In 1915, in those years the Anglo Saxon ruled our land, Ondo Province birthed. As a colosus, it bestrides the Nigerian landscape. Its giant legs deepens 12 nautical miles, straddling the Atlantic; one leg at Lekki Peninsula in the west and the other, over 100 kilometres wide, stands off the estuary of the Benin River at Oghoye in the east. A South-West Yoruba state, standing on the Atlantic and in the Niger Delta, its touches the Kabba Province, now Kogi state, making Ondo, the only state in Nigeria that stretches uninterrupted from the south to northern Nigeria. Its inhabitants are an amalgamation of independent nations and sub-nations.
The Ilaje coastal dwellers, it weaned from the colony of Lagos and who, with the Ijaws of the Apoi and Arogbo, share the mangrove forest, immediately abutting the mostly and peculiarly muddy Atlantic coastal plain. Still engrossed in the mangrove, but heralding the dense rain forest, are the great Ikale people whose territory is crisscrossed by the Oluwa and its tributaries. Meshed as Okitipupa Division and co-joined by the kingdoms of Odigbo, Obu, Ajue, Ile-Oluji and Oke-Igbo, they the are siblings of the South.
As we venture thence into the Central region of the state, is revealed the territory of the Ondo, from where the diverse Province and later the State, derived its name and agreed to by all; an interesting story for another day. The land of the Egins dovetails into the land of the Oyemekuns, Akure our Capital, peaceful home to us all. It borders the Idanre ancient mountaineers, to the east of which, is the great Benin empire and wested by the three main friends, Ifedore, bonded by love, stretching west and north to the Ekiti.
In the midst of undulating hills, open forests, across the great Ogbese River, the giant breasts its northern portion embracing Owo and Ose, a potpourri of diverse groups of ancient kingdoms, extending northeasternly into the old Benin Empire. The Akoko region, an amazing polyglot society of diverse origins, weaved together and guided by ancient rocks, at the brink of the Savannah, are united by the spartan spirit of the Wood Pecker, by which name, a common identity is forged. Its territory aggressively hits the Kabba Province, from which some were originally crafted.
For this cause, oh Nehemiah, was I born, prepared and now charged that this land and its fullness, with its wonderful people combined, may be harnessed for development and greatness.
Like my Hebrew namesake, was I also born outside my native, but in Yewa, land. I have also, like the biblical Nehemiah, the cup bearer in the palace of Atarxerxes, served the people and several governors; chairmanship of the old Ilaje/Ese Odo Local Government, in those younger years, was the early sign.
On his way to glory as GOVERNOR of Judah and for the task ahead, Nehemiah needed access to the king’s forest for necessary resources, and three times, without precedent, have I also been charged as Commissioner, with matters of the environment, forests and mineral resources and counted worthy, as a voice of the Yoruba at the 2014 National Confab, for the robust experience for this great task of the Sunshine State.
I care not about the antics of Sanbalat, Tobiah or Geshem, who are necessary obstacles to be surmounted on this #GUBERNATORIAL journey, for the appointed time for the vision is here. Oh God strengthen my hands.
OLUSOLA NEHEMIAH EBISENI (O-N-E)
Lawyer, activist, politician, historian