Makinde: Creating Prosperity for Posterity | By Sulaimon Olanrewaju

The pre-2019 profile of Oyo State was anything but complimentary. With an internally generated revenue (IGR) that hovered around N1.8billion monthly, the state’s economy was described as ‘largely agrarian, with the Oke-Ogun axis being the state’s food basket’.
For a state that started out as the intellectual capital of Africa, a state that beat even France in the television race, a state that already had a skyscraper when Dubai was a little more than a fishing depot in the early 1960s, a state that parades some of the best minds the country has ever produced, a state, which at a point, was home to a long string of companies, the agrarian tag was neither fitting nor befitting.
Knowing that being agrarian in an industrial age is a recipe for peasantry and poverty, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, on assumption of office in May 2019, resolved to change the state’s narrative by taking definite and decisive steps that would move the state into industrialization. He devised two strategies to achieve this.
The first was to put in motion measures that would shift the state from subsistence farming into industrialization through the agribusiness instrumentality. Fasola Farm Estate was his first port of call. By providing the right leadership, the erstwhile farm estate has morphed into an industrial hub that attracts investors just like sugar attracts ants. While the wonder of Fasola is that a company is able to produce more than what 1,000 regular farmers would produce, the secret of its success is the application of disruptive thinking and the deployment of cutting-edge technology. Hence, Fasola has become a melting pot of agriculture, science, technology, commerce and industrialization. Fasola is now a study in how agriculture powers industrialization. With an array of great companies such as Chief Quails Limited, SWAgCo Limited, FreislandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, BrownHill Group and Milkin Barn Agriserve Ltd, among others, Fasola Industrial Hub is beginning to take the shape of a business cluster.
But there is more to Fasola than that. Fasola Industrial Hub is also fast becoming a tourist attraction as different groups regularly visit the hub to see the marvel that the once-abandoned farm estate has become under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde.
In March this year, the National Project Coordinator, Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES), Sanusi Abubakar, led a team from 16 states of the federation on a field trip to Fasola. Speaking during the trip, he said: “We are here in Fasola Farm, a renowned place for livestock breeding and commercialization of livestock value chain that has been here since 1958, and we are impressed with what is happening here. We went to sites where they are training stakeholders on artificial insemination, livestock and pasture centers and are impressed with what is happening here.”
Corroborating the position of the National Coordinator, the Oyo State Project Coordinator of L-PRES, Mr Kola Kazeem, said, “The team from 16 states of the country is in the state to witness what the state governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, has embarked on in agricultural production and agribusiness development.”
According to him, Fasola Industrial Hub is a signature project for Oyo State and something for other states to emulate, noting that “when we talk of livestock center, you cannot find this kind of arrangement that we have in Fasola Industrial Hub in any other place.”
Fasola has also become a learning centre for young farmers as well as a support base for small holder farmers.
Speaking to this recently during a visit by some students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology to the hub, Director General of Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr Debo Akande, said: “The hub is there to support the smallholder farmers that are around this hub and for it to serve as a center of excellence for learning, knowledge and for tourists and investors to see. Today, we have LAUTECH students of agriculture that came here to learn, and they’re here to learn the modern approach in agriculture. And it can’t be better than this, where those young people see in practical forms what are the modern technologies currently being used and they are able to see all the practical forms of modern ways of agriculture on the field. They are able to see new variety of seeds, cassava, without necessarily needing to go to IITA, coming into the hub that the government has built. For me this is great, for them not to have traveled to Ibadan to see new varieties of seeds but coming here, for me that is really amazing, that would have dropped ideas in their minds. They saw the ranches, they saw hundreds of cattle, they saw cross breeding, artificial insemination, they saw green houses, pasture development and ancillary infrastructure. They now have an understanding of what development of infrastructure means to agricultural transformation.”
