Fashola Canvasses Trans-National Rail, Road Linkage For African Continent
• This is the only way the African Economy can grow" he says
Jul 9, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday canvassed the linkage of African countries by both road and rail to facilitate trade and commerce saying it is the only way to grow the economy of the Continent.
Governor Fashola, who spoke while playing host to the newly appointed Consul General of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Abdulai Amadu Abukari, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Alausa, said such linkage would enable the African people to utilize the many existing opportunities for trade and commerce to prosper the Continent.
"For me, I believe that encouraging trade and commerce among us will form the basis for building prosperity for the Continent. The Growth projections being predicted for Africa cannot happen by just talking about it. They can only happen when there are opportunities for trade and commerce", the Governor said.
He told his visitor, "You may be aware that the Lagos Government is expanding the Lagos – Badagry Expressway. It is a deliberate and strategic decision to undertake the project to complete the driveway to other African countries to facilitate trade and commerce". He added that his knowledge of the West African sub-region has been informed by his travels by road to countries of the sub-region.
Hinting of the prospect of extending rail service from Lagos to Ghana, Governor Fashola, who said the idea was receiving some consideration from the appropriate quarters, declared, "Really and truly, nothing could be more impactful than taking a train from Lagos all the way to Ghana; and this is what you see all over Europe".
Governor Fashola, who expressed concern about a current legislation on business by the Ghanaian Government, appealed to the Government to be mindful of the need to protect and encourage inter-country trade across Africa reiterating that it is the only way to grow the economy of the Continent.
Governor Fashola noted that the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana has had many twists and turns with the majority of the time witnessing cordial relationship adding that fierce competition between the two countries has brought "not too pleasant experiences".
Noting that the two countries are "joined at the hips", Governor Fashola declared, "I think that, perhaps, as the largest governments in terms of size nationwide in the West African sub-region, our two countries have no choice but lead the way because if we both prosper, it is evident that there will be a critical mass of prosperity in the sub-region which can be equally beneficial to all the people of the sub-region and beyond".
Governor Fashola called for the revival of the sporting relationship between Nigeria and Ghana especially the Ghana – Nigeria Sports Festival as well as the School Sports between the City of Lagos and Kumasi pointing out that the Lagos State Government has already made the first move last two years to revive the School Sports by hosting Kumasi in Lagos while still waiting for a reciprocal visit to Kumasi.
According to the Governor, "We think that if it is not possible to rekindle sovereign sporting relationship through the Ghana - Nigeria Sports Festival, we could rekindle city relationship". He appealed to the Consul-General to follow up on the school sports initiative saying the best time to arrange it is this period when students are about to go on vacation.
Governor Fashola maintained that such sports relationships among African countries would enable young people to know more about their Continent rather than the prevailing situation where they know more of Europe than their own Continent.
"I think that Sports is the easiest vehicle for interaction and exchange", the Governor said recalling that he has travelled to Ghana every year in the last few years to play football through an Independence Exchange arrangement whereby a veteran team from Nigeria goes to Ghana on the eve of that country's Independence Anniversary to play football while a Ghanaian team reciprocates at the approach of Nigeria's Independence Anniversary.
Governor Fashola, who said he would be expecting the Ghanaian team in Lagos in September this year to commemorate Nigeria's Independence, pointed out, "It is usually a three day convivial relationship".
Welcoming the new Consul-General to Lagos, Governor Fashola assured him of the cooperation and support of his administration to enable him carry out his duties successfully.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Consul-General told the Governor that his visit was to pay homage as the African tradition demands and to seek the support and cooperation of the Governor and his administration in the discharge of his duties in the State.
He congratulated the Governor on his reelection for a second term in April last year saying it was a testimony that his work was being appreciated by the people of Lagos State.
The Consul-General, who spoke of the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Ghana, said his country was prepared to join hands with Nigeria to promote the welfare of the citizens of both countries adding that he has come to Lagos to continue the good works of his predecessor in office who, according to him, has been relocated to South Africa. He also prayed for the repose of the souls of victims of the recent Dana Air crash in Lagos and that God would grant their relations the fortitude to bear the loss.
Also present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, her Energy and Mineral and Tourism and Culture counterparts, Mr. Taofiq Tijani and Mr. Oyinlomo Danmole respectively as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Foreign Relations, Ms Toyin Caxton-Martins.