From Stella Obi, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has expressed his administration’s readiness to support the Oodu’a Investment Company Limited (OICL), a business conglomerate owned by the Nigerian Southwest states to succeed in its mandate and plan to expand the business environment of the region and the economy of the member states.
The governor, who received the management team of the company led by its chairman, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru in Ibadan at the weekend, declared that Nigeria must diversify its economy by moving away from petroleum to agro-exports and agro-processing, in order to shore up its currency.
Makinde asserted that what the company had been doing was central to his government’s vision to create wealth in the state and move the people from poverty to prosperity.
He commended the Oodu’a team for what it had done with the landmark heritage of the Yoruba speaking states, even as he charged them to remain focused on the business.
The governor stated that though the vision for the company was from the founding fathers of the Southwest states, the environment had changed considerably, which made the governments of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos states to face the core mandate of governance.
He said even though each of the governors was asked to nominate people to be involved, the expectation was that the management would run the business and take decisions without fear or favour, so as to move the conglomerate forward.
“If we truly want you to perform and get the results, we must give you the free hand to take your decisions and move the conglomerate forward. I believe my colleagues are doing the same thing because that is the right thing to do. Also, forget that currently I am the only PDP Governor among them, we are all aligned to the legacies that we met. So, I will say keep it up and stay really focused and imagine the business as business,” Makinde noted.
Governor Makinde pledged that his government would be available to offer every necessary support to the conglomerate with regards to some of the ventures they are embarking on, including the Premier Hotel and SWAgCO Limited, an independent subsidiary of Oodu’a, with interest in agricultural investment.
Earlier, the chairman of the OICL, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, said the Management Team had been working hard to bring back the glory of the conglomerate.
He recalled how the late Obafemi Awolowo and other southwestern leaders started the Oodu’a Conglomerate, they had vision and mission and it was a one-stop shop in Nigeria which had everything ranging from real estate to investment, hospitality and others.
Otunba Ashiru, said the OICL management team has been working hard to bring back the glory days of the conglomerate.
The chairman disclosed that the conglomerate was about expanding Premier Hotel after signing an MOU with an international brand that would manage the hotel.