Regional Agenda ‘ll Restore Yoruba’s Lost Glory – Fayemi

September 9, 2012

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi

The Regional integration embarked upon by the Governors of the South West States has been described as a socio-economic rather than a political step towards bringing back the dwindled glory of Yorubaland.

This was the explanation of the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in a speech he delivered at the National Convention of Egbe Omo Yoruba, (National Association of Yoruba Descendants in North America, (USA and Canada)that ended in Baltimore, USA on Sunday.

The Governor who was a keynote address Speaker at the three-day national convention, stated that the Governors of the South-West  States realized  that the best way to ensure development in the region is not to allow themselves to be hindered by “artificial boundaries” but come together to build a future founded on the shared history, values and aspirations as one people.

Dr. Fayemi stated that the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) is aimed at accelerating the growth of the Western Region in a viable, equitable and sustainable manner even as the Master Plan is tailored to compliment development plans already prepared by the component states within the region.

He added that the region can become strong and virile if the component states can pool resources together and pursue developmental projects that cut across tourism, infrastructure, education, transport, energy and power, health and Information Communication Technology among others for the common good of the people.

Fayemi, quoting from the DAWN document said:  “There are Yoruba states endowed with sea ports, others are not; some are sanctified with evergreen, tropical and lush green vast land, others are not; some are blessed with hills and mountains, giving credence to the immense traditional tourism corridors, while others are not. For some of the Yoruba states, the influence derives from skilled manpower, for others it is industry”.

While stressing that the idea of regional integration was to strengthen the “unbreakable umbilical cord that binds the Yoruba together in matter and in form”, the Governor stated that the regional integration recognised Ondo State despite that it did not have the same political ideology like its sister states adding that the political differences would not hinder the integration agenda since it was not mainly established for political reasons. He cited the political tendencies in Western Europe which, according to him, had not hindered the formation of European Union.

Fayemi asserted that the component States are working to ensure that the integration is people-driven hence the constitution of Technical Committee made of three members from each State for the implementation of the roadmap to economic recovery of the South West states.

He added that the Technical Committee has met with State Governors and the legislatures of each constituent state and has submitted an implementation plan which awaits approval from the Governors; saying that the plan takes notice of the place of the Yoruba Diaspora in recognition of the crucial role they  will play in the transformation of the region.

Governor Fayemi disclosed that the integration plan is “not unmindful of the need to enter into collaborative partnerships with other regional compacts like BRACED in the South South, the Northern Governors Forum and the South East Governors’ Compact” as well as carrying representatives at the State and National assemblies along in the formulation and implementation of the regional integration plan.

While stressing the need to “re-professionalize” the civil service as the engine room of governments in the region and make it merit-based, Fayemi said that for the regional agenda to thrive, there must be a credible, performance-based coordination between States and their local governments that is governed by cooperation and commitment to the public good, and joint actions by State governments in the Southwest in the areas of capacity-building, service delivery, and performance management.

Fayemi, an advocate of true federalism, faulted the way federalism is being practiced in the country, which, according to him is a departure from what it was in the sixties.

He said “At independence in 1960, there was regional autonomy and each region had its own constitution. There were only about 26 items in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, today there are 66 items on the exclusive legislative list of the Federal Government. Suddenly, this unity in diversity was trampled upon by the military, with far reaching consequences.

“During these terrifying years of military rule, the Yoruba people and Nigeria at large suffered startling damages. So many vast business estates like the then affluent auto and textile industries and our flourishing farm settlements disappeared. A once vast regional economic bloc became prostrate, leading to huge human migration. In the 80s and 90s, the Yoruba people and indeed Nigeria lost moral and economic values that we have kept for many generations.”

Speaking glowingly of the Yoruba race at the event which was attended by Yorubas in different spheres of life in America, Fayemi said the race is  well endowed.

According to him “ We are endowed with everything that a nation needs to survive. Our territory is graced by a vast ocean, with thousands of tributaries that snake through our villages, our hamlets and the backyards and hearts of our great cities. Our land is rich in inexhaustible natural resources including but not restricted to oil and gas, many of which are yet to be explored. In the realm of the art, in philosophy, epistemology and cosmogony, the Yoruba people have a remarkable past. Long before the coming of the Europeans, we had set up great Kingdoms and a system of government that cared for the people and that does not promote despotism.

“Today, it is factual that those of us elected owe the Yoruba people a lot; we feel indebted to them. The only way we could pay back is through good governance, through fairness, transparency, the recognition of the people as the custodian of power and the unflinching belief in the indomitable prowess of the ordinary man and woman on the street, as the real owners of political power.” He added.

Fayemi also spoke on the State of the Nation at a lecture organised by the African Studies Department, Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopskin University, Washington DC, US, on Friday.


Last modified: September 9, 2012

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