By Jeleel Olawale
The Chairman, Local Organising Committee for the 2022 Ife Day celebration, Dr Yomi Layinka has decried the lack of community interest as one of the problems bedevering the development of Ile-Ife. Layinka made this known at a press conference organised by the LOC in Ile-Ife . According to him, the problem is that we have been working in polar opposite direction in Ife and this allows those who have no community interest to use community assets for personal enrichment. "They use Ife assets to enrich themselves at the expense of the community". Layinka, who is the former Special Adviser on communication and strategy to former Oyo State Governor, late senator Abiola Ajimobi, said the theme of this year celebration is "Home Coming", "unveiling of IFEVISION 2050, the Ife Development Agenda and The Source Discuss, an inter-generational conversation on ‘Yoruba Culture as a Strategic Imperative for Development". The LOC chairman said Ife Day is a periodic celebration where all Ife sons and daughters come together to celebrate and discuss the development agenda of Ile-Ife. This year edition will be held between 9th and 10th of December, 2022. "Since the present Ooni came, we have not had Ife Day celebration and this year will be celebrated in commemoration of Ooni Ogunwusi's 7th coronation anniversary". He further said among event for the celebration is "Source Discuss", a youth discussion forum, which is conversation among young people of Ile Ife origin where roles of young people in development agenda of Ile-Ife will be discussed. "Oba Ogunwusi will address business executives, technocrats, international diplomats, policy makers, political leaders, chieftains of financial institutions and development partners on IfeVision 2050". "The Agro-Allied Industrial Park being planned with national and multilateral development partners to be sited in Ifeland. This is to facilitate the processing of agricultural products into semi-finished and finished products. Such an intervention would offer practical solutions to some of the challenges facing our farmers like producing raw agricultural products which tend to attract low market prices and short shelf lives". This is a project to be presented before the stakeholders and the need for investors to add value to the project. This project will create job opportunities for youths in Ile-Ife. Layinka noted that the cardinal point is to transform Ile-Ife into modern contemporary city state, saying Ile Ife is the hub of cultural centre of the world which is a global tourist destination. He said, Ife Development Board (IDB) which is an agency for the transformation and development of Ile Ife and collaborating with Ooni of Ife, Oba Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi in achieving the vision and mission development plan of Ife. "The present IDB is changing the narrative by coming together to achieve communal goal rather than be sinical as this will not take Ile-Ife to anywhere. The elites need to form consensus as to how we want the town to look like in the next 60-100 years". "Lack of collective direction has been affecting development plan of the ancient town.There is need for creativity in the plan. So, IDB is working towards achieving the goal and the Board is trying to ensure that Ile-Ife is taken to a glorious future". He noted further that Ile-Ife plan is under IDB with the support of Ooni Ogunwusi,"because of past acrimony, mutual distrust and lack of understanding of the community development paradigm among our elites contribute to slow development of the town". "We want to build consensus among our leaders to be on same page so that implementation will be easier. We need to set long term goal with timeline and work towards it. Once we have the vision and mission then, we can achieve it. We must dream big". Layinka opined that in the next five years Ile-Ife will not be in this same state as IDB is being reworked as an engine room in directing the development agenda of the town in partnership with other groups in Ile-Ife in achieving the set goal. "We have been seen positive changes and looking forward to a situation where any politician seeking for votes will be interrogated within the context of IDB agenda to see whether he/she understands where we are going. Politicians and IDB should be in same page towards achieving new Ife". Layinka therefore, called on Ife sons and daughters, corporate friends and associates, to join Ife to make this historic celebration of development a success and key to the development agenda of Ile-Ife.