Yoruba Kwara rejects proposal for change of Unilorin to Alimi University, placement of Emir’s picture in Govt buildings

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu and Samuel Ogunsona

The Kwara South Consultative Forum, representing mainly Yoruba people in Kwara State have opposed plans to rename the University of Ilorin after Sheik Alimi, the man who killed the Yoruba military leader and imposes a theocratic state on Ilorin, essentially a Yoruba town.

The forum is made up of respected in Kwara State.

They strongly criticized the two recent proposals put forth by the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Union (IEDPU).

The IEDPU is the umbrella organisation of Alimi descendants who though speak no other language except Yoruba but are essentially Fulani.

Ilorin was ruled by Yoruba until Afonja was killed in 1824 when Alimi, who had posed as a spiritual leader, only to take over the leadership of the town following Afonja’s dispute with Oyo Empire.

The IEDPU wants the picture of the Emir of Ilorin to be installed in all Government buildings in the five local Government areas while the University of Ilorin should be changed to Alimi University.

In a related development, the Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) asked the Federal Government to dismiss the request as another “infantile Fulani expansionist agenda”

The ONAC Secretary for Publicity, Ayo Omole told Irohinoodua that Alimi was an “usurper and a traitor” who stole the land and should be treated as a “common criminal.”

During a press conference led by its President, Chief Joseph Aderibigbe, the Yoruba forum expressed incredulity at the suggestion by IEDPU that the Emir of Ilorin’s photographs be displayed in all five local government offices under the Ilorin Emirate. They deemed this request as “a joke carried too far,” emphasizing the lack of relevance to the diverse communities within Kwara South Senatorial District.

KSCF stated that, “To us, this is a joke carried too far. We find it difficult to fathom the rationale behind this bizarre suggestion.

“For the sake of clarity, the President and the Governor are elected public officers chosen by the people to serve them for a specific period of time. Their portraits are therefore hanged as a mark of respect for their offices.”

The group said while they hold the Emir in the highest esteem, we find it difficult to understand in what capacity his portrait should be hanged in public or private offices. Secondly, the portraits of the President and Governor are produced from public funds.

The group said it will, therefore, amount to applying tax payer’s money on a non-elected personality that bears no relevance to the offices to which the portraits should be hanged.

They vehemently oppose this suggestion in its entirety.

Additionally, the forum opposed the IEDPU’s call for renaming the University of Ilorin after Sheikh Alimi, the founder of the Ilorin Emirate, stating that such actions would undermine unity and equitable development across the state.

The group highlighted the importance of promoting inclusivity and respecting the heritage of all ethnic groups in Kwara State, cautioning against agendas that could marginalize certain communities.

KSCF expressed that, “The head of the Alimi Dynasty bears no relevance to the people of Igbomina, Ibolo, and Ekiti descents in Kwara South Senatorial District and even the other senatorial District.”

“It will, therefore, be unjust and unreasonable to impose a name that does not have a state wide spread on our collective inheritance,”

“The privilege of being the host community should not be misconstrued to mean exclusive ownership either. The entire state is the catchment area,”

In contrast to the IEDPU’s proposals, the Kwara South Consultative Forum advocated for the conversion of the State College of Education, Oro, in Irepodun Local Government Area, into the proposed University of Education. They argued that Oro’s strategic location and existing infrastructure would make it a suitable site for the new university, emphasizing the need for prudent use of resources in higher education development.

Engineer Adebayo Daramola, the Secretary General of the group, presented the forum’s stance during the press conference, delivering a prepared speech on behalf of Chief Joseph Aderibigbe, the President of the Forum. Daramola emphasized that establishing the university in Oro would be cost-effective and leverage existing facilities, thus ensuring a smooth transition for the proposed institution.

Daramola stated, “Kwara State College of Education has the largest land mass among its peers. It has a total land size of 198.319 hectares, which is good for academic activities, agriculture and future expansion to a world class institution.”

“Besides, the College of Education, Oro is the only institution of its status with the largest number of functional infrastructural facilities. The College has over 60 buildings and offices, which serve as modern lecture rooms, theatres, and halls that are conducive and can support learning and teaching activities.”

“The availability of laboratories and upgraded library. The college has Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Agriculture and Integrated Scięnce Laboratories, all equipped with adequate, relevant and modern equipment and materials”

Daramola urged both the IEDPU and the government to prioritize fairness and justice in their pursuit of regional development, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and mutual respect in fostering unity and progress in Kwara State, “The attitude of winners take all has become anachronistic in this era of live and let live. We see this as nothing more than greed and selfishness.”

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