By Nofisat Marindoti
The people of Aladua village in Ayedaade local government area of the State are predominantly cocoa farmers and they are disconnected from modernity completely. No electricity, no water, no road, no school and nothing, nothing at all.
A cocoa farmer in the village, Evangelist Moses Adesiyan said “cars cannot enter this village. Even motorcycles will struggle to enter. The road is too bad. When we harvest our cocoa and other farm produce, we have to use our heads to carry the produce from here for over one kilometer where vehicle can access. Some of our farm produce get spoilt as a result of this and we suffer shortage.”
One of the female cocoa farmers in the village, Mrs Hanna Olanrewaju said the difficulty encounter by the farmer to get their produce to the market was devastating and demoralising. “We use motorcycles to carry our cocoa, banana and other farm produce from this village and in transit, we experience a lot of shortage and we spend double on transportation. It has been very difficult and discouraging”, Hanna said.
Also, the people of Ikire-Ile village in Ola-Oluwa Local Government area of state are suffering from dearth of water. The water wells in the community are deep and their water is not pure. Children, housewives and aged women must trek some kilometre to the stream to fetch water on a daily basis, especially during the dry season when the water wells dry up.
Mrs Wailatu Jimoh, a housewife in Ikire-Ile said going to the stream to fetch water was stressful, “To get water, as early as 4am, we go to the stream to fetch water. We will queue and fetch the water one after the other. By 5am, the stream would be jam-packed and we experience hell to get water.”
For Mrs Kemi Adebayo, a food vendor at Ikire-Ile, the water scarcity almost ejected her from the community. She explained how her friend relocated from the community to the city because of water scarcity. “We go to the stream in the bush as early as 3am and 4am just to fetch water. I usually pity my kids whenever I wake them up at that time but we have no choice. We just have to go otherwise there would be no water and we cannot do without water”.
A community leader in Ikire-Ile, Pa Oyetunji Akanbi said “In the dry season, our water wells usually dry up and our wives usually go to the streams in the dead of the night to fetch water. We experience problems of waterborne diseases particularly diarrhoea.
Similarly, life was like hell for the residents of Aratumi-Omun. In fact, the underdevelopment bedevilling this local community is enormous. Aratumi-Omun which is just few kilometres from the National Control Centre at Power Line area in Osogbo, capital of Osun State was in darkness for 15 years because of inexistence of electricity distribution to the community from the national grid.
Mr Ibrahim Sunday, the Chairman of Aratumi-Omun Community Association said the situation exposed the community to danger aside the suffering that the residents experienced. He said “This community was in darkness for 15 years because there was no electricity. We could not use electronics at home and life was difficult. We have television and fridge but we could not use them. Few of us have generating set. Those that could not afford to buy generator depended on lantern and they could not use amenities that require electricity. Those that could not cope left this community and some of us continued to bear it.”
Mrs Afusat Abdullateef, one of the residents of the community said she depended on her place of work to charge her phone and lamp. “The only time I watch television is when I’m in the office. I also charge my phone and lamp in the office. At home, it’s hell. We are really suffering here.
A 15-year-old boy, Gbadebo Ridwanullah said it has always been difficult for him studying and doing his homework with kerosene lamp. “My schoolmates told me how they use computer at home but I could not even watch television in our house. My classmate that watched news regularly knows many things that I don’t know. No electricity to iron my school uniform like my friends and it pains.
One of the landlords in the community who has a generator Alhaji Oyinlola Kazeem explained that he spent 2,000 on petrol to fuel his generating set on a daily basis. “I use generator for few hours every night and I spend N2,000 on fuel.
Meanwhile, these challenges are not limited to Aratumi-Omun, Ikire-Ile and Aladura village alone as many other rural and local communities in the state have different disturbing stories to tell. But the stories are changing gradually and those suffering hitherto now heaved a sigh of relief. The Osun State Agency for Community and Social Development (CSDP) gave them succour. The CSDP is a World Bank Assisted project with counterpart fund from the state government.
CSDP has also extended its supports to other communities across the state. The General Manager of Osun CSDP, Mrs. Funmi Abokede said the agency disbursed about N1.5 billion to 340 communities in Osun State to make life better for the people. Abokede noted that Osun State government paid N800 million as counterpart fund between 2010 and 2018. She added that 422 gender sensitive, socially inclusive, multi-sectorial micro projects were also supported and are of use to beneficiaries. She lauded the state government for the consistent and prompt payment of counterpart funds.
Mr Olayiwola Kazeem said “We needed N9,730,100 for the electricity project at Aratumi-Omun and we ran to CSDP for help. The agency told us to contribute 10 percent of the cost, which is 973,010, which we did and deposited in our community’s account. We set up electricity committee and I was appointed as the Chairman. Having gathered the 10 percent, CSDP gave us 8,757,090 and now we have electricity after 15 years in darkness.”
A community leader in Aratumi Omun, Mr Salawu Oyeyemi said with the electricity, life has returned to the community and that it has also enhanced mutual cooperation among the people in the community, particularly the landlords.
“Now that we have electricity, there is life in this community. Also, there is cooperation in the community because participation in the community meetings is a strict condition for any house to connect to the electricity”, Oyeyemi said.
Alhaji Isiaka Amoo said the quest for water took the people of Ikire-Ile to CSDP to request for a borehole that would be reticulated at different points in the community so as to solve the water problem. He said the drilling of the borehole and installations including a generator gulped N2,079,640. He said the community contributed 207,964 which is 10 percent and that CSDP supported the project with N1,871,676 which is the 90 percent of the total cost.
The Chief Imam of Ikire Ile, Alhaji Adio Abdul-Ganiyu said the problem of dearth of water has become history in the community. “Our women and children now fetch water at 10 different reticulation points in the community. 32 people can now fetch water at the same time as a result of the reticulation. We now drink potable water without stress. No more diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases.
A 90-year-old woman in Ikire-Ile, Mama Sinatu Azeez expresses joy that water came to the community in her lifetime and that her grandchildren would no longer fear visiting the community during holidays.
CSDP also put smile on the faces of the cocoa farmers at Aladua village by assisting them on the construction of the road leading to the community. The farmer approached the agency for help and they were told to raise the 10 percent of the cost of the project.
The Secretary of the Aladua Village Road Construction Committee, Mr Surajudeen Odediran said “When we could no longer bear the hardship as a result of the lack of access road to the village, we sought the help of the CSDP and we were asked to contribute 10 percent of the cost of the project.”
Evangelist Moses Adesiyan is the Chairman of Procurement Committee for the Aladua Road Project and he disclosed that the project gulped N8,764,800. We contributed 10 percent of the project cost which is N876,480 and CSDP assisted us with N7,888,320 which is the 90 percent of the cost of the road construction.
But when we complete this road, vehicles can come here and load our produce and go straight to the market,” Adesiyan explained.
Mrs Adetunji Bukola another female farmer said it would be easy to move cocoa and other farm produce to the market after the completion of the road construction.
One of the farmers at Aladua Community, Mrs Esther Akande expressed joy over the road construction and expressed gratitude to CSDP, saying, “This road is important to us like blood to the body”.