– Ikorodu is the best destination for Commerce –Otunba Abiru
– People should look forward to a bright and economically viable, vibrant administration and revenue generating industrial outlay in Ikorodu – Dr Bawa-Allah
-Lack of Infrastructures is bane of our under development – Hon. Benson
-Security is key to development – Ayangbure, Adeboruwa
The maiden edition of the Ikorodu-Oga Cocktail Night with Business Executives,which was held on Friday, November 2, 2018,has provided an opportunity for stakeholders in Ikorodu division to look at challenges confronting critical sectors and discuss the roadmap for their development.
The epoch making event, which was organized by the Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS), under the leadership of Otunba Olusegun Ganiyu Abiru, to mark this year’s Ikorodu-Oga Day Celebration, was held at the Ayangbure palace in Ikorodu, and had royal fathers, political leaders, traditional chiefs, scholars, media executives, captains of industries among others in attendance.
Otunba Abiru, setting the ball rolling, stated that the event was created to enable stakeholders in Ikorodu division to discuss the social and economic issues confronting division.
“The cocktail dinner is not all about engaging in talking but an opportunity to review the state of Ikorodu’s business community without ignoring the welfare of the host community”, he stated.
Explaining the choice of the venue, Otunba Abiru stated that the ambience and centrality of the Ayangbure palace informed the decision.
“The Ayangbure palace was chosen because of its ambience of comfort, centrality of its location and more so, the commitment of the Obas particularly, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, to the socio-economic development of this community, influenced the decision to have this cocktail here tonight.
“Our royal majesty believe so seriously that there is no place in Lagos State where you can do your business and succeed than Ikorodu community”.
The former Clerk/Permanent Secretay, Lagos State House of Assembly, told the professionals that were present at the cocktail that Ikorodu remains the best place for commerce and industry.
“Ikorodu remains the best destination for commerce. I need not disturb you with the human and natural factors that make this division the best choice for any form of business you may desire to engage in.
“However, despite the presence of various organizations in this division, it is an undeniable fact that the commercial organizations have not been truthful and diligent in their corporate social responsibilities.
“I am happy that we have representatives of some of these organizations here today and I believe that what we are going to say here today will be taking back to their various organizations and have a change of heart.
“Those of us in the association are not unaware of the challenges confronting business organizations in the division. We have to make concerted efforts because these problems are surmountable.
The Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Kabir Shotobi, while commending the initiative, emphasized the issue of security.
“I profoundly welcome everybody to this special event that is taking place for the first time in the 27 years existence of Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS).
“I want to thank the initiator and the chairman of IKODASS, Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, for this and other initiatives that have been projecting and promoting Ikorodu.
“Security situation as mentioned by the IKODASS is very paramount. We can all remember that when we had turbulence security situation in Ikorodu, we had to called on the local vigilance group to guard the community and assist the police and we have recently lost the leader of that outfit. So, we have to look into that”, he reminded the guests.
“We have asked the security committee to look into filling the vacant leadership position of this vigilance group so that it will not be derailed.
“I have also been told recently that the police station in Ikorodu along Igbogbo road does not have patrol vehicles. If the police do not have vehicles, how are they going to move, especially at odd hours, when we have security challenges?” Oba Shotobi asked.
“We need to do what we can to assist them”.
The royal father stated the initiative by IKODASS would afford the business community in Ikorodu to be aware of there responsibilities to the host communities.
“We have lots of people in Ikorodu and also lots of businesses are springing up.This is the reason IKODASS is gathering the business community together to let them know what there responsibilities are to the community.
“In Ikorodu, we have the largest industrial estate and government is not exploiting that. We can make some recommendations from this forum about what is needed to promote businesses around Odogunyan which is hosting the industrial estate. We have a lot to gain from that area in Ikorodu.
The monarch also called on the IKODASS executives, the local government administrations and other critical organizations in Ikorodu division to work together for the benefit of the division.
“There is need for the council chairmen and Ikorodu-Oga Development Association to work together and exchange ideas in the interest of Ikorodu division. Nobody is an island of knowledge.
“IKODASS also needs to partner with the Ikorodu Chamber of Commerce and Industry which is ready to give all forms of assistance, as well as the Resource Group for synergy.
“We need to come together, exchange ideas and find ways to develop Ikorodu division, Oba Shotobi stated.
While also making his own contribution, His Royal Majesty Oba Semiudeen Kasali, Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, commended the organizers and added that the body is capable of leading the drive for the development of Ikorodu division.
“I salute the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adewale Shotobi, for partnering with IKODASS, the organizers of this forum, in commemoration of the Ikorodu- Oga Day Celebration.
“Kabiyesi does not need to thank me for my presence because we all belong to Ikorodu Division.
