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Hilary Owamah: From Life Storms To Stardom

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Hilary Owamah: From Life Storms To Stardom
Dr. Owamah

By John P. Omeonu
Human colossal strides are often marked with pomp. While some roll out the drums in loud celebration amidst clinking glasses of wine, some still prefer to mark such momentous occasions in quiet and solemn appreciation to the Almighty God who is the giver of all successes, in anticipation of a better future ahead. At such epochal moments in one’s life, the success story always overshadows the exasperating hurdles, obstacles, and disappointments accompanying such feats. Though everyone succeeds at one thing or the other and at one time or the other, only a few excel in virtually all ways; they stand out in anything they venture into as shining light and shape their world.

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Furthermore, in spite of the pervading ineptitude and moral decadence threatening the survival of our contemporary society, one can still boast of great men, as few as they are, who stand tall in the midst of the decay in the society. Men who by dint of handwork, chose to write their names in gold while others did theirs in charcoal in the hearts of millions of people, can never be forgotten. When such exceptional individuals of unique poise are celebrated, it serves as the needed fillip for them to strive for greater heights and as an example worthy of emulation for the younger generation.

How else can one describe a super and multiple award-winning scholar, brewing administrator and distinguished public speaker of no mean repute, Associate Professor Hilary Ijeoma Owamah; Director, Academic Planning Unit, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria, as he clocks the age of 40 ? The celebrant right from childhood, has always desired to do only those things that make a difference in other people’s lives. This was what informed his studying engineering, venturing into academics and engaging extensively in humanitarian services. No wonder Dr Owamah does his teaching and research work with great delight. No one student has passed through him without being positively impacted upon. This rare quality has also made him one of the sought-after public speakers in Nigeria today. Dr Owamah is an extraordinary academic who has managed to overcome all manner of obstacles that pervaded his path. Though deprived very early in life of basic necessities that propel success, he against all odds, through diligence, got to the apex of his noble career at a very early age.

Permit me to inform us that Dr Owamah is awaiting his being announced as a full professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, any moment before the end of this year 2022.

READ ALSO: CDHR , #ENDSARS Group Disown Call For #ENDSARS Protest Against Alleged Police Extortion In Delta State

Dr Owamah appears to have the knack to succeed in virtually all endeavours he embarked upon in life. This inexplicable trait for success where others failed abysmally, led a few people to the erroneous belief and hasty conclusion that he might have been succeeding through the deployment of disingenuous and underhanded tactics. But nothing can be further from the truth. The fact remains that he attained his present height by dint of hard work and unwavering dedication to moral discipline.

In the lives of many men of history, birthdays are usually periods of sober reflections, stocktaking and deep introspection for greater self-rediscovery. Distinguished personalities take the advantage of such occasions to reflect on their contributions to the betterment of their societies. The 40th birthday anniversary of Dr Hilary Owamah is a combination of all of these. Engr. Dr. Owamah is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Director, Academic Planning, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Director, Directorate of Intensive and Part-time Studies, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Oleh Campus and Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He had earlier lectured in Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria and has served in many high-profile university-based committees. He has to his credit over 50 scientific articles, with more than 80% in the prestigious Scopus and Clarivate Analytics indexed journals.

