By; Niyi Ogungbola, Abeokuta.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday, declared with optimism that in few years, the country would regain its rightful position among the comity of nations.
Professor Osinbajo delivered this message of hope while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Investors’ Forum of Ogun State, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
At the event, which had in attendance former President of Columbia, Cesar Gavira Trujillo, four Ministers, captains of industries, diplomats among others, the Vice President praised the efforts of the Ogun State Government in transforming the state economically and developmentally.
Four Ministers, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; Finance, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola; Power, Works and Housing, Hajia Amina Mohammed; Environment and Engr Sulaiman Adamu; Water Resources were in attendance.
The keynote address was delivered by the former President of Columbia, HE Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, who was also former Secretary General, Organisation of American States between 1994 and 2004.
Speaking under the theme “Agriculture, Environment and Transportation, Emerging Economic Powerhouse”, Osinbajo declared that the agricultural sector has been a boost to many states, with Kebbi State as a reference point.
“I want to commend the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun for this excellent summit. This is the third edition and since its commencement, I heard that about 90 companies are in the state and more are still coming.
“What Ogun state is doing by providing enabling environment for the investors is second to none in this country, not because I’m from Ogun but it is a reality.
“I remember when Ogun and Lagos were quarreling over where those who works in Lagos and live in Ogun should be paying their taxes but when this present government came on board, they fought the fight and thank God, the then Governor is here today, I think Ogun won the fight then.
“Agriculture is a great sector that if well harness, will increase the economy and move us from the present economic situation. In Kebbi State, they invested in rice production worth N7.5B about 75 farmers were given some amount of money. They have two harvest seasons and I think after four months, they harvested a lot of rice which I was informed goes for N63 billion in returns, imagine the large profit.
“They have collaborated with Lagos State in the area of milling, so I think Ogun has a lot of potentialities to do more with the arable lands in the state” Osinbajo stressed.
He further commended the state on her revenue drive remarking that, “Ogun State is now doing fine since the advent of this administration. The State was very down in the area of IGR before, but now they have moved to number five in the country” the Vice President said.
On the state of the nation, the Vice President assured Nigerians of the Buhari-led administration determination to turn around the country in a positive way, saying the present economic challenges is a stepping stone towards that.
He assured that the country would be better off, “if our public finance system is good with accountability, ensuring that all leakages are blocked and we all do our bids as citizens, in the next two years, our country will be better”, he assured.
Amosun had earlier in his address said the state “is in the forefront of this rapid urbanization, with nine cities, five of which have populations that are above 500,000. At 3.9%, Africa’s urban growth rate is already more than twice that of the global average. Yet, the interesting scenario is that the growth rate of the cities in Ogun State range between 5.7% to 7.2% annually” he said.
“Our administration seeks to engage you – our stakeholders, particularly the private sector, – on how the opportunities inherent in our rapid urbanization may be harnessed. We hope to outline innovations in governance, together with medium and long term strategic planning that our administration is putting in place, which we hope will address some of the challenges that you, the private sector, are facing in taking full advantage of the opportunities that abound.
“We will always welcome your feedback. It is our hope that working together over the next few years, will achieve high inclusive growth across the state and further entrench a new system-driven development model for our state and people.