By Olawunmi Ashafa
The Group Chairman of Odu’a Investment Company Ltd, Mr Olushola Akinwunmi, has described the entrance of Lagos State into the group as courageous, saying it would engender a positive impact on the socio-economic development and advancement of the South West geo-political zone.
Akinwunmi said in a statement issued on Monday in Lagos after a courtesy visit to the state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode that the impact would be based on its commercial enterprise and uncommon resilience and resourcefulness.
The group chairman, who was represented by a director in the company, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, said they were in Lagos to thank the government and people of the state for the monumental actualization of the state joining the group last year.
Akinwunmi lauded the governor for seeing through the Lagos State membership of Odu’a with the epoch making signing of the Share Purchase Agreement in March 2018.
According to him, it is indeed a soothing reunion with Lagos joining forces with the other five South West states which would have significant economic benefits for the region on the long run.
“We will like to put on record the overwhelming support and excitement of Yorubas across the length and breadth of Nigeria and indeed in the Diaspora on that landmark event within the cherished concept of regional economic development and integration last witnessed during the hay days of Western region.
“It is our cherished desire and commitment in Odu’a Investment that this membership will unleash a geometric impact on the socio-economic development of our geo-political zone.
“This is as a result of mutual benefits arising from the synergy of the ebullience of the commercial enterprise of Lagos, uncommon resilience and resourcefulness that the Yoruba hinterland is reputed for since immemorial,” Akinwunmi said.
The Odu’a chief commended Ambode for his landmark achievements, adding that the group would continue to explore for collaboration opportunities including the Lagos State Embedded Power Supply Act structured.
This, he added, would guarantee 24-hour power supply for the state, Rice Mill at Imota as well as numerous investment opportunities created by his administration.
Akinwunmi also commended the governor for his achievements in office, saying that his tenure recorded peace and positive transformation of Lagos as well as his sincere love and unalloyed support for the progress of the people.
He presented the state’s shares certificate to the governor and said the group was confident that the six states in the region which make up the investment company would leverage on its comparative advantages and work together for the betterment and development of the entire region and its people.
In his response, Ambode said that the desire to see the total economic integration of the South West region propelled his administration to join the group, saying that it would be a win-win situation for not just every state in the zone, but also the nation at large.
“My belief in the total economic integration of the South West arising from our vision of the South Western Governors Forum that there is a need for all of us to come together as a regional force.
“This is to be able to help each other in the areas of our comparative advantages and that was what drove me to make sure that we become partners in the Oodua Investment Group.
”I am happy we were able to do it with the support of the State Executive Council, we are happy also that we would be bringing in part of our own competences and expertise to grow this Investment group.
“We are very proud that it is the only regional investment group that is existing in this country right now and because of that I am very happy that I was able to do this at least to lay down the foundation and the framework that would allow the bigger economic integration to take place even with the kind of infrastructure that we have tried to put in place.
“Also, we believe strongly that in the overall interest of the country, there is need for a regional interplay of competences so that the nation can grow its GDP, while we can also grow our own region,” he said.
Responding to the request by the group for the state to nominate representatives for Lagos on the Board of Odu’a Investment Company Ltd., Ambode said he would defer the opportunity for the incoming administration to undertake, saying that it would be a means to ensure that the interest of the state is fully represented and sustained.
“That in itself will propel the payment of the remaining residue for the shares also. You can have our commitment that we would put it in our handing over note so that it becomes something of priority. The whole idea as we have said is to be able to use our God found location in geographical terms to our best advantage and that’s what Odua Investment Group stands for,” the governor said.