2017: NEW YEAR GOODWILL MESSAGE TO MY COMPATRIOTS {EKITIS WITHIN AND IN DIASPORA} – Congressman Bimbo Daramola

2017: NEW YEAR GOODWILL MESSAGE TO MY COMPATRIOTS {EKITIS WITHIN AND IN DIASPORA} – Congressman Bimbo Daramola

 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true; whatsoever things are honest; whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things  are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue; and if there be any praise; meditate on those things the holy book

Philippians Chapter 4 vs 8

-From Congressman Bimbo Daramola, Gubernatorial Aspirant, EKITI 2018.

WHAT PICTURE OF EKITI DO YOU SEE?

May I welcome you my dear compatriots, Ekitis within the homeland, within the country and outside to the year 2017.

I congratulate all of us for successfully pulling through all the challenges of the outgone year, no doubt it was quite challenging for a good number of individuals and families having to endure a nation in recession nationally and at sub regional level of our state, all kinds of happenings and occurrences from the simple to the absurd.

In all we survived and here we are at the beginning of another year, to God be all the glory for sparing our lives and as customary let me wish us all a very happy new year.

My fellow Ekitis before we get into our busy schedules and demanding routines may I request most respectfully that you oblige me five minutes of your very precious time.

I desire to ask a question that I believe is beyond partisan dictates and transcends any social inclination and very critical to understanding where we are, or should be, and possibly help to shape how to get there, peradventure we are not there, and as we make individual new year resolutions maybe we may be inclined to also have corporate new year resolution if kept to strictly that will make our state and our people better, which is the aim of new year resolutions in the first place.

The simple question I desire to ask is to help us undertake a self-audit as a people and state to ascertain how far  we have come in our 20years ?where we are?  What we have done right and wrong? Could we have done better? Could life have been better for us? All of these questions and the answers should eventually fit into the broader question of what is the picture of Ekiti that we see?.

May I plead that this message be not lost in the general condemnation that goes with messages tainted with bias that could include my aspiration to contest for the gubernatorial seat of our dear state or the party I belong to, rather to prick our conscience regardless of our partisan leanings, social and societal standing, and jolt us from our seeming collective numbness, reverie and possibly amnesia about our need to restore our pristine identity.

Every nation , or people bounded by the same fate and fortune would at one time or the other have to connect their future with their past, so they will call for introspective reflections, even individuals also do, the story of the prodigal son in the bible expressly attests to this, having come to the end of himself after days of frolicking and prodigious lifestyle the bible recalls that he ‘’came to himself’’ and took a decision to return home to his father and his destiny took a different trajectory from that point.

The point here is that he reflected and in his moment of introspection over his past matched  against his present and seeing that the future may look gloomy if he continued on that track the ‘’picture of himself and his future that he saw upon his reflections’’ prompted action to return home.

I dare say at such a time I honestly think we have come as a people and state and this has informed my New Year message with the title WHAT PICTURE OF EKITI DO WE SEE GOING FORWARD?

I was born in Ekiti at Ile Abiye hospital , a missionary hospital owned by the Anglican communion, toward the end of the 60s, back then, we also had Maria Assumpta Hospital both in Ado Ekiti, then these were hospitals of choice, there was only one noticeable private hospital then I guess , I think owned by Dr Adesokan, but considered a little pricey and there was no recourse to go there because between Ile Abiye and Maria Assumpta whatever the medical challenge would be fixed,  very low infant and maternal mortality rate, procedures were carried out successfully at affordable costs, forty something years ago.

I lived the first twenty two years of my life in Ekiti unbroken, just occasional trips to Ibadan and Lagos, went to Christ Nursery and Primary School, then L.A Aafin Primary School Ado Ekiti where my late mother was a teacher, and then to St Phillips A primary School in Aramoko Ekiti and thereafter the great Christ’sSchool Ado Ekiti. I never went to a Montessori, never went to Adesoye or Olashore , to crown it all ended at the then Ondo State University , Ado Ekiti now EKSU, never went to any ivy league University in Nigeria or anywhere on the planet , but today by the grace of God I can modestly hold my own against anybody who had the privileged  background that these other institutions would seem to have or convey.

