Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has dredged out the negatives about Lagos, Nigeria’s business capital and urged investors to abandon it and flee to his Ondo State.
In a rare sales pitch by a governor, Akeredolu wondered why investors are concentrating their investments in “traffic-ridden and human congested” Lagos State, and asked them to leave to come to his state, which “is blessed with abundant resources”.
He made the statement on Monday. The Lagos State government is yet to respond.
Akeredolu spoke in Akure, the Ondo 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.
“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 independence 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 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 pass through the state while going to Lagos for business transactions.
Speaking on the purpose of the visit, Usani said the Federal government set up the initiative to focus 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.
“We are here in view of the Presidential initiative that focuses on the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The Federal Government wants to work in conjunction with states so that various moribund industries could be revived towards job 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).
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 .