Senator Borroffice Shuns Community After Campaigning With Ikakumo Cashew Factory Three Times

In 2011, Professor Robert Ajayi Boroffice launched his campaign for election as Senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District. He promised to facilitate a cashew processing factory for the district to take advantage of the massive agricultural activity in the area. 13 years and three election cycles later, the Ikakumo Cashew factory has not been completed even as Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice continues to use it as a campaign promise. Alaba Adeyemi writes for Development News Nigeria.

Professor Boroffice was elected under the Labour Party to represent Ondo North Senatorial District is made up of six local government areas which are Owo, Ose, Akoko North East, Akoko South East, Akoko North West, and Akoko South West. Ikakumo Akoko in Akoko North East local government area was chosen for the proposed cashew factory.

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However, initial construction at the proposed cashew factory did not start until around 2015 when Boroffice was seeking reelection. After he won, according to the residents, construction stopped at the site. The project was contracted to Fortified City Technologies Nigeria Limited and available records show that the company also handled some other projects nominated by Senator Boroffice while Baycom and Associates was also listed as the consultant for the project.

When the 2019 elections came, Senator Boroffice had joined the All Progressives Congress and was the flagbearer of the party for the senatorial district. This time, he was begging for votes, acknowledging his failure to deliver the project from 2011 to 2019, according to people who spoke to Development News Nigeria, DNN. Sunday Kolawale, an indigene Ikakumo Akoko, recalled how the senator promised to complete the cashew factory while campaigning for reelection.

Potrait of a slightly fair man wearing blue suit, a striped light blue shirt and tie
Sunday Kolawole

“The project started in his first tenure; he used it to campaign for the vote for a second term in office and still the project was not completed. When he came back to seek our support, he promised that the project would be completed. After his third term in office, the project was not completed”, Kolawole said.

Tolu Babaleye, a legal practitioner and the Director General of Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice’s third-term re-election campaign in 2019 also expressed disappointment at the refusal of Senator Boroffice to keep his promise.

“As a DG in 2019, we held a meeting with the people of Isowopo 2 in Akoko North East where we promised them that the factory would be inaugurated within one year of swearing in for 3rd term and 200 people would get direct and indirect employment. It was on this basis that the people voted for us en mass,” he said.

Babaleye added that “Prince George Niyi of blessed memory who was the leader and the president of Isowopo assembly called the leader over 100 times without his number being picked by our senator and each of the times, the man would also call me.

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“I went to the Senator to remind him about the promise but he chose to ignore me and later he chose to blank me out as he said I was disturbing him about his promises”.

 In 2021, the completion of the abandoned cashew factory was nominated by the Senator as a Zonal Intervention Project at the cost of N100 million through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology while the supervising agency was the Federal Institute of Industrial Research. And this time, the fence of the building was repainted and a solar-powered light was installed. Since then, not much has happened and the community believes they have been deceived.

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Mr.  Kolawole Ojo, an indigene of Ikakumo recounted how an oversized machine was brought and returned because it couldn’t fit into the building. He said, “A machine was brought but was taken back as it was discovered that the building built for it was too small for that kind of machine. They told us they were going to bring a new one. Since then, no one has seen any machine”.

 When DNN visited the cashew factory site last month, it was deserted and had been taken over by weeds. However, a new foundation for another section of the building has been dug.

DNN also reached out to the project’s contractor through phone calls and messages but did not get a response. Senator Boroffice who responded to our questions, insisted that the project is still ongoing.  Meanwhile, he had claimed in a  2019 interview that the project had been completed.

“The first building was inadequate to house the machines so we had to redesign and expand the factory floor,” he said. “The second problem was vandalization and stealing. We had to remove the generator and keep it in Akungba. The third problem is getting building materials to the site which has been very difficult. Lastly, the release has been slow due to the change of headship,” he wrote in a text message.

This report was published with the support from Civic Media Lab. 


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