By Dipo Olowookere
The Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, has been urged not to lose the Ibadan Inland Dry Port to the neighbouring Ogun State.
This appeal was made by a federal lawmaker from the state, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, via a statement issued by her media aide, Mr Olamilekan Olusada.
The lawmaker, representing Oluyole Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, said she worked hard to bring the project to the state.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe, who is Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, recalled that when she served as the Special Adviser on Projects and Public-Private Partnership to late Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, she conceived the idea of the dry port during “a visit to Lagos to see my mother.”
According to her, “the traffic from trucks queuing to get into the Apapa ports led to the brainwave that this could be another economic opportunity for Oyo State, which had an advantage based on its geographical position and the new train line from Lagos and knowing that this would further stir up the economic revival in our beloved Oyo State. I approached the Governor with the idea and he gave his consent to commence the leg work.”
“I contacted Mr Hassan Bello led Shippers Council through Mr Anifowoshe who was based in the Ibadan office in 2018 and extensive talks about decongesting Lagos by setting up an Inland Dry Port in Oyo began,” she further recalled.
The lawmaker stated further that the rationale for Olorisha Oko was based on its location as the point where the first phase of the new train line from Lagos to the north passing through Ibadan would terminate.
“That way, containers could be shipped by train from Lagos ports to Ibadan and further on with the completion of other stages of the project, as is the case in developed nations.
“I and my Bureau of Investment Promotions and Project Office team most especially Mr Kunle Olusina with the support of our principal, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, worked tirelessly to make it a reality,” she said.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe added that, “I put so much effort into making the inland dry port a reality, my sweat and support from Ajimobi secured the federal government approval of the project during the administration of Koseleri. I, therefore, appeal to the current PDP led state government not to play politics with the socio-economic development of Oyo State.”
The lawmaker noted that the Inland Dry Port would bring about 24,000 direct new jobs and also attract new investors and big corporations to take advantage of the free trade zone. We all know what that will mean to the youths of Oyo State – job creation, both blue and white-collar
She further emphasised her worry about losing the project to Ogun State over the delays since the change of administration, urging the current administration to do more about road infrastructure to alleviate the worries of the increased traffic expected from the port operation as it has not done enough in terms of road infrastructure, unlike the neighbouring state where Governor Dapo Abiodun, has embarked on and completed many road projects.
The project had gone far with the bidding closed with a successful selection of a concessionaire developer in line with federal government laws and regulations governing Public-Private Partnership Procurement. Sequel to which the project was adjudged viable thus bankable and had been issued an OBC compliance certificate by the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission in line with the 2005 ICRC Act.