Magazine article New African

Ogun, the Gateway State, Is Open for Business

Magazine article New African

Ogun, the Gateway State, Is Open for Business

Article excerpt

Nigeria's Ogun State is a major industrial hub for the country and the West African sub-region. The transformation of the state is well underway, with agriculture being a key component of Governor Ibikunle Amosun's five point cardinal plan. The state that feeds Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, is now taking advantage of the ever-increasing population of Lagos to speed up its own development

Ogun State is one of six states in the southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Its proximity to Lagos, the country's bustling commercial capital which borders it to the south, makes Ogun State a melting pot of socio-economic activities.

Ogun also shares borders with Oyo and Osun States to the north; Ondo to the east; and the Republic of Benin to the west. This gives it easy access to the markets of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which covers 16 countries in the sub-region.

The state also has one of the deepest shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean, which is already being developed into a deep sea container port in Olokola. Abeokuta is Ogun's A capital and largest city. Other important towns in the I State include Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode and Ilaro. The Olumo Rock in Abeokuta is one of the popular tourist attractions in the State.

Ogun is indeed a state with unlimited economic and social potential. The steady growth in the number of companies investing in the state is perhaps the best indicator of the quality of its business environment. Ogun is open for business and has extended an invitation to foreign investors.

The people

The Yoruba are the main ethnic group in Ogun. Traditional arts and crafts, cloth dyeing and sculpture are some cultural aspects of the people. The state has produced prominent leaders in virtually every field of human endeavour. They include Nigeria's former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; the former premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo; the doyen of accountancy in Nigeria, Chief Akintola Williams; the Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; the chairman of Globacom, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr; and Africa's first Nobel laureate in literature, Professor Wole Soyinka.

Ogun has played host to dignitaries from all over the world. In March this year, the former US president, Bill Clinton, was a special guest at the 18th edition of ThisDay Annual Awards which, this year, were held under the theme: "Celebrating Nigeria Best Teachers", and were held in Abeokuta.

History

Ogun State is popularly referred to as "The Gateway State" by virtue of its strategic location. It serves as the link to the rest of the country and beyond. Created in February 1976, the state's current population is estimated at 4.8 million. The movement of people and industries from congested Lagos to Ogun has contributed hugely to the growth in population and economic activities in the state. Ogun is the second most industrialised state in Nigeria, after Lagos.

Most manufacturing companies with head offices in Lagos have taken advantage of the vast space, cheaper cost of doing business, and nearness to Nigeria's former capital, to set up factories in Ogun. May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, and Lafarge Cement WAPCO Plc are just a few of the prominent multinational companies doing business in Ogun.

Education

Education is another sector where Ogun has comparative advantage over other states. It has 9 (federal, state, and private) registered universities--the highest in the country. The federal university is in Abeokuta--the Federal University of Agriculture--while the state universities are Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye (formerly known as Ogun State University), and the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) at Ijebu Ode. Some of the more prominent private universities in the state include Covenant University, Redeemer's University and Babcock University.

Governor Amosun's administration's development initiatives are anchored on five cardinal programmes: Affordable qualitative education; efficient healthcare delivery; increased agricultural production and industrialisation; affordable housing and urban renewal; and infrastructural development/employment creation. …

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