By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Feb. 6, 2023
Ikare Progressives Association in the U.S. has called on the Ondo State Government to come up with lasting solutions to the communal clashes in Ikare- Akoko, Akoko North-East Local Government of the state.
The association, in a statement by its President, Mr. Olaniyi Akintuyi, condemned the recent killings, destruction of properties and looting due to the clashes in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Ondo State Government had in January threatened to banish two prominent traditional rulers in Ikare-Akoko, if the community continued to witness violent clashes and killings.
The rulers are Olukare of Ikare, Oba Saliu Akadiri Momoh and Owa-Ale of Iyometa, Oba Kolapo Adedoyin.
“We also implore the Local Government to step up and put in place a mechanism to put an end to this recurring cycle of violence and destruction of lives and properties,’’ Akintuyi said in a statement issued from Washington DC, U.S.
The president said in the interest of peace and fairness, the State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu should engage all stakeholders to formulate a path to lasting peace and reforms in the City.
He said that Akeredolu should announce the immediate investigation, arrest and prosecution of everyone involved in the recent killings and destruction of properties in Ikare -Akoko.
“We urge the State Government to discuss and hold consultations with stakeholders and leaders from all the fourteen Communities in Ikare and the three communities that make up the “Iyo Meta” to better understand the traditional set-up of Ikare.
“From the inception of Ikare, each of the fourteen Communities have been self-governing without interference from any other Community.
“We must revert to the original set up of Ikare to put an end to interference in the affairs of each community which is generating crisis now,’’ he said.
The president said the association was prepared and ready to engage in dialogue with all the stakeholders, including the Governor’s Office, the Olukare of Ikare and the Owa-Ale of Iyometa.
“We are ready to engage in dialogue with them and other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the recurring crisis that had kept the City of Ikare comatose for years.
“We are shocked and saddened by the destruction of lives and properties unleashed upon Ikare natives by her own people in the New Year.
“The senseless and barbaric act is more confounding when it was a fight over a carnival/celebration party of the New Year that led to such criminal acts,’’ he said.
Akintuyi, however, commiserated with those who lost their loved ones and those who lost properties in the wanton destruction.
“We do not believe that the problem is the so-called rivalry between Olukare and Owa-Ale. Afterall, Ondo State Government recently created a domain for Owa-Ale (Owa-Ale of Iyometa) and promoted him to a Class A Oba in an effort to avoid frictions,’’ he said.
The official said without going into the merit or the demerit of the Government’s approach, the association observed that the same approach was used in Owo (Ojomo of Ijebu Owo) and Akure (Aralepo of Isinkan).
In all these instances, he said there were no fights or destruction of lives and properties and that those who were dissatisfied headed to court.
“Everyone in Ikare knows that “Okoja” is not part of “Iyometa”. Why should we still be having unnecessary friction at this time? he asked.
“Our expectation was for Olukare of Ikare and Owa-Ale of Iyometa to work in synergy to bring development to Ikare. Our dear hometown has been starved of development and relegated to the background.
“Ikare retrogressed to the point that the former Ondo State College of Arts and Science in Ikare which is capable of university level facilities was relegated to Grammar School,’’ Akintuyi said.
The president said Ikare stood tall amongst the urban centers in the Old Western Region but has now become a stunted dwarf within a much smaller Ondo State, saying, “this is sad”.
He further said that the crisis had impeded the growth and development of Ikare and left the town lagging in all indices of development and growth.
“We are pained as we do not have any hometown other than Ikare.
“The question is who in his right senses would want to invest his hard-earned money in a town where a mere fight over a celebration party can become an occasion to kill people and burn businesses and properties?
“Don’t we already have enough security challenges in the Akoko axis of Ondo State which Amotekun is working hard to confront? Now we have this senseless episode to deal with?’’ the official noted.