In 2016, which was barely a year after his ascension to the throne, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SprintPort Technology Group to establish a Technology, Media City and Agriculture Incubation Hub in Ile-Ife.
It’s been over 2 years since the MoU and it appears the people of Ile-Ife, Osun State are not getting the proposed $1.4 billion incubation hub soon, or even ever.
In the Instagram post announcing the MoU, the Director of Media & Public Affairs to the Ooni, Moses Olafare stated that the agreement was expected to be presented to representatives of Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation and Tredic Corporation, UK, who are both partners on the project.
From our findings, it appears the incubation hub is completely off the table.
Jason Harris of Tredic Corporation — the initial architectural firm quoted in Olafare’s announcement — confirmed to Techpoint that the firm was approached in 2016 to support SprintPort Technology Group but that it never had any commercial involvement with the project afterwards.
Harris further affirmed that due diligence on the part of the project sponsor failed Tredic’s corporate compliance checks, which was the reason why the firm couldn’t proceed with the project.
On the other hand, a source close to SprintPort claims that Tredic Corporation was replaced by another architectural firm to undertake the incubation hub as Tredic’s masterplan cost was high.
According to our source, the House of Oodua didn’t keep its own end of the bargain. And the last correspondence from SprintPort’s attorney to the House didn’t get a response.
Worthy of note is that one of the partners on the project claimed that the Osun State Government wasn’t informed of the incubation hub at the initial stage.
While signing the MoU, Ooni Ogunwusi said he never started a project without completing it.
“We don’t want this to be a typical project that will start and won’t end and because of that we need to sign the MoU today.”
Could His Imperial Majesty have been misled by the House of Oodua? We reached out to the Director of Media & Public Affairs to the Ooni as well as the House of Oduduwa, but neither of the two gave a comment on the state of the hub.
On the 1st of June, 2019 over 5000 tech experts and enthusiasts will convene at Techpoint Inspired to explore the impact of technologies like AI, robotics, blockchain, cloud computing in solving Africa’s problems. Register now to be a part of it.
Nigerian startups raised $178m from 166 deals in 2018. Find out more when you purchase Techpoint’s Nigerian Startup Funding Report 2018 here.