Ekiti is a lioness in the rising sun, advancing stealthily to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. Rolls of her thunderous roar pronounce a level of strength, confidence and royalty that spans far beyond her geographical horizon.
Owing to her ruggedness and perseverance, she dares sit among the hills like the holy city of Jerusalem.
Her mountainous feature, being a derivative of her name, Ile-Olokiti (hilly land), explains her undaunted tenacity and strong-will to surmount her adversaries.
According to legend, Ekiti was a warrior known to defend her pride and integrity at all times. She bravely shook off her shoulders the unruly administration of the Ibadans in 1879 during the legendary Kiriji war.
She despised chain and took pleasure in freedom; her independence was prior to the British conquest in the early 19th century, when the western world took over the country, Nigeria, to which she belonged.
Ekiti obtained her freedom from the colonial rule alongside other regions of this great country on October 1st 1960. Few years after, she was carved out a modern Ekiti state from the old Ondo State territory in the western region of Nigeria on the 1st of October, 1996, having been declared an independent state by the military under the dictatorship of Major General Sani Abacha.
The holy book says, “Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Ekiti is exceedingly fruitful and her quiver has never been short of these arrows. She constitutes one of the largest Yoruba subgroups in Nigeria with about 2.5million people. Nigeria Population Census NPC officially recorded 2,398,957 in 2006.
Being one of the many Yoruba states in the Nigeria of today, Ekiti, as a district of Yoruba race, traces some of her progeny to Oduduwa, the father and progenitor of Yoruba race. However, deep research appears to establish the existence of aboriginal people in Ekiti land prior to influx of royalty from present day Ile Ife when it expanded.
Based on historical records, Ekiti’s endemic existence can be traced way back to the 13th century with kings who had very prosperous and heroic reigns. Such heroic reign was exemplified by the Ewi Ata of Ado-Ekiti in the 1400s.
Little wonder, Ekiti birthed a people of great and heroic minds, pursuing a common goal to tactically advance against her arch enemies; mediocrity, poverty and slavery with an unparalleled measure of synergy .
Jeffrey Gitomer once said “Great people have great values and great ethics.” Our values in Ekiti out-rightly affirm this claim.
We are die-hard believers of some very core human value systems such as honesty, integrity, justice, peace, loyalty and respect for God and the human race. And we naturally detest and rebel against injustices and marginalization being a socio-politically conscious set of people.
Our value for education is of the highest order, as such, we are imbued with unusual native intelligence and unrivaled foresight. Little wonder we answer to the name; The Fountain of knowledge.
Ekiti people, because of their core values such as education, honesty, transparency, and diligence, have made highly relevant contributions to the nation’s growth and development in all respect. As a result, they are marked for prominence and loyalty in every role and responsibility given to them whether political or not.
Late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, the first military governor of the defunct western region amongst many others is a living embodiment of the aforementioned virtues.
This same spirit of unfettered nationalism and patriotism is translated into the spirit of brotherhood amidst the people. The uniqueness and distinction of Ekiti state in the South West region of Nigeria is conspicuous, being the only State that is thoroughly homogenous. As such, the major ethnic group you will find in her territories is Ekiti.
The people of Ekiti glow with pride of their unique heritage and identity, so much that they savour the compound name with the suffix “-Ekiti” like Ado-Ekiti, Ikere-Ekiti, Omuo-Ekiti etc. An act proving the depth of unity and communality shared amidst the people of this unique landscape.
Ekiti people are spirited people, hopeful and persistent. I am a replica of this passion. And being a son of the soil, I have conceived a DREAM.
Quoting the words of Victor Hugo, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future”,
I dream of Ekiti as a unique brand of excellence with a worldwide acclaim.
I envision a time of revolution and restoration, when we will out-rightly rebel against the rule of slavery, poverty, mediocrity, ignorance, and corruption in our palaces and on our streets like the “Kiriji” days.
I see the emergence of an illustrious agro-based industrial landscape with many micro financing outlets that will promote entrepreneurship, self-actualization and wealth creation among our people.
My dream includes the restoration of our pride as the Fountain of Knowledge. I behold, not just an informing but also a transforming educational system, where schools will not just produce graduates and professors, but solution providers with their relevance extending beyond the local to the international communities. The time of digitalized educational systems, when our students will not just see or own computers but they will engineer computer systems.
We will lead in cryptosystems and cutting edge technologies and use artificial intelligence even in health care delivery, such that people will have access to quality health care services at affordable costs in a way that no citizen is denied this access on account of poverty or inability to pay. And when men need to see the future, they will only have to take a tour through Ekiti.
Then our children will become victory songs in our mouths and our youth’s testimonies on our tongues. These ones as leaders of tomorrow will be equipped with enough practical skills and technical know-hows to manifest their full potentials which are essential for their active participation in community developments.
Our women will be highly respected and valued, men will be champions and societal paragons, elders will be honoured, monetarily rewarded, and provided with adequate medical and recreational facilities that will make their retirement period full of life and energy.
This is the Ekiti of my dream and I have not stopped dreaming. Nonetheless, it is not enough to dream, deliberate actions are needed to transform our dreams into reality.
Our dreams are achievable but delusion of the highest order is to say the road to achieving it will not be rough, tough and challenging, especially because of the need for change, change in our orientation and mindset. This means leaving our comfort zone and state of complacency.
Max Degree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining where we are”
There is a clarion call for change to both young and old people of Ekiti, a call for mind shift and renewal of our thinking faculties.
The measure of greatness is not in where we want to be but where we want to go. There is a need for Ekiti people to come to the realization and hence a common determination that they deserve nothing but the best from the land.
While the indigenes should offer their full support to the government, the government in return should see to the welfares of the people by ensuring the alleviation of poverty through investment options with the state partnership with private sector involvements internally, locally and in diaspora.
Our youths are arrows that should be picked up, dusted, sharpened and target at socioeconomic growth of the state.
With adequate investments in education and youths’ development, Ekiti will produce world class champions in politics, sports, education, technology and every other stratum of life.
The effort that will catapult Ekiti into its promise land is a collective one for people of Ekiti both at home and diaspora. And it starts with me. In fact, I consider myself most important factor that catalyzes her transformation.
I am studying and working diligently as a student, an entrepreneur, technologist and a writer in a bid to equip myself with the adequate knowledge, productive skills and financial strength to be relevant in contributing to the state’s development and providing solutions to issues arising in my immediate environment.
When I saw the need to influence Ekiti youths to make a run for the betterment of their lives, I created an online platform where youths like me are trained and motivated toward achieving their dreams and making Ekiti a better place.
In addition, I changed my negative view and position towards political affairs when I realized that a house can only be dirty when the indwellers are dirty. Consequently, I abandoned my comfort zone of complacency and participated in the murky waters of politics not as political thug or ballot thief but as a reformer who will promote truth and justice.
Though my efforts might be very minute and probably negligible when compared to the mountainous size of challenges at hand, but these efforts, like the small pebbles David picked up to defeat Goliath will become significant on the long run.
Wake up good people of Ekiti, the future is now. Let us turn our dreams to reality. Indeed, no sacrifice is too much to for our mother land.