Home Opinion EDITORIAL: Makinde’s White Elephant Projects Won’t Solve Oyo’s Economic Crisis

EDITORIAL: Makinde’s White Elephant Projects Won’t Solve Oyo’s Economic Crisis

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The apparent lack of direction of the Seyi Makinde-led government in Oyo State reached new heights on the 7th of August, 2020, when the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Seun Fakorede announced that the Governor had approved the re-modelling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex to international standard at the cost of N5.5 billion naira.

Of course, every sane individual understands that the Lekan Salami stadium, like a lot of moribund stadia in the country, needs an upgrade. But should Oyo, a state with an average internally generated revenue of less than N2.1 bilion in 2019, stick its neck out to re-model a stadium like Adamasigba with over 5 billion naira without any sustainable plan to make it profitable?

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Even though the Governor, while speaking at the flag-off of the white elephant project stated that the remodeling of the stadium is in a bid to position the state to attract investments and also serve as a means to double the state’s efforts to put the infrastructure in place that will support the growth of IGR, the question should be how does the state plan to generate over N5 billion back directly from Adamasigba. Is it through ticket sales? Or TV rights? And more importantly, does the governor think the stadium would even generate enough income to make its operations a sustainable one?

Another white elephant project this administration has embarked on is the construction of four bus terminus at the cost of 20 billion naira. While it is important to acknowledge the infrastructural deficit in the state, it is also important to note the economic status of the state means the government must embark on projects only because they are of importance to the society and also have the prospect to generate tangible revenue to state on the short, medium and long run.

The Iwo-road terminus is obviously one road project with the prospect to boost the economy of the state but should the government go into a controversial bond knowing fully well that a public private partnership would not only ensure its speedy completion but also make it more efficient upon completion?

Or better still, since the Iwo road terminus, just like the one the government plans to build at Ojoo, falls on the Toll-gate–Ojoo axis of the federal expressway from Lagos-Ibadan enroute Oyo, the state could easily approach the federal government or persuade the federal lawmakers from the state to, regardless of their political affliation, work hand-in-hand and lobby for the nomination of the development of that axis of the expressway for economic gains.

It is also quite appalling that the government has not taken any concrete step towards designing a sustainable economic plan that would allow the state tap from the advantage of being neighbors with Lagos and Ogun states that have the largest economy and third highest IGR respectively in the country and at the same time address the infrastructural and technological deficit affecting the practice of agriculture in the Oke-Ogun region.

Even though the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin road is commendable, one wonders why the government is yet to table a blueprint for the practice of mechanized agriculture on a large scale in the region so that perhaps we can one day export maize to Botswana before the end of the first term of the governor, like he promised.

OYOINSIGHT.COM thinks the government should be looking at how to prepare the state for the serious changes the completion of the Ibadan Dry port would bring to Ibadan while also looking at possible ways to connect these dots with the economic advantage of being neighbors with Ogun and Osun. These are the problems the government should not slow down working on and not the construction of a stadium no one can explain how it would organically transform into revenue generation upon completion.

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