Seyi Makinde has insisted that Oyo State is one of the safest in the country, flaunting the safety records and the upgrade of infrastructure in the state to woo prospective investors and participants at the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) 2023, held in Cairo, Egypt
The governor in an interview with CNBC Africa, on the sidelines of the Cairo meeting, said he has been running a responsible and responsive government, which has invested and continues to invest heavily in security.
He added that apart from security, Oyo State has comparative advantages in the areas of its vast landmass, solid road infrastructure network already put in place by his government connecting all zones of the state, solid mineral deposits, and tourism.
To provide a solid base, the state signed an agreement with AFREXIM Bank and Access Bank to enable Oyo State and other states in Nigeria to have access to an N500 billion facility for infrastructure development.
Governor Makinde on assumption of office in 2019 embarked on a massive infrastructure development drive that has connected all zones of the state, providing boundless opportunities in the areas of agribusiness, tourism and mining.
He said: “So, in all of these, we are saying, look, investors should come. The major issue that investors may be afraid of, is having a safe and secure environment; I think we have almost passed that hurdle in Oyo State. We are one of the safest states in the country.
“We have invested massively in Security and in terms of a responsive government, I came from a private sector background and I was able to let the investors know that they are coming to a state where government business is handled with dispatch.”
As part of the government’s infrastructure development plan, the first phase of the 110-kilometre Ibadan Circular Road, which is the 32-kilometre connecting the Eastern part of the state, has been progressing well, he told CNBC.
He expressed excitement that AFREXIM Bank is engaging directly with sub-nationals, stating that Oyo State would take advantage of the opportunity by using its part of the loan to continue the 110km Ibadan Circular Road and the extension of the Ibadan Airport runway, which is part of its efforts to have the airport upgraded to an international standard.
He said, “For us in Oyo State, we are quite happy that AFREXIM Bank is having direct engagement with the sub-national and we want to take that advantage. That was the reason I travelled down here to Cairo.
“So far, it has been a rewarding engagement as I pitched Oyo State to them and told them that Oyo State, with over 28,000 square km, is probably bigger than a lot of African countries, twelve of them at least. With also big arable land, agribusiness is a major focus for us.
“We have done quite a bit in the last four years, connecting all the zones we have in the state, and we want to expand our economy now that the solid foundation has been laid for infrastructure and connectivity. Now, we want to look at intra-zonal roads and one of the big projects that have been pitched here is the Circular Road.
“On the circular road, we have actually started the first segment of the 110km, which is 32 kilometers connecting the Eastern part of the