Ondo State Can Be The Richest State In Nigeria

by Dr. Wunmi Akintide

Once upon a time, and before Ekiti State was carved out, Ondo State used to be one of the poorest States in Nigeria. Military Governors posted to the State were considered unlucky, or not highly connected or favored by their big bosses in Lagos or Abuja, because if they were, they would not be sent to Akure, a euphemism for the whole State at the time. And you could tell from merely visiting the State Capital or any of the major towns like Ondo, Owo and Ado Ekiti, at the time, that the State was really poor. The then Federal Government, whether military or civilian, couldn’t care less about Ondo State, because the State was believed either wrongly or rightly to be tied, too much, to the apron string of the defunct Action Group under late Obafemi Awolowo as Premier and Leader of the Yorubas.

You would have thought that the Federal Military Government as a neutral Government in our country would have tried to maintain a level playing field for all States in Nigeria, and be more equitable and fair in their distribution of Federal favors. They all did not do that, as most of those Governments and those who led them were always picked from a section of Nigeria that had often played a dominant role in the coups that are often used as their stepping stones into power. Aguiyi Ironsi, our pioneer military Head of State, who in January 15, 1966, had just found himself taking over control from the young Majors who had staged the coup. He got the power before he started thinking of what to do with it. He was himself a part of the establishment and did not have any fire in his belly like the young Chukwuma Nzeogwu and his hotheaded Majors who wanted a change of direction for the sleeping giant of a nation. Aguiyi Ironsi did not survive long enough for anybody to fairly and objectively assess his impact as a leader. All he had managed to do, was to give indications, he wanted a unitary Government in Nigeria that would operate much like the model he was used to as the Head of the Nigerian Military at the time.

Of course his colleagues from the North who were bent on seeking revenge for most of their leaders either military or civilian that have been killed in the Coup, had ganged up against him, and had secretly decided to take him out of power, by force six months later. It later turned out the same group led by Yakubu Gowon as Head of State, had quietly gone back to adopting the same unitary system as their preferred model of operation for all the eight years of Gowon, and the 200 days of Murtala Mohammed and the close to 3 years of Olusegun Obasanjo, prior to 1979, when he had carefully and methodically elegized or manipulated the electoral system to handpick his own civilian successor in Shehu Shagari of the NPN. All of the leaders including Shagari, and Mohammadu Buhari who had led the coup against Shagari, and Ibrahim Babangida who had led the coup against Buhari, and Sanni Abacha who had succeeded Babangida after a civilian interregnum led by Earnest Shonekan, had all behaved the same way, giving preferential treatment to states in the North, while selectively appeasing or favoring a few states in the South. Ondo State in particular, always came last in their pork barrel system of politics, because Ondo State was considered a renegade state that would never see eye to eye with the Federal Government because of our very liberal political leanings and association with Obafemi Awolowo.

Even though Ondo State, like Massachusetts in America, was considered the intellectual power house of Nigeria, she was despised by the ruling class in Nigeria for some inexplicable reason. The consensus of the ruling oligarchy in the Federal, was to find some ways to suppress Ondo State and to tie her down, and to let the other states catch up with her, before she can be allowed to continue to make additional breakthrough in education which has become the envy of other states in the North. Of all the military Governors posted to Ondo State, the very best of them, I might add, was Group Captain Ita David Ikpeme, our pioneer military Governor who had made sure that the initial vote allocated by the Murtala Government to Ondo State was properly and creatively spent. Ita David Ikpeme had laid a solid foundation for our State by building the Alagbaka Estate, the Oda Road Estate and by building the Government Secretariat along Igbatoro Road at Akure, as well as laying the foundation of the Owena Motels, opposite the Secretariat. Our first civilian Governor, Adekunle Ajasin of blessed memory, had followed up the good works of Ita David Ikpeme by starting the construction of the only dual carriage way at Oba Adesida and Oyemekun Roads in Akure and providing the street lights, to give Akure a much deserved face lift as the State Capital. Pa Adekunle Ajasin’s Government had also laid the foundation for the industrial take off of Ondo State by building the Ile Oluji Cocoa Processing factory and Oluwa Glass Industry at Igbokoda, and the Ire and the Owo Block-making Factories. The same Government had also established the Owena Bank as one of the engines that drives the State economy for years. He, Ajasin, had also established a number of Polytechnics and Advanced Teachers Colleges and the Ondo State University at Ado Ekiti, despite all the obstacles placed on his way by the then Shagari Federal Government of Nigeria.

