S’West States Set Their Sights on Lagos Airport

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  • Lagos now a member of O’dua Investment Group

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Rising from a two-day meeting held at the State House, Ikeja, the Western Nigerian Governors’ Forum wednesday expressed interest to acquire the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, as soon as the process for its concession starts.

Also, the forum formally approved the membership of Lagos State as a member of the O’dua Investment Group, a conglomerate incorporated in July 1976 to manage the business interest of Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States.
The decision was contained in a communique the new Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), Mr. Oluseye Oyeleye, read wednesday after the governors of the South-west states concluded their quarterly meeting yesterday.

The quarterly meeting, which was hosted by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was attended by Sen. Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Mr. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Mr. Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti).
While Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was absent from the meeting, the state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, attended the meeting all through.

In the nine-point communique read after the meeting, the forum said the states of the region “as a bloc intend to bid for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport concession.” and turn it to a world class airport once the process starts.”

The forum said the states of the region as a bloc would be monitoring the process for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport concession, noting that the states would turn into a world class infrastructure airport once the process starts.

The communique, which was signed all the governors, read in part: “At the end of the meeting, the Western Nigeria Governors Forum agreed and committed that Lagos State is formally a member of the O’dua Investment Group.

“The states in the region will embark on a Rice Accelerated Programme for Integrated Development (Western RAPID) to further consolidate actions on food security and job creation in the region. A Regional Agriculture Summit be held in Ibadan, Oyo State, in May 2018 and sponsored by Lagos State,” the communique Stated.

It directed the DAWN Commission, Focal Representatives and Agriculture Commissioners to hold a technical session with Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and develop a state by state roadmap in four weeks before the Regional Agriculture Summit scheduled for May 2018.

It said the DAWN Commission “should work on reviving Regional Inter-School Football Competition. DAWN Commission should conduct a study on the successes in education in Ekiti State for peer learning/adoption among the western states.”

While the forum directed the DAWN Commission and the focal representatives to structure a programme on the Omoluabi Ethos of the Yoruba people, it approved Oyeleye’s appointment as the substantive of Director General of DAWN Commission.

Speaking on the formal admission of Lagos into O’dua Investment Group yesterday, Aregbesola described the incorporation of Lagos State into the economic framework of the South-west region as historic and long coming since 1948.

Aregbesola said the admission of Lagos State into O’dua Investment Group would strengthen the O’dua Investment Group and drive the development of the region.
Also after the meeting, Ambode said he was optimistic that all the states would join in the effort to ensure food security and create jobs for the people. What has happened is that we wanted to expand the agric output of our rice mill.

“In doing so, we decided that all the south west States should be able to cultivate rice and supply paddy to the proposed rice mill that is coming up in Imota in Lagos. What we have done is that four other states have agreed to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which they have actually done wednesday
“So, what is happening between Lagos and Ogun States is that there were some minor issues that were outstanding before and based on that, they could not sign today wednesday but you could also hear that they are committed to signing when those issues are resolved.

“We are having a 32-ton per hour rice mill in Imota. 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.

“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. We will be off-takers to the paddies that they are producing.”

Onanuga raised some reservations about the land deal, noting that the state government on account of previous issues with Lagos on the similar subject matter would be refraining from releasing land to the State until the said issues were resolved.

Onanuga, however, noted that Ogun State “will be prepared to sign this memorandum later when some of these issues are straightened out.”