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Another Untapped GoldMine In Oyo : The Untold Story Of Eleyele River

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Despite sitting on tourism and hospitality goldmines with several tourist attractions of international reputation that could make other states and countries envious, Oyo state has yet to develop the industry to drive diversification, boost revenue and create jobs for its teeming unemployed youths.

The goldmines that could substitute irregular income from Abuja, the nation’s capital tagged ‘Allocation’ has not been exploited due to the negligence and inability of several administrations in the state to creatively utilize the tourism potentials around for economic development and transformation of the society are some of the problems militating against the advancement of Oyo state.

Unfortunately, most of these tourist attractions, have yet to be fully developed by successive administrations. Issues around lack of supportive infrastructure, insecurity, policy inconsistency, and lack of political will to articulate a clear policy roadmap that will reposition  tourism, have continued to thwart efforts at leveraging on a vibrant tourism industry to grow the economy.

Tourism sites that could have served as Oyo’s major pride and economic booster  are now in ruins and safe haven for hoodlums, armed robbers, kidnappers,  among others.

Among several tourist attraction sites in Oyo state, the abandoned Agodi Gardens was the only site that received the attention of the immediate past government, while others, as usual; suffered total neglect. Right now, the celebrated Agodi Gardens is gradually fading away due to lack of adequate maintenance.

Mega Icon Magazine visit to Eleyele river, a maritime tourism site, housed by Ido and Ibadan North West Local Government Areas of Oyo state, reveals the pathetic state of the tourist attraction site with  huge potentials that when harnessed properly, could form part of the state’s economic mainstay.

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Aside from the Dam project which supplies water to the city, the river and  its environs is underutilized for other purposes which include, water transport, fishing, construction of resort of international standard,  recreational boating, yachting, cruising, nautical sports, and water based tourism such as marine wildlife tourism (marine parks).

Our reporter also identified a ferry terminal run by private boat operator, who is making brisk business on the water ways without remitting anything to the coffers of government. Further checks revealed that the private boat operator is a company from Lagos state, operating with six  boats with engine capacities, ranging from   20, 30, 40 horse powers. The boats convey passengers from Eleyele, Ifelodun, Taaska, Alakuta, Apete.

Residents of Obaido, Ologuneru, Agbaje, Ijokodo, Power line communities are among the commuters who are abandoning stressful road transportation for the boats. The fare for a boat trip is N50.

The boat operators, who confided in our reporter,  also disclosed that morning hours and evenings are the peak period for their  business.

“During rush hours, around 6pm when people are coming from their shops or offices, we normally charge N100”.

The boat operators blame poor funding, high operating costs, poor infrastructure and lack of government support for their inability to develop the sector.

 

“Oyo state government had earlier visited us here and they promised to assist us, but we are still waiting for their gesture. Honestly, we are ready to partner with the government, we need new boats, there are new boats that will enhance smooth operation.

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“Also, we are appealing to Governor Makinde to come to our aid by clearing the hyacinth on the waterways to pave way for free flow of water and ease movement on the water to all areas as we intend to expand our routes”.

Not only that the access road is in a lamentable situation, fishermen are also busy carrying out their illegal businesses without proper license from the government, while the traders at Temidire Market  have no option than  to continue with their trading activities in an unhealthy environment.

 

Poor access road

The market further confirmed the extent or degree of neglect by the government as unbearable odour from  cassava products such as fufu , garri, starch and other waste products hijacked the atmosphere, posing considerable risks for public health.

Teak plantation providing shelter for some buildings around the river

Part of the areas covered by the teak plantation, which is also providing an interim shelter for buildings around, is expected to accommodate resorts, cafes/restaurants.

Pathway leading directly to the river

During the visit, our reporter also observed that automobile  mechanics are major occupants of this untapped tourism site with several abandoned vehicles whose components had deteriorated and leaked, polluting the surroundings. The disused vehicles left in the environment are not only unsightly and affect the visual amenity of the site, but also provide harbourage for pests like rats and mice which spread disease.

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Speaking with Mega Icon Magazine, some of the commuters who are steadily abandoning the road for the waterways narrated : “Before the introduction of the new boats,  we use to cross through Canoe and we have recorded several casualties. We have lost friends and loved ones as well, we are appealing to the state government to take rightful steps  on this, because this is the only shortest route to our homes.

” The waterways has made it easier and quicker for us to keep appointments and go about our normal business without much stress about the chaotic traffic congestion on the roads”, the commuters claimed.

