For Ilie, this is a time when solitude is better than society and when silence is better than speech. I am sure they would not have bargained for what is currently befalling them despite their act of omission or commission.
It was only in Ilie that Oyinlola had a “landslide victory” in the controversial April 14, 2007 election but little did they know that the event that became unprecedented would have a bounce back effect on them. It was true that majority of them grumbled that the results released for the ward was not a true reflection of what voters expressed at polling units on April 14, 2007, but the fact that nobody overtly protested against the released results left much to be desired.
It was hoped then, that both the state and the local government administrations would for once shift attentions to their direction for the extraordinary feat that was achieved through them. Obviously, this is not a better time for the people.
When I read the history of Ilie in the October 1, 2008 edition of OSUN DEFENDER, what came to my mind was that Ilie must have allowed for that political ineptitude because feminine influence has played dominant role in the survival of the ancient town till date.
Another factor, in my own perspective would have been the solitariness of the town. There can be no resistance against any ambush on the road that links Ifon Orolu to Ilie and any of such on the ever devastating river between Ore and Ilie is like endorsing personal death sentence that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party is arbitrarily pronouncing on oppositions throughout the country.
A few days ago, I joined a colleague, who persuaded me to accompany him to Iregba; a small commercial town in Oyo State with the sole aim of shopping for farm produce which can be bought cheaply there. I tried to convince him that Oko, another border town in Oyo State between Ejigbo and Ogbomoso would be a better place, but my friend refused to be persuaded.
It took us about fifty minutes to reach our destination and after a while, we were done with our mission. I wanted to have a fun and that prompted me to demand that we passed through Ilie enroute Ifon Orolu. I am sure my friend did not just want to continue having things his way all the times because his countenance betrayed voluntary approval. We asked for the road that leads to Ilie and off we went with intermittent stop-overs to ascertain our bearing, we eventually got to Ilie.
After about two kilometers drive from Ilie, the unusual happened; we got stuck in the mud and it took the efforts of six youngsters from a nearby village to get the car out, although not without a price with a stern warning to turn back and find another route back to our destination. Considering what it would take us to drive back to Iregba again, I insisted we would go but hardly had I stopped to express my obstinacy when three women and two elderly men cautioned that we would be toying with a mission impossible if we tried to advance any further: A taxi cab had been hooked a few metres away.
My friend enjoined me to make a treck with him to the scene and since I had no choice than to dance to his tune, I obliged. It took just ten minutes to get there but we had no choice than to put off our shoes, because of their heaviness, occasioned by too much mud.
It was a pitiful sight as all the men and women on ground narrated their harrowing ordeal one after the other. A blind person would be able to imagine what trouble they had gone through, trying to salvage the car from the mess. Almost half of the two tyres in the front had gone into the earth, while the two rare tyres were totally submerged. We needed no entreaty anymore, we greeted them with compassion and we went back to our car to meander our way back to Ilie.
The people there showed the stuff they were made of as they gave us enough water to wash the car and our defaced, trousers and shoes. We chose to relax before journeying through the only possible route back to Osogbo.
We were halfway into our battle against the roasted fishes which the people graciously offered us in furtherance of their hospitality when a young man interjected.
Very furious, he started with venom of abuses against the governor and the politicians that had stolen their votes. Nobody seemed to disagree with his view in the crowd that had gathered as if in a campaign rally because one after the other they were venting their spleen. According to one elderly man who could only express himself in Yoruba, “Eni ba moyi wura laa taa fun”. Meaning that precious ornament (gold) must be sold only to that man that values it.
His red eyes brought the bitterness out of him and the despondency was conspicuously visible. They were all with the opinion that if their votes were counted and were allowed to count, they would have been out of the woods.
Another man also said (as I have translated it to English) that from the cluster of vine comes sweet wine. But foremost, the vine must be bruised, pressed and squeezed many times, while the bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, though the bunches most times cause drips of blood from the veins and arteries, or else, the juice will not flow. The grapes must be well treated or else, much of the precious liquid will be wasted.
According to him, we must tread the cluster of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation there from. “We have wronged Aregbesola for not protesting what the PDP claimed counted for them at the polls”. He said further “they (PDP) love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth to the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From the PDP, we need deliverance”.
While these vituperations were going on, I was deep down in thought over the level of psychological agony and torture that fellow citizens in Osun State have been exposed to.
No iota of radiance on any faces. Glooms were worn like garments and the whole place was like the ghosts’ habitation. My friend and I almost forgot that we were not part of them because we really felt for them. Not minding the effect it would have on Osun State, my friend offered that the only recipe, was for them to opt for a merger with Oyo State, since whether artificially or nationally, the big Ilie river has cut them off from Osun State and nobody seemed to show any concern for them.
I quickly gathered myself together, realizing what danger my friend’s solution portended. I asked them if they really believe in God, and they answered in the affirmative. I then told them they already have the touchstone by which they might try their calling. They might pray to God to quickly get them out of their politically motivated situational quagmire and slavery. They agreed to this and promised to get in touch with their traditional ruler, who has been banished to Osogbo, as he has been denied access to his subjects to whom he constantly paid visitations when the access roads had not suffered neglect.
We took Iregba back to Osogbo hoping that a day would come when God’s grace like the sun in the heavens, will shine out resplendent in all-sufficience to rescue Ilie people out of man-imposed “Wahala” as a result of a loss of focus and lack of acumen required to impact positively on the citizenry, who are sorrowfully in need.
But what is actually the matter? Whether genuine or counterfeit, if Governor Oyinlola got the full support of a people, the noble course would have been adequate compensation. I am cock-sure; The Ilie-in-council would have supported what transpired in Ilie on the gubernatorial election day irrespective of its incivility. It would have just been noble to afford them access to, at least-two or three neighbouring communities in the state.
Ifon-Orolu to Ilie is just a distance of fifteen kilometres. Can’t this be rehabilitated and asphalted? Can’t a bridge be constructed on Ilie River to save the people from imminent boat or canoe mishap? (I leant many people died on the river a few years ago). The people deserve to feel belonged and it will only require a little restraint in the arena of squandermania and profligacy to effect this. I think someone; somewhere is listening, when Ilie people seem to have learnt their lesson in a bitter way for keeping silence when it was not really golden.