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Aketi Has Triggered Industrial Revolution in Ondo State- Alex Ajipe

-DEEP SEAPORT TO TROOP IN MORE INVESTORS-UNPRECEDENTED ROAD REVOLUTION-WATER FOR ALL THROUGH KAMOMI AKETI-SKYROCKETED INCREAMENT OF IGRChief Alex Ajip

At 59: NIGERIA KEEPS BREAKING GROUNDS UNDER APC —-BOROKINI
ODHA PASSES AMENDMEND EDUCATION ENDOWMENT FUND INTO LAW
FOOD SECURITY: FG TO COLLABORATE WITH STATES

-DEEP SEAPORT TO TROOP IN MORE INVESTORS

-UNPRECEDENTED ROAD REVOLUTION

-WATER FOR ALL THROUGH KAMOMI AKETI

-SKYROCKETED INCREAMENT OF IGR

Chief Alex Ajipe is the brain behind Klick Konnect Networks International Limited, a private company of global repute situated in Akure and all over the world. The company has continuously aid economic development of Ondo State for the past two years under the able leadership of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, governor of the state. He spoke with Olaseeni  Oyesusi and Olaniyi Agun of the Chronicle Magazine on how his organization has partnered with the state government to bring economic independence to the good people of the state through the successful flouting of the first phase of the Ondo Linyi Industrial Hub and the embracing economic impacts that the hub would have on the lives of the people and the overwhelming increment in the state internally generated revenue.

Can you please briefly tell us the impacts klick konnect has made in the economy of the Ondo state?

We are a private company limited by shares and we partner Ondo State government to develop the economy of the state. We have the mandate of the government to bring in investors and we have been doing just that through the support of the administration of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), the governor of Ondo State.

 The first of it is that we brought in the 10,000 hectares project plantation of G-Melania Aboria between Ondo state and Wenwood Nigeria limited. At the moment, over 3, 000 hectares of the land have been planted and work is still going on as I am talking to you.

Secondly, we brought in a backward integration of planting cassava in between the G-Melania Aboria which will be used to feed the cassava to ethanol mill. Also, we have facilitated the visit of the governor to the Peoples Republic of China to Linyi city in China and it led to the signing of business agreement between the state and the city. It is the first of its kind in Ondo state as it has brought the Ondo Linyi Industrial Hub. The first phase of the hub is huge as it covered 150 hectares and currently housing lots of industries which are already on ground.

The 150 hectares of land housed companies that deal with textile, plywood, cassava to ethanol and agrochemical products. And already, we are moving into the second phase.One of these companies’ deals with plastic and it will be producing toys while some will focus Agrochemicals and Batteries. Soon, we won’t have to visit Lagos because we want to buy Batteries. We will have companies here in the state that will be manufacturing batteries, nylons, polythene and other plastics.

Besides that, we will have a company that is going to be a private power plant. After the federal government initiated Omotosho power plant and the Ondo state NPP power plant took off in the area, this is going to be the third one that will be coming up and it is going to be privately owned and situated in ondo Linyi industrial hub phase 2.

Through us, the government of Ondo state had an agreement with the Chinese people on training our people in the area of Technical Manpower. We don’t just want to be a dump ground or an observer or just an employee without knowing the technicality of how these machines work. Then we asked them that they must train our people and that one has brought the Africa College of Agriculture Technical and Vocational Studies. The school is going to be situated inside Ondo Linyi industrial hub phase 2 with a capacity to take in about 2,500 students every session.

At the moment, we have 3 different Universities from China that are affiliated with the University. All we want to do is ensure that our people can learn different vocations and see where they can do their practicals. After graduation, some of them can work in these companies.

We want our people to be trained so that they can gradually take over the technical jobs from the Chinese as regards all these factories that they are bringing into Ondo state. By the grace of God, we have been able to initiate a lot of community social responsibilities that have to do with all these companies so that they can enjoy maximum support of the host communities. We renovated the Ondo state tennis house and the wrestling house. Also, we equipped the tennis court with 2 standard Olympic tables.

 We have drilled some boreholes at the host communities and purchased a 40 MVA transformer. Omotosho power plant could not give light to the host communities for more than 5 years because everything they generated is taken to the grid. There is no transformer that could step it down from 132 KVA up to 32 KVA where the distribution companies like BEDC can distribute. So, these people went and bought the 40 MVA transformer that worth over $1.1 million and it came with 3 feeders. So, 2 feeders will be dedicated to this industrial hub while 1 feeder will be dedicated to the communities. It is configured in such a way that we have an arrangement with GENCO directly and not with the BEDC. The communities can be rest assured that there would be light at all times. Once there is light in the industrial hub, there will be light in the host communities which we believe this will spark up a lot of economic activities.