Also, the  President, Awotan Community Landlord Association, Ahaji Rasaq Fabayo, in a chat with our reporter lamented the underdevelopment of the tourism potential.

According to the Community leader, ” apart from being concerned as a landlord, I am also a tourism enthusiast, I understand the import of tourism in economic development . Eleyele river is a great potential”, he added.

 

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News

[email protected]: Eschew politics of bitterness, collaborate with me to return Oyo to Pacesetter status – Makinde

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Oyo State governor, Engr.  Seyi Makinde, on Sunday congratulated a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and governorship nominee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, on the occasion of his 50th birthday anniversary.

Governor Makinde, in a statement signed  by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, expressed gratitude to God for granting Adelabu, his opponent in the 2019 election, the grace to witness the golden jubilee of his birth.

The governor noted that achieving such a landmark age can only be a privilege from God.

He, therefore admonished the businessman to see the new age as a great responsibility and a challenge to put in more efforts into serving humanity and making a meaningful impact on society.

He further admonished him to imbibe politics without bitterness by freely contributing his quota to the development of the state without any hint of political consideration.

According to Governor Makinde, anyone who reaches the 50th birthday landmark is on his way to becoming an elder statesman and, as such, bears more responsibilities on his shoulders.

The statement reads, “I celebrate my brother, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu, the governorship candidate of the APC in the March 9, 2019, governorship election, in our dear state, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

“Anyone who lives to celebrate the golden jubilee must see it as a great privilege from God and one should be grateful. It is on this note that I give gratitude to God on behalf of Chief Adelabu.

“Also, a 50th birthday is always celebrated with fanfare, because it is considered a landmark; it is the invitation to becoming a statesman and it confers on one a great respect as well as responsibility.

“I encourage Chief Adelabu to note that this is the time for politicians across all divides in the state to eschew politics of bitterness by freely contributing their quota positively to the developmental efforts of the incumbent administration, since the saying is always right: government comes and government goes but the people always remain.

“I will admonish my brother to, in the spirit of this new age, freely discharge his responsibility to the people by committing himself more to serving humanity and making a meaningful impact on the society.

“It is my expectation that as he clocks 50 and with the responsibilities that come with it, Chief Adelabu will attune his mind to collaborating with the Oyo State Government to return the State to the Pacesetter status it occupied especially in the First and Second Republics.

“As he celebrates his golden jubilee, I pray to God to continue to grant him good health.

“I wish him a very Happy birthday and many happy returns”, the statement concluded.

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Education

OYSCATECH directs students to resume, constitutes COVID-19 task force committee

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The Board of Studies for Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora under the chairmanship of the acting Rector, Mr. Olaniyi Adekunle at its meeting on Thursday, September 24, 2020 approved the resumption of ND II and HND II Students for Monday, September 28, 2020.

According to the internal memorandum signed by the Acting Registrar, Mr. Paul Oyediran, lectures and other academic activities will commence immediately on Monday, September 28, 2020.
According to the revised academic calendar, Monday, September 28, 2020 to Wednesday, October 7, 2020 has been scheduled as 1st semester revision week for HND II and ND II Students.

Meanwhile, the 1st Semester examination for ND II and HND Il Students will hold between Monday, October 12, 2020 and October 24, 2020, while e-learning for second semester would commence by October 26, 2020.

Similarly, other categories of Students which include the ND I and HND I are to resume for normal academic activities on Monday, October 26, 2020, while the 1st semester examination for ND I and HND I is expected to commence by November 9, 2020 and end in November 21, 2020.

The Board of Studies at its meeting also noted the constitution of OYSCATECH covid-19 task force committee by the management.

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The Committee headed by Dr. Oladapo Ojo is mandated to ensure that Staff and Students adhere strictly to covid-19 guidelines.

The Board of Studies for Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora under the chairmanship of the acting Rector, Mr. Olaniyi Adekunle at its meeting last  Thursday, approved the resumption of ND II and HND II Students for Monday, September 28, 2020.

Contained in the internal memorandum signed by the Acting Registrar, Mr. Paul Oyediran, lectures and other academic activities will commence immediately on Monday, September 28, 2020.

According to the revised academic calendar, Monday, September 28, 2020 to Wednesday, October 7, 2020 has been scheduled as 1st semester revision week for HND II and ND II Students.

Meanwhile, the 1st Semester examination for HND II and HND I Students will hold between Monday, October 12, 2020 and October 24, 2020, while e-learning for second semester would commence by October 26, 2020.

Also, other categories of Students which include the ND I and HND II are to resume for normal academic activities on Monday, October 26, 2020, while the 1st semester examination for ND I and HND I is expected to commence by November 9, 2020 and end in November 21, 2020.

