Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:46 pm
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Lagos State and Ekiti State governments have entered into an agreement on rice production, like what obtains between the former and Kebbi State.
Prof Kolapo Olusola Eleka, the Ekiti State Deputy Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, said this in Ado Ekiti on Thursday while unveiling his campaign agenda tagged SHIELD. He called it “continuity agenda”. In the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), “Ekiti would provide the land while Lagos would provide the funds and the technical expertise for the rice cultivation.”
The Deputy Governor, on 16 June, revealed the rice cultivation idea to TheNEWS in an exclusive interview in Ado-Ekiti (the full interview is coming out next week in the hard copy version).
In his words: “On rice production, the challenge we are having for rice production is issue of land. It costs so much to clear land in this area. The amount of money you will spend in clearing of land in the southwest is more than enough to grow large hectares of rice in Kebbi or Sokoto. Sometimes I laugh when people compare Kebbi and other areas in the north with Ekiti or anywhere in south west. It is not comparable because the major component of cost here is land clearing. Thank God we are able to key into the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN).
commission programme. We have reached an agreement with Lagos State. Lagos State doesn’t have land but she has money but we have land. We have entered into the kind of agreement Kebbi State has with Lagos State. We have also reached an agreement.”
When asked how that was possible despite the political differences ( Lagos is APC, while Ekiti is PDP), Eleka answered:
“It doesn’t matter. This is southwest. There is synergy between Ekiti State and Lagos State that is why I like my governor. We have collaboration to drive rice valuation; over 10,000 rice farmers in Ekiti will benefit from the over 9,000 hectares. Lagos State is going to clear over 9000 hectares. The process has already started. We have mapped out the area for Lagos state to come and do that. Don’t forget it is our people that will work there. This will take lots of people away from joblessness.”