Being the remarks by His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State at the Commissioning of OYSADA Headquarters and launch of the Youth Enterpriprise in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) in Saki, Oke-Ogun Zone.
It has been a journey to get to this point from when we decided that a complete rehabilitation of these facilities and making it the headquarters of agribusiness in Oyo State was the way to go. Traditionally, the Oke-Ogun zone has been the food basket of Oyo State, so it was simply commonsensical that we reconstruct and rehabilitate this facility.
But we are not just commissioning this facility today, we are also taking the opportunity to expand a project which we piloted a while back. We gave 100 youths the opportunity to undergo training in agribusiness and entrepreneurship, and the reports I have received so far shows that the pilot was a success.
Some of the youths involved in the pilot programme are presently running internships at selected private agribusiness organisations which are partnering with the Oyo State Government. So, this is one of our government-led and private sector supported projects. Today, we are giving another 1,000 youths the opportunity to be trained in agribusiness. Let me congratulate the 1,000 youths that have qualified to be the pioneer class of our Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project. I am also happy that all administrative activities regarding this programme will run from here.
Looking at this facility, I am reminded of how long we sometimes have to wait to see a vision achieved. When you see something or someone as successful, you may not easily realise how much work has gone into moving from point A to point B. In this particular case, our journey began with the realisation that agriculture has gone beyond simply being a tool for development. So, while in Oyo State, we still have the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which caters to the needs of small holder farmers, we needed something more targeted to deal with the business and management side of agriculture.
This led to our signing of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency Bill in April 2020 which gave life to OYSADA. Since then, we have used OYSADA as one of the core agencies for driving the development of the Oyo State economy. And so, in June 2020, we flagged off the rehabilitation of this facility – our initial timeline for completion was 6 months.
In fact, I had expected that I would spend my last birthday at the governor’s lodge here. But as it turns out, expectation postponed is not expectation denied. I may not have celebrated my last birthday here, but from what I see here today, by the grace of God, we will be here and actually make use of these facilities which was allowed to rot away for years.
With this commissioning, we are taking another giant leap towards the development and opening of this area. All the former staff of OYSADEP that were moved to OYSADA have now relocated to Saki. This facility will now become the seat where all agribusiness transactions will be made. The staff are now closer to the people that need them. This will have a multiplier effect on the economic activities in this zone.
When OYSADA has guests from all over the world who want to invest in agribusiness in Oyo State, they will come here. Those who run businesses related to tourism and hospitality will have to step up to cater to the needs of these new groups who will be coming. This is the kind of thinking that leads to accelerated development of any area. So, when we say we are engineering a modern Oyo State, we are not paying lip service to that phrase. We came with a solid plan and we are determined to implement it.
Let me use this opportunity to say a big thank you to the Director General of the Agribusiness Development Agency, Dr Debo Akande, for the good work he is doing in the agribusiness space. And as we say, the reward for hard work, is more work. So, we expect that you and your team will do even more for agribusiness in Oyo State.
My dear good people of Oyo State, the good people of Saki and our friends here present, I thank you for keying into our vision. We thank you for allowing us to become a part of your story. We are confident that when future generations study the history of our time, posterity will smile at us.
On this note, I hereby declare the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency Headquarters, Saki commissioned to the glory of God and for the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
God bless you.
~ Seyi Makinde, May 31, 2021