The excitement of the people of Ondo State over the approved Ondo Deep Seaport may be short-lived as the capacity of the state government to raise the required $1 billion fund for the construction of the port has become a source of concern.
This concern, and many others bothering on the clauses in the approval, the modality of operations after now, what would take for the potential contractor to move to the site, what is required of Ondo State, and what is on the part of the Federal Government, were raised by a respected lawyer and notable citizen of the state, Barrister Olukayode Ajulo.
Barrister Olukayode Ajulo raised this concern while congratulating the people of the state, past governors and the incumbent governor Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu on the development in a statement authored and signed by him.
Ajulo, in the statement which was sighted by PortNews newspaper in Lagos yesterday, asked ‘Ondo Deep Seaport: What Next?’
Ajulo said the deep seaport, if these questions are not addressed, may go the way of the Bitumen exploitation which was approved in the late 1980s by the Federal Government led by General Ibrahim Babangida but never materialised till today.
Ajulo, in the statement, said “Firstly, I want to congratulate all the Governors that have served in our dear Ondo State since the time of the His Excellency, Late Pa Adebayo Adefarati to His Excellency, Late Dr Olusegun Agagu, His Excellency Dr Olusegun Mimiko and incumbent Governor, His Excellency Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu for their efforts on the establishment of the recently approved Ondo Deep Seaport by the Federal Government.
“Steadfastness is a noble quality and mark of an admirable man”. I want to heartily appreciate Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu whom I have tremendous respect for as a mentor, and undisputable leader of the Bar for being candid and steadfast to ensure that it happened in his time. Posterity will certainly not discount his love and laudable exertion for the people of Ondo State as this rare feat is surely worth celebrating and glorifying the glory of the Almighty in our lives.
“The outgoing President Buhari’s administration approved Seaport in Ondo State with a projected investment of about $1 billion (about N750 billion), with the fund sourced through a public-private partnership requiring our ultimate concerns and goodwill.
“Nonetheless, for me, I think it is time to take a break from the honeymoon that comes with the good tidings and face the facts to be able to see the approval beyond the papers.
“We must begin to ask what are the clauses to the approval, what is the modality of operations after now, what would it take for the potential contractor to move to the site, what is required of Ondo State, and what is on the part of the Federal Government.
“These and many questions are begging for answers amidst the torrents of congratulatory comments. This achievement will be of no value if we do not find appropriate answers to these concerns.
“Though I am optimistic about this but, we must be vigilant and maintain our sense of critical and constructive analysis.”
“The unassailable fact is that we have had different approvals for resource exploitation in Ondo State that never developed beyond the approval and celebration stage. A good example of this is in the proposed Bitumen exploitation that later became a sour story after it got us excited for a few days.
“This development gladdens my heart but these concerns must be raised to know if we’ve got to celebrate the more or move on like we did on bitumen.
“May the good Lord the maker of heaven and earth continues to enlarge our coast, and guard and guide the people and government of Ondo State aright. Amen.”
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