Ila-Orangun is one of the 9 largest cities in Osun State. Like other Yoruba cities, its history has been documented by a number of researchers and historians in Nigeria and outside the country. We have also seen how some indigenes have equally promoted the city’s peculiarities in terms of culture, traditions and socioeconomic activities. For instance, Chief Bisi Akande, one of the prominent politicians and a former governor in the state, dedicated a page on his official website to the history of the city.
Information has it that more than 80 percent of Ila people are farmers and they grow crops like maize, plantain, cassava, pepper and cash crops like cocoa and kolanut. The people of Ila-Orangun are also skillful and professional palm wine tappers. Before the creation of Osun state from the old Oyo state in 1991, the city witnessed infrastructural and human capacity development. Sons and daughters of the city worked and still working in the private and public sectors in the state and beyond. Governors who governed the state between 1991 and 2018 contributed to the development of the city. A number of reports also indicate that the current governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, is also playing strategic roles in the uplift of the ancient city in Yorubaland.
Despite this, a visit to the city reveals that government efforts are not enough for sustainable growth. In 2013, the United Nations-Habitat states that the city must be dynamic, resilient and inclusive for everyone with strong social, economic, human and infrastructure base that will significantly sustain it as a regional hub that ensures employment generation, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
Exhibit 1: Future Population
Development Issues in Ila-Orangun and NGOs Roles
From institutional to economic and social to environmental dimensions, there are many development issues in Ila-Orangun, requiring attention of genuine non-governmental organisations. People’s participation in governance and administration is low. Accessing fund for small business creation and development is difficult. This has largely contributed sudden demise of businesses and youth migration to the state capital and other places in the south west region. Solving participation and accessing fund issues would depend on the extent to which NGOs can sensitise people on the benefits of addressing development issues and enhance the skills and knowledge of the young population.
Exhibit 2: Development Issues in Ila-Orangun
Ila-Orangun like other cities in Nigeria is not immune from cultural and religious factors within the gender and health issues. They need strategic attention of NGOs. Apart from promoting sectors such as education, agriculture, services and health to the youths, opportunities in the tourism sector, especially ecotourism segment needs to be explored. Ila-Orangun has a number of heritage sites capable of generating jobs.
The current efforts on disaster management, security issues, climate change, deforestation, pollution, flooding among others need to be stepped up before 2023. Crimes are on the increase. Farmers are having low productivity. Environmental pollution, most importantly smoke from fire food in the remote areas of the city is on the increase.
Essence of Being Data Driven NGOs
These issues cannot be addressed with qualitative information and data alone. NGOs in the city need to embrace data-driven culture. There is a need to be accurate, accessible and actionable. Being a data-driven NGO has a number of benefits. For instance, advocacy campaign to change people’s perception about the city and the development issues requires data and tailored insights.
In our experience, we have realised that changing the ways governments and people act about socioeconomic and political goods requires data. Solving the issues requires substantial fund, which can only come from grant organisations and individual donors. In the next few years, a non-governmental organisation that has a better understanding of research and its application will attract more funds from local and international donors than an establishment with the insipid skills and techniques. Donors would not spend their money on organisations without adequate understanding and application of innovative research designs to socioeconomic and political problems because the world will have a few years to attain the socioeconomic and political issues in the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030.