BY Gbenga Ariyibi
LABOUR Party Governorship Candidate, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele, has accused the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration of paying lip service to industrial development in Ekiti State.,
Bamidele said the governor’s boast on the day of his inauguration on October 16, 2010 that he would diversify the state civil service from its present monolithic economy through industrialization has not been actualised, a development, he claimed has crippled the state’s economy.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti by his Media Aide, Ahmed Salami, Bamidele queried what the Ire Brick Industry and Road Material Company(ROMACO) in Igbemo had contributed to the development of the economy of the state after over N2 billion had been expended to resuscitate the industries.
He lambasted Fayemi led administration for its inept and poor administrative skills leading to its failure to negotiate the revamp of the defunct Oodua Textile Mills in Ado Ekiti with Oodua Group of Companies, saying the conversion of the site into lock-up-shops further underscored Fayemi’s deception and aversion to the growth of this sector. Bamidele said industrial development is number 6 on the Fayemi’s 8-point agenda, urging him to explain to Ekiti how far he has gone in the development of agro-allied industries, exploitation of mineral deposits and other allied matters capable of driving the economy .,
He tackled the governor on his claim that he has jumpstarted the economy by creating technology and industrial parks for small and medium scale enterprises, established micro-credit facilities for promising entrepreneurs and placed special focus on development of agro-allied and solid mineral sectors.,
“We want Fayemi to tell us where he has built his industrial parks. We want him to tell us the rate of turnover of Ire Burnt Brick Industry. What Fayemi has kept on saying was that the industry has bounced back to life but practically with no production because not even a single block has come out of that industry since the advent of the present administration. We challenge Fayemi to tell us how many youths have been employed by this industry despite his much touted boast that the industry has been made functional,” he said
Responding to the allegations, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode said Fayemi had made positive impact on the economy and industrial base of the state, countering that Bamidele was acting like someone who did not understand how to make things work.
His words: “For consistently demonstrating crass ignorance of current state of socio- economic realities in the state, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) does not deserve the votes of Ekiti electorate. Mr Bamidele has over time demonstrated unpardonable ignorance in very simple issues of socio economic significance in the state. Therefore, it is either he is lazy mentally or is out to deliberately misinform the people.
“One would have expected Bamidele to do a thorough check at the relevant agencies before coming up with such a baseless position. The fact is that the state government has taken some giant steps in the area of industrial development in the state in line with Governor Fayemi’s 8-point agenda.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, the Ire Burnt brick is back to life. The recruitment of staff (well over 100) of different categories has been concluded and they have started resuming. The Belgian technical partners have resumed work, the various equipment including fuel to power the engine have been supplied, while production is scheduled to start first week of June after all the staff would have resumed work.
“ROMACO on its part has been given out on a long lease to a technical partner who makes monthly returns to the state government. The need to promote small and medium scale enterprises was what informed the decision to partner with the Oodua Investment Company to convert the moribund Odua Textile mills to, Ekiti/Oodua Enterprise Development Centre. The centre houses among others a skill acquisition centre, Electronics and Computer village, Fountain Metropolitan Motor, Builders’ Mart, Eyiyayo Tricycle Scheme, Kero Direct and a fabric market.
“The state government, through the relevant pro-investment laws and initiatives has also attracted over N20 billion worth of private investments to the state. The state government continues to engage in business through its investment company – the Fountain Holdings. The government is also building a crop of young entrepreneurs through proper mentoring and financial support including Youth in Commercial Agriculture (Y-CAD) and its young entrepreneur scheme.
“What Ekiti people want from MOB is to tell them in concrete terms what he is capable of doing if elected and not to exhibit mob mentality which is unbecoming of an aspirant to the exalted office of Governor of Ekiti State. An aspirant who cannot understand simple economic issue is certainly incapable of leading the state.”