Aregbesola holds that his administration has strategically positioned Osun State for development.By Sani Tukur
The Governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola on Thursday, said that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a crucial component for development in Nigeria’s struggling economy.
Mr. Aregbesola said this as he addressed participants of the Nigerian Diaspora Trade and Investment Summit hosted in Osogbo at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding.
He held that Nigeria is lucky enough to have successful compatriots in the Diaspora; this he said can be a key source of crucial financial investment.
Mr. Aregbesola who was represented by his deputy, Titi Laoye-Tomori, held that for many developing nations, remittances from their country folks abroad, especially Europe and America, have been an important source of financial succour.
He stressed that this mission shows that Nigerians, both home and abroad, are good people, adding that the nation is lucky for being populated by a “brilliant, creative, dynamic and restless people who would brave all odds to achieve great things in life”.
“The country is lucky because our compatriots in the Diaspora, in spite of their success, do not spite or spurn their country. They are bending over backwards to help lift their nation out of the woods of poverty and underdevelopment. This show of patriotism and fellow-feeling is one message being underscored by this Mission. And we are fully appreciative of this,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Aregbesola said “However, beyond loyalty to one’s country and compassion towards one’s people, business and investments are issues that are more grounded in rationality rather than emotion. In the final analysis, therefore, investing hard-earned money is a matter of dispassionate analysis and calculation”.
He emphasised that Osun State has a lot to offer in the area of good investment opportunities and returns, noting that in spite of the challenges of the Nigerian environment, the State is a haven.
“The state is primarily an agrarian society that is favoured with fertile soil which supports a diverse range of agricultural produce, both cash and food crops. These include yam, maize, cassava, millet, plantain and rice. Cocoa and palm produce are our main cash crops. At current production levels, Osun is second only to Ondo State in cocoa production.” The governor held.
The governor said that his administration has designed policy aimed at engendering economic development in the State.
“We are focusing on our areas of comparative advantage vis-à-vis agriculture and tourism. The Osun Rural Enterprises and Agricultural Programme (O’REAP) is our development policy framework to precipitate a revolution in the agriculture sector,” Mr. Aregbesola said.
He also said that his administration has started revamping old settlements to strategically position the state to achieve success in agriculture.
Also speaking at the event, the head of the delegation, Collins Nweke, said that there are a number of Nigerian firms in the Diaspora that are prepared to partner with the state and invest in its rich potentials.
Mr. Nweke held that the projects that are being looked at, at the trade and investment summit include health, equity, women empowerment, human capital development, housing, environmental, waste management, as well as agriculture.
He said the agriculture project involves manufacturing of organic manure, mining and more.
Mr. Nweke added that there are a number of Nigerians firms in Diaspora that are prepared to partner with the state and invest in its potentials, saying, “We are using this mission as a firing point to start the engagement between Nigerians in Diaspora and the State of Osun”.
According to him, “When we were on our journey to this state, we were wrapped by the rain forest we saw and we are aware that there are quite number of treasures that are hidden in those forests. Part of what we will be doing starting from this mission is exploring those opportunity for the economic and physical development of the state of Osun”.