Offa, a town located in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, has often made headlines, primarily for its association with sweet potatoes. The town takes pride in its knowledge of sweet potato farming, a tradition deeply embedded in its myths and legends. Offa also holds historical significance as the home of the first community-owned secondary school in Nigeria, established on February 2, 1943.
At its inception, Offa Grammar School (OGS) school welcomed only eight students and over time, Offa through other initiatives has evolved, and today, it proudly boasts the highest number of professors produced in Nigeria. At the last count, the town was able to have on its list over 150 distinguished professors among which include late Prof. Oyawoye, the first professor of Geography in Afrca.
In a recent survey, we have observed a gradual transformation of Offa’s landscape due to the presence of higher education institutions. Available data reveals that the town boasts the highest concentration of higher education institutions within a 5-kilometer radius in Nigeria. Perhaps owing to its humble beginnings, Offa can now proudly claim the presence of eight higher education institutions within this relatively small radius, an achievement unparalleled by any other town in Nigeria and indeed, across Africa. The diverse array of higher institutions, including universities, polytechnics, colleges of health technology, and colleges of education, bears testament to Offa’s burgeoning status as a knowledge hub.
While the residents continue to bask in the glory of having the highest density of higher education institutions especially along the fourth industrial revolution in Africa, a silent digital revolution that has the potential to transform the town and Nigeria is currently underway, thanks to the collaboration between the town and academia under the Quadruple Helix mantra.
It is widely known that Offa Descendant Union (ODU) recently established the One Innovation Hub (ONEIH) to realize the vision of Offa Tunutn, as envisioned by His Royal Highness, Oba Mufatau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II. This hub has been actively training youths in the town in the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and now the town may soon assume the Silicon valley of Kwara State. More recently, ONEIH collaborated with MOMAS Metering School, chaired by Engr. Kola Balogun, to fund the training of ten youths from the town. This collaboration exemplifies the synergy between town and gown, a hallmark of the institutions that grace the town and the idea behind the training.
Inspired by the philosophy of “let the best teach the rest,” the graduation of this first batch of ten highly resourceful youths has paved the way for the training of over 100 individuals. This initiative is a collaborative effort involving ONEIH, Summit University, Federal Polytechnic Offa, the local community, and MOMAS Metering School. Following the graduation, more than 50 participants attended the inaugural post-graduation training held at Summit University, Offa, within the Offa kingdom. This event marked the beginning of a series of training sessions conducted within the last 100 days.
Engr. Kola Balogun of Momas Group of Companies, Dr. Waheed Olagunju and other industry leaders are presently working towards transforming Offa into Nigeria’s Printed Circuit Board (PCB) production hub by the year 2025. The town is envisioned to have the capacity to produce high-quality PCBs in the required quantity for all locally manufactured electronic devices in Nigeria. Additionally, the town and the proposed PCB factory aim to serve international markets.
This silent ongoing PCB revolution owes its existence to the passionate commitment of HRH Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, the ODU, Club 80, Offa Metropolitan Club, ONEIH, and the cluster of higher education institutions situated in Offa, including Summit University, Offa, Federal Polytechnic, Offa, and the University of Offa, among others.
In the next 24 months, Offa may include in its popular oriki, the home of PCB in Africa in addition to that of sweet potatoes.