Activists, others urge support for Southwest integration
Human rights activist, Dr. Femi Aborisade, spokesman of Pro National Conference Organisation (PRONACO), Wale Okuniyi and a chieftain the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Adebayo Dayo have urged support for the regional economic integration being promoted by the six states in the Southwest geo-political zone.
Part of the regional integration plan is currently being driven by Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode who recently pledged to invest billions of naira to acquire vast acres of land in the hinterland states of Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun for modern, technologically-driven farming.
While some of them agreed that such drive would free and consequently restructure the region economically pending when the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would decide on the demand for restructuring, others were of the view that though Ambode’s drive was good, it was not enough to economically restructure the zone.
According to Aborisade, “Economic restructuring could only be achieved when government institutions that have been privatized were reversed. But what Ambode is doing is economic cooperation and integration which we have been advocating. The move was right and if pursued and not politicised, would eventually transform the region.”
The human rights activist added that Ambode has demonstrated enough commitment with the way he is handling Lagos but that is not to say the ruling APC have dome anything significant in the last two years.
Dayo on his part said, “I am not member of APC but Ambode among his peers, has distinguished himself by what he is doing in Lagos to an extent I have personally told PDP members it would be difficult, if not impossible to oust him in 2019. His move to integrate Southwest economy would not only return the region to its golden era of First Republic, it will also prepare it ahead of any major restructure that may likely take place in the country.”
He however appealed to Ambode and his colleagues as well as political stakeholders in the region to ensure the move succeed adding, “we need to eschew political sentiment in this matter and focus on development.”
Speaking in the same vein, Okunniyi said with the step Ambode has taken “the Southwest is most likely to witness something similar to what Chief Obafemi Awolowo did in the region.”