By Chris Chimezie
The week under review is no doubt, one that will further ascertain and accelerate the development of the riverine area of Ondo State, as the Governor Akeredolu-led administration has begun an Amnesty programme for armed youths in the region.
At the opening of the exercise which is expected to last for 21days, held at the International Culture and Event Centre (The Dome), the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), appealed to aggrieved youths who feel genuinely concerned about the plight of people, to eschew violence and embrace peace.
The Governor who said real development would be impossible in a chaotic environment, encouraged those with weapons to lay down their weapons.
The Governor promised that nobody would be punished for embracing peace, saying the exercise would be all-inclusive with no discrimination against any camp, group or individual.
Akeredolu expressed joy for the extention of the Amnesty Programme for the specific purpose of accommodating armed youths who may be willing to surrender their weapons to the government.
“The understanding shown by the current administration underscores the seriousness attached to the issues of development in the region, it also speaks eloquently on the sincerity of current leaders on their avowed commitment to lasting peace and development.
“There will be a programme of rehabilitation to embrace all those who appreciate the wisdom in opting for peace.
“We are willing to assist them to integrate with the rest of the society,” he said.
The governor, however said the state government will open five collation centres in the riverine areas of the state to allow the militants to come and submit their arms voluntarily.
The centre, according to him, include: Igbekebo, Arogbo, Igbonla, Ajapa and Igbokoda.
Also last week, Akeredolu, while playing host to members of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporated in his Alagbaka office, Akure, assured that the avalanche of sporting potentials in the State would be harnessed to make youths productively engaged.
The meeting was majorly to partner the state government, Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporated on sports development.
He said the State Government is prepared to put everything into sports development because of its strategic importance in nation building and as a profitable venture by which youths could live comfortably.
While describing the tripartite partnership as a worthwhile venture that will positively impart the socio-economic lives of citizens of the state, Arakunrin Akeredolu said Sports has the capacity to promote healthy society and individuals.
The Governor who described Sports as an exercise that promotes healthy society, added that sports builds a strong body where sound mind resides.
He further hinted that Sports can bound a nation faster than economy, saying whatever we have to do to make Sports meet the needs of our youths would be done.
Facilitator of the project, who is also the Director-General of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporation, Mr Olajide Fashinkun, said the central focus of the project was to take the burden of sports financing away from the shoulders of government.
He added that the project will as well, scout for raw talents in sports across the state; develop such talents to stardom and support the state economy through earnings from sports programmes.
Still on the week under discussion, Arakunrin Akeredolu (SAN), reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing conducive environment for investors willing to do business in the state.
This, he said at a business meeting with a foremost Chinese firm, China Energy Engineering Corporation Limited, led by its Managing Director, Mr Shao Wen.
He said Ondo State has a lot of mineral endowments that investors could put their money on to make a productive venture.
“Ondo State is one of the oil producing states in Nigeria and it has Liquefied Natural Gas potentials in commercial quantity; Bitumen, Kaolin, Coal, Salt, Tin and Marbles.
“As we speak, there are no granite or bitumen processing companies in the state so, the resources are exported in raw state for processing in other countries and for us it’s unacceptable.
“We shall give you our maximum support. You can count on us,” he said.