Eminent industrialist, Alhaji Rasak Akanni Okoya, has urged the Federal Government to fix the power sector to prevent the collapse of major economic investments.
He said many industrialists are groaning under the burden created by epileptic power supply, which has increased the cost of production.
The Chairman of Eleganza Group warned against excessive focus on politics at the detriment of business, saying there is more money in business than politics.
He urged the Federal Government, especially, to set up of more technical colleges to train “employable youths” for industries, adding that many university products are not employable in firms and industries.
The businessman, who holds the titles of the Aare of Lagos and the Ogbeni-Oja of Epe land, spoke in Lagos, ahead of his 80th birthday holding in Lagos on Saturday.
He said: “The major issue is electricity. So, once you get light, once there is constant electricity, 50 per cent of our problems will be solved, 50 per cent of people will be employed. They will have gainful employment: the tailor will have a lot to do, the hairdresser will have a lot to do, the mechanic, iron bender; government will be at peace. All we want is for us to have constant power supply.
“At the moment in my factor, a 35-hectare factory with a lot of machines, I am using generating sets and I am burning a lot of diesel. I still have a lot of workers to pay. By the time you pay for raw materials and diesel, you are left with nothing.
“After buying generating sets and diesel, you will be discouraged. We need constant power supply. That is my appeal to the government. Please, help us. Once you get that done, 50 per cent of the country will be happy, 50 per cent will be employed, unemployment will reduce. I put my 60 years of experience at stake.”
Urging President Muhammadu Buhari to fix the sector, Okoya added: “All we are saying is this: just give us steady electricity, steady power supply and more technical schools, more polytechnics. Let the youth be oriented towards self-employment. Government cannot employ everybody. But if you are determined to be self-sufficient, you will have money.
“I have been in business for 60 years. I am hard-working. Those who make pure water, bottled water, can become rich. Any business you do, do it well. With more technical schools and steady electricity, all will be well.”
The Eleganza chairman, who recalled that he started his business with the £70 (Pound) loan from his mother 60 years ago, said hard work, focus, seriousness, determination and patience were requisites for business growth.
The eminent industrialist said at 80, he may need to slow down, adding that his wife, Folasade, and children are capable of building on his business legacies.
Urging government to develop technical colleges, Okoya said: “We need more vocational schools, technical schools. They are the answer. You are turning out a lot of people from the universities and you are turning a lot of people from technical colleges.
“You will find that the products of technical colleges are employable. I always employ people, I always advertise. Most of the people you are training now in the universities don’t fit in.The products of technical schools are slightly better.”
The eminent industrialist advised Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to remain focused to succeed in giving the residents effective administration.
“He has just started; he is trying. If he can do the Fourth Mainland Bridge and Marina is okay, we will be happy. Our major challenge is road. Once he can get the Fourth Mainland Bridge done, it will be okay. He has a very good plan. Let’s give him a chance. Things will be better.”