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How we turned OPIC into N60b corporation, by Odusolu

By Bertram Nwannekanma
19 October 2020   |   3:07 am
As high prices of building materials are threatening construction costs and dampening hopes of ownership, a former Managing Director, Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) Mr. Babajide Odusolu,....

OPIC Managing Director, Mr. Babajide Odusolu

As high prices of building materials are threatening construction costs and dampening hopes of ownership, a former Managing Director, Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) Mr. Babajide Odusolu, has disclosed, how the state’s agency was transformed from a ‘bureaucratic’ organisation to a N60 billion profit-making company.

Odusolu also revealed to newsmen that the corporation also remitted N1.9billion to government coffers in six years from a near –moribund state.

His tenure piloted the developments of 188 housing units in Isheri, the VIP Housing in Abeokuta which metamorphosed into Mitros Residences Hotel and contract to build 1020 housing units at New Makun City. Odusolu, served as OPIC MD from 2013 to 2019.

Giving insights on the affairs of the corporation during his six-year tenure, he said: “By the time I was sworn in, the maximum OPIC had ever contributed to Government coffers was about N20 million cumulative. For all the over 20 years it was in existence, I don’t think it was even up to 100 million. But within this period, with the active support of the governor and his encouragement, OPIC did more than N1.9 billion in remittances to the state government.”

Odusolu said, they went from a corporation that had assets that were undermined and undervalued to one that did a turnover of N18.7 billion. OPIC, he said, did not get subventions from the government but had to generate resources to fund all the works.

“Because the government was averse to commercial loans, we also could not borrow, so what we did was to invest and recapitalise all the returns we got from our various projects. Despite doing that, we were able to deliver returns to the state government.

“During this period, the government mandated us, in conjunction with other agencies, to turn around the Gateway Mortgage Bank. We were able to turn it around and make it a going concern; all within this period,” he said.

Before his appointment, Odusolu said OPIC was being run like the usual civil service establishment, with grossly undervalued assets, demoralized staff, bad offices and broken down equipment.

He conducted a reorientation of staffers, improve the morale of staff and business language. “I had to take people who only understood civil service language and teach them to understand the language of business, all while moving at top speed to restructure the entire organisation.

“We carried out a forensic audit and found out that over 500 hectares of our land had been basically grabbed by people who had not paid for them. Working with the state government, we had to conduct massive security sweep in Agbara and restore sanity. It was so bad then that industrialists had abandoned their factories and flour mills while trucks were broken down everywhere. We were able to deliver over 15 km of road networks in Agbara, recover all the lands that had been stolen, encourage and attract new industries.”

“After that we moved to Abeokuta the state capital; it was still a civil service town. There was nothing that appealed to industries to stay there. What we used to have was that most companies would come to Abeokuta for meetings and then leave for Lagos. We were able to deliver Orange Valley Estate, which was the first gated community.”

The former OPIC MD added that about four multi-million dollar industries came in due to the intervention of the administration. “After we finished, based on our track record, we were able to get a partnership with Family Homes Fund, which was a Federal Government-backed initiative to build affordable houses in Nigeria.”

OPIC also won a contract to build 1,020 housing units at New Makun City. “That is still ongoing as we speak,” ​ he said. Odusolu said: “Until we came, OPIC just took land without improving it and sold it as it was. By the time we were leaving office, if you valued the total assets of OPIC, it was a N50 to N60 billion corporation,” Odusolu added.

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