The people of Ipokia in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Wednesday urged Governor Ibikunle Amosun, not to renege on his pledge to move the proposed Ogun State Polytechnic to Ipokia town in Ogun West Senatorial district.
Acting under the aegis of Ipokia Youth Development Council (IPYDC), they said the appeal becomes necessary following alleged pressure being mounted on Amosun to take the Polytechnic to Idiroko town, also in Ogun West.
In a statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the Publicity Secretary of the IPYDC, Dare Olawin, he appealed to the Governor to “stand firm in his decision to situate the Polytechnic in Ipokia Township and should not bow to pressure.”
Olawin noted that aside the fact that the existing facilities as well as enabling laws made the choice of Ipokia town an appropriate location for the temporary and permanent host for the Polytechnic alleged certain inhibiting traditional practices in Idiroko, makes moving such institution to Idiroko an inappropriate step.
“We are concerned of the ongoing intense lobby of the government by certain individuals to start off the Polytechnic in Idiroko and possibly, site the institution permanently in this same location.
“This will go against the Law that establishes the Polytechnic which expressly emphasizes Ipokia Town as the temporary and permanent site for the institution.
“We wish to recall that in 1982, late Governor Olabisi Onabanjo, during his administration, proposed a College of Education to be situated in Ipokia. The proposal was duly gazetted. However, the plan was aborted by the sudden takeover of government by the military, a situation that has continued to put our youths in shackles of illiteracy and poverty.
“We also wish to inform Your Excellency that all efforts made by Ipokia Community during Governor Gbenga Daniel’s Administration to relocate the Tai Solarin College of Education at Ijebu-Ode to Ipokia Township following the upgrade of the College to a University of Education, proved unsuccessful. Instead, the College was relocated to Omu-Eleni.
“Similarly, the Government Model School earmarked for Ipokia Township being the Local Government Headquarters, is now situated in Idiroko. Thus, Ipokia Township remains the only old Local Government Headquarters without a Government educational institution.
“We need to make it unequivocally clear here that some individuals are ready to snatch everything allocated to Ipokia town just because the local government was named after Ipokia. Why?
“The ongoing rivalry between Ipokia community and the other neighbouring communities may have been necessary if the location in which the Polytechnic is to be situated is not indicated in the Bill.
This type of unhealthy competition, if not discouraged, is capable of breeding conflicts between and among the communities.
“Suffice it to state that Idiroko was not part of Ipokia Local Government when the Local Government was initially created in 1995 by General Sanni Abacha’s Administration. It was merged with Ipokia Local Government along with Ilase, Ifonyintedo and Ihunbo following their agitation.
“Indeed, to ensure the safety of staff and students, it will not be advisable to locate the polytechnic in Idiroko, a border town prone to sporadic shootings between customs and the smugglers.
“Moreover, Idiroko in spite of its hustling and bustling still dwells in the old system of imposing curfew on people, closing down all commercial and academic activities for days, all in the name of ORO FESTIVAL.
“Sometimes they prevent students from attending classes or taking national examinations like WASSCE, NECO or UTME. A similar scenario just took place on Tuesday. Isn’t that barbaric? It doesn’t happen like this in Ipokia town.
“It is against the above background that we appeal to the Governor to stand firm in his decision to situate the Polytechnic in Ipokia Township as we know he is not the type that bows to pressure,” Dare Olawin said.