April 18, 2024

Ogun monarch berates govt over neglect of border communities

Ogun monarch berates govt over neglect of border communities

….as TASUED, OOU honour Prof. Asiwaju

By James Ogunnaike Abeokuta

A traditional ruler in Ogun State, the Onimeko of Imeko in Imeko/Afon local government, Oba Benjamin Olanite has berated the state and federal governments over the neglect of the border communities, saying that this has impacted negatively on the development in those communities.

Oba Olanite, who said this at a two-day international conference in honour of Emeritus Professor of History, Anthony Asiwaju, at June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto Abeokuta, said government’s neglect of the border communities is encouraging banditry and kidnapping.

The international conference with the theme “Comparative African History and Borderlands Studies” was put together by the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye at the instance of the Ogun State Government.

The conference was held to mark the 85th birthday and scholarly contributions of Professor Asiwaju, especially in the area of boundaries disputes and resolution across the globe.

The conference, which was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, also had in attendance, Gov Dapo Abiodun represented by his deputy, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the keynote speaker, Prof Yemi Akinyeye as well as the Director-General of National Boundary Commission, Abuja, Surv Adaji Adamu.

Others were the Vice-Chancellors of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Oluwole Banjo and Prof. Ayodeji Agboola respectively; Prof AbdulRahman Bello, Chairman, Governing Council of TASUED as well as the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu among other scholars across the nation.

The traditional ruler attributed the development in border communities, especially primary and secondary schools to either the missionaries or communal efforts.

Oba Olanite said, “when we talk about border communities, some people tag us as smugglers, but these are communities where you hardly see or feel government presence; be it federal, state or even local.

“When we talk about infrastructure, especially schools, we are at the mercy of either communal or missionaries. The issue of the bandits and kidnappers is not allowing teachers to come and work in our area.

While commending the organizers of the conference, he said, “this international conference is quite apt and it should be used to further highlight the plight of residents of border communities in the country”.

Speaking at the event, Governor Abiodun, who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele described Prof. Asiwaju as a global scholar, who has brought honour and glory to the state.

Abiodun noted that the essence of the conference was to provide platform to further discuss the use of borders among African countries as a bridge to enhance economic integration and prosperity and not as a barrier to stifle the potential growth and economic boom in the continent.

On his part, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola described Prof. Asiwaju as a trailblazer who has made outstanding contributions to boundary history and comparative studies of borderlands, saying that his outstanding contributions to academic research made the University of Lagos recognized him as an Emeritus Professor of the University 13 years after he retired from the institution.

She noted that the contributions of Prof Asiwaju over the years will surely help Africa to achieve a free trade area which will undoubtedly impact positively on the lives over 1.4bn people in the continent.

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Prof. Wole Banjo said the conference serves as a testament to the enduring impact of Professor Asiwaju’s lifelong dedication to scholarship, research, and mentorship.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola described Prof. Asiwaju, as a leading academic figure, a foremost Africanist historian and Borderland scholar.

Prof. Agboola appealed to the state government to do more to celebrate and honour distinguished indigenes of the State and all those who have made remarkable contributions to the development of their fields, society and the State at large, saying that this will project the excellence and vast human resources for which Ogun State is renowned throughout the country and beyond.

Speaking with journalists at the conference, Prof Asiwaju said, he was always embarrassed when confronted with the plight of people in border communities, given the amount of work he has done for over 60 years to bring about a positive change.

The Emeritus Professor said, “it was my work that led to the creation of National Boundary Commission as well as Nigeria Border Community Agencies. Both of them are under the presidency. So, sometimes you get embarrassed and shocked by the gap, the disconnect between policies making and the implementation.

“If the policies put in place have been systematically implemented, we won’t be where we are today, the abandonment of the border communities would have long been resolved. So, we shall keep talking about this to bring about the much desired results that we all want”