The six governors in the south-west have formally admitted Lagos state into the O’dua Investment Group.
Akinwunmi Ambode, the state governor, announced the development on Wednesday, via a statement by Habib Aruna, his chief press secretary.
Incorporated as a limited liability company in July 1976, O’dua Investment Company Limited has business interests in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti states.
It operates as a conglomerate owning substantial investment in real estate, food and beverages industries, agriculture, manufacturing, financial services, hotel and catering, telecommunication, printing and publishing. The company commenced operations on October 1, 1976.
Lagos was admitted with a total of 115 million shares, growing the share equity of the company to 690 million.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day quarterly meeting held at Lagos state house in Ikeja, the six governors ratified a document allowing Lagos to acquire land in their respective states for massive rice cultivation and production.
The governors resolved to embark on a Rice Accelerated Program for Integrated Development (Western RAPID) to further consolidate actions on food security and job creation in the region.
Ambode said Lagos was planning on “having a 32-ton per hour rice mill in Imota and we are going to require 32,000 hectares of paddy cultivation which even the whole of the south west cannot even provide but because we are interested in integration and also independence, it is important that beyond going to Kebbi or Kano”.
“All the south-western states should also benefit from it and the idea is that we are trying to procure land there but we will also use the people and the farmers in the respective states to cultivate the land and by so doing we have created employment in those states,” he said.
However, Amosun, represented by Yetunde Onanuga, his deputy, expressed some reservations about the land deal.
Onanuga said Ogun state government, on account of previous issues with Lagos on the similar subject matter would be refraining from releasing land to Lagos until the said issues were resolved.
“We will be prepared to sign this memorandum later when some of these issues are straightened out,” Onanuga said.
The forum, coordinated through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) commission, also signified interest in the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Speaking during the meeting, Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti, said the region, with Lagos as its forerunner, has the potentials to save Nigeria.
“As much as we want restructuring; we want true federalism; I am committed to it but talking about Nigeria, the west has potentials; we have the capacity to develop this country and with Lagos on the driver’s seat, we can save the whole of this country,” Fayose said.
“The states of the south-west are looking up to Governor Ambode. As Governor of Ekiti, I barely get allocation that pays my salary but when we look at Lagos being in the south-west, we are consoled and Lagos can make the whole of the south-west comfortable but we will continue to come to Lagos if you don’t do something about it.
“We need Governor Ambode to lead south-west growth and if we are able to achieve this, in another ten years, the issue will no longer be restructuring because people will begin to look at what is happening in the west.”