Aare: We are making Sagamu home to all
The Sagamu Day was recently celebrated amid the usual pomp. Professor Babatunde Ogunsanwo Aare is the president of Sagamu Development Association (SDA). In this interview with The Guardian, he talked about 2018 Sagamu Day Celebration, the Sagamu Development Association (SDA) and opportunities awaiting investors in Sagamu.
What was Sagamu Day all about?
Sagamu Day has been a unifying point for developmental projects. We meet every year to celebrate our heritage and the peaceful coexistence of all human beings in the world. Sagamu is the only city that has every tribe of every nation living peacefully without anyone laying claims to land. So, we celebrate that and in the process, we raise funds and carry out developmental programmes for the town. And that’s what we have been doing over the years.
On the morning of the second day of Sagamu Day 2018 celebration, we embarked on the annual pilgrimage to Orisagamu Ewa Grove, where the mortal that was the foundation of this town is located. It is called Sagamu River. We always go there every year to pray for peace and prosperity in our community, the state, our country and the world. After that, we went to the palace for the cultural display, which held till about 6pm. From there, we moved on to Akarigbo Hall for the annual Egun Egun Fiesta, where Sagamu sons and daughters partook of Ebiripo, our main staple food as supper.
What have been your association’s achievements since you assumed office three years ago?
We thank the Lord that we have been taking giant strides. When we came into office, the proceeds of the first Sagamu Day were used to construct and complete the SDA secretariat. Last year’s proceeds were also used for electrification of Sagamu Civic Centre. Besides that, we award scholarships to students. We also have a programme aimed at empowering our youths through skill acquisition. The fund for that comes mainly from Lafarge through a body established by our Royal monarch, the Akarigbo and other obas. This year, we have been able to buy materials worth over N2m for artisans, and we will continue to do so.
How friendly is Sagamu to investors?
By virtue of its location, Sagamu is the gateway to every part of Nigeria, especially the seaports in Lagos. It links Ibadan and Benin to Abeokuta, and even as far as the north. Besides, we currently have about 78 medium and giant industries in Sagamu land. More than 60 per cent of houses in New Sagamu belong to people that are not original indigenes. But they came here and are now part of us. So, we call them Sagamites and they are prospering.
Could you briefly explain what Sagamu Development Association is about?
Sagamu Development Association was created to foster unity and progress and invariably in all Remo towns. To God’s glory, it has been established that Sagamu is more united than when our forefathers started out. The issue of discrimination has now become a thing of the past. We are encouraging people and private companies to settle and establish their businesses in Sagamu, by eradicating the Omonile syndrome (Land grabbers). If you want to buy land and you pay to appropriate people, you can go ahead and establish your company.
That is why today, the largest brewery in Africa is located in Sagamu. We have come a long way. We donated a pharmacy complex to a teaching hospital in the past. We also gave out scholarships, and some of the beneficiaries are now doctors, lawyers, engineers and professors.
What are your plans for 2019?
The coming year will be better, by the Grace of God. We hope to pool our resources together to establish a skill acquisition centre in Sagamu, for instance. Sagamu, as a major town, doesn’t have tertiary institutions. So, what we are trying to do on our own is establish a skill acquisition centre, which will be upgraded to the status of a technical college. That’s part of our plans for next year.
Besides that, we are also planning to upgrade our Orisagamu Ewa grove, and make it a centre for national tourism.
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