It was almost impossible to hear the sound of a blasting speaker as supporters continued to chant “Sellable Governor”, “Lekan Si” and “Sai Baba” to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and their entourage to the Lagos Rice Mill situated at the Imota part of the state.
The happy fans defiled the scorching sun to welcome President Buhari, Governor Sanwo-Olu and other top Nigerians who graced the event. Songs of praises and displays of cultural activities filled the air.
Buhari, flanked by several traditional rulers across the country on Monday, could not hide his delight as he continued to smile to register his amazement at the groundbreaking achievements of Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Before he arrived at the site of the 32-metric tons per-hour Lagos Rice Mill, Buhari was at Lekki Lagos to inaugurate the Lekki Deep Sea Port.
The president told Sanwo-Olu, in a simple sentence, “You are doing well”.
The project is regarded as a boost to the agricultural revolution of the Buhari-led administration, which will further end food insecurity in Lagos State and by extension, Nigeria.
The president toured the facility and commended the governor and his team for a job well done.
Addressing torrents of his fans that trooped the event, Sanwo-Olu said, “The President is really delighted to be here to commission the largest rice mill in the entire sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest in the world, the Lagos Rice Mill in Imota.
“It is being done because of the agricultural revolution of Mr President, who when he started his government, said Nigerians should grow what they eat and they should eat what they grow.
“We are happy that Lagos is a testament to that. With 2.8 million bags of 50kg rice per annum, Lagos is ready to support the rice revolution and the food revolution in Nigeria.
“The Lagos Rice Mill will create close to 250,000 direct and indirect jobs. We want to thank the local community of Imota, Ikorodu. We want to thank all of you that have waited patiently. Mr President is indeed excited that you have birthed another first in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.”
As the governor continued to delightfully surprise President Buhari, Tuesday was set aside for other turning point accomplishments by Sanwo-Olu’s four-year-old administration. Safe to say the governor has further imprinted the name of Lagos in the golden book of developed cities across the globe.
Buhari was taken on a tour of the newly-constructed John Randle Centre of Yoruba Culture and History located at the loop of the Onikan roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos. The project is meant to promote the Yoruba culture.
The Museum was described as a bold attempt to curate Yoruba history and culture
Several art presentations were delivered at the centre to entertain guests that graced the event.
The president afterward left for the commissioning of the first phase of the 13km Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) train popularly called the Lagos Blue Line, which will bring succor to residents of the Mega City.
Sanwo-Olu said that the Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) was envisioned as a sixth metro line of which the blue line which is a 27 Kilometer stretch, running from Marina to Okokomaiko was the first to be completed.
In private interviews, royal fathers who attended the multiple inaugurations and commissioning praised Governor Sanwo-Olu for the remarkable projects he churned out in his first tenure as Lagos governor. The monarchs gave the assurance that the governor will do better if elected in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
Speaking at the unveiling of the rice mill, the Oniru of Iru land, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II, applauded the state government, while stating that the rice mill is the first state-owned mill in Nigeria.
The monarch said, “I am very happy about this development. I remember 2011 to 2012, when the Eko Rice started, it was 2.5 metric tonnes capacity. We are able to create a lot of jobs through the rice value chain. Today, we are on eight hectares of land optimally utilised and the number of jobs it will create is awesome, this is the biggest in West Africa.”
The host traditional ruler of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro, said the project would boost the commercial and economic development of the Imota community.
“I am the happiest man on earth today because it was during my reign as the Oba of Imota that this is happening. I’m 30 years on the throne and I am going to celebrate it with this inauguration because it is a landmark achievement bestowed on the people of Imota during my tenure. This plant will bring about those factors of production that will promote commercial and economic development. This mill is projected to create up to 250,000 jobs, just imagine the multiplying effect of such a number if added to our community with their dependents,” Agoro said.