I recall Commodore Michael Bandele Otiko taking over from Adekunle Ajasin after Buhari bad become Head of State. Even though Governor Otiko was very eager to serve his own people and to leave his footprints on the sand of history, as the first Ondo State indigene to serve as a military Governor, he was denied of the funds and the allocations needed to get the job done by a lukewarm or a totally indifferent Federal Government led by Buhari and Idiagbon. The two leaders had refused to release to Ondo State, all of the allocations due to her from the Federal Government. I recall Governor Adekunle Ajasin appealing to Shehu Shagari to let the Federal Government help Ondo State with the Bitumen Project around Agbabu in Ondo State. The Federal Government always refused to help because Ondo State was considered a pariah State because of her political leanings in the past, and because of the 1983 rebellion following the attempt of the NPN Government to declare Omoboriowo the Governor of Ondo State despite his defeat in the 1983 elections. For that reason Ondo State was totally ostracized by the Federal Government as a “no go area” by every succeeding Federal Government after Shagari.

I recall the Babangida’s Federal Government completely forgetting Ondo State while trying to form his new cabinet until someone had to bend over backwards to draw his attention. Ondo State was just lucky IBB had not yet appointed the Secretary to his Government, when he realized his mistake. Even though, his plan was to name another northerner as Secretary to Government, he had no choice than to rush to find someone from Ondo State who could fill the slot. Three candidates were considered namely Augustus Adebayo from Igbara Oke, Theophillus Iwajomo from Okitpupa and Oluyemi Falae from Akure. It was Oluyemi Falae who finally got the nod. I recall this story because Ondo State was never seriously reckoned with in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

You may not believe it, if I tell you that Ekiti State was carved out of the old Ondo State by Sanni Abacha, as part of his plans to get confirmed as a civilian president in Nigeria. He knew Ondo State might prove to be a thorn in his flesh, and he thought it was necessary to weaken Ondo State by breaking her up because the Ekiti people led by their most prominent Oba , Ewi Adejugbe, had promised Abacha that Ekiti people would massively support him in his bid for the Presidency, if he could carve them into a separate State. All Abacha did was a quid pro quo, regardless of whether or not the State would be viable. Abacha knew and the Ekiti people knew that all that matters, is the Federal government support. The Federal Government would always have to bear the brunt, and that is what is happening in Ekiti State, as we speak. If you discount the Federal allocation coming to Ekiti State, there is nothing else from other sources. This takes me to the central theme of this article that Ondo State may well be the richest State in Nigeria today or in the foreseeable future and why?

Ondo State is now among the nine oil producing States in Nigeria that share out of the 13% allocation of the gross Federal Revenues usually reserved for such states on pro rata basis, depending on how many oil wells are drilled in their territorial waters, and the sheer volume or size of their oil and liquefied gas deposit and the quality The crude oil coming out of Nigeria is generally regarded among the best in the world. Ondo State used to be considered number 4. It then moved to number 2 on the rating scale and is most likely moving to number 1 today, because no less than 255 oil wells which used to be classified under Delta State are all now expected to be ceded to Ondo State, following a new Territorial Adjudication Panel recommendations approved by the Federal Government. That was point number one. Point number two is the discovery of Bitumen in large commercial quantities in Ondo State, not to talk of the limitless opportunities Ondo State now has to expand her Oluwa Glass Manufacturing Factory at Igbokoda area and all the revenues that those and allied industries could generate in the immediate future, if the Ondo State Government now in the PDP column, can get its priorities right. Gone are those days when the Federal Government used to look the other way, when issues concerning the interest and welfare of Ondo State come up for discussion.