Engr. Dr. Owamah became both a corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a registered engineer with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) in 2011 at age 29 when many of his mates were yet to know the full meaning, or even the pronunciations of the two professional engineering bodies. He is presently an Examiner to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (national) for the examination of prospective corporate members. He was conferred with both the Fellowship of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (FNICE) and the Fellowship of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (FNIEE) in 2020 at age 38. He also became a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE) in 2021, at age 39. Engr. Dr. Owamah in his quest to serve humanity better in the areas of equipping men and women with cutting edge information on research and entrepreneurship, founded the Academic Research and Entrepreneurship Development (A-RED) Initiative, Asaba, Delta State, where he is currently the president. At the professional level, he has served as Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), Delta State Chapter and General Secretary, NSE, Asaba Branch. He is also a past National Secretary of the Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), and past National Technical Secretary of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE). He is currently, a member of the NSE National Committee for the Establishment of Engineering College. Dr. Owamah in July 2021, at age 39, took the 1st position at the rectorship interview of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, but political expediency denied him the consequent appointment as a rector of the school. These are rare feats for any one in his thirties world over. Also, Dr. Owamah is a consultant to many universities and polytechnics on research and publication. He also consults for many industries and corporate organizations on pollution control, renewable energy, water treatment, storm water control, recruitment, leadership training, etc. Dr. Owamah has attended and presented papers in many national and foreign conferences, and has received local and international awards such as the National Jubilee Merit Award by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, in November, 2018 at Abuja; Distinguished Professional Career Award by the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), Imo State Chapter in November 2021. Engr. Dr Owamah was recognized by the Times Africa Magazine as an outstanding scholar in July 2021. He was also recognized by the African Youth Advocates Assembly, for strategic leadership approach, innovative projects and solutions to the sustainable development challenges facing Africa, in March, 2021 at the West African Youth Summit, held in Accra, Ghana. He was announced the ‘Man-In- The- News’ by the Pointer Newspaper in December 17th, 2017. He recently received an Award of Excellence from the Nigerian Society of Engineers at Abuja, for delivering the March 4th, 2021 World Engineering Day Lecture as the invited guest speaker. Furthermore, Engr. Dr Owamah is a recipient of the prestigious and highly competitive PTDF Ph.D. scholarship and has won lots of research grants. He was recently announced by the Delta State University, Abraka as the top 4th highest research productive staff member of the university.

 READ ALSO: State Universities Are Quacks, Not Relevant In Our Strike – ASUU President

Dr. Owamah serves as a PhD external assessor to the Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, and Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was also an external assessor, School of Engineering, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State and the defunct Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Delta State for the promotion of academic staff to the rank of principal and chief lecturers. He was recently appointed external examiner for the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. As a naturally endowed motivational speaker, who takes much interest in bringing out the best in people, he has on invitation, delivered over 70 high-profile national and international public lectures in the last five years. Engr. Dr. Owamah obtained his Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Water Resources and Environmental Engineering) from the University of Benin in 2016 at age 33. He earlier obtained the M.Eng. (2011) and B.Eng. (2006) from the University of Port Harcourt, and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, respectively. Earlier, he had his First School Leaving Certificate from Umejei Primary School Ibusa, Delta State in 1993. He also attended St. Thomas’ College Ibusa, Delta State, where he obtained his Senior Secondary Certificate in 1999. Engr. Dr. Owamah is happily married to Mrs Victoria Owamah and the marriage is blessed with four wonderful kids. He hails from Owa-Alero, in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State and was born on Friday 27th August, 1982. To the glory of God, Owamah has been serving as a Sunday School Teacher at the Redeemed Christian Church of God for some years now. In the words of the legendary literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, it would seem that Dr. Ijeoma Owamah is that proverbial one “whose palm kernel was cracked by a benevolent spirit.” Sent away with his five other younger siblings and mother at barely 13 years of age by his father, the story of Associate Professor Owamah is that of the triumph of the human spirit over the vagaries and viscissitudes of life. His is a proof that with a strong will and determination to succeed in life, and of course divine help to one’s actions, one can turn all obstacles to blessings. He is the quintessence of humility, an apostle of change, a revolutionary and core disciplinarian adept at engineering continuity between the past and the present; diligently reshaping today for brighter tomorrow. Owamah, with the lean support from his mother’s meagre salary as a secondary school teacher, saw himself through the different stages of university education via borrowing and doing all sorts of menial jobs to augment. Life was indeed tough for the man whose success story has become a household story in Nigeria today. Dr Owamah’s indisputable wits and oratorical skills are legendary. Through consistent positive actions and sterling intellectual engagements, he has brought progress and global attention to his Owamah family, university and the Nigerian engineering profession at large. He has propelled the citadel of learning forward in an unprecedented manner through quality research, publication and community services. He has also demonstrated a high sense of integrity, courage, confidence, capacity, doggedness, and sincerity of purpose in all his assigned tasks. By any benchmark deployed to assess him, and in whatever clime, Associate Professor Hilary Ijeoma Owamah is a stunning success; a unique gift to the academic world at this critical moment in history, and he deserves to be celebrated by all as he turns 40 years.
Happy birthday to a mentor, teacher and role model.

. Omeonu is a Warri- based engineer and researcher. He was one of the students of Dr Owamah.

