Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, says he wants the state to generate enough income such that it will pay salaries without relying on federal allocation.
Speaking while inaugurating a modern chocolate factory in Idanre local government area of the state on Tuesday, he said if pursued, the investment drive of his administration will change Ondo’s status of the from civil service-oriented to a state of commerce and industry.
Though Olusegun Mimiko, his predecessor, initiated the factory in partnership with a US-based firm, Spagnvola Chocolatiers, it got completed under Akeredolu.
The factory, estimated to be worth N9billion, will reportedly produce 2.8million tons of chocolate per annum.
“By the grace of God, I will work to hand over a state that does not rely on allocation to pay salaries by year 2024,” the governor said.
“I want to change our narrative. Enough of Ondo being tagged as a civil service state. We are a hidden wealth of Nigeria.
We shall explore all our potentials. Let me assure all the good people of Ondo state that this factory shall run independent of politics. It shall be run in line with global best practices.
“To guarantee constant supply of cocoa beans to the factory, the Oda Cocoa Plantation, which is over 1,744 Hectares, has been resuscitated and made functional with over 250 Cocoa farmers upscaling daily production from the farm.
I will never rest until we win the battle against unemployment in our state through industrialisation, agriculture and technology.
“To consolidate our foothold as the number one cocoa producer in Nigeria, this administration has established a modern cocoa farm at Ijugbere Camp in Ilale, Owo on 8,400Hectatres of land with the capacity to accommodate 2,000 youths who would be resident on the farm with a minimum of four Hectares of Land per person.”