Exclusive Interview with ODC Chairman and Executive Secretary editorial team led by Daramola Bolaji visited the ODC Office in company of Osungbemiro Bankole and Adegunloye Kayode. We were privileged to interview the Chairman Ondo Development Committee (ODC) Otunba Noah Fadayomi and the Executive Secretary Rev. Damilola Akinwale despite their extremely busy schedule in putting the necessary mechanism in place for 2015 Ekimogun Day Celebration and the Proclamation of Ondo City, the interview turned an interactive and learning session for our team gaining from their wealth of experience and knowledge of Ondo cultural values. Rev Akinwale rendered some folklores and songs in the course of the session which we promise to upload in the near future for our teaming followers to enjoy.

Otunba Noah Fadayomi started by highlighting the achievements recorded since assuming office in 2013, pointing out that it has not been quite easy due to the conflicting ideas of the principals (Osemawe in Council) he said: “We tried to give ODC a facelift, better investment in [the] cooling facility [of the halls], we now have ICT centres to make the young ones computer literate and draw information from the world. We trying to make Ondo clean and also bring nature to town, with the tree planting”.

The Chairman still on the achievements recorded stated that “In the last one year the Kabiyesi being a very resourceful person felt Ondo should become a city, under that vision we have been able to create wild template of intervention that will help in the overall development of Ondo Kingdom. The vision was to make us commercially relevant and viable, socially relevant and viable”.

The chairman intimated the team on Ondo Vision 2015 proclamation, slated for 5th December, 2015, which is geared towards turning Ondo into a city and plans in place to expedite the success of the vision, “the idea of a city that will be tourist destination, a city that has museum, we have the museum of National History, we have been able to get artifacts, when we celebrated the 500 years of Ondo dynasty which actually told the history of the Kingdom, but unfortunately we have not been able to develop that [museum] fast enough. We are looking at a city with imposing landmarks. That was what brought about [the] inner city gates [concept], because we were born and bred in the inner city. The inner city has lot of history, our concept of cityhood is different from the white man’s, part of our aims is jobs for our people, we want our youths to be busy”.

When the chairman mentioned jobs creation for the youths, we wanted to know the measures in place to achieve this feat, he explained that “The Ondos are interested in diversifying, we tried to diversify, my predecessors tried a little by acquiring parcels of land one at Igbado and the other at Okegun, acquiring parcel of land in a view to develop industrial estates for investment possibilities. We had Principal crisis which halted the project. We empowering the youths we have 5million naira evolving funds that we have put under the management of Aogo Community Bank as loans for skilled people, we charging something very little to make them sit up, the recovery rate is not excellent but some people are paying back”.

Furthermore, on the partnership the ODC would be willing to do with social groups like Change Actualisation Network, JCI, Rotary Club and a host of others with relatively similar vision to ensure the replenishment and re-engineering of the younger generation, the Chairman meticulously said ”We are doing that, ODC does that, ODC is limited we are limited by our terms of reference, we are not to be taking over the responsibilities of our principals. We are using our own initiative to bring our young boys and girls together, and invite specialist in various area of endeavours to enlighten them to let them know what they can become, we have had talks in engineering, in trades, in arts and craft. The problem we have is that our boys are no longer responsive to such trainings they want to make money…..we will continue to do that until we see real growth”.

Another topic discussed was the chairman’s view about the involvement of the Ondos in diaspora with the happenings at home, he believes that those in diaspora are in tune with the events, he further buttressed this by saying that there are several clubs that had been established in the UK, US, Canada who have invited the Osemawe Oba Adesumbo Kiladejo Jilo III to meet with the Ondos . “There is cooperation between ODC and Ondos in diaspora, there is still more to do in this area, by and large the Ondos know what we trying to do, the USA faction sent about N2million to assist the street naming, they are not totally in the dark”

We turned our attention to the secretary who all along had been chipping in ideas for the chairman, he was so full of life which was characteristical of his responses to questions asked which thrilled us, he supported the idea of an online platform as he believed such platform would always bolster whatever it is meant to promote, he therefore said the “Ekimogun Mirror” is a laudable platform that would promote the fading culture of the Ondos.

The secretary reiterated the achievements recorded since coming on board almost the same time as the chairman “we thank God it was not the same situation as when we came on board, one thing we have succeeded in doing is to see ODC develop, the economy is not that buoyant, despite that, we have been improving and trying to diversify our economy, before now it has only be monolithic that is what is necessitating the establishment of EKi FM, we have been lucky that the former Minister of Communication Mrs Omobola Johnson was magnanimous to have created 3 ICT centres, if properly developed will be source of revenue generating organ of the ODC. There are lots of things that ODC do that people don’t see, the cost of maintaining the hall is not an easy thing, we give education assistance to the people, ODC have been assisting in scholarship. The major challenge is funds; all we need is to look inwards how we can expand our economy based, without crippling what we are expected to do.

The Secretary being a renowned broadcaster was asked to shed more lights on the programmes to expect from Eki FM maybe it will solely be in Ondo dialect, he told us that “Eki fm is not a community radio it is a commercial radio, the target is not [solely] for the Ondo people, even though we are going to project the culture of Ondo people, we will take care of the larger populace, the Ibos, the Hausas, the youths with all the latest vogue and music.

On the fast fading cultural values of the Ondos the Secretary lamented the precarious state “some part of our culture are fast going into extinction, things that train the child to think deeply, proverbs, folklores, moonlight tales, songs, signs, because of our madness in imbibing foreign culture, we believe any child that can’t speak in English is an illiterate, we are doing that at the detriment of our own culture”.

The chairman added his voice to the need to resuscitate our distinctive cultural values believing that Eki Fm will go a long way to achieve this recrudescence and there must be a section of the programming tilted toward revivification of Ondo culture. “I believe that Eki Fm will serve a great purpose in propagation of our culture, it is going to be commercial alright but we want revive our culture, I can assure you if the radio starts beaming and they air things like this, school children they will be saying it in schools, because is new, you see the white man is responsible for killing our culture they call our language vernacular, I got punished a lot for speaking in vernacular, how can you call my beautiful language vernacular, English to us is vernacular”.

Conclusively, the chairman after applauding the team for its efforts in putting in place a media outfit for the proliferation of Ondo socio-cultural values charged the Ekimogun youths to take life serious and have dreams, he said “life is short and it is a serious business, the youths need to understand that life does not end here, we should be doing things that will elevate man, I think those youths who are into drugs do not have any dream. You must have a dream, you must have a mission. I always said to myself I must not end up in the dunghill I wanted a better life than my father’s life, anything you can dream of you can achieve it. My advice to young ones is to have dreams, dreams about the kind of wife you want marry, house you want to live in, kind of people you want to associate with when you don’t have dreams you are distracted by mundane things. There is nothing you cannot become, you can be greater than Ondo King, spend more time reading, spend more time listening to elders, I encourage younger generation to be well focused”.

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