BOLU-OLU ESHO writes on the efforts being made by indigenes of a community in Ondo State to transform the rustic town into an iconic modern city.
Ilara-Mokin is one of the ancient towns in Ondo State. It was popularly known for its Fire Festival. Both natives and those residing in the neighbouring towns and villages throng the town during this unique festival. The festival had in the past remained the rallying point for the natives both home and abroad as many of them visit home during the occasion just like what Christmas is to the country boys.
However, this has changed and a day has been separated for the folks to gather and deliberate on how to develop their cherished country home to a modern habitat. The special day was tagged Mokin Day. This has provided a platform for all sons and daughters, both young and old, from the king to the least subject to brainstorm and make contributions to the development of their cherished homeland.
Fortunately, Ilara-Mokin is blessed with offshoots that are generous and have a passion for decorating it with uncommon edifices for no personal gains. One of these species is the major distributor of Toyota automobile products in the country, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, founder of Elizade Motors.
Everyone born in the community is passionate about the serene and natural habitat doted and surrounded by green vegetation. But despite its proximity to the capital city of the state, Ilara-Mokin has over the years, either by omission or commission, been abandoned by the government as there are just a few state-owned projects of the old bestowed on it.
In a rescue mission, the sons and daughters of the little town decided to take the faith into their own hands. A strategy was designed and accepted by all that they would come together annually to make contributions to execute specific projects in the community. The projects are designed, funded and executed by them to ensure contractors adhere strictly to the specifications.
Chief Ade-Ojo solely constructed several roads within the community, especially one linking the town to a neighbouring Ikota community, which is in the same local government area.
In his passion for and desire to develop the town, Chief Ade-Ojo established and cited Elizade University in the town. He also established a golf course in the town simply named: Smokin Hills Golf Resort.
In her address on Sunday, November 21, 2021, at the 42nd Mokin Day celebration, the National President, Egbe Omo Ilara-Mokin, Dr. Oluyemisi Olorunshola, stated that “In the last six months, we have embarked on 11 projects at the cost of N62 million. Some of these projects are completed and have been inaugurated while others are at advanced stages of completion.
“The achievement is only possible by the grace of God and the unflinching support of our sons and daughters. While I make bold to say that I have enjoyed the support of Mokin sons and daughters from all over the world, I must mention the contributions of some distinguished sons and daughters who have contributed in no small measure (in the last six months) to the development of Ilara-Mokin by funding the projects.”
Mr. Japheth Adaramola, an architect, who was the chairman of the occasion, declared that he would continue to support the community development, having been adopted as a son of the Ilara-Mokin. Mr. Adaramola, who hails from Osun State, is a major contractor to Chief Ade-Ojo and was part of the team that brought about Elizade University. He said he had considered himself a native of Ilara-Mokin and a life member of Egbe Omo Ilara-Mokin.
The community had through communal efforts built infrastructure including the building housing the only commercial bank in the community, the new Oba’s Palace, health centre, Doctors’ residence, courts complex (magistrate and customary courts), Divisional Police Headquarters, e-Library, and among others.
According to Mrs. Olorunshola, “Chief Ade-Ojo (OON) has been at the forefront of major developments in our community, a benevolent spirit who has touched the lives of Mokin indigenes and Ilara-Mokin community in general. “Ilara-Mokin is on the world map today because of his great contributions and huge investments in the community.
I must mention the contributions of some distinguished sons and daughters who have contributed in no small measure—in the last six months—to the development of Ilara-Mokin by funding several projects
“We are proud of Elizade University, the Smokin Hills Golf Course, well-paved roads in Ilara-Mokin, and other projects which have elevated the community far above its peers.
“We thank you for equipping our e-library and saving our community from the hazards of flood with the construction of the collapsed bridge and re-channeling River Isokun waterway,” she said.
She reeled out 23 other proposed projects to be executed in the community through self-concerted effort. The projects include education, healthcare services, economic development, and infrastructure, sporting activities, town-wide beautification and security.
They also planned to give two public secondary schools 100 computer sets, renovation of two public secondary schools, provision of basic hospital equipment and medical items for the health centre, provision of large acres of land for Industrial Park for value-added industries and upgrading and modernising of existing markets, where sellers will have decent shops with solar energy.
They also planned to build a formidable Solar Farm to generate adequate electricity for the town; establishing a football club starting from secondary school level with a view to creating a strong football academy. Part of their plans is also to erect security lights at the two major entry points of the town.
The National President of Egbe Omo Ilara-Mokin, therefore, appealed to all sons and daughters of the kingdom who are within the country and in the Diaspora to strive to contribute their own quota in developing the town. She said: “Please remember, Ilara-Mokin is our root, our community and our foundation. We cannot do too much for her and we can all do something to make her greater.”
In an address at the occasion, the Alara of Ilara-Mokin, Oba Abiodun Aderemi Adefehinti, Agbekorun II, appreciated the efforts of sons and daughters of the kingdom, noting that their personal efforts had been responsible for the meteoric development noticed in the town. He commended them for providing and taking care of the welfare of the downtrodden in the kingdom.
Oba Adefehinti stated that the impact of Chief Ade-Ojo, the Aare Atayese of Ilara-Mokin, had made in the town was immeasurable. He, therefore, called on all his subjects across the globe to remember home and leave the legacy they would be remembered for by in the kingdom.