In education then , several people graduated  with distinctions in WASC i.e 7 straight As, and in A’ Levels straight As in the four subjects, and many superb results from WAEC, these were the days when nobody dare approach a teacher to ‘’settle’’ them with any form of material gratifications be you parent regardless of who you are and least of all a student.  Sons and daughters of the ‘’big men and women’’ struggled to gain admission into Christ’s School Ado Ekiti, coming from everywhere, from the present day Edo and Delta States  e.g the like of Macaulay Iyayi, Imo Itsueli former M.D Dubril oil, MD Pinnacle Commercial Bank, and  many others from all over the places, common entrance exams to same Christ’s School Ado Ekiti had an examination  centre in United Kingdom!!!

I dare say education was at its beautiful best. The other schools around at that time, no pun intended or derogatory intentions, pulled their weights, Eyemote Grammar School,in Iyin Ekiti, Egbeoba Grammar School in Ikole Ekiti, Ado Grammar School in Ado Ekiti for instance gave us somebody of the stature and profile of Distinguished Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Notre Dam Grammar School in Usi Ekiti, or Doherty Memorial in Ijero Ekiti all of these gave us so many distinguished personalities that you find in the age brackets of 45 and 60 that could hold their own against any of their contemporaries anywhere on the planet. That is the Ekiti that I knew.

I had alluded to the great medicare standard in the 1960s for the ordinary and regular people in Ekiti back then too. Now for commerce and enterprise , we had icons that dotted the Ekiti Landscape, all of a sudden our present situation has effectively masked our own home grown all time greats who  were successful business people, for instance, Late Baba Omolayo { I’m told his modesty made him decline several chieftancy title offers} he was a successful business man with a printing press like no other in the then Ondo State, he later donated a gigantic edifice to the University, even though he never went through formal education all his life!!!

We all of a sudden have forgotten Baba Anisulowo, home based and groomed businessman per excellon of the days of yore in Ekiti, he gave us Anisulowo Superstores, then our own equivalent of today’s Shoprite, it was indeed a delight going through the store then, the first one in Ekiti where you paid at electronic till!!! He was a successful businessman, then all major events had Baba Anisulowo as Chief Launcher or had a role that recognized his economic worth.

Anisulowo superstores was a precursor to Juli Pharmacy and stores which came in much later both operated side by side, devoid of animosity or bickering, Juli Pharmacy owned by our own boyishly good looking national icon Julius Ademiluyi , a trained pharmacist.

How do we forget somebody who seemed to confirm the assertion of what a man can do , a woman can do almost as good on the Ekiti economic circuit at the time, I recall with so much fondness our own business woman of repute Mama Jinadu , a cement merchant that serviced the then Ondo State and beyond, if you had the misfortune of going to the Union Bank or First Bank on Monday morning then , you run the risk of waiting in long line before getting to the teller because all the tellers and other staff were busy counting sales coming from Mama’s shops and distributors from the previous weekend. Mama will sometimes be in the branch manager‘s office, in her Ankara , a tiny gold necklace , contrasting with her beautiful face and dark skin.

The branch manager would dare not sit down until Mama’s money was fully counted and entered into the ledger, while in the same breath she was raising bank draft for another cement consignment. An exemplification of enterprise and industry even in those days. That is the Ekiti I knew and grew up from.

Of course I cannot forget Chief Obayemi  a government contractor  who delved into murky waters of politics and fell victim of the 1983 unfortunate political imbroglio and upheaval, there were many others in other areas like Fakehinde Blocks , later Little by Little photos, the famous Bisi Books originally from Ibadan owned by the prominent Aladejanas from Iworoko and many more business successes of those times.  Rugged Entrepreneurs of Ekiti at that time. This was a part of our history. That is the Ekiti I knew.

