Committee On Western Region Integration Agenda Inaugurated

June 21, 2012

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Sitting 5th right); flanked by members of theTechnical Committee on Regional Integration of South-Western States, in Ado-Ekiti... on Thursday.

The  24-member Technical Committee to drive the regional integration of the South West was inaugurated in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital on Thursday, with the charge to work towards achieving greater socio-economic and infrastructure development of the people of the region.

Inaugurating the committee on behalf of the Governors of the seven States of old Western Nigeria in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi described the regional integration as an approach to re-invent the pace setting achievements of the Western Region under the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and reposition it as a trail blazer in all aspects of socio-economic development in the country.

The 24 member- committee comprises three members each from the seven subscribing states and three members from the Yoruba Academy Think Tank, producers of the  Development Agenda of Western Nigeria (DAWN) document.

The 24-man committee has the following as its terms of reference: designing of a road-map for the economic and development recovery of the south west geopolitical zone; examining areas of comparative advantage and areas of likely cooperation that is amenable to economic growth by the constituent States in the South West and entrenching a robust legal framework for the operative mechanism of the regional integration of the South West, among others.

Member States of the Western Region Integration Agenda include Ekiti, Edo, Ondo, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Osun States.

Recalling the feats of the region in the 50s, Fayemi said the region had pursued a “populist yet quality education policy” which resulted in its growth, had the highest GDP among the regions in Nigeria and produced a civil service which was reckoned as the best in Africa at the time.

The Governor identified the long military era and deliberate policies of the federal government as responsible for the regression and current slow pace of development in the region.

“This can be seen in the deterioration in the quality of education in the Region, infrastructural decay and the inability of the Region to re-invent itself. The situation became further compounded by the emergence of core reactionaries on the corridors of power. The revenue from cocoa production had since disappeared and States in the south west geopolitical zone existed in a federal structure that is only in name and whose source of income were handouts from the federation accounts”, he lamented.

Fayemi however expressed optimism that the trend would be reversed with the inauguration of the Committee which is made up of three members from the seven western states and three other members from the Yoruba academy, to ignite a paradigm shift in its development and growth.

He added that the Western Governors’ forum at its Abeokuta meeting had resolved that a commission should be set up as a coordinating mechanism of the integration agenda. The commission is to be housed at the Cocoa House, Ibadan.

Meanwhile the Governor has reiterated the commitment of the seven states to the sovereignty of the Nigerian state; saying that their efforts are geared towards “strengthening the Nigerian state and deepening her growth with a healthy competitive balancing aimed at developing her capacity to deliver the greatest good” to the whole federation.

Last modified: June 21, 2012

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