Kogi Industrial Zone: Odo-Ape Development Association Appreciates Gov Wada, Wants Zone to Reflect Cultural Heritage

By Ayo Olokoyo

The good people of Odo Ape Bunu, both at home and in Diaspora and the entire BUNU land has expressed joy and gratitude to God about the good news of the Government's intention to site Agricultural and Industrial layout in Bunu land of Kogi State. Intellectuals from Odo-Ape are happy with the development and grateful to His Excellency, Captain Idris Ichalla Wada and the good people of Kogi State.

The earmarked area which is naturally fertile and rich in minerals has the potential of contributing to the agricultural, economic and social development of the area, Kogi State and Nigeria.

From available information thus far, the INDUSTRIAL LAY OUT falls within a long span of land historically called 'ALA-APE, comprising of Odo Ape and Ape to which Agbadu, Apaa and few other communities are offshoots. The ALA-APE shares boundaries with ALA-AHERIN and ALA-ESI (commonly called the OKEMETA in Bunu Land) to the South and IWOAA/SOKOSOKO and OYO in OWORO Land to the North.

In a press release signed on behalf of Odo-Ape Development Association (ODA) by Dr Emily. I. Alemika and Professor J.O Ehinmidu, National Legal Adviser and Patron respectively, assured His Excellency, Capt. Idris Wada that the council of the Obas of the Bunu communities headed by HRH Olubunu, Oba Ikusemoro, who has been duly briefed of Wada's noble choice of declaring the area as agricultural and industrial Zone of Kogi State, is solidly in support of the laudable project.

“Bunu people are fine woven fabric, bonded together with the cord of unity, peace and love. What has bonded these communities together among others are; the Bunu people and the communities are interrelated, interdependent and yet, to a greater extent live autonomous of one another with mutual respects”

“Your Excellency Sir, we crave for your indulgence to look into the following issues:

1. We appeal for wider consultations with representatives, most especially before the final gazette of the area, in the interest of the communities, This is necessary, given the experience in the Niger Delta, Bakolori Dam crisis in the early 1980s, etc, where location of industries and projects became triggers for serious conflict, degradation, and insecurity. Sir, we assure His Excellency the best Bunu Intellectuals at your disposal as 'think tanks'

2. From the large proportion of the land acquired for the industrial and agricultural layout, the State Government is enjoined to exercise

due care not to allocate too large size of land that will not be utilized in the near future, especially to private companies that might hold such portions of land for personal or selfish gains.

3. The duration of the tenure should not be unduly long, we suggest, 10-15years period, subject to renewal, (instead of outright sale or

permanent allocation) and only if the operation of the company is sustained, satisfactory and beneficial to the communities the State and

the entire nation.
4. The present area being earmarked for industrial and Agricultural Zone is located in AKESO FARM LAND AREA OF ODO APE, Bunu, Hence, the name of the of the entire zone should reflect the traditional land ownership.

5. In several emergency meetings of the eminent indigenes of the Odo Ape (both Home and outside), held at the Palace of Obaro of which the

most recent one was on the 11 of February, 2013, with the presence of the Olu of Ape and the Obajemu of Agbadu in attendance. After due

consultations and extensive discussions, it was agreed upon that in order to continue the peaceful co-existence of the communities and

especially, the hospitality that the Odo Ape people had been known for, the identified areas for the Agricultural and Industrial Zone should reflect our cultural heritage. Therefore, Sir, when his Excellency is considering a befitting name, the area should be called “ODO APE-ALAPE'' Bunu. Your Excellency, Sir, granting us this particular request would preserve our historical geographical lineage, and secure the traditional boundary, especially, when it is finally gazette

6. The communities should have equity shares in the company/ projects that may spring from time-to-time, and the Government should ensure

people from the localities be considered as priority in employment opportunities; immaterial the origin or ownership of such companies.

This is in order to guide against what could have been a disaster in Obajana episode in the recent past

7. Reliable Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) should be undertaken in a transparent manner.

“Your Excellency, you have made the right and best choice of location for the agriculture and the industrial layout, given the peaceful co-existence of Bunu people and the natural endowment of the area. It is historic in the life of the Bunu people because, this is the first time the whole Bunu land of more than 50 villages is having a real good touch of the Government since its creation.

“This press release is purely informative to guide you. The recommendations are based on the global best practices. Secondly, for the basic and better understanding of the terrain based on the facts advanced, the government can always verify in order to reach fair and just decision.

“On behalf of the good people of Odo Ape, the immediate communities and the entire Bunu people, we promise

that we won't disappoint you. We wish you well and pray that your tenure will record success and historical landmarks. We ask that God grant you wisdom, courage and passion for good governance”

The press release has also been sent to the His Excellency, the Deputy-Governor of Kogi State, Commissioner for Agriculture, Liaison Officer 1, Kabba/Bunu Local Government Council, His Highness, Olubunu of Bunu, Hon Nathaniel Taiwo, State House of Assembly, President, Bunu Development Association and Hon. James Olatunji Awoniyi , the representative of Crown Agro Allied Investment Ltd. Nigeria.