The Board of Studies at its meeting also noted the constitution of OYSCATECH covid-19 task force committee by the management.

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The Committee headed by Dr. Ojo is mandated to ensure that Staff and Students adhere strictly to covid-19 guidelines.

 

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Opinion

Makinde’s Concession of Agbowo Complex: Is 4.9Billion Naira Equal 50years? | By Moruf Smith

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Yesterday, Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde flagged off the concession of the long moribund Agbowo Shopping Complex to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited at a cost of 4.9 Billion Naira on a long lease of 50years!

 

The company was given a mandate to renovate the complex to a commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel within 24 months. In his remarks at the flag off event, Governor Makinde took a swipe at the immediate past administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi which signed an MOU with Agbowo Mall Infrastructure Development Company Limited to remodel, redevelop and rehabilitate the expansive complex at a cost of 8 Billion naira. The said MOU was said not to have seen the light of the day until the tenure of the last administration wound up.

However, the concession of the complex by the current administration was not a smart move. It was not well thought out. Everything was wrong with the concessional arrangement; from the funding of the concession to the long lease of 50 years. It’s worthy of note to revisit the story behind Agbowo Shopping Complex.

The complex was constructed by the administration of late Chief Bola Ige in 1983 on 30 plots of land. The complex was being managed by Oyo State Housing Corporation and had been a source of employment and job opportunities for the teeming people of the state while it contributed to the economy of the state and a source of revenue to the government. But Agbowo Complex suffered neglect and mismanagement as successive governments in Oyo state made no effort to resuscitate the sprawling monument until the administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi decided to renovate it.

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The immediate past administration signed an MOU as explained above but a protracted court case remained a clog in the wheel of progress on the renovation of the abandoned complex. It’s however not clear whether the present government has resolved the issue of the court case on the complex before the governor went ahead to initiate the concession.

It ought to be commendable that, at last, pragmatic efforts were being made to get Agbowo Shopping complex up and running. But what cast doubts on the sincerity behind the latest flag off of the concession arrangement are the manner of funding and the years of lease. It would be recalled that during the first tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Oodua Group under the chairmanship of Bar Sarafadeen Alli and Mr Adebayo Jimoh as the Group Managing Director, embarked on construction of Heritage Mall and redevelopment of Cocoa Mall in Dugbe Business District at the cost of 3 Billion Naira.

Construction of Heritage Mall was wholly financed by the Oodua Group, costing 2 Billion naira while Cocoa Mall redevelopment was carried out in partnership with Frontline Developer Services Limited, costing 1 Billion naira. Oodua Group is owned by governments of Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states. After the construction and redevelopment of the two malls, Oodua Group outsourced the facilities to a consortium of facility managers who see to the functionality and maintenance of the malls. Heritage Mall and Cocoal Mall, housing Shoprite, cinema house and other important stores are doing well as we speak.

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If Oodua Group, jointly owned by states in the south west, including Oyo state, could finance construction of malls and other facilities without concession or long lease, what stops Oyo government to toe the same more viable path? 4.9 Billion naira is too paltry to seek concession and long lease for. If the present government is still creditworthy, it should be able to get a consortium of local banks to finance the project after which the government can also engage a consortium of real estate managers to manage the facilities.

It should not take more than ten years long to repay the local banks the loans and interests from the purse of the state while revenues from the management of the rejuvenated complex will have been accruing to Oyo state. This is unarguably a win-win situation for government in terms of increased revenue, for people in terms of employment and job opportunities and value chain, for investors in terms of return on investment and for facility managers in terms of professional engagements.

The present concessional arrangement of 4.9 Billion naira equals 50 years is a win to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, a win to people in terms of job opportunities but a huge loss to Oyo state in terms of revenue as acute depreciation will have befallen Agbowo Shopping Complex after 50 years of its renovation when the state is expected to take it over. It may not be wrong to dwell on the allegation that the administration of Seyi Makinde may be preparing Agbowo Shopping Complex for personal gains of its principal.

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Even if Governor Makinde was going to spend 8years in Agodi, it will take another long stretch of 44 years for the state to recover Agbowo Shopping Complex from Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, which must have fed fatter and become chubbier on Oyo state’s patrimony. If we spend three years to prepare a man for madness, when is he going to storm market?

If Messrs Whitestone Global Limited manages Agbowo Shopping Complex for 50years to recoup 4.9 Billion naira and interests accrued, when will Oyo state begin to reap her investment and profits on the complex?

 

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