With a responsible Government, Ondo State stands the chance of becoming the most economic buoyant state in the Nigerian Federation. Ondo State has got everything. The manpower base is huge and well informed The soil is good for Agriculture, and Ondo State may well become the Food Basket of Nigeria if the arrangement to bring in the Government of Israel to help, can be pursued to its logical conclusion. Ondo State is a huge Cocoa producing State in Nigeria. Much of the cocoa produced in Nigeria, come from Ala Ajagbusi, and Igbatoro Familugba all belonging to Akure, the State Capital. Much of the Timber Nigeria depends on today, also comes from the same area, and more importantly from the Ofosu Forest Reserve all owned by the State Capital. Akure Local Government, without any doubt, has the largest land mass in the whole of Ondo State. Much of the timber or cocoa that are said to come from Idanre Local Government today are all being produced on Akure Land and territory. That is one area where the Ondo State Government needs to put the records straight. Much of where the Idanre people farm today are all owned by Akure Local Government Please feel free to check it out if you like. Since the so-called Land Use Decree has never worked in the South, make no mistake about it, every community knows its own territories, and will never allow another community to take it away. With a good and imaginative policy of forestation, Ondo State can, for a long time, dominate the Timber industry in Nigeria.

This article will not be complete if I do not touch on the limitless opportunities now open to the Agagu Government in Ondo State to please invest those resources to start developing our State. The State Capital and all the Local Government Headquarters in our State ought to be given special attention, like is done in most civilized countries. The Agagu Government, if it wants to be remembered by posterity, should learn something from Ita David Ikpeme and Adekunle Ajasin Governments for getting their priorities right and for laying a solid foundation for our State in much the same way like the Ogbemudia Government had done in Bendel. Ogbemudia had used the revenues coming from oil to develop his State to the best of his ability. He, Ogbemudia, might have stolen money doing so, just like others before and after him, but he did make his mark, and his legacies in Bendel are there for people to see. Former Governor Adebayo Adefarati of Akungba did have his opportunity to develop our State, with more oil resources coming to his Government. He and his Government did steal a lot of money, but if you ask me his legacies today in that State, there is very little you can point to, because much of the money had gone into his pocket, and those of his Cabinet members. It would be nice if some of the probes currently going on can help to recover some of those stolen loot. Government should also pay attention to those pen rubbers within his Government who are busy stealing our commonwealth even as they draw attention to the corruption of the Adefarati Government.

Governor Agagu has no more excuse to complain that money is not coming in. Compared to Ekiti State today, Ondo State has become a Treasure Island with so much money to spend and to spare. Let the Government use that money to develop our State and the State Capital. There is an urgent need to commission a Belt Parkway or a Ring Road around Akure that will take care of the traffic hold up that is already becoming a permanent feature in the State Capital, after office hours starting from about 4 to 5 o’clock on week days. Governor Agagu, you have recently returned from a trip to Japan, and I know you did stop over in a few other European capitals on your way to Japan. I don’t know, if you were ever in Singapore or Honolulu or Hong Kong. Leaders with imaginations like you have built those cities and countries, because they have the means and the desire to make their nation great. You have the means to do the same for our State today, and you must not look back. Be the first Governor in our State to think and execute a master plan for all our urban centers and the rural areas of our State. Create a Downtown showpiece for Akure, the State Capital, and let your fellow Governors look on your State as a pace setter in much the same way like Obafemi Awolowo was viewed as unique among his peers. You can do it, if you try. Don’t just be a dreamer, be a doer of good things, and your name will live for ever. Long Live Ondo State, Long live Nigeria.

I rest my case.

Dr. Wunmi Akintide.

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Olufemi Adelakun January 15, 2011 - 7:01 pm

That is true Ondo state can be the richest state in Nigeria If the state take part in Manufacturing goods that can be exported oversea and compete. this will allow job creation. This is time to use our resource to make that happen. The governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko will have to be ready to involve Manufacturing product, minerals and agriculture alone can not do it.

David Egunjobi September 17, 2010 - 11:29 am

The article is very good, but some of your record about the state is not correct, Ondo state is not in Akure alone, development of Akure alone the way you put it forth will not help the whole state, also Cocoa, timber is not only produced in akure, more are even produce in Owo and Ifon local government now than Akure. You are too polictical in your criticism of Adefarati, Can you compare ADEFARATI PROJECTS with that of Agagu considering the fact that Adefaratic got only 50 billion naria in his 4yrs the same amount Agagu got in a year.

