By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi disclosed Monday that one of the agendas of his administration is to grab a chunk of Lagos’ N5 billion daily food market.

The governor said agriculture was essential to the state’s development strategy, adding that his administration would explore the Lagos market’s opportunities through the South West Agriculture Company (SwAgco).

Governor Fayemi stated in Lagos at the commissioning of the Ekiti State Governor’s Lodge/Lagos Liaison Office in Ikeja GRA, alongside Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and their Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello.

He said the property – with state-of-the-art facilities including offices, conference facilities and living accommodation for the Governor and aides – will save the state ‘avoidable expenses in hotel accommodation every time state officials are in Lagos for meetings and sundry official duties.’

The facility is part of the Fayemi administration’s legacy projects being unveiled across the country on the third anniversary of his second term in office.

It was, he explained, a response to Ekiti people’s desire to maintain a major presence in Nigeria’s commercial capital, through which the state would project Ekiti to the world.

‘The strategic importance of having this edifice here is enormous. The office will effectively serve as a go-to place not only for Ekiti indigenes here in Lagos, (and we have many of us contributing significantly to this economy) that require official services and information from Ekiti State Government but also to non-Ekiti indigenes desirous of engaging the state,’ Governor Fayemi said.

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‘It will also serve as a communication and contact Centre of our State with Federal/State Government Offices, Embassies, Offices of international organizations here in Lagos as well as private sector players headquartered in Lagos.’

He described the office as an opportunity to deepen sub-regional engagements through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), noting Lagos State’s place in national and continental economies.

‘Given this context, Lagos is a key factor in our investment strategy in Ekiti State. Lagos is not only a key market for our products, it is also our window to the outside world.

‘Every day, the food consumed in Lagos has a market value in the region of N5billion daily. Agriculture is central to our development strategy and capturing a significant chunk of the Lagos food market is a major component of that strategy.

‘This informed the establishment of the South West Agriculture Company – SwAgco with other Governors in the South West to harness the opportunities in the market. We have also succeeded in attracting many Agric related companies headquartered in Lagos to Ekiti such as Promasidor, JMK Foods, Ellah Lake, FMS farms, Dangote to name a few.

‘Consequently, building a state of the art office and Governor’s Lodge in which the Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA) maintains a presence is a critical success factor in expanding our commercial and investment presence in the market,’ the Ekiti governor said.

For Mr Sanwo-Olu, the facility was another evidence of all the “laudable initiatives” the Fayemi administration had been reputed for.

He noted its location in the heart of Lagos, its proximity to the international airport and that the street on which the facility is situated, also houses the liaison offices of other South West states. Sanwo-Olu pledged to refurbish the road and improve its physical aesthetics.