Kwara North Senatorial Chairman, Alhaji Isiaka Oniwa is from Ipaiye Malete ward in Moro local government area of Kwara State. In this interview with HEAD POLITICS DESK, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, he talks about a wide range of issues bordering on the party APC in and the recent development between chieftains of the APC in Moro. Excepts:
What can you say about the historical confrontation between you and some leaders of the party in Moro local government?
I am not a stranger when it comes to the history of Moro and there is nothing I am not aware of about its creation. Furthermore, we know and understand how most people found their way here. If you have a large town, there is always a space for visitors. Nobody can pull the wool over our eyes about this history. But any history about Moro on Ipaiye/Malete is about our grandfather who came to farm in the community from Ilorin. From there they got vast expanse of farm lands which were not a subject of contention with anybody. I am from Oniwa village and I have several miles of lands there and we built our houses there. In terms of our religion, we are Muslims and in the majority. If anybody perchance found a church there in Ipaiye, those are from the Ijesha immigrant and not an indigene of Malete or Maigida. And that was where our fore father settled. Of recent historically, we have the district of Lanwa populated by our brother and sisters who came from Ilorin. In terms of Jebba districts, it’s the Okedare family that settled there. The strangers who got to Jebba and settled there through the railway are minority ever since then up till now.
Are you saying there has been partnership or alliance long before now between the emirate and Moro especially during election?
During election, there is no election that was conducted without them being defeated because they lack electoral value and our brothers on ground there that we usually work together with Ilorin and the emirate. Before Moro was created, some of these strangers i talked about earlier ganged up.
Who are the strangers?
I mean people like Wole Oke, Isiaka Jimoh, UB Muhammed, Issa Malete, AbdulRaheem Adisa who was their classmate then from Nidadi town. During the time of the creation of the local government, Adisa was not around. But we use to confront people like Wole Oke that they are too few in number to say they want to claim our land from us. we never agreed up till today.
But what do you see as their grudges?
Their position or perhaps why they are angry is that Shao has been in existence before the advent of Ilorin. If that is so, what is the historical background of the two cities? God created Ilorin and anointed it among its peers and it has continued to expand in glory and tradition. What is also very instructive is that we accept that the emir of Ilorin since time immemorial, before 1979 has been the chairman that approved land for certificate of right of occupancy under the emirate jurisdiction and everybody was living in peace and harmony without any trouble and we accepted it. During the 1976 election, we joined them to vote based on the assumption that they have agreed to work with Ilorin. It was during the zero party election. But after we have voted them, they started drawing a dichotomy between Moro and Ilorin, including the emirate. We were patient since we knew they were elected and not appointed. But in 1979, we swept them away with our votes because we have the structure which is still with us up till today. And since then, there linage have not been able to reach that position again because they lack electoral value. We all agreed to be under the emirate and we met the partnership with the emirate like that, it was not initiated by Wole Oke and his cohorts.
But what is the issue now
Yes recently, we saw in a publication that Wole Oke was saying that we have been enslaved by Ilorin and the emirate and he got the support of Alhaji AbdulRaheem Adisa on that ignoble position. That took us by surprise especially when you look at their antecedents. Isa Malete was appointed a commission in Ilorin, Alhaji Abdulraheem Adisa was appointed a commissioner and also local government chairman, it was an emirate and Ilorin in the persons of late Baba Saraki and the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki that supported him and the others. It was now that they are no longer being reckoned with because of the way they have acted, they are now saying all these rubbish. They are about 6 of them in Moro and they lack any electoral value as far as election in Moro is concerned. We are using this opportunity to tell the indigene of Moro that this has been their routine, it is not their first time and will not be the last. We accept the Emir of Ilorin is our Emir and we appreciate the reply to their misrepresentation of history by the Magaji Nda of Ilorin, Alhaji Soliu Woru Muhammed on the issue on behalf of the emir. It is not befitting of both men to be prime movers on this issue. These are people who were defeated in their polling unit despite their previous position. The Okedare’s are always conversant and regularly revisits their history. There is no fight among them that they are now trying to rubbish.
We thank the Senate President who established KWASU University in Malete with several political portfolios that have come to the council and its indigene. They should go and redeemed their image that had stalled them from being considered for any position than trying to rewrite history for pecuniary gains or saying what they were not aware of. we have all the document as regard this case up to the Supreme Court. Jebba belong to the Okedare family and nobody can query that. They no longer have followers that is why they are saying all these. Ilorin and the emirate has not enslaved us but have been given us our due.
What is the issue about the non creation of local government?
Emir has not been a stumbling block to creation of additional local governments as they want people to erroneously believe. Just as Moro was not created, Asa was also not created. Wole Oke has always been envious of Ilorin but we cannot cut ties with it that dates back in history with our forefathers. We cannot be like them and we will never be like them.
…what do you advice on this?
My advice to them is that they should join the winning train and trend and reverse from this journey of perdition. Wole Oke has not been designated by the people of Shao to speak on their behalf and we are not in conflict with the Shao people because they are partners in progress with us and the emirate. He should stop this rubbish and stop arrogating traditional title to himself. Who was the Oba in Jebba that conferred that on him. He is a self acclaimed Bashorun. The title that has been given to the Deputy Speaker, Hon Matthew Okedare as the Jagaban of Okuta is an authentic title that comes from many years of selfless service and recognition to better, humanity, not a self serving one.
“This unnecessary agitation and plan to destroy and disrespect the Emir of Ilorin and the contribution of prominent figures in Ilorin to Moro will not be acceptable by us.
“It is now Wole Oke and unfortunately Raheem Adisa and others know that we are being enslaved after they have benefitted immensely from the same Ilorin and being appointed commissioner and board chairman among others through late Baba Saraki and continued by the son, Bukola Saraki. These are people who have no electoral value and cannot win any election alone as attested to during last election.
“They are about six in number and are the enemies of the Emirate crying wolf where there is none instead of them to search themselves. I will advise Wole Oke, Isiaka Jimoh, UB Muhammed, Raheem Adisa, Isa Malete among others to reflect and stop this journey to perdition that will do them no good instead and going to the press with lies and distortions.
This is not their first time they have been saying rubbish. We are using this opportunity to tell Moro indigenes that we accept Emir of Ilorin as our emir and Bukola Saraki as our leader. Palace spokesman and Magaji Nda of Ilorin, Alhaji Soliu Woru Muhammed had replied them.
“The motive for doing this is because of lack of position and yet they lack electoral value. They have been always envious of Ilorin but we cannot cut ties with Ilorin because we have come a long way. Wole Oke referred to himself as the Jagunmola of Shao and Bashorun of Jebba, which traditional ruler gave him that title? Their view does not represent the views and position of the peoples of Moro. Oke’s grudge is that Shao has been in existence before Ilorin but how can you deny the position of Ilorin as a leading town in Kwara, Oniwa added.