22 Nov 2016

External Influence Won't Divide Us - South West Governors Unite

South-west governors have formed a formidable force for political influence amidst cases of alignment and re-alignment in Nigeria.

State governors in-the South-western geo-political zone in Nigeria have resolved to forge a common front at regional integration by jointly staving off external influences capable of stifling the region’s economic and social interests.

Irrespective of their political affiliations, the governors said they have decided to be their brother’s keeper by promoting common programmes and projects capable of enhancing the human capital development of the region, according to Thisday reports.

This was one of the highlights of the meeting of the governors’ economic forum, hosted yesterday by the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the Executive Council Chambers, in Ibadan.

The governors mulled the need to introduce uniform tariffs on commodities, while agreeing on the need to seek areas of cooperation in agriculture, transportation, rail system, sports and other areas of common interest.

Other governors at the meeting were Mr. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State; Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State; Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Mr. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, while Secretary to Ondo State Government, Mr. Rotimi Adelola, represented Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

In his welcome address, Ajimobi said the attendance of the governors signposted the high importance they paid to the common challenges besetting the zone, part of which he said was the difficulties in the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

Ajimobi said: “Your presence at this meeting is a clear testimony of the importance you all have attached to the common challenges confronting us as a people. Today, our country is buffeted by economic and political challenges.

“Several states are struggling to pay basic salaries with arrears running into several months; manufacturers struggling to access foreign exchange for raw material and companies are shutting down leading to mass redundancy of our people.

“Unfortunately most of these people are resident in the South-west region, which is the industrial base of the country. We need to quickly explore escape routes from poverty through empowerment and equipping of our youths with requisite skills.

“We must also seek common path of boosting agriculture as well as dealing with security challenges that have pervaded the country. We must seek a way out of the biting hardship in the land.”

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