In the build up to the 2007 Gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the then Labour Party Governorship Aspirant who later emerged as the Governor after a long and torturous legal battle Dr Olusegun Mimiko promised the people of Okeluse in Ose Local Government of the state that he will put in economic use the abundant limestone deposit in the town.
In his speech reported by Julius Alabi of the Guardian Newspaper, Dr Mimiko was quoted as saying ” My government will establish a cement factory as soon as we come into power in May 2007″. Giving the assurance, Mimiko said he had put a committee in place to understudy the vast limestone deposits preparatory to his winning the election on April 14, 2007. He further said ” Ondo State would soon join the league of Cement producers, a development which would not only create ample employment opportunities for the people but also boost the drive towards industrialisation of Ondo state.
Dr Mimiko was not able to retrieve his mandate until February 2009 and nothing was heard about the Cement Factory until more than a year after when the then Information Commissioner and a long time Political associate of the Governor, Mr Ranti Akerele disclosed in a post-state Executive meeting briefing in April 2010 that all is set to establish a Cement Factory in Okeluse town.
The commissioner further disclosed that the $50 million project would be handled by TETRACH Cement Company and shall be funded in ratio 80percent and 20percent for the company and Ondo State respectively. Akerele further said ” we have a fund of #4billion domiciled in the Ministry of Industry out of which we are paying the counterpart funding”.
He continued saying the company would commence production within the next 18months from April 2010 and that provision for the proposed project had already been made in 2010 budget.
A breakdown analysis by the Commissioner showed that $50million would be required to establish the company out of which $30million will be contributed by both parties as debt capital for the take-off of the project, he said besides; a sum of $20 million will also be paid as equity contribution by the Ondo State Government and Tetrach Investment Company out of which ODSG will pay $4million while Tetrach will pay $16million. The Commissioner said the company will employ 250 indigenes of the state.
With this announcement by the Information Commissioner, the people of the state hoped this initiative by the Government will help create jobs for the people of the state. Unfortunately almost 22months after the announcement, nothing has been heard about the project and this has continually generated furore.
Sometimes last year, a group of some Ondo state indigenes brought to the notice of the people of Ondo state that the State Government in the “2010 Re-Ordered Budget”signed by the Governor on 6th of Sept. 2010 showed that a whooping sum of #5.75billion has been spent on the invisible Cement Factory, the group added that in the Re-ordered Budget the project is termed 100percent completed but findings showed that in the real existence, there is no cement factory anywhere in Ondo state.
The amount (#5.75billion) government claimed it spent on the Project further contradicted the original 20percent counterpart funding of the total project cost of $50million.
It is worthy to note that in August 2011, the Hope Newspaper which is owned by the Ondo State Government reported that the Secretary to the State Government said plans are being put in place by the Government to establish a Cement Factory. The rather unconvincing speech of the SSG failed to reflect on what was contained in the 2010 Re-Ordered Budget that the project is 100 percent completed.
We continue to hope that the Governor will fulfil the social pact he signed with the people of Ondo state prior to his emergence as the Governor of Ondo state with just one year to the end of his tenure.
Olarewaju Olaniyi Precious is the Convener Ondo State Youth Coalition Front
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Posted by Online Editor 1
on Feb 8 2012. Filed under AFRICA, EDITORIAL, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, POLITICS, South West News, World News.
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