Lots of banks are willing to take their cash centers to the Ondo Linyi industrial hub since there are no banks in that axis. Many people travel long distances before they could use ATM machines but this is being addressed now. Also, more than 2,000 people are currently working there.

Are the workers indigenes of Ondo State?

All of them are not indigenes of the state but over 80% of them are from the state while 70% of them reside in the host communities. The phase 1 of the Ondo Linyi industrial hub is worth $500 million dollars. That is about 90 billion Naira. So, you can imagine what would have been sunk into that place. People have supplied granite and sand and several people are working there now. We believe that the phase 2 will be greater than what we have achieved. Some people have said that the Chinese people would enslave our people but that is not going to happen. Klick Konnect is there to make sure that our people that are working there are paid what is due to them and that they are not working under a harsh environment.

We will make sure that they do what is needed to be done in line with Nigeria’s guidelines and regulations. In the first agreement that we had with them, there is also a CUPP cement factory from China. We have limestone in commercial quantity at Okeluse and we have gone there twice. As I’m talking to you, we have a driller there that is trying to drill out samples. We heard that there is 90% purity of limestone at Okeluse but the Chinese people said they are ready to work even if they got just 40% purity. In the presence of the governor, they told us that work will start under 12 months and that they will be producing 1,000 tons of cement per day. We will soon see made in Ondo state cement which I believe will bring comfort to our people.

We also looked at this cassava to ethanol factory. Cassava to ethanol factory is huge and it can take over 1 million tons of cassava per annum. So, we are talking about minimum of 300 tons daily.

How do you intend to get this?

We have met with the Ministry of Agriculture through the Special Assistant to Mr. Governor on Agric and other business to actually create clusters of farmers in each of the zones. We intend to see whether there could be lands that would be shared among these farmers. With the help of CBN, we will be able to provide them everything that they need as far as cassava plantation is concerned. And also make sure that they get herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers and every other thing that they need. These farmers will be collecting money every month but they will be under good supervision.

At the end of the day, we will calculate how much each farmer has collected and the cost of the input given to them. Everything will be done in a very transparent manner and that is why Klick Konnect Network is there. So, gone are the days farmers are discouraged from going to cassava plantation because they don’t know who would offtake from them. That one is gone now. As I’m talking to you now, we are going to start buying fresh cassava as soon as we are connected. By the time we now removed the money of the inputs into the farm, then minus the standard price of the cassava, whatever is the balance would be given to the farmer. You don’t need to run helter skelter to get input because we will make everything ready for you.

The SSA Agric has assured me that we will get 1 million farmers. It will be fantastic if we can get this but if we cannot get 1 million farmers, we should be able to mop up the unemployed youths in each Senatorial District that are interested in this.

Then apart from that, what about the finished products? We have ethanol and MDF that are first of their kinds in Nigeria. We have marine boat. We have plywood, HDF, and paper. There is a paper mill that is over 75% completed that is going to make use of the pulp of the G-Melania Aboria that is being planted at the 10,000 hectares of land.

So, Ondo state is well prepared for all these that are to the credit of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

He is a man of foresight because it is a kind of deviation from the former practice where the government would put money into a project with less supervision. At the end of such projects, there is always nothing to take home. When you do things the same way, you cannot expect different results. These are what Klick Konnect has done with the Ondo state government in just the space of 2 years. The testimonies are all there for everyone to see.

So far so good, how can we describe the economy of Ondo state going by what you have enumerated?

I must say that the economy of the state has been fantastic for everyone that wants to know. Before this administration came to office, the internal generated revenue was fluctuating between 500 and 600 million naira. As I am talking to you now, for more than 5 or 6 months running, Ondo state has been getting over 1.3 billion naira and what is the difference? In those days when the IGR was fluctuating, the people were not happy in the town. Most people then were seen crying because they could hardly cope with their daily needs and taxation was just too high then but that is not the case again. You now begin to ask yourself where the money is coming from. Now you can see the advantages of these companies that are coming in into the state. You can see clearly that these companies too are contributing to the economy of the state. Also the integrity of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is also working.

Lots of people work before they are paid. You can hardly see anyone who can do that. Today, contractors work on roads before they are paid because they know that the governor has integrity. Nobody would want to do that if he is not a man of his words. You see the Rural And Water Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) have renovated more than 600 boreholes and Kamomi Aketi, which is the legacy project of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is being adopted now by the federal government as the real project they know can have impact on the people. The minister was here around December to commission Ogbese Kamomi Aketi water scheme.

 Since that time, everyone has been coming to understudy what Aketi is doing in the area of water. It is not that water will be shown on TV and you won’t see it in real life. I can tell you, go to ogbese and other communities within the state and you will see water projects everywhere. One way or the other if you talk about this government in the area of water, they have done well.

