By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, on Monday, said that the state was partnering with the French Government in order to broaden the state’s economy and ensure a better life for its people.
Governor Makinde, who stated this while receiving a delegation of the French Government led by the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Pasquier, at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan, said that the partnership has yielded positive results for the state’s economic expansion agenda, while also broadening the state’s economic landscape.
The governor stated that part of the positive results being recorded in the state’s economic expansion efforts was the 26.4 per cent growth in its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first half of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the governor expressed delight at the close relationship between the state, the French Embassy and Government of France, adding that his government is open to collaborating with France on several projects in areas such as education, agriculture, security and economic expansion.
Governor Makinde stated that he is ready to seek help where necessary to turn around the economy of Oyo State, adding that the state is ready and open to businesses that can bring development and growth to its economy.
The governor, therefore, appealed to the French Delegation to assist the state in the Occupational and Educational Programme that can boost the state’s education system.
He said: “Finally, I know that there is this occupational and education programme. We started a similar collaboration with the IITA called the STEP programme. They picked one school at Fashola. We have since expanded the programme. We now have schools picked from various geopolitical zones in the state and we will appreciate the inclusion in the similar programme of the French Government, as that can even help us expand the programme further.”
Earlier, the leader of the French delegation, Ambassador Pasquier, said that there were a lot of things that the French government could do with Oyo State, expressing the willingness of his country’s government to work with the state in agriculture, tourism, health and developing strong links that could help tertiary education in the state.
He appreciated the governor for the hospitality accorded him and his entourage through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism since they arrived in the state, pledging that bilateral relationship between French Government and the Oyo State Government will continue.
The event was attended by top government officials, including the Deputy Governor, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun; Chief of Staff, Chief Bisi Ilaka; Head of Service, Mrs Ololade Agboola; Commissioners; chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Isiaka Tunde Kazeem, and other House of Assembly members.