The Lagos State Government has officially become a co-owner of the Western Nigeria Investment Group, the Odu’a Holdings, the Group Chairman of the company, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, said this when he presented to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Government Odu’a Investment Share Certificate.
The presentation took place during a courtesy visit to the governor by the company’s board and management at Lagos House, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Odu’a Group, which was set up by the government of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the days of the Western Region, is owned by the Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti State Governments.
Ashiru, during the presentation, said the company decided to hand over the share certificate to Governor Sanwo-Olu to silence doubting Thomases who don’t believe that Lagos State is part of the Odua Group.
He said that Lagos State is a bonafide member of the Odu’a Investment Company Limited, adding that the board members and management have been enjoying the support of the Lagos State Government.
The chairman said the focus of the board and management team is to engineer a turnaround for the group, even as he added that with the calibre of people managing the affairs of the company right now, Odu’a is poised to become a world-class company.
He, however, requested more support from the Lagos State Government, noting that Odu’a is ready to partner and work with the state government for more business opportunities in hospitality, real estate, tourism and agriculture, especially the Imota Rice Mill.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, in his response, said the Lagos State Government is willing to partner with Odu’a Investment Company to deepen the relationship among the South-west states in agriculture, hospitality, oil and gas, tourism and other business opportunities.
“We thank you very much for putting paid to doubting Thomases who are not sure whether Lagos State has been brought in as part of Odu’a Investment. Lagos State before now has been accepted as equal partner, equal shareholder with governors of the five other states and we are all equal stakeholders in the group.
“We thank you very much for presenting our share certificate to us. We have enjoyed dividends a couple of times already and it goes to show that our investment is yielding the right results. Lagos State is happy that we have made that investment and we are part of a great and bigger agenda called the Odu’a Investment.
“We are willing to partner with Odu’a Investment Company on our Imota Rice Mill. The Rice Mill will be commissioned in October or November depending on the timing of our guest. It is something that we all need to celebrate. That would be the biggest single rice mill in the country and it is a pride for all of us.
“And coming out of the mill itself, there are many other businesses that also can springboard; rice plantation, rice paddy and all of it can be one of the areas in which we can look out for great business opportunities in Odu’a Investment Company. There are also other areas we can collaborate on like real estate opportunities, blue economy, hospitality destinations and tourism,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor commended the board and management for their commitment and urged them to have a long view and make it a company that will outlive them.
“We are happy you are building a company that will outlive all of us. If our fathers can take it up 45 years ago to what it is now, we also must have a long-time view to ensure that we can position that company for another 30, 40 years from today. We will give you all the necessary support, cooperation and encouragement,” he advised.
The OICL chairman was accompanied on the visit by Mr. Adewale Raji, Odu’a Group Managing Director; Chief Segun Ojo, Mr. Seni Adio; Dr. Tola Kasali and Mrs. Folusho Olaniyan.
Others were Mr Olugbolahan Mark- George, Executive Director, Investment and Business Development; Mr Babajide Arowosafe, SWAGCO MD; Mr Yemi Ejidiran, MD, Wemabod Limited; and Mr Victor Ayetoro, Head, Branding and Communication.