Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Wednesday, called on South-West states, including Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti to go into partnership on food security for the benefit of the people of the geo-political zone as there was enough land for agricultural purpose.
The Ooni made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, at the Lagos House in Ikeja.
The Ooni was accompanied on the visit by other royal fathers and chiefs, including Obalufe of Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura; High Chief Adebola Adeyeye, High Chief Odetoye Adewole, Prince Jide Fadairo, among others.
The monarch, who said it was important for the South Western states to explore partnership on food security for the benefit of the people, lamented that one would not believe that 80 per cent of all the produce from those farmlands were wasted as only about 20 per cent got to the metropolis of Lagos for consumption.
He said: “We can partner in respect of food security. In Osun State, we have land for agriculture and same in Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states.
“You will not believe that 80 per cent of all the products from those farmlands are wasted; it is only about 20 per cent that get to the metropolis of Lagos for consumption.
“Now imagine, if we can just synchronise and work together on how to take food security to another level,” the Ooni said.
The monarch, while recalling his relationship with Lagos and Governor Ambode before he was elected into office, commended the governor for his numerous achievements, especially for making the last Yuletide period a worthy one for residents through the provision of affordable rice commodity called Lake Rice.
“Today is a rare privilege and great honour to be with him. Before he became the governor, we shared our dreams together. He has kept his promise to the people and so far he has lifted Lagos State up. He is a man of great capacity,” he added.
The Ooni, however, contended that traditional rulers also had a role to play in ensuring food security in the zone by partnering with the government, adding, “If only we can synchronize, we can work together on how to take food security to another level.”
“Traditional rulers have great role to play, we should not leave everything to government we must all come together because we are closer to our people than government, we should rally round government and support their wishes to encourage the government.
“We should support government in terms of adding value to the populace and we should also rally round government to make their work much easier.
“Lagos is the most populous black city in the world, we should work together, Lagos has that demands and supply can be generated from other states,” he said.
Governor Ambode, while responding, unveiled plans to integrate the six states in the South West region to the food security drive of his administration especially in addressing the demand and supply deficit for the overall benefit of the people.
He also said he was committed to the economic growth and promotion of the traditional value and culture of the Yoruba nation.
“Everything Ooni has said on food security is in consonance with our believe and we believe that if we move forward, Nigeria will also move foward. The future is brighter as we see it and we will not relent to ensure that our traditional value and culture are enhanced further than what it is presently,” he said.
The governor, who recalled that in the last one year, the state government joined the Oodua Investment Group in addition to the acquisition of land in Ogun and Oyo states for agricultural purposes, said that government would scale up the economic integration of the South West states as well as the cultural heritage of the region.
“We are glad to note that within the last one year also, Lagos State has been able to join the Oodua Investment Group as part shareholders of that economic vehicle that we will use to power the economic integration of the Southwestern states. We want to assure your majesty that what you stand for is what this government also stand for,” the governor said.
Governor Ambode, while commending the royal father for his achievements in office so far, said it had become very evident that everything and every step taken by the Ooni had been for the positive good of the Yoruba nation.
“One year after, it has become very evident that everything and every step that Ooni has taken has been for the positive good of the Yoruba nation. The Ooni represents the cohesion that we are looking for in Yoruba land and for that reason, we will do everything to continue to ensure that this government supports the cultural heritage of the Yoruba people.
“We believe that we cannot afford to waste away the cultural heritage of the Yoruba people and we are to start from a platform where it moves away from economic integration to socio, political and also cultural evolution of what we think the Yoruba people stand for and that is also what I stand for,” he said.
“I believe strongly that the test case of what we are trying to do about food security in Lagos State is just more or less like an elixir for what it should be across the western region and on that note, we want to say that we have already acquired land in Ogun and Oyo States but what is imperative for us to move forward now is that we would integrate all other Southwestern states into the food security mechanism of demand and supply for us to move forward,” he said.
Speaking further, the governor said Lagos, as a cosmopolitan state and the economic hub of the Yoruba people in terms of commerce, must be at the vanguard of promoting commerce in the region, assuring that his administration would vigorously pursue such to the benefit of the people.
Besides, Governor Ambode thanked the monarch for promoting continuous communication among traditional rulers and government for the purpose of enhacing the future of the Yoruba people, while also acknowledging his immense contribution to the development of tourism, trade and commerce in Lagos State.