ONDO SOUTH AND THE ENDURING DECADES OF DARKNESS By Kunle Wizeman Ajayi

As we all jeered and set to run at the #UluutonMarathon at the eve of the end of year 2022, I took a glance around the beautiful geography of a town that personalizes my childhood pride.

The several moments of games from River Akokan to the glowing dances of masquerades at Ura quarters; the town still remains of a great landscaping but conspicuously lagging in pragmatic development.

For almost a decade and a half, the people of Ondo South has been kept in perpetual darkness, away from the torch of electricity. From Ore to Ugbo, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) have failed to provide lights, and all things bright and beautiful years back are now dull and ugly.

Each time the people rise to take political actions as can been seen in the Red August of 2018 were we occupied Benin-Ore Expressway for seven hours on the 1st and went ahead to march massively at Igbokoda, and then Okitipupa; the Ondo state government employed their cronies to argue for dialogue and negotiations, getting the monarchs to file out and sign a jamboree MOU that never sees the light of the day.

Meanwhile, the people carry big big power banks and even borrow now daily to power phones and others. The only thing one hears from the politicians is the erection of street lights using solar system.

The successes of the mass actions in 2018 were stemmed down by politicians who lied to us through the monarchs that one Niger Delta Power Holding Company was going to come helping with light restoration. They repeated same towards the Ondo gubernatorial elections. Yet, it’s all a ruse!

For those who do not know, Ondo South is a large stake holder in the power distributions of Nigeria as the district used to be an industrial center in the country. A district that has Oluwa Glass Company, Okitipupa Oil Palm PLC, Araromi Obu Rubber Estate, and other industries, as well as, have plenty mineral and agricultural resources must not be left a bit without electricity. Agbabu bitumen, touted as the second largest concentration in the world, is sited in Ondo South.

But those in government care less about mass development, but their individual growths. They are happy when joblessness, decapitation of the Informal Sector, uselessness of skills acquisitions, and other negatives which are the results of no electricity, and such other infrastructural provisions are lacking. This is why the Nigerian ruling class stick to greedy ideas of neo-liberalism, especially privatizations and deregulations.

But the youths on Ondo South should not take this darkness anymore. They are the most affected with the absence of electricity for the past one and a half decade. The politicians want the elections to hold as the normal rituals of voting the next guys who would go looting big for their personal pockets.

Mass unemployment, as it ravages nationally, ravages Ondo South crazily that crimes becomes normalcy while there is no hope in sight for the revamping of the old industries that are now dumpsites.

Lamentations is no more desirable. For change to be effected, people have to act. Great initiatives like the #UluutonMarathon can be sustained if electricity is readily available. It is glaring that the ruling parties do not care about the growth and development of the citizens. So, the masses have to be insistent in fighting for our demands. It is not in the interest of those in power to make life better for the people. Their interest is to acquire stinking wealth and accumulate excessively for their children’s children.

It is time to vote for a political party that will rebuild the industries and concentrate on the socio-economic revival of collective wealth for all.

As we move closer to elections by February, will Ondo South continue to remain in darkness. Symbolically, will Nigeria too continue to remain in the darkness of greed, war, and poverty? Only by voting a Revolutionary alternative like Omoyele Sowore and the AAC can ensure that we completely depart from the old decades of darkness, and start a new dawn of total liberation!

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