Home NewsOndo State News Regional Integration, solution to socioeconomic challenges, says Gov. Akeredolu, others

Regional Integration, solution to socioeconomic challenges, says Gov. Akeredolu, others

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The six governors of the Western Nigerian Governors Forum have expressed optimism that the problems of hunger, insecurity and poverty could be curtailed through the exploitation of the resources that abound in the states which the Regional Integration agenda is targeting.

The governors who bore their minds during the summit of the governors in Lagos believed there was no better time to come together than now to leverage on their capacities to address their challenges.

The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, believed the coming together of the six states would engender rapid development of the region.

“In the speeches of my brother governors, it is clear that there is emotional attachment to Western Nigeria.

“There is this spirit that is now in evolving in spite of political differences, we find it necessary to be together to discuss our region  and I think this is what we must thank God for”, he said.

Governor Akeredolu appreciated the DAWN Commission on the Integration Agenda of the Region, ODUA Group of companies for holding on to the investment heritage of the region and hoped for a profitable turnover on the investments consequent upon the coming on board of Lagos State.

“I want to thank DAWN for helping all these while, I thank ODUA Group that has kept us together and now we are having a big brother joining ODUA.

“It is a landmark event with Lagos State now becoming part of ODUA Group.

‘I must thank Governor Ambode for the decision. He must have felt that there was nothing too big to give to be part of ODUA.

Arakunrin Akeredolu regretted the low level of profit accruing to the states from ODUA Investments. He blamed the development on mismanagement of the assets but expressed confidence that things would change for the better pretty soon.

“We noticed that our fortunes have gone down over the years. The last dividend we got was about #50 million after a long time, so with Lagos joining now, it will be far more than this.

“Before now one would have expected that if we have properly run ODUA, the owner states by now should be having nothing less than a billion naira dividends”, he said.

On the issue of insecurity, Governor Akeredolu said the people of the region should be ready to play a pivotal role moreso, that “virtually every state has been involved in the problem of herdsmen attacks’.

“At a point we have always had ranches even in the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

“Ranches were created in virtually all states in the region, we have in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and a number of these ranches today are under ODUA.

“I remember I had to talk to the Managing Director to take over Akunnu in Ondo State since it is yours; we are ready to collaborate with you”, he said.

On food security, Arakunrin Akeredolu said Ondo State was prepared to provide some hectares of land for the cultivation of rice by Lagos State.

On a productive utilization of Cocoa House so that it will not continue to be a wasting asset, the Ondo State Government suggested the establishment of a Western Nigeria University, using the building.

According to the governor, the 25-storey building is enough to accommodate the University Senate, lecture halls and every other thing, adding that it will be a university of pride to all of us in the region.

While welcoming his colleagues from states in the region: Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo to the meeting, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, said the agricultural potentials of the region could help it combat food insecurity to the extent of exporting to other states in Nigeria and countries in the West Africa sub region.

“There is hardly any better time for the States in the Western Nigeria to pull together to fathom ways of tackling social and economic challenges facing our people individually and collectively.

“The need to ensure food security of Western Nigeria is an objective that resonates across the whole country and indeed across the world.

“In Abeokuta, we committed to greater cooperation in the production of rice and other food value chains in the region. This endeavor will not only complement food supply into the region from elsewhere but will also enhance the capacity of our farmers to produce what we need and also export to the world.

“Towards this end, we decided then to hold a Western Nigeria Agricultural Summit to be held in Ibadan soon.

“The whole essence of food security of Western Nigeria is thus focused on our States maximizing their comparative advantages to guarantee increased food, jobs creation and the welfare of our people”, he said.

Governor Ambode appreciated his colleagues in the region for their positive responses at making functional to optimally level, the newly established 32 Ton per hour Rice Mill.

“l therefore wish to seize this opportunity to thank you all for kindly acceding to our quest for land in your States to enable Lagos activate the 32 Ton per Hour Rice Mill we recently pursued.

“This Mill, which is the largest of its kind in Nigeria for now, is capable of generating over 200,000 jobs across Western Nigeria and producing most of the rice needed  by the region and beyond”, he said.

Mr Ambode posited that agriculture would help the region out of its socioeconomic challenges, if right investments and collaboration are made in the sector.

He hinted that increased collaboration in agricultural activities is critical to sustaining the teeming population of Western Nigeria.

The Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde and the Honourable Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties who is the State Focal Officer, Professor Bayonile Ademodi were part of the governors team to the meeting.

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