Since government has embarked on the KWASU project in Ekiti, there seems to be lots of controversy over the issue, can you put a face to it?
The request for the university campus came up when I was commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Osi was one of those that requested for it on her land. Also Oke Opin and Etan requested for the campus but Osi people wrote a petition and forwarded it to the then governor, Dr Bukola Saraki who called my attention to it and asked me to comment on it. I advised him to set up a committee to see to the matter and he did, naming the deputy governor as the chairman. All the communities that were affected all came for meetings including Osi. We were on the issue for almost a year just to resolve it, but there was no outcome. To me, the campus should be named after Ikere-Opin as the community joined those who earlier made request for the school. Then we also suggested that it should is given the unified name of Opin. But, originally it was named Ikerin-Opin by the land owners.
Originally, there are six communities that owned the land; Isare, Ihaye, Igemo, Owa-Odo, Idemoran and Ajuba. When government’s committee got to Osi, they proposed to have the temporary site of the institution at the Osi central school and to have the permanent site on a virgin land which is not on Osi land. Osi community sold the land that was not theirs, that is the cause of the problem. If the land belongs to them, nobody will take them up for it but it’s not theirs.
Olosi has maintained that the name will remain Osi campus, what is the way out?
To avert this problem, I have tried, I think the communities involve can seat on a round table to settle it out. The matter shouldn’t have gone to court. For over a year now, I have been trying to organise them. Osi has opted out from a long time; they never wanted to be part of us anymore. When I came back from the US, I tried my best to make them hold meeting with other Opin towns but to no avail. I have invited all the Obas of other communities to hold meeting with Olosi, it yielded no fruit also.
Osi has insisted that KWASU can’t be named after Opin, saying it has been used to degrade Osi in the past. Can you put a face to this?
It’s unfair, we have been doing things together way back; the catholic school in Osi today started in my community, before it was moved there. It was named Saint Catholic School, Osi-Opin and I attended the school and graduated in 1961. I was one of the first set in that school. Therefore I’m very sure of what I’m saying. That school was not named after Osi but they changed it; that is why we don’t want to have anything in common with them. They have the motive to cheat other communities. Government suggested it should be called Ekiti campus, nobody is interested in that, Ekiti campus, where? The one we have in Ilorin, it is named after Malete, which is the community it is located.
On the issue of boundary, Olosi has opined that there is no boundary in that region, what’s your position on that?
That is so funny; the arrangement of Opin shows there is a boundary; we are of three groups in Opin, namely; ‘Iketa’ ‘Ikerin’ and ‘Ikarun’ groups. The settlement of these groups based on history; Epe is close to Osi because they’re of the same mother. If there was no boundary, anybody could have just settled anywhere. The ‘Ikarun’ settled where their father gave them, except if anyone among them wants to farm, he will have to go and beg for land anywhere he wants. Even in Osi town, there is boundary and in Idemoran where I come from, we have boundary.
What is now your position on what it should be called?
If it’s named Opin, we will take it, anything other than that, they are only wasting their time. We have Kwara State University, Malete and we want the campus to equally attract Opin not Osi.
Do you think there will be amicable settlement?
The land doesn’t belong to Osi so also the project on it. I don’t know whether government paid them or not but when I was commissioner; I refused to collect the money government offered us. We were offered N40m as compensation and I have the document with me here. I rejected the money and we insisted that we are not selling it and that we will give the land to Kwara South and Ekiti people. We have maintained that till date.
But going by history, Osi is the most successful community in Ekiti Local Government
That is not true, Prince Ade Adetula is our founding father, and he came from Oyo. Martins Luther once said; there is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and contentious stupidity. Opin is a big community before 1934, the next big town to Ilorin was Opin. The founder, had three wives, the first one gave birth to five male children, second one four, the last one gave birth to three children making 12 in all. Osi came from the last wife, and is not even the eldest. Isare is the senior brother to Osi. In hierarchy, Osi is number eight but the town is very lucky because war didn’t devastate it. By luck, Osi is next to Idemoran Opin.
What now gave Osi the edge above other communities in the area?
Osi is only very lucky because the biggest towns were devastated by war. During the civil war, all the big cities were devastated. Osi is not big at all. Oke Opin is made of two towns, Ilode and Owi. But war had so much impact on it.