In Nigeria, the dynamics of failure of State of Osun in resource utilization, income distribution, improved standards of living, youth employment, poverty alleviation and public security while the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lasted in the state, provoked the Economic & Investment Summit held, November 19-21 in Osogbo, the state capital. It never occurred to the conservative PDP that joint government –private investments could grow the state economy and raise the living standards of the people of Osun neither was the party persuaded to explore and develop the rich economic potential of the state for growth and development because the party was never attracted by economic policies whose payoff would not end up in the personal wallets of the party brass-hats, the longitudinal atavism of the party in sharp contrast to All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governing APC in Osun has profoundly progressive understanding of the social and personal costs of economic growth, summed up in the dictum: “present consumption is to be reduced so that future consumption can be raised.” Good! The resolve of the state Governor Gboyega Oyatola, the heirs apparent to the former governor Rauf Aregbesola, now Honourable Minister of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is the growth of Osun economy as the overriding goal of his APC government, engineering a massive shift of the untapped abundant resources of Osun for the development of industries, commerce and infrastructure in the state. The Oyetola economic indaba, premiere in Osun which ended last Thursday, identified particular barriers to growth and prosperity of the state; researched into the backlog of Osun potential in mining, agriculture, culture and tourism just as the summit generated very useful ideas on how the entrepreneurial activities in resource utilization could be undertaken and sustained by development –driven investors, partnering Osun government to cause large-scale new businesses pay off substantially in the Osun economy.
The ultimate objective of Oyetola’s pioneering efforts at the Osun maiden economic baraza is to drive prosperity in the state by increasing the percentage of resource utilization, aimed at reducing unemployment, improving standards of living, redistributing income and sustaining conducive business environment for further investments . ‘’I am happy to inform you that Osun recently executed MoU with a renown international mining firm- The Badger Mines – for the exploration and development of one of our mining titles with a signature bonus of a 100million already paid ,’ Oyetola revealed at the inauguration of the summit, adding that the state ‘’is an investment haven.’’
Discussants at the Osogbo economic congress did not agree less on the redistributive investment effects to make life and living better off in Osun. Of course, yes. The behavior of such effects will sure be augmented by direct subsidies on land and other investment requisites, tax incentives, low-interest investment grants and the extant integrated physical infrastructure in rural electrification, rural access roads, revitalized rail network in Osogbo and aesthetic urban renewal with urban roads to facilitate mass production and productivity of Osun potentials ; extant up-graded science and technology schools and specialist Mechatronic Institute at Esa-oke, RLG Computer Assembly Plant, Ilesa, turning out digital-human capital and increasing access to technology enabled economic reconstruction agenda of the state; extant up-equipped health facilities with O’ Ambulance complement to give care to accidental victims of industrial, farming, and mining mishaps; extant supportive cultural, psychological and religious virtues of the investors’ host-people of Osun; extant state investment regulation laws in terms; extant social inclusion expressive in the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O’ Yes) as on-hand invaluable tool to unlock speed of the gross domestic product in the state, Freedom Park to spot quality relaxation, Power Park to supply uninterrupted power, at least 18hours daily and Industrial Park serviced to be the state commercial corridor; and extant public security that guarantees safety of life and investments in the state.
The value–added bandwagon impact of the ‘extants’, the frameworks will position the state for desired growth and prosperity, expand businesses and create jobs. ‘’We shall strengthen all existing frameworks to protect businesses and honour all commitments,’’ Oyetola said at the valedictory of the summit, with a self-charge ‘’to work with all our valued investors and development partners to deliver on the lofty ideas.’’ He has also signed the Executive Order, establishing the state Investment & Promotion Agency to further his commitment to Ease of Doing Business (EDB) in Osun. Meanwhile, no fewer than 32 investors have shown interest in partnering with and in investing in the state in the areas of mining, infrastructure, health, education and information and technology. The investors promised to explore the investment opportunities created by the state.
No one grew weary and irritable at the panelists’ ejaculation of operative economic ideas; their submissions were so fantastic, so credible, so factual, inviolable and invincible such that no one listener heaved and paused convulsively. The audience, evidently from a vantage position minded rapt attention, a passionate longing for more discussions on business-to-business and business-to-government; and anything else was greeted with meaningless mumble. As the 3-day summit blinked in succession, the sun got golden, the sky blue, the discussions got invigorated into the stillness of the night, and the summit chamber breathed with greater satisfaction at the discussions on Osun economic growth and prosperity. While the chief host, Oyetola turned and stared with excited fulfillment and amazing sublime, promising to provide necessary support required to translate the discussions into reality. In particular, why is Oyetola diving for growth of Osun economy, why not? The man, with front-burner bias for public-private partnership, is passionately concerned that the vast but unexplored and undeveloped investments opportunities in Osun could continue to spark superfluous wastes and inflict needless but severe economic hardship on the people of the state and its government. That kind of avoidable misery, Oyetola abhors with unquenchable zest and untamable zeal.
Olusesi writes from Osun State