The name of community to be attached to the proposed Kwara State University campus in Kwara South has continued to generate heated debates among monarchs and subjects of Osi and neighbouring towns in Ekiti Local Government Area of the state.
In separate interviews with MUMINI ABDULKAREEM and KAYODE ADEOTI, the Olosi of Osi, Oba Saliu AbdulKareem Adasofegbe and the Banmeto of Odo-Owa, Chief James Bamisaye Ayeni bore their minds on the lingering controversy.
They’re only envious of our giant strides – Olosi
Sir, we learnt that your community doesn’t have any portion in the proposed expanse of land allocated for KWASU campus in Kwara South, yet you insist on naming it after your community (Osi).
The state government gave us the KWASU campus and work has already commenced on it because Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has done the flag-off ceremony sometimes ago. Yes, some communities are complaining because they felt not satisfied with the name given to it and the case is now in court. Court will give their final judgement but nothing stops work from progressing on the site. The former government named it Osi campus and the present administration has followed suit. The controversy is now on the land allotted for the institution, in this area we have 12 communities and according to history, we belong to different mothers but the same father. The children of the same mother are three and they jointly own the land where the University is sited and we do things in common, but Osi is the head, the leader, even in those days, we have like 18 districts under Ilorin and Osi is one, and the head from this region. Also, one of the reasons it is sited in Osi is, during the former governor’s electioneering campaign, he promised us the institution; hence they are fulfilling it.
Since the land is jointly owned by children of the same mother, does that mean there was no consensus agreement on the name to be attached to the campus?
What we know is that, government has called it Osi campus and that is what we hold on to, that is what the former governor called it. They’ve gone to court over the issue and it is the court that will give final verdict on it. One government goes and another comes, life is continuity.
What is now the bone of contention?
It is common, when there is a big town, the other communities around will envy it.
In fact, a village could come up to say it is older than Ilorin, another could say it has better right on a particular land. It is not peculiar to this place, the same thing happens to Offa, all the towns and villages around it rise against it but Offa remains the largest today and Osi is equally the largest here.
Osi being the last child of his mother, why is it having grips on the elders?
Osi is not the last child, never. What happened is that Osi is at the centre while other towns surround it; we own the land together and we have been the head from onset.
Traditionally, Osi is placed eight among the 12 Ekiti communities, going by this; would you say Osi has suddenly outgrown its seniors?
According to history, we learnt our father resides here, and the rest went away from here. If they say I’m number eight, then we are not the oldest but leadership is not based on age; because if that is the case, I will not be Olosi today. Also that doesn’t mean what belongs to us is no more for us.
Does your insistence in naming the campus after Osi have any political undertone?
If we have people in the government, we will influence it; this is what is going on in this country. When Ekiti headquarter was removed from here, it was done for a reason, if we have the opportunity to bring it back, we will do so. The fact that we have influence in the government and we used it to bring the University here is not bad. If I have done something for you, and you pay me back, it is not wrong. From the onset, we have been in support of the government.
But what efforts could the government be paying you back for?
We gave government full support, during the last election, they damaged my cars, my two Mercedes Benz, they went to my personal house and shattered my windows. In fact, they wanted to burn it; they said I was playing politics. Still, we stayed with the government. Dr Bukola Saraki, we supported him, he was here at a time, I told him he will be the Senate President and that prayer has come to pass today, I’d also told him he will be President of this country and I will continue to support the government. I spent over N2million to fix what was damaged and no one reimbursed me.
Would you still be having things to do together after returning from court especially when the judgement is not in your favour?
It is very sure it will be in our favour, we own the land together, and we are not strangers from somewhere. At the opposite side of the site, Osi had extended its development that far and if not that government had acquired that land; we would have built structures up to that place too.
If the court gives another name to it which doesn’t favour you, what would you do?
The court will not do that, because we own the land. I’m happy government has commenced work on it, before we finish this case, it may take more than 10years. It is a case of land, if it is not handled at the lower court, we will move to Supreme Court which is the final place. By that time, I must have gone to join my ancestors, but if God only says I will still be alive till then because I’m already over 70.
There is an allegation that you sold land that doesn’t belong to you for N40m
No, government owns the land, they can only compensate us.
Then, how much were you paid for compensation?
I’m not interested in it, so I don’t know about it. We were rather happy the campus came to us.
We learnt the land encircled four communities and Osi is not part of it, how will you react to this?
That is very untrue; we are talking of 12 villages that belong to one father called Opin. And we are one of the children and according to history, we don’t have boundary. If you ask anybody of boundary to any village here, they will not tell you. It will be wrong to say Osi has no part in the land.
Why not opt for Opin as the name of the campus since it combines all the communities?
They have used that name to wreck us in the past and that was why we neglected it. When we have 12 villages, there should be 12 village heads. Somebody came from Oyo and brought crown, they accepted him as Oba but we Osi did not. Accepting him as Oba makes us the 13th, this man has no village, they started rotating him among the three groups of Ekiti. Anytime there is upgrading, they will say Olosi should not be upgraded but the stranger from Oyo. That man was installed as Oba and any town he goes, there will be two monarchs. Later, it became complex that some people suggested that the man should be graded. So that unifying name, we have been rejecting it because they wanted to use it in degrading the position of Olosi. I’m the chairman of traditional council that is where we debate issues…