BORDER CLOSURE AND THE REDIRECTION OF KISHI ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES (By: Tajudeen Badmos)

Planning for the future is highly phenomena; it comes with critical thinking and sound evaluation of both the past and present salient issues in order to prepare for a rewarding future. A popular saying states that: “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Planning is very essential in creating the required positive changes in the society. The people of Kishi are distinct farmers that produce farm products in very large quantities, they created viable market many decades ago, traders troops to Kishi from far and near to purchase yams, maize and guinea corns. This makes Kishi to be known as the ‘food basket’ of Oyo state.

The people of Kishi are also business minded as they explore the advantage of proximity to Benin, Republic to create cordial relationship leading to exchange of goods and services; this has lasted for over many years. As a matter of fact, the population of indigenes of Kishi that resides in Benin Republic is overwhelming and mostly lives in luxury with their thriving businesses. One had expected the human resources possessed by Kishi to have led to economic boom, but the refusal of government to repair or reconstruct damaged roads that leads Kishi to various cities and towns like Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaiama and Shaki which should have aided ease of transportation of goods directly by indigenous traders to other markets in the aforementioned Cities seriously conditioned the Kishians from trading effectively with others traders from Oyo, Ilorin, Ogbomosho, Osogbo, Ibadan and the rest of them leading to giving out their goods at a very insignificant prices.

Kishi is a distinct town best described as a cosmopolitan megalopolis due to the proximity to the border of Benin Republic. Kishi Progressive Union (KPU) has been the leading group in the development of Kishi, most of the developmental prokect in Kishi today were introduced by KPU; some of these are, Kishi community Grammar School, Electricity, Water supply, Police station and so many others and countless numbers of successful indigenes of Kishi are now competing to fast track both economic and infrastructural developments in the town. Dr. GAS upgraded Muslim Hospital to federal institution, he also initiated the School of Midwifery and now to a functional level by Hon Y K and others, and the latest now is the Novelty Polytechnic after running both primary and secondary for 3years. The same Dr. GAS was able to liberate young kishians by establishing Computer Base Test (CBT) centre in Kishi. Other sons of the soil like Pharmacist Bioraj were able to lead the community to bring OPEN University to Kishi. Despite the fact that Kishi is the headquarters of Irepo Local Government, Oyo State, the poor state of road infrastructures over the years, grossly affected the economic boom of the inhabitants of the town through agriculture. The inhabitants were majorly farmers due to arable land and expertise in the arts of farming, inherited from one generation to another.

It is an unassailable fact that the presence of academic institution of higher learning in a town influences notable advancements; this has eluded the town from time immemorial until recent when the School of Midwifery, Novelty Polytechnic and OPEN University all in Kishi were established. With the commencement of full academic activities by these institutions, the ambience will become largely lively, with doors widely opened for genuine transformation. The poor gains on farm products sales has largely discouraged the youth of Kishi from farming, seeing their elders struggling to survive despite hard work at farms and good harvest but conditions of bad roads limits their gains, smuggling attracted their attentions and the younger generation who are the future of Kishi, both the educated and uneducated have turned to different kinds businesses including smuggling in other to make a living.

The youth now prefer smuggling of rice, cars and any other consumables for survival. The instant proceeds on these trades already shifted the minds of the youth away from farming. Imagine that the graduates of yester years traveled to distant locations within and outside Nigeria to secure paid emoluments but today, the youth are becoming fast docile with the expansion of smuggling as trade and merchandise.

On the political front, much is expected from the public office holders, though arrangement of rotation of public offices, among neighbouring towns in our constituency equally has adverse effect on the development of the town. Never was a Senator ever emerged from Kishi. If the political arrangement subsists till 2023, barring all odds, the town is expected to produce members to State Assembly and House of Representatives. If the Kishi wants the required attention from government, it behooves on the people to ensure that the personalities of the indigenes to be elected to represent their interest are well ascertained.

Kishi is blessed with notable political giants well educated, exposed and conscientious enough to lead advocacy and agitations for government attention to address challenges confronting the Kishi people, especially lack of good roads, shortage of water supply, and absence of government owned conventional University, Polytechnic and College of Education. Kudos to the founder of Novelty Polytechnic, within the short period of presence, the impact is already being felt with trade boost and upward economic activities. If blessed with government owned tertiary institutions, the viability of the economic activities will be very high.

With the close of borders by the government, the emergency trade that sustains the vast majority of youth and notable elders (smuggling) will no longer be fashionable, then the people must now think of positive alternatives to earn a living. The reputation of Kishi as people with expertise knowledge and practice in the field of agriculture must be reawaken to address trade deficits, where necessary, collaborations must resurface like time past where unity of purpose exist among the people. Arrangement for soft loans through the Kishi Micro Finance Bank and other Cooperative societies must be taken as priority to assist interested Youth in farming and trade mobility.

The successful indigenes of Kishi should as a matter of utmost importance prepare for dialogue with the young population with good intent and purpose to redirect their orientation towards sustainable businesses and job engagements, if the borders remain closed forever, the implications on the current trade orientation is capable of soiling the positive antecedents of Kishi and this must be avoided through all means possible. Kishi is blessed with hard working people, the successful people of Kishi descent, whether home or abroad must rise to the current demands of lifting up the younger generation and set them of the course of sustainable jobs and lighten up KISHI once again.

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