The sleepy town of Oke-Ode in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State came alive on Saturday as the Special Adviser to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives on International Relations, Hon. Christopher Olusegun Omotunde, led others for commissioning of motorised borehole projects he facilitated to the community. AHMED ‘LATEEF filed this report on the event.
For people of Oke-Ode, one of the major towns in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Saturday March 2, 2019 won’t be forgotten in a hurry. It was indeed the day set aside to formally commission seven motorised borehole projects constructed in the community.
The projects, at the instance of a prominent indigene of the town, who is also Special Adviser to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives on International Relations, Hon. Christopher Olusegun Omotunde, were opened for the use of generality of the people of the community.
Prior to the construction and completion of the projects, some identified streams were the main sources of water, which members of the the community used in doing their domestic chores.
Some of the streams, which the community used include Ankutu, Aluguti, Olukewa, Omimakun, Ologede, Alatoro, Omo-Oko, Odo-Awe and Igbo-Ope. Hitherto, dwellers of the community needed to trek long distances before they could fetch water from the streams.
The drilling of the motorised borehole projects, which were sited in strategic locations in the community seems to have cushioned and mitigated the effects of traversing every corner in the ancient town in search of water.
Findings showed that the facilitation of over N10million worth of borehole projects drew the excitement of the people, who trooped out in large numbers to witness the official opening of the projects for public use.
Each of the motorised boreholes with four overhead tanks, had eight points through which members of the community could fetch water with ease.
Omotunde, who led the team that commissioned the project was first received by the Elesa of Oke-Ode, who thanked the facilitator immensely for remembering his hometown with such useful and helpful projects.
In a carnival like event, the team moved from one project to another with pomp and pageantry, to open them to members of the community for use without hindrance.
The Deputy Chief Imam of Oke-Ode, Alhaji Muritador Abdulkadri, offered prayers in each of the six motorised boreholes while the National President of Oke-Ode Community represented by the Chairman of Ilorin brach, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Bello, performed the cutting of tapes in all the projects.
Also offering prayer in one of the commissioned boreholes was the Chief Imam of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Oke-Ode branch, Alhaji Nurudeen Balogun. He described the projects as apt and timely considering the horrifying experiences people encountered while searching for water even at the streams.
Speaking on the official commissioning of the projects, the Baale of Oke-Ode Land, Chief Abdulfatai Ayinla, regretted that the community had suffered from scarcity of water until the intervention of Omotunde, who used his position to lobby the National Assembly.
“We have always made passionate appeal to the government that we are suffering from unavailability of water but God did the best for us this time. I supervised the project myself and by God grace it would last.
“We want to thank the facilitator very much. We know that when somebody is reliable, if he gets to certain, he will be okay and useful to the community”, Ayinla said.
A member of the community, Risikat Motunrayo Asonibare, could not hide her joy as she heaped praises on the brain behind the water projects across the ancient community.
She said the people of Oke-Ode were happy that one of them could muster the courage of attracting to them borehole projects that hitherto eluded them.
“For what happened in our area today, we are thankful to God. Before now, we used to suffer from water (scarcity). I wasn’t in this town before, I came from Lagos last Thursday for one burial (ceremony).
“When one of the water tanks, I beckoned on one of my sisters and asked her who brought the tanks. She answered me that it was those political parties people that brought it but she never knew who was responsible.
“It was only this morning (Saturday) that one of my brothers called my mother that we are around, kindly follow us to where we want to commission some projects. In all our area here, we are happy for the water project. And we pray for long life for the man that was behind it”, she said.
In his remarks, the National President, Oke-Ode Community, Alhaji Salaudeen Nurudeen, bemoaned unavailability of water in the community in the past and commended the facilitator for identifying with his town.
Nurudeen, who spoke through the Chairman, Ilorin branch of the association, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Bello, urged other well meaning members of the community in the diaspora to return to their ancestral home and contribute their own quota to its growth and development.
He disclosed that the community would constitute a maintenance committee, which would be saddled with the responsibility of keeping watch and maintain the projects from time to time to preserve their lifespan.
The National President said, “What we are planning is that we are going to set up a maintenance committee, because when a project like this is brought up, the most important thing is how is it going to be sustained. That is the major problem we are facing in this country. To site a project is a different thing but to sustain and maintain it is very important.
“That is why I said a maintenance committee will be set up so we will able to better use of this particular project for a longer period.
“We thank Almighty God for this wonderful opportunity given to us in this community. During this period every year, there is always scarcity of portable and drinkable water. But with what he (facilitator) has done for us, we pray that God Almighty will continue to be with him and those who facilitated that the project be sited here.
“My advice is that wherever we are, we should always remember home and where you come from, so that whatever you do for your community, God will reward that person abundantly”.
The facilitator of the borehole projects and Special Adviser, International Relations for Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Christopher Olusegun Omotunde, explained that he facilitated the projects to lessen the burden of water scarcity in the community and ensure that people have unhindered access to quality water to use.
He added that the projects were also attracted to the ancient town to sustain the legacy of his father, Chief Joseph Omotunde, who had relocated to United States since 1958, saying that with the projects, his father would be remembered for good.
The Deputy Speaker’s aide maintained that accessibility of the people of Oke-Ode to clean water would increase the quality of their lives and expressed gladness that the projects were funded to completion.
Omotunde assured that he would continue to fund available for maintenance of the projects and asked those in charge to always approach him if need arises.
“It is a lot of things that had prompted me. First of all, what I’m doing here is not political. It is the fact that my father left his hometown in 1958, to go to United States of America, and he is living there since then. But for them (the community) not to forget my father’s name and he is still alive, it is what enabled me to do this.
“With the help of my friend, Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Pategi, who is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Water Resources, we took a visit to Oke-Ode, we looked around and we saw that our people are suffering from access to water, and since he is the Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, we sat together and deliberated on how we can make life better for my father’s people and we came to a conclusion that if our people have easy access to clean water, it will give them longevity in their lives.
“So, he asked me to go ahead in lobbying the National Assembly to ensure that funds were provided for my people to be able to provide the water. I give glory to God and Ahman-Pategi, who by the way, is a philanthropist and kindhearted.
“That got me up and I started with the one in my father’s compound. I thank God, my father will be 87 this year. You can see the legacy that he has created. It is very important in life to understand that what makes a man is the legacy he left behind.
“I ask other people who are in power of government that it takes a little to satisfy our people, to follow suit and do whatever possible in their villages, because collectively if we can do two or three things together, it will bring development to our people and ease the life of our people to live longer and have clean water. So, that is the reason why I’m doing all these.
“They should maintain what they have been giving. I employed some geophysicists to go round to see what we can do to get enough water. I’m willing and ready to provide money for the community to sustain the water projects”, Omotunde said.
Other speakers mostly women, who made comments about the projects, thanked Omotunde for saving them from agony of trekking long distance to fetch stream water, which they said, was not only dirty but also insufficient.
Culled from The Herald Newspapers of Monday, 30th of February, 2019