Nigeria’s southwestern state of Ondo, is going ahead with plans to build a deep seaport to enhance commerce in the region.
Speaking at an event in Akure after he received the Outline Business Case (OBC) from a consulting firm, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the abundance of resources in the state, especially within its littoral communities, coupled with the fact that it has the longest coastline in Nigeria, would make the proposed port the hub for the West Africa sub-region.
“This port is very important to me, to the people of the state, Nigeria, and indeed West Africa. We are going to pursue this dream with vigour,” he said.
He identified a lack of continuity and abandonment of projects by successive administrations as the greatest problems regarding the development of most states in Nigeria.
Mr Akeredolu said that if the deep seaport project initiated by his predecessor Olusegun Agagu’s administration had been implemented, Ondo would have become a major player in Nigeria’s maritime sector. Mr Agagu governed the state between 2003 and 2009.
Mr Ekong Etim, head of the consulting firm, OIM-FBS Consortium, said the OBC is essentially a confirmation of Mr Akeredolu’s vision that the port is a productive business; worthy of venturing into by both the public and private ownership structure it is designed for.
“We are happy that our report confirms that the governor’s vision is viable. Its viability has been carefully assessed technically, legally, financially, and economically,” Mr Etim said.
Mr Etim said the OBC has been submitted to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for processing through the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
He said that after a Certificate of Compliance had been issued by the ICRC, prospective investors would be invited to form a consortium to finance the deep seaport project after the completion of the procurement process.
Mr Akeredolu has made the construction of a deep-sea port a major objective for his administration, promising to deliver the project if he wins a second four-year term.