Looking back to the late 90’s when the Ife-Modakeke crisis broke out to cause thousands of death and billions worth of property losses, it feels really fresh, fresh because the memory still lingers. I was at Iloro in Ile-Ife when this crisis was at its peak, and Iloro was just few minutes walk from the “war zones”. This makes me a primary experiencer of the Ife-Modakeke crisis. For myself and any other person who experienced the crisis first hand, it would take time but the memories would linger, as well as the fears and emotional traumas created by the experiences from that crisis. The affective effects of this crisis might not really be understood as I’m talking about it to you who probably didn’t experience it, but the physical effects can still be seen in many areas of the two towns; there are properties affected during this crisis that may never get to be useful again.
There are areas of the two towns that may never experience civilization again; and most of these areas were the civilized areas of Ife and Modakeke before the crisis, but now they have been reduced to jungles. For instance, Akarabata in Modakeke is definitely not smelling development again, a large part of Ojoyin in Ife too, and this is because these are borders between the two unfriendly cities. With the reoccurring killings happening between Ife and Modakeke over farm land, any reasonable person would know these would lead to another crisis sooner or later, and it wouldn’t be safe to have properties where when these two towns get at it again, your property would be what they use to count scores against themselves. Now, what these people don’t know is that the unrests they cause every other year over land disputes are sending bad signals to investors; any investor would rather go plant their investment in a stable community than in a community where anything can happen in just one day and a rich person with businesses in either of the two towns would be made poor under one or two hours by an angry mob.
I like to think these reoccurring unrests at the localities of these two towns would not lead to another damning and elongated crisis, but looking back to the history of crises between Ife and Modakeke from the first crisis of 1835 to the last one that lasted till 2000, we would see that two major crisis had occur between the two towns; one broke out in 1835 and ended about one year later, the other broke out in 1998 and ended in 2000; it must be pointed out that before these two crisis broke out, there have been reoccurring fatal unrests between these two towns. Now is when I point out that between 2000 and 2021, there have been several unsung fatal unrests in the localities (farms) of Ife and Modakeke over land disputes (same as the core of what caused the two previously mentioned major crises). The evident thing here is that sooner or later, these unrests would lead to something that would make the national news, and as we all know it, before such thing would have caught the nation’s attention, lots of lives and properties would have gone. This is why any reasonable person would want to think twice before planting anything in either of Ife and Modakeke; this causes economic development to be on slow-mo in the two of these towns. In fact, considering the fact that the Modakeke people still prefer to identify with Oyo State than with Osun State, and they prefer to identify with Ibadan city than with Ife, and also considering the parts Sunday Igboho (an Oyo-Ibadan warlord) took in supporting Modakeke in the last 1998-2000 crisis, and how Sunday Igboho is gaining more relevance and having more “armies”, it is expected that the Modakeke people would develop more momentum to fight knowing that the Igboho armies would intervene come what may. The Ife people would have their reasons to fight too, and all these point to the fact that a crisis would come up sooner or later.
To avoid a looming crisis or postpone farther when it is meant to happen, the elites of Ife and Modakeke who have gotten things to lose should a crisis break out would have to come together and create forces that would curb every individual likely to incite a crisis between these two towns. The royalties of these two towns would have to arrange for more security stations; more armed stations that would make it possible that armed men’s presence can be had anywhere in the two towns as fast as called upon. The enlightened ones of the two towns too should get involved in diplomacy in the settlement of their land disputes, and in the education of others of the adverse effects any crisis would have on everybody. The two towns can manage their differences if they let the elites and the educated ones take the lead in fighting any fight they have to fight instead of allowing the war mongers who have nothing to lose do this for them; seeing that the ones who wouldn’t want a crisis in Modakeke and Ife are actively involved in curbing such thing from happening is when people would have that little hope they need to feel safe with investing in either of the two towns, and this is when the economic development these two towns really need would start to come.
Olusegun Peters is a businessman, an investor and a scholar. He is the founder of primerinfotech.com and pec-ng.com. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here