 

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Opinion

Modelling Success: Dr Adedeji Adeleke And Adeleke University

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Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

Success is a broad concept that has been widely researched and discussed for many years. While there is no specific formula for achieving success, certain principles are commonly observed among individuals deemed to be successful. Success transcends mere material wealth or professional achievements; it is a phenomenon shaped by intrinsic belief, goal setting, dignity, and respect for divine will. Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, exemplifies the principles of success through his life and impact on individual and societal growth and development, serving as a beacon of inspiration to many and reflecting these values through his accomplishments.

Success is believing in one’s capabilities and potential. Successful people have an innate sense of self-efficacy, confidently believing in their ability to take actions that will lead to the attainment of set goals. Such a belief is a powerful source of motivation, as it pushes one to remain consistent even in the face of adversity and to approach tasks proactively and with a positive outlook. Successful people also understand the significance of setting clear, specific, and attainable goals.

It is worth noting that while the path to success is often super-frustrating and challenging, it is achievable with well-defined goals and persistent efforts. As such, one must continually aim forward, transition step by step, and ultimately weave together a remarkable success story through various engagements by preparing detailed actions that translate into bigger ambitions. The journey to success begins with unwavering self-belief, which is not merely about confidence; rather, it is a deep-rooted conviction in one’s ability to achieve their dreams. This resilience is required to face life’s ups and downs with a positive mindset, seeing opportunities where others see obstacles.

Success is not only due to human will and actions but is also influenced by environmental factors that can pose significant challenges. These factors can become potential stumbling blocks if the individual does not believe in the power of their dreams. Dr. Adeleke’s story is indeed one of belief in self and in the guiding influence of divine will. Despite the numerous challenges he encountered on his way to achieving his set goals, he believed in himself and his immense potential, also trusting in the divine purpose for his life. This propelled him forward, enabling him to build a legacy that cuts across different areas, including education, business, and philanthropy.

Accepting divine will means a careful, responsible acceptance without succumbing to extraneous rules or laws that rob us of our confidence and authenticity. This perspective fosters humility and gratitude and an acknowledgement that our achievements are not solely ours but are also gifts and opportunities that come from a higher source. Dr. Adeleke exemplifies humility and a powerful sense of purpose. Despite his immense success, he remains grounded and attributes his accomplishments to divine guidance.

His philanthropic efforts include huge contributions to education and community development, demonstrating his commitment to giving back and serving the greater good. Dr. Adeleke’s story indicates that true success is a harmonious blend of self-belief, goal setting, and submission to a higher purpose. It is about striving for excellence while remaining humble and purposeful.

From Dr. Adeleke, we learn that the idea of success is personal and varies from individual to individual. It is not defined by societal standards or criteria but by one’s own goals and values. Through inspired actions, individuals can realise that success is achievable for anyone who believes in themselves, sets clear goals, and respects divine will. Modelling success requires more than ambition and hard work; it involves an inherent belief in oneself, discipline in setting and pursuing goals, and a humble recognition of the divine influences in our lives. Dr. Adeleke’s life is a testimony to this whole process of success, demonstrating that success is both an internal and external journey.

Dr. Adeleke exemplifies that success is achieved through belief, goal-setting goals, and respect for divine will. He has shown that his achievements stem not merely from external factors but from nurtured internal qualities. For everyone to be successful, they must follow these prescripts and approach their goals with belief, intention, and reverence toward the divine. Belief provides the motivation, while goal setting charts the course. Goals, when clear and well-defined, act as a blueprint and a guiding light, directing actions and decisions and making the path to success easier. Goals break down the seemingly insurmountable journey into manageable steps, making the path to success more navigable.

Remarkably, Dr. Adeleke’s success in business and life is proof of his strategic mindset and commitment to setting goals. His achievements with Adeleke University and other ventures illustrate how his endeavours have successfully evolved through effective planning. Milestones play a crucial role in goal planning and maintaining focus, and Dr. Adeleke’s invaluable achievements in different spheres of life epitomise that setting realistic goals and pursuing them with dedication and hard work yields significant rewards.

 

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Opinion

Sogolo’s Moral Values And Social Change In Nigeria (5)

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Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
Prof. Tony Afejuku

By Tony Afejuku

Our reading of Professor Godwin Sogolo’s mature opinions on our moral values and human situation in general terminates today.

Read it!

