By Kelvin Olagundoye
A major leap into actualizing the dream of establishing a seaport in Ondo state has been taken as the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, received the Outline Business Case (OBC), which is the final report showcasing the project as a multipurpose Deep Sea Port.
At the occasion in Akure, Governor Akeredolu expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation with his administration at establishing Port Ondo, saying that the confidence of the consulting firm on the feasibility of the project is a pointer to its eventual success.
The governor said the avalanche of resources the state is blessed within its riverine communities couple with the fact that the state has the longest coastline in West Africa sub-region with the deepest draught would make the proposed port the biggest attraction in the global Maritime Sector.
“This port is very important to me, to the people of the state, Nigeria and indeed West Africa. We are going to pursue this dream with vigour”, he said.
Describing lack of continuity and abandonment of projects by successive administrations as the greatest problem retarding the development of most states in Nigeria, Governor Akeredolu said if the vision of the Olusegun Agagu administration on establishing a seaport for Ondo State had been kept alive by the immediate past administration, Ondo State would by now become a critial player in the Maritime Sector.
“Being a lateral state, the port is long over-due and people have wondered what past leaders were doing. The critical thing about continuity you mentioned, I’m sure if Governor Agagu had remained in office , he would have done the port”, the governor said.
Earlier, the Head of the Consulting Firm, Ekong Etim said the final report is essentially is a confirmation of the governor’s vision as a productive business worthy of venturing into by both the Public and Private ownership it is designed for.
“We are happy that our report confirms that the governor’s vision is viable. It is a visible project both technically, legally, financially, economically,” the Consultant said.
The next step after this, according to the consultant, would be to send the Outline Business Case, OBC, to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, for the issuance of Certificate of Compliance, adding that the Procurement stage which is the final, is when prospective investors would invited to form a consortium to finance the Deep Seaport project.
While commending Governor Akeredolu for his commitment to the realization of the port project, the Consultant enjoined the people of the state to solidly support the governor in his second term bid so that the proposal to have a port in the Sunshine State would not be truncated.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the governor on Investment and Development, who is also the Vice-Chairman and CEO of Ondo State Development and Investment Agency, Bode Oyewumi lauded the governor for his unrelenting support for the project.
The Special Adviser said maritime regulatory authorities have expressed great surprise at the political will showed by the governor in aid of the project, the speed and quality of reports turned in to support for its actualization.
Oyewumi used the occasion to assure that credible investors among the big maritime players in the world are already waiting in the wings to finance the project.