Of all Ijesa towns located in the eastern part of Osun State, Ilare ranks as the original settlement, coming before others like Ilesa, Ijebu-jesa. TUNDE BUSARI reports that the community, formerly under Obokun Local Government Area, retains its ancient status due to the dearth of infrastructural amenities.
The only secondary school that services the education need of the people of Ilare-Ijesa; Ilare Community High School, founded in 1976, can only boast of staff strength of just 10 people, seven of whom were employed by the community. Consequently, only the principal and two teachers are allegedly on the payroll of the government.
The post office, boreholes and some other infrastructural amenities in the town were provided by individuals and organisations with the Asiwaju of Ilare, Oyedeji Olajubu occupying the forefront in these developmental efforts
Indeed, December 24, 2016, remains a day that cannot be forgotten in Ilare community as the town played host to members of Ado Metropolitan Lions Club, a charity organization that visited the town to inaugurate two motorized boreholes, a donation which brought infectious smiles on the faces of the indigenes who had long suffered scarcity of potable water.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that before this, the only source of water available to the people is the stream which was to them God sent irrespective of the attendant hazard it can bring to their health. A first time visitor to the town would not but appreciate the work of nature with which Ilare-Ijesa is blessed which lies in its serenity and peaceful atmosphere.
The road that leads into the town from Otan-Ile is filled with potholes and not attractive to motorists, hence the reign of commercial motorcycle operators who cashes in on the opportunity the bad road offered them.
However, some of them are considerate as they charge moderately and offer to guide visitors to their destinations. The attitude underscores the communal spirit which drives the sons and daughters of ilare-Ijesa and also inspires them to consider themselves as high stakeholders in the development of the town.
The unofficial motto of Ilare-Ijesa is service to one, service to all and the recent approval of some Local Council Development Areas (DA) by the Osun State Government saw Ilare-Ijesa emerging the headquarters of Obokun East Development Area.
Soon after the news broke, a prominent son of the town rose and embarked on construction of the LCDA Secretariat for the smooth take-off of the council. Located conspicuously on Esa-Odo road, the building, near completion, is a modern office complex most suitable for government business.
The Owalare of Ilare-Ijesa, Oba Emmanuel Adejoro Otebolaku, applauded the government for returning the council to Ilare-Ijesa having enjoyed the status in the early 80s during the aborted Second Republic.
Oba Otebolaku reminisced how the former Governor of the defunct Oyo State, the late Governor Bola Ige, created Obokun North Local Government and sited the headquarters in Ilare-Ijesa.
The military intervention in December 31, 1983 which brought into power the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari, however, truncated the development and returned Ilare-Ijesa to its former status.
“We appreciate the gesture by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola for reconsidering my town as the headquarters. It means what we lost in 1984, we have back 2017. It is symbolic and we are thankful to the government. As a traditional ruler, I can only show this appreciation and also appeal to the government to remember the state of our basic amenities.
“We are overdue for these things as a town which is always faithful and supportive to the government. It is in our character to always support government policies, even if the policies don’t favour us. We believe that this new council will bring the development we long desire,” he enthused.
The immediate past President of Ilare-Ijesa Development Association, Mr Isaac Oluwole Adebowale is no less optimistic on the immediate benefit the development area is expected to bring to the town. With his pedigree in the community development activities, Adebowale believes that Ilare-Ijesa’s better day is merely a matter of time.
His faith, however, does not becloud his misgiving against the years of neglect the people of the town had endured despite their support for the government.
He lamented that the road that connects Ilare-Ijesa with Esa-Odo, Ijebu-Jesa and Otan-Ile makes the people think that the government is not favorably disposed to the town.
Adebowale, who is fully resident in the town, added that no official explanation had been given to the people on the failure to complete the road.
“The construction began in Ijebu-Jesa and linked Esa-Odo but stopped some metres before Ilare-ijesa. Nothing can be more suspicious. Anybody can see the state of the road and form his opinion on what might have transpired. And it is on record that we usually give bloc votes to them during election. With this kind of support, I don’t think we deserve this treatment. But we are still hopeful that something will be done, especially with the new headquarters, which places us at the position of administrative advantage,” he said.
The incumbent President of IDA, who doubles as the Asiwaju of Ilare-Ijesa, Oyedeji Olajubu maintains his natural calmness but spoke out his mind as one who has not spared his hard-earned money in the course of the town.
It was learnt that Olajubu recently brought bulldozer which cleared some section of the town. In spite of his efforts so far, he says his best is yet to come, promising to do more until Ilare-Ijesa wears the look befitting its history as the cradle of all Ijesa towns and community in Osun State.
Regrettably, Olajubu said the one kilometer road tarred by the government in its physical development scheme remains the best government presence in the town.
“It is difficult to believe that Ilare-Ijesa is the first Ijesa settlement. It is supposed to be a tourist destination if it were in a country where things are rightly prioritized. But we shall continue to hope, wait for them and see when they will give us the right attention we deserve.
“We are happy for the development area and looking forward to reap the benefit of being the headquarters. In this town, we believe in communal effort and we will continue to use our resources to develop the town,” he promised.