Moral Imperatives of the 4TH Industrial Revolution (4IR)

The 4th Industrial Revolution is already transforming the way we live, work, and interact. One of the key areas in which moral values will have a significant impact is in the development and implementation of emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, automation, big data analytics, genetic engineering, etc. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise industries and societies, for good! But, they also raise complex ethical dilemmas and challenges. For example, the fear is that the widespread use of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace would lead to job displacement and economic inequality. While these technologies have the potential to increase productivity and efficiency, they also have implications for workers’ rights, fair distribution of wealth, and human dignity. Moral considerations for justice, equality, and respect for human rights must be the guiding principles in the development and deployment of the new technologies. 

Furthermore, the collection and analysis of massive amounts of personal data raise concerns about privacy, consent, and the potential for surveillance and manipulation. Moral values such as privacy, autonomy, and informed consent are essential in ensuring the protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms in the digital age. As technologies continue to advance, it is important to consider the implications they have for our value systems, and to address potential ethical dilemmas before they become widespread. That assessment falls within the purview of the humanities in general, and philosophy in particular.

Another important function of moral values in the 4th Industrial Revolution is to address the socio-economic implications of the new technologies on employment, income inequality and social cohesion. Moral values such as compassion, solidarity, social justice, etc., are essential in ensuring that the benefits of the emerging technological progress are shared equitably, and that vulnerable populations are not left behind.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential of either exacerbating or mitigating the ecological challenges that we currently face, depending on the strength of our moral values and the decisions and actions of individuals, groups, businesses, governments, etc., in connection with the issues of environmental sustainability. Technologies relating to renewable energy, smart grids and circular economic models offer promising solutions. But, they require a commitment to moral values such as environmental stewardship, intergenerational responsibility and sustainability. It is important to prioritise these values so as to minimize the negative environmental impact of the new technological advancements in furtherance of sustainable development.

In adapting to the new technologies, we must bear in mind that moral values also guide issues relating to personal ethics and the well-being of the individual. The constant connectivity, information overload, and digital distractions that come with the 4th Industrial Revolution pose serious challenges to the issue of personal identity and mental health of the individuals in matters of inter-personal relationships and group interactions. We need to develop faith and confidence that the human ingenuity that created the new technologies is also able to devise means of controlling its negative consequences. For instance, if you ask ChatGPT to provide information on how to prepare a nuclear bomb, the response will be that it cannot help because it is dangerous and illegal. That is how values can assist in controlling the negative and disastrous effects of the new technologies. What the people need are moral values such as empathy, compassion, mindfulness and digital responsibility, essential for cultivating a healthy and balanced digital life that puts premium on the collective interest.

Finally, although I have emphasized the role of Philosophy in this discussion, I must add that other disciplines in the humanities also have their unique roles to play in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the classical studies and history can provide models of  personalities, social institutions and historical events that have propelled human civilisations in the past: linguistics and the languages perform communicative functions that give the individual an understanding of human relations and the working of social institutions, while the creative, visual and performing arts recreate human models, personalities and events, both real or unreal, thereby informing and inspiring the people. And, of course, the discipline of religious studies helps the individual in coping with the vicissitudes of our confusing world, further complicated by the flux of unending changes.  Together, the humanities are designed to prepare the individual to understand, control and adapt to the new changes. Already, Western nations, led by the United States of America and some European nations, have shown the moral and political will by working together on ways of controlling and adjusting to the changes that will accompany the 4th Industrial Revolution. Very recently, the American President, Joe Biden, announced a joint project with Microsoft to setup an AI control Centre in the US. Africa, especially Nigeria, cannot afford to miss out, again, on the journey of moving to the next level.

Conclusion

Historical antecedents, years of bad governance, misplaced values and ill-conceived education system, have led to a state of moral crisis in Nigeria. The social ills have had the most severe impact on Nigerian youths who, today, lack the moral foundation needed to transform the animal (Aristotle’s tabula rasa) into a human person. Not only is a large proportion of our youths denied access to basic education, the few that are lucky to have access, have been taught nothing but techniques that are bereft of positive moral values and integrity. It is obvious that Nigerian youths are ill-prepared for the arduous and compelling demands of a changing world. Surely, there is an urgent need for  retooling  our educational curricula, with emphasis on the inculcation of moral values in our youths, to save the nation from descending into the Hobbesian state of nature, anarchy  and more importantly, to enable our society to  keep pace with the changes that are coming with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Concluded.

