SOUTH West governors on Monday expressed their resolve to forge ahead with the regional integration plan, especially in key sectors, including agriculture, security, economy, among others, in the overall benefit of the Yoruba nation.
All the governors, including Mr Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Mr Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) met in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State at the meeting conveyed at the instance of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting with the theme: “Economic Self-Determination For Western Nigeria: The Export Alternative,” and read by the host, Governor Amosun, the governors approved the setting up of a Joint Task Force and action to contain all forms of security threat in the region to guarantee safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people.
They also declared zero tolerance for crime and criminality in the region henceforth.
The governors, while declaring that the artificial boundaries, religion and political affiliation would no longer constitute barrier to the region’s development, also directed DAWN Commission to develop a 25-year Western Nigeria Development Master Plan.
This was just as all the states in the regions were encouraged to significantly improve bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation to foster regional development.
The governors also resolved to harness the “competitive advantage of all the states in the region for sustainable regional development,” while DAWN was to develop a revenue optimization strategy for states in the region.
In their efforts to improve the food security of the region, the governors directed DAWN to convene a regional Agric Summit to be held in Ibadan, while approval was given for the establishment of Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative to drive the export potentials of the region.
They also directed that there should be synergy between DAWN Commission, Oodua Group and other critical stakeholders for a framework to drive the commercial and industrialization competitiveness of the region.
According to the communique, a committee is to be set up to advance values and ethos as instrument of Yoruba uniqueness to strengthen the region’s identity and unity of purpose.
Speaking earlier, Governor Ambode said the attendance of all the governors of the region in the meeting was a clear manifestation of commitment to the economic and political integration of the region.
Ambode noted that the success of the integration initiative would not only be of immense benefit to the region, but would go a long way to actualize the growth and development of the country.
“On behalf of the people of Lagos State, I bring you good felicitation in Ogun State, my closest neighbour among the South-Western states. I also believe strongly that what we are doing today is a manifestation of the desire of the six governors to actualize the integration we have been talking about.
“I believe strongly that it is also imperative that the economic integration and political integration of our region is significant to the growth and development of Nigeria and we are happy to be in Ogun State,” Governor Ambode said.
The governor Ambode commended his counterpart in Ogun State, Senator Amosun for his laudable works in the state.
It would be recalled that Governor Ambode had last week visited Oyo and Osun states as part of the plan to actualize the economic integration of the South West.