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How Makinde’s Govt Is Enabling N43.2bn Ibadan Dry Port

Some misconceptions contained in a story with the headline: ‘How Change of Government, Location Delayed N43.2 billion Ibadan Dry Port, published on Monday, January 17, 2022 call for concern. The Ibadan dry port, according to the story, had suffered undue delay as a result of two key issues: the change of its location and the change in the government of Oyo State in 2019.

 

 

 

While the first assertion, a decision taken by the stakeholders, was occasioned by the reality of the functionality of the dry port itself, the latter claim is a fallacy. It is true that the Federal Government under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo conceived the idea of the Ibadan inland dry port as a way of decongesting the Apapa and Tincan Island ports in Lagos.

At inception, the government targeted Erunmu, along Iwo Road in Ibadan. Apart from clearing a portion of the land in Erunmu, nothing appeared to have taken place at that spot until the stakeholders decided to move it to Olorisa-Oko near Moniya, also in Ibadan land, to bring it in alignment with the 875-kilometre Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway.

 

 

 

That decision to align the dry port with the railway, which has one of its Ibadan terminals located in the Moniya/Olorisa-Oko axis, is by all intents a wise one. Of course, the dry port will be of little use except it is fed directly by the standard gauge rail line.

It is also true that the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and the immediate past government of Oyo State under the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi had entered into discussions on the actualisation of the dry port and its relocation to the new site. It is also true that the immediate past administration promised to provide 90 hectares of land for use of the project.

 

 

 

It has to be clearly stated, however, that not muchthey was done as far as the acquisition of the approved land was concerned before the incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde took charge in May 2019.

Thus, rather than claim that the new administration in Oyo constituted a clog in the wheel of success of that dry port, the administration deserves all the praise it has received from informed quarters thus far. As soon as Makinde assumed office, he saw the need to decongest Ibadan City and create a new industrial estate around the Moniya/Olorisa-Oko axis and that bodes perfectly well with the idea of the dry project.

 

 

 

He immediately empowered the Oyo State Investment and Public, Private, Partnership Agency (OYSIPPPA) to go into the dry port project and see it through.

The pioneer director-general of the agency, Honourable Segun Ogunwuyi, now Chief of Staff to the governor, was behind several meetings, online and physical, that gave the project a sense of realisation. It was under his watch that the state cleared the erstwhile encumbrances to the site in form of compensation to the local community.

 

 

 

That immediately made available at least 44 of the 90 hectares, while discussions continue with local communities on the remaining land.

With access granted to the site, the ministry of transport and the management of the Shippers’ Council got hints that the state was really determined to do business. The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, visited the governor, so did the management of the Shippers’ Council and whatever looked like an impediment to the actualisation of the project was cleared. Makinde promised to do all within his powers to see the project through, while the demand for 15 percent equity by the state government, a decision born out of the need to ensure the state is properly captured in the running of the port, was equally resolved amicably.

 

 

 

In order to ensure that the project is smoothly executed, the state government had committed to facilitating stakeholder engagements between the Shippers’ Council and the host community as well as undertaking support infrastructure to ensure that the “headache of Apapa” is not directly transferred to Oyo.

In November 2021, the management of the Shippers’ Council led by the Executive Secretary, Honourable Emmanuel Jime, visited the Governor’s Office, Agodi Ibadan. Submissions by both parties during that visit completely cleared the air about any misconception as regards the dry port project.

 

 

 

Makinde gave the commitment that the state would sup port the actualisation of that project, declaring that the project is a “game changer” for Oyo State executive secretary of the Shippers’ Council. Jime equally thanked the governor for his determination to see the project to fruition. Rather than the change of government frustrating the project, it came to the fore that the new government is a huge blessing to the dry port initiative.

As revealed by the Shippers’ Council, the work plan drawn up by the Federal Government for the execution of the project will bring it to financial closure by May 2022. This shows clearly that the change of government at Agodi has no adverse effects on the execution of the project. Makinde said, “This visit (of Shippers’ Council) is coming at a very right time. I think I can see a few faces we have met before on this. The Ibadan inland dry port is a project that is after our heart in this administration.

 

 

 

“When we came in, we thought it was something that as we were opening the rail line, a few months after, we would be pushing the envelope as far as economic activities around the port area are concerned, but here we are. “I listened to the executive secretary on the work plan.

He stopped at financial closure by May next year (2022). We want to know when this project will be a reality. When are we going to lift the first cargo from that dry port? “If we have things that should have been done on our side that are having a negative impact on the progress of this project, please let us know. We will remove those impediments almost immediately. “If there are things that we also need to do to fast-track this project, we really want to do it; because this project is a game-changer for us. We have written to the Federal Government to give us the road from Ojoo to the Moniya Interchange. People are waiting to invest in the construction of that road.

 

 

 

“We don’t want to recreate Apapa here and the only way we can have the maximum benefit from that project is for us to put all the safeguards in place such that the headache from Apapa is not transferred to this place. We want to be your partner and do everything for the early realization of this project.”

Jime had told his host that he was impressed at the commitment shown by the state to the execution of the project, adding that the Ibadan inland dry port, an 80,000 modular dry port to be developed by CRCC construction company, with an investment outlay of $94.00 million (about N43.2 bn) would help expand economic activities.

 

 

 

He appreciated Governor Makinde’s commitment towards the realization of the Ibadan inland dry port project, adding that the state government had agreed to provide the necessary infrastructure that would assist the successful take-off of the project including the link road from the entrance/exit of Ibadan dry port and a frame bridge at the entrance/exit of Ibadan dry port, other road infrastructure connecting the dry port and connection of the inland dry port to the 33KV power supply.

The state has also undertaken to reconstruct the old Oyo/Ibadan-Moniya road, with Makinde disclosing that the state government has applied to the Federal Government to release the road for reconstruction.

 

 

 

It is clear from the foregoing that the said article only attempted to bring political indications into a project that is of good use to Oyo State and the rest of the country. A government that made the expansion of Oyo’s economy one of its cardinal pillars cannot toy with a landmark project that is capable of changing its skyline, providing jobs for the teeming populace, and helping Nigeria solve its major challenge of port congestion.

 

Adisa is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde

 

 

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