One of Nigeria’s biggest conglomerates, Odu’a Investments Limited, and Afe Babalola University at Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) have sealed an agreement to invest N12 billion for the conversion of the moribund Odu’a Textile Mills to an industrial park/vocational centre.
The two partners said part of the deal is to establish a centre where unemployed school leavers and graduates would be trained and awarded diplomas and advanced level certificates in vocation, engineering and enterprise.
ABUAD holds 60 per cent stake in the deal while Odu’a has the remaining 40 per cent.
The project is expected to revive the centre while its graduates could be admitted to the university through direct entry.
At the presentation of the project design for effective utilisation of the moribund textile mills, ABUAD Founder, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), regretted that former hitherto Third World countries, like Brazil and India, had overtaken Nigeria in industrialisation because of their commitment to vocational skills and development of cottage industries.
Babalola said: “The British said that Nigeria, India and Brazil would join the league of advanced countries in the 1960s. But today, when the two other countries got it right and joined them, Nigeria didn’t. This is worrisome and disturbing.
“We shouldn’t allow such a textile mill, which was the hub of Ekiti economy, to die. But with this plan, the factory will bounce to life by becoming an employment generation, vocational and academic centre where people can benefit.”
The Group Managing Director of Odu’a Investment Limited, Mr. Adewale Raji, expressed confidence that the project would be sustained.
The company chief described the abandoned company as “dangerous to the survival of Southwest region’s economy”.
He recalled that the factory was converted into a skilled and vocational centre under former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.
According to him, the module adopted then could not sustain the centre as a veritable training ground for graduates and artisans.
Raji said N200 million was expended at that time on a builder mart, comprising 50 lockup shops and the vocational centre, which he said are no longer economically sustainable.
He said: “In this partnership, ABUAD is 60 per cent shareholder while Odu’a 40 per cent. We are very optimistic about the sustainability of the centre.”
Source: The Nation