ILE-IFE is an ancient Yoruba town in South-Western Nigeria which has been in existence since 600 BC. The town is located in the present day Osun State, about 218 kilometres northeast of Lagos State. â€œIle-Ife is an agrarian community whose inhabitants are largely peasant farmers athough most of its indigenes are playing important roles in the government of the state.â€œ
To bring development nearer to the people, the Ife Development Board headed by Professor Muibi Opeloye says it is working in partnership with the government to ensure that the community is given a facelift. â€œSo far, the board has been able to make the Ife Day Celebration an household name since its inception in the 1990s,â€œ Prof Opeloye said. Apart from developing the town, the board is also responsible for taking care of the indigenes by ensuring that they are well educated through an existing scholarship scheme, assisting them to be gainfully employed and embarking on urban renewal projects.
Professor Opeloye said the board has done a lot to bring development to the people of Ile-Ife. He pointed to the Ife City Hall as one of the laudable achievements of the board. Apart from feasible projects, the board, he said, also assists Ife indigenes to improve their lives.
The Ife Day Celebration for 2014 will come up between March 13 and 15. The theme: â€œIndustrialisation for Youth Empowermentâ€ was borne out of the need to create employment for thousands of youths in the community, Vanguard Features was told.
Industrial park project
According to Prof Opeloye, the board plans to build a N500 million industrial park project in Ile-Ife. The park is part of efforts to turn the town into an industrial estate or business hub. According to the Board president, when completed, the park will attract a lot of investors who will create employment opportunities for the people of Ile-Ife.
â€œOur focus of creating an industrial park is borne out of the fact that there is unemployment in the country. Our youths are roaming the streets riding Okada and this is unfortunate. What we will be doing through establishing the industrial park, is creating an enabling environment for would -be -investors since we have raw materials, cassava, maize, banana, palm produce, etc. Interested investors will come with processing plants; so we will not be investing directly but provide enabling environment for the investors,â€ Professor Opeloye said.
General Manager/Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye who is also a member of the board, said the essence of creating the board is to assist the Osun State government in fast tracking developmental projects across the state.
Adefaye said it will be a welcome development if IIe-Ife is transformed into an enviable business hub which is the main reason for organising the forth-coming Ife Day Celebration.
â€œEvery Ife Day, we try to bring up a project but there are some that we have achieved so far like offering scholarship to several of our kids who have been assisted by the board to get good education, some of them went abroad and that is an on-going thing and not only that we make sure that these people after studying get engaged and build their careers.
Having acquired education which is a leveller, they should be able to aspire to the highest position in life. There are so many other things. I know that the board is doing a kind of data capturing of Ife people anywhere in the world so that we can do executive search, we can do placement and so on, with the aim of helping the community. There is nothing wrong in turning Ife to another business hub,â€