Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Monday urged investors in the country and outside the shores to bring their investments down to his state, instead of concentrating their investments in traffic-ridden and human congested Lagos State, saying that “my state is blessed with abundant resources”.
The governor made this known in Akure, the state capital while welcoming the delegation of Federal Government Industrialization and Economic Diversification team led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani to his office.
The Governor said Ondo state would be ready to partner with investors so that the State can become the hub of economic activities in Nigeria.
He said, “According to the Nigerian Police Force and Department of Security Services (DSS), Ondo state is the 3rd most secured state in the country, therefore, i want to urge investors in the country to come and explore untapped resources which are abundant here.
“We have them in their numbers here, let them come. The rain in here is not much while the harmattan is not harsh. Ondo has the second highest reserve of bitumen in the world. Ondo sustained the Western region before independent and during the first republic because of the Cocoa from Ondo state.
“The Federal government should also build a sea port in Ondo state. The Atlantic Ocean that passes through Ondo State is the deepest in West Africa. Also, from Araromi in Ilaje is about 45 minutes drive to Ibeju/Lekki in Lagos. So, investors should prefer Ondo state that is free without any traffic to Lagos that is over-congested and has no land?” Akeredolu said.
The governor further said that the state is well placed and situated to connect other states across the country for economic and business activities because those coming from the eastern part, the north and other Niger/Delta States passes through the state while going to Lagos for business transactions.
Speaking on the purpose of the visit, Usani said federal government set up an initiative that focuses mainly on Agriculture and Manufacturing sectors in order to explore the opportunities in states in the country.
He said moribund industries would be revived and that agriculture would be made attractive not only to farmers but the youths.
Reacting, the Minister said “we are here in view of the Presidential initiative that focuses on the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The Federal Government want to work in conjunction with states so that various moribund industries could be revived towards jobs creation and economic development.
The Minister said the agricultural sector will be prioritised in the sense that incentives will be provided to interest Nigerians with special consideration for the youths. He promised that something visible will be done for Ondo state before the end of the current financial year.`
He commended Akeredolu for his response to the scheme, stating that of all 10 states selected for the first phase, Ondo state was the first state to be visited because the state is the most forthcoming.
Partners in the Initiative include the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), Ministry of Mines and Steels Development, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and Nigerian Export-Import Bank.
Others are Bank of Industry, Ministry of Niger Delta affairs and the New Economic Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD).
At event were the Deputy governor of the state, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde ,the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; the head of service ,Mr. Toyin Akinkuotu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investment, Mr. Boye Oyewumi and numerous top officials of the state government.
Others on the delegation of the Federal were the representative of Minister of Mines and Steels Development, Mrs Onyeku Okeke, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters, Mrs Fola Oyeyinka, National Coordinator, Senior Investment Corporation, Dora Akugbulo and many others.