Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
“If you are bringing a renowned investor into a particular state, it has its own ripple effect of impacting positively on the people of that state”, says Mr. Oska Ayeleso, the Group Managing Director of Fountain Holding Limited ( FHL), an investment arm of Ekiti State.
According to him, “aside generating revenue for the state, the investment is also going to create jobs for our teeming youths”
In this interview, Ayeleso explained why FHL is stagng a comeback after going moribund when Governor Fayemi left power in 2014.
He also government plans towards reviving the state’s investment arm, and he spoke at length on this.
Its objective is to make sure that a private sector arm will be involved in the management of all investments in the state, for the purposes of creating jobs for the teeming youths and wealth for the state in general. It serves as a vehicle to liase with the private and public sectors within and outside the state. FHL is the special purpose vehicle that will ensure that what anybody or private investors are bringing into EKiti State are facilitated quickly and also ensure that those investments are established as quickly as possible. It also protects the interest of Ekiti State in any Special Purpose vehicle (SPV) created by the investors and also the state government. The SPV will serve as the intermediary between the investors and the state government.
Fountain Holding investment sectors of Ekiti State covers such areas as, Real Estates ; the Eyiyato Housing Scheme to provide about 500 housing units to low income earners and those within high income earning range but was abandoned after Gov Fayemi left office in his first tenure, thankfully, we have started it again. Fountain Court which is situated in Lagos for leasing Ekiti House in Abuja- this is divided into three : One portion for leasing, another for Office and the remaining for hotel business. Rosebud Hotel in Abuja with 52 suites, this generates income for the state and Oodua shops and many more which jointly constitute the real estate sector of Fountain Holding.
Another sector is the Hospitality business which are Ikogosi Warm Spring with 91 room apartments, Fountain Hotel with 31 hotel rooms and Adetiloye Hall ( Event Centre) within the Trade Fair Complex along Iyin Road, Ado-Ekiti, and some others on leased terms.
There is also the manufacturing sector: Ire Burnt Bricks, Fountain Newspaper, Ikun Diary. There is a partnership between state government and Promassidor company on Ikun Diary which will be booming with production and processing soon. There is the Agro-allied storage facility in Ilasa-Ekiti for storage of yam tubers, this was before now 95 percent completed but was never put into use. We have been looking for investors in this area. We also have garri and cassava processing firm in Ayedun-Ekiti, that also became moribund and we are trying to revive it.
Other sectors are mining and solid minerals- Igbemo and Ikole quarries. We are on the verge of reviving them. Canadian-based Nigerians who are indigenes of Ekiti have indicated interest in all our quarries and very soon two of the quarries will be in operation with full equipment from Kogi and Ondo States to start the quarries.
Engineering services sector: Auto Mart- we had a contract and signed an MoU with Toyota Metropolitan called Fountain Metropolitan Toyota Motors which went moribund after Gov Fayemi left office in his first tenure, it was an auto mart where you can service your Toyota, Japanese branded cars. It was an agreement by a company owned by a state government and a Toyota Metropolitan in Lagos. We are in touch with the investors who are coming in a very big way to re-engineer the facility. We also have Coscharis Mart along Iworoko Road, also built during Dr Fayemi’s first term but wasn’t commissioned. Work is now in progress there to ensure operation. We also have auto mechanic village along Ado- Ikere Road, we are looking forward to getting investors. There is also Oba Adejugbe Spare parts Market along ABUAD-Poly Road. It was abandoned for years and now we have an Ekiti indegene based in Lagos who have indicated interest and in a short period of time will be in operation.
There is the new businesses: the Civic Centre. This has not been given to FHL to manage but we need potential and reputatble property manager to manage it for the state. The Civic Centre is an edifice built during Dr Fayemi’s first term now reactivation work is going on there. The property manager will help us manage this place well for profit making and also for job enhancement for our youths. The Pavilion is another one that is at present being well managed by a property manager, it turned parade ground for corps members after Gov Fayemi left office in his first tenure . The governor has renovated the place and is now good for commercialisation and other recreational and sporting activities.
The ultra-modern motor park, this will be built near Oja Oba, Ado- Ekiti. This place will house local and inter-continental cuisine, commercialised public toilets and a car wash. We don’t have a Chinese restaurant in Ekiti, it is going to be a state-of-the-art restaurant. Work will soon commence there and we need potential investors to manage this. Aside generating revenue for the state, it is also going to create jobs for our teeming youths. We also have stock and equities; shares, trading. We are also into commodity ventures. We are distributor to some companies like Olam, PZ and we also secured distributorship with Cadbury and Nestle. We have a GM marketing for this. And last year, we made a good margin in this sector. We also have Fountain Oil and Gas and Ekiti Lotto Board has also been approved for Fountain Holdings called EKiti Lotto.
We are going into private-led commercial administrations in terms of our facilities. That is, Public Private Partnership (PPP). Government has no business with business. We can only provide enabling environment and leave business for private investors. If a state had a facility, the highest that government must have in that facility as a business venture should not be more than 10 per cent, when you leave the remaining 90 per cent for private investors, there is no way any successive government can chase them away. The only company that was not chased away by the last administration was Ire Burnt Bricks. Why? Because Oodua Investment Company, a private company, has about 36 per cent interest. So, when a government has 100 per cent in it, another government can just come, chase them away, that is why we are calling on private investors. Governor Fayemi has even made a law now that will enable every company, facility, business venture, investment to be sustainable to surpass any administration. A private sector can run any business venture very well and profitably than a government sector. The governor has done what is good for the state by institutionalising that law that will make investments stand the test of time.
We have been working tirelessly and relentlessly to ensure we deliver on all of these key parameters. We also believe in our cardinal points as driving force that will ensure we have success in all these sectors : We believe in systems, structures, strategies, supports and policies, processes, procedures, placing and people.
We have a structure on ground now that will ensure we have fruition on all these investments. The people working here were from private sectors with private sector etiquettes. People working in Fountain Holdings are round pegs in round holes. We employed top notch individuals, who have made it and are still making it in their various fields in the corporate world; From CBN, Cadbury, NNPC, Nutrend and so many other notable companies, as board of directors, who have since been adding value to the growth and existence of FHL. There have been tangible results since their arrival. The impact of the people we have on the board and the impact of the management team will go a long way to impact successes to all our key parameter indices in this company.
When people are happy, they are happy because there is money to spend. Some of the facilities, aside creating jobs, they are wealth creation facilities for the people. If you are bringing a renowned investor into a particular state, it has its own ripple effect of impacting positively on the people of that state. Because if they employ you and find you good in one facility, they may take you to another bigger facility to go and work, maybe outside the state or country. Some of these investors also have their facilities as businesses outside the state. They may even be taking you out of the state for training. Like the Ikun Diary Farm, for instance, it will need a lot of grain plantation for the cows to feed. People that will be working there will be taking to other places for trainings and you end up being a trainer to some people. This will bring a lot of positive impacts on the people in the state.
They should be very patient with Governor Kayode Fayemi administration. The governor is a man that is passionate about economic development of the state. The patience we are talking about is in less than one and a half years. The impact has even started but, more will be coming soon. Our youths should not be lazy as these opportunities are coming. A lot will be done on agric business as rice importation has been banned. Ekiti State used to be known for rice plantation. The governor is bringing some companies ; Dangote and Stallion Rice to come and start rice processing in Ekiti, a lot of people will be needed on the farm. Money is no longer in the cities but, in the bush. They should please seize the opportunities and do something for themselves