James Sowole in Akure
Angered by alleged mismanagement of funds realised from previous celebrations, youths in Ijare Community in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday aborted the 2016 Edition of Ijare Day.
The youth, who came out in their hundreds, took to the streets of the town and blocked the only entrance to the rustic community.
The annual celebration, was being organised by Ijare Development Committee (IDC), which is also known as Ijare Elewu Obi.
According to the youths, there was no need for the celebration when proceeds from previous celebrations had not added any positive thing to the town.
The protesting youths prevented all the invited dignitaries from entering into the town even when the chiefs and some awardees were already seated.
It was gathered that this year’s edition of the Ijare Day celebration was organised to raise a sum of N100million for the development of the community.
The youths, who rebuffed all pleas, alleged that for the past many years that the community had been holding the annual event, the organisers had failed to spent the money for the development of the town, lamenting that the community lacked all social amenities such as water, good roads, schools, hospitals, banks among others.
Leader of the protesters and President of Ijare National Students Union, Mr. Olalekan Adu said the Ijare Development Committee members have failed the people of the community.
He alleged that the committee had not been doing anything for the community despite the money got from dignitaries’ donations for the development of the community.
“You can’t believe that as big as Ijare is, there is no bank here and if we want to make a transaction, we must travel to Akure. Also, if you want to withdraw just N1,000 you must go to Akure and use the ATM and this is ridiculous.
“So, we don’t know the usefulness of that group (IDC) because they have not been functioning except on Ijare Day Celebration. We are only asking them to account for the money made from the previous celebrations before holding this year celebration.”
In his reaction, the Chairman of Ifedore Local Government, Mr. Sola Adu, who was at the scene of the protest with some policemen , described the incident as an unfortunate.
Adu, who is also an indigene of the community said, “I was called this morning that there was a protest at Ijare and when I got here, I spoke with the protesting youths on why they are disrupting the peace of the community.They complained that the previous money received on Ijare Day had not been used judiciously.
“I told them that a lot of pledges are made on such occasions and at the end, those who made such promises will refused to fulfil their pledges. We have been pleading since that they should allow the event to hold but they are saying no.
“As for peace to hold, I have told the organisers that Ijare Day for today is cancelled”, he said.
E fforts to get the comments of the organisers, were unsuccessful, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Ondo State Command,, Mr. Femi Joseph said team of policemen were deployed in the area to ensure law and order were maintained.