The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said that Ondo State has a critical role to play in the development of the country. The vice president maintained that there are potentials across the state, which he said was capable of transforming to all round development in the country.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this while declaring open a two-day State Development Partners Summit and re-launch of the State Education Endowment Fund (OSEEF) with the theme "Partnership for Progress and Sustainable Financing Strategy for the Education Sector in Ondo State",   held at the International Event and Culture Centre (The Dome), Igbatoro Road, Akure.

The Vice President, who was represented by the Director General of National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Aliyu Ibrahim, disclosed that the federal government was ready to partner the state for all the potentials to be harnessed.

His words," No doubt, Ondo state has a lot of potentials that can bring all round development to this country and this type of summit is an indication that the state is preparing for development”.

"I want to commend the state government for this great initiative where investors would come together to brainstorm".

"I must say that development has suffered in two ways; Over exposure of words and under implementation of polices. We talk too much and pay less attention to implementation of our policies" he said.

“Human capital development is key and I am happy the state is doing something on this because people must be involved in the process of development."

In his keynote address, the State Governor, Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN explained that the program was put in place to create a platform for partnering with key players in both private and public sectors in order to mobilize resources for engendering economic growth and development of the State.

According to the governor, the rebirth of Ondo State Education Endowment Fund (OSEEF) was to bridge the funding gap in education sector by creating an effective avenue for sustainable growth and development of education in the State.

He said, "The State has the potential to become a key player in the economy of the South West Region of Nigeria by virtue of its human and natural endorsements".

"It is imperative that we re-engineer the economy and place it on a trajectory of sustained growth. To achieve this, our administration understands the fact that sustainable development can be accomplished through robust partnership. “He said.

Arakunrin Akeredolu explained further that his administration has developed "Blueprint to Progress" a policy document which encapsulates the five cardinal programmes to ensure rapid growth, development and sustainability of the economy.

The governor who observed that the state government cannot carry the onerous responsibility unaided, solicited for the collaboration and cooperation of development partners in the areas of infrastructural, Agricultural, and capacity building to create a growing and resilient economy for the state.

He, therefore promised that his administration would continue to put in place investors friendly regulatory environment that will allow the private sectors to strive in the state.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan explained that the present administration inherited not just the assets of previous administration but also liabilities which include problem of defecation, lack of safe drinking water, unacceptable maternal and infant mortality rates, out of school children, dilapidated school infrastructure, weak institutions and poor integration with national initiatives.

According to the commissioner, the Statistics from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2016-2017 which was organised by the National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with UNIFEF and other Development Partners indicated that the state had a poor showing in some critical indicators.

He said notwithstanding all these situations, the Akeredolu led administration had taken steps toward addressing some of these problems headlong.

“Presently renovating of our schools is on-going as well as massive construction of roads. Also the state government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a construction company to construct a 130km road to connect the state with the northern part of the country". He said.

Emmanuel Igbasan noted that the theme of the summit was a well thought-out in conscious recognition of the fact that that sustainable development can better be achieved through robust partnership between the private and public sectors.

The Commissioner promised that the present administration is committed to making the State a regional economic champion, preferred investment hub and factory for governance innovations on good products that will serve the people well and improve their standard of living.

In his goodwill massages, the Chief Social Policy, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Mr Hamidou Poufon commended the state government for passing the first state level Social Protection legislative in Nigeria and for being the 7th of 10th high performing states in the 2018 Multidimensional Poverty Ranking report of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Mr. Hamidou who said  an urgent steps  were  needed to be taken to  improve food and nutritional security, enhance livelihood, increase assess to water and sanitation, therefore called for greater investments in improving the monitoring and implementation of existing government schemes.

Also, the Oni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Enitan who commended the giant strides of the Akeredolu led administration on infrastructural development, appealed to all traditional rulers in the state and other citizens to join hand with the government for all round development of state.

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