Ibadan North is a local government that faces a lot of challenges because of the huge population it has to cater for but in spite of these challenges, the council still aspires to ensure everyone feels the impact of governance. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports.
Ibadan north local government of Oyo state is unarguably one of the biggest in the state, though it has been divided into three, it can still be referred to as very big, encompassing a huge landmark since the created local council areas are yet to take off. The flip side of being big is that it has myriad challenges as it has to cater for two categories of people with different priorities.
Identifying the needs and peculiarities of the communities that fall under the local government is also not an easy feat due to size. When he assumed office months back, the caretaker chairman of the council, Honourable Yinka Akinbode’s assignment was to identify the communities in line with their needs.
“Ibadan north is divided into two constituencies; one is the indigenous areas like Atenda, Idi Omo, Yemetu Alawada etc and two comprises of the non indigenous areas where we have the elites and each area has its peculiarities and challenges. For constituency one, it is the issue of hygiene and toilets while for two, it is roads and water. And in constituency 1, we have met with the community leaders and we have asked them to create spaces where we can build public toilets but they are yet to create such spaces for us.
“In constituency two, we have graded many roads, we would have tarred the roads but we have financial constraints, that’s the reason we can only grade continuously now to make them passable but we have tarred one, the link road from ojoo express to Ashi junction, that stretch of road beside the fly over at general gas, it had been out of use for a while but we did it last week. It is really our wish to do more but we have to manage the little resources we make from the internally generated revenue,” Akinbode said.
The paucity of funds has however not stopped him from making an impact and touching the lives of his constituents through empowerment of youths and skills acquisition. “Before I came into office, there was a moribund garri processing factory at Bodija market but to the glory of God, we have revived it and they are using it at present. Also, we have decongested Bodija market and rearranged it in a way to make it neater and discourage putting wares on the road and walk ways, we did this by allocating over 100 shops to traders,” the chairman stated.
The fact that his council is not an agrarian community has not stopped Akinbode from buying into the government’s effort at diversifying into agriculture. And to ensure that his people are not left out of the agricultural revolution, he acquired 50 hectares of land in Erunmu for agriculture and has allocated some of it to youths to encourage them to go into farming.
“Because we cannot fund their start up, we have appealed to the government to help give them loans so they can fully implement what they started. At present, they have planted pineapple and some other things while others are putting structures on ground for poultry and fishery but we have complied names and we are waiting for the funding aid
“Also, we have a vocational training centre at Oke Aremo where many youths have acquired skills in various areas like hairdressing, tailoring, bead making, shoe making and many other specialized training. And at the end of their graduation, we fully empower the best three students in every vocation, this is the best we can do for now in terms of empowering them. We give many the opportunity to acquire skills but cannot for now set all of them up,” Akinbode said.
He has also been proactive in his approach to governance. When it was predicted earlier in the year that there will be flooding and Ibadan North was listed as one of the vulnerable areas he acted fast. “I knew that with the many rivers around here, it is a possibility. So we invited the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), and we held a sensitization program. Further, we dredged all the rivers around the local government and we were able to prevent flooding despite the heavy rains.”
Akinbode believes so much in empowerment, community development and education. As a result, he tries to touch every area of human endeavour and is at present working out modalities of renovating dilapidated schools within the council and has embarked on printing of exercise books for students.
He also ensures that the aged gets free health care and medication. For him, everyone must feel the impact of governance. “We want to touch every area of people’s lives,” Akinbode stated.