Afejuku can be reached on 

08055213059.

 

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Opinion

Aáwé’s Day Of Glory And Development Challenges

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The Alawe of Aawe, Oba Cornelius Taiwo Oladokun

By Tunji Olaopa

July 5 2024 was a historic day in the political and cultural annals of Aáwé town. That day was the memorable culmination of more than thirty years of a struggle to achieve the status of a beaded monarch for the Alaawe of Aáwé, Oba Cornelius Taiwo Oladokun. And the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, made this feat possible by the singularly courageous act of cutting through the red-tape of political shenanigans and prejudices to underscore historical imperatives that have to do with the cultural status of Aáwé as a significant Yoruba community in the southwest. Aáwé has always been a town that has been shaped by sociocultural and political conflicts and circumstances. And so, it becomes inevitable to connect this current breakthrough with the trajectories of so many others that situate Oba Taiwo Oladokun right within the dynamics of the Aáwé forebears and the Aáwé mystique.

What I have been calling the Aáwé mystique derives from Aáwé’s pragmatic mix of critical enlightenment, communal investment deriving from social capital, and educational commitment that facilitate the capacity of a small town to forge its own path within the context of complex sociocultural ferment from then till now. Aáwé’s strength lies in the generational, communal and diasporic investment that birthed great names that contributed to Aáwé’s image of resilience and progress. Even though Aáwé is a small Yorùbá town, it carries the weight of great achievements — the aggregation of its diverse indigenous pool into a developmental capital that propels continuous advancement in social, cultural, economic and political terms. Aáwé’s indigenous pool is made up of the expatriates abroad who invested in educational advancement and those, equally educated, who stayed behind to keep up the chain of communal commitment and advancement.

This mystique is founded on an even more fundamental governance principle that takes the grassroots seriously as the basis of a distinct and peculiar development founded on subsidiarity and social capital. These two principles form the basis of local governance that embeds governance and development in traditional institutions and the will of the members of the grassroots. I have provided these sociological and political narratives to underscore two points. The first is to underscore the rationale behind the doggedness and courage of His Royal Majesty, Oba Cornelius Abiola Taiwo Oladokun. This kind of struggle and sacrifice to realize the transformation of the status of the monarchy at Aáwé could only further elevate the status of the town and the historical forbearance of Aáwé’s forebears. The Kabiyesi is only following in the footsteps of the Aáwé ancestors who kept up the trajectory of historical and cultural responsibility to the town and to posterity. The new beaded crown is therefore a testimonial to the historical resilience of Aáwé as a small town that withstood the complexities and intrigues of being situated within the context of larger Yorùbá historical circumstances that had the capacity to swallow it up.

More importantly, therefore, beyond the pomp and circumstances of the coronation, I am reading the entire event as Aáwé’s Nehemiah’s moment. At a very critical juncture in time, the biblical Nehemiah came to that conscious moment when all circumstances became propitious for him to take on the challenge of harnessing the will of the people and the resources of the land to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem. I am convinced that Aáwé has reached its own critical moment when there is a conjunction of history, vision and possibilities; it is a moment to rehabilitate the shared vision that has never failed to unite the Aáwé homeland and the Aáwé diaspora, or the Aáwé people and its distinguished elites towards a sustainable developmental future. Given the committed efforts of Aáwé’s ancestors to the Aáwé mystique, there is already in place a vast demography of generational capital — in terms of human capital and available resources — that creates a space of possibilities. What must then be added is a context for the sharing of opinions and blueprints for moving Aáwé forward. And it is the responsibility of the Alaawe to facilitate the flowering of the space that accommodates different shades of opinions and scenarios within leadership large-hearted seminal spirit; especially the peculiar one, required to manage a demographic of people with perhaps one of the largest professors and professionals per capital in the world, for moving Aáwé forward.