One centre, endless opportunities, that is the story of Fasola Industrial Hub. With the reactivation of Fasola Industrial Hub, Makinde is creating prosperity, not just for the present generation but also for posterity. By tweaking the management structure of the hub, the chances of the hub falling into disuse as was the case in the past have been obliterated. With the Fasola project already completed, the government is set to replicate this in other zones of the state.
Given his background as an electrical engineer and entrepreneur, Governor Makinde knew that Oyo State could not experience real industrialization sans adequate electricity supply. Energy poverty is a major albatross to Nigeria’s development. Energy poverty has pauperized Nigerians, impoverished the manufacturing sector and has reduced the country’s industrialization stride to a race into the past. Many artisans have been forced out of their trades due to epileptic power supply. Makinde knew that to change the agrarian tag on the state, he had to end energy poverty in the state. The Governor also knew that he could not effectively fight material poverty in the state without first frontally attacking energy poverty. So, on September 30, 2020, Makinde signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell Nigeria Gas Ltd (SNG) for the construction of a Pressure Reduction & Metering Station (PRMS), which would distribute gas for electricity generation across the state. This was followed with the flagging off of the construction of the gas pipelines at Km 10, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan, on November 16, 2022. A major box in the deal was checked on April 30, 2024, when the final investment agreement was signed in London between the Oyo State Government and Shell Nigeria Gas Ltd.
While speaking about the project, a partnership between Oyo State and SNG, Governor Makinde, who described the project as a catalyst for the development of Oyo State, said: “This project fits into our plan to drive innovation and industrialization in Oyo State and we’re ready to partner with more companies and other organizations to enhance the delivery of relevant projects.”
He added, “This gas project, worth about $100 million, involves the construction of a Pressure Reduction and Metering Station (PRMS) and laying of pipelines by SNG on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis. Ownership will be transferred to Oyo State after 20 years.
“With this agreement in place, we are looking forward to the first flow of gas to industrial, manufacturing and commercial entities as well as our independent power project in Oyo State in 18 months.”
This revolutionary project will open up the state to many possibilities because access to energy is the thread that weaves economic growth and human development together.
First, in about 18 months Oyo State will most likely get into the era of undisrupted power supply to industrial, manufacturing and commercial companies. This means that the companies located in the state would save cost on energy as they would no longer need to expend fortunes on diesel. They can then ramp up their production with the savings on energy. This also means that they would be in a position to employ more people, thus reducing the unemployment rate in the state. The increased production would have a telling effect on the state’s Gross Domestic Product as well as the internally generated revenue.
In addition, with undisrupted power supply, the likelihood of many companies relocating to Oyo State is huge. With that, the probability of Oyo State becoming a business hub is high.
With a gas master plan which would make gas available in all zones of the state already in place, the project would eventually improve electricity supply in every part of the state, thus putting Oyo on the path to electricity sufficiency. This is significant in two ways. One, factories do not have to concentrate in Ibadan or any of the other major towns in the state; they can be located in any part of the state. This would result in employment opportunities being created in rural areas. Then, by making uninterrupted power supply available in every part of the state, the urge for residents to migrate from rural areas to urban centres would reduce and development would spread across the state.
The Light Up Oyo project would be more impactful with uninterrupted power supply. This would be a boost to the security of the state as it becomes difficult for people of the underworld to hide under the cloak of the night to perpetrate evil.
Perhaps the zenith of the benefits of the project is that its ownership will be transferred to Oyo State after 20 years. This is humbling. The only contribution of Oyo State to the project which is valued at $100million is the land on which it is sited. At today’s exchange rate, the project is worth about N150billion. In 20 years when it is handed over to Oyo State, the value cannot be less than N500billion. Then, in 20 years, the project would have reached maturity stage; all the mistakes would have been made and perfected. So, Oyo State would just take over a fully grown and fully developed business and harvest the benefits.
With the gas project, Governor Makinde is not just ensuring energy sufficiency for the state; he is also creating prosperity for today and the future.

Olanrewaju is the Chief Press Secretary to Oyo State Governor.

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