Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu,SAN, has called on indigenes of Owo in the Diaspora to take advantage of the tremendous investment opportunities that abound in Ondo state for sustained development and economic growth.

He noted that the Ondo State has become investment destination for both local and international investors in the last five years of his administration.

The Governor urged the Owo indigenes in diaspora not to allow the June 5th attack in the ancient town to drive fears into their heart, stressing that the perpetrators of the heinous act are against development and progress of Owo and Ondo State at large.

Akeredolu spoke at the National Convention of the World Council of Owo Associations (WOCOA) held in Atlanta, GA, United States of America.

Represented by a delegation led by the Chief of Staff to Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale and the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing, Engr.Raimi Aminu, the Governor assured of his administration’s commitment to the continuous provision of enabling environment for prospective investors, adding that more security measures are being put in place to make the state safer than before.

While pointing out the efforts of the state security network codenamed ‘Amotekun Corps’ in securing the state, Governor Akeredolu said the Amotekun Corps has contributed largely to the safety of lives and property in the state and across the Southwest region.

“We want to assure prospective investors of the enabling environment in Ondo State; Our State yet remains the most peaceful State in Nigeria. We should, however, not be discouraged by the occasional flashes of incidences of criminalities as this is not peculiar to Ondo State, just as it happens all over the world. Even the United States has had it own fair share of it, if we had allowed that to drive fear into us, we would not be here today.

“Towards sustaining investors’ confidence in our State and combating acts of criminalities, Ondo State in collaboration with other sister States in the Southwest established the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun corps in each of the States of the Southwest geo-political zone.

“The Security Network has recruited over 2,000 Regular Officers including informants and volunteers and it has been equipped by the State Government with over 60 operational vehicles and 90 motorcycles for effective patrolling across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State.

“Towards strengthening their manpower, the corps is in the process of recruiting additional 350 officers and men to be deployed across the rural areas in our State to protect our farmers from kidnapping and other criminal tendencies.”

“In addition, our administration has constructed and renovated public schools in Owo and Ose Local Government Areas, among the several public primary schools done throughout the State. Many interventions have also taken place in the health sector.

“The General Hospital in Owo is being upgraded to increase its capacity to give qualitative service to the populace. Through partnership between Ondo State Government and Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, we have been able to construct a modern General Hospital at Ifon which today ranks the best among its peers in the State.  Hitherto, Ose Local Government had no General Hospital.

“We are also soliciting assistance in the area of Human Capital Development of our sons and daughters at home. Whatever assistance that could be provided in the area of educational and technological advancement of average Owo sons and daughters and people of Ondo State in general will be appreciated.” He said.

Governor Akeredolu equally sought the supports of the Owo Indigenes in the Diaspora in strengthening the Amotekun Corps towards effective discharge of their duties and responsibilities.

“We solicit assistance in the provision of more operational vehicles, communication gadgets and drones for surveillance purposes and intelligence gathering.” The Governor said.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing, Engr. Aminu in response to some
of the questions and comments made by participants at the convention, assured that lands will be made available for any serious investors in any part of the state.

He also highlighted the numerous infrastructural development projects that have been executed under the Governor Akeredolu administration, adding that the infrastructural strides are geared toward boosting the socio-economic development of the State.

Engr. Aminu urged the Association to partner with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission so as to reap the boundless opportunities in the Diaspora relations.

He equally enjoined the group to join hands with the Owo-is-One movement, adding that they both share the same visions and aspirations for the people of Owo and Ose.

“Before the administration of Governor Akeredolu, the issues have always been that governments weren’t constructing enough roads. But now, the clamour is about constructing road to people’s door steps. Our people are satisfied with the roads constructed so far. But like Oliver Twist, they want it to get to their door steps.

“The Akeredolu Administration has reinforced confidence in our public primary schools. Over 500 public primary schools have been reconstructed. More teachers have been employed. As at the last count, over 1,200 teachers were employed through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

“Undoubtedly, you must be wondering where and how Governor Akeredolu has been getting the resources to build these infrastructure despite the dwindling resources in the country, which has affected the resources of the States.”

“Before Mr Governor came on board, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
State was as low as N600 million monthly. Today in Ondo State, we have recorded laudable success in our revenue generation without putting burden on our people. Mr Governor’s ingenuity of blocking loopholes and deploying technology in the revenue collection processes has raised our IGR to over N2billion monthly.

“The government now augments the meager allocation from Abuja with the IGR in order to be able to pay the salary of our workers. This is part of the secrets of our massive infrastructural strides in the sunshine state. Ondo State is lucky to have Governor Akeredolu at this crucial time. He has done so much with little resources.

“Our Deep Seaport is a promising venture. It is all our state needs to get out of the wood. As we speak, we have done the Outline Business Case (OBC). All the necessary preliminary reports have been done. We are only waiting for the Port Declaration by the Federal Government.

“Equally, we have all condemned the June 5, attack in our home town. It was a tragedy that must never occur again in Owo and Ose and the State at large. The question is, what is the solution to the array of security challenges confronting our nation? The simple answer is that we need State Police. We need to have state police for us to be able to effectively secure the lives and property of our people. These are the reasons we are clamoring for restructuring.” Engr Raimi said.

The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye, who joined the convention virtually spoke on the efforts at bringing development to the ancient town while commending Governor Akeredolu for his magic wands.

The WOCOA President, Idris Adeniseun, who lauded the efforts of the Governor so far, said the current insecurity uproar in Nigeria and particularly Ondo State, have galvanized members of the Association to embark on raising fund to purchase vehicles for the Owo town Amotekun security outfit.

He noted:”We are proud of the Governor. We thank him for making us proud. He intervened and defended the people even when his second term was on the line. We thank him for opening his door for us at all time. We are indeed, proud of him.”

The Keynote speaker, Chief Rotimi Oloye expressed joy over the impressive performance of Governor Akeredolu in the last five years.

He noted that he was always happy during the times he visited home,stressing that just like Late Ajasin, Governor Akeredolu has always done Owo proud.

Chief Oloye said with the performance of Governor Akeredolu in office, the people of the Northern Senatorial district and the state at large will be willing to support anyone from Owo aspiring to be Governor in the future.