Igbekoyi Ayodeji June 14, 2010 - 5:15 pm

i thinks ondo state is becoming one of the richest state in the nation,also among the fastest growing state ……..also on infrastructure the state is moving……..thanks to the good governor dr Olusegun mimiko….

faustrino asprilla May 7, 2010 - 8:48 am

i think ondo state is becoming one of the richest state in nigeria already but the problem we have is bad leadership,economically the state is rich,translate this to money that can be used to develop the state.like my friend in law school said,we gat states like kogi and individuals giving grants to students but that is not the case with ondo state.we have not be lucky with having good leaders.

dan_tese@yahoo.co.uk March 27, 2010 - 3:40 am


Vintage4cool@yahoo.com March 12, 2010 - 3:36 pm

Good! Fair-well to Ekiti,a blessing to Ondo-State.Good by to Ekiti-likes”AKURE”we compliment you article by making Ondo-State the richest.Let fully carve-out our parasite should be the voice of the Ondos…OGUNDOLIE OLUSOGA(IDANRE).

Vintage4cool@yahoo.com March 12, 2010 - 3:21 pm

Dr,you are an icon of exellence.But a bit tribalistic.Imagine your converting the abundant wealth of pride of the state”IDANRE”(the layer of golden) to your desert-threating AKURE! This unfair.We better call a spade a spade…OGUNDOLIE OLUSOGA

Olatunji Folayemi July 1, 2009 - 9:22 pm

The state’s monicker has been just that because the much proclaimed sunshine is a rare sight,the blatant greed and of apparent lack of the awareness of posterity of our past leaders casts a gloomy canopy on the indigenes.

A pro active “all hands on deck” attitude that Ondo people are known for,with support from a revolutionary leader is what we need to make our Canaan.

Long live Ondo state,

Long live Iroko.

Iroko Kekere May 25, 2009 - 4:56 pm

Wow, this is a well written article by a highly intelligent proud son of Ondo State who deserves nothing less than a standing ovation for this undiluted correct, succinct and highly sophisticated piece of information of our true history. It is a concise history of Ondo State that had never been written by anybody. I wish I had shuffled my search into this masterpiece write-up years back. I don’t know what the likes of Dr. Akintide are doing in Diaspora when Nigeria is seriously crying for help if I may be permitted to ask. It is a loss for the whole Country. Please oga tete pada sule, Akure and most importantly the Sunshine State needs you. With people like you who know the best and fertile spots to plant the seeds of development and true governance, I am optimistic that the hope for Nigeria to be a better place is high. I am proud of you not only that we are from the same Oyemekun town but also because you are intelligent, diligent, articulate and very current despite living in abroad. Justice 4all.

olushola alebiowu March 14, 2009 - 5:02 am

many thanks,you’ve said it all,the light is coming largely in arrears into the long and seemingly endless tunnel of ondo state,we shall all see and make fair assessments.time will tell

femiadegbaju- usa March 10, 2009 - 6:14 pm

where is the association of ondo state indigene in america. i will love to be a member. we need to make the world know the potentials of the great state despite all impediments by the ill gotten political gladiators [PDP].

oluwafemi omoteji February 27, 2009 - 3:11 pm

SIR….I.,m really impressed of your article, its enlighten, sophisticated, widen human imagination, its makes me free proud about my state, cos i never knew ondo state has a huge amount of resoureces like what i,ve been seeien i,m happy to be an indigiene of ondo town…thanks 4rm oluwafemi omoteji. portharcourt.