“I commend the organizers for providing an opportunity for us to discuss ways and manners we think that we can move Ikorodu division forward, but we must not stop here. We must ensure that all that have been said are implemented to the latter”, he charged .
“This body has shown that it is capable of representing our interest. We are aware now that when we have any issue concerning the division, we can easily pass such across to IKODASS for action.
“This cocktail is quite different from what we used to have at dinners where we just talk, wine and dine. This has provided opportunities for us to discuss way forward for our division with everybody contributing.
“ There are critical issues bothering on security and we all know what the situation is. There is also the issue of economic viability of the division. By the time all the roads that the government is embarking on are completed, they would provide interconnectivity among the communities and improve our economic situation.
The monarch also cautioned on the influx of people into Ikorodu division.
“The potentials of our division is causing massive movement into our communities but we must be prepared for the aftermath effects.
“There is also the need for cooperation among all stakeholders in the division. If we can do that, the sky will not even be our limits”.
Engr. Adekunle Oduborisa, in his own contribution, spoke about security, economic and the division’s political status.
“The chairman has rightly observed on the issue of security and we, members of Oriwu Club, had since looked in that direction and we have been addressing the issue of okada riders and herdsmen. The only thing needed now is the implementation of the plans by our Kabiyesis who are the leaders in the division.
“We are sitting on security dilemma. We are not safe. It’s like we are in a trap”, he said while painting a gloomy picture of the current security situation in the division.
“The second thing is the economy, business and politics. We cannot separate politics from the economic growth. It’s not possible. We have to look back at where Ikorodu was many years ago when most of us were still young.
“Where was Ikorodu when Awolowo would not take any decision without consulting Allison and Gbadamosi? What was our position at that time and what is it now?
“Thirdly is the economic problem. How can we have economic problem when we have largest industrial estate in Lagos State and West Africa? That place is under-developed. Business cannot grow in such an environment”.
While speaking further on the state of the industrial estate in Odongunyan, Engr Oduborisa stated that the environment as it is presently is not good for any business.
“The environment is not the best where anybody can work. We had Super Engineering in that environment in the past but why are they not there now? The government is not doing what it’s supposed to do. The Ikorodu Chamber of Commerce and Industry will have to pay a visit to the Industrial Estate and see it’s present state.
“We need to do what we have to do to take Ikorodu division out of its economic doldrums. Ikorodu is sitting on goldmine. Do you know how much they are making on blue buses (BRT buses plying Ikorodu road)? With our population, how can anybody convince me that they are not generating revenue?
“We need to harness our infrastructures. We need connectivity between land and water. Ikorodu is blessed”, Engr Oduborisa submitted.
Also, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Member, Federal House of Representatives, while speaking, described Ikorodu as a land of untapped opportunities waiting to be exploited for development.
“Ikorodu today is a land of opportunities and hidden treasures. I called Ikorodu a land of hidden treasures because there are still many resources yet untapped. I see a community with seaport, biggest power plant in Nigeria, biggest industrial estate in West Africa, a polytechnic and also endowed with thoroughly engraved educated people”.
The federal lawmaker stated that lack of infrastructures is the bane of Ikorodu’s under development despite enormous human and material resources.
“But we are lacking infrastructures. American is rich not because it has money, but because of its infrastructures. Ikorodu has all the potentials to be rich and emerged as the greatest contributor to the GDP of Lagos State, but we have been unable to do that because of lack of infrastructures. We hope and pray that all our infrastructural deficit would be addressed in the next dispensation”.
Speaking on the efforts to rehabilitate Trunk A roads in and out of the division, Hon. Benson stated:
“Talks are ongoing with the Federal Government and we are looking at fixing Ikorodu – Itoikin road. We have started work on the Ikorodu – Shagamu road which has raised many questions concerning the number of lanes. The road is going to be 13metre which is enough to be a dual carriage way”.
While commending the cocktail initiave, the lawmaker called for more of such platforms to discuss the progress of Ikorodu division.
“Though, I commend the organizers for the maiden edition of this cocktail event, but we still need to do more by making sure that the ‘movers’ and ‘shakers’ of that industrial estate are here. We also need those running private schools, which are doing tremendously well, to also be here because they are the ones training our future leaders.
“This is a step in the right direction and I sincerely hope that more of this will happen so that we can get to the promised land”, Hon. Benson stated.
Dr Tajudeen Bawa Allah, while also contributing, stated that the discussions and contributions made at the cocktail would form the nucleus of what shall be discussed at the 2nd Ikorodu Economic Summit.
“The products of all we discussed here tonight will form the nucleus of the next Ikorodu Economic Summit. The first of it was held in February this year and we are planning for the second one. The Summit is planned to be the backbone for Ikorodu’s development”.
