Article/Interview/Feature/Columnists/Opinion

TAPPING INTO THE UNTAPPED POTENTIALS OF OKE-OGUN: THE SHINA PELLER’S FACTOR

Hon. Shina Peller

The advent of people with wide range of experience in corporate business in politics is greatly essential at this period of time when the economy is seriously in need of great reforms; reforms that that will bring out the potential of Nigeria and make her less dependent on oil; reforms that will make businesses in Nigeria thrive, especially the small scale businesses, and bring back the glories of agriculture and mineral resources that were once the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy before the era of oil boom that eventually killed those two vibrant sectors.

So, for Nigeria to revive the economic glories of agriculture and other sectors that went into comatose, the country needs the right people at the helm of affairs; Nigerians need the right state governors, federal and state legislators, ministers, commissioners and others that can think outside the box. This is where the business acumen, intelligence and exposure of people like Hon. Shina Abiola Peller, who has just been elected as a member of House of Representatives, become relevant. Shina Peller was elected to represent Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency, a part of Oke-Ogun region where natural resources remain unharnessed.

Recall that Shina Peller, during his campaign tour, promised to take agriculture as a top priority if elected. His decision to emphasize on agriculture is predicated on the fact that the area is blessed with unique and rich arable land; thus if the potential of the viable lands are fully tapped; it will go a long way in providing massive employment opportunities, give considerable profits for the investors and will uplift the economic well-being of the people in the constituency.

Generally, before the discovery of oil in Nigeria, main source of foreign exchange was agriculture, especially in the 60s, when agriculture contributed immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector’s contribution to GDP in 1960 – 1964 was 63% and 54% in 1965-1969. However, from 1970 downward it continued to decline substantially. By 1974 it had declined to 33% and by 1993 it had sadly declined to 8%.

In spite of this progressive decline, the agricultural sector never went away. It was just carelessly allowed to be overtaken by the oil sector since the period of the boom that occurred in the 1970s. The revival of this moribund sector at this period is very essential in the sense that few years from now, fuel-propelled car will start going into extinction to pave way for electric cars and this is telling us unequivocally that the rise of electric cars will grossly reduce demands for fuel; a situation that poses danger for countries that depend mostly on crude oil for economic survival, including Nigeria. The situation is very clear that Nigeria needs to go back to the basic, which is Agriculture!

Oyo State, where Shina Peller hails from, is an expanse of land spanning 28,454 square kilometer. The state is reputed to have the largest arable land in the Southern part of the country and human resources, which gave it comparative advantage over many other states.

Governor Isiaka Ajimobi once identified the gift of nature in terms of land for the state when he said: “We are very lucky in Oyo State. Out of our 33 local governments, 28 are agrarian. So, what Lagos State has in water, Oyo State has in land. We need to harness these through the agriculture value chain to revive our economy.”

Fortunately, Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency, where Shina Peller will be representing for the next four years at the green chamber, is one of the zones that have the largest arable and fertile land for farming business. The zone will be of immense benefit to entrepreneurs that are into or want to have interest in agro investment. Recall that Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, also called Agric Oyo project, was launched in Iseyin in 2016 due to the strategic importance of Iseyin axis in Agro business.

Though finding shows that Shina Peller has purchased over 700 acres of land within his constituency solely for farming purpose, the truth is that bringing out the agro potential in the area cannot be done by him alone, albeit, as pointed out earlier, he has the perspicacity of business mentality to bring out viable policies. The point is that investors are needed to invest in the agro business in the constituency for this will greatly complement his spirited effort to boost agro business in the agarian area.

The major thing that is pivotal in Private-Public- Partnership is the political will of the political persons or person (the case of Shina Peller) that is in charge, the kind of ideas that emanate from those at the helm of affairs is germane to the success of investment of entrepreneurs. So, in no uncertain term should one doubt the experience, acumen and political will of Shina Peller in initiating the right ideas that will make investments in agro business thrive in the axis.

Ikere Gorge Dam is another great asset in Shina Peller’s constituency waiting eagerly to be harnessed. The Ikere Gorge Dam is located in Iseyin local government area of Oyo State with reservoir capacity of 690 million m3.

Recall that the dam was initiated by the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo and work started on it in 1983 by the administration of Shehu Shagari. The dam can generate up to 3,750 megawatts of hydroelectricity for dam and rural electrification programme, has the capacity to supply water to local communities and can provide irrigation services to 2.8million hectares of arable lands. Sadly, as essential as the dam is, it has since been abandoned by successive governments.

Now that Shina Peller is in government, people believe that his exposure, goodwill and influence will go a long way in making the government and even private organizations pay prompt attention to the dam.

Similarly, Ado-Awaye suspended lake is another great asset in Shina Peller’s constituency that is begging for attention. There are only two suspended lakes in the world – one is in Colorado, America, and the other one is Ado-Awaye suspended lake located in Iseyin Local Government of Oyo State.

One of the many wonders of this lake is that it never dries and it retains the same volume of water even during rainy season. The beauty of the lake is also evident in the thick vegetation on the hill which remains evergreen all through the year. The lake, if tapped into, will make a great tourist centre, generate revenues and employment opportunities for the people.

With his experience in the business and entertainment world, if the government of the day, private individuals and organizations can partner with the newly elected House of Representatives member, Hon. Shina Peller, on agriculture, Ado-Awaye suspended lake, Ikere Gorge Dam and many other things, the result will be profitably awesome, while Oke-Ogun region, Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole will be the greatest beneficiaries.


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