Governor Seyi Makinde adduced the menace of Covid-19 as being the reason he’s seeking 100billion Naira Bond because the incidence of the virus has affected revenues being accrued to Oyo state. He said he resorted to taking the bond to cushion the effect of Covid-19 challenges and to be able to execute infrastructural projects in the state. Members of the PDP didn’t condemn this inappropriate move by Seyi Makinde. They are singing his praises for being ‘innovative’ about how to raise funds for execution of infrastructural projects.
However, news broke out this morning that Shoprite, that giant retail store, is proposing to wind down her operations in non-South African countries, including Nigeria due to the ravages of Covid-19 which has negatively affected her financial earnings. Unsurprisingly, PDP members have been advertising their ignorance on social media, associating Shoprite’s proposed winding down as the handiwork of the FG. PDP members are dumber like that to hail Seyi Makinde for proposing to take humongous bond to cushion the effects of Covid-19 but to blame FG for Shoprite’s proposed exit from Nigeria due to Covid-19.
I would tell the brief story of when Shoprite came to Ibadan. Shoprite has been operating in Lagos state, having started operations in Lagos in December, 2005 during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the president of the country then. The giant retail store could not come to Oyo state, particularly Ibadan, which is prided as the next commercial business destination for such massive store after Lagos, due to insecurity, violence and brigandage that reigned supreme between the PDP administrations of Senator Rasidi Ladoja and Otunba Alao-Akala. Shoprite came to Ibadan in 2012, having ascertained that conducive business and security atmospheres had been created by the then recently inaugurated administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi. I recall that Barrister Sarafadeen Alli was the chairman of Oodua Group which built Heritage Mall where the first Shoprite Store in Ibadan was located. Heritage Mall was declared open by the then governors of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos States, with Barrister Sarafadeen Alli as the chairman of Oodua Group in attendance. The Plague of Commissioning having the names of these personalities is still on the wall of Heritage Mall for anyone’s confirmation. It was also the efforts of Senator Abiola Ajimobi in urban renewal drive that the huge piles of refuse at Ring Road were cleared and the sites used to build Palms Mall where Shoprite’s second store is located.
It is important that we revisit this recent history to show how APC government led by Abiola Ajimobi has contributed in no small measures to make business environment conducive for investors in Oyo state. What’s PDP goons crying wolf about with the proposed Shoprite’s exit due to Covid-19 challenges from non-South African countries, including Nigeria? Is it the APC government that also is responsible for Shoprite’s exit from other non-South African countries?
While concluding this, it is equally essential to relate that Shoprite’s exit is a good omen for our country. Shoprite has said that she is considering selling all or majority of her stakes in Shoprite as some Nigerian investors have been indicating interest. After all, Shoprite’s exit is going to be a win-win situations for the country.