In the area of road, you can go out and see the strategic roads that matter. Go and look at Oke Alabojuto that people see as a kind of voodoo and mysterious place but when you look at the place you will see that where there is a will, there is always a way. And now, the mysterious Oke Alabojuto has become an express road.

 People are no more dying there. There was a time people say mysterious spirits take people’s lives there but that is not the truth. When this man came in, he said he wanted the place chopped off and that was exactly what was done. As I’m talking to you, Oke Alabojuto has become an express road.

 Then what about the strategic Araromi to Lekki road that has started? It is a 15 km road but many people will not believe you if you say it would take them less than 12 minutes to get to Lagos from there.

During the last administration, we lost the Dangote refinery to Lagos but now through Aketi we are going to connect ourselves to them. Lagos state is saturated already and by the time the refinery is done, over 25,000 employees are being expected to be living in Araromi axis. So, you will see a lot of them working with Dangote but residing here in Ondo state.

 There is a port declaration in Ondo state. Our deep seaport has been declared by the federal government and I also believe that we will now have a free trade zone with people from Gwanzou, and parts of China. You will see what Arakunrin has been doing once everything starts. If you go to the Ore flyover, you will see people working. The ESSO to NEPA road is almost completed and it is the first phase and the second phase has been itemised.

We commend this governor because in the past only people whose houses were demolished got compensation when they had C of O. Unfortunately, legitimate owners of most houses do not have this document. Arakunrin said whether you have the document or not, you are entitled to compensation once it has been established that you are the owner of the house. So, you can go round and ask. Everyone whose houses were affected was adequately compensated.

 There is a textile company in Omotosho through the Ondo Linyi industrial hub and I’m particular about it because it is where the women are working. Over 600 resident women of Ore and Igbotako are working there.

Are the products out now?

They are working there and I think they started from the thread section. They are selling threads. You can now imagine the number of vehicles that will be coming to Ondo state to pick up threads. You begin to look at the revenue impact these people have and what would be accrued into the coffers of government as revenue from these areas.

This government 2 years in office now. Where do you see the state by the time the governor has completed his four years?

As you can see that we are in the era of consolidation. We have surmounted all the obstacles in bringing in investors and have established trust and relationship. What we need to do in the next 2 years is to make sure that we monitor the inclusion of our people to participate and to actually benefit because I could see the surprise on your face when I talked about the textile company.

You were surprised when I said the first MDF Company in Nigeria is here in Ondo state. The company is working. You can go and check for yourself.

We at Klick Konnect will ensure that adequate information about all these developments will get to our people in Ondo state so that they can benefit. If we utilize what we already have here, there is no need to knock an already opened door. By the grace of God we already have things that can make the lives of our people better.

 We would want our people to know now that if they have lands around that Araromi, it is time for them to get those lands fenced and develop something on them. If you are going for tourism, it is time now to begin to look at our coastline which is the longest in West Africa. Since the free zone has been declared, you can’t have less than 1,000 foreigners that would be around. When these foreigners look at the long coast, some of them will want to go there to relax. So, the economic activities around such area will develop.

We have lots of development also in Agriculture. The Special Assistant on Agric met with me some days ago that they want us to bring in Rice Mill. From the statistics he gave me, I think Ondo state now has sufficient rice and I’m saying that before the end of this year, we will sufficiently feed Lagos. Also we will feed Lagos as per their ethanol needs and also decongest the Lagos port by the grace of God. So I see Ondo state in near perfection in terms of revenue like what Lagos currently has.

This is the first time I have heard majority of what you have said. What are you doing to publicize all these things so that people will know what exactly this government is doing?

Yes, I think the mistake we made before now, with due respect, is because we have left too many things in the hands of the government and Arakunrin, be whom he is, is not a man that wants to blow his trumpet at the roof. When he does things, he just believes that it is his obligation to do them. Though he has constructed more roads than every governor that has ruled Ondo state, how many roads have you seen him commissioned? But the truth of the matter is that he has done more roads in two years of his administration than any of his predecessors. Records don’t lie. You can crosscheck what I’ve just told you. We know about past governors who carried the whole state to commission the surface dressing they did. We have now discovered that we are doing disservice not to the governor but to the people who need all these facilities but they are not aware that they are on ground. We are going to make sure that we involve a lot of media houses in a bid to showcase to the people what the government of the day is doing. It won’t be nice if we provide job opportunities and our people who really need them are not on ground to pick up these jobs.

Let’s talk about you now. In the last three months, you have empowered your people twice. What do you intend to achieve with it?

I return all the glory to Almighty God. He is the author and finisher of my faith. I believe that you do some assessment at every stage of your life. We used to be in a stage where we could not even feed ourselves and by the grace of God we left that stage and got to a stage where we could feed ourselves and our family. God has taken us from that area and now we can feed ourselves and feed our immediate community. As God is taking us through these phases, we recognize all these phases and we see the need why we must give back to the society.

