Osinbajo Praises Utomi for $136m Agric Investment


Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Vice President Professor, Yemi Osinbajo, has praised the Chairman, Integrated Produce City in Edo State, Prof Pat Utomi, for investing $136 million in the agricultural sector.
The vice president, represented by Governor Adams Oshiomhole said: “The timing of the project couldn’t have been better.

“Not just because it confirms what we have been saying to people over the past two or three months. We have said to our people that we could create over two hundred thousand jobs, God giving our candidate, Godwin Obaseki, the mandate.

He said: “So, what you have come to do in Edo, we cannot thank you enough, and we want to appreciate all your foreign partners who have shown confidence in our economy at this point in time. And it is instructive that you are not lobbying corridors of power in Abuja for an oil block. You are just looking for a piece of land that is idle. The next phase of our development must be to focus on job creation, and that we must also have a sensible land administration, that we will give land to genuine investors.”

He continued: “When there is no place for youths to work, once they grow up, they will leave the village for the city to look for jobs. So, to bring those children back, we need jobs around here. So, when they work here, they will be with us. I am glad that you have seen the link between this effort and your security, and even those hoodlums will see that it is better to work than to be engaged in kidnapping and other vices they have been committing.

“On our part, we want to assure you that every support that you need, it is in our own self-enlightened interest to bring it. For now, our attitude is to provide all the incentives that government can provide, both at the federal and at the state level. The one by the state, you can take it for granted.

“The one by the federal level, if you have any difficulties, I know the president is also very committed because he is saying to us we must return to the farm. Therefore, I believe we will match words with action. But should you have any difficulties, you can count on us because you are helping us to deliver on one of the key primary purposes of government which is to keep the citizens busy, create prosperity and spread happiness in communities so that people have the basis to be loyal to their motherland.”

He added: “To the community, this is your project. You must defend it the way you defended the kingdom because this will provide jobs for you. And it will create prosperity and it has already put you on the world map. You will be described more as a product city where people will come from Lagos, from Abuja, from Iyamho to come and find jobs. That is the way nations grow.”

Earlier in his address, the investor and initiator of the Integrated Produce City, Utomi said: “It is not every day that one has the privilege of being part of history. A sense of gratitude, therefore, overwhelms us as we break ground today to usher in a combination of agriculture and an industrial complex. I should begin therefore with this sense of gratitude with thanksgiving to the creator that gave us dominion over the earth and the privilege to be co-creators with him, moving creation towards his perfection, to the government and people of Edo State for being diligent partners in this endeavour and we expect they will transform Edo State for good in more ways than they realize. My boast, my private boast, and with God’s grace will come to pass that within this complex, ten to fifteen years from now, more will come to Edo State.”

He continued: “I am confident that Nigeria’s long advertised desire to diversify the base of the economy will truly begin with this concept of an integrated produce city. What we initiate today is a combination of farm settlement with several modern farms and outgrower’s scheme reaching out into six states around here: Ekiti and Ondo, Delta, Anambra, Kogi, all those states are part of the catchment areas for this integrated complex of modern farms with their out-growers schemes and an industrial part in which we expect at least fifty factories, the commodities market, the commodities exchange plus incubator to stimulate entrepreneurial activities across the agro-allied value chain.

“It offers us an opportunity for the young of our country to understand what entrepreneurship is. Entrepreneurship is dreaming big and with literary nothing creating awesome value. This is what enterprise is about.”
Utomi said: “I want to assure the governor who showed great leadership in supporting our initiative that history will remember him kindly for his efforts. I want to thank particularly the leader of the economic team who managed this process through, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. They were all part of lighting the fire of revolution. This initiative and allied activities will bring real change to the lives of many.”