amenities. The job opportunities for the citizens of the area in the wake of more ministries and agencies cannot be overlooked.
“The efforts of our delegates in the National CONFAB to make this dream realizable will be indelible in the minds of the people and be an everlasting legacy for the present stakeholders in the struggle. Wishing the CONFAB success in their deliberations.”
Oba Adedapo, who is secretary, Council of Yoruba Obas and also a delegate to the ongoing National Conference is leading the intense lobby for Oduduwa State to be included among the new states to be so recommended for creation.