The Chairman of Okun Summit Planning Committee, Professor Mike Ikupolati, has said that virtually all basic infrastructures in Okun speaking areas of Kogi State have collapsed.
Ikupolati made the disclosure while addressing newsmen in Abuja, at the weekend, over the forthcoming Okun Summit.
He said the six Yoruba speaking local government areas of the state had, since the creation of the state suffered neglect in the hands of the various administrations in the state.
Ikupolati noted that the summit is aimed at preparing the groundwork for the repositioning of the Okun speaking area of Kogi State.
According to him, “the result of the neglect is the collapse of basic infrastructure, decay in the health and educational systems, acute insecurity and youths unemployment. The poor state of roads in Okunland, including the ones linking the state with its neighbours is nothing to write home about.”
He added that worried by the situation, the leaders of the Okun people in 2014 took their case to the then governor of the state, Captain Idris Wada, but that their cry was treated with ignominy.
He said the political marginalisation of the people reached new heights with the way Honourable Abiodun Faleke, who should have been inaugurated as governor of the state at the demise of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in last November’s election in the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, was edged out.
In spite of all the adversity, Ikupolati said the people would not allow themselves to be defeated, adding that it was in the light of that determination that the summit was being jointly organised by the Okun Development Association (ODA) and the Okun Development Initiative (ODI) to enable leaders of Okunland to map out strategies for sustainable development in the area.
He said the various representatives of the people at the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaiye, Honourable T. J. Yusuf and Honourable Sunday Karimi, while captain of industry, educationists, among others were expected to address the summit.
Ikupolati, a former Director-General of the West African Insurance Institute (WAII) in Banjul, The Gambia, said the leaders at the summit would set the Okun agenda for overall development, women empowerment, security and youth development, among others.
He warned that the parlous state of infrastructure in the area was a time bomb adding that it required the contributions of all to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The summit, with the theme: “Breaking the bonds of underdevelopment in Okunland” holds in Kabba, Kogi State between November 24 and 26.