Governors of the South West States of Nigeria under the aegis of Southwest Governor’s Forum met in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Monday.
The programme which was held at MITROS Gateway Annex, Ibara, Abeokuta featured talks on development of the geopolitical zone, through the platform of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.
Areas of common interest that the forum deliberated upon, included security, education, Agriculture, infrastructure, rail and road networks
The meeting, hosted by the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun have in attendance all the six Governors in the Region, namely; Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Raid Aregbesola (Osun) and Amosun.
They met under the aegis of Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The programme was organised by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), a technocratic institution for the sustainable development of the Southwest Region which according to Amosun had been the Vanguard for socio-economic and re-engineering of the SouthWest.
A Communique read by the host Governor, Amosun indicated among others that “A joint task force and Joint actions will be pursued and sustained on security threats to guarantee the safety of lives, property and prosperity of the people of the region.”
According to the Communiqué, the Governors agreed that the artificial boundaries of states, religions, political affiliations among others would not be a barrier to regional development and urged all the States to be encouraged to significantly improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation to foster Regional development.
Among other issues they agreed on were that: “The competitive advantage of constituent states would be harnessed for sustainable regional development.”
“In order to improve the food security of the region, DAWN should convene a regional agric summit to be held in Ibadan.”
“Approval is given for the establishment of a Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative (WENEDI) to drive the export potentials of the region.”
“A committee be set up for codification of our values and ethos as an instrument of Yoruba uniqueness to strengthen our identity and unity of purpose.”
Amosun in his welcome address charged his colleague Governors to, in the interest of the SouthWest Region not to allow themselves to be used as “instruments of division”.
He stated that creation of States from the Old Western Region in 1976 which should have been an impetus for development in the SouthWest had been “allowed to create artificial boundaries between the Yoruba nation”.
His words, “And, to further worsen the situation, some of our people are also making themselves available as instruments of division because of their selfish political gains. The consequence is that our people begin to see themselves as a people of one State or the other rather than as a sub-unit of the entity of the Yoruba people.”
“This”, he said “Is not without its attendant challenges of intra and inter-State boundary disputes which have worsened security in some States and, hampered socio-economic development. Instead of building bridges.”
According to Amosun, “Some of our people are digging trenches for protection against their own brothers and sisters.”
The Governor recalled that all the enviable achievements, in terms of infrastructure and high standard of living in the defunct Western Region under late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s government became possible because of unity of purpose.
In his view, development of agriculture is one of the areas the Governors could explore towards development in the Region, insisting “Our concerted effor