State governors in the South-west region of Nigeria have resolved to forge a common front. Regional integration is top on the agenda of the Yoruba governors. They also resolved to jointly stave off external influences capable of stifling the region’s economic and social interests State governors in the South-west region of Nigeria have resolved to forge a common front in order to stave off external influences capable of stifling the region’s economic and social interests.
L-R: Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), at the South-west Governors’ Economic Forum, held in Ibadan, Oyo state yesterday, November 21.
The governors made the commitment yesterday, November 21 after an economic forum meeting hosted by the Oyo state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the Executive Council Chambers, in Ibadan. In a communiqué read at the end of the meeting by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, the governors reiterated the need to use regional integration to create economic relief for the people of the South-west especially in the face of the pervading economic recession ravaging the country. Fayose informed journalists that the governors discussed on the pragmatic steps necessary to be taken to enhance the development of the region and to proffer the surest way to put food on the table of the common man.
He said the governors were more concerned about their relations by the force of history and geographical location, in spite of their political differences. His words: “All states, including Ekiti, have subscribed to and agreed that regional integration is the best way forward. “We must do everything humanly possible not to go back on our resolves. It is forward for the people and for the Yoruba race. We agreed that the next meeting, which holds in the next two months, would be held in Ekiti state.”
Governors present at the meeting were Governor Fayose, Mr Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state; Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, while Secretary to Ondo state government, Mr Rotimi Adelola, represented Governor Olusegun Mimiko. In his welcome address, Ajimobi praised his colleagues for attending the meeting, adding that it was a sign that they place high importance to the common challenges confronting the region. His words: “Your presence at this meeting is a clear testimony of the importance you all have attached to the common challenges confronting us as a people. Today, our country is buffeted by economic and political challenges.
“Several states are struggling to pay basic salaries with arrears running into several months; manufacturers struggling to access foreign exchange for raw material and companies are shutting down leading to mass redundancy of our people. “Unfortunately most of these people are resident in the South-west region, which is the industrial base of the country. We need to quickly explore escape routes from poverty through empowerment and equipping of our youths with requisite skills. “We must also seek common path of boosting agriculture as well as dealing with security challenges that have pervaded the country. We must seek a way out of the biting hardship in the land.”
On his part, Governor Aregbesola pleaded with his colleagues to take advantage of the remaining period of their tenure by ensuring that they redoubled their efforts to ensure the survival and prosperity of the people of the region. Also speaking, Governor Amosun also restated the need for the governors to shed their political differences, stressing that the unity of the region would be its strength. For Governor Ambode, the revenue base of the South-west is his major priority, as according to him, the touted prosperity of Lagos state could only be sustained by the prosperity of its neighbouring states.