Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has assured people of the state that the renovation of Agbowo Shopping Complex in Ibadan, the state capital, will be completed in 24 months (two years).
He gave the assurance while speaking at the flagging off of the renovation of the commercial hub.
Makinde, in his address, said his administration had promised to see to that the complex is resurrected when he met with the management team of the University of Ibadan, opposite which the complex is located. He said his predecessors had wasted billions on the building without any noticeable change in fortune of the complex.
“At one time, this mall was the biggest shopping mall in Oyo State which not only generated income for the government but also provided thousands of direct jobs for the citizenry. In its heydays, it had a massive arts and film theatre hall, department stores, night club and several large offices. It was one of the visions of the late Chief Bola Ige led administration which served as a unique economic hub.
“Previous administrations have tried and failed to renovate this complex. For example, the last administration said they signed an MOU with a development company. They were to embark on the “remodelling, redeveloping and rehabilitation of Agbowo Shopping Complex” for N8billion to be completed in 30 months. However, the project never saw the light of day,” he said.
“But something they could not do in eight years; we are doing in under two years. Also, by the Grace of God, we will have this complex completed within our tenure.
“We have taken time to do our due diligence. The Oyo State Government will be working with Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd. Our collaboration will be in the form of a long lease concession with a capital injection of N4.9Billion.
“Their mandate is to convert this moribund structure into premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel. The long lease is for fifty years.”
Makinde said the N4.9 billion injected into the project by his administration is an economic stimulus in the short term but has bigger benefits in the long run.
He added that the awarding of the contract was done with transparency.
“The process of selecting the concessionaires was also transparent. As everyone knows, the days of getting contracts from the government solely because a person knows the governor is in the past. I make bold to say that the PPP mechanism of the state has been re-engineered for effectiveness.
“And so, in 24 months, that is 104 weeks, this complex will be ready for business. Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd has given us this assurance,” he said.
“And on this note, I flag-off the remodelling and renovation of the new Agbowo Shopping Complex to the Glory of God and the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.”