Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Saturday commenced the renovation and expansion of facilities at the headquarters of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OSADA) Saki, in Oke-Ogun area of the state.
Makinde, who during the programme in Saki, said his administration was not paying lip-service to the development of agriculture but was truly committed to the development of the sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OSADEP) that was established in 1989, which had the headquarters in Saki was later relocated to Ibadan, over administrative convenience during the tenure of Gov. Abiola Ajimobi.
Makinde, however, in November 2019, during the budget presentation, announced the relocation of OSADEP back to Saki and later presented an executive bill to the House of Assembly to change the name from OSADEP to Oyo State Agribusiness Agency (OSADA).
The bill was signed into law in April and the name was changed to OSADA, which effectively replaced the OSADEP established in1989.
The governor, during the programme, explained that the decision to return the agency headquarters back to Saki was very strategic, saying that any oversight functions of agriculture should be domiciled where agriculture was predominantly practised.
He said that the facility had been left unattended to for a long time before his administration came on board.
He said that the practice of agriculture had come a long way in the state, “we are now talking of agriculture as a business, not as a developmental tool, so with the headquarters relocated to Saki, all the economic benefits of having the headquarters will come to Oke-Ogun area.’’
He said his administration had already mapped out strategies to expand the economy of the state through agriculture, declaring that it was time for implementation of those strategies.
He said the road linking the state capital – Ibadan to Saki, the headquarters of OSADA currently under rehabilitation would be given due attention to enable its timely completion.
He said that his government had written a letter to the Federal Government to allow it reconstruct Oyo town to Iseyin road to make vehicular movement easy and smooth in the area.
He assured the people of Oke-Ogun that his administration would continue to prioritise what would bring development to the area.
Makinde said that the relocation of OSADA to Saki would bring more business and expansion of the local economy in Saki and Oke-Ogun in general.
“So I’m flagging off the upgrade of this headquarters through renovation and expansion of the existing facilities.
“We are taking the first step in establishing Oke-Ogun to be known not just as the food basket of Oyo state, but as the seat of agribusiness in Oyo state,” he said.
The governor further assured that the facilities at the headquarters would be completed in about five to six months and that local artisans would be engaged to carry out the renovation.
Makinde further disclosed that the Governor’s Lodge would be built within the premises of the OSADA headquarters in Saki.
“We are preempting that there may be a development that will require the presence of the governor, so we are having the facility that will make it possible,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Mudashiru Busari, the Chairman of Saki West Local Government Area, appreciated the governor for bringing back the headquarters of OSADA to Saki.
Busari said the relocation would promote and enhance the practice of agriculture in Oke-Ogun area.
Meanwhile, the governor also paid an inspection visit to the Saki General Hospital on Saturday, where a 200-bed space isolation centre is currently undergoing construction.
Prof. Temitope Alonge, who is in charge of the Oyo State COVID-19 Isolation Centre, told the governor that the facility would be ready for use soon.
Makinde, who expressed satisfaction with the level of work done so far at the centre, said his administration would leave no stone unturned to curtain the spread of coronavirus in the state.
He admonished all residents of the state to abide with COVID-19 preventive guidelines.