By Odunayo Oluwabukola, Ibadan
Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, has declared that his administration is already making progress in the tourism development sector and that it would leave no stone unturned in achieving its vision for the sector under Omituntun 2.0.
Governor Makinde stated this on Saturday while speaking at the annual World Twins Day organised by the Igbo-ora Community in collaboration with the Twins World Creation and the Oyo State government and held in Igboora.
He added that his government remained committed to its promise to improve the economy of Igboora and Ibarapaland through tourism and infrastructure development.
The governor equally stated that the administration has achieved success in connecting and integrating the economies of the different zones of the state to that of Ibadan, the state capital, noting that residents of Ibarapa zone should rest assured that the economy of the zone will be fully connected and integrated to the rest of the zones.
In specific terms, the governor said, the Igboora Junction to Iseyin Road will be awarded, constructed and delivered under Omituntun 2.0, while he will also approach the Federal Government for an approval to fix the Eruwa-Lanlate-Maya Road, so that the economy of the zone would receive the necessary fillip.
Governor Makinde, who appreciated the people of Ibarapa Central for their massive support in the last general election, also promised to connect the zone to wider information by seeing to it that the state’s broadcast outfit, BCOS conducts an immediate evaluation and see to how its services will become better in the zone.
The governor said: “From last year up to this point, we have been making progress [in tourism] and I think we must make further progress. So, I want to sit down with the facilitators of this event to re-assess the vision and to see what to do next.
“I will be here again next year and we will see how far we have been able to go. I told you last year that I would be here as the governor of the state but some thought it was a political statement. Well, let me thank you for your support during the electioneering period here in Igboora and Ibarapa zone.
“Part of the takeaways last year was the promise I made to include tourism in our roadmap for sustainable development, and tourism is now one of the pillars to expand our economy. What this means is that as we expand our economy through tourism, the economy of Igboora, Ibarapa Central, and Ibarapaland will be boosted too.
“In Oyo State generally, what we have done was to integrate our economies. We did not concentrate on Ibadan alone. We wanted all the zones in the state to be connected so that the economies will be integrated. That was why when we came in, the first major contract we awarded was to link the Ibadan zone with the Oke-Ogun zone through Moniya to Iseyin Road.
“After that, we awarded a contract to link the Ogbomoso zone with the Oke-Ogun zone through the Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin zone. We will be commissioning that road within the first quarter of next year.
“The next thing we did was to link Oyo zone with Oke-Ogun zone through Oyo-Fasola-Iseyin road, and that road was commissioned a few weeks ago.
“Now, we have to link the Ibarapa zone with the Oke-ogun zone. We have already started and you have seen the road we are fixing from the junction of Igboora here through Ibarapa North, linking Iganna. But I want to tell you that I am not satisfied with that link. The link exists and it is decent enough but we want to create a fast-paced economy.
“The only way we can link Ibarapaland into the wider linkage we are creating is to link it with Iseyin. In the life of this administration, and within the shortest possible time, I will award, construct and deliver a solid link between Igboora junction to Iseyin and, by so doing, there is a sudden link between Ibarapaland and the centre of activities in Oyo State. The meaning of this is that immediately Ibarapaland is also linked to the Ogbomoso zone, it will automatically and immediately be linked to Oyo and Oke-Ogun zones.
“You have also seen the work going on at Ido-Eruwa. We didn’t stop there. From Ido, we are also creating a link to Omi-Adio, which means it will take those residing in Eruwa, Igboora, just one hour to get to where they want to board the train to go to their places of business.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, said the participation of the state government in Igboora World Twins Festival is a fulfillment of Governor Makinde’s electioneering promise to recognise the uniqueness of each community and to promote the tourism potential.
He added that the festival has promoted tourism in the state, adding that from 2024, the festival will be extended to all the five geo-political zones in the state with the grand finale taking place in Igboora.
Also in his address, the Olu of Igboora, Oba Jimoh Titiloye, lauded Governor Makinde for promoting the festival as a means of tourism and expansion of the state’s economy.
He also lauded the governor on the ongoing rehabilitation of Igboora-Eruwa-Ibadan Road.
The initiators of the programme, Ambassadors Taiwo and Kehinde Oguntoye, in their speech, expressed gratitude to Governor Makinde for his support as the first governor to associate and celebrate the festival of twins and multiple births.
Highlights of the event include twins’ parade, twins’ talent show and twins’ appellation, among others.