I must not forget to add that Ekitis had a strong significance stature back then worthy of getting an ever green track from Commander Ebenezer Obey and his Miliki Band, when he sang, ‘’ awon omo Ekiti won nkawe won mura, Ado Ekiti to fi de Ijero Ekiti, Ijero Ekiti to fi de Aramoko, Oga ni won je won nkawe won mura, Governor Adebayo Ekiti , Ekiti me le gbagbe Ekiti. My emphasis on ‘’OGA NI WON JE NWON NKAWE WON MURA’’, it need be noted that this was sang by Ebenezer Obey in the 1960s!!! We earned that epaulet as a people for our reknown and legendary reputation in academic excellence, we at some point had the sobriquet ‘’the state that breeds professors’’, one house one professor it was so touted!!!  That is the Ekiti I knew. What is the picture today?

I heard a gist that in the early to mid 1960s also, that at a forum which had Ozumba Mbadiwe  and Nnamdi Azikwe , the revered Zik of Africa  in attendance , introduction of attendees was called for , and it was reported that the fiery Ibadan politician in the person of Chief Adelabu Adegoke alias Penlemesi {taken from peculiar mess} in a fit of agitation said’’ ee ma lenje Asikiwe, Mbadiwe, boba d’iwe Ekiti o ka o’’, funny but goes to attest to our history and reputation as a people.

Translated to mean ‘’ some of you will say you are Azikwe, some Mbadiwe, and by Yoruba lexicon ‘’IWE’’ means ‘’BOOK’’ so if you say you are books Ekitis will read you!!!

This is the Ekiti I knew. Is this the same story or spectacle today?

I dare anybody to conduct a test among our young folks today and ask who Professors Bodunrin, Osuntokun and Sam Aluko were. Or ask who Lady Jibowu was? Or who Architect Fola Alade is? Or Abiodun Adetiloye, beyond being a Primate of the Anglican Communion. I have conducted these tests severally and 90 percent of the people I surveyed did not know these Ekiti icons, what they represented, the best that was known about Lady Jibowu is the building named after her in Ekiti state government house!!! Who she was nobody knew!!  A bureaucrat of no mean repute. These persons alongside others gave us our reputation, identity and profile and with that our corporate respect as Ekitis.

My fellow compatriots kindly indulge my stretching you and taking your time unjustly but I am passing this message out, because I am indeed very disturbed and concerned, our identity as Ekiti people and individuals has been switched, swapped and swarmed that we now have an identity crisis. The younger generation do not know the real Ekiti personae anymore. Little wonder that their career aspirations are stunted by unscrupulous persons particularly politicians who remember them prelude to and on election days and thereafter they are left in the labyrinth of helplessness or hopelessness and by extension the Ekiti of future and amortization of our reputation and identity.

History has showed beyond doubts that when a people lose their identity their path to greatness is truncated, their future mortgaged. The case of the Jews will suffice. The successes recorded by the Jews particularly in the United States of America today is attributable to the resistance to the dilution of their core identity, pristine values and essence of the Jews which is carefully protected against the daily rampage of westernisation.

There is no doubt that politics, politicians and political activities have done a lot of hurt and mess up our pristine identity as a people of pride, factual, integrity driven, industrious in our own ways all that have given way to political expediency driven by political marauders across parties who all that matters is politics of the end justifies the means.

To allude to our intergrity as a people , in 1983 we fought to defend the election of a non indigene of Ekiti  as Governor, Ekitis stood by the  votes given to Chief Adekunle Ajasin as against our own son Chief Akin Omoboriowo!!!.

The resolve was keen and that led to the unfortunate development of loss of lives and property, I am not aware that Chief Obafemi Awolowo mandated us to go that route!! Today divisive tendencies are being introduced to rip us apart for political expediency that does not promote our homogeneity, spirit of oneness and togetherness among Ekiti people rather the selfish and narrow ambitions of politicians and barracuda entrenched interests. Our people, their welfare, well-being, development remain the pawns on their chessboard

I grew up to know that one of the favourite sayings of Ekiti people is ‘’olowo ki se Olorun asiri e lo bo’’i.e a rich man is not God he is just privileged, today that virtue is gone as political marauders have impoverished not only the pockets of the people but importantly their minds to the extent that Ekitis now queue on the streets for food, tokens and indeed pieces of cake!!!

