The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi(Ojaja II), on Tuesday, 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 Ile-Ife.
This was contained in a statement released by Moses Olafare, Director of Media and Public Affairs to Ooni’s Palace.
The investment, which was signed at the Ile Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife, is said to be a product of the Ooni’s recent visit to the US 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.”
The hub will be worth $1.4 billion in its first phase and will create employment for youths in Ile-Ife. The start-up phase of the hub will begin with investors in London and Asia before it will be presented to Elliot Jones representing Maya Angelo Foundation, Jason Harrison of Tredic Corporation UK and some other American/Asian investors.
Speaking at the MoU signing, the Ooni said, “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.”
On her part, President of Image Consulting Group, Remi Duyile, said that the project was an effort to prove that Nigerians abroad were ready to invest in Nigeria.
She said: “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.”
Muyiwa Onitilo, a representative of the American based firm, pointed out that a similar project in India helped create more than eight million jobs and that the hub in Ile-Ife will create over 1000 jobs.
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 initiative to improve the home.”