Fashola Receives Report On Proposed Economic Integration Of The Western Region
…Says focus should shift to how to achieve real development
Dec 8, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday received the report on the work of the proposed economic integration of the Western Region by the Afenifere Renewal Group, saying emphasis should be placed now on how to achieve real development.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Courtesy Call Room of the Lagos House, Ikeja when he received members of the Afenifere Renewal Group added that there is a sense in which the people must take responsibility for themselves, rather than leave things for others to do for them.
The Governor who used many examples to buttress his point, added that the construction sector as an example is dominated by people from the Middle East.
"Three weeks ago, I was in Kogi State, I saw a mountain and said how come we celebrate the Table Bay Mountain in South Africa so much. Now, I can see that it is in Lokoja and not in South Africa anymore. There are so many of such assets dotted around this country, but it is the how that we need, to bring life into them".
"We would be talking of how to construct roads and how to generate electricity. In that sense it would always be my pleasure to see whatever way we can to enrich your ability to advise us", the Governor stated.
He explained that as he was preparing to receive the team from Afenifere Renewal Group, an issue which agitated his mind was the focus of the group is economic integration, but that he thinks there can be no development without some politics, stressing that this explains why the field of political economy has become a very strong discipline.
"The first question we should ask ourselves is, are we going back to the region?. I say that in a very wide sense to locate the current agitation for more states and how feasible are this agitation in the face of the need to reintegrate, to put resources together to achieve economies of scale".
"Are they consistent with this urge for increased decimation?, but we have seen how about nine of us or so in what seemed to be one region under one Premier are finding it very difficult and challenging to make life better for our people. Here we are in a Nigerian State with a Nigerian Constitution and its many twist and turns".
He described members of the group as men and women who have clearly defined their place in stimulating consciousness in their own part of the country and saluted their labour of love, describing it as: "A labour of love that is unrewarding but driven by the passion to make things better".
The Governor nominated the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu to represent him on all issues that requires meetings with members of the ARG on the proposed economic integration of the region.
Governor Fashola gave a commitment that the State Government will host the public launch of the Report as requested by the Group in Lagos. adding that within the next 48 hours, he will go through the report to have an idea of what it contains.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Hon Wale Oshun said the group was at Alausa to present a report on the development agenda of the Western Region prepared by the Group.
He said shortly after the re-election of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in April, there were calls by many people for integration by ensuring that the people of the area have the opportunity cost to have efficient government running through the old Western Region.
"We might talk about political integration but the emphasis is economic integration. Some four years back, we set up the Yoruba Academy located in Ibadan to look into policy areas and issues that will serve our people by focusing on areas of efficient governance", he said.
Hon Oshun said in the course of the meetings of the Group it was decided that the composite results would be presented to all six heads of the Executives in the States in the region starting from September.
He added that with the plan of action in the report; the Executive will need the collaboration of the Houses of Assembly in the six states, adding that the Group has been reaching out to the legislature in those states to support the Executive to accommodate the integration proposals.
He also sought the assistance of the State Governor in coming to the aid of the Yoruba Academy because the academy is in a position to provide extensive network of professionals that can look at issues from technical and political angles.
Prominent among those who were present at the event were members of the State Executive Council notably the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji who anchored the event, the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Mr Oyinlomo Danmole, the Special Adviser on Regional Integration, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi and some members of the Afenifere Renewal Group like Professor Ropo Shekoni, Mr Tola Mobolurin, Professor Fakilede and Mr Ayo Afolabi, the Secretary.