Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has said Nigerian governors must think out of the box in order to survive the harsh economic situation in the country.
Amosun, who spoke to state House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the prevailing economic situation in the county spared no one.
When asked how Ogun State is trying to survive the economic downturn, Amosin said: “Yes, I know things are tough and I am saying this with all sense of responsibility. All the states in Nigeria are affected. We are part of the larger context called Nigeria and because of that challenge, people must think out of the box and I am happy to report that in Nigeria today, maybe not in the quantum of what we generate, but we are number one.
“If you check the indices that have been released, we doubled our revenue with about 97.8 per cent, the next state to us I think was 41 per cent. We are working hard and we are doing well but there is still lot more to be done.”
He said it was with a view to reduce dependency on handout from the federal government that informed the decision to organise an investment summit in the state.
The governor said: “It’s the fourth in our series of investors forum and this year we believe we had to zero in on three key areas that is agriculture, environment and transportation and the reason is not far fetched.
“Everybody believes that there is no alternative except for diversification and even before this crisis we realise that the only way to go is to diversify into agriculture.
“It will employ our people, it will create wealth for them. Those nations that have got it right if you see them, you will discover that they have their cottage industries; they are the enablers. That’s why we believe those ones we zero in on these three areas, we will get it right.
“I am happy that we got several investors, particularly those that are not even from Nigeria and so many people that are in Nigeria, that operate here and that’s why we showcased everybody.
“I know within the next maybe two years, you will see. Ogun State is the industrial hub of Nigeria, there is no state that has the kind of resources we have, in terms of numbers and value.
“We are not limiting it at that, we want to take it forward. Not agriculture alone, we want to take full advantage of the full value chain that agriculture offers and what do I mean by that? That whatever we grow we must process, and whatever we have processed we must package and whatever we package we must market, we must transport it to the final consumer. You know everybody is working that is what we are trying to do.
“In the area of transportation, we need to see how many people we can get on the roads, we need to introduce rails, waterways. If you go to these other nations, you will see that all their agriculture produce they are being moved either by the rail or water system and in other areas they use air.
“I went to a place in California, if you move for five hours maybe left and right, you will see plantation and in those plantations, you will see air fields. If you have the need for it, of course you must have it. So we are looking at all of those areas and the environment.
“Environment is living now, if you want to live well, we must be conscious of our environment, particularly the climate change, we must reduce carbon dioxide.
“We can use our waste to generate wealth and in doing that we employ our people. Like I said we are the most industrialised state, we want green industrialisation. The era of emitting dangerous and hazardous smoke is over.
“There are new ways of doing things, new engineering solutions that are in place and that is what we are trying to do. We are even generating electricity with our waste that is what I call using waste to generate power and waste to wealth. Those are the areas we are focusing on.”