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Ondo:The land of my birth

By Adewumi Ayodele

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The Biblical story of the promise Land flowing with milk and honey is no other place in the world than Ondo State, a state producing 12% of Nigeria total output of oil and gas, coupled with 12% of coal and having the third largest Bitumen deposit in the world.

The State’s fertile soil and favourable climate create an ideal environment for farming, enabling farmers to produce high quality crops that are sought after both locally and internationally.

Akwa Ibom State, was acclaimed to be the largest producer of timber in Nigeria, with a total area of about 8,412 km² in the South – South geographical zone of Nigeria while Ondo State with a land area of 14,788.723 square kilometers, of which majority of it are tick forest for Timbers, that refuses to be exhausted. I am even aware of some kilometers “Forest Reserved Area”, allegedly meant for Late Queen of England, in Aponmu Ondo State, untouched housing Billions of Naira Timbers. Alas! the owners of green pasture fleeing away to the Land of Slavery called “Japaa”. Ondo State is the largest producer of Cocoa in Nigeria and other cash crops such as Rubber, Cashew, Kolanuts, Oil Palm.

Some years back by August to February of the following year, usually witness an influx of contractors, all over the country to Ondo State, scamping for the purchase of Cocoa beans and timber planks, for exports.

It would interest you to know that the acclaimed Richest Man in Africa today, Aliko Dangote, started his plank Business here in Akure, Ondo State, as a young graduate then, he told us as customers that his name is Dangote, but we called him “Tangoje” because of the pronunciation. In export business in Nigeria then, you must visit Ondo State. Here is the State without a seaport despite having a deep sea, that if put in place, can handle various types of cargo including roll – on/roll – off vessels, bulk cargoes and offshore oil and gas support, which can in turn create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, stimulate economic growth and contribute greatly to the state GDP.

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I can go on and on, the forest Reserves that haves fed thousands of homes and industries, from Ondo State are not replanted, the colonial masters, then just mapped out some areas and called it forest Reserve. Why are we so rich and so poor? Imagine, some of the best Timber Trees can actually mature within a period of 10 to 15 years for local and international use.

I learnt that Ondo Seaport will cost about $1.3billion an amount higher than the total four years federal Allocation of the State. Why can’t Lagos State with all her wealth, come to the aid of Ondo State, in building the Sea Port, to reduce the congestion in Lagos? Even for a short term loan, Ondo State can pay back easily.

Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in 1965 faced with significant challenges: such as high unemployment, poverty and limited Natural Resources. The Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, implemented series of strategies and policies to turn around the fortunes of Singapore. Lee Kuan invested heavily on infrastructure development, built a world class airport, drive the economy through export Oriented manufacturing.

Today, Singapore is one of the wealthiest nations with a GDP per capital of over $62,000, the success story demonstrates that, with a visionary leadership, effective policies and  commitment to human capital development, even the most challenging circumstances can be turned around to achieve a remarkable prosperity and growth, but here in the land of my birth, every man is waiting for the next man to fail, why?

Thank God we have a listening Governor in place now in Ondo State, Mr Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, Governor of Ondo State who on assumption of office reaffirmed his administration unwavering commitment to fostering growth and development, using peoples approach method. His commencement of infrastructure development, apart from the 60km selected roads for rehabilitation and asphalt overlay approved by the governor across the state, most abandoned road construction are in progress as contractors are back to site, a visit to some of these roads will amaze you on the level of work done within a short period.

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Finally, I wish to call on the Federal government of Nigeria, progressive individuals to tap her bitumen deposit, deep seaport and to look inward towards making Ondo State great, because the state is truly a blessing not only to the people of the state but to Nigeria as a whole.

Adewumi Ayodele is Media Director, Ondo State Football Agency

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