He announced Otunba Abiru as the Executive Secretary for the next Ikorodu Economic Summit.
Speaking on the government and private initiatives for the socio-economic development of Ikorodu, Dr Bawa-Allah enumerated efforts to provide road networks in the division and improve transport system as the key to economic development.
He stated that all that have been discussed at the gathering bothered on infrastructures which happens to be his field.
Also, the erudite scholar and infrastructure expert revealed that additional 200 buses would be added to Primero’s fleet in the next few weeks.
“Additional 200 buses will be released to Primero by the Lagos State Government in the next few weeks. Lagos State government is presently housing 647 new buses from which 200 will be taken and added to the 444 buses that Primero is presently having under its operations.
While stating that the operator of the BRT is working below 50% capacity, he assured residents that efforts to increase the transport operator’s capacities are in the offing.
“Primero is currently operating below 50% capacity but we will do all our best to ensure that their capabilities are increased”.
On plans for road networks in Ikorodu division, Dr Bawa-Allah stated:
“The roads into Ikorodu are improving. Expectedly, there should be three hydra roads in and out of Ikorodu. The existing one (Ikorodu-Lagos road) that we are using is a World Bank financed project. Another one is under construction between Owutu and Isheri on the Lagos-Ibadan express road which is now about 40% completed.
“Another road is coming from the 4th Mainland bridge through Langbasa”, he revealed.
Dr Bawa-Allah also stated that the reconstruction of Ikorodu-Itoikin road into 6-lanes has been awarded.
“With these three roads, Ikorodu will be well serviced. The Ikorodu-Itoikin road’s contract has been awarded by the Lagos State Government. It is now going to be a 6-lane road.
“The Lagos – Shagamu road, as confirmed by our own representative at the House of Representatives, is a 13metre wide road.
“On top of all of these, the icing on the cake is that we are going to have a new road on the river courtesy of Oba of Igbogbo, His Royal Majesty Oba Semiudeen Kasali. It is a replica of Ozumba Mbadiwe road on Victoria Island. The road is going to stretch from Majidun through Igbogbo, Oreta up to Ijede.
“This is a privately financed road and it may be tolled”, he stated.
On the development of water transport system, Dr Bawa-Allah revealed the state government’s agenda in providing alternative tranport system on the water.
“Ikorodu shorelines are going to be filled up and we are going to have over 20 high rise buildings between Offin and Oreta. That is the project that is going to finance and sustain the new ferry service that we want to bring to Ikorodu and it will carry 200 cars at a time and passengers.
“Presently, you are complaining about the bad operation of the ferry service and we agree with you.
He also spoke on why Ikorodu is no longer focusing on agriculture.
“On the horrible situation of agricultural enterprise in ikorodu, we cannot eat our cake and still have it on our plate. Ikorodu has to be occupied by people, and in the process, land reserved for agriculture has been encroached upon”, Dr Bawa-Allah stated.
While talking on the new Ikorodu Master Plan, Dr Bawa-Allah assured investors in Ikorodu that necessary infrastructures would be put in place soon.
“However, a new Ikorodu development plan had just been completed and all lands in Ikorodu division had been allocated appropriately”.
“Therefore, whatever plan we have must be done in accordance with the newly prepared Ikorodu master plan.
“We thank all the industrialists in Ikorodu but you have not seen the best of us yet. We will do all our best to ensure that infrastructural provision is available”.
The infrastructures expert also revealed that plans are underway to establish a coal generating plant in Ikorodu courtesy of the Ayangbure of Ikorodu.
“Let me also inform you, with the permission of His Royal Majesty, that we are going to have a coal generating plant in Ikorodu division very soon courtesy of Oba Shotobi. He has been the brain behind it.
“The land has been secured. The consultant has finished all the necessary works. The United States of America government is now considering financing the purchase of the plant to be moved to Ikorodu.
“And just today, I went through the document of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and it is confirmed that natural resources, particularly coal which is used for projects, is available around us here. That has been our initial fear that we may have to import coal from Enugu but the document in my possession confirmed that coal is available near us.
“I have the confidence that with the little I have added to your knowledge, you will go home as happy people looking forward to bright and economically viable and vibrant administration and revenue generating industrial outlay in Ikorodu.
Engr. H.O.B. Lawal, President, Ikorodu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), in his own remarks, called on industrialists and business owners to join and support the body for the development of commerce in Ikorodu division.
Mr Omuya, the representative of PZ at the cocktail event, stated that Ikorodu division is blessed with natural and human resources but stated that companies operating in the division are facing several challenges.
Other speakers also spoke on the development of the Lagos State Polytechnic, establishment of Ikorodu security Trust Fund and need for the division to intervene in the delayed take-off of the LASPO FM among others.