Like Nehemiah, these needed conversations and discourses need to be had around the urgency of taking Aáwé to the next level of composite development. There is no questioning the visible and tangible level of infrastructural achievements that dot the landscape of Aáwé as a result of self-help efforts. And they are though few, but too numerous to be mentioned, from the Oba’s palace to the Odo Sogidi tourist center, and from the police post to the bank. We must also not fail to mention the industrializing spirit of the late Chief (Sir) Anthony Amoje (the Otun of Aawe and his Amo Sanders), Chief Debo Omotoso (the Asiwaju of Afijio and his Bond Chemicals), etc. These self-help and industrial activities tell a tale of communal and collective responsibilities to the perceived need of a community that has always been aware of itself. However, by reason of this significant event of the crowning of the Aáwé monarch, we are challenged to rethink Aáwé’s development status and to take the self-help initiatives a fundamental step further. This is to the extent that the existing self-help efforts provide the enabling motivation to ground real development that transforms the well-being of the Aáwé people.

I mentioned that part of the Aáwé mystique is the available demography of people and resources that have been accumulating for a long time. This implies that there is really no need to reinvent the development wheel in putting Aáwé on the map. Starting from the Egbe Omo Ibile Aáwé to the Aáwé Development Plan: The OPTICOM Approach — and the ongoing but relevant Chief Emmanuel Adisa, the Asiwaju of Aawe-led attempt at developing an Aáwé Vision 2050, a blueprint that encompasses Aáwé Economic Renaissance and Restructuring for Economic Activities and Revitalization — speaks to the larger intention to take Aáwé beyond its present status in terms of leveraging local governance principles. For instance, Professors Ojetunji Aboyade and Akin Mabogunje’s OPTICOM — from optimum community — represents a unique experimental approach to grassroots mobilisation for community development. It is an attempt at establishing interactive platforms between researchers and grassroots producers in a unique synergy that facilitates the critical flow and fusion of knowledge and expertise. The OPTICOM thesis rests on the assumption that traditional structures possess the inherent capacity, borne out of centuries of adaptability and resilience, to bear the weight of responsible policy initiatives properly managed by equally responsible and development-sensitive leadership.

A revitalized OPTICOM approach, adapted to current development challenges, will provide the framework for transforming individual efforts into cooperative endeavors. For example, Aáwé farmers could be given the opportunity of re-organizing into enhanced cooperative societies and the building of entrepreneurial networks that could connect them with multi-sourced credit and infrastructural supports within a structured agro-processing industry value chain. This feeds directly into the poverty alleviation component of the Opticom model that is meant to reduce the burden of individual efforts that do not usually amount to much outside of cooperative capacities. This also speaks to Aáwé’s small and medium enterprises whose tenacious capacities as cottage industries not only delimit Aáwé’s comparative advantages, like the ebu ose (black soap) industry, but also remain the key to the creative industrial and economic transformation of Aáwéland. When the late Prof. Mabogunje consolidated this component in the celebrated experiment in Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR), its success had the critical support and the transformational leadership inspiration of the HRM the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona. This is then the crucial benchmarking of traditional governance structure and development achievement that Aáwé needs to emulate.

The development drive in Aáwé is also tied further to the dream of connecting Aáwé to the world, especially through age-long struggle to facilitate the establishment of a tertiary institution, as well as the urgent construction and rehabilitation of Aáwé’s network of roads and highways. Three highways are crucial in this regard—the Aáwé-Ife Odan, Aáwé-Akinmorin and Aáwé-Iwo roads. These are significant contributors to the industrialization of Aáwé. At the sociocultural level, Aáwé is also embedded in a historical and cultural axis under the sway of the Alaafin of Oyo. This places a heavy burden of wisdom and diplomacy on the Alaawe to find the right amount of relational skills and diplomacy that will make the peaceful coexistence between the different interests within Aawe town and those in diaspora on the one hand, and with our neighbors on the other, the centre-point of Aáwé’s development. And given that the days of imperialist expansion are long gone, what we are left with is a scenario of mutual and peaceful coexistence within the context of regional advancement that Aáwé itself can benefit from.

Therefore, even before the euphoria of the crowning ceremony wears off, it is time to commence the process of communal dialogue instigated by the Alaawe, the council of chiefs, Awe Development Corporation, the numerous egbe omo ibile Aawe, the Aáwé elite at home and in the diaspora, and the Aáwé people themselves. It is high time Aáwé took its place in the comity of places that deploy local governance through the political and sociocultural sophistication of their traditional governance structures to connect their people to human flourishing. This is a critical junction when the broken walls of Aáwé’s development trajectories needed to be rebuilt. And I believe the omens are auspicious sufficiently for us to re-start the formidable engine of progress.

Olaopa is a Professor of Public Administration, and Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Abuja.

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