Ola kazeem Falodun February 4, 2009 - 5:14 pm

Dr Akintide, you have just written a short-but-detailed history of our leaders in ondo state. I want to believe that Governor Olusegun Agagu and other leaders in ondo state would borrow a good leaf from Governor Tinubu, Governor Fashola, Governor Gbenga Daniel and others who will stop at nothing in making contributions to the development of their state. When there was a delay is federal government financial support to the state, Chief Tinubu swiftly sourced fund at state level to implement the state development project. One thing that we have to bear in our mind is that there would only be a significant development in ondo state if collective efforts can be made by the people in government and the entire indigens of ondo state. There are many professionals, academicians and enterprenuers from ondo state residing in different places in the world. Collectively and individually, we can all make significant impacts on the development of our state since they say “drops of water make an ocean”. Dr Akintide, I want to make suggestions that: (1) a forum for the indigens of ondo state in diaspora should be formed and communicated to all in their country of abode. [For instance a similar forum like this exist in my area (Republic of Ireland). It is called Ondo State Professionals in Ireland]. (2) a forum for all the indiges of ondo state in diaspora and at home should be formed and communicated to all at home and abroard. This forum will be the front of ondo state indigens in diaspora and and at home. (3) Conference should be organised every year for us to discuss about the development of our state, and as well serve as an avenue for us to network with one and other. With this and lots more efforts from us, Ondo state would become better place for us. Sir, Should there be any positive and productive response to this, you can reach me through Ola.falodun@yahoo.com. Doctor, thank you for your time and efforts invested into this write-up. Bye for now. Ola Kazeem Falodun

emuka December 11, 2008 - 3:04 pm

ondo is blessed because of it’s nearest to eastern state. i love ur article, sorry from my statement but agugu is a greedy man

emuka November 18, 2008 - 8:55 am

sir am impressed with what u said but the truth of the matter is that u are greedy, though ondo is blessed but there are states in the eastern part that are more richer than ondo states when it come to natural and human resources when it comes to how large it is

kayode February 13, 2008 - 6:19 pm

i just want to commend the effort of these writers that they should keep on their good writing about the state. I am Agbesuyi Olukayode by name a native of ondo state.

adewale November 4, 2007 - 9:25 am

agagu is a greedy man we are from the same town i know what am saying.thanks

akintade June 19, 2007 - 2:19 am

In a nut shell Dr. Akintide's article is very clear and straight forward. Ondo State should be a modern city like Hong Kong. The state has got everything needed to be a number one state in Nigeria because it's got both human resources and menerial resources. However Dr. Agagu's leadership must be ready to deliver the good for the benefit of Ondo state development. Thankyou very much Dr. for your informative and educative article. I am a Human Resource Graduate Student in Mitchigan and a native of Ondo Town.

Obanoyen Olawole Nasir June 14, 2007 - 12:57 pm

I sincerely appreciate your article. At first when I mistakenly ran into this site, I noticed "ONDO" first because I wanted to know the names in Agagu's cabinet, to see if his structure is similar to Umaru’s style which Bishop Gbonigi condemned last week. I just did not want to read the article.

Today, it is irritating to see leaders who don’t see with their lens assisted eye balls, who don’t hear even when the masses cry in huge lion-like roar. The trip to Thailand, what has that fruited? May be, the constant and the continuous remembrance of telling them what they should do, even when they are chosen leaders, if they hear, will favour us all.

Reading the comment of Remi Maxwell, "You have said it all. A word they say is enough for the wise. I have the believe that Gov. Agagu or one of his aides will read this article”, plunged me into reading the piece.

It is typical of our leaders to think of their own enrichments first and then cultivate doubts on the interest of those securing his or her mandate-the masses. In your article, some names are mentioned -Otiko, Ita David, Late Pa Ajasin-from my town why? These leaders did not only see what is before them, they simply had long sight into the future.

Sorry if my comment is becoming another article, today Ehindero is facing his is multidimensional history which has just ranked Nigeria Police House number one in Nigerian Corruption. Late Pa Adefarati before his death felt he’s. Everybody saw the boldly written shame on the geared face of Tafa balogun, the ex-VP Atiku, is still fresh in most minds, even Obasanjo hidden 45 billion account, all these are alive.

I share the same view that Ondo State is one of the richest because of her natural endowment, today, what can we show for it? Doing simple mathematics, if you subtract the efforts of the past Governments in the state from what FRENCH call "etat de lieu" the state of things now, the answer is "ofo lori ofo". I was unfortunate not to have seen all the first 4 year of the present government, with the little I witnessed, he tried. The next 4years will prove with which color his name will be writing in the book of history. And we will all see the result of the 16 page-report PROFESSOR E.A. FAYOSE on BITUMEN IN ONDO STATE: PROSPECTS AND PROMISES.