We have being robbed of our dignity to becoming a state of internally disoriented people {IDP}. The young ones and even elders  are lined up to collect pieces of cake and not given support structures to enable them to be able to bake their own cakes on their own next birthdays not to talk of in future.

Way back in Christ sSchool Ado Ekiti, we got free books, school uniforms in two sets with house wear, ate good food to be able to come out in flying colours , I never for once saw the lamp posts or bill boards at that time carrying self-adulatory messages of those as achievements by Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, My Parents who were teachers never complained that they never got paid, indeed my father as a School principal sent my mother a school teacher to Murray House College of Education in Scotland out of his earnings as a school principal. Those were days. The Ekiti I knew.

The lives and reputation of the  compatriots that I have mentioned here, the list is by no means exhaustive should bring us to begin a crusade for moral rectitude and rearmament as a people and prompt us to begin to ask critical questions if our future must be safe and secure for us all, their lives should inspire and motivate the present and future generation, we need to get our future back and one of the ways to go about that is to look at the picture of our state in the past ,what it presents today  and what it portends in the future.

Today who are the modern day role models for our next generation in Ekiti? Is it politicians across the spectrum whose lives reek of dirt and odoriferous stench? Those who would rather fester their own nests with commonwealth, take advantage of the weak, sow and infirm to feather their nests without scruples, whose conscience are fettered? those who deliberately award  big ticket contracts that has no direct impact on improving the socio economic realities of the people rather  with a view to milking the system under a guise of performance, while hospitals are not in top shape, education is in derelict shape, those to deliver public service are in the throes of pains.

To my mind we need to review our situation and ask where our moral compass has been thrown or the direction it’s pointing, if we don’t NOW the future may be bleak.

Our fate, fortunes and future as a people is hanging precariously and we must be honest to admit that the picture as I see it may not be reassuring, it is not solely about the present political leadership at the state, but leadership at levels.

I also believe in what is often said that the fate, fortunes, future of a people  is TOO SERIOUS TO BE LEFT TO POLITICIANS who in the main are concerned with winning elections, which they see as war and deploy all means both fair and otherwise, mostly otherwise to prosecute the warfare and at the end of the day the uppermost thing on their minds is how to share the spoils of war!!! Leaving the people to live with their sorrows and pains!!! Is this picture of Ekiti we want to continue?

This New year message is therefore a call to action, individuals, corporate sector, from Ita Awure to Itapaji, from Emure to Erijiyan , from Churches to Mosques, Market squares to Palaces, Primary Schools to the Ivory towers, from Civil Service to Private Sector this is a call to action .

We certainly need to get our state back, by this I DO NOT MEAN A POLITICAL PARTY BUT TO RESTORE THE EKITI IDENTITY of a state of pride and a well-earned respect for conduct and practices that reflects our pristine values and reputation.

As we think of our future with the above submission in mind, the indices of individual character and reputation must be factors that whoever will lead us henceforth into our future must find it easy to present for all to see and assess, not divisive political expediencies of places of birth, and not titles of former this or that, because titles do not have and cannot give life but reputation and character lives for posterity.

I will end by reminding us of the scripture the says ‘’…thou shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free… I dare add that the application of the truth that we know is the guarantee of our freedom.

Lastly the second stanza of our national anthem says, ‘’ O God of creation, direct our noble cause {such as I have tried to espouse here} guide our leaders right, help our youths the truth to know……

Once again I wish all my compatriots a beautiful year, I wish our dear state the very best in 2017 and beyond.  God bless our dear State.

Yours

Congressman ‘Bimbo Daramola

NITORI OJO OLA WA.

EKITI ON MY MIND

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