If you served in Ondo State and did not enjoy your stay, raise your hand? I bet you the number will be in the minority. Space will not allow me to mention the joys of being amongst the wonderful, beautiful and peace loving people of Ondo State, irrespective of location, rural or urban. The memories of Compatriots like Mohammed Sada from Katsina State, Bubemi Pesu, Tony Akhigbe, Femi, Toyin Ajayi, Chigozie Oguine, Kenneth, Ama Agbiji, Nkem, Ochi, Akin, Femi Akintunde Johnson (FAJ), Bidemi, Ramatu, Ms Florence Ahmed, John Daniel, Samson Wakili, Friday, the list goes on. It will not over Shadow, the likes of High Chief Seinde Arogbofa and the staff of the then Army Comprehensive High School, the late Col Daramola’s family, the R.O. Maxwells (A Mother in Israel), my very own Funmi nee Maxwell (My Sister in Israel). The Wole Adamolekuns, still a mentor, Omoboya NYSC Mama with Mr Atilola’s (Adamu daku ma damu mi) to cover for all my Directors and staff of NYSC. The Ondo State NYSC Drama Troupe (we need a reunion) and the Ondo State Christian Corpers Fellowship’s Musical Group amidst others are very fresh memories on the platter of my mind. God will richly bless and remember all those who have laboured to make visitors at home, for no seemingly outward reward.
I am specially remembering my Mother, she taught me in primary one, became a Guardian during my youth corps and now the Wonderful Grand Mother of my Children, with My Father(Rest Well Daddy), he has been like a guiding light and his words echoing and re echoing especially in times of need. The Ilemobade’s have my Eternal Gratitude for making Ondo a place I can justifiably also call home. My Oye Lawrence, Sarki, Ayuba (army officers), Sankara, et al and the one that made me an NYSC Guitar boy, by allowing me use his guitar, the then State Police Public Relations Officer Mr Tonye Wakama, thank you again. I am talking elections, forgive me, that is what happens when you say Ondo.
Elections in Ondo/Ekiti (then Ondo State), were never a child’s play, the relics of violence covered the state during our time, late Col Daramola, the then Chair of the Electoral Commission, told us not to worry. Ondo people only react when pushed to the wall or when the truth is being denied them.
As Elections draw close, you see the forming, amending and destroying of alliances, is for want of fair play. My prayer for this wonderful State that is the Spiritual Trigger of the Continent, is for the peaceful election of the right persons that will continue in the upgrade of Ondo to be a leading state in Nigeria and Africa.
Forgive my selling fish (Selfish). The Bitumen in Ondo can sufficiently make Nigeria a net exporter of the commodity to Africa and the World. The Ondo Cocoa farms, if well harnessed can make Ivory Coast a secondary exporter of the Chocolate Juice. The Igbokoda Glass factory, can halt our Chinese imports of glasses and china wares. The best way to decongest the Lagos – Ibadan/Ore roads is the Lagos – Okitikupa water ways. I am told that the Sapele Water & Palm Wine from the Ode-Aye Okitikupa axis, ‘fit make mallam forget say na from Zamfara e come from’. Na one corper tell me ooh.
Seriously, Ondo State is like the Turkey of Nigeria and deserves the very best in this electioneering season. So what have I been saying? It is time for Ondo people to forget, Party, region or creed and vote for capable hands that can change the status of this regional power. X-ray the candidates and avoid the Hilary/Trump saga that reminds me of the Abiola/Tofa thing. If non of the candidates is good enough, do the Lagos thing and get the Ondo Fashola and Ambode to come out and join. Now that global challenges are not getting any less, it is time to bring out your jokers for the days ahead.
We will not be left out, our Knees are still bent in prayers and God will hear us. Ondo must rise to champion the development that will transcend to Oshun, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Kwara, Kogi, Nigeria and the Continent at large. That is a vision I saw in 1987/88 and the time for fulfilment has just begun. Arise my dear People at home and abroad and Lead from this your humble peaceful abode. May we have a peaceful, free and fair elections. God bless Nigerians and then Nigeria.