What we have done is just to tell our people that we know what they are passing through. We couldn’t do much before because we didn’t have the capacity. Now that we have the capacity, nothing should stop us from helping our people. We have been praising God through giving to the people and that is what we are happy to do. It will get to a point that we will empower the whole state and even the whole nation.

How do you select your beneficiaries?

Obviously, we know the people who are in need or striving to earn a living. We identify some community leaders who in turn nominate for us but we still do our own independent assessment. Even when we don’t have the resources to cover everyone at once, we do it gradually until we have put smile on the face of everyone. We thank God for the grace to have impact in the lives of the people and they have always appreciated the little gesture.

On the final note, what are your appeals to the general public?

My appeal is that we should seek for peace. We should support our governor which God has given to us at this time. He is a blessing and rare gift to Ondo state. As youths, we should seek for information. It is not enough for us to visit the pages of Facebook or WhatsApp to forward messages that we don’t even know where they came from. Look for the analysis of everything that government intends to do and see how you can key in.

QUOTES

-Through us, the government of Ondo state had an agreement with the Chinese people on training our people in the area of Technical Manpower. We don’t just want to be a dump ground or an observer or just an employee without knowing the technicality of how these machines work. Then we asked them that they must train our people and that one has brought the Africa College of Agriculture Technical and Vocational Studies. The school is going to be situated inside Ondo Linyi industrial hub phase 2 with a capacity to take in about 2,500 students every session.

 

-All of them are not indigenes of the state but over 80% of them are from the state while 70% of them reside in the host communities. The phase 1 of the Ondo Linyi industrial hub is worth $500 million dollars. That is about 90 billion Naira. So, you can imagine what would have been sunk into that place. People have supplied granite and sand and several people are working there now.

 

-As I’m talking to you, we have a driller there that is trying to drill out samples. We heard that there is 90% purity of limestone at Okeluse but the Chinese people said they are ready to work even if they got just 40% purity. In the presence of the governor, they told us that work will start under 12 months and that they will be producing 1,000 tons of cement per day. We will soon see made in Ondo state cement which I believe will bring comfort to our people.

 

-The SSA Agric has assured me that we will get 1 million farmers. It will be fantastic if we can get this but if we cannot get 1 million farmers, we should be able to mop up the unemployed youths in each Senatorial District that are interested in this.

 

-We have ethanol and MDF that are first of their kinds in Nigeria. We have marine boat. We have plywood, HDF, and paper. There is a paper mill that is over 75% completed that is going to make use of the pulp of the G-Melania Aboria that is being planted at the 10,000 hectares of land.

 

-I must say that the economy of the state has been fantastic for everyone that wants to know. Before this administration came to office, the internal generated revenue was fluctuating between 500 and 600 million naira. As I am talking to you now, for more than 5 or 6 months running, Ondo state has been getting over 1.3 billion naira

 

-You see the Rural And Water Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) have renovated more than 600 boreholes and Kamomi Aketi, which is the legacy project of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is being adopted now by the federal government as the real project they know can have impact on the people. The minister was here around December to commission Ogbese Kamomi Aketi water scheme.

 

-Go and look at Oke Alabojuto that people see as a kind of voodoo and mysterious place but when you look at the place you will see that where there is a will, there is always a way. And now, the mysterious Oke Alabojuto has become an express road.  People are no more dying there. There was a time people say mysterious spirits take people’s lives there but that is not the truth. When this man came in, he said he wanted the place chopped off and that was exactly what was done. As I’m talking to you, Oke Alabojuto has become an express road.

 

-Then what about the strategic Araromi to Lekki road that has started? It is a 15 km road but many people will not believe you if you say it would take them less than 12 minutes to get to Lagos from there.

During the last administration, we lost the Dangote refinery to Lagos but now through Aketi we are going to connect ourselves to them. Lagos state is saturated already and by the time the refinery is done, over 25,000 employees are being expected to be living in Araromi axis.

 

-There is a textile company in Omotosho through the Ondo Linyi industrial hub and I’m particular about it because it is where the women are working. Over 600 resident women of Ore and Igbotako are working there.

 

-As you can see that we are in the era of consolidation. We have surmounted all the obstacles in bringing in investors and have established trust and relationship. What we need to do in the next 2 years is to make sure that we monitor the inclusion of our people to participate and to actually benefit

 

-From the statistics he gave me, I think Ondo state now has sufficient rice and I’m saying that before the end of this year, we will sufficiently feed Lagos. Also we will feed Lagos as per their ethanol needs and also decongest the Lagos port by the grace of God. So I see Ondo state in near perfection in terms of revenue like what Lagos currently has

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