Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday described the South-West region as the next frontier of food security in Nigeria, revealing that an Agricultural Master Plan that would facilitate the effective use of the massive arable and fertile land in the region would soon be developed.
Speaking in Ibadan during a courtesy visit to his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying that all the Governors in the region were in sync about economic integration, and that concerted efforts would be made to fully scale up the agric potentials of the region in the overall benefit of the people.
“We have in the pipeline an Agric Summit that we are planning in conjunction with all the South-West States and the idea is for us to create a master plan that allows other States in the region to partner with us.
“Yes, we have done something with Kebbi State but it is never enough. Lagos State is the major consumer of agric products and the idea is that there are so much of fertile land in the South west and we must quickly start to integrate all the south west States from Ogun to Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo so that they will be able to provide to us those things that we consume in Lagos. It is a win-win partnership and it is also in the overall interest of the economic integration that we are talking about in the South West,” Governor Ambode said.
While emphasizing that the south west holds the future of food security in Nigeria, Governor Ambode said the available massive arable and fertile land had placed the region on a sound footing to use agriculture not only to grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region but also to ensure food availability for the country.
“I want to extend my hand of fellowship because I believe strongly that the future of food security in Nigeria actually lies in the south west and we believe strongly that no matter how much of investment we are doing in terms of agriculture, in terms of commerce, Oyo State holds that key also for us to actually integrate backwards and have a bigger GDP for the south west States as we envisioned.
“I am happy that in the next few days, we will be holding another South West Governors’ Meeting in Abeokuta and we will also like to use that as an opportunity for us to continue to speak to the future of the Yoruba nation so that we ensure that the future of the region is guaranteed,” Governor Ambode said.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended Ajimobi for his infrastructural renewal efforts in Oyo State, especially the capital projects and public private partnership initiatives that have been undertaken in recent time, saying that the steps aimed at modernizing Ibadan were in the right direction.
Responding, Senator Ajimobi said Lagos, as the economic capital and most viable State in Nigeria, has a pivotal role to play in the economic development and sustainability of the south west, and that he was happy that the State is being governed by Governor Ambode, who he said has the temperament to play such role.
He said Lagos is in a position to help the South West in terms of economic integration and development and by extension the rest of Nigeria, just as Oyo State is also the political capital of the region.
He recalled how former Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu laid the foundation for a greater Lagos and Babatunde Raji Fashola built on it, while Governor Ambode is presently giving Lagos a balloon push to intellectual and modern age.
“Governor Ambode is undoubtedly Mr. Consolidation, undoubtedly Mr. Transformation, undoubtedly Mr. Repositioning. Beyond any doubt, he has repositioned Lagos State into what I call the IT level, the sophisticated level and each time I visited Lagos, the Governor is also Mr. Beautification. Virtually everywhere he is expanding the roads and making them better; he is building overhead bridges and beautifying the State, and all sorts and I envy you,” Governor Ajimobi said.