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Taiwo Akerele, Edo Chief of Staff, Honoured by Somorika’s Monarch

Taiwo Akerele

The sleepy community of Somorika in Akoko-Edo local government area came alive, last week, as it hosted Edo State Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele and inducted him into an age group. He was also honoured with the name, Omokhafe, which translates into ‘child is home.’

The community’s monarch, HRH Oba Sule Idaiye, said the community respected Akerele, because he has shown love to it and the local government area. He said: “I am an old man, and I admire good things. Taiwo Akerele is somebody I admire so much, because of the things he does. I have been seeing him around the local government area headquarters. Since I grew up in the early 60s to know the local headquarters, Alhaji Omokide was the only politician that made a difference, but today, by the special grace of God, Akoko-Edo people has a son called Taiwo (Omokhafe) Akerele, who has brought changes to Igarra and Akoko-Edo.

“I like achievers and developers. He is an achiever; a developer and I can see that he has so many things he wants to do for the people of Akoko-Edo. We have to motivate anybody who is doing anything good in anyway so as to drive him to do more for our people. If we have 10 people like him in Akoko-Edo, we wouldn’t have been suffering so much. A young man from the grassroots came and began thinking of how to make Akoko-Edo a great place, when we have elders who have tasted power and cannot think of how to develop their homes. More things are coming for him, not from man but from God Almighty.

“Akerele is somebody I like. I have read so many things about him from the media. So, I decided to bring him into my own house so that he can equally help me develop my community. I have equally given him a land to build a house, where I can wake up and to say good morning to him and not have to travel to see him.”

Talking on the significance of the name Omokhafe, Idaiye said: “It means child is home and without a child, there is no home. On the road to my village, he promised us some things and few days later; the SSG called me to say the road had been advertised. So, he deserves even more than this and we are only giving him this to spur him to do more for us and for the state.”He said there was the need for traditional institutions to complement efforts of government in developing communities.

Somorika is in the hills of Akoko-Edo, about five kilometres from Igarra, with a meandering road up the hills. On their location on top of the hills, he explained: “It was the war, the inter- tribal wars that made us to stay up here. We felt the top here would be better for us and that was why we moved up and we have fought intertribal wars, which was like our hobby. We had the charms for fighting, which was why we were never defeated. We normally fought our wars at night and not in the daytime and that was why they never defeated us in any war.

“For instance, the word ‘kukuruku’ emanated from Somorika. It was a password for the warriors, when they knew that the enemies were advancing, particularly the white colonialists, they would say kukuruku ibede kogie idebe, which means red monkeys. It means these red monkeys are coming again. Then they would roll stones on them.”In his response to the honour, Akerele said: “We appreciate the people of Somorika land. Somorika is one of the ancient kingdoms in this part of the world. They have very rich culture, historical sites and abundant tourism potential. So, this is an honour done to me and the people of Igarra.

“Somorika is blessed with a lot of potential, particularly in tourism and mining. The government will see what it can do to assist the community, particularly in the area of road infrastructure, development of their tourist sites and of course, expansion of the general infrastructure to ensure that they are linked to the rest of the world.

“The traditional ruler is a very hard- working king, who doesn’t just sit in his palace waiting for development to come. You see him in government house, at ministries, and everywhere, even if it entails going to Abuja to attract development for his people. Those are the kind of traditional rulers we should encourage. I am very happy that he is doing that and the people of Somorika are proud of him. Picking me for this award is a rare privilege and I assure them that I will not disappoint them. I will ensure that they get development.”

On the state government’s plan for the youths, Akerele said: “The government has a lot of programmes for the youths. In the last one year, he has always hammered on skills acquisition, vocational schools, as well as training and development. We are investing seriously in all the technical colleges in the state. We are encouraging people to be involved in agripreneur programmes. We are collaborating with the CBN to attract soft loans, single interest loans, where young people can go and access loans to boost their entrepreneurial skills.

“Recently, we also flagged off the Edo State Industrial Park located in Ikpoba Okha local government, where we hope to generate over 100,000 jobs in the next two years. Everybody must be involved in one way or another, and we are also partnering the EU. We are also partnering the World Bank to see how we can train 2,000 youths.

“Recently, we signed an MoU with the National Directorate for Employment to see how we can train over 5,000 youths in Edo State and of course, Somorika youths are eligible and are encouraged to apply for them.” [The Guardian]

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