The Ogun State Government said on Monday that the state will absorb the shock that its proximity to Lagos brings with the influx of commercial motorcyclists (Okada riders) into Ogun border towns.
Addressing reporters in Abeokuta, the state’s Transport Committee Chairman, Mr. Femi Adeniyi, said: “As a responsible and responsive government, it has observed that Okada riders have started moving to Akute, Alagbole, Ajuwon, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ifo, Ibafo and Mowe, following the ban on their operations in some designated areas of Lagos State.”
He said such migration had its advantages, as the new settlers would support others to drive the socio-economic development of the state to a higher level, warning that they should, however, be law-abiding.
“Should the agents of darkness among the Okada operators try to practise what caused their eviction from Lagos, a similar fate will befall them,” Adeniyi said.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter from London, noted that “as people begin to migrate from Lagos to Ogun, to either live, work or play, the state is ready to give them quality education, quality health care, transportation and clean water.”
The governor hailed the decision of the United Kingdom government to identify the state as one of the beneficiaries of the eighty million dollar fund under the aegis of its Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme.
He said the inclusion of the state in the scheme “is a testimony that the state is not just a Gateway State to Nigeria, but the fact that the leadership of the state is determined to brace to the challenges and turn the push factors of the continent’s fifth largest economy to pull factors that can stand the test of millennial development.”
The Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme recently identified Ogun State as one of the 19 cities in 10 countries that will benefit from the prosperity fund set up by the UK government.
“Fortunately, the Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme has rightly identified Abeokuta as one of the 19 cities in 10 countries that will participate in the Global Prosperity Future Cities Programme. What does this speak to? It speaks to recognising the fact that today Ogun State is called the Gateway State for a reason – because you cannot traverse between Lagos and the rest of Nigeria without going through Ogun State. Ogun State has now become an overflow to Lagos.
“We must be prepared for that overflow in all ramifications. So, as people begin to migrate from Lagos to Ogun, to either live, work or play, we must ensure that we provide for them quality education, quality transport and health care. We must provide clean water, clean environment and good physical development,” he said.
Abiodun said that his administration would give the state a facelift that would attract the kind of investment capable of turning the state into a city that would withstand modern development in terms of architecture and infrastructure.
The governor, who visited Kings Cross Station in London, said he was guided by the fact that 10 years made a difference.
“Ten years ago, what it looked like and what it now looks like today and the idea was for me to have a look and feel how a slum can now be regenerated into a new city where people can live, work and play. So, everything we are doing in the state now is private sector driven. We’ve put in a lot of reforms to ensure that Ogun State is indeed ready to work the talk,” he said.
Abiodun said that the state had also put in place an agency – Ogun Invest, which is the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency – that will be saddled with doing everything that needs to be done to encourage the private sector to do business with the state with relative ease.
He said his administration knew that such development couldn’t be embarked on without considering the welfare of the people, adding that all is now set in the state to make use of the over 12,000 sqm of arable land to make Ogun a food basket.
“You cannot be doing these things without ensuring that you put food on the table of the people. Ogun State is an agricultural state. We are about 16,000square metres, out of which 12,000 square metres is arable land. We are the closest to the fifth largest economy on the continent; we are the closest to the largest seaport in Nigeria; the biggest airport in Nigeria. So, we have everything it takes to feed Lagos State. We have now decided that we are going to make agriculture our priority, because through agriculture, we can feed ourselves, we can employ our people and we can generate revenue,” the governor said.