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AKEREDOLU’S HUB OF HOPE
By: Ojo Oyewamide
The truck assembly plant at the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub, Ore,
is another milestone achieved by the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu government. Birthed by visionary leadership, the plant is a sweet fruit of the governor’s industrialization effort.
The feat is unprecedented in the history of the Sunshine state. Koseleri! Therefore, its birth is a cheery piece of news.
The licence for the automobile assembly plant was secured in November last year. Within six months, the lofty dream has transformed into an amazing and exciting reality.
The plan was to start with 200 trucks by May or June this year. And the expectation was that the first sets of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), saloon cars and trucks would roll off the assembly lines by June.
Pix: Truck assembled at the hub.
However, man proposes but God, the Almighty, deposes. Nobody envisaged the war that coronavirus is currently wagering against the world.
The invisible enemy of humanity has disrupted the plan a little bit. But it can’t kill or delay the project. This is because the tree of the project is being watered by willpower and determination. As Byron Pulsifer observed, “To make any kind of change, one has to have the will and determination to do it.”
Despite the ravages of Covid-19, the truck assembly firm, Dongfeng Trucks, has begun skeletal operations. Already, no fewer than 77 trucks have been assembled. It is expected that the firm will commence full operations whenever the vicious attack of coronavirus on humanity abates.
Ondo state used to boast a number of industries bequeathed by the Adekunle Ajasin administration. Some of them were the Oluwa Sheet Glass Industry, Igbokoda; the Nigerian/Italian Ceramic Products Limited, Ifon; and the Ile-Oluji Cocoa Processing Industry.
These industries are now dead. There is no more breath in any of them, foreclosing the possibility of their revival. They were victims of the profligacy, mismanagement and irresponsibility of the past.
But at a time when revenue challenge is one of the greatest problems of governance in Nigeria, a responsible government should not fold its arms and solely rely on what comes from the Federation Account. Efforts must be made to shore up internally generated revenue.
The Akeredolu government realized very early that industrialization is one of the ways out of the problem. But with the death of virtually all the industries in the state, the government had to start from the scratch.
There was a need to hunt for investors. And the hunting must be done by a credible, experienced and competent hunter. That was how Chief Alex Ajipe’s Klick Konnect Network International Limited came into the picture. Today, the state has succeeded in hunting for a considerable number of investors.
In the process of seeking investors, Governor Akeredolu visited Linyi City in the Shandong Province of China in 2017. He secured a Bi-City Agreement between Ondo government and the Mayor of Linyi. The agreement yielded six Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with some Chinese investors. It also led to the establishment of the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub in what used to be a forest.
The forest which was a potential abode of criminals at Omotosho has now transformed into a hub of economic hope for the state. The 1,500 hectares industrial hub within the Ore Park was declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari in February.
Not less that seven companies have begun operations at the hub. One of them is Dongfeng Motors Limited which was established in 1969. Others are Gmelina Tree Plantation, Cassava to Ethanol Plant, the first MDF factory in West Africa, textile mill and a paper mill.
Within three years of the Akeredolu government, Ondo is fast changing from a civil service state to an industrialized one. In the nearest future, the industries in the state will mop thousands of hands from the employment market. They will have something to do instead of doing the work of the devil. Already, hundreds of our people are earning their livelihood at the hub.
The state’s IGR will shore up and reduce reliance on the Federation Account. With the automobile assembly plant, prices of new vehicles will be affordable for a lot of our compatriots. Our state will become a hub of economic activities in the country and, of course, in the West Africa.
So, those who genuinely profess love for the state and have concern for its development should pray for Arakunrin Akeredolu to fulfill his lofty vision for the state. The governor is an exemplar of progressive politics.
If progressivism is all about seeking the greatest good for the greatest number of people, Akeredolu’s All Progressives Congress (APC) should be proud of him and his administration. To the strange birds in the party, stop destroying your nest because of ambition and partisan bitterness against the performing governor.
……. Ojo Oyewamide is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media & Publicity