The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi(Ojaja II) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 at his Ile Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with a US based company SpringPort Technological Group to build a Technology, Media City and Agriculture Incubation Hub in the town.
This huge investment came barely two weeks to the return of the Ooni from the USA where he had earlier visited to seek involvement of Africans in Diaspora in his peace and unity agenda and solicit their support for the continent on developmental projects in agriculture, tourism, infrastructure and youth development.
According to a statement by Comrade Moses Olafare, Director of Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, with the MoU, the technology hub worth $1.4bn in its first phase, is expected to facilitate massive employment of youths in Ile-Ife.
The statement added that the start-up phase for master plan is to begin with investors in London and Asia.
Subsequently, the MoU would be presented to Elliot Jones representing Maya Angelo Foundation, Jason Harrison ofTredic Corporation UK and some other American/Asian investors.
While signing the deal, the Ooni expressed optimism that the project would span development across Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria and Africa at large. He explained that the partnership with House of Oduduwa was fastened to ensure the success of the project.
“The initiative is an encouraging one and I urge the team not to relent. When I visited the USA, I met with our Diasporan people and told them that people built USA, it did not just develop. Just like the USA citizens built America, I am glad that some Nigerians in the diaspora are also keen to the development of their mother land.
“I am totally in support of the project. I have never started a project without completing it and I hope this will be completed within the stipulated time. We don’t want this to be a typical project that will start and won’t end and because of that we need to sign the MoU today. We will also be fulfilling a larger part of what is expected of u by making available the required land.”
President of Image Consulting Group, Mrs Remi Duyile, said the project was part of efforts to show that Nigerians in diaspora were ready to invest in their country.
She explained that her company was made to create the synergy between the Ooni and America-based firm when the King visited the US.
“As a strategic, Public Relations and lobbying Firm in the USA we were made to realise that there are a lot of business opportunities here in Ife when the Ooni visited us. We came here to verify and confirmed. Many Nigerians in diaspora are ready to invest in Nigeria if support is given.
“We are ready to invest in Nigerians youth talent. The only the challenge is that many Nigerian leaders block most of us in the diaspora from contributing to the development of the country.”
A representative of the American based firm, Mr. Muyiwa Onitilo, explained that similar initiative helped India to generate over eight million employment. According the him, the hub is projected to create employment for 1000 youths in its first phase in Ile-Ife and Osun State.
He said, “The project will deliver a modern and progressive Ile-Ife with a strong real estate, technology and infrastructure backbone. It will deliver a master planned community that will allow residents to increase their productivity.
“60 per cent of those that will be employed are indigenes of the host community. This is an intiative to improve the home.”
Another member of the team, Victory Oluwasegun explained that the hub would transform the ancient city to a world class place where children will grow with technology.
”Our plan is that immediately the students are leaving secondary school, they enrol and grow with technology. We want our system to be familiar with technology and we will be doing that in recognition of distinct features and historical figures. We developed it with a solution that caters for poor maintenance culture. With the technological hub, we will be able to advance the uniqueness of Ile-Ife to a world brand.”