Our dreams of the state can only be a reality when the many opportunities are right and timely used by our leaders. Industrialisation in the state may be a good step towards the is goal. It is also necessary to echo this to the small ears of our leaders that "heavens will never forget to tell the betrayers of the bad leaders, and the names good the ones will forever remain in the long lineage history" I am proud of you.

I am from Owo, I work in Ivory Coast.


Francis April 26, 2006 - 12:08 pm

It's very informative for student of History in secondary schools, undergraduate in the universities and finally Post Graduate students as it keep these set of peoples update on the famous "Sunshine State-the conscience of the Nation". I therefore commend Dr. Wunmi for doing good work and please sir, update us more on this as you have been acused of Lip Service ofwhich you were given contract by the State govt., as alleged by Kolawole Olubunmi BADEMOSI here in your site. Thank you Sir. I am Ogbeide Francis Oluwaseun, an Undergraduate Student of the Department History and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos. (my e-mail add: talk2francis_only@yahoo.com)

Bye and God bless you.

Anonymous January 28, 2006 - 6:31 pm

I think it is excellent

Anonymous November 23, 2005 - 1:26 am

This article is in dept and very informative with historical background. I seek out information on Akure, and I found it. I will be home in the summer of '06 and will definitely come to my state capital to explore how I can contribute my quota to the development of my state. Thanks for the article. Peace! 'Bayo Inubile

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 7:28 am

you did not talk about how much is being made in the state compared to her population and the need for visionary leader with ideas of developing the state like texas and all other oil rich state of the world

Anonymous October 22, 2005 - 1:06 pm
Anonymous August 9, 2005 - 3:33 am

the fellow seem to be emphasise on akure especially where he was talking of land that the idanre people are using akure land for their subsitence farming Nigerians should be allowed to farm anywhere they wish. This kind of statement will

not auger well for the unity of the state the let alone the unity of the country. Otherwise the article is a brilliant peice

Kolawole Olubunmi BADEMOSI July 8, 2005 - 10:54 am

Dr Akintide has fallen into the class of telling everybody things a bad in ondo state. It is time we have constructive write ups about how to develop and understand our role in nigeria and the global market as a whole. Gov Agugu most have enough people telling him of his 'great' governance. but than his role as a state governor is proviving the best options to move forward as a state and people. i dont feel we should praise people for doing their job, but give accreditation for the quality of their job. I wouldnt be surprised if Dr Akintide wins a contract on the merit of his praise rather than the merit of his intellectual contribution to the state. As a late 30's adult from Ondo town, i have watched that generation degrade Ondo State by simple excluding themselves with their natural born rights to contribute back to where we come from. I wish Dr Akintide well, but cant accommodate him on lip service

Anonymous June 11, 2005 - 5:33 am

It's very informative for student of history in secondary schools, undergraduate in the university anf finally post graduate student as it keep them update on our famous "Sunshine State". I therefore commend Dr. Wunmi for doing good work. Thank you Sir. I am Ogbeide Francis Oluwaseun, an undergraduate Student of the Department History and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos. (my e-mail add: talk2francis_only@yahoo.com)

Anonymous June 6, 2005 - 7:22 pm

I suddenly see the potential in my State and feel optimistic about its future. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

Anonymous June 4, 2005 - 12:48 pm

this is because he forsaa the type of minerias resorces prasence, like bitumen and other.

Yahaya Zekeri May 13, 2005 - 6:04 pm

This is the most insightful article i have read in a long time. I am from Edo state and hope to enter politics someday. Articles like this inspire me and make me belive i can someday help our great country NIGERIA.

Adedipe April 10, 2005 - 6:11 am

Proud to have some values like that in hometown.

Remi Maxwell April 10, 2005 - 5:13 am

You have said it all. A word they say is enough for the wise. I have the believe that Gov. Agagu or one of his aides will read this article.

Dr. Gabriel Otiko January 1, 1970 - 12:00 am

Dr. Akintide, thank you very much for your informative article on our State.I now know for sure that you and I come from the same State.Occasionally I store some articles on Nigeria, from whatever source, for possible future reference.This is one of them.

It is heartening to read articles by you young ones at the Nigerians-in-America website.You continue to show your faith in that much battered country, Nigeria.Good for everybody.

God bless you all!

Gabriel Otiko


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