Local Development and the Economic Crisis
[The Structural Adjustment Program] has destabilized everything. Things are getting difficult with every passing day.
—An interviewee in Iwoye-Ijesa, May 1992
The task of community development cannot be left to government alone.
—Isiaka Adeleke, governor of Osun State,
in his speech at the Second Iloko Day, 1993
At the Ijesa Solidarity Group meeting on July 11, 1992, members debated the best way to raise money for economic development projects. One speaker proposed establishing an endowment fund, arguing that they should be able to raise N1,000 from 125,000 Ijesa people, yielding N12.5 million.
Even in our currency now, that's a lot of money. Even in other currencies, outside currencies, Lillian Trager's currency, that's a lot of money. If you think of raising that kind of money, you have to think about what it is for. Do we want it to build palaces for the oba? Or to build marketplaces? Or for town halls in Osu or Ibodi? Let us use it for a purpose that will bring our children to Ijesaland, to create employment. We've all gone out from Ijesaland, we probably wouldn't have gone out if there were work here, if there had been something like IBL [the brewery] here, some of us, some of our children would have stayed here. We should use the money in a way that will bring a future to Ijesaland.
Another speaker said “we should tackle this problem at a grassroots level. ” He argued that instead of an endowment fund, they should create an investment fund.
People want to know exactly what it will be used for before they put in their money. It is not enough to say that we're all Ijesas