The clamour for the restoration of Ondo Kingdom on the path of industrialization cannot come at a better time than now against the backdrop of the dearth of industrial presence in the town. Prior to the attainment of independence in Nigeria in 1960, the town was a hot bed of economic activities as several conglomerates like UAC, Mclver, G.B. Ollivant, Flonis Brothers, John Holt among others established their presence in the town becoming famous as a centre of trading commerce, culture and tradition. Again, the post civil war period which began with the establishment of the Nigeria Romania Wood Industry (NIROWI), a joint venture between Nigeria and Romania Government in the late 1970s and Premier Metal Industry established for the production of roofing sheets in the 1980s contributed immensely to change the economic outlook of the town. Private entrepreneurs were also not left out in their quest to establish Industry in the town as the Nigeria Concrete Industry (NCI), Adetujoye Plastic Industry, Ootoola Soap Factory, Oke Ayo Garri factory, General Endeavours Limited among others were established to complement Government efforts.
In addition to the above, several other business enterprises were established in the hospitality business in the town. It was also a period when several hotels like the Ondo Motel Plaza, Sunny Sky, Olamojiba, Flagship, Sun breakers, Garden of Eden among others were established to take advantages of the economic opportunities. It is however worrisome to note that the period of economic boom soon gave way to recession especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s following Military incursion to politics. Effect of the recession led to the eventually closure of most of the private companies which caused devastating effects on the then bubbling economic town. The effect was indeed very devastating because lots of workers previously engaged in these companies were laid off, this further compounded the unemployment situation in the town. The spill over effect of the closure was also felt by many small scale industries that depended directly or indirectly on the goods produced in the closed industries, not long after they too were forced out of business. The most painful aspect of the closure is that the premises of some private companies have been left in the parlous state. They have become a wilderness and haven for rodents. Some have even been acquired as a place of workshop, a clear departure from the vision of their founders.
However, one could say without mincing words that the ascent of the late Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye on the throne in the early 1990s as Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom ushered in a period of prosperity and industrial development as the Monarch played an active role in the establishment of companies among which are Famak Group of Companies, Stanmark Cocoa Processing to mention just few. The Ondo Development Committee, (ODC) under the Chairmanship of late Chief Professor Ifedayo Oladapo of blessed memory has also taken some steps aimed at restoring Ondo on the path of industrialization. The organization has at various occasions organized economic summit where eminent Ondo sons and daughters brainstormed on the way forward to economic prosperity. Be that as it may, it is now imperative to appeal to wealthy Ondo indigenes home and abroad to help translate the outcome of the ODC economic summit into action by coming home to establish industries especially now that educational advancement is coming the door step of the town though the establishment of the Wesley University of Science and Technology (WUSTO) and proposed International Vocational Institution by an Italian based non Governmental Organization. There is no doubt that the revamping or resurrection of the moribund industries and the establishment of the new ones in Ondo would check the increasing cases of youths unemployment and would also assist in checking the rate at which most of our able bodied youths migrate abroad in search for greener pastures.
Edited by Editorial Board Team, Ekimogun Descendant United Kingdom and Northern Ireland