The British Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with and complement the efforts of the Osun state government in the areas of education, agriculture, politics, tourism and infrastructure.
The British High Commissioner, Mr Paul Arkwright, gave the assurance during a courtesy visit to Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in Osogbo.
The envoy, accompanied by the Political Adviser at the Deputy British High Commission in Lagos, Mr Wale Adebajo, said the British Government will do everything possible to support Osun economy by strengthening her potentials for the betterment of her citizenry.
Arkwright noted that the commission would help to facilitate and attract investors to the state from his country in all aspects of the economy.
He acknowledged the tremendous achievements of the Aregbesola’s administration, saying the British Government will help to promote all the policies of the state.
“The present administration in the state has done so well and this has made the British government to deem it fit to render assistance to the state so as to strengthen her economy.
“The British government is interested in boosting the economic opportunities of Osun; we want to work with the state in order to galvanize her economic potentials for the betterment of all.
“Since Osun is rich in mining and mineral resources, our government is ready to do everything possible to revive the state’s potentials in this regard and ensure that the sector enjoys necessary attention from government.
”We are also ready to assist the state in the areas of tourism, agriculture, mining and human capacity development. Our keen interest to support the state in the area of agriculture is aimed at bringing back the lost glory of the sector and putting-in the required values to every aspect of the sectors.
“It is a pity that 90 per cent of cocoa production in the world comes from Africa but sadly to know that just 10 per cent of the benefit is what Africa gets, so we want this to change.
“Politics is another critical area we are planning to render support on. We want democracy to be entrenched in the land; we are not interested in whoever becomes what but our interest is to ensure politics is practiced in accordance with democratic tenets and principles.
“We are interested in a smooth transition, free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the quest to deepen democracy in Nigeria.
“As part of efforts to accomplish this, the British Government has resolved to monitor and supervise both Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections”, he added.
In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the British Government for extending the hands of economic support to the state.
He described Britain as the most accommodating, tolerant and diplomatic nation in the world, saying the country had demonstrated the hallmarks of diplomacy in the annals of governance in the world.
Aregbesola lauded the British Government for showing interest in the policies of his administration particularly in the areas of education, agriculture, tourism and mining, among others.
“As a state, we thank the British government for the prospect of economic development and the move to deepen the democratic process of our land.
“As a government, we are so passionate about human development to the extent that nothing will be spared to make life better for them. One of our strong point as a people is agriculture, especially cocoa production, which makes us the second largest producer of the product in the country.
“There is also mining; there is a huge deposit of gold in commercial quantity in our state and we would love you to assist us in attracting investment in this very lucrative area.
“Tourism is another significant area of interest for us; Osun is the historical centre of the Yorubas from all over the world. The state has the highest number of traditional towns with the longest history. We will also want you to assist us in our mid-region market under the O-hub project”, he added.
While reacting on the need for state police in Nigeria, Aregbesola called on necessary authorities to support the quest in the interest of internal security.
According to him, “We all need to work on decentralising policing in Nigeria as we are the only federation in the world where central policing system is still being operated.
“if we decentralise the police, it does not remove the authority of the Federal police, it only means that the state police will only be able to work more efficiently for the protection of lives and properties.
“Some people will argue against it based on funding, but the truth is that the fund has already been made available in the federation account, it is already included in the account.
“State policing will be funded out of the Federation Account on First Line Charge just as National Judicial Commission is being funded”, he posited.