Protest Rocks Uso Community As Residents Decry Age- long Marginalisation
–Demand LCDA Headquarters or Boundary Adjustment
Uso community, a town in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State stood still on Monday, 4th of December as residents trooped out in large numbers to protest the incessant marginalisation of the community especially by Owo Local Government where this act has hindered the growth and development of the community. According to the protesters, the Community has never had it good under Owo Local Government from time immemorial.
It would be recalled that the Governor of Ondo State recently approved the upgrading of some traditional rulers in the State where about four Obas were upgraded to Grade A in the Local Government leaving the Oloba of Uso on Grade C. In the same vein, all the communities that their Obas were upgraded also had LCDA Headquarters to their credit.
However, worried by this ugly development, the people of the community mobilized a peaceful protest to make their grievances known to the concerned authorities.
The residents were seen with different playcards and fliers with different inscriptions.
Part of the inscriptions were; culturally and historically, Uso belongs to Akure, Mr Governor, please take us back to our ancestral home, we are tired of being under Owo Local Government, we need boundary readjustment to go to Akure North Local Govt, Uso has suffered enough stiff marginalisation from Owo right from 1965, Uso is the only minority community within Owo LGA, Uso wants administrative autonomy, Uso alone is bigger than two combined wards in Owo but annexed with Emure Ile as a ward, only Uso people speak Akure language in Owo Local Government, Uso people don’t speak Owo, they speak Akure, River Ogbese cannot be the basis of delimitation in this modern day democracy, we refuse to be part of any LCDA as long as it is not cited in Uso, amongst others.
The protest was backed by members of Olowo in Council, various groups, associations and coalitions like the Uso Unity Forum North America and Europe Chapters, Uso Advisory Council, Uso Youth Forum, Market Women Association and so on.
It would be recalled that the community demanded that the newly created LCDA be sited in the town as encapsulated in their memos to the Governor and the LCDA Creation Committee.
Unfortunately, Emure Ile got the headquarters due to its apron strings with Owo. One of their memoranda stated that, should the LCDA headquarters not sited in the town, it would push for boundary readjustment to Akure North Local Government which it has apron strings with in terms of cultural and historical linings.
While speaking with journalists, some of the protesters like Dr. Adewale Aro and Barr. Femi Omosuwa, made the position of the community known and urged the government to consider it for either administrative autonomy or boundary readjustment as they were not ready to be under any LCDA.
Stressing further, Dr. Aro said Ipele that was at the extreme end of the Local Government got its LCDA and Uso was denied despite its top position in IGR contribution to Owo Local Government coffers. He claimed they found themesleves under Owo on the basis of Ogbese river being the artificial boundary used in those days. He stated the provisions of the constitution where rivers are no more the basis of delimitation, but rather cultural affiliations, as Uso people speak the dialectical variety of Akure language.
In his words, ” Uso is the third biggest Community in Owo Local Government, so, having Uso under Emure Ile is an aberration. Uso contributes over 60% IGR that comes to Owo Local Government. We will seek every legal instrument to get what belongs to us”.
Barr Femi Omosuwa equally made it known that during elections, Uso has been the collation centre for Uso/Emure ward from inception by virtue of population, size and internally generated revenue. He said”, basically what Uso people want is Autonomy. We are not ready to work under Emure Ile LCDA, if we can’t have our own LCDA, then we prefer Autonomy”.
Similarly, the Odofin of Uso, High Chief Adejuyigbe, said apart from the fact that the two communities share the same political ward, he also illustrated with the establishment of Uso/Emure Archdeaconry with the headquarters in Uso.
In his words, “Uso has been the headquarters of the political ward since establishment, even Uso/Emure Archdeaconry of the Anglican Communion has its Headquarters sited in Uso without any controversy”.
Meanwhile, the members of the community have said the peaceful protest conducted in the presence of security personnel was just just one of the numerous legal instruments that would be accessed to write the wrongs.
